A sunny bank holiday walk

We were blessed with sun on Easter Monday and I didn’t want it to go to waste, the only diffcult thing was choosing where we should go. We are so lucky where we live to have beaches, forests, castles and bridges so close along with The Helix Park and Kelpies right on our doorstep.

I wanted to do something different though and had often seen a signpost for Blackness Castle when we used to live in Linlithgow and thought it would be nice to plan a walk there. The castle itself stands on the Firth of Forth in the Burgh of Linlithgow. There is a walk that you can do from Bo’ness to Blackness and I decided to do that.

I went onto Walkhighlands to get the details of the walk and off we set.  The walk itself is lovely, going in between walking along the banks of the forth, to through some forest with the forth to the side of you peeking out through the trees.

  

The paths are well laid out but you do need to be aware that it is part of the cycle pathway so you will meet a few cyclists along the way. 

  

We stopped in the castle grounds for a breather, thankfully there were a few benches doted around and even though it was busy it didn’t feel too busy. 

  

And from the bottom corner of the castle grounds you get a lovely few of the Forth Road bridges. 

 

 

The walk on Walkhighlands was advertised as being 5.25miles.  We clocked it up at 5.8miles from start to finish.  The thought of doing the 3 miles back to the car again from the castle was tough but once we got started again the walk was actually quite nice.  I love being near the water so think that that helped me loads!

We all really enjoyed the walk and it’s definitely one that we will be doing again. 

What a lovely way to spend the bank holiday. 

Claire x

It’s the small things ~ April Edition

April has been a busy and lovely month. Lots of sunshine to be had in Scotland and when it’s been out we’ve tried to make the most of it, you never quite know whether that will actually be the full summer so you need to live in the moment!

There was daffodil smelling

20140429-225142.jpg Easter bunny making

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Lovely long 4 day weekends

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With dog walks that required a sit down protest in the shade

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Coffee in the park

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And watching the opening of the amazing Kelpies structures

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Walks on the beach, followed by the best fish & chips ever

20140429-225656.jpg Reminiscing on the stationary I made for our wedding

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Visits to the beautiful Loch Lomond

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Infertility awareness week in the USA which prompted me to be more open with family about my fertility issues

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Girlie days out

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Evening canal side walks in the sun

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A girlie break away

Every year for the past few years, my Mum and Sister have been amazing and planned a little trip over here. It’s great for them to get away and for me to be able to meet up with them.  This year it was Edinburgh and as we were going to be there for three nights we decided to get an apartment rather than a hotel. It worked out great and I would definetly recommend if there are a few of you going away somewhere for a few nights. 

Edinburgh has a good pick of apartments at good prices, we decided to go for a three bedroom so we all had our own room and decided to stay central/new town so as to not be in the overly hilly part of town for my mum. We ended up choosing to stay here at Princes Street Suites and were pleasantly surprised. They have a selection of apartments and our three bedroom one was huge! 

  

  

  

  

The apartment was a little tired in places but overall I think we were impressed and it was nice to be able to sit and chill out in between being out and about. 

We didn’t have many plans, more just chilling out, drinking wine and a spa day visit. 

  

We enjoyed a lovely glass of wine with a view at the fourth floor bar in Harvey Nichols. It was just a pity that it was too early in the year to get out on their terrace. 

  

We had booked ourselves in for a spa day and bubbles at The Scotsman Spa, it was the first time I’ve been into the hotel which was lovely though the spa is hard to find as it is in the lower levels of the hotel through lots of different levels and corridors. When we did find it though it was lovely and we had a lovely time using the pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi before our treatments. We had all booked in for a facial which was so nice, by the time we got to the relaxation room after we were all majorily chilled out under our duvets, yes you did read that right! Comfy beds and duvets, you nearly didn’t get us out of there. The pull of a glass of fizz managed it though! 

We finished our break away with a view of the Castle turning green for the first time ever on St Patrick’s Day.  

 

Pity it was a little misty that night but you get the idea. Oh and a Mexican Cosmo to end the night! Delish. 

  

We had a lovely few days and it was so nice to see my Mum & Sister. It helped take my mind off the few weeks that came before that’s for sure. 

 

Claire xx 

 

It’s the small things ~ March edition

March has been a difficult month for us. But despite all the heartache it brought, there still has been some small things that have made us happy.

  
Surprise deliveries.

  
Yummy doughnuts

  
Our constant companion 

  
Schnauzer shadows never fail to make me smile

  
Edinburgh visits to see my Mum and sister

  
Wine with a view

  
Spa days and bubbles

  
And the castle turned Green for St Patrick’s day (with my Mum & Sister) 

  
Mexican Cosmos 

  
There were solar eclipses 

  
Spring days with first washing of the year hung on the line

  
Human sun clocks 

  
 Never ceasing to be amazed by the walks on my doorstep. 
  
Schnauzer meet ups. 

  
The most amazing reflections. 

Claire xx

Some bunny hopes you have a sweet Easter

I made some Easter bags for my nieces and nephews last year and I thought I would do the same this year. They are so quick and easy to make and the bonus this year was I only needed to pick up the chocolate and print some new labels.

This year my littlest nephew is nearly 2 so instead of the soft toy he got last year I got him a small buttons egg and some small smarties chicks to go alongside. For the others I used the bunnies from Aldi again and mini eggs. 

I wanted some different tags for this years ones and good old pinterest came up trumps again with these lovely ones from Niftymom.com.

I think they finish the bags off really well and hope the kids like them.

Claire xx

Empty arms on Mothers Day.

Today is Mothers day in the UK.  A day where my arms are empty of my own child, a day where my infertility seems to scream from the rooftops, a day where I am not yet a Mother.

But one day I dream that my baby will still come and one day I will be a mother in the true sense of the word.  For now though, on this lovely day of celebration, please don’t forget those ladies who are still waiting on their dreams to come true.

I found this poem on the internet a few years ago.  The words say it all.

Claire x

Weight Loss Wednesday ~ Monthly update

Oops, I’m a little late with this months post. It should really have gone up last week but with still being in the middle of my IVF cycle I really wasn’t pressuring myself to do a weigh in post. 

Weight gain on IVF cycles have been a real issue for me, gaining a ridiculous amount during the drugs, tww and the emotional eating aftermath. This cycle I really watched what I was eating whilst upping my protein and lowering sugar and carbs and although I am still reporting a gain overall, I’m pleased to say it’s only.

Today sees the return to healthy eating. I need to be so careful to not allow myself too much emotional eating now the cycle has failed again. 

If we are to cycle again in a year or so I would like to weigh at least 1-2 stone less than I do now so I still have some work to do. 

️C xx

And the grief washes over us….. The end of IVF#2

And so it is all over yet again, however this time it feels more final. As I’ve mentioned before we are very lucky to have received two funded cycles of IVF on the NHS and for that I am very grateful. We have used these up with little or nothing to show for it, apart from a lot of heartache. For those that think IVF is the easy option, you are so far wrong it is unreal. This is by far one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through and today it has broken me. Infertilty is a disease, not a choice….

We are totally numb, again we got to 8dp5dt (8 days past a five day transfer) and I started to bleed. Official test day is not for another 6 days, though Dundee do do a long testing wait period. This time I won’t be testing again, I will just call the clinic on the day which ironically happens to be Mothers day and call in the negative result.

Part of me didn’t expect anything else, once we were told at transfer that we basically made very shite embyros this time, I zoned out of the two week wait that never was. People told me to have hope and there was a tiny bit there but it was tiny. I couldn’t allow myself to believe that the outcome would be anything other than a negative result, I suppose it was a bit of self preservation, you know what I mean? Trying to pre-empt the bad result so when you get the bad result it doesn’t hurt as much. Rational? Maybe not. Did it work? A tiny bit, or so I thought.

When the realisation hit, the early test that was negative….done to try to prepare myself. My attempts at self preservation to try and stop it hurting so much were forgotten, it hurt like hell, I feel like a zombie, head not really with anything I am doing, thinking about it, not thinking about it. One thing I know though is that we gave it our all this time and there is nothing about the cycle or the way we prepared for it that I would change. I wanted to make sure before we started if it was to fail that we wouldn’t be able to say “if only we did this or if only we did that” and I am grateful to be able to say that with all the things going through our heads, regret is not one of them.

Where we go from here is another question and probably a lot more soul searching and I am sure there will be blogging. All I know is for the minute we are stepping off the trying to conceive roller coaster all together. After basically being told that it would look like our sperms and eggs aren’t compatible I think the kindest thing to do for ourselves is to stop for a while. We will need to look at whether we do further IVF at some point in the next few years but for now, no more waiting and praying every month for a different outcome. We need to remember what life was like before trying to conceive. It will never return to that naive place, the place before we ventured into the world of infertility, I am not that stupid to think that way.

Normal will now have to become a new type of normal, it won’t go back to what we used to think of as normal. A we can’t have kids naturally or possibly at all? now the new normal. Will we cycle again ever? is now the new normal. Will be ever be parents? is now the new normal.

Infertility is the loss of an assumed future….. Never take it for granted.

C xx

Day 3, Day 5 and Egg Transfer – IVF#2

Sorry for the delay in posting this update and for those who don’t follow me on twitter I am not going to dress up this post. This cycle really wasn’t good at all. Our Sperm and Eggs really didn’t seem to like each other this time.

The embryologist seemed to think this was okay. I breathed a sigh of relief, there was a chance that the slower ones could catch up before day 5, but at this point we had 4 on par with what was expected and that was better than last cycle. As usual Dundee aim to culture all embryos to day 5.

Off we headed for transfer on day 5, full of chat about how many we would transfer, never even passing a thought to the possibility that we may have little or none to transfer. I mean this cycle felt so different, from start to finish. We were totally dumbstruck when we were led into the room and were told that we didn’t have any even reasonable quality embryos to transfer. Two blastos had been discounted, I’ve no idea why, they obviously weren’t good enough to return and you have to respect that decision, they are the experts in their field after all. Then the major blow, the only other two were early blastocysts, they couldn’t be graded which is what you want. We vaguely remember being told that one had ‘odd looking cells’ appearing at the top of it which she didn’t know that they might mean. When we questioned it, she did say that due to the same presentation on the last cycle, we may have just found out the reason for our infertility and instead of being unexplained we are possibly looking at having some from of chromosomal incompatibility. Our sperm and eggs just don’t match, they may never match and that was overwhelming.

We were told that we could return the two early blastos, but basically not to expect too much from them, even mentioning that we could just not transfer anything at all. But there was no way that we could do that.  That damn little spark of hope that you have, you know, hearing all those stories of crap embryos becoming lively little babies. It snuck in and took over.  So we decided to transfer both, in for a penny and all that.  There was no excitement though, the drive home was actually spent discussing our options in the future.  Could we afford to cycle again?  Would we use Dundee?  Should we ever try to get to blasto stage again or are we better hoping a day 3 transfer would stick? Would we want to adopt?  Not the questions that you expect to be coming home with after a transfer that’s for sure.

I’m not going to leave you hanging, the cycle as predicted didn’t work.  We gave it our all.  We are done…..

C xx