Tag Archives: pregnancy

Preparing to conceive with the AVA bracelet

Are you trying to conceive? Have you heard of the Ava bracelet?  Ava is focused on women’s health.

The Ava bracelet isn’t just for women trying to conceive. It can also be used to help track your cycle as well as being worn during pregnancy for regular monitoring of your body.

The Ava bracelet has got me so excited. You may have recently seen my social media update declaring I am full of positivity and optimism. Ava is one of the reasons why. Conceive

Ava cannot necessarily assist everyone. For example, for women with PCOS, irregular or non-existent cycles Ava cannot fix this. The Ava bracelet assists women with a regular cycle but highlighting their most fertile period. Whilst many products on the market pinpoint the approximate 48 hours within ovulation, Ava does more than this.

Other tests (which I have already tried unsuccessfully this time around) indicate the last 2 days of the fertile window. The Ava bracelet collects physiological data whilst you sleep. Ava then pinpoints a 5 day window, detecting the very beginning of your fertile window.

Ava claim to advise you of “more fertile days than any other method”.  Despite all those years growing up thinking I could fall pregnant easily at any time, it turns out there’s actually only a small window that this can happen.

Who are avawomen.com and what do they stand for?

Ava Women are ridiculously passionate about bringing the Ava brand to the world. The team are spread between a base in San Francisco and their Global headquarters in Switzerland.  They are a group of doctors and scientific researchers, committed to making scientific advancements to better understand the menstrual cycle. In a world where technology plays a huge role in almost every part of our lives, it’s surprising that there hasn’t been many advancements in women’s health tracking. Ava Women hope to change this.

“We don’t just make products, we conduct clinical studies and publish peer-reviewed papers.”  taken from avawomen.com

How does the Ava bracelet work?

While you’re sleeping, Ava’s sensors collect data on nine different physiological parameters. Ava’s algorithm then detects your fertile window, physiological stress level, sleep quality, and more. –  taken from avawomen.com

The data collected each night is synced to your phone and automatically entered into a chart. Gradually you will begin to build a picture of how many hours you sleep (this is useful ammo against hubs if you already have a child),It also monitors your resting pulse rate, skin temperature, breathing rate, and HRV which is short for heart rate variability (basically stress levels).

In order for an adequate amount of data to be collected, you have to wear the bracelet for at least 4 hours each night. The information that Ava measures doesn’t confirm if you are fertile but rather when. It uses the data collected to create an algorithm which recognises when your body is signalling that it is entering the fertile window, and hence at the prime time to conceive.

Set up and using the Ava bracelet.

The Ava bracelet is easy to use and stress free. On receiving the bracelet, it needed to be charged for a minimum of 2 hours. After downloading the Ava app on app store (or Google Play store) I set up my account. It helps if you already know a few details about your cycle such as dates of last period and average cycle length. This is something I already tracked on an app. I then synced the bracelet with my phone. The bracelet is found automatically once bluetooth is enabled.

Each evening before I go to sleep, I put the bracelet on my non dominant arm, just above the wrist bone. It’s a simple buckle strap, not too tight. I’m not aware of it during the night when I’m sleeping. In the morning I remove the bracelet, plug it into a power source and sync it to the app to download the data collected that night.

It’s so simple and easy. You can also join a closed Facebook group (so it’s not visible on your profile) to help you with support and analysing your charts.

Trying to conceive George.

conceive

I’ve always been pretty good at getting my own way. So it kind of pisses me off  utterly frustrates me that when I want a baby, I can’t just have one! I’m so grateful for George and whilst my eight month conception journey to have him is miniscule compared to the struggle of others, I did let it consume me.

I don’t feel the same this time around. I would love so much to have another baby. A baby that I can enjoy minus the post natal depression (or at least with treatment this time). Another chance to use and learn from the mistakes I made the first time around. Maybe the chance to be Mama to a daughter. But mostly because I am SO sure that George will make the most kind, helpful and amazing big brother.

Those who know me know I research the back-end out of everything I do. Queen of Googling. I thought I knew all the tricks. I tried my hardest to not actually “try” to conceive. Knowing that the more you stress over it the less likely it is to happen (or so they say). We both took all the conception vitamins. I stopped drinking alcohol to try to get my body in tip-top condition. I even stopped making social plans. Firstly because I didn’t think I could enjoy myself without a drink (isn’t that sad!), secondly because I was always thinking “I can’t agree to that sponsored walk because what if I’m pregnant by then”.

Legs up the wall, optimal positions, you name it, we did it.  After 7 months, my sister lent me her ovulation monitor. You pee on a stick when it tells you to and when you get the smiley face you go hell for leather and ta da, a baby. And after the first month using this machine, I discovered that in fact I ovulate way after my period tracking app suggested I did.

At the same month we started using the monitor I found out I was 2 to 3 weeks pregnant. I’ve always attributed our success in conception to the ovulation monitor. However it is also the time I took advice from a friend and just stopped caring and started to say yes again. Yes to that holiday, yes to that night out. In the end I was so busy during my pregnancy it was unreal. George was born 9 months later and the rest is history. But this time is a WHOLE different story.

conceive

Trying for a second.

Last year we decided it would be a good time to start trying for a sibling. Since George’s birth, we haven’t used any contraception. so you could say we have always been trying to conceive. Although as most first time parents will know, having a child to care for is contraception in itself. You are way to tired and touched out for that shizzle come the end of the day.

For the first year I was breastfeeding and didn’t have ANY periods. Although it’s not supposed to be a trusted method of contraception, I believe breastfeeding stopped me getting pregnant in the first year. When my periods returned we sometimes used the pulling out method as I was never sure it was right for us to be having another yet. Again, kids this isn’t a safe way to avoid getting pregnant.

So last year I knew I wanted George to be a sibling. I didn’t want a baby too badly just yet, and I wanted to try to fall before I became over the top broody to eliminate the pressure and stress. It wasn’t happening. “Simple” I thought and out came my sister’s ovulation monitor.

3 months down and no smiley face. I went to see the doctor who booked me in for an internal ultrasound to check the health of my ovaries. After suspecting I may be starting early menopause (as the women do in my family), I was relieved to find out I wasn’t. Everything was the level it should be.

Hubs was going to get checked out but then my body started to really play up. I gained three stone taking medication for my migraines. I also have a problem with my hip which is affecting my quality of life.

Long story short, we had to make the sensible choice to halt trying for a baby. I’m under a consultant and physio for my hip and slowly losing weight. We suspect my health will have improved enough by the end of 2018, start of 2019 that we can start trying to conceive again.

Conceive

Now seems the perfect time to start using the Ava bracelet and build up my data within the app. I’m hopeful that when the time comes we will be better informed about the prime time to play the baby making game conceive.

My verdict

Obviously I would love to say that we have successfully conceived using the Ava bracelet…but I haven’t put the data to good use yet. What I will say is if you are looking for an aid to help you better plan your conception journey, then I feel Ava takes the stress out of it. At a RRP of £249 it’s not cheap.

But it’s worth bearing in mind that you can continue to wear it during pregnancy. The app also gives you a pregnancy tracker, giving you weekly insights on what to expect. I’m really excited about the potential this bracelet has for us (in case you hadn’t gathered). I can’t wait to share it with you all!

There may be some of you that thinks this all seems very involved. That you should just let nature take its course. But as someone who doesn’t appear to fall pregnant easily, it’s invaluable to me, as I’m sure it will be to many couples.

If you would like to purchase an Ava bracelet for yourself, you can get £20 off by using this link and the code;

GORGEOUSGSMAMA20

**Disclosure – I received an Ava bracelet in return for this review. Opinions are my own and this does not affect the integrity of this post**

The truth about pregnancy

The truth about pregnancy is obviously my truth. I know every pregnancy for every person is different. I’m hoping some women or indeed men will read and relate to this as I like to think I’m being open about the parts people really don’t go into detail about on a daily basis. Let me know what you think. Did you experience anything similar during your pregnancy. Feel free to laugh. I did! Blimey when something less than always pleasant is happening to you for 9/10 months you’ve got to laugh or end up seriously peeved. So here goes.

Anyone else feel like announcing you are having a baby is a bit like telling your parents you lost your virginity. The slightly awkward realisation that everyone is congratulating you on having sex. Like we all know one another is doing it. But to say to the world “hey (little wave), we’ve had sex over here! I mean let’s get a high five for the sex yeah!”

For 9 months I feel like a walking advert for sex. Reasons to have it. Reasons to not have it. I don’t even get paid for advertising space, for the walking advert of magical crap that I’ve become.

Pregnancy

My pregnancy with George could’ve been worse but then if you had seen the state of me! I’ll still tell you now, as magical as it is and I loved feeling bubba move, pregnancy really wasn’t all it cracked up to be. It fucked my body in so many ways. Ways that will never be fixed. Have I come to terms with it? As much as I can. I look at the kid and he was totally worth it. But still.

I think some bodies were made for making and carrying babies and some weren’t. I was the latter. It took us a bit longer than average to conceive and I ended up not being able to feel or use my hands, with a nose even wurzel gummidge would struggle to contend with. Amongst the rest of the swollen crap. Elephants feet, grapes for a bum hole and the purple veiny things taking over my thighs of all places!

But otherwise yeah it was fab. Thankfully I didn’t experience morning sickness. I once vomited at 8 months pregnant and let’s say THAT took me by surprise. I had nausea in the first trimester and migraines but nothing a few fruity polos didn’t sort out.

Pregnancy
Photo courtesy of Little Smilers studio

Then there’s your poo. Everyone knows I love talking about poo. My sis actually feel pregnant 5 months before me so she was able to prep me on the stages of poo your pregnant self goes though. Starting with the “cow pat” phase and ending so elegantly with the constipated haemorrhoids phase. Honestly it’s so hard to poo when you have a ginormous belly in front of you and you ant adequately lean forward.

And don’t think you’ll be done with panty pads either. Oh no. There’s various levels of discharge stages you must experience on top of all the other uncomfortable magicalness. I must’ve wanted to escape my body at least once every 24 hours.

Then there’s the insomnia! Like what the actual fuck! It’s like your body says “hey! You wanna have a baby? Let’s get you used to this sleep deprivation thingy now”! Why! I won’t be growing a human once the baby arrives will I! Let me sleep!

Pregnancy

As glamorous as it sounds, it was. Snuggling into bed with at least 5 pillows behind me to prevent the reflux and heartburn whilst ensuring the Rennie’s could be found in the dark on my bedside table. Then more pillows between my legs and behind my back because oh my gosh your hips and back really like to let you know they are carrying a baby. Then win my hands strapped up in wrist splints for the carpel tunnel syndrome I would just start to snooze and relax. 20 minutes later and a swift lean on my bladder from my wonderful bundle of magic and I needed the loo. This would happen at least 12 times a night.

I often just stayed up because my hands hurt too much if I fell asleep. I’d wake up and have to pull my fingers and rubs and shake my hands in an effort to regain the feeling and remove the pain. Not forgetting the restless legs. Trying to relax and all my legs want to do is kick out and flip around. How hubs didn’t move out is beyond me. And sadly for him there was no spare bedroom. Thankfully I had. A family of foxes living in our garden that kept me entertained in the early hours. Not to mention some epic lightening shows.

But there was MANY positives to being pregnant. Playing with my bubba inside my tummy using a torch or music provided me with hours of joy. Watching and feeling him move inside me and being able to share that with family and friends. Feeling like a superhero being able to grow this amazing human being. Knowing I was their source of everything and taking the responsibility of motherhood the moment I conceived. Feeling so grateful that I had this opportunity that so many women don’t.

Pregnancy

My hair. Oh my hair. I mean it was rather unfair that at a time when my bikini line was about to become like a challenge on the krypton factor to shave, it also started to grow out of control. The boundaries stretched and suddenly my bikini line became a “let’s-venture-down-her-let’s-So there you have it. We had sex! And this is what happened. I’ll save the shit storm that was my labour for another post.
**Edit** I’ve since thought of more delightfulness experienced whilst pregnant. This wouldn’t be the truth, my truth if it wasn’t the whole truth.

  • The weird spotting you get during implantation that makes you think you are about to come on and then you do a test before a night out on the piss only to find you are going to be on the lemonade all night.
  • The way your mouth always tastes like you’ve been sucking on a metal pole for hours.
  • Your superhero sense of smell. You can smell any smell a mile off. I had lots of fun guessing what people were cooking in the next room at lunch break at work.
  • The way you think all your baggy pre pregnancy tops will fit you when your pregnant because it’s just a fatter belly right? Wrong! Under your bra thickens and widens as your ribs expand, sending your organs god knows where and you end up looking like a sausage in a skin that’s too small. And that’s why maternity wear is big business lol.
  • Hot flushes that appear out of nowhere and make you wonder if you are dying of flu whilst you stand there dripping with sweat looking like you’ve got the plague.
  • Your nipples getting strangely darker. Who the heck knows why.
  • The surprise you get when you have your first scan (12 weeks) and you expect them to be al over your belly like they are on the tele and in films and they actually do it under your belly button because surprisingly that’s where the baby is until it grows bigger.
  • The feeling of bubba move and thinking it couldn’t have been further from the “butterflies” people told me I’d feel. It was actually more like bubbles popping.
  • Wondering why my throat was burning of a night and finding out that’s reflux for you.
  • Having hubs have to cut my dinner up towards the end because the carpel tunnel syndrome meant I couldn’t grip properly or feel my damn hands through the pins and needles.

Oh the joys. Until next time…..

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Rhyming with Wine

It’s only a phase – the parenting guide to phases your child will go through

Parenting, in a nutshell it’s only one phase after another. I’m going to give you a little satirical guide to the phases your little one will go through.

So you’ve got that magical positive result on the pregnancy test. You feel excited, overwhelmed, in denial, emotional, elated. Little do you know, you have just signed up to at least an 18 year sequence of phases.
I will now describe to you the phases I myself have been through with George. We are only at the two and half year mark. No doubt this is a post that will eventually become a long standing series.

Phase

For ease of writing I will refer to your little one as he. Let’s face it, as much as we thank the men in our lives for this magical event, with the amazing joy comes occasional annoyance. Pretty much sums up the male species from my perspective (winks coyly with her tongue in her cheek). So “he” it is.

Congratulations. You are pregnant with a baby boy or girl. Or both but let’s just assume everything I say and double it, triple it, depending on your brood. I’m sure I’m being naive and there’s more to it than that. I only have the one so can’t comment.

Phase
Third trimester. That incredible yet surreal feeling you get when your baby is moving inside of you. Something which you can often see as well as feel now. You love it, you’re thankful for it, then comes being woken up at night with the kicking and fidgeting. You’ve just settled back into bed, surrounded yourself with 6 pillows after your tenth wee, and now the little darling decides it’s time to start practicing his gangnam style. Welcome to the “get me out of your belly” phase. Towards the end (I’m talking around the 36 week mark), the head can engage and the “get me out of your belly” phase progresses to “fuck it I’ll make my own way out” as you can almost feel the head pushing down there trying to eeek his way out. Uncomfortable isn’t the word.

Phase

Let’s cut to the birth. It happens however it happens. Don’t beat yourself up about it. He has to come out somehow so as long as you are both safe and well at the end of it, you are a hero. You’ve grown this little boy. Give yourself credit where it’s due.

You’re first night together. Poor little darling is stressed. He cries on and off all night; “It’s cold out here, and I’m hungry. What happened to that hose with all my scrummy food. I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going on. I want to go back in the tummy please”. Welcome to the “indecisive charades phase”. He won’t quite know what he wants but he will make small movements and random incoherent noises. You must learn to decipher this code, get the correct answer, then apply this answer to little darling and see if he is satisfied. Keep trying this for 6 months.

Congratulations! You made it six months! You thought the charades phase was tough. Wow you really have no idea what’s in store. The last six months has seen you become a master. A master of dangling things in front of your little darling. Master of bouncing him, rocking him, feeding him, changing him. The washing machine has become a multitasking part time babysitter. And it’s worked right? He’s been happy and content for the majority. You are both learning each other ways but overall you are managing to not annoy each other too much. But all good things must come to an end.

Phase

Welcome to the fidget arse phase. By now your little one will likely be rolling over, shuffling, maybe even attempting a backwards crawl. Suddenly dangling things in front of his face or bouncing him gently is unsatisfactory. No. He’s had his eye on that DVD cabinet for 6 months now and he wants to know what exactly is in all those little cases. What does that red glowing button do? That fluffy long thing at the end of the cat looks fun.

You suddenly need eyes in your arse. How do I see using eyes in my arse you wonder. Well let me tell you, you won’t be sitting on it. You’ll be up and down and up and down and up and down. Rescuing little darling before he delves into something else. Rearranging your house slowly day by day.

 

Phase

Never fear. You will soon tire of the fidget arse phase and will begin willing your little darling to take their first steps. We are homo sapiens after all. It’s instinctive. You eagerly encourage him until one day, hurrah, those teeny tiny steps are taken without your assistance. A triumph in your naive eyes. At last he can walk. The end of the days of you carrying them around is in sight.

But what’s this….he is climbing the stairs! Darling little can suddenly get from one end of the lounge to the kitchen in the time it takes you to sip your cold cup of tea. He’s had more bumps, trips and falls than an accident insurers handbook. What have you created you absolute plonker!

Phase

And then the day arrives. Little one’s first birthday. A milestone. A day to celebrate. But what are you doing? Sobbing, and updating your Facebook status mourning your little one is no longer a baby. They are “all grown up”, “where did the time go” “time to think about having another”.
And so the cycle begins again. (Faceplants).

Phase
Ps. Honestly I’m not as cynical as I sound. From the moment I got that positive result, I have thanked my lucky stars for being given this opportunity. Something many would give anything for. Doesn’t hurt to tell it how it is sometimes. We all have our own experiences. This is mine.
To be continued…….

Until next time………

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday