2018…the year of the dog = the year of joy.

Last year I wrote a blog about my 2017 being all about the year of the squirrel. Now there’s no official ‘year of the squirrel’. It was based purely on the fact that squirrels had…come to me. One even chatted to me from a fence as I walked to my local shops one morning. What?

But my announcing of the year of the squirrel was based on the desire to want more adventure in my life. Did I achieve this? Depends on your own definition of adventure I guess but one big mountain was going through IVF. 3 rounds in one year. I hopped aboard that rollercoaster that so many people had warned me about, strapped myself in as tightly as possible and jolted off into the unknown with its dizzy highs and its thundering lows.

IVF is both miraculous and heart-in-the-mouth stuff. A lot of strict instructions, fumbling around with needles and potions, tests, results, full bladders, poking, scans, (in my case, sedation) and waiting. Oh the waiting. Waiting to see if your womb lining is thick enough. Waiting to see how many follicles you have, then eggs, then good quality eggs, then the sperm count, then the fertilised egg number, then the one that made it (if any) to blastocyst stage. Then the exciting transfer days, the hope that those precious embryos will survive (again in my case) the thaw before the transfer and then stay safely tucked up inside your womb. Then another wait, 9 days if you’re lucky enough to have day 5 embryos, to see if it all worked. 

I threw myself into it each time. Through diet, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, supplements, crystals, affirmations, drinking ALL the water, taking work sabbaticals, being in nature. Focused. In the zone. Nothing else mattered.

To anyone going through IVF in 2018, while I’m absolutely no expert, I really recommend accompanying your journey with acupuncture and diet/supplement adjustments. Marrying western and eastern techniques. I really enjoyed the books The Fertility Diet by Sarah Dobbyn and Your Pregnancy Nutrition Guide by Henrietta Norton.  

You may have also read in previous blogs of mine that I visited Emma Cannon’s nutritionist friend Victoria Wells, armed with a bag of alllll the supplements I had pretty much blindly put myself on and eventually got myself in a tizz about. Victoria stripped them all back and wrote me a report based on my individual presentation outlining what ones to stay on to support my needs. Much simpler. 

I gave up alcohol long before starting IVF, maybe having the odd glass of champagne at weddings but that was it. Once the lead up to IVF started I cut it out completely, raising eyebrows at social occasions that ‘maybe she’s pregnant’ – eye roll emoji.

Anyway as the journey to parenthood continues, and maybe yours does too, whatever stage you’re at or route you’re taking, KEEP BELIEVING GODAMMIT. Women are so bloody strong. Definitely the stronger sex. We’ve got this. The stories some of you have shared with me over the last year of babies being born despite the odds and sometimes in the face of medical comments like ‘you’ll never have a baby’ (nice) have been beyond inspirational. 

Moving on.

For those who know me well, you’ll know I love dogs. So finding out that 2018 is the actual official year of the dog is like YASSS. I don’t know what this means really but I know I like it. 

My mini sausage dog Rupert didn’t have the best end to 2017 after having a load of teeth removed. Rupert 2.0 is now a bit more gummy and a lot more droolly but the joy this little stinker gives me and John is unrivalled. In fact, we say he ‘spreads the joy’ wherever he goes. People stop to meet him, point at him with ‘awwwwws’ and just light up as we trot on by. Most dog owners I know actually seem to have more joy in their lives as a result of these four legged companions at their side.

So maybe that’s it. 

2018 is the year of joy. You with me? Sounds good right?

This week it’s a slow start to going back to work. I’m working from home today and then have just two days in the office before the weekend. The normal questions will arise about how eachothers Christmas went down.

I’d summarise mine as it being a ‘Meh-ry Christmas’. Some blissful highs and some teary lows. A new one for my family this year was learning of some family illness the week before the festivities which was a bit of a blow. 

Our Christmas lunch out at a pub left a lot to be desired. We went to a pub, mostly because it’s really tough to host (which is my preferred option and one that I think helps with the Christmas spirit) when I’m not allowed a turkey in the house. Now I don’t eat meat or support the meat industry or the killing of animals and am proud to stand by that and my husband is 100% vegan. However our guests on this one day of the year would be wanting turkey. Inviting my dad round for a nutroast would be a bad start in the summoning of his Crimbo cheer. So therein is the problem. Every year for the last three I have taken on the thankless task (regardless of there being 4 other adults more than capable of doing so) to find a pub convenient for all that can rustle up a decent vegan menu. No mean feat let me tell you. Most landlords laugh at you, throwing in the tiresome jokes about vegans and rabbit food over the countless emails to try and arrange something remotely edible. Over the years hubby has had some right iffy concoctions and has left unfulfilled. This year he was served up for his main, a practically whole roasted cauliflower with some pumpkin seeds.

The pub wasn’t cosy or overly Christmassy.
The conversation didn’t flow.

The service was slow.

The waiter had B.O. 

Ho ho…no.

Mum and I were the only ones to wear our pulled cracker party hats. And between 6 of us it cost about £600. And there were dead turkeys everywhere. Merrrrrrry Christmas.

So what with 2018 being the year of joy, the above ain’t happening again. 

But Christmas isn’t just about the Instagram-worthy-showy-offy festivities right? The perfectly designed dinner table or the perkiest of Christmas trees. It’s the simple little things too. 

This year I enjoyed the best hot choc I have ever had courtesy of the local farm shop (chocolate mint variety topped with mini marshmallows), got through 3 seasons of Greys Anatomy (why did no one tell me about this before?!) and met our friends precious new baby for the first time. 

For now though, it’s time to get the decs down, packed away and to try again next year when we will find a way of hosting the big day itself. In a warm and cosy home, with only the best Christmas songs on and not a whiff of body odour. Apart from the putrid puffs of stink that waft up from a certain saussie dog dressed in his finest winter woolly.

So happy new year to you, wherever you may be.

May it be full of joy.


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