Cowgirl Head

The Third Trimester aka The House of Pain...

Urgh….oh….ahhh….grrr……hmmmmppphhhhh….and finally after three literal minutes I have managed to take my beached whale of a self and move my bottom off of the bed. I head towards the bathroom and use the facilities for the umpteenth time today, waddling to and fro like a clipper ship caught in some epic raging storm off the coast of South America. I am thirsty, but that would require a waddle to the kitchen, which is down a flight of 15 stairs. Sure there are only 15 but they might as well be as high as the pyramids for approaching the task of undertaking them is no less daunting and so therefore with a screech of desperation I shout: “Ville….could you do me a favour?”.

third trimester blog post1

Oh the third trimester. How do I wish thee to be over as soon as possible.  Now before you ever so kindly remind me that I asked for this (which is utterly true) I need to preface the rest of this post with a disclaimer: Am I grateful that I am in this position as oppose to my childless and infertile state before? Absolutely.  Will I go through this torment again should I be allowed to be blessed with another kid?: Definitely. Does that mean that this is comfortable and everything is bunnies and roses and since I chose to get pregnant that I am not allowed to have the occasional whinge and moan? No, just in the same way that poor Christopher Reeve (RIP dude) “choose” to get on that horse didn’t take away his frustration. Now he is a better person than I and to my memory didn’t complain publically but if I am to be honest with myself and use this as a journal then I better write the truth. I shall endeavour to make this not a complete tale of pathetic woe but also won’t lie to those interested as to what really happens these final last moments of baby incubation.

I think Mother Nature is a crafty witch. Before I reached week 36 I admit that the idea of giving birth was terrifying. How is one supposed to look forward to the most pain they will ever have? Remember the kidney infection? I was told by a doctor once that kidney pain was only second to childbirth. The memories I have of the pain can hardly be described due to their horridness, they haunt me. The fear of knowing that in a month or so that I should be enduring pain akin if not more to that mocked me and make me terrified but then....something strange happened. I don’t remember the exact moment of when my mindset changed but I do remember that I was utterly surprised that I was charged and ready by week 38 to get this baby out, even with doctor's and neuvola's (think similar to a midwife) warnings that our baby is going to be huge. Honestly there comes a point where you are so fed up, so uncomfortable and so ready to give birth that you look forward to the legendary pain that awaits with anxious awe.  This is where mother nature tricks us.....or maybe rather throws us a bone.

I don’t have a terrible pregnancy, sure its not a normal or easy one as I have been reassured by medical professionals that I am not grumbling unnecessarily, but it could have been a whole lot worse and at the moment I need to remember that as often as possible.

Right before Christmas I knew that I would be uncomfortable and probably have to spend most of my time sitting on the couch staring into the big glowing box of pictures and therefore asked Santa to bring me not one but four video games that I had been waiting a while to play thinking that I would have oodles of free time to dive right into my geeky passion: no one told me however that brain fog gets worse in this trimester. I can barely read a book and follow the plot before my level of concentration plummets and have no idea when/if I shall ever find a moment to be a geeky gamer girl again. Of course the trade off is completely worth it as I am excited and have always wanted to be a mum but what I have realised is that there are so many many things about pregnancy that seemingly no one talks or warns you about until you actually are pregnant. Mention them and you get a whole lotta “oh yeah....I remember those days”.

So another disclaimer: here are some things that caught me by utter surprise that can be on the verge of too much information, therefore if you are squeamish or don’t like hearing about gynaecological stuff please back away from this post and n’er return.

·         The brain fog aka baby brain aka mummy brain: Sure I knew that women joked about this but holy heck did I not expect it to pervade every moment of my waking day making me feel as if I just fell off the stupid truck. There have and continue to be moments where I find the milk in the cupboard and the flour in the fridge. I have forgotten whole conversations with the hubster and then in the middle of accusing him of not telling me something have the memory come flooding back with an added side dish of guilt. I can’t concentrate. I have so many lovely books, costume dramas and documentaries that the nerd in me wants to catch up on but I find myself mentally exhausted after the first ten minutes of exposure. The worst was forgetting that I left an egg onto boil for over 20 minutes before the husband noticed. I remember our neighbours in Sandy, Utah doing that back in the late 90s where there were big plumes of black smoke seeping out of their windows and my dad’s horrible blood-shot eyes, cut hand and wretched coughing fits after his return to rescue the pot that was left on the stove. Took him ages to recover from the poisoning...and I almost did the same to my own family. Ok so there is a bit of overreaction with that one but still it worried me that I could be so, especially with the added weight/responsibility of knowing that I will soon have a helpless little being left into my care.

·         The pain....oh the pain. I currently suffer from Sciatica (a pinched nerve in my back). I did start to get something similar before where the top of my right thigh became numb and would cramp occasionally when I weighed my heaviest. I lost weight: it went away so therefore I know how to manage it....but you can’t help but put on lots of weight when the baby comes. I am actually quite lucky.  I have actually only gained 13 kilos and that’s after a rapid 10 kilos weight loss to start fertility treatment so technically I am now 39 weeks pregnant and am only 3 kilos over my average weight but those 3 kilos are enough to pinch the hell outta that nerve so much so that now as I reach the end I can barely stand none the less walk. I tried to make some lunch soups for the hubby yesterday and it was less than five minutes stirring a pot when I had to sit down. My thigh doesn’t even bother to do the courteous thing and become numb just rapidly evolves into such shooting pain that I genuinely fear that I will fall over. It doesn’t go away if I lie down either....well it would if I laid on my stomach but that’s not really possible. I know how to fix it: lose weight which will happen...but not now and even the doctor apologised that there was really nothing he could do to help. Painkillers don’t help anymore and the bigger I get the worse this gets. Other pains that no one seems to metion: Round ligament pain aka a blast of super hot energy the size of your fist exploding with the fury of 300 Westboro Baptists at a gay wedding either from your hips or abdomen and Lightening crotch, especially if the baby’s head is down into the birth canal. Such a better name was never chosen.

·         Dry mouth accompanied with sexy drooling and snoring throughout the night

·         Super hairy appendages because bending over is nearly impossible before the baby drops made even more hairy due to a flood of rich hair-growth hormones.

·         The ability to cry at anything slightly sentimental and the inability to turn that ridiculous tap off. I know that they probably wouldn’t have shot the dog in the movie we went to see a few days ago but oh man was that unbearable. I actually had to look away from the screen....wuss.


·         The want to look attractive with the knowledge that getting dressed fully is far too taxing and exhausting. All of a sudden putting clothing on and makeup has become a chore

·         A bafflement of how single mothers or those without awesome willing and helpful partners or those with multiple young children manage to cope with everyday life and seemingly tend to do it better than you.

·         Knowledge of mucus plugs and how they can regenerate again and again (I did warn you).

·         Just because you are pregnant and don’t have a period doesn’t mean that you will stop using feminine hygiene products.

·         The terrible first trimester nausea can/will come back and somehow your nose gains even more power to detect rancid and terrible smells and only those, never the nice ones.

·         How every little tiny object that you used to pick up suddenly becomes enveloped by a malignant magnet force of extra gravity making it weigh nearly twice what it did before i.e. groceries, laundry baskets, vacumns, tiny dogs etc...

·         The realisation that you are going to be helpless and that you are going to have to ask your tired husband who has spent a full-working day to clean and cook and fix and mend and sort out what he can in order to fulfil the irresistible nesting urge and the out-of-character need (not desire but NEED) to have everything sparkling clean.

·         Re-learning patience *sigh* this is probably the hardest one for me.

·         It is actually possible to possess such a huge baby bump that not even one-size-too-large maternity clothing fits and no random stranger telling me that you are sure there are twins in there I assure you there is only one.

I suppose I should end this with some good and point out that not all is terrible. I am very excited to start this next journey in my life. There were so many moments before where I was wrapped in fear that this opportunity to be a mother would never be given to me. I have oodles of sympathetic friendly ears who dish out much needed and good advice when I grumble inquisitively to Facebook. We have all the big stuff we need, nursery is complete and were given so so many gifts to ease parenthood from generous friends.


I promise she doesn't usually look that angry *chuckle*.

Finland also has a very very generous maternity package (even for schlubs like me who currently don’t work) so we get some family pay plus the hubster has three weeks paternity plus his winter holiday so the first month he will be with us. I also shant be without a plethora of help. The best part though is this: my baby sister will be spending that first month with us also! All the way from the U S of A. This is one of the first times I shall be grateful that she is a clean freak. It used to tick me off as a teenager when my mother with point out that our bedrooms couldn’t have been more different but now I kinda love knowing that if something isn’t up to her standard she will just quietly take it there without complaining to me, cleaning in the background while I get to be lazy. Plus I do love her and it’s true that even if you fought like monsters as kids sometimes you end up being good friends.

Here’s hoping that I can stop being a Moaning Myrtle and relax and somehow find a way to patiently wait for the baby on her own dang time to make an appearance into this world.

Thanks for listening,

Toodles sweets - Ariane
Cowgirl Head

Weekend Shannonangens & Flat Stanley Returns

This weekend had been tremendously busy but wonderfully productive. One of my absolute best friends ever threw me a wonderful baby shower:


and gave me an extra present of an impromptu maternity shoot in the woods near the back of my house which provided these wonders:


However today is Monday which means back into a normal routine of doing not much at all but sitting on the couch and trying not to moan and groan by being in world where I can barely move due to being so heavily pregnant it’s actually nice to be asked to do a project which doesn’t require much physicality. I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in a girl from Vegas’ Flat Stanley project this week. I did one ages ago and I think that these are an absolutely brilliant idea.

For those who don’t know this is an excerpt from the letter her teacher sent along with the little girl’s own handmade version of Flat Stanley i.e. Flat Kira “In September our classroom read a book called Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown.  In the story, Stanley is flattened when a bulletin board falls on him. He has many adventures while he is flat, including being able to travel all over because he can be mailed in an envelope” Basically what you do is take the traveler on a mini-adventure, send a postcard and then let the teacher know what you have been up to. I was a huge geography and history nerd as a kid and would have absolutely loved doing this.

Today I managed to receive a visit from Flat Kira all the way from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Over here in Finland it tends to get very very cold in the winter. Most days the temperature is far below freezing. We have lots of countryside and lots of forests and so we decided that we would take a little hike through the snowy forest but before we set off we needed to dress warmly. I guess coming from Las Vegas Flat Kira wouldn’t have all the heavy clothing that we have to wear outside and we needed to find something to keep her warm. She noticed my huge 8-month pregnant belly and asked if there was anything from the baby box the government gave us that she could borrow.


Thinking that was a great idea we opened the box and did find her a hat, but it was a smidge too big.


So grabbing a bunch of warm fabric and a pin Flat Kira draped that over her shoulders and told me that she would be brave enough to stand the cold. Off into the forest we went.


We trampled through the deep snow and at one point Flat Kira decided to be cheeky and play hide and seek.
It took me ages to find her above my head climbing like a monkey in the pine trees.


Afterwards, with our bones nearly frozen we decided to sit down to a nice cup of hot chocolate made with milk (maito) and some cookies.


Warmed back into a normal temperature we had just enough time to read a few familiar fairy stories in a very unfamiliar language. I could tell that Flat Kira was trying her hardest not to be rude but the funny words made her giggle.


Before long though it was time to say goodbye as she is due to arrive at my friend’s house over in Sweden later this week. It just so happens to be the same awesome friend from the first paragraphs. Man was I grateful to get some pictures of both of us this weekend:


So with herself snugly packed back into an envelope Flat Kira was sent off from one final destination in Finland: the post office.

Toodles Sweets - Ariane
Cowgirl Head

The "Easy" trimester...


Finally allowing myself to research the whole of pregnancy I anxiously awaited this time as I was so hopeful for the supposed surge of renewed energy. Yes my nausea had finally dissipated but dangit the energy surge never came, I only managed to have slightly more energy than the first trimester....which is not what I wanted when I moved into a new house with white blank walls and a tremendous desire to complete the nesting stage. Oh why didn’t anyone ever explain to me just how strong the nesting instinct could be? As usual my ambition exceeded my capability and I started way too many diy projects.  I had wanted everything to be done before the baby got here since....she was going to care??? Actually I have no idea why I was/am so insistent that the whole house be prepared before she arrives.

The good was that I did receive a lot of help from friends and family especially with things like painting which I could not do because of the fumes.


The bad: DAMN PINTEREST! Why must you haunt me with a plethora of fantastic baby ideas? There are loads and loads of baby products available to those lucky ones in the Americas but alas not so available here and therefore I was “forced” to create them on my own if I wanted them. Obviously you can live without them since Finnish babies do very well without them but I wanted them and how am I supposed to know what would help me tremendously and what will be languishing in the back of the closet unused? So far I ended up making wall art out of fabulous Disney Princess toile and old poster frames bought from the recycling centre for only a euro each, crochet a rug, made bumpers and five sheets for a crib and the top of a baby quilt.



The ugly: Ambition and health do not go hand in hand. I suppose this bit surprised me the most. I suppose that I unconsciously expected myself to go back to pre-pregnancy energy levels which was a big big mistake. We did however get the nursery almost finished (just have to actually put stuff away), the living room and most of our bedroom which has given me a huge sigh of relief and also has made this place actually feel like our home. For the first time ever I have been allowed to paint walls and it’s been made extra special with a helpful hubster who has an opinion strong enough to lead us in a direction but not so strong that I feel in the end that I got what I wanted ;)

It was during this time that I still had to get myself to school as much as possible and still had to try to pay attention. Although I was very very lucky to have understanding teachers who gave me time off whenever I needed it it didn’t help calm my panic that I felt. The second trimester starts to bring in a whelp of worries and one I had particularly with school was “HOLY COW I HAVE TO LEARN AS MUCH FINNISH AS POSSIBLE RIGHT NOW!” knowing that I struggle to learn this monster of a language on my own and that I seem to do a lot better in a school situation I was really worried that I would forget all that I have learned in the first six months of the baby’s life. Especially since in all of the neuvola (midwife), doctor and hospital appointments we have been hounded with reminders that we are only to speak our native tongue to the child if we want her to be bilingual so there goes me being immersed in Finnish every day.


As usual, I was worrying over nothing. During this time I had two tests and in one of them me and my test partner were given a commendation for our speech abilities and were told that we were best in the class! The second test was definitely a pass but my inner Hermione Granger was disappointed that I didn’t really excel at anything, however a few friends beat me over the head with the realisation that I had still managed to pass while missing half of the classes and therefore should be satisfied. But it was still difficult to find the energy to pay attention to class when my body was undergoing such strange physical transformations.

One being the belly: so many women with PCOS like me have blogged that they didn’t get a defined baby bump until late in the seventh month and they wrote many posts with the intention to help the rest of us not to be disappointed that we didn’t look pregnant. After reading these I steeled myself up for just that and didn’t start sewing any maternity clothing. At 16 weeks I looked like this:


Holy huge bump and I have been wearing maternity trousers since week 9! Guess I wasn’t going to be one of them. I actually kinda like the fact that it’s obvious that I am pregnant and not just hungry when I rub my belly ;)
It does amaze me how my body started not to feel like my own. I have visible veins now and if I cut myself blood gushes, absolutely gushes. This is tremendously different from what I was before I was pregnant.  Our first action during fertility treatment was to get blood taken and bless the poor phlebotomist ladies couldn’t find a vein to draw blood from. I ended up being poked 8 times and frightened a poor boy in the laboratory waiting room.

I also am suffering from a very painful back and over the last few weeks at school I could only sit in the chairs for around an hour or so.  Therefore I alternated between standing and sitting and trying not to draw too much attention to myself. Bless my fellow students were very concerned about me and hilariously kept demanding that I lay down....uh....where during class?

Finally the best part of the second trimester must be the first time that you definitely are sure the baby is kicking! I personally don’t remember since I was feeling so many little movements and was never sure what I was feeling (was more afraid that I confused gas bubbles with something more elegant) but I do remember with clarity how emotionally special it was for us the first time that Ville felt his daughter kick:


I had put his hand on my stomach many a time and the silly kid would immediately calm down. One night, a day before a Finnish language test for me I asked him to read to me from a book of fairy tales. As he was reading, in his native tongue, she started moving and kicking a lot. I grabbed his hand and put it on my stomach while demanding that he keep reading.  A minute or so later she gave an almighty kick which stopped Ville reading mid-sentence. Upon his face was the biggest grin I think I had ever seen! I’m not a uber goober cheeseball usually but it did (does) make me teary eyed to think about it.

Now onto an even bigger belly (cannot fathom how there is somehow still skin to stretch), limited mobility and final preparations:


Toodles sweets - Ariane
Cowgirl Head

Once Upon a Midnight Craving...


Oh what a blur life has been the past seven months. One moment I feel as if I just announced to the world that we finally were blessed with the miracle of pregnancy and then again there are moments, such as 4:30 am this morning when I had to pee for the fifth time during the night where I feel as if I have been pregnant for-ev-er.

The hubster and I are super lucky to live in the land of the Finns and a little bit ago we were able to receive one of the famed baby boxes for free which yes our newborn will actually sleep in for her first few months....why not eh? So without trying to turn this post into a haul post I’m going to throw in photos of our opening the contents and just like the news reports said the stuff in there is really high-quality and not as ugly as I had feared (que guilt for thinkingly badly about a gift horse). If you are interested in the full contents click on here. One of the many benefits from paying a preposterously high tax rate I suppose :)


Disclaimer: I must make it clear that I am not complaining about my situation with the following. I recognize just how preposterously lucky I am and as well I also understand and empathise with those out there that are going through the emotional turmoil that infertility causes. Rather since this is more like a journal to me instead of a platform to blogging fame and fortune I’m going to be honest with what I am experiencing. There are so many wonderful things about being pregnant and so many horrid things and well I would be a blasted liar if I stood next to the woman puking her guts out next to the toilet for the 30th time that day telling her that she isn’t allowed to complain about being uncomfortable. In short: PREGNANCY IS HARD...but would I do it again?

In a heartbeat ;)


The past six months I have seen a massive change in some of my thought processes. One startling one was the realisation that actually I always desperately wanted to be a mother but it hit me one miserable first-trimester day that I actually never had that overwhelming desire to be pregnant. I maintain that a child doesn’t have to be born of me to be considered my child....however I thought that at least once I would have liked to try being pregnant (oh naivety...). There were moments when I was in the throes of fertility- drug induced hysterical turmoil that I cursed the visa situation that prevents us from starting the adoption process right away. I’m not clueless about how difficult and arduous the process is but in those moments of physical pain and desperation to stop myself irrationally crying it looked like a tempting alternative. Who knows in the future which course we will pursue when we want to expand our family further. I usually research the crap outta anything that I am going to experience but the thought that having children might never have been available to us stopped me from researching much about pregnancy. I also refused to buy any baby stuff until I saw those two awesome pink lines and thank goodness for that for we have been blessed with soooooooo much free stuff. People are very generous with old baby stuff.


The First Trimester:

....or what I remember of it. It’s not for nothing that they usually say that this is the worst time in pregnancy. Overwhelming exhaustion was my worst symptom. No matter how much sleep I could get (which is rather difficult when I awoke 7 or 8 times a night to pee) I would catch myself literally falling asleep sitting in class. A wise man from church told me of his amazement that something the size of a peanut can drain so much energy from it’s host and its true. I also had overwhelming moments of nausea combined with the fear that I was going to embarrass myself in public and hurl at a moment’s notice. I was lucky that in the end I actually didn’t randomly vomit (only about 10 times and only when exposed to horrendous smells) but I didn’t know that I would be so lucky and therefore extra dog poop bags were always in my pocket.


It’s true when they tell you that your nose becomes hyper sensitive. What they don’t tell you is that it seems to only be sensitive to bad smells....not good ones and EVERYTHING STINKS! Cooking, the rubbish bins, strangers who might not have bathed that day, laundry baskets, piles of photogenic leafs etc... During this time we lived in a Nuoret Asunto (renting association that rents to those under 30) and it felt as if EVERYONE THERE SMOKED! In the best of times I can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke but this place also had the disadvantage of terrible architects who built the air intake right above the outside door so even with all of the windows and doors shut the smell would infiltrate the house and was as welcome as an invading Mongol. It was particularly strong and terrible if people decided to smoke in the sauna balcony which was directly under my bedroom. Building management did put up signs asking them not to smoke and even explaining why as it entered our home but it didn’t stop many an inconsiderate jerk. During this time my patience would begin to lessen to the point now where I have to actively remind myself to be more tolerant. In good news: when I am seriously pissed off my Finnish tends to be perfect. They day before we moved I had had enough and without even thinking I opened the balcony door and let rip a shot of epic volume at the jerks puffing away below us. I had never seen two naked silhouettes run inside so quickly. I’m sure that one stumbled on the chair in his haste. Hope that bruise is a reminder not to be a butthead.


I expected to be plagued with cravings and was lucky that I really didn’t have many. What I was amazed at was at the instant that whatever I was craving hit my belly I felt a surge of relief waif over me that generated an audible sigh every time. It was as if my body desperately needed whatever I was craving (chocolate softis, cheesy fries, roasted vegetables) The hubster was also lucky that I didn’t send him out at 3am for pickles but I wasn’t completely devoid of madness: one night I did wake him up at midnight with pots banging. I had started to make Chinese food from scratch since no place was open and I HAD TO HAVE IT!


There was some good though. We had booked a long holiday back to my beloved England months before we received our positive test and I was 7 weeks along when we landed. Although it did slow our adventures down it didn’t stop them and we were able to have a wonderful vacation. I only had one day where I really couldn’t go out and thankfully it was the only one on the whole vacation with a terrible storm. In fact the weather was so uncharacteristically perfect for England that the hubster and I managed to get a sunburn.....from This also showed me how helpful and tolerant my best friends and hubby could be if I were incapacitated.


(ok so those two photos were of England....back to the baby box...)

Coming back to the teensy 45sq mtr (480sq ft) smoke filled apartment of woe was enough for us to get fully inspired to find a much more appropriate place for a family. Poor Ville, he had to do most of everything on his own as I couldn’t read a lick of what the estate agents were posting as well as this: Finland has more than two options for getting into a house. In England for me it was either rent or buy. Here it’s much more complicated with numbered waiting lists and availability options and my mind could barely stay awake long enough to attend school none the less work this out. Imagine my surprise when the hubster actually found us an affordable countryside three-bedroom house that was double the size of our last place! I honestly didn’t think that our next upgrade would have been such a big leap. Hyvin Tehtyy Ville!


Moving during any time is usually terrifically stressful but add the first months of pregnancy to that and you have a nightmare scenario on your hands. Knowing that extra work such as packing must be done while just barely able to stay awake for normal life became overwhelming at moments plus add the fact that you can’t lift anything heavy and without realising it you have overfilled a box that threatens to burst not only it’s contents by the first lift but the biceps of whomever is unfortunate enough to lift it. I was really worried about how on earth we were going to make a move even possible at this moment but I should have relaxed more and had more faith in my church. I love love love that part of being a Mormon usually means that you never need to search far for volunteer movers. We had 10 strong men willingly show up (one even brought along a trailer so we didn’t have to pay for one!) and cart our super heavy stuff. Bless a few even stayed behind and set up our bed and dishwasher so we could have a comfortable night’s sleep. I didn’t have to lift a thing....which was great actually since it meant that I wasn’t completely useless and could at least drive people around.


It is also during this time where everyone around you becomes an expert on what you are supposed to or not supposed to do and many many times one person will contradict the other. My neuvola (akin to a midwife from England) recommended that I keep exercising gently every day so I road my bike the 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) to which one of my classmates told me that I would kill my baby by doing too much so early and that in her country a doctor would never let her even dream of riding a bike that far do I get back on my bike and ride home or what? There’s also the dreaded banned food list which in all of my three countries is quite different and therefore raised loads of confusion. I had to learn that for every expert recommendation there tends to be another expert recommendation that negates the first. So had to refer to my internal far so good as the munchkin just gave me a swift kick.


Up next: the Second Trimester

Toodles peeps  - Ariane
Cowgirl Head

The Announcement I Never Thought I Would Get to Make


Infertility is a nightmare:  A soul-destroying shadow of resolve crushing and pulverising.  Honestly, as the cliché goes, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I had more moments of despair and torrid embarrassment than I feel comfortable admitting and as many times as I saw some woman posting upon a particular PCOS facebook group for the rest of us not to give up hope I admit that my emotional strength was not there most times. I didn’t believe them.

I should have.

How far back should I go to get a stranger to fully understand how I am feeling at the moment? Two years, ten, twenty? I grew up with a daycare/nursery business ran from my living room and therefore was always around babies. I love kids. Always have and always was able to chat to them easily and get them to do what I want (not letting that power get to my head hasn’t been as easy muhahahahaha). I genuinely wanted to be a mum from the time I was 19. Nature, on the other hand decided to give me a slap in the face and refuse it for me.

I was born with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. It’s not a life-threatening condition and for the most part I can live a “normal” life with loads of additional annoyances and uncomforts. I have had hell with menstruation *should probably not read further if you don’t wanna hear about gynecological stuff* never knowing when it was coming or for how long. As a teen I kept being told that one day it would sort itself out. Well after finding the love of my life and reaching the ripe old age of 29 I still hadn’t a period that could be predictable. We knew that starting a family was going to be difficult. If you only have three periods a year and they aren’t predictable how on earth can you know when to get down and busy with the babymaking?

After being married for nearly a year and not using any type of birth control, I felt a strong prompting to go to our doctor and ask to be referred for fertility treatment. We were told the waiting list to be seen would be nearly 9 months after our initial GP appointment!

I am not a patient person.

Four months into our wait (and nearly eight months since my last period) I woke up one morning in excruciating pain. My stomach, although looking its normal pudgy self, felt as if it were stretched out nearly two feet.  After three days of agony our GP made an emergency appointment with the gynaecologist and off we went where I was told that my uterine lining had built up to such an extent that It was causing this pain. This is very dangerous, for one being pain and two: the risk of uterine cancer rises dramatically. I was sent home with some pills and thus started a pill-taking regime that shall forever more (with me) be executed with military precision. I have become an adept expert at timing cycles. Although this seemed terrible, with hindsight, I consider it a blessing in disguise. We received a letter from the fertility clinic inviting us to an appointment the following week.

Infertility treatment can be very degrading. You lose all sense of privacy. Previously my cultures (American and English) are very reserved about your own body and so therefore I was conditioned to be embarrassed. This was something that I had to get over quickly. Tests are invasive and painful. My veins are nearly invisible and one day I ended up getting poked eight times just to draw blood! I walked out of the phlebotomist’s office looking like an emo with so many bandages on my arms and hands. I actually frightened a little boy who followed after me.

For our treatment I was given two sets of pills: one to induce periods (therolut) and one to induce ovulation (clomiphene aka clomid). CLOMID SUCKS! Please promise me that if you know someone who is forced to take it that you will treat them with kid gloves. It makes all sorts of random pregnancy symptoms even though you aren’t pregnant and it toys with your emotions. I hardly felt like myself and was apt to cry at any teensy sadness or sentimentality no matter how ridiculous. I made the mistake one of watching Toy Story 3 whilst in the grips of clomid induced hysteria.

I was perfect with my pill taking for the first three cycles and did all of the checks and….uh….other stuff that you need to do and three times it failed.

After three failed cycles I was told that I needed to call the doctor and discuss where we went from there. Bizarrely there wasn’t one available on the day that I called (Friday) and the nurse told me not to start my next round of clomid even though that I was the day I needed to take them. I listened. It wasn’t until the following Tuesday that the doctor finally called me and told me that yeah sure…I could take the pills for another three rounds no problems. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR. She advised me to take the period forcing pills and then two weeks after that start the ovulation pills. In the back of my head that felt wrong and even though these drugs are ridiculously expensive I couldn’t resist taking the ovulation pills three days later than I should have. Sure it was a preposterously slim chance that it would work but could I live with myself if I didn’t even try?

The first week after taking the clomid was the worst for me emotionally and it was in that frame when my close friend was left with the unenviable task of having to tell me that she was pregnant. Prior to that my strength at not being ridiculously jealous at the pregnant bellies that seems to surround me at every corner or at being able to not fall into a depression due to my failure as a woman was waining. I could barely attend church every week and talk to my friends about their children as if I still had hope. I desperately didn’t want to be one of those infertile women whom people can’t mention babies around and can’t be happy for others success. So when my close friend told me (in a kind and delicate way) I turned to mush; complete and utter mush. For most of the time I was able to balance the self-pity and depression of to one side but this hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn’t help but be devistated at the injustice that she had the opportunity to have two babies when I couldn’t get one. I became a recluse for a few days. I couldn’t watch episodes of a favourite telly show because the main characters were trying to get pregnant. Life almost became too much for me. My poor husband was wonderful and always tried to keep my spirits up. The guilt of knowing that he wanted a family and I was the reason we couldn’t have one was horrible. Logically I know that this guilt is misplaced but logic and clomid do not friends make.

Hindsight is annoyingly great isn’t it? If only then I knew that my wait wouldn’t have to be much longer I would have been able to control myself.  I knew that I had to attend a girl’s summer camp in Estonia two weeks after this emotional setback, by then I was just barely, barely back to working condition.

The church I belong to has some amazing women and when you spend four whole days together you have ample opportunities to divulge your life stories to each other. There I met a woman named Anna who had gone through the same struggles and in a twisted way it’s nice to know you aren’t alone. Sure I don’t want others to suffer but I don’t want to suffer alone either.

I returned home from those rainy four days with a killer lower back ache. My lower back had never hurt before and I dismissed the pains as the bad sleeping conditions I found myself in. The weekend after that was Juhannus (a big celebration in Finland to celebrate John’s saint day and the midsummer day) on that Friday I knew I could first take a pregnancy test but both the hubster and I dismissed success as impossible due to the late pill taking and thought that we wouldn’t ruin the holiday weekend with bad news and would sort it out on the Monday. We had an ok weekend. Everyone was lovely to me but I wasn’t feeling like myself and didn’t want to be around a bunch a people. Plus my back wouldn’t let me have a moment of comfort.

Monday morning came and I was due to start the period inducing pills. I took the pregnancy test out of it’s package and with a sigh decided to get it the dreaded task done and over with. I steeled myself for yet again a negative response. Five-minutes later I returned to the bathroom and saw this:


Completely disbelieving what I saw I shouted at my husband to arise from his early morning stuper and come see this. It was so hard to get to this point that part of me worried that somehow I had unconsciously faked a positive and therefore I made the hubby pee on another test just to make sure that my tests weren’t faulty….he's not pregnant btw.

Over the next few days the lines got darker and darker and after a confirmed blood test one day before my 30th birthday  I finally started to let myself believe it! BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER!!!


It’s true when other fellow PCOS suffers tell each other not to give up hope, that it is possible. For doubting you I apologise.

We have been lucky enough to have two ultrasounds (odd benefit of fertility treatment I guess) and today we were able to see a blob that had recognisable body parts and a furiously beating heart.


The smile on my husband’s face is one happy memory that I shall never forget.

So here’s to sending our sincerest thanks for your prayers, temple roll entries, magic spells and good vibes. It worked.

Now onto the next adventure….watch this space.

Toodles peeps – Ariane aka Jess
Cowgirl Head

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

I thought I was nearly done with school. I only have one little year left of my degree course and since it was an mostly at-home course my initial plans were to complete the degree here and then fly back to England for exams….stupid university changed all of that. The summer I was married the UK government decided to allow universities to charge a wallop more per course than they have ever done previously. This took my course from £600 to £2500…and I needed two courses plus flights and books! ARGH! Well that was tremendous shock. It still annoys me that my degree is unfinished especially since nearly everyone here has gained a master’s degree by the age of 25. I feel so intimidated and so far behind.

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So thus began a new plan:

Finland’s universities are usually free! Yay! *record scratch* What!? What do you mean no one has my degree taught in English? A bazillion courses over here are taught in English….oh no wait here’s one….only one…in Tampere...a two hour drive north. There’s also no guarantee you will get in. Plus commuting is going to be a nightmare. This option doesn’t feel right. Dangit.

I do love that Finland has a great reputation for high-quality education….and it deserves it. What I hate is that they apparently value the sciences over the arts. This sucks. I appreciate the sciences. I understand that they are important. I also appreciate that I have absolutely no aptitude for them and therefore would be useless in study of them. If I wanted to be an engineer, chemist or business magnate here there would have been a plethora of university courses here all taught in English. Darn stupid plans blowing up in my face yet again. So now what?

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Guess I finally have to learn this monster of a language. Dun dunnn duuunnnnnnn!

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(I'm one of the "lucky" few who answers those two questions differently)

I am most anxious to get a grasp of this language but have always been blasted frightened of tucking into it. My father is a genius who can speak most of the Nordic languages and has never met a foreigner that he couldn’t say something to in their native tongue. He absolutely loves languages. He learns them quickly and is able to pick them up easily. So what does he do when he approaches Finnish: HE GIVES UP! *slacked jaw* add that to one friend Amelia who mentioned that learning a new language as an adult (what idiot would put themselves through that?) is tough enough but simply for the fact that this language is Finnish you can add a +18 strength (clever girl).  I am sure you can understand my apprehension at approaching this one full time.

It was nearly impossible to learn any of this properly by myself and I knew that I learned best in a classroom setting so I started to look for classes and none of them sat right with me. One of the best friends I have here (and one who gives me great opportunity to hear a familiar English accent often) mentioned that the government has a programme where they pay you to attend a full-time Finnish course. SWWWWHHHHAAAAT? Where I come from (both America and England) education is never ever free. In fact it’s usually blasted expensive and not only here is there somewhere where it’s free but also provides you with a basic financial allowance as they count this as your job!

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Cowgirl Head

Phew, Ewww and Ooohhhh

Urgh…writers block. I have it. Indeed have had it for nearly half a year! Sheesh I need to get myself back into documenting my life, especially after a talk at church reminded us of the importance of keeping  a journal. The speaker even shared moments from his grandparents' first date thus cementing his point firmly in my mind so with that I shall try not to bore you and try to keep myself up to date. Hyvin tehty Sakke.

The past few months have been a complete blur. Funds were tight this Christmas and since I finally found a source of cheap fabric (recycling centre to the rescue) I was determined to make everyone’s gifts…all….uh….how many? I have honestly lost count. I believe it was over 20 people and some I made at least 2 gifts for.  Once I start a sewing project a sense of madness comes over me and I end up making thing after thing after thing… infinitum… honestly I need to get a hold of myself when this happens. I’ve missed blogging on here the week I had when Shannon visited, we blerched, got our craft on and we ran off once again to Estonia:

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Cowgirl Head

8 Days of Summer....I Mean Sheila

Over a thousand photos and copious hours of editing and torturous selection I present to thee only (only….sheesh) 30-ish photos of the best week of the year so far.

For indeed our household was blessed with a visit from our wonderful Sheila…one of the bestest friends a human could ever have….oh alright Onyx requests that I include her in that too.

I tried to limit myself to only a few photos per day and for my facebook minions there be the lot on there.

We started our first day jumping on a small ferry boat with the pupster and running off to the old fortress of Suomenlinna (direct translation: Finland’s castle)

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We moseyed around the little 18th century villages and got hit on by amorous drunks until our feet were about ready to fall off.


However….that said I did have ingrown toenail surgery only four days before so we kinda moseyed at a snail’s pace.


That is until we found the battlements and like pathetic little children we devised many a play-date with kiddos…


 involving pirates and smugglers


… and ransomed Swedish aristocrats.


After four seemingly short hours we boarded the ferry back to the mainland while Onyx collapsed in a heap of exhaustion.



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Cowgirl Head

Swedish Filler and Birthday Wishes

Once again I have to fight the ennui and come up with something interesting to blog about. Not much has happened recently….well other than Ville being called as first counsellor in the bishopric


…..oh c’mon we know it wasn’t a surprise! My hubster is a great man and I had an inkling something like this was coming. Now I have the unenviable task of actually having to act like a wife of someone in the bishopric…eeeeekkkkkk.

It won’t be until next month that I get to shove some more positive and some photo goodness on here for I get to be spoiled by getting visits from not one but two uber great friends.

You remember my Sheila right? Of course you do. One of the best blessings in my life. I have a feeling that she is somehow involved in over a quarter of the posts on here. Well come soon she’ll be gracing our teensy household with her presence. So so so so so so excited! No hyperbole….honestly.

Then a few weeks after that I get to spend a week with the craftster extraordinaire Shannon.


Today is my friend since middle-school's birthday so she’s been a bit fore in my thoughts at the moment and  thinking that it has been so long since I last saw her and realising that I actually never got around to blogging about our last trip I shall make amends and finally (only five months late) blog our invasion of Sweden

We were greeted at the airport and quickly absconded down towards Stockholm’s hobbit-esque rail network.

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(sorry babe stole your photo: it was too hilarious not to use)


The whole week was awesome and we spent it touring castles & churches:


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Cowgirl Head

A Few Setbacks, a Few Hangouts & Consistent Need for Distraction


I’ve been silent on here for quite a bit as I seem to have felt that there really isn’t much for me to blog about….or rather what there is to blog about isn’t really the best of news (though not devastating) and I usually wish to blog about happy things. Sadly all I have to share about my current life is marginally above the mundane.

This past week I’ve kinda scorned facebook. I’m not sure how or why it happens but there are moments where I don’t want to be surrounded by people….though oddly enough whenever I am thrust into a group during one of these preposterous moods I find that I have really really enjoyed myself….so with a bit more motivation today to check on what my facebook peeps are up to I logged on and….found yet another birth announcement.

This frustrates me.

Especially as I have had two friends recently announce to me that they’re pregnant. This mixed-emotion balancing act is getting harder and harder as time goes on. I am honestly happy for those who are being blessed with babies. Seriously happy for them and I do want to hear updates and be kept in the loop, especially if there is something they need that I can help with. However while those feelings are surging throughout me so is a ferocious jealousy powered by fear that these blessings will not be available to me. So here my own personal internal Jekyll and Hyde have a hash out quite often because…..damnit I cannot get babies off of my brain. Trust me: I am trying.

This frustration is further compounded with a lost-in-translation instruction that set our fertility journey a step back. Currently I have only one more (invasive and painful) test left to do before treatment can begin. Knowing the nature of such test I wanted to get it over and done with. Finland thankfully has a rather good health plan which is currently all we can afford. The government in order to save money and force us to become healthier (damn their good intentions) have insisted that all fertility treatments must be halted for women who have a BMI over 35 – mine is 37. I called last week to schedule this last test and was told that until I lost the weight I could not get any treatment. Now logically I agree with the government decision and think it’s a good plan but because it pertains to me I irrationally want to cry and smack a bill-maker up the side of the head for further pushing us back.  I have always been a big girl since puberty and I have never successfully lost weight before…..on the other hand I have never been so motivated before but bah to that! Of course I have upped the exercise and changed my eating habits and I really really hope that this doesn’t take too long to lose. If you have any motivational tips or tricks please throw them my way.

So without the comforts of pastries and chocolates and in an attempt to distract myself we have been having a bit of fun this summer:

Wether it be visiting summer cottages


On a beautimous lake


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