To be honest, I’d never really thought that much about babies before.
So many people around me have chosen different paths through life. Some have always wanted children so from the moment they could, they did. Some decided to get married and have their first few years baby-free and enjoy money that little while longer. Some got ‘caught out’ and ended up with a family earlier than planned but I also have friends who if you ask if they’ll ever have kids, look at you with this glare of disgust as if you’d just pissed on their face.
I suppose I always thought I’d be a Mum at some point. Growing up, my parents had always talked about being promoted to grandparents so it just felt like the norm. However, all that aside, it’s absolutely no secret that I wasn’t first in line when someone was handing out maternal instinct. If you pass a baby to me, I will hold it uncomfortably at arms length until you take it back.
We’d had the conversation about children before getting married so I knew James wanted to be a Dad. We thought it was best we get our preferences out in the open to avoid a discussion one day where our answers to ‘do you want kids?’ could potentially differ to each other. So we’d agreed we’d have a family, but ‘when’ never really came up in conversation.
After our honeymoon, I did some reading on preparing to have a baby – more out of curiosity than anything else. I’d read one article that said it could take a year for the contraceptive pill to leave your system if you’ve been using it for a while, so we decided I wouldn’t renew my prescription and we’d just be careful instead until we were ready.
Now I definitely feel like I should add an important disclaimer here – there is no scientific proof that it takes a long time for the pill to leave your system. I’ve known people who have actively tried for children for 18 months and are still going strong, some others it’s taken years but I also have friends who quit their pill one day and fell pregnant literally a week later. The article I read was utter bollocks.
So life just carried on as normal for us and it wasn’t until a dinner party with friends when that all changed.
We’ve developed this tradition where we take turns to host and we eat, drink and watch a really really shit film. It started off as a bit of a joke after I’d told them I’d never watched Team America, but it had somehow caught on and continued ever since and although the company was fab, films like Sharknado, were not.
The only difference on this occasion, was that they now had a little baby boy.
After dinner we sat on the couch ready to watch a terrible movie, and they plonked their little boy on James’ knee. He kinda just wobbled about for a little while, babbling away and sucking on his finger. I could tell James was enjoying it because he put his beer on the side and had this glowing smile on his face. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel an ovary twitch, but I continued drinking my red wine knowing exactly what conversation would be taking place later that evening.
A few hours later, we started our walk home. I knew what James was going to say and I’m not sure whether it was the wine talking, but after ten whole minutes, we’d somehow agreed to start trying for a baby.
I’d gone from sitting quite happily with my bottle of red wine, to my legs up in the air asking gravity to do us both a favour – all within the space of about 45 minutes. Slight hangover in the morning but surprisingly, I did not regret the decision the next day…
So that was it – we were now officially trying for a baby.
Anyone who knows me pretty well, knows how ridiculously impatient I can be. I am absolutely one of those who says ‘if you want it, go and get it.’ If I’ve decided on something, I hate waiting around for it to happen because life is far too short. If I’m ready to go out, I will get pissed off if you are still faffing (James!) and if I decide to paint a wall blue, within minutes I’ll be on the way to B&Q for supplies.
Because of this, you can imagine my disappointment when after one month of trying, the pregnancy test was negative. However, I don’t actually think it matters whether you are a patient individual or not, if you want a baby, you want a baby now. Peeing on that stick properly for the first time was such a surreal feeling. I’d spent a few occasions during my teenage years waiting for my next period and hoping to Thor I was not pregnant, but now everything had changed and I was really hoping that I was!
Some of my friends had struggled to get pregnant for various reasons, but once they’d seen their GP they managed to sort whatever the problem was and they were now expecting. So even though we’d only been trying for a few months, I thought it would be a good idea to book a check-up. My rationale being that if something was wrong, it would be better to find out earlier so hopefully, in the end, it doesn’t take too long.
I booked an appointment and my GP asked me how long we’d been trying. I told her it had been nearly a year. I know, I am a terrible human being but I felt like such a belled saying ‘well, only about 2 months’ – it’s just one of those small white lies and don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same! She referred me for two blood tests that had to be done on certain days of my cycle. They looked for specific hormones that would highlight everything was doing what it should be. Seemed easy enough.
As we entered month four, I noticed that James was avoiding me more and more. I always tell everyone (and no one has disagreed with me yet!) that when trying for a baby, Monday to Friday becomes merely transactional. If I’ve had a drink on the weekend, you might get something slightly more exotic, but you shouldn’t automatically expect it…
Isn’t it funny… when you first start a relationship, your partner spends every waking hour waiting for that invitation for sex, but when you decide to start trying for a baby, they sit on the driveway after a full days work, refusing to leave the car because they spot their wife peering out the window tapping the wristwatch and pointing upstairs. For many, the whole process consumes you and everything becomes about ovulation kits, temperatures and chart mapping – it’s like a military operation.
As we were both under 30 with no health conditions, I didn’t expect any issues but you can imagine my sheer panic when I was sat in work and I receive a text from my GP telling me there was a problem identified during my blood test.
Thinking the worst, like I always do these days, I thought great… probably infertile… can’t have kids.
They told me that I seemed to be missing the hormone that showed you ovulate and the levels were far too low to ever be able to conceive. I’d have to go back for more tests next month.
Why couldn’t the test have come back and said, yeah all is okay, crack on!
I told James who didn’t seem overly bothered. He was being quite reasonable and didn’t think waiting a few more months would cause any issues and he was right. We’d just started the renovations on our home and half of the house was out of use and missing internal walls. We currently had no kitchen or dining area and we were living off a microwave in our living room. So yeah, I guess it probably wasn’t the best timing anyway.
A couple of days later I was driving home from work and I was in a foul ass mood. I’d had one of those days where you get completely fed up and miffed off at everything and everyone. I was due on so I felt like a puffafish and I was agitated because we were living in a constant pile of dust.
Now whenever I feel crappy, one of the best things ever, is Stan.
For those of you who don’t know, Stan is my wonderful 4 year old fox red Labrador. I had begged James for a dog when we moved out and he means the absolute world to me. Whenever I get home from work, he is always ridiculously giddy and runs around with a massive smile on his face. He usually grabs a shoe and runs away, making me chase him around. Any shitty day is always made better seeing his little face.
Imagine my disappointment when I opened the front door after this rubbish day, and he just stood there looking at me. No playing. No running. No shoe thieving. Just stood there.
I quickly checked around the house to make sure he’d not made a mess on the floor. The only time Stan makes a mess inside is when he isn’t well and being quiet was usually a symptom… but nothing was there. He just stepped up next to me on the couch and lay straight down, his head on my lap.
I have no idea why, but his behaviour triggered me enough to take a pregnancy test. I had all the cramps ready for Mother Nature to make an appearance, but there wasn’t anything going on yet, so why not. I wandered upstairs and found one of those cheap tests (you get a pack of two for 99p in B&M) and I sat on the loo watching the dye run across the little screen.
Safe to say my mood got worse. I went in a complete hissy fit, snapped the pregnancy test in half, called it a wanker and chucked it across the bathroom windowsill. I was beyond fed up by this point and probably should have just called it a night and gone to bed.
But moments later, I found myself back upstairs.
I picked the pregnancy tests up from the windowsill in its two pieces and my eyes saw the faintest line. I mean, a line so faint you had to inspect the test from different angles to actually see anything. My heart started pounding.
I felt like all of a sudden, I was getting my hopes up far too much. This test couldn’t exactly be considered accurate because it was no longer in one piece. I ran downstairs, necked a glass of vimto and jumped up and down in the attempt to push it all to my bladder. I found a more reliable digital test and watched that hour glass flash away. I tapped my feet up and down whilst reading the shampoo bottle in the attempt to distract myself. I tried to hush Stan out of the bathroom but he refused and just sat there. After five minutes, there it was…
Pregnant. 1-2 weeks.
I immediately felt sick and was shaking. What do I do now? I wanted this, but like many first timers, felt completely overwhelmed with fear. I was sat alone in the house with only the dog to talk to!
I rang James. Well, I pranked James because after three rings I hung up and realised I probably shouldn’t share this news with him over the phone whilst he was at work. He did call me back, but I made up some bullshit about my day and told him not to be late. How anyone keeps this secret from their partner in the attempt to do a proper reveal surprise is utter bollocks… Not a chance!
I couldn’t eat anything. I made a salad but only nibbled at the lettuce. The anxiety in my tummy was horrendous. It was about three hours until James would return from work and time wouldn’t pass by any quicker. I must have walked Stan around the estate four times that night.
When James finally walked through the door, I didn’t even know what to say. I just blurted out ‘don’t ovulate my arseeeeeee’ whilst holding the pregnancy test.
In my GPs defence, she wasn’t technically wrong. I didn’t have any ovulation hormone show up on the blood test because it had already been and gone that month… turns out I didn’t know my cycles that well after all!
James was absolutely made up. His face glowed.
That night we sat on our couch, in a building site of a house, knowing there was a little baby bean onboard.
We were so ridiculously happy.
To be honest, I’d never really thought that much about babies before.