The Unexpected Leap.

They say that sometimes, some things are just meant to be… that the Universe sends us exactly what we are ready for, at the exact time we need it in our lives…

Writing this now, I cannot get over how unbelievably true that is.

We were in a situation where there were no more tests available to tell us what happened to Ivy and why. We were either waiting for a full genome test to become available (which could take an eternity) or I could get pregnant and just see what happened. However, when you’re told there is a 50/50 chance of it working out, it felt as if you were walking through the dark side of Las Vegas, betting your soul on all red or all black. The thought of losing another baby was suffocating and exhausting – how could you decide what to do? I would wake up one morning and just think ‘sod it, life’s too short lets go for it’ but then quite quickly, crushing fear would pull me back to reality and I’d realise that the leap of faith could end with me giving birth to another stillborn baby.

But it was as if the world decided now wasn’t the right time anyway and it was almost as if the decision to hold off trying for another baby was made for us, because life stopped and a global pandemic began. Our Genetic Counsellor had already suggested we pause the idea of having a family right now because they didn’t know how Coronavirus could impact a pregnancy or the care I’d receive from the NHS. And when we were told Genetics couldn’t do any more for us, were were awaiting a pre-conception appointment with our Consultant to understand what a future pregnancy could look like, but all these were cancelled and there was no timeline of when they’d be looking to reschedule.

I cannot tell you how frustrating it was hearing all over the news that everyone was predicting a ‘baby boom’ because no one had anything better to do in lockdown. I don’t think I ever actually read or heard any negative coverage which would try and deter people from getting pregnant… yet I was receiving letters from all our specialists telling us that it was highly recommended that ‘we use robust forms of contraception to prevent a pregnancy during this time’ because everything was so unknown about this virus. But why were we any different? Okay, I’d need a few more scans, but why was the future of our family any less important than anyone else? If you were under a specialist, had fertility issues or were undergoing IVF – everything stopped and you were just told to wait…

When the Clinical Director of a well-known maternity hospital writes to you to tell you not to try for a baby, it didn’t take much for that crushing fear to manifest itself, so we agreed that because of the situation, the advice given to us, the lack of genetic answers and to be honest, our emotional state… it made sense to hold off for now. I didn’t want to mess my body around by going back onto the pill to hopefully just come off it again in a few months, so we decided we’d just be careful and use other barriers instead if needs be.

Now it’s probably no massive surprise that with everything that happened and all that my body had been through, I wasn’t feeling the most intimate. Mine and James’ relationship was stronger than ever but of course the situation had taken its toll on our love life. Deep down we wanted to try for another baby so sex for me was about doing just that, but I was disconnected from my body and it felt broken, so it was really difficult to try and be romantic. We tried a couple of times, but it was so overwhelming and emotionally exhausting… and when you have to use a rubber barrier when you really don’t want to, it’s quite frankly a bit shit. So our marriage became a bit ‘sex-less’ for a while… but we both just accepted that it was probably going to take some time to recover.

Lockdown (number one) was such a strange and surreal time. I was working from home and James was off work whilst they put safety measures in place. The world shut down, flights were grounded, pubs closed, supermarkets had queues outside and children were homeschooled. Within the first few months, we’d lost two family members, Auntie Jane and Uncle Geoff, and it just felt like one blow after another and it was hard not to feel really low.

I became fed up quite quickly working from home. I never really minded the odd day here and there, but five days a week was exhausting. I would wake and do my first conference call at 8am before sitting at my dining room table for the remainder of the day. My job role relied on human interaction and that had been completely stripped away and attempting to give advice over the phone was painful. Not to mention, working in HR during a pandemic was non-stop… especially attempting to navigate the ever conflicting advice about self-isolation and furlough.

I often sat there on the phone or writing letters, envious of James playing with Stan in the garden – I just waited for the weekend to turn up and even then, those two days flew by far too quickly and before we knew it, it was Monday again.

Despite there being nowhere to go, I decided to book some annual leave to break up the weeks where I could. I wanted to enjoy the sunshine too, help in the garden and just close the laptop and spend time with James before he went back to work. Like many, we used the opportunity of being home to get stuck into the house renovations and tick as much as we could off the list before we no longer had the time.

I think all everyone did in the early days of lockdown was drink alcohol and eat plenty of food. Knowing I wasn’t in work the following day, we decided on a casual weeknight to crack open a bottle of red wine and watch a film. I was still in that phase where wine made me feel ‘warm and fuzzy’ and was about the only time I had a smile on my face, so it wasn’t long until we opened a second bottle whilst watching Aladdin – why not ey?

Now I have to be so open and share this with you… because it’s really important to the story…

That night we were both leathered and for the first time, I felt slightly more like myself again. One thing led to another and as we were getting into bed, the romance blossomed. James walked over to his drawer to grab the necessary barrier and my response was ‘ah fuck it’… he even double checked with ‘are you sure’ and I said it was fine – I was not prepared in that moment to have shit sex when the world was already on it’s arse.

The hangover the following morning was joyful but worth it.

During the days that followed, I just felt a little odd. I didn’t really feel odd at the time, but now when I look back and piece everything together, it all makes sense. We were digging up the garden in the sunshine and I kept burping up sick… I just thought I was doing too much (or drinking too much the night before). I had ridiculously itchy boobs for a few days… but I just thought that was a new pre-period symptom because basically after having a baby my body did whatever the piss it wanted these days and then when it was VE Day, we were all in the street (distanced, of course) and I was drinking a jug of pimms and it just wasn’t hitting the spot like it usually would have done.

It wasn’t until 12th May 2020, I was in our bedroom folding up some clothes and Stan wandered up to see me. He jumped onto the bed and had this look on his face… and it was a look that I recognised because I’d seen it just one time before.

I’m not really sure what triggers your brain to take a pregnancy test – you just seem to find yourself walking into the bathroom to find one. It was strange this time, because there wasn’t any nerves like there had been before. I was almost laughing to myself because you had to have sex to get pregnant and we hadn’t been doing that. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure why I was doing one. I peed on that stick and left it on the windowsill.

A couple of minutes later, I walked casually back into the bathroom and my heart stopped.

I wandered downstairs, opened the front door and walked down the driveway in my socks. James was outside the garage putting some rubbish in the bin and I just held the test up to his face and said ‘does that look like a line to you?’

He looked at me surprised and confused and just said ‘I don’t know, does it?’

We both went upstairs and I grabbed a digital test. James stood outside the bathroom door and a few minutes later there it was… pregnant.

How?

When you actively try for a baby, it can completely consume you. You literally have to time it perfectly so that sperm meets egg at exactly the right moment in that month… and even then, it has to be powerful enough to stick.

Well on 29th April 2020, a casual Wednesday night, it just so happened that after two bottles of red wine, a few glasses of baileys, Aladdin and an ‘ahh fuck it’ moment – we conceived our second baby. I know it happened on this date, because it was the one and only time we’d had sex that month.

They predict that a single act of intercourse between a younger couple has on average a 5% chance of pregnancy.

Somehow, we’d hit that 5%.

And all of a sudden, the decision whether or not to take that leap of faith and have another baby had been made for us.

After one time, one night in that one month – the next chapter of our lives began…

Katt x

3 thoughts on “The Unexpected Leap.”

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