Before children you are solely responsible for yourself. It’s just you yourself and well… sleep. What happens next is your own story to tell, but mine included Mike and his dreamy eyes, and what felt like a biological urgency to pro create before I was ‘too old’.
‘Too old’ in a concept lost on me now, but somewhere in between grandparents questioning ‘so when are you going to start having children’ and lost in his eyes we decided to ‘try’. Looking back on the trying stage is always through rose tinted glasses, but as always I will try and give an honest account of my experience and hopefully you will find some humour or solidarity in my story.
People will say this is the fun part. The part where actually you get to relax, stop taking the ‘don’t have a baby’ hormones which have done their job for the past 5 or so years and hope that you will somehow manage to procreate. Mike called it ‘pulling the goalie’. Significantly hilarious for him, as he used to be a goalkeeper but none the less a pretty good pun. If you have been at this stage before you may have to take some ‘make a baby’ hormones to aid the trying process but either way it’s a pretty hormonal fuelled time.
Sometimes the goalie is pulled and not for want of trying and trying the striker cannot land the winning shot. It’s a long match and no one ends up happy. It’s like a never-ending game which always results in a 0-0 draw and no one lifting the trophy at the end of the season. After watching close friends of ours try for over 3 years, we didn’t have high expectations.
In fact we became blasé to the fact that it can sometimes only take one ‘try’. So in November 2012 after being married for a fresh faced 6 months, we pulled the goalie. We had all good intentions of making it count, as we had a window of opportunity to conceive which would enable me to take 12 months off with the baby if we could conceive before February 2013. It’s a random timing, I know but at the time I was studying and so had to align my return to work with September the following year. So we made the most of it, let me put it that way. On days where we could rendezvous back at home on our lunch hour, we would and pregnancy talk was high on the agenda. All things baby related we would chat about like we knew what we were talking about.
It was amazing fun trying, it really was but what I didn’t expect was the constant mental capacity that it took up in my brain. A few weeks after I came off the pill, we went away to Berlin for a long weekend. We did all the touristy things and enjoyed each others company when we weren’t ‘trying’. Then upon our return home, I realised that I was indeed late for my menstrual cycle. I had been on the pill since I was 16, so 8 years I had taken that ‘don’t make a baby’ pill. Eight whole years of hormones had ensured that I always had a pretty regular cycle although I had experienced some irregularity it wasn’t notable. That week I took 6 pregnancy tests (it’s a good job Tesco do a value version of clear blue let me tell you). All negative.
Then hello period.
The feelings of those negative tests and the arrival of that menstural cycle gutted me. It was like my heart was physically sinking to the pit of my stomach.
In those short few weeks, it made me realise in that week how much I wanted a baby, and I was desperate. After only a month, I felt like I had been trying for a year. But we didn’t have to wait long. Not long at all in fact, because the Christmas spirit worked its magic and a few days after New years day I went back to work and a friend of mine asked me if I was pregnant. Like completely out of the blue- we hadn’t told anyone we were trying, and so the look of shock on my face in that moment in response to that question but have been one to frame. I wish I had that moment captured on camera.
I had been feeling funny for a few days, and I mentioned to a friend (who had just miscarried) how I had been drinking loads of water, but I didn’t want to eat much when she blurted out- are you pregnant? I picked my jaw up off the floor and in my panic to not upset her I just said oh no I don’t think so! Inside my head was doing summersaults and my stomach wasn’t too far behind. That night, on my way home rang mike. By this time, he was already fed up of hearing the word pregnancy test and had the more laissez-faire way of ‘if your pregnant you’ll still be pregnant next week so let’s just wait to make sure. But my brain was on overdrive. I am sure any of you who are currently trying for a baby or have had difficulty conceiving will understand that feeling. It’s pure desperation for something which you sort of have some say in, but you don’t have the deciding vote. Almost like being Louis Walsh on the xfactor.
I went home but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So while mike was getting the tea ready I popped to morrisons and picked up a clear blue. I failed to mention here that I had already done one the day before but I won’t tell him if you won’t!
By the time I got home, tea was ready but I was ready to find out either way, and I was that nervous that I dint feel like eating so I went upstairs to take the test.
I peed on the stick and came downstairs. Placed the test on the bookshelf and sat down next to Mike who had the same face I pull when he starts talking about Manchester United.
It was one of those clear blue tests that tells you digitally whether you are pregnant or not pregnant and how far along you are in weeks so I knew that even if I was really early on that it would give me the answer I desperately wanted to see.
Those two minutes were longer than the other 2 minutes I had waited.
“Okay” Mike said, “your 2 minutes is up”
So of I trotted to the bookshelf and picked up the stick. I didn’t want to know before I sat next to Mike, so I squinted my eyes so I couldn’t see properly then put my hand over it . Then I headed to the couch where Miike was sat. I counted “on three; 1….2…..3…… “
My eyes didn’t believe it. My hand went over my mouth and I squealed with excitement and I just threw the test at him. In some hysterical moment we just looked at each other laughing. Then I cried.
Tears of relieve but also of anticipation, worry and in that very moment I changed.
Trying for a baby gives you all the fun parts, but as soon as you see those words your life will change forever.
To all of you who are trying or have experienced a similar or different story I would love for you to share yours. Every parent has a different path to becoming a parent and I would love to hear yours 😊