Embark on this baby NOW plan full of excitement and hope. Of course, it won’t happen the first month – you’re not stupid. But definitely by month two. Out of earshot, the baby making gods laugh at you.
After years of knowing you’d quite like a baby, yanno in principle, one day, in the far off future = after there have been more mojitos, more holidays, more lie ins). Wake up one morning and realise you want a baby NOW.
Talk to husband, ignore the look of mild terror in his eyes, as you explain the baby NOW plan.
Husband persuades you that as you are working, finishing the last six months of your counselling degree, having counselling and also counselling other people that maybe the baby NOW plan could wait six months. Agree, reluctantly.
Six months pass.
During the first month when you period is late and you start throwing up try and fail to get excited. When your period comes, try and fail not to cry.
Try. Fail. Try harder. Fail. Try to pretend you are not trying. Fail.
Begin to worry that all those years of practising not getting pregnant and being really truly awesome at it have meant you suck at getting pregnant.
Try not to freak out that something is wrong. Fail.
Do not punch the multiple people in the face who tell you to relax. Instead reply through gritted teeth ‘I am relaxed.’ Don’t act surprised when they don’t believe you.
Go on another epic holiday of a lifetime. Your husband and you tell each other ‘it will be the last one’ with the silent sub text that surely your baby will be coming soon. You’re wrong.
Stay put in a secure job because surely you’ll get pregnant this month. No? What about next month? Next year? Haha think a-fucking-gain.
Go to the GP. Push them for tests. When your hormone results come back they will tell you, that you are fine. That you’re young. That it will happen naturally.
Google progesterone levels. Find normal, scroll down, and down, and down to where you are. Panic.
Order herbal remedies and start taking so many vitamins you rattle.
Go to acupuncture. Tell acupuncturist about your symptoms. She, unlike the GP, listens. She, unlike the GP, notices that your luteal phase is short, very very short. So short that even if you were able to get pregnant there wouldn’t be enough time for the baby to implant.
Go back to another GP and insist they look at your test results again. ‘Hmm, well this does look low. I think we need to refer you.’ Stare unblinkingly at them while trying to communicate that maybe this should have happened four months ago.
Hate how infertility makes you feel: bitter, sad and ashamed. Decide it’s time to be honest and come out of the infertility closet. Cry at the loveliness of the responses you receive.
Wait for a fertility referral. After 6 weeks call the GP about your referral. Manfully resist to drop the F bomb when the receptionist tells you the GP ‘forgot’ to make it. Ring the GP again days later when the hospital tells you the GP forgot to send over your test results. After 15 phonecalls finally get the GP to send over the referral and the test results. Slow clap GP, slow clap.
Get referred to a fertility consultant. Expect to have to convince him that something is wrong. Within a minute he looks at your hormone results and says ‘With your progesterone levels this low it is unlikely you will conceive naturally.’
Almost punch the air with triumph and relief that somebody is agreeing with you that something is wrong. Until it sinks in – something is wrong.
The fertility consultant thinks you have PCOS. The good news about having a possible diagnosis is there a possible treatment. The bad news is the NHS won’t offer any treatment until you lose 3.5 stone. And as the consultant tells you gravely women with PCOS find it hard to lose weight.
Freak the fuck out. How the hell are you going to lose 3.5 stone?
Do everything in your power to lose weight. Overhaul your diet. Go from doing no exercise to working out six days a week.
Lose 8 pounds in the first two weeks.
Go for a ultrasound. Watch your ovaries like a hawk, they look normal right?
Start to feel good about getting fit. This unlike your malfunctioning ovaries is something you can control.
Get pneumonia because you are working too hard. Find it funny instead of the warning sign it is.
Get so dedicated to this working out lark you try and do it with pneumonia. Collapse hacking on the floor. ‘Don’t fucking do that to us again.’ say your lungs.
Have good days and bad days. Lose 3 stone week by week, push-up by push-up.
Do a lot of work on yourself emotionally. Feel the feelings. Turn towards the pain. And realise you will OK oneday, one way or another. But it is also OK to not to be OK right now.
When the NHS fucks up your referral for more fertility tests break down in sobs and refuse to be consoled all day. Realise your tears might be due to the fact that you have been working 40 hour weeks, working two jobs, squeezing workouts in wherever you can, and trying to have a baby and yet again you are doing too fucking much.
Ignore your husband when he tells you to quit your job. Listen to your best friend Ros when she tells you to quit your job.
Quit your job.
Get offered a new freelance role two days later. Good news: they want you start immediately. Bad news: old work won’t let you take your holiday and leave early. Decide you can totally work three jobs for a month, right?
Try and hide that you are feeling sad and defeated by infertility. Fail. When your best friend Ros tells you she has booked a girly weekend away, cry. Because she knows you well enough to sense when you are drowning.
Get frustrated when the weight loss slows to a crawl. In addition to cutting out carbs and sugar now stop eating fruit and dairy as well. You have a month to lose seven pounds. You can do this.
Feel like you’ve lost the person you used to be, and that you’ve no idea how to get her back.
In April go away with your best friend R to stay in a honeymoon suite at a witch themed BnB in Glastonbury. Collapse into fits of giggles when the owner thinks you and your seven month pregnant best friend are a couple.
When out shopping your best friend Debs and former co-member of the greatest coven Farnham had ever seen buys you a fertility spell, decide it will be a laugh to do it tonight.
Pray. Climb to the top of the Tor and speak to the horned god. Visit the goddess in the chalice well and leave an offering for her.
When your husband the scientist asks you what your doing with a green pouch stuffed down your knickers look shifty.
Try and get pregnant for another month.
Feel a twinge in your hip that you are convinced is ovulation pain. Then get depressed that is over for you for another month.
Feel cheered by the fact that next month after you get your period and have one tiny and oh so painful procedure, you’ll finally be eligible for fertility treatment.
Go to a children’s birthday party. When a pregnant woman asks whether you have children and you answer no. She tells you ‘Don’t. God being pregnant is so awful.’ To your credit you do not snap back ‘Because infertilities a fucking cakewalk?’ You also refrain from telling her you’d carve out both ovaries with a spoon to be sat where she is cradling her pregnant belly. Instead excuse yourself to go a cry and in the loos. Much more productive. Then emerge red-eyed and drink all the gin til you feel sick and your husband takes you home. Your baby is hours old and thankfully not connected to your blood supply yet.
Work three jobs and when you are so tired you fall asleep in the toilets at one of those jobs tell yourself it’s the work and not the baby implanting inside you, out of your awareness.
As a lifelong tea agnostic become obsessed with tea and drinking a cup a day. You reason it’s because of the exhaustion due to the three jobs. You’re wrong, it’s your first craving.
Leave one of your jobs to go freelance. Leave behind unimportant things such a maternity benefits. Tell yourself it doesn’t matter because you didn’t get pregnant at those other jobs the ones with the really cushy benefits. Besides you’ll get another job before you get pregnant. Let’s face it the one thing you have as an infertile woman is time.
Put on four pounds. Curse. Rant to your husband about how you are doing everything right and why haven’t you lost weight this month.
Go for a massage. When they ask if you could be pregnant, laugh in their face. ‘Not even a little bit. I mean I am trying. We’ve been trying for a while. But it seems like it would take a miracle for me to be pregnant.’ Decide to stop talking at the horrified look on the massage therapists face.
On the walk home feel sick and convince yourself it was good massage. When the sickness lasts, get frustrated that you are getting ill again.
Your boobs hurt so much that even the wind becomes your enemy.
When you period is late, try not to think about it. You’ve been crushed by hope before.
Three days later take a pregnancy test. You haven’t taken a pregnancy test in six months. True to pattern, it’s negative. The one solitary line feels like a punch to the gut.
Later that night feel familiar cramps. Cry over whatsapp to your best friends and in person to your husband. Buffeted by waves of sadness inside you is your baby the size of a poppy seed.
Stay on knicker watch, high alert. Begin to get freaked out when nothing happens.
Two days later driven by something you can’t explain fish the test out of the bin. Look at it again and see the tiniest of shadows. A line so faint that the hubble telescope could barely see it.
Show the line to your husband expecting him to laugh it off and tell you that you are seeing things again. Instead he, Mr Scientist, tells you that you are pregnant. You fail to hear this. ‘No, I’m not.’ you say.
‘Take another test,’ he says. Refuse. Your period will come and you aren’t testing anymore it just depresses you. Besides you aren’t pregnant, you’d know.
Take your last pregnancy test at what you think is 6am. Look at the clock and realise it is 4am and your first morning urine is actually mid sleep urine plus you peed at 1am so there is no way it will be accurate. Be annoyed at yourself for wasting a test when you see the second line. Faint but visible even without the help of the hubble telescope.
Hold the line up to the light. Shake the test like it’s a magic eight ball saying future uncertain. Put the test down on the sink and back away not taking your eyes off the line in case it disappears.
Run into the bedroom and poke your sleeping husband, ‘The test was positive! I think I’m pregnant…’ You’ve waited for this moment, dreamed of how it would look and feel. In no version of that reality did your husband grunt, turn over and mumble ‘Of course.’
Try to sleep. Fail. Try again. Stare at the pregnancy test.
Go online fall down a google hole by entering the words ‘False positive pregnancy tests.’ Start to feel sick.
Shake husband awake. ‘Ugh what time is it?’
‘Look at this.’
‘No. Go away’
‘Is there two lines?’ Accidentally drop phone on his head when trying to illuminate pee stick.
‘Ugh’. Him groggily from early morning/having a phone dropped on his head ‘Yes. Now can I sleep.’
‘I know.’ Said in a tone.
Decide to leave husband alone. If he is going to be a dad he’ll need his sleep.
Wander round the flat. Your hand on your belly. Whisper ‘Hello you.’
Take a picture of the morning. It has never looked more beautiful to you.