Have you ever wanted something so badly?
Your every thought and action being consumed by that feeling of longing to the point where you can’t hold a conversation, you can’t eat, you can’t get to sleep or even go about life the way you normally would because there’s this thing that you need and you just have to have it. It gets to a point where all of a sudden everyone in the whole damn world has it but you or maybe it’s always been that way but now you’re more aware because of your own new found desire for one.
I have and at one point I thought I would never have that thing I wanted so badly- a child.
I always new I wanted children from a young age, it was never a case of if and always a case of when. I wanted to live first, to do the things you could no longer do once you become a Mother or, more so, the things you want to do as a teenager: the partying and drinking, exploring yourself, exploring boys, exploring your sexuality and just being able to do what you want at a time when you want to do it.
I think this attitude towards the timing was such a big thing for me due to the fact that when my Mam discovered I was sexually active herself and those around her would drill the concept of ‘everything changes when you have kids’ or ‘your life is over when you have a baby’ into my head. Of course, they didn’t mean anything negative by it, they simply didn’t want me to have an unwanted pregnancy at such a young age and I certainly didn’t want that either so I am grateful. I was also marched straight to the Doctors and put on the contraceptive pill just before my fourteenth birthday if I remember correctly and I had been taking it religiously ever since, often insisting on the use of a condom also until I got into deeper relationships with people I trusted.
Another thing I was dead set on when it came to the right time for me to have a baby was the person I would have said baby with. I came from a very broken home and although I had what I would consider quite a good upbringing and childhood when it came to not wanting for a single thing, having impeccable manners and plenty of good memories, it wasn’t all fun and games for me and there were a lot of bad memories too, these mainly stemming from the fact that I witnessed the breaking down of relationships between my Mother and both my younger Sister and Brother’s Father’s. I was at an age for both whereby I was able to understand what was happening, take it all in and more often than not be awake to hear the arguing.
As a result of this I have always been one hundred percent dead set on the fact that my children would be to the same man who I would be truly, madly and deeply in love with before and every day after they entered the world. I can almost hear your sarcastic laugh and feel the eye roll now and I get it, I really do. I mean, who doesn’t want that.. right? Often people have the exact same baby Daddy requirements as myself and hope for the fairytale ending when everything starts off more perfect than they could have ever dreamed. Life can get in the way, babies can equal stress and financial strain, feelings can change and circumstances out of both parties’ control can occur but it didn’t make me fantasize about my perfect family any less by knowing so.
Before meeting my current Partner I was always a relationship type of girl and had two lasting over two years prior. I was happy at times in both of them, hence the length of each, but in the first we were both young and immature so children weren’t even thought about to be completely honest and in the second, the person to whom I actually got engaged to, I just knew that he wasn’t the one, never mind the person I would have my children with (it’s a long story) therefore I didn’t entertain the discussion and contraception was still very much a part of our day to day.
And then, just as I was about to start putting relationships on hold and setting out to build a career for myself first instead, I met Carl. That was the first time in my whole entire life that I had ever looked at a man and thought yes, you will do just nicely and I’d like to have your babies please. I just knew within an hour of speaking to him that he had all the qualities I needed in a life partner not to mention the fact that, as I discovered shortly after, he had to young children already and seeing him with them just sealed the deal for me. He was a fantastic Dad and, although it deterred from my original plan regarding the fact that I had never considered having to incorporate someone else’s child into my own family, never mind two of them, it was actually one of the factors that made me realise all the more how perfect for the job he was.
See, I actually had an insight into the way he parented, how he and his kids were around each other and, even better, how me and Carl coped with there being little ones thrown into the mix and that was something we had to adapt to pretty much from the get go. We coped fantastically, it was like we’d always done it together and I was introduced to the feeling of being broody very quickly and I even recall telling him within months of moving in together that I wanted his babies which I’m sure was a bit of a shock at first.
Things for the two of us moved quickly from day one though due to not only our circumstances but also how hard we fell for each other and the intensity of the relationship. Usually this would have raised massive alarm bells for me and I would have tried to swim against the tide as fast as I possibly could but instead I let myself get swept up in it and I’m so glad I did.
I believe it was around the year mark that we had the first serious conversation about trying for a baby that wasn’t just me joking about it. We were taking a walk and discussed it at length and there was a lot to discuss! I needed to establish whether or not Carl really did want another child and if he would be ready for one with the age of his other two and he needed to assess how things would work regarding the dynamics with them too and he didn’t want to endure another failed relationship when there were kids involved. Then there was the little issue of how short a time we’d been officially together.
You know the old saying ‘when you know, you know’?
Well, we just knew and sometimes it really is that simple.
I was still a little sceptical. I mean, after all, this was going to be the biggest decision of my life to date and I didn’t just throw caution to the wind and bin my pill the same day. It took a few more conversations to ensure we were on the same page first and then I did exactly that. I was absolutely bursting with excitement at the prospect that I was about to become a Mother and I would soon be pregnant. Before long I would be that person posting bump photos and scan pictures, decorating a nursery and finding out our gender or at least that’s what I thought.
I was under the assumption that a few missed pills + unprotected sex = bun in the oven.
For the lucky few, or unlucky, depending on the individual, that is the way it works. I mean I used to go into absolute panic mode when I accidentally forgot to take one and if I forgot a few I would have to rush to the chemist for the morning after to be on the safe side. I had in no way even considered let alone prepared for the long wait I had ahead of me.
The first month off the pill was exhilarating for me and actually an awful lot of fun. I had already began to show an interest in babies around me when I was at work or out and about when I first met Carl, kind of like playing make-believe in my head but now those fantasies were about to become reality and I was staring into prams like there was no tomorrow, going out of my way to serve those with babies so I could coo over them and ask questions. I was looking at all the baby items in shops and wondering what our little guy or girl would look like.
The sex was out of this world. A lot more frequent and now it had a deeper sense of purpose and meaning. It was intense and passionate and I found myself falling more in love with Carl even though I never thought that was a possibility. I looked at him differently; he wasn’t just my partner any more, he was the future father of my baby and the man I could picture myself with forever. It brought a new dynamic of happiness to the relationship. I was looking at the children in a different was I noticed too, as they weren’t just Carl’s kids any more, they were about to be my child’s baby’s big Brother and Sister. I had always loved them like my own already, but this? This was a different kind of love.
It wasn’t long before I begun to feel ‘symptoms’ of pregnancy and would be convinced we had conceived every time because they were so real. I’d get morning sickness and feel as though I was about to throw up on route to work, dizziness and headaches started up out of nowhere, sore nipples and aching boobs and even movements in my stomach which would often appear large and swollen. I had heard of phantom kicks during pregnancy but phantom pregnancies themselves weren’t something I was aware of until then. Looking back I just put these things down to coming off the pill as there were hormonal implications of that too, to suddenly stop taking something you have for nine years probably does cause your body to go through some changes.
At the time though, I was just looking for any excuse under the sun to take a pregnancy test and, once I’d taken one, I just couldn’t stop.
How many negatives does it take a woman who is trying to conceive to stop buying the bloody things?
So buy and buy and buy I would. Cheap ones, strip ones, pink dye ones, Clear Blue ones. I spent an absolute fortune despite Carl’s best efforts to get me to stop testing. It’s so hard not to though, months passing and every little ache or change in your body making you think that maybe this time one will read positive, that devastating but all-to-familiar heart sink when it doesn’t. You start to wonder what’s wrong with you and worry over the possibility that maybe you aren’t capable of having children. My worst nightmare and one that was beginning to seem possible to me the longer time went on.
I was a woman possessed.
I spent most of my spare time on Mum forums and googling my ‘symptoms’ and it was all I ever spoke to Carl about plus, I had even started to refuse the opportunity to drink just in case.
Where I once had looked at all those babies and new Mam’s with awe and excitement, I now absolutely resented them. The little green monster had me firmly in his grasp and I would just stare and think that should be me and of course pregnant woman didn’t escape my mental wrath either. It was worrying how bitter I was becoming at a time that was supposed to be such a happy one but I couldn’t help it. My news feed was now littered with pregnancy or newborn announcements and people with children and I began hiding the updates from the people posting them from my feed, feeling a real dislike towards them for no other reason than them having what I wanted more than anything.
Our sex life, so enhanced just months before, was now becoming a bit of a chore for both myself and Carl but for different reasons. For me, it was something I needed to do as regularly as I ate meals each day and I was becoming desperate. For poor Carl, he was struggling to keep up with me constantly trying it on and picking up on the lack of passion when we did do it which was down to me lying there thinking about the way I could position myself best in order for maximum cum potential. It’s so sad for me to now look back on all vanilla, routinely sex we had with the only passion being our desire to get pregnant. If I wasn’t pestering him for it two to three times a day, I was declining his occasional advances with the hopes of letting it ‘build up’ and therefore be more effective.
I was even guilty of lying with my legs propped right up above my head, feet on the wall for half an hour after sex on many more than just one occasion.
We were out shopping almost a year after starting to try for a baby and I went to go and get a test, as I usually would, but this time Carl stopped me. He said he simply wouldn’t allow me to waste any more money and I needed to stop obsessing or it would never happen. He had already told me a thousand times before that it was more likely to happen when I wasn’t thinking about it but trying not to do so is practically impossible. This time I new I had to listen though, for the sake of our relationship if nothing else and I tried my hardest.
I began to relax a little and found I was actually able to walk past the toiletries without picking up a test. I had given up to be honest, accepting that there probably was something amiss and agreeing with Carl that should it get to a year and a half, we would seek help and advice from the Doctor.
The night before Carl’s birthday we decided to have a few snakebites and spend some quality time together. The week leading up to that night had saw to it that I had been feeling so exhausted I was actually taking Nana naps religiously at two PM on the dot every afternoon that day, however, I went without and I definitely felt it. We had amazing and extremely rough sex that day without worrying over whether that would be the one and Carl took full advantage of having the old me back, throwing me around everywhere. That coupled with the alcohol had me feeling completely shattered and unable to finish more than just the one drink.
For the first time in months I had an inkling and let myself listen to it because this one felt different.
I had a box of two cheap pink tests in my underwear drawer that I had been saving for the right time and even though I knew it was best to do them in the morning, I couldn’t wait any longer. I felt horrendous and sneaked off to the toilet. I was so nervous my hand was shaking and I weed all over the screen of the test causing it to come back inconclusive, going to bed too tired to really worry over it.
The next morning, as Carl made his way downstairs for his first cigarette of the morning, his birthday morning, I went back to the toilet to try the other test. This time I made sure to wee into a leftover party cup and to place the stick in gently. I waited a few moments before placing it on the side, using every ounce of self-control I had to not peak. I too wanted to go and join Carl for a cigarette before looking, knowing that if it was positive, I wouldn’t be touching another.
I stood up off the toilet, pulled up my trousers and was about to walk out of the bathroom but I just knew I had to look and look I did.
Two thick, dark pink lines were looking back at me on that little white stick in my hand. Not one thick one and a little is it, isn’t it blemish on the other screen as I hold it up to the natural light. This one didn’t need any manipulating, it was there clear as day. As all the blood rushed from my head I had to sit back on the toilet to steady myself, shaking like a leaf.
I sat there staring at that test for half an hour.
Finally, I placed it ever-so-gently into my dressing gown pocket, terrified that I would rub the lines off and made my way down to inform Carl who was still outside in the garden. I had planned this big moment so many times in my head with lots of different ideas as to how I would reveal the pregnancy to him but now it was here I was too shocked and impatient to sort anything out. I was nervous too. I walked to the door as he was stepping inside and said “happy birthday, I got you something”. He looked at me in that fake-annoyed way and said “I told you not to get me anything”.
I told him the present was in my pocket and he reached in, pulling out the test and immediately noticing the lines. “It’s soaking wet”. Was his response and I think he was just as shocked as I was to be honest. Not the moment either of us had planned but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world, it was so typically us.
After just over a year of trying to conceive and just over a year from this day, we finally got our positive and could start looking forward to the journey ahead of us which I hoped would be a little more straight forward! I was just so grateful it had finally happened and what I felt that day was unexplainable; placing both hands across my tummy for the first of many times and feeling more love than I ever knew possible.
It was was my turn now and it was so worth the wait.