Okay I am going to travel back in time now to pre-conception...
After 7 years of adventuring the globe with my partner (now husband) Andee, we had lived in 4 different houses together, travelled to 16 countries, got engaged, booked the wedding (called off the wedding), worked our shit out, bought a house, re-booked the wedding & FINALLY got married...
we were as ready as we would ever be to start our own family.
I was super excited! Super keen and wanting to start trying ASAP! Just as soon as we had made that decision I was diagnosed with CIN 3 abnormal pre-cancer cells in my cervix and underwent a cone biopsy operation to have these removed. The operation went smoothly, but a few weeks later I developed a post op infection and started hemorrhaging (whilst on holidays!) my first trip in an ambulance ensued my dignity went out the window as doctors got in up to their elbows in my bits and I experienced an overnight stay in the maternity ward (seriously the maternity ward! seemed a little harsh when you desperately want to have a baby yourself). After a month or two of recovery I was back in working order and ready to get back on the horse... or bicycle?... (neither seem appropriate or relevant references under the circumstances).
I just expected it would happen straight away, I mean you spend your whole life trying NOT to get pregnant. It is drummed into you from school to use protection and if a slip up was to occur to promptly visit the doctor for the morning after pill. Stories would circulate about girls getting pregnant on their very first time, speculation would circulate about whether some random sperm left hanging out on a toilet seat or floating in a public pool could inseminate you (as to why there would be sperm on a toilet seat or in a public pool... my overactive imagination is running wild... please STOP!). Anyway, this gooey substance was obviously highly "contagious" and if contraception was not used pregnancy would occur almost instantaneously... surely... or not. In our case not.
Being the giant loud mouth personality that I am, everybody I knew, knew we were trying... even in my work place... in retrospect I would possibly keep that fact to myself. As the months ticked by passing comments ranging from "oooohhhh going home early cause your not feeling well... its not "MORNING SICKNESS" is it?"... to one shockingly offensive conversation where a colleague asked me if I was pregnant yet? and if not "Was my husband putting it in the wrong hole?" (she also continued by telling me that in her case her husband asked her what she wanted for her 30th birthday, she said "a baby" and nine months later to the day their first child was born! WELL CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU! FERTILE MEDAL OF THE YEAR AWARD!!!
Comments like this as well as the humbling experience of trying and not getting pregnant straight away had me questioning my own "loud mouth personality" and re-considering blurting out the first thoughts that came to my mind.
The following 6 months saw me tracking my period every month, calculating the optimal days to have sex and writing down every time we did. Sex became a scheduled and calculated interaction to combine DNA. I attempted to follow various medical predictors such as measuring my temperature daily (which I found I really couldn't ever "pin point" the ovulation days, it seemed my temperature rose and fell fairly sporadically). I tried using the "Maybe Baby" device you can purchase from the chemist to test your saliva (again to predict "ovulation" days) I found it hard to clearly interpret the results. I also purchased online a box of "ovulation tester sticks" (these look and work very similar to the pee on pregnancy sticks, again to predict "ovulation" days) but again I never managed to produce a "positive" result in the test window.
After six months of trying we headed off to my GP to find out what the next course of action was. My husband Andee was super calm, he kept quoting the cold, hard scientific facts...
- On average, 15-20 percent of all couples trying to get pregnant will not conceive in the first year of trying.
- If the timing is perfect, the mucous is receptive, the egg is ready and the sperm are healthy, there is a 20-25 percent chance of getting pregnant naturally in any given month.
- According to one study, 25 percent of couples get pregnant in the first month of trying, while 60 percent of couples trying to get pregnant do so within six months. This study also said that up to 90 percent of couples will conceive within 18 months of trying.
So the next round of tests were checking that I was ovulating (by blood tests and an ultrasound at specific times in my cycle) and a sperm test for Andee. A slightly less invasive but more daunting/embarrassing task for him. I inquired on his behalf at the blood collection centre what it involved (I think I'd seen too many "American movies" of "sperm donation clinics" with white coats, collection jars and seedy small rooms with porno mags for inspiration). This test actually involves the male being able to do the sample collection in the comfort of there own home and then driving to the collection centre to drop it off. Sounds simple enough... although there are two other factors,
A) keeping it warm... its suggested to keep the jar either between your legs or under the arm whilst driving to keep the deposit at body temperature (We thought that was hilarious! having visions of being involved in a car accident, where the plastic jar cracks open and trying to explain why you have spunk under your arm to the police or other car load of people involved in the accident).
B) the collection times are very specific and you have less than an hour to get the sample there before it is no longer usable. This is actually quite tricky and a little stressful for the male as the time is ticking and pressure is on to make "said" deposit, get in the car, hurry thru traffic and fill out forms at a collection centre in less than an hour.
With all of the above said and done, we just had a wait for the results...waiting was something I was learning to get used to.