I’ve neglected my new little blog recently, a hobby I decided to share last summer just before I found out I was expecting. So seeing as it’s been a while, and I’ve shared the news on social media, a channel I turned to so often in our journey to conceive, I wanted to have a little verbal ramble about our one year conception journey.
I appreciate what you’re about to read is a pretty standard – a slightly extended fertility journey, perhaps partially the norm, but for me and perhaps you reading, or for someone you know, I got a lot of reassurance reading other people’s fertility success stories – especially for those with a child already. It’s apparently quite common to struggle second time around, some people get diagnosed with something called secondary infertility, a term relatively unheard of and there is very little support. Compared to conception with Louis, this second time around story is very different and like I said, I hope by sharing it helps someone reading.
So here goes..
With Louis we were really lucky – in fact it turns out we were that annoying couple who “just weren’t being careful” and managed to conceive without really thinking about it, perhaps that’s what you’re meant to do, right? However that doesn’t really work when you decide you want a baby does? When I say ‘decide’, you don’t really ‘decide’ do you? It hits you, just like that… I want a baby and I want one now… and well, that was us.
Just after Louis turned one, a few of our NCT friends announced they were expecting no.2. We were thrilled for them, but at that moment in time I felt like I was only just coming out of that cloud of a non-stop feeding and sleeping routine, broken sleep, agonising anxiety, constant mum guilt, but also just about managing to get some regular “me-time”. I’d just gone back to work, pretty much full time, and the thought of doing it all again, well, no way!! But then just like that, a year later at Louis’ 2nd Birthday party, seeing those same friends with their bumps, ready to pop, I decided maybe then I was ready, and it turned out Ant felt the same.
So we “started trying” or “TTC” (trying to conceive) as it’s known on the forums, because well, if you’re going to ‘start trying’ and then a few months go past and nothing happens, you have to accept you’re going to google it! It’s was ok, the NHS says a year to 18 months is average, but when 6, 8, 9 months went by and still nothing, well you can’t help be a little apprehensive, well that was me. After 6 months, still no sign (when it happened so effortlessly the first time), we thought, ‘do we need to be worried?’ Do we need to start being a bit more regimented with this? We weren’t worried really, but we thought perhaps a few tracking methods and ovulation kits might be an idea – way too soon to see a Dr, so instead I turned to all those amazing medics online… mumsnet 😉 so advanced in dishing out medical advice that they talk in code… OV (ovulating), DTD (Doing The Deed), AF (Aunt Flow) and of course the abbreviation for the name we all call our other half…DH (Darling Husband) and my personal fave BD (Baby Dance), I know, who came up with that?!! I’m not knocking mumsnet, it’s got a trillion users for a reason, but when you turn to mumsnet for medical diagnosis around fertility, you might as well prepare yourself for a self-diagnosis of the worst!
It was helpful though and although I didn’t ever end up seeking actual medical advice our journey to conceive no.2 took us just almost over the average amount of time, so in the whole grand scheme of things not really that long, but it was tough, all-consuming and an anxious time. The age gap was getting wider between the dream and the gorgeous toddler I already had – that’s ok, but I did start to think what would that age gap end up being. I didn’t really know much about my cycle before I started trying – so an app helped me with that. I used one pretty much from the start of our journey, it’s called Period Diary and it helped track my period start and end date, cycle length and then told me when my peak fertile days and ovulation day should roughly be. It was ok, I am sure there are better, but it met purpose, you can find a review of top rating similar Apps here there are loads!
However, that App didn’t really automatically make ‘trying’ a reality for us, so we decided to spend a bit of money on some OKs (Ovulation Kits – see I was getting really in to my abbreviations!). We first of all started with the pink Clear Blue kit, these are just under £20 for 10, designed to start using around when you think you should be ovulating and simply give you a circle or a static smiley face – and when you see that smiley face, well it’s time to do that baby dance! These helped a bit too, because it turned out that when I thought I was ovulating, because my app said so, well I wasn’t, it was much later in the month, so that was money well spent for a bit of medical insight! We then after a few months of nothing, moved on to the dual hormone kit from Clear Blue, these are a bit more pricey and claim to tell you the start of your high fertility days, by way of flashing smiley face (which can sometimes go on for days), suggesting you DTD every other day, and then remains static when the ovulation is detected. These didn’t really make much difference, but it was reassuring to see those flashing faces around the right time, indicatig things were starting to work that month, before the static face came. So we stuck mostly with these.
A few friends recommended a fertility gel called Conceive Plus they all said it worked first time for them after trying without for a while, and the reviews on Amazon suggest the same, but well, no it didn’t really work for us.
I can’t say I cut down or ate anything new with my diet – I carried on popping the folic acid, trying to eat reasonably well, keeping my weight down, limiting alcohol, exercising regularly. My work is full on, stressful at times and with Ant and I both in events, it was rare one of us weren’t feeling ‘full on’ with a project to occupy our minds.
Towards the end of our journey to conceive I went away for a girls weekend, subsequently missing our window to DTD that month, I was naturally feeling a bit bummed about that, but I met a lovely Dr, and after a lot of wine and a heart to heart chat she said “just have sex, every day, for 10 days over your fertile period, simple as that, do it!” So that was that, home with my new “ground breaking”, last ditch attempt tactic before getting Ant tested, that was the plan (and sorry TMI) but that’s what we did!! I’m not going to lie, it took the joy out of it a little and by day 7, another episode on the box set seemed much more appealing, but we had a plan and that was to do this for a few months and then speak to someone specialist, just to put our minds at ease.
However, we didn’t need to, at the end of August after a false negative test (turns out I tested too early to detect enough hormone), that subsequently prompted a fairly boozy bank holiday weekend in the middle of testing again (sorry little bean), we finally got our double lines – and there it was, confirmation, we were 5 weeks pregnant!
The sense of relief was enormous, I was ecstatic, over the moon, excited, wanted to literally dance for joy – but it was a secret and it was going to be our secret for as long as we felt necessary, because could we really be this lucky? Having wanted something so badly for what felt like so long, we wanted to immediately protect our secret, to look after and nurture our precious seed with as few knowing as possible, just until we felt ready to share. For us that was at 15 weeks, after a couple of early scans, incredible nausea and exhaustion, dating scan and a blood test confirming all looked as it should be and low risk, then, only then did we felt ready to share. And with the morning sickness phase over, I’m pleased we did. Rather than feel anxious, super protective and wanting to vom at the slightest strange smell – I’m enjoying friends and family knowing. I’m enjoying talking about it, planning, showing off my little 16 week bump and I don’t mind the preggo small talk… I’m just over 3 months. Due early May. Yes, I’m going to find out. No, I don’t mind what I have. Yes, Louis is really excited and he wants a girl. Nope, we don’t have any names yet. No, no real birthing plans, we’re open minded to all including a home birth. Great, I’m feeling great – thanks for asking, please keep asking, I love all the questions! 😉
Thanks for reading
P.S. At 15 weeks – our little baby is the size of an apple, so we chose the Apple Orchard at Wisley Gardens, Surrey to capture a happy photo to go with our news .