Finding Out We're Pregnant

 You might have thought after we’d thrown caution to the wind and actually started “trying” to make a baby that this blog title wouldn’t still make me want to scream “F*****ck!”

But first, let’s go back to the summer of 2019...

I am very lucky that I have an incredible group of girlfriends - some school friends, some uni friends - and we’re all going through similar life stages together, whether that’s planning a wedding, buying a house or, more recently, the B word. Babies. Yes, it was (and still is) a topic on our lips pretty much every time we get together.

I started out 2019 with a new job after leaving my previous company of seven years and it was (I thought) a pretty defiant statement that we weren’t ready for the “settling down” part. I had something to prove to myself and that was that I could be a success outside of the company I spent most of my twenties growing up within. 

Alongside the career developments, we were sussing out where we wanted to live having sold our apartment in Essex and moved to Wembley in rented accommodation. Signpost 2: no babies anytime soon! Our inability to settle on a location meant we basically shelved the whole notion of “settling down” for months at a time. We’d spent the first three years of our married life on the go - literally. 19 countries in total and over half of that time spent living outside the U.K. I will forever be so grateful for those incredible adventures, from hiking Macchu Pichu to making a life in New York. Though there were tough times, I couldn’t feel luckier to have embraced those amazing opportunities in our life. Fast forward two failed house purchase attempts in Richmond, we started to question (again) where we wanted to live. Richmond was close to our hearts as we loved our West London years, falling in love with each other and the river, before getting married in nearby Chiswick and Kew. Moving to Richmond felt like going home, although in theory we had no support network there and knowing the costs of moving, we wanted this move to have a five year shelf life which would (we hoped) include a new addition. With Ryan’s northern routes pulling his heartstrings back to Lincoln and mine closer to my parents in East Sussex, a night out with my Mother-in-Law and a lot of Prosecco later settled that we would keep our search to the south. Searches of train links ensued - and considering Ryan and I both work in opposite and not particularly central parts of London (Peckham and Wembley anyone?!) we fell in love with the charm of Tunbridge Wells. When our offer was accepted on a perfectly located family home, the “will you be starting a family?” question was thrust into the spotlight and well-meaning friends hinting around the topic. “You’ll have to get busy filling those rooms up” and now with a roof over our heads, fewer excuses directing us away from that thought too!

Back to those girly dinners, one by one, attitudes to the idea of trying (or more accurately not not trying) changed. I was on the fence; we were certainly thinking about it, but maybe something for next year or the year after. In fact, three of us agreed it would be great if we could all take our maternity leave together in 2021. And then, the first pregnancy was announced! It was so exciting and I was so unbelievably happy for my friend. I can’t lie that this was a defining moment and a catalyst for the title of this blog. When one of my closest friends had taken the leap, it did start to make me think more and more “that could be me”... and also, more "I think I want that to be me".

I’m sure many women can relate to The Fear embedded in us from a young age about getting pregnant. There was very little, from what I remember, discussed in terms of challenges we may experience with conceiving. From panicked trips to get the morning after pill, drawers full of condoms and spending more than a decade on The Pill (and even then “double bubbling” as we called it) there was very little information shared as I grew up about looking after my fertility. After reading Period Power by Maisie Hill, I admit it was eye-opening and I was so glad I had already ditched the Pill the year before. Some of my girlfriends gulped and their eyes visibly bulged when I said I’d come off the Pill in October 2018. I was absolutely not trying to get pregnant but the little voice in the back of my head niggling away about how long I’d been on it without a break was getting louder. With encouragement from the husband that he would take over birth control responsibilities, I was free to go on a hormone detox. It was liberating but terrifying. I don’t think I let him come near me for over a month!


Another tip to come out Maisie Hill’s book was to start tracking my cycle and a girlfriend recommended the app Clue (it’s free!) which I promptly downloaded. After a 60 day absence of my period, I started to get to grips with my body’s version of normal. Previously, aged 14 or 15, I remember having 14, 28, 35 day cycles and the anxiety of being a teenage school girl worrying I’d get my period in the middle of history class! My cycle settled somewhere around the 32/33 day, so five days longer than the average 28-day cycle. I’ll forever be grateful for the TMI girly chat over dinner in which the subject of discharge came up. Yep, over a glass of wine and dinner, we were there, in public talking DISCHARGE. And in detail too; the importance of knowing the different kinds and timing of when you might experience it which are signals of what’s going on. Amen to girl chat. Turns out, it has superpowers in that not only does it indicate when you are ovulating but acts as sperm’s best friend getting it to where it needs to be on a high speed express train to Destination: Egg.

Now I was all tuned in on the discharge front (just seeing how many times I can fit in the word discharge to this blog post), I felt pretty clued up on when to be having sex if we wanted to conceive. But in late summer 2019, I was still vehemently shaking my head at any suggestions we might be thinking about actually doing it. Body language could not conceal the BACK OFF message I had written across my forehead. I was not ready, but what was I waiting for?

To clarify, there was no question of ‘if’ but always ‘when’ - in hindsight I guess that opinion in itself is privileged. I was always keen on the idea of being laid back about it, you know, all “if it happens, it happens” but in reality I am a planner. An efficient planner at that. Either we were trying (read: hoping) to get pregnant or we weren’t. There was no in between that - or least it wasn’t a state that my brain could compute - and I was so used to a pre-programmed response of hyperventilation! It took Mr A talking me down one evening, whilst I shared the list of reservations in my head to which he very calmly, rationally blew each one apart.
The other little thought in my head which had reared its head during this discussion was the fear that if I do shelve the idea for a couple of years, it could take a while to fall pregnant, if at all. The struggle to conceive can happen to anyone and we have no way of knowing how it will play out until we start to roll the dice. I was determined that *once* I was ready to play the game, I would try to avoid obsessing over dates and ovulation sticks etc. until after six months of being carefree and having fun. I read a book by Emily Phillips called Trying which paints the agonising reality of struggling to conceive and my heart goes out to anyone experiencing that. No one should ever be deprived of having a baby and I cannot comprehend the heartbreak and strain on your mind, body and relationship. We could be one of those couples and if so, we’d cross that bridge, but I didn’t want to prematurely adopt that state of control and pressure on my body. In reality, I think it’s quite hard to not obsess a little or maybe that’s a personality trait of mine. With my daily use of Clue, I knew when my fertile window was coming up so it was always in the back of my mind.

I can’t even really pinpoint when the switch flicked but there was definitely a pretty quick shift in my outlook. I think the turning point may have been as simple as me garbling, “But what if we get pregnant next month??”, Mr A answered, “That would incredible! We would be so lucky! I’d be over the moon!” That stayed with me for a couple of weeks, the thought marinating over and over. Until I concluded, Yes, that would be amazing, why wait?

Despite saying my approach would be laisez-faire, there I was on the NHS website looking up ‘how to prepare your body for pregnancy’ and I made some drastic changes to my lifestyle. I even asked my doctor for advice and to check from a medical point-of-view I was good to go. Caffeine, gone. Midweek drinking, so long! Pregnacare pre-conception vitamins, purchased.

I have to say, that ‘first time’ you decide you’re having unprotected sex resembles very much losing your virginity. In fact I think it’s more special and intimate! Scary but incredible at the same time. Sorry, TMI! There was a little part of my brain that as I approached Day 30, 31 in my cycle when I started overanalysing my body. Do my boobs normally hurt this much? Why do my nipples feel like they’re on fire? I was packing for our holiday to Morocco and making space for a box of tampons and wondering if they’d be there on the return journey. Day 32, day 33 passed...Can I enjoy a drink on this holiday? Am I more bloated than usual? Day 34 arrives and so does my period. Pass me the tampons and a bottle of wine.

I’m not going to lie, a little voice in my head said, is there something wrong? I quickly swept that thought into the back recess as much as humanly possible and thought about the perks; wine, wine and more great sex.

One change that came about around this time was my participation in the girly chat. I could no longer do the ‘freak out’ at the suggestion of getting pregnant. Putting that ‘out there’ was scary and I, at times, wished I hadn’t. I knew from that point onwards they would wonder if I was pregnant this time or next time, is she drinking or abstaining, looking for clues. There would be no maliciousness with that and, as my closest friends, they would have only my best interests at heart but I couldn’t help feel exposed at that point when I knew it might be some time before I see those little blue lines.

Month Two was approached with slightly less hesitance than Month One and with the help of Clue providing the insight, it seems we timed it right! At the time, as I was approaching Day 32, I felt sure I was experiencing all those same pre-menstrual symptoms. Spots appearing, breast tenderness and so the husband flew off on a work trip abroad thinking I was about to come on my period. As did I. By the end of Day 34, my eyebrow was starting to rise somewhat though at its absence. I agreed with myself that if there was no sign by end of Day 35, I’d take a test! And so I did, and there, almost instantly, were two blue lines. Another test the morning after and a third test two days after that, I had the ClearBlue ‘pregnant 2-3 weeks’ in the box. There it was in black and white. As Mr A was away in a far-flung part of the world where time zones and awful internet connections allowed for little more than a few WhatsApp messages, I was keeping all of this to myself for five days! It was the most excruciating secret to keep but so exciting knowing that just me and this little one, no bigger than a pip, were in it together. There was no way I was telling anyone before Mr A so I just had to figure out how to break the news. I settled for telling him I had a present for him in my pyjama pocket and out he pulled the positive pregnancy test!
As I am now, at the time of writing, over halfway through my pregnancy I know how lucky we are to have fallen pregnant so quickly. If you listen to Giovanna Fletcher’s podcast Happy Mum Happy Baby there are a whole host of different stories that could play out and I am incredibly grateful *touches wood* that we managed to fall pregnant so quickly. I know that’s not the case for everyone and my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced/is experiencing challenges. I just wanted to share our story and, in particular, the mental journey I went along to becoming ‘ready’ for motherhood.

All for now,
Rose (and her rose-tinted spectacles)


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