We are having a baby! After eight years together, four of them married, and too many adventures to count, we are excited (and somewhat nervous!) about growing our family.The ayurvedic astrologer looked up from the paper he’d been scribbling my future on. “You’re going to be very healthy, except for your fertility. I can see a lot of problems with that. When you were born, your fertile zone was in a dark patch, which means you might struggle to have a baby.”
Not the words a 28-year-old woman who loves children wants to hear. But that’s what I was told a little over a year ago, as I sat in a café in Ubud. The astrologer had been scarily accurate about a huge host of things – my husband, what I did for a living, my family – that I was starting to believe every word that came out of his mouth. And this was something I didn’t want to believe at all. But once it’s been put into your mind, it’s a hard thought to shrug off.
The decision to try for a baby
It seems absurd to start trying for a baby based on what an astrologer says. But sometimes, life is absurd, and so that’s what we did. Dave had been getting clucky for a while – perhaps it had something to do with the five-year age gap that he was feeling those things before me – but I had been postponing thoughts of starting a family because I wanted to travel more and grow our business.
But the astrologer made me look at our life from a new angle – what if we couldn’t fall pregnant immediately when we did start trying? And so we started trying. First we weren’t all that concerned about the process itself, we were just having fun, but then as three months passed by and when there was still no sign of a positive pregnancy test, I began to research fertility information.
I invested in some ovulation kits and we’d get to it whenever they came up positive. I was ovulating regularly and a trip to my doctor told me all my hormones were in order. So why the hell weren’t we falling pregnant?
The stress infertility causes
With every month my period came, and we would try and tell ourselves that it was okay, it would happen. Mum tried to reassure me that the baby’s spirit just wasn’t yet ready to come, and so I’d try and push it to the back of my mind and carry on with life.
Whenever someone would ask whether we were going to have a family, I would give a terse smile and say, “If we’re lucky.” It was a question I’d asked so many people before, and now I completely understand how insensitive those prying questions can feel when you’re going through infertility problems that aren’t easy to talk about. You feel like punching all those kind hearted and curious people in the face.
It felt like each week there was someone announcing their pregnancy on Facebook – one acquaintance was having her seventh! – and it was hard not to view all of these announcements as a green eyed monster, longing for what they had.
Not getting what you want
All my life, I’ve more or less got what I’ve wanted. I wanted a certain career, so I worked at it. I wanted to move to London, so we went there. I wanted to travel the world, so we did that. I wanted to start my own business, so we worked our butts off and did it. I was used to chasing my dreams and making it happen.
And yet all of a sudden, something I wanted so desperately – a baby – was out of my reach. I wanted it, we were working at it, and nothing was happening. It was extremely frustrating, stressful and upsetting. But it taught me a lot: to be more patient, to take control of my stress, and to appreciate what we already have.
But struggling for a baby is bloody hard. It’s extremely emotional, it puts strains on your relationship and it’s all you can think about it. People will tell you, ‘just stop thinking about it, and it’ll happen!’ But tell me how you stop thinking about something you want so badly. It just doesn’t happen.
Healthiness and happiness made us a baby
Nearly four months ago, we left Australia behind once more, and went to Thailand. Being on our own again, we had time to spend together one on one and decided to focus on our health. We did yoga every day, stopped drinking, and went on a paleo diet. We took our fertility vitamins religiously and had fun.
It was a great three weeks and I felt extremely relaxed by the time we packed our bags again and went to Japan for a two-week holiday. By this time, we had been trying for a baby for a year.
The days were busy but endlessly enjoyable in Japan as we explored the country. One night in Osaka, we went out on the town and two Japanese businessmen befriended us and bought us endless drinks. I was drinking good quality gin – straight!
That night, I felt ill. I woke up at 5am and my stomach was churning. I realised it was the day my period was due, but it wasn’t period pain I was feeling, it was an extreme hangover. I couldn’t sleep so I decided to do a pregnancy test. As soon as I peed on the stick, the result came up. “Pregnant, 2-3 weeks.”
I couldn’t get out of the bathroom fast enough. I rushed over to Dave and shook him awake. “Good morning, I’m PREGNANT!” I shoved the stick in his face. “What?” he said, half asleep. “Wow!” He gave me a kiss and then promptly rolled over and went back to sleep. To this day we find his (lack of) enthusiasm at 5am with a hangover hilarious.
Who knows what the future holds
Since then, we’ve been taking each day at a time. The pregnancy didn’t really become real until we went for our eight-week scan in Bali and saw the heart beat for the first time. We both had tears in our eyes as we cherished that special moment together.
What does the future hold for us? Who knows! We are moving back to Australia in the middle of August to be close to family for the final few months and the birth.
We will be renting my parents’ investment property, and for the first time in our married lives we’ll be buying furniture to put inside a home! We’ve never even owned a fridge together, so I’m sure it’s going to be quite the experience. But our nesting feelings are coming to the fore and I’m looking forward to hunting down roadside finds and charity shop furniture, upcycling items to create a home. We know we won’t be there forever so we don’t want to spend vast sums on things we won’t need for long.
We hope we can travel with the baby, but we want to just take each day as it comes. We hope the bub will like travelling but maybe it will be a homebody – who knows? The future is open and we’ll see. We do know that travelling is great for children and helps open their imagination and minds, so we’d love for them to experience that.
Infertility shouldn’t be suffered in silence
What the past year has taught me is that infertility shouldn’t have to be suffered in silence. The times I felt best about what I was going through was when I could talk to other people about their stories and how they feel pregnant, or if they were till struggling to have a baby.
Through these shared stories, I began to realise that we weren’t alone. A lot of people struggle to have a baby and it doesn’t come easy for many. What does seem to come easy is the shame surrounding infertility and the way it’s hardly ever spoken about. This needs to change.
It can be a huge struggle to deal with infertility, but remember that you’re not alone, and if you are struggling with it, find someone you can talk to. And hopefully, one day you will have a baby of your own.
I know this post is very personal, but I believe couples shouldn’t suffer in silence and that it’s time we got a dialogue going around infertility.
Have you struggled with infertility?
Thanks to our friend Nicola from Classroom of Hope for taking these great photos of us.