Day In, Day Out

How things change.

This time a month ago, I was merrily conducting a pregnancy test every day, just for fun. This time last month, I was on heightened alert for every minute tweak and twinge, in case they counted as ‘feeling pregnant.’

This month, I am simply waiting for my period to start in two days’ time. There’s no point wasting good money on pregnancy tests. I didn’t even ovulate. And I certainly haven’t experienced any sensations at all that might be termed ‘feeling pregnant.’

All of which sounds rather more sulky than I feel. I’m going into this with pretty low expectations, and it’s a whole month until my first appointment with the specialist. I am, frankly, a bit bored of people telling me that it will probably happen miraculously if I take my mind off it. I know this is supposed to be comforting, but it isn’t remotely. Whatever you read in the bottom end of the women’s magazine market, infertile couples tend to conceive babies after a hard slog through a range of surgical and medicinal interventions. It’s patronising – if well-meaning – to conveniently turn your gaze away from the hard scientific facts of conception and offer platitudes instead.

This whole enterprise is one long process of managing expectations. Maybe it’s my slight ambivalence about what a baby would do to my life, but I can’t afford to get pie-eyed about an infant that may not exist for several years. I have not been making mooning visits to Mothercare (although I have checked out the maternity jeans in Topshop. Damn, they look comfy. I wonder if I could get away with wearing a pair now?). More than that, I can’t afford to get carried away with romantic notions about implantation magically occurring if there’s enough love in the room. If that was the case, I would have been pregnant years ago, trust me.

But I can’t allow myself to feel too helpless either, to rest myself too comfortably in the hands of the medical professionals. I only get to see them every few months, and if nothing else, I need something to pass the time. Plus, it’s pleasant to proceed with measured optimism, a healthy appreciation of the balance of probabilities.

Each stage in this requires a raft of decisions and research. This month, we’ve been choosing ‘sex every other day’ rather than ‘waiting for ovulation and then doing it as much as possible.’ In many ways, it suits us better – less panic, less pressure, less precision. I want to enjoy this, find opportunities within it to enhance our relationship, rather than to treat our marriage as a phase I’ve moved through now I’ve got my eye on a new prize. This is about us. I want to make a baby with Herbert specifically.

But I confess there’s something slightly gruelling about having sex every other day, just because it’s an obligation. All of our creativity has flown out the window, now that we must harvest that precious semen. This limits what you can do (just in case it all pops out early), and lends an air of weary traditionalism to the whole affair. I’m wondering about conjuring up a complex zoning plan for the month, in which we identify five days when we’re pretty certain I couldn’t get pregnant, and institute a free-range ejaculation rule for that week.

However, I suspect that if we did that, we’d both merrily end up taking those days off for a nice rest.


This post will self-destruct in two weeks. 

16 thoughts on “Day In, Day Out

  1. I sympathise – it took me a year to conceive my first child, and that was with medical help. Nothing I can say makes it easier, or makes the feeling of failing somehow go away. I just wanted to say that in my experience, sex does go back to being enjoyable once it’s no longer a babymaking chore. And hitting the ‘relax’ brigade with a wet fish works for me too! Best of luck.

  2. Do you know what, I think I actually missed the condom-on-cucumber lesson, much to my regret. I still can’t get the damned things on now, or at least not with any grace

  3. That lesson at school practicing to put a condom onto a cucumber was a flipping waste of time! If only we had known that it is actually quite a mean feat to get pregnant and hang onto said baby til its ripe and ready we probably would have had a lot more fun along the way. Its a strange mind shift from trying not to get pregnant to trying to get pregnant and it’s not always easy to adjust your mind – there’s quite a lot of fear attached to both of these options, regardless of whether your body is actually playing along or not.

  4. I was going to comment on Twitter but my “news” is very new and I haven’t told anyone. But after 9 months of trying (and it did get very trying!) and 3 months of acupuncture I nearly fell over with shock when I got a positive pregnancy test last week. I don’t know if acupuncture had anything to do with it (the acupuncturist thinks it did of course) but it certainly helped me relax and made me feel like I was doing something. If you want to ask me anything feel free to send me an email!

  5. God, good luck! I never could summon the energy for the every other day thing – but then, I do ovulate on cue and conceive at the drop of a hat, even if I am subsequently crap at hanging onto them. And any of the “it’ll just happen” suggestions rile me too; I can’t believe I spent over half my adult life unaware just how difficult it is to get (and stay) pregnant, and I’ve got a full suite of functioning hormones.

    I think I’d have had a full-scale rebellion on my hands if I’d have gone for every other day; as it was, even scientific TTC sex was viewed as some sort of conspiracy on my part to actually have sex more than once a week, AND on a school night ;)

  6. ‘stabby’ seems a bit of a strong word! people may be patronising or ill-informed but I am sure they mean well.

    I totally admit I don’t know a thing about conceiving. So no platitudes here.

  7. Thanks – I must confess, it’s all ruined my mojo slightly. Am trying to work out how to make it a bit more excitement. It’s quite fun all the same, I must admit!

  8. As someone who has had a fair few problems conceiving the whole ‘relax and it’ll happen’ crew make me want to start slapping people with a wet fish – for those of us with issues its not that simple

    Hang on in there (and good luck as ever)

  9. I guess there may be some ‘sex’ things you could do that aren’t ‘sex’. If you see what I mean, to keep things more interesting. On random days.

    But I am a bit out of my depth I have to admit. I have never had sex every other day and I have never tried to make a baby either.

    I admire you keeping this record of your project. It must be very ‘gruelling’ in more ways than one.

    Good luck!

  10. Thanks Andy. It’s worth noting that not every woman will ‘naturally’ want more sex around ovulation – those of us with wonky hormones in the first place need to take a more military approach

  11. Scheduling sex sounds.. strange? You know, generally, you should want sex a bit more around ovulation time anyway. Maybe that is why they say to not think about it so much! I admit it’s very unsatisfying to hear however. It will happen in time, especially if you’re willing to make all these appointments with specialists..! Good luck! (:

  12. There is really nothing i can offer except diversions need to focus on something else until appointments are due. How about articles, small projects , poetry .. busy girl and avoid Mothercare are investing too much…

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