I am peeing in a plastic cup. H is in the bath, probably deciding whether he should watch or not. I’d like to say we’re the kind of couple who retain our erotic mystique by not performing bodily functions in front of each other, but we only have one bathroom so sometimes needs must. I should make it clear, though, that we both draw the line at pooing. This occasionally means we run into the bathroom and yell at the other party to get the hell out of the bath, but it’s a boundary worth drawing, I think.
Today, it’s in aid of an ovulation test, and, frankly, I’m attempting to share my pain. I last caught myself ovulating two months ago, and that was on day 9 of my cycle. Not a peep last month. Today it’s day 14, and I suspect this means I’ve missed the boat again. There’s something miserable about dunking your little stick in a pot of your own urine every day, only to get the single control line, day in, day out. It’s such a non-event that it doesn’t really merit a conversation; but its effect is cumulative misery. Still nothing.
‘I’m beginning to wonder if I haven’t bought a duff set of sticks,’ I say to H. ‘The ones that registered an LH surge cost £35 from Boots. These ones were a fiver for 50 from eBay. Maybe they’re just shit.’
‘Cheaper though,’ says H.
‘Yeah,’ I say. I count under my breath as I watch the stick turn gradually pink, and see the familiar control line appear.
‘Why don’t you try both at the same time next month?’ he suggests. ‘That way, you could see if both types say the same thing.’
It’s a good idea, particularly seeing as I have a whole drawer full of the cheap tests remaining. I balance the test stick on the sink and begin to put on my makeup. Then I glance down.
‘Bloody hell,’ I say. ‘Would you bloody believe it? It must have heard me!’
I wave the stick in front of H’s nose, and squints at it. ‘Yup,’ he says, ‘that’s definitely a second line.’
‘We’d better get busy in that case.’
The following evening, I’m still registering a faint second line, so we decide we ought to make a second attempt at the baby-making sex. Seeing as I recently learned that sperm live for up to five days inside your uterus (which, in my view, counts as an infestation), this amounts to sending in reinforcements, which will mass around my fallopian tubes, waiting for one of them to feebly cough out an egg.
We’re both hungry, so we decide to go out for dinner first, and so, inevitably, we’re both feeling sleepy and bloated by the time we get home to bed. H takes off his clothes, and belches loudly.
‘I’m guessing you’re not much in the mood,’ I say.
‘Well, ordinarily no,’ he says, ‘but that doesn’t mean to say we won’t have sex. Maybe you could go on top; I think I’d be sick if I had to bounce around too much.’
‘So romantic,’ I say. ‘Maybe we should try spoons instead?You can’t burp at me from that angle.’
‘Sorry,’ says H. ‘I’ll try to stop.’
I lean in and kiss him. ‘I’ll get my vibrator. I think I might need it.’
‘Maybe some lube, too.’
‘Oh.’ H’s face scrunches up into something resembling devastation. ‘It’ll take it so much longer for me to come if we use lube.’
‘I tell you what,’ I say, ‘if tonight’s the night we conceive, we’ll tell our offspring that it happened some other way entirely. We’ll pretend that we were having amazing, romantic, spontaneous sex somewhere glamorous.’
‘It’s fine,’ says H. ‘If we conceive this month, we’ll have no idea whether it happened tonight or last night. Last night was fun. We can just push tonight out of our minds.’
‘Agreed,’ I say, smearing myself with lube and firing up the vibrator. ‘And anyway, I believe it’s mostly considered inappropriate to talk to your children about the sex that conceived them.’
‘Yeah,’ says H, ‘that too.’
And then, weirdly, we end up having surprisingly pleasurable sex, free of burping and complaining. Or at least, that’s what we’ll tell the children. When they’re old enough.
This post will self-destruct in a fortnight.