Recently my husband and I have started dancing around the idea of having a third baby. It’s one of those thoughts that’s tinkering around in there, building momentum and at some point will explode into a moment of “let’s do it, right now” which is both figurative and literal in our case.
It’s a beautiful time for us filled with possibility, hope and fairy dust. All our children have come into our minds like this, a conversation that starts infrequently and filters through to all our conversations. It then happens seemingly spur of the moment as if an impulsive decision. This part of trying for a baby is my favourite part, it’s the part that reminds me of a fairy-tale, it’s the part before reality kicks in.
Laura in a fairy-tale moment. Image supplied.
Reality for my husband and I looks like this; a miscarriage at 14 weeks, 8 cycles of trying for our first before being told we'd need IVF to have a baby (and falling pregnant that month), 11 cycles for our daughter (before being told we had secondary infertility and that I'd need surgery to further investigate, found out about my daughter a couple of days before I was due to go under).
Trying for a baby turns me into a crazed creature I don't recognise. Day one of my cycle is a mixture of sadness and optimism; sadness that we aren't pregnant but optimistic that "this is our month, I can feel it". Day seven through to 17 it's time to get frisky. There is a lot of sex. Sex I pretend I'm not scheduling "to keep it fun", but that I know there is a purpose and that purpose is a baby.
I then get a week where I can tune out (somewhat) but the week before my period is due hits and this is when the true madness and insanity starts. This is where first response pregnancy tests make their money out of me. Testing well before I would get a true positive anyway, staring at urine on a stick, wishing, dreaming, begging for a second line to appear. Dismembering tests because "I'm sure I see the faintest second line" and then taking photos and editing them to be unrecognisable and posting them in trying to conceive forums where a bunch of other crazies squint and look and decipher if there may be a second line. It's a week of madness where test after test is done until eventually your period arrives and we are back at day one.
One of my pregnancy tests. Image supplied.
I have performed this maddening, soul crushing ritual too many times and each month I vow that I won't test early, that I won't go nuts and that I won't invest so heavily. It hasn't happened to date.
At some point being the open book that I am, it becomes known that we are trying for a baby and that we aren't pregnant. At this point the advice flies thick and fast. Similar to the words that came from my miscarriage, words that are meant with the kindest of intentions that come from the deepest of love cause the most frustration and despair. I decided to compile a list of the most common things we are told when on our mission to grow an offspring in the hope that it may help the support networks of fertility challenged couples to avoid saying things that may offend (aka piss off a little) and perhaps encourage some more supportive dialogue.
"Relax and it will happen."
Can I get a collective groan from every single woman who is struggling to fall pregnant! This is by far the most used and irritating line said to women struggling to conceive. It is normally from women who only have to open their legs to get a baby. If only being relaxed was all I had to do. Let's just imagine for a moment that infertility is actually caused by not being relaxed and imagine how hard it is to relax when you want something with all your heart and can't seem to get it. Telling someone to relax is counterproductive and unhelpful.