It all began when my husband and I were travelling home from dropping off my mother to the airport. As is usual for me when my family members are leaving, I was a little sad. My husband has often tried to cheer me up with attempts ranging from moderate (ice-cream) to very poor (suggesting I get my fill of family by visiting the in-laws). On this occasion, he knocked it out of the park, by turning to me, suggesting that we have a romantic evening at home, light a fire, enjoy a film, and then (in his ridiculous British accent) try to "make a little baby".
I have heard so many times, that I now accept as canon, that the best way to get pregnant is to not* want to. The idea being that the stress of trying actually interferes with conception. This has been anecdotally proven by stories of people who desperately wanted children and turned to adopting. As soon as they received their adopted child -thus removing the stress of becoming parents -they conceived. So, I decided not to become neurotic about it, instead letting whatever was meant to happen occur. That resolve was met with, at best, abject failure. I'll edit for content, but highlights included shaking my ill husband awake because I had calculated I was at day 14 and making a Google calendar of my cycling and other pertinent activities (see ill-husband shaking). Neurosis 1, logic 0.
I should preamble the next section with the admission that I am a teensy bit of a hypochondriac. My mother is one, her parents before her and my doodle of a punnet square tells me this is a dominant trait. I was doomed to it. I once diagnosed myself with no less than three types of cancer during a single shower. "Is that headache on one side of my head, where did I get that bruise, have I always had that mole?" This hypochondria has easily translated to pregnancy, and there have been a number of occasions where I have convinced myself that I was pregnant.
Now that I actually wanted to be pregnant, my neurosis swung in the other direction, and I convinced myself that any symptoms were merely the result of my trying to have symptoms, and being a massive hypochondriac. After all, I had falsely thought myself to be pregnant before. This time, I felt a little nauseous, somewhat fatigued, thirsty a little more often, and I had an occasional head rush when I stood up. However, I reasoned, it was unseasonably hot which would certainly explain the thirst, sleepiness and occasional head rush. The queasiness was more likely than anything to be the result of ignoring my lactose intolerance in order to keep the ice-cream industry afloat.
The first time I actually knew that I was pregnant, I was walking to my workplace and, thanks to a dead iPod battery, was amusing myself with my own inner monologue (an analog podcast if you will). I thought about how I would tell people if I were pregnant. Suddenly, I pictured a baby inside me - with actual human features as opposed to larval amphibian phenotype it actually would have had at that time- and felt the most pure sense of happiness flood over me. This of course sounds like the most ludicrous diagnostic technique, but my mother had similar moments when she knew she had conceived. However, I then remembered that my mother had similar moments when she knew she had conceived, and chalked it up to another bout of wishful thinking.
I also found it a little odd that, when playing Guitar Hero with my husband and brother, I became so overcome with emotion during Taylor Swift's Love Story that I couldn't sing. It was during the bridge where she thinks it's not working only to be proposed marriage. "Romeo save me I've been feeling so alone, I keep waiting for you but you never come, Is this in my head? I don't know what to think, He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring, And said, marry me Juliet, You'll never have to be alone, I love you and that's all I really know..." I pretended that I needed to sneeze, and the two boys were so involved in their pretend instruments, they didn't notice. Also, they're men, so I was likely home-free even without the allergy charades. My rationalizing of this event was more simple in that I have quite a colourful history of crying at stupid stuff.
I was at this point about a week late, and the logical thing would be to take a test. But the neurosis had that one covered too. I had previously bought a set of two tests. This was before we were trying, but my desire to be a mother predates my husband being on board and I would have considered it a happy accident. I had convinced myself I was in "that way", and so, I was extremely disappointed that it came up negative. I promised myself that whenever I used the second test in the pack, it would be a positive. This self-consolation somehow evolved to a mandate, and I wasn't sure what the consequence of disobedience would be, but I didn't want to find out. So, I bided my time with pseudo-symptoms, longing to know if I was pregnant.
I had a rare moment of sensibility, I decided that not knowing wasn't making my chances of being pregnant any greater. In fact, it occurred to me that worrying my period into being late would actually delay my next cycle, thus reducing the number of times per year I could conceive**. I didn't want to anger the magical pregnancy test at home, so I went to the store and bought new ones.
When I got home, despite having had a full bladder for the past month, I was abruptly unable to go number one. Eventually, as my husband was leaving to play tennis, I was able to sneak off to the bathroom and take the test. I had bought a digital test to eliminate any confusion. Watching the little egg-timer blinking felt like an eternity. Then the egg-timer went away. I could swear the screen stayed blank for an hour before finally revealing the word "Pregnant". I ran out to my husband and told him the news (by shoving the urine-soaked stick into his face). We hugged and he left for tennis. And so it begins....
* please forgive the split infinitive. There was no grammatically correct way to put quite the same emphasis on actively having an absence of effort, which I guess shows how futile trying to "not do" something actually is.
** I should at this point apologise to the academic institutions that have given me science degrees for the shame I bringing to them throughout this entry.