The last time we heard from Sophie it was back in Spring and she was talking about the emotional rollercoaster that comes with deciding to start a family. It was clear from the comments that her experience resonated with a lot of our readers. Well she’s back today with some happy news…

I wrote back in March about the ‘deciding to have a baby and starting to conceive’ stage of life and at that point we were four months in. The disclaimer at the start of this post is that I am delighted, thrilled, excited, beyond ecstatic to say I am, at the time of publishing, 19.5 weeks pregnant.

What I really wanted to talk about though were the next four months it took us to get that positive test, bringing us to eight months in total of trying to conceive. As I said in my previous post, I know this isn’t a long time in the great scheme of things, there’s a reason why the average conception time is one year, we are the lucky ones who haven’t required any intervention, but when you’re in it, it seems little consolation.
I found trying to conceive a really isolating place. However much I tried it became all consuming. I’m pleased to say that I did minimum googling and I didn’t go on any forums. Though I did start using an app to track my cycle and used ovulation sticks, both of which I found really helpful and wished I had started using earlier because it gave a sense of control and understanding. Though these two things also bought pressure – if I was ovulating I was guilty of expecting an instant, ahem, performance and sometimes when my husband was literally walking out the door to go to work this wasn’t his prime time.

It also affected our relationship. I adore my husband and I know he adores me but the pressure to achieve something we both wanted so badly took its toll and I think a bit of blame culture crept in. I hated the disappointment my period arriving created, I felt it was my fault that we weren’t getting pregnant, we both felt we needed to make more effort in getting home earlier from work to fit in some bedroom time and I needed to lose weight. It culminated in a horrible, drunken, crappy argument at a friend’s wedding that left me thinking we should stop trying for a while and just live life and take the pressure off, it was clearly not doing us any good.

Four days after said argument, I woke up on the day my period was due at 3am feeling really sick and I just knew I was pregnant. One test at work during lunchbreak confirmed my gut feeling, as did the other two I did once I got home, you know, just in case the first was wrong. I presented all three wee-soaked sticks to my husband when he got home and he proceeded to say “f**k” on repeat. After 10 minutes I did ask “Darling, is this good f**k, or bad f**k?”, his answer “Oh, it’s amazing f**k but I think I need to sit down”. All bodes incredibly well for the labour room.

Once the swearing had ceased and he’d had a little sit down, the first coherent thing he said was “I can’t believe you did it”. But I didn’t do it, we did it. Conception truly is a joint effort and this was our time for it to happen; after eight times of ‘not this month’ it was hard to take in. What didn’t help is the next morning I went off to Somerset on what can only be described as a 3-day grown-up Pony Club camp where I flung myself (avec horse) over showjumps and cross-country fences to my heart’s content, determined to carry on as normal. I knew reality must have set in when I received a text saying “Darling, have so much fun but please, please be careful and don’t fall off”.

The last 19 weeks have bought 8 weeks of pretending it wasn’t happening so that we didn’t get our hopes up, the relief of the 12-week scan and the joy of sharing the news with our nearest and dearest. At our scan I will admit my first thought was “thank god there is actually a baby and I haven’t made all of this up”.

So far so good; all my blood/urine tests are showing the right things, the scan was as should be, screening tests were all low risk so fingers crossed we continue this way. My BMI is higher than ideal so I am classed as high risk and therefore have been referred to a consultant, who I have now seen for the first time and it was (in a nice way) a pointless appointment where she said “I’m looking for an issue in your notes so we have more to talk about but there aren’t any”. I won’t see her again until 36 weeks, when, incidentally, Oxford hospitals give you a third scan. So, our 20-week scan is around the corner and just need the tiredness and sickness (yup, still being sick at 19 weeks!) to go and this oh-so-promised bountiful energy to appear!

Thinking ahead to next time (I say this now in a world of blissful ignorance about what’s ahead) I will definitely track my cycle from the start and I will confide in close friends. I know the risk of miscarriage is so high in those first 3 months which is traditionally why you would keep pregnancy on the down low but I need the extra support of my BFFs to stop it feeling too isolating. I also will take the pressure off me and my husband, we’re doing our best and we’re trying to bring a child in to the world because we have such a desire to create our own family unit and heaps of love to give. Finally, I will buy shares in Clearblue, surely the richest company around.

Image by Anna Hardy