How do I get pregnant?
It’s a valid question, right? And it is one I found myself asking late last year when I still wasn’t pregnant after nearly a year trying. You assume once you have one, it will be easy to get pregnant again the second time round. This really wasn’t my experience.
When I was trying to get pregnant with Isobel I used the Glow app to track my monthly cycle as I am usually anywhere between 28-35 days, so it can be hard to predict my ovulation. This worked great with Isobel and after about 3 months I was pregnant. So this time round when I wasn’t after a few months I started getting a little obsessed about what could be wrong. I started using ovulation kits after 10 months to see if I was ovulating, luckily I was, but still nothing was happening.
I reached out to a few of my friends who had difficulties getting pregnant, to hear about what they did. Some had gone through IVF, some just waited and it eventually happened and sadly some are still waiting..
When I was again, a few weeks late with my period in November, I thought this is definitely it. I even thought my boobs were changing. I still didn’t take a test as I didn’t want to jinx it, or be disappointed. But unfortunately a bigger life event happened, when my uncle died very suddenly, and this threw me into two forms of grief, one for him and one for the baby I could not produce. I got my period the day of his funeral, and I couldn’t separate my emotions or know what I was crying most about.
A week later I decided to get some professional help, and I made an appointment with my GP. We had been through a lot of change in a short space of time, and I wanted to understand was it just stress preventing me from getting pregnant or was it something medical that was wrong. I was really emotionally going to that appointment and I could not stop crying when I was telling her my history and my cycle and about my late periods. She suggested immediately we do another pregnancy test as my period was due the following day, I hated this, another negative test. She then arranged for a series of blood and other tests to be completed, but they had to be done on certain days of my cycle, so I had to wait for my period before we could begin these tests. It was coming up to Christmas holidays and I thought great, I will get my period on a bank holiday and another month will pass before I can figure out what is going wrong.
Christmas Day arrived and still no period, and no tests could be completed yet, I was about 7 days late at this stage, the doctor had explained very carefully to me that when my period was late, and I wasn’t pregnant, it was my body not ovulating. Then realising it did not ovulate, it would then kickstart the process with my period, once my body realised it was not pregnant. Fascinating stuff from a science point of view, that I never knew about my own body! My brother made a passing comment to me about having no.2 and how hard that would be given how much of a energy ball Isobel was. This just sent me into floods of tears that I could not control, I was so emotional that day. It is very hard to hear and listen to people ask you about when you are having a child and I found these conversations extremely difficult. One of my NCT mums gave me some great advice on this, and she was such a support for me, when I had these really difficult days thinking I could not get pregnant.
A few more days passed and I still didn’t have my period. I met a friend of mine for a run and I had a long chat with her afterwards about what was going on, and waiting to do the tests. She told me to take a pregnancy test as maybe I was actually pregnant this time. I told her I didn’t even think this was possible and I was just probably not ovulating again. But she pushed me into it, so on my way home, I bought the cheapest test possible as I didn’t want to be wasting money on tests again.
Turns out, yes I was pregnant. I just sat on the bed in shock, and didn’t really believe it, trying to think back when I could have conceived, because I really did not remember. The one month I did not use the app as I was sick of getting negative results! Since the test only cost a couple of euro’s I thought it could be wrong, so I went back and got the expensive tests the next day and took about 4 more. All were positive. I still didn’t really believe it, as I did not feel pregnant, compared to how I felt in November when I thought I had symptoms. I called my GP and explained what happened and she was equally shocked, she kept me on the referral list for the fertility specialist just in case we needed it if I miscarried early.
I continued taking tests every couple of weeks, as I was still in shock. I wasn’t until I got to the first scan, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought ok I think I am pregnant. I cried throughout the whole scan and it was awful my husband could not be there with me as a result of Covid restrictions in the hospital.
I am now heading into my 3rd trimester this week and sometimes I am still looking down thinking, are you still there? The baby thankfully is very healthy, measuring well, and moving around loads, especially at night!
I still have a lot of friends going through IVF, trying to conceive and I think it must be the toughest process any couple has to go through. I only got a slight glimpse of what that was like and for me it was such an emotional rollercoaster and I don’t think enough people realise with the questions they ask, how tough it can be on women especially.
If you are having any difficulties speak to your GP. I knew going down that road with IVF would not be for us, but the GP explained there are other options available if you feel IVF is not for you.
If you experience grief in your pregnancy, reach out and talk to people. It can be hard feeling happy about your pregnancy sometimes when you have lost a loved one. It is only from recently attending pregnancy yoga classes that I feel I am really connecting with my baby and not feeling guilty about being happy about it.