Having been more than thrilled with her mother-of-two status, Sam Wonfor recently enjoyed 36 hours spent getting excited for baby number three.
On a recent Saturday morning, I was pegging out the whites and daydreaming the same scene eight months on – remembering how much I’d loved looking at rows of diddy white babygrows wriggling in the breeze in the days before we found out what the baby kicking the crap out of me was going to look like wearing one.
It’s funny what sticks in your mind, but sitting with a hot cuppa, watching the washing line* and daydreaming about all that was to come was one of my favourite things to do in the couple of weeks before both our kids were born.
(*There were always baby clothes on it; the warm and fuzzy feeling could not have been summoned by the ever-greying parade of underwear, maternity tents and work shirts that alternated with the parenthood laundry prep.)
It had been quite the 24 hours. On Friday morning, our plans for the next eight months/18 years/the rest of our lives had been thrown into chaos in the best possible way, thanks to a pee-sensitive digital display which read ‘pregnant’ in response to my first widdle of the day.
I only did the test because it was there. Literally next to the toilet. It was the remaining test in a pack of two. The first had lied to my face the previous afternoon, with an as-expected ‘not pregnant’ answer to my gut (or more accurately, side boob) feeling. Clear Blue? Clear bollocks.
The negative result had been ‘as expected’ because, historically, we’d had a bit of bother making babies under our own steam.
“We talked about due dates, holiday plans, maternity leave, boys vs girls, buggies, birth plans and whether we might need to consider birth control in the future since, as it turned out, we were fertile as fuck.”
Our first baby was an IVF wonder and our second was a naturally occurring miracle, underpinned by an IVF miscarriage a few weeks before, which we reckon had a part to play. In addition, I’m currently but a kick in the arse away from four decades of being, so statistically speaking, it was more than unlikely we’d be measuring the box room up for a baby changer.
But there we were, just 14 hours later, standing with our arms out as wide as our smiles, trying to remember how deep a cot bed is, and working out whether we could get away with not having a wardrobe. For a baby. (Blaming the hormones there.)
Such was the excitable mood at the breakfast table, by the time we’d clinked our morning cuppas, I’d texted a photo of the digital evidence to my three best friends, my sister and my dad. We couldn’t believe our luck.
Then came a day at work, not telling anyone (but telling a couple of people) and having giggly conversations with the above list of those in the know as they each called to find out ‘how the fuck did that happen?’
I Facebooked our lovely IVF consultant who gracefully put the fact we’d ‘been cheating’ aside and invited us in for an early scan in a couple of weeks – as they do with IVF pregnancies – to see everything was as it should be.
That night there was a sober leaving do, where I poured a bottle of Beck’s Blue into a pint glass, topped it up with lemonade and made it last for two hours.
Back at home there was a treat dinner, featuring a veggie quarter pounder and a mound of spinach as we started as we meant to go on, when it came to side-stepping a brush with anaemia this time around.
We talked about due dates, holiday plans, maternity leave, boys vs girls, buggies, birth plans and whether we might need to consider birth control in the future since, as it turned out, y’know, we were fertile as fuck.
Yes, of course we knew it was only a collection of cells, the collective size of a pin head, but once you see ‘pregnant’, you can’t help but imagine a little face. Especially when you’ve already seen two sets of chubby chops start from the same poppy-seed point.
We slept like grownups (I’ve never understood the ‘slept like a baby’ thing. All the babies I’ve ever known haven’t kept their eyes shut for more than three hours at a time) and woke up as happy as we’d gone to sleep.
As I cleared up breakfast, the rest of the household nipped to the shops to get some pizzas for the eldest’s birthday sleepover and stock up on pregnancy vitamins. They also brought back another pack of two pregnancy tests. Just to make sure.
“The first test had lied to my face the previous afternoon, with an as expected ‘not pregnant’ answer to my gut feeling. Clear Blue? Clear bollocks.”
Something stopped me from taking the test straight away. Maybe deep down I knew the whole thing was scripted to be a flash in the pan, or the oven.
And so it transpired.
As I waited for our four-year-old to cook me up a storm in the under-sevens’ kitchen at our local science centre that afternoon, I nipped to the loo and quickly suspected I wasn’t going to need the extra tests.
I wasn’t pregnant anymore.
Of course we went through a few hours of trying to convince ourselves it might just be a touch of ‘implantation bleeding’ while recalling the story we once heard about a friend of a friend who had their period each and every one of the nine months she was pregnant. (How gutted would you be?)
But by the time I was hanging out the next load of washing, I knew it was all over.
Still, I was pegging out some pretty cool kids’ clothes and both the kids they belonged to seemed to have sensed something was amiss, and had arrived to lend a hand.
I held them while we watched the washing for a bit… and then went inside to prepare for the arrival of four eight-year-old boys with fun, sword fights, pizza and midnight feasts on their to do list.
What seemed like a very weird and wonderful dream was over. But it was OK. I’d wake up smiling to my real world any day of the week.2154 Views