1. Chat with boyfriend about having children – perhaps two or three of ‘em. Imagine them growing up in a perfect bubble of bliss, or something. Agree you will try and make a baby as soon as married.
2. Have a wonderful wedding day and talk about how romantic a honeymoon baby would be. Convince self you are pregnant on honeymoon as a bit more tired than normal and just have a feeling. Tiredness is nothing to do with all the drinking and late nights and you are definitely not delusional with the feeling.
3. Do not get pregnant on honeymoon. This is okay; it would be a bit soon anyway. Decide to enjoy married life for a while and let nature take its course.
4. A few months later, nature has not taken its course, or at least, the course you want it to. Hmm… Decide to step things up a notch and begin reading about ovulation, sticking test strips into cups of wee and telling husband when it is time to get busy in the bedroom. This must be how to get pregnant – almost there!
5. Hate yourself for listening to old wives’ tales (and wonder briefly who these old wives actually are), but nevertheless, spend up to an hour with your legs in the air and do desperately unromantic things to give nature a little nudge, the lazy cow.
6. Spend the end of each cycle feeling sick, dizzy, tired or weak of bladder. Feel very pregnant, are never actually pregnant. Start to feel sad and pine at pregnant women and little babies.
7. Wonder if things aren’t right. Talk to husband about this, both feel mildly distressed. Everyone else in the world, everyone is making babies. ‘Tis not fair.
8. Begin to dread logging onto Facebook as there is always a flipping scan picture being posted and it is starting to physically hurt. Stop logging onto Facebook.
9. Go on holiday and hope that the annoying instruction of ‘just relax’ is true. Maybe you will get pregnant on holiday. Do not get pregnant on holiday.
10. Force yourselves to get some tests done but feel deep down things are okay – it is just taking a while.
11. Tests are back and you now know why you can’t make a baby. Mother Nature has screwed you. You tell yourself it is not nice to be bitter but then, it is not nice to be infertile either.
12. Feel sad and scared you will never have a child. But you will, you know you will. You must believe. Book another holiday – not to get pregnant this time – to drink cocktails and have fun together.
13. More tests and more poking and prodding later, it is time. You are beginning IVF and are a bit scared, but also excited. Let’s get this baby making show on the road!
14. You have read that IVF is very difficult; you have been told it will push you both to your limits; you are worried that injections seem to cause couples to fight a lot. You wish it didn’t have to be this way, sometimes it feels so unfair.
15. You are pleasantly surprised – IVF is not so bad. You compensate for not partying with trips to the cinema, lunch dates and talking – you have never talked so much! You feel very close and are glad that if you have to do this, you are doing it together.
16. Being overly-familiar with a variety of fertility nurses every few days becomes second nature, as does stabbing yourself in the stomach. You compensate for this with cake.
17. You have discovered your inner hippy. Not usually the Zen-seeking type, you nevertheless have found comfort in meditation and acupuncture. You might even keep this up when it’s over (you don’t).
18. You have some low moments though. Who wouldn’t on this hormone stripping rollercoaster? You feel scared and emotional and terrified of all you are investing in this. Will it work? How will you cope if it doesn’t? Again, cake is of some use.
19. The time races by, as the clinic told you it would and it is nearly done. Things have gone quite well and you wait to hear how many embryos the two of you have made – exciting!
20. Things come crashing down – you have just one tiny embryo and it isn’t the best. Will it even make it to implantation? Will you even have the opportunity to become pregnant? Has this all been for nothing? No one can say at the moment, you just have to wait. It is a long 24 hours and you have had your fill. This is all too much and you stop coping. Mother Nature is a b*tch.
21. Well, your little embryo made it. It is popped inside you, as easy as pie and you daren’t sneeze for fear of disturbing it. You know there is little hope, but there is some. You both cling to that, and cling to each other.
22. You won’t know the outcome for two weeks – time moves backwards. You try to distract yourself with work, books and films. You appear to have no control and cry at anything baby related and also anything not baby related.
23. You feel dizzy, but you have felt dizzy before. You have some funny pains, but you have had funny pains before. You gently remind each other that you are full of hormone confusing drugs which must be impacting on your body, and Google agrees.
24. It is finally time, finally. You pee on a stick and wait for your world to change, for better or worse. Three minutes pass, there is no line. It is over. Is it definitely over? You make your husband check again, four minutes… and something has changed. There is a line. Is there a line? Are you? Could you be? You are pregnant!
25. There is a tiny little life growing inside of you and you feel like the luckiest couple that ever was. At your terrifying first scan you see your baby; or more accurately, a little piece of popcorn, with a beautiful beating heart. This is really happening. 25 months, your fair share of dark days, and that sliver of bruised hope – but you made it. You are having a baby! Not everything comes easy, but some things really are worth the wait.