Monday, March 26, 2012

Pause & Rewind: I Won!

It wasn't as easy as we expected, and stopping birth control is just one of the many parts of getting pregnant. We had to calculate when ovulation was taking place and plot a calendar, my wife had to start recording her periods, vitamins and folic acid appeared at the breakfast table and a rigorous "exercise" regime ensued.

Getting pregnant also requires that you face some new realities supplemented further by statistics proving that the human body is messy:
  • sperm can survive for up to 72 hours (which if you are taking full advantage of an ovulation potentially leads to quite a backup).  
  • 60% of couples will get pregnant within the first 6 months.
  • 1/6 of all pregnancies will miscarry in the first 12 weeks.
Equally, when my wife asked me whether I’d previously got an ex-girlfriend pregnant the answer of “no” didn’t appear as safe an option as when we first started dating. The idea that you would want to have a baby, but that you may not physically be able to is quite daunting. So I treated it like a competition which I had to win.

But in the end it happens (I won! Or came very close to my personal challenge to become a father by the age of 30), and thankfully as it means I don’t even have to consider my strong held views on adoption). It comes in stages: you suspect it (she's late), then you realise that it must be the case (she's incredibly late), followed by having to endure a new form of shopping embarrassment at the pharmacy (in my case I bought a pregnancy test kit at a Filipino holiday resort where I was at a three-day work meeting), she takes the test and two lines appear so that you can be 99.99% sure, which is finally confirmed by the doctor. In our case the doctor also checked that it was a “happy occasion” for us which seemed a little to invasive…

Now it is a new case of the unknown. All that my parents can tell me is that I will not sleep or read much once the baby is born, and that it will transform my life for 29 years (that’s as far as they’ve got). The book that I bought tells me that all my fears are normal: how will I support a bigger family, I have to travel for work and how will I do that now that I am a father, what if my wife loves the baby more than me? The problem is that none of my real fears are actually listed: what if the baby doesn't know how to throw a cricket ball? What if I continue to live abroad forcing the baby to endure a private education? How will be baby have any roots if I can't give it a Mancunian accent (and it will be weird to know that the voice talking back to me is a replication of my own)?

Can you tell what it is yet?

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