And that was that… decision made. After the first month of “trying” we eagerly raced to the pharmacy to pick up two pregnancy tests, absolutely convinced that we would be pregnant (even though it was way too early to tell). The excitement and sense of anticipation simply got the better of us. Read result: Negative (on both tests). “That’s Ok” we thought, it’s only the first month. And “trying” really isn’t that much of a problem anyway.
Well, month after month went by and still the tests came back with negative results. So, we decided to visit an obstetrician, who calmly told us that we were young, and it will happen when the time is right. (What kind of medical advice is that anyway? Every time I spoke to someone about it, they would say the same thing, and I didn’t have to pay her a small fortune to do so…)
Two years later and we were still not pregnant. This time we went to a fertility specialist. Test after test we were told that we needed a little help. Well, IVF was just way out of our price range, so we took the next best option and started meds and fertility treatment. Another year went by and still … nothing. Not even a false pregnancy, zero.
We had depleted all our savings, even gone into debt, and still had nothing to show for it. Depression and frustration began to set in. You live it, you wake up to it each morning, you eat it as part of a steady diet in almost every conversation, you fall asleep to it almost every night – praying and dreaming that the next test will be positive. Every moment of every day you become more painfully aware of the fact that you’re just not falling pregnant. WHY?
It reached a stage where I could not stand being around a pregnant person. If I found out a friend was going to be a parent, I would lock myself in a room and cry. I made excuses not to attend baby showers or first birthday parties. My heart was broken, I was broken… My husband grew quiet, believing it to be his fault, afraid that our dream of having a family might never come true. The realization that you may never hold your baby in your arms is earth-shattering.
The stress it puts on a marriage is like the slow strangle of a wily serpent. It slithers in slowly, quietly and undetected, until one day it strikes with a grip so strong you can barely breathe. We started blaming each other, without verbalizing it. Resentment and bitterness began to set in, and we steadily grew further and further apart. Sadly, sometimes, you just simply don’t have the physical energy to sit down and deal with it. You are too far gone, down the road of emotional blame and resentment. And many couples just walk away from each other. But we refused to be another statistic! We would keep trying.
A friend of mine suggested that we should try acupuncture, to reduce stress and promote general health (yup, we were that determined), apparently the benefits were amazing. But another year went by, and no baby.
Six years into trying to fall pregnant we made a major move up country… You know, new beginnings and all. Thinking that a change in scenery and life would renew a sense of hope for us both. And I soon went to visit the local gynae in our new hometown, who sent me for more tests. I remember sitting in his office and him sadly looking at us as he said: “This is never going to happen.” He was genuinely sad for us.
We left broken.
A few weeks later, the phone rang. It was a friend of ours, who told us about two little brothers aged 1 and 2, who needed a forever family. It was the Friday. Secretly I was shouting YES, YES, YES, but practically I was freaking out. We met our sons the next Monday, I remember so clearly looking into these two sets of big brown eyes and falling in love immediately. I can’t even think about that moment without crying. For us, it was love at first sight and that following Friday we got to bring them home. Oh, how life can change from one Friday to another!
Let me just add, going from zero children to two in one week. Absolute chaos! Our community rallied round us, in two short days we had everything we needed to welcome our sons home. It was a baptism of fire, that first nappy change, the first week of zero sleep… But instantly we became this little family. My heart couldn’t get any fuller.
Well, that’s what we thought!
Six weeks later, on my husband’s 30th birthday, I knew something wasn’t quite right. Strangely enough I decided to take a pregnancy test. And there it was… POSITIVE… I cannot explain the emotions that rushed through me.
Shock. Disbelief. Surprise. Inexpressible joy!
I sat my husband down and pulled out the test. There were no words, just tears, many, many exhausted tears. But was this actually real? I went for a blood test immediately and popped into my gynae’s rooms. He just looked at us and even shared our tears. Then he cracked a joke to lighten the mood, he looked at my husband and asked: “Are you sure it’s yours?”
He needed to crack a joke, though, because he also had some tough news for us… This was a high-risk pregnancy. I was put immediately onto hormone treatment and had weekly checkups for the first 3 months.
Thanks to an incredible doctor and access to wonderful medical treatment, we were now going to be a family of 5, in just under a year! 9 months later, after an easy pregnancy, our precious little girl and the boys’ baby sister was born. We were smitten! The boys adored her, and our family was complete.
After ten short months of our picturesque family, only just starting to get used to each other, we found out that I was pregnant again. Seriously, we thought this would never happen again, but here we were, pregnant again.
4 Children in under 4 years. It was another little girl who came into the world with a bang. Our lives became chaotic. Well, chaos doesn’t even begin to describe what our home was like at that time. Two preschoolers, one toddler, and a baby. It was bedlam on most days. But it was glorious at the same time.
This was it. We had our family. My gynae asked me if I wanted to have my tubes tied and we laughed at this. NO we said, this will never happen again. A year later my husband was scheduled to go in for a vasectomy. We were done. For good.
The Dr called and asked to postpone the surgery by a week as he was ill. The surgery went well and I remember us sitting down and looking at our four children and feeling complete.
This was going to be one hell of a journey, but one we looked forward to.
While my husband was recuperating I started to get ill. Nothing seemed to make me feel better.
4 tests later and in a state of utter shock we found out that we were expecting… AGAIN!!!
I must admit, there was a small moment when I looked at my husband and the same thought overwhelmed us both. Are you kidding me!
9 months later our little baby boy arrived, with 4 older siblings that were enthralled by this little creature.
We never expected it, we never dreamed of it. But here we were, a family of 7. Perfection at its best.
Needless to say, I had my tubes tied immediately!
Now I wake up each day in one hot mess… running between working full time, authoring my first children’s novel and trying to remember whether I should be packing a tennis racket, cricket bat or ballet pumps. I live by my colour coded calendar, surviving many #momfails and #parenty moments trying to make it all look normal. All in a day’s work.
Jacqui Bester is firstly a wife and mom to five rambunctious children who drive her nuts and fill her heart with unspeakable joy all in the space of a single day. She writes about her day to day adventures and misadventures in parenting, life and marriage. Jacqui is known for sharing a brutally honest account of her MESSY “mamahood”… the joy, the fun, the laughter and the tears. She enjoys a good mystery-crime novel with a lovely glass of red wine, trying out new foods and restaurants with her hubby on the odd date-night, exploring new places, learning new skills, and generally anything else that calls for a more adventurous approach to life. You can find her over on One Messy Mama.