A Singapore father's diary: my attempt to get the Mrs Pregnant!
Practicing to make babies is a lot of fun but pregnancy itself is a serious matter -- although there are many exhilarating moments of joy and self-discovery on the journey. With this in mind, we are pleased to introduce an exciting new series of articles by Singaporean father-to-be, John Ng, who shares his own bewildering and euphoric experiences along the way. John uses his knowledge and perceptions in a quirky way to help expecting fathers to understand what's happening to their lives and pregnant wives as their world gets turned upside down....in a good way of course.
Michele and I were married on the warmest day of March. It was rather untypical of the season at 29 degrees! We didn't know it then, but our bedroom life would mirror the sizzling heat of our wedding day in the months of bliss that followed.
You see, we grew up watching television where teenage girls get knocked up after their first night of passion and movies depicting female protagonists pushing a pillow under their dress the moment the director says 'Action!'
So on the night of our wedding, we were more than eager to get it on as we were utterly convinced Michele's stork would bear good news within a few weeks. And get it on we did....
Well a few weeks went by and Michele called me from work one day.
“Hey babe, guess what?”
“Oh my god. You tested yourself at work?” I quipped as I prepared to pop the cork.
“No. I've got my period.”
There I was, a 30-something bloke on a couch, feeling like Hollywood propaganda had deceived me. My world was crashing down on me faster than I could bemoan 'Noooooooooooo...' I felt betrayed, used and wanted all my days spent watching teenage soap operas (that's your cue, Dawson's Creek and Felicity) refunded.
Michele came home that night and we shared a joke with each other. Surely we had our ambition pegged a notch too high, so let's lower it and enjoy sex while we're at it. After all, that's what married people do, no? Have sex and have babies, yes?
Another month went by and Michele copped another dose of the period blues. We weren't particularly devastated; rather it inspired us to try out various ways to conceive. Stopping short of old wives' tales, I believe we tried just about every possible way to conceive. For the uninitiated, that means she did not stand on her head, defy the gravitational pull or pray to the Goddess of Fertility.
I remember reading up pregnancy guides several years ago (I was bored at home) and there was an explicit guide to conceiving written by Western medical practitioners. The method involves lifting the woman's legs over her shoulders as she lies flat on her back for 20 minutes after the man has ejaculated. This way, the sperm would 'follow the gravitational pull' and the one lucky sperm would then 'do his thing'.
It was around this point I suggested to Michele the same procedure, only with an added prop – a pillow beneath her lower back to help elevate her hips. She thought it was the silliest thing to do, but I was convinced it would work.
So a few weeks sped by and Michele began to test herself in the bathroom, urinating every week onto the blue stick. Optimism turned into disappointment as it always read 'negative'.
My mother-in-law heaped the pressure on me and asking several times if we were doing it right (I hope you were kidding Caroline!). She told me to just 'get on with it'. Okay, I'll just press the big red button here beneath my navel.
Now I won't normally admit to this, but for a few weeks I found sex boring. Yes, SEX WAS BORING. It became mechanical, stoic and I was doing the 'thang' through rote-learning. Hardly awe-inspiring or the mind-blowing sex we experienced the months before. I felt jaded, uninspired and wasn't looking forward to nights where I had to tuck Michele into bed as it meant another 30 minutes of stale, boring sex.
It didn't make any sense to just have sex for the sake of it, so we took stock of the situation and defused it with a laissez faire attitude.
We started making fun of my sperm. Perhaps the little fellas didn't like swimming. Or they preferred the breaststroke to the more efficient and direct freestyle. Maybe I was firing blanks. Or maybe I'm a hit and miss kind of guy. I would tease Michele and tell her she hadn't gotten her hips high enough and reminded her to use another pillow in future. I reckoned her timekeeping skills were way off too, as she stood up after 10 minutes. The sperm was probably on the way there before being flushed out by Michele's impatience.
Most importantly, we realized a pregnancy doesn't just happen and though it can be planned, it's not the destination that matters but the journey. We were prepared to enjoy the two of us as Husband and Wife, not Desperate, Horny Man and Must-Be Preggers Woman.
We also decided to take our good friend's advice and chart Michele's last ovulation date. That way, we're able to count the number of remaining days left before the next ovulation – saving myself a lot of huffing and puffing at night in the process.
It didn't happen on our wedding night and it didn't happen in our first month. In fact, nothing happened for three months. I was already beginning to dread another inevitable call from my mother-in-law when it all came together on a cold winter morning sometime in July.
But that, is another story.
Editor's Note: This is part 1 of the pregnancy diary series.
Part 1: Trying to get pregnant
Part 2: We are pregnant
Part 3: The first ultrasound
Part 4: Baby gender
Part 6: Waiting for the birth
Part 7: Baby is born