Changes on the Way
So we have a little announcement…so little that it is about the size of a small apple right now.
Dayna is pregnant!
Baby Baker is about 15 weeks along now and due in October. Needless to say, we’re very excited as it’s something we’ve been wanting for a while. You can read a bit of our story and how our plans are changing below (getting pregnant definitely does have an impact on our plans of non stop travel!).
After a rough 1st trimester where Dayna had pretty much every symptom you could have (the worst being 24/7 nausea for 6 weeks straight…oh, and throwing up in a car park), she’s starting to feel better now. Matt is also furiously researching all things baby related and is quickly becoming the resident expert (and even already practiced putting on a nappy on his childhood teddy bear).
We’ve held back and only bought a couple of cute baby things so far as we know we’re going to have to do a bunch more research on minimalist baby gear etc before we buy anything else.
For some people, getting pregnant is as easy as stopping using contraception. Month one of trying and bang, there is a baby on the way. For others, it’s a lot harder. We found it encouraging when we heard or read about others’ stories where things didn’t work out so quickly so we always said if we got lucky enough to get pregnant, we’d share our story.
So here it is…
Way back in August 2014 we got married. We had talked about kids beforehand and always thought we were a year or two off actually going for it. The day after our wedding we got a moment to ourselves and had one of those in depth discussions that you need to have for important, huge, life changing decisions.
Or at least that’s what we’d like to say. In reality, we said “f*ck it, let’s just start now, we both want it and we’ll figure out all the other stuff when we have to”.
And shortly after that we stopped trying not to have a baby.
The first month was pretty exciting as we crossed our fingers and partly thought we’d be pregnant that first month. But November came around with no luck and we consoled ourselves by reading up about how at best you have about a 25% chance of conception in any month.
Fast forward to the middle of 2015 and we were getting impatient. We were still going back and forth on when we should be trying as we had different trips and weddings we were going to be on flights for so there were some months that were blacked out. We had a bizarre and complicated calendar that took into account when we could travel with a baby (or whilst Dayna was pregnant) so we weren’t trying every month.
At this stage though, we had been trying for a while and wanted to make sure everything was all good under the hood so booked in with the Doctor to start getting some tests done. There is so much unknown in this world of making babies that we wanted to know everything we could.
The NHS in the UK are great and cover all fertility testing so we didn’t have to worry about having to pay for anything. The actual experience of fertility testing isn’t a lot of fun though.
Matt had to have a hilarious and awkward morning of taking a “sample” on a bus in London all the way to the hospital with a strict time limit on how long it could take (plus then having to leave promptly to get to work on time). Apparently the whole, “please make your way to room C to deposit your sample” is not how it works in the UK.
Anyway, anyone who’s seen London traffic knows that getting anywhere on a bus in rush hour is hard enough so this would be a stressful journey.
Arriving at a strange, large hospital and trying to find the right ward is also difficult normally but I had to do this with the clock ticking. Weird colour coding systems, patients, doctors and nurses everywhere…this wasn’t easy even with my pre-printed directions.
I found the right area of the hospital and hit the button for a lift that took forever. I gave up and ran up the stairs instead. Once I made it to the right floor I rushed through doors in to the waiting room panting and out of breath, to be greeted by a group of fellow men sitting awkwardly with hands cupped protectively around what I assume were their own precious samples. Thankfully my name was called by a nurse and I was told I had made it on time and got to hand over my cargo in one piece.
Others were not so lucky and arrived even more dishevelled and late to be told sadly they would have to come again another day (*ahem*).
After a slightly nervy mistake on one of the tests for Dayna and a long wait and a lot of chasing to find out Matt’s results, we got the green light on all fronts. Yay – our bits all worked! Swimmers were swimming and eggs & hormones were there and working.
The next step of testing our doctor recommended was a more detailed one for Dayna (scans on tubes etc) but we didn’t have enough time to get those tests done in the UK (we were busy leaving to travel around the world).
At this point we had a nagging suspicion that something was up but distracted ourselves with making plans to travel around the world and knew that assuming we had no luck still, we’d then look at other options like IVF if possible.
We still needed those next tests done though so we figured we’d get to NZ and stump up the cash for the tests there or even in Asia if it was cheaper.
We were hoping that once we weren’t working full time in the UK we’d be more relaxed and at some stage in the next year we would get good news but as we said above, there was a nagging sense of something being wrong.
Roll forward 1 month, Dayna took a pregnancy test when we were in Seattle (more out of curiosity than anything but the timing was about right to take one) and bang the test came back positive (an extremely early positive as it turned out based on dating scans etc that we’ve had since).
So maybe we were just allergic to London. Or maybe the baby really wanted Dayna to be able to make the most of our all inclusive Maldives honeymoon and upper class flights. We don’t really know. The odd thing is that as much as science has moved forward and we know so much now, there are HUGE bits of this whole baby making process that are either unknown or seem down to luck.
No champagne for another few months yet!
One batch of commonly quoted and slightly variable statistics says that of 100 perfectly normal, healthy, fertile couples:
20 will conceive within one month
70 will conceive within six months
85 will conceive within one year
90 will conceive within 18 months
95 will conceive within two years
The hardest thing I find about that is that 5 out of that 100 normal, healthy, fertile couples still don’t have a baby after 2 years of trying. And knowing that makes us even more grateful that Dayna is pregnant right now.
One thing we learned is that trying to have a baby is a stressful, difficult and isolating thing. After getting married there are frequent questions from all over the place asking in one way or another “why aren’t you pregnant yet?” And although we flirted with the idea of shutting people up by answering with “we’re infertile” or something awkward like that, we always just answered with “we do want kids one day” or something similarly bland and pacifying.
We were also bombarded with pregnancies all over the place – it seemed like everyone but us was having a baby. It’s a weird feeling when you are both really happy for someone that they’re having a baby but also feel like you just got shanked in your ribs because it’s a reminder that you, sadly, are not.
It was even hard to talk about with those people close to us and took quite a while for us to open up at all. After all it is a slightly awkward thing to bring up naturally in a conversation:
“Good, weather’s been nice, saw a great movie last night too and oh, we’re trying to have a baby and are starting to think our bits don’t work or something – it’s taking AGES”
We thought it was a private thing, let’s just keep it to ourselves but looking back I wish we had found a way to talk about it earlier. When we did, it helped a lot. Just being honest with a few people made us feel a lot better and hearing more about other people’s stories gave us a lot more hope that it’d happen for us one day soon.
So lessons we learned:
– It’s never really a good idea to ask someone why they haven’t had a baby yet no matter how you phrase the question (although close friends/family being able to talk openly/honestly in a sensitive way about it is GREAT – if you’re trying then I’d definitely recommend telling those closest to you and asking for sensitivity).
– Making a baby isn’t as easy as we thought (some people have it easy, for others it takes a few months, for others it takes a few years, for others it might never happen).
– You can get from Clapham Common to St Thomas’ Hospital in 40 minutes flat even in rush hour.
How are our plans changing?
We always knew this was a possibility but to be honest, it has still come as quite the (fantastic and exciting) surprise.
We would love to say that this doesn’t change our plans but that’s just not the case. However it doesn’t mean we’re giving up on our dream of creating our own sources of income and being able to travel full time.
What it does mean is that we’re definitely going to bring forward our attempt of making money our own way and our travel plans for the next 12 months look completely different to before.
The Rest of 2016
We have switched from visiting Thailand to Sri Lanka mainly because of sporadic outbreaks of Zika virus being reported in Thailand meaning we’d be stressing about every mosquito bite there. After a month in Sri Lanka we’ll be flying to Hong Kong for a week before heading back to Canada for a few weeks.
The trip back to Canada is well timed as we get to be there for Dayna’s Dad’s 70th birthday and catch up with other family and friends. We also need to go somewhere for a longer period anyway as Dayna applies for a new visa for NZ since we will be having the baby back in Wellington.
After Canada we’ll be flying back to NZ for a month long house sit up in Russell in the Bay of Islands in August before setting up a temporary little home back down in Wellington in September before baby is due in October.
We chose to have the baby in New Zealand for a few reasons, the main ones being that all of the pregnancy costs (including all aspects of the birth) are 100% covered for partners of NZ citizens (Dayna isn’t covered for this in Canada because she is no longer a resident), and Matt will have a much easier time of finding a short term contract job if necessary to help cover our living costs.
Plus it’s a good spot for having a baby in general anyway (we love our midwife already and the fact EVERYTHING is covered is awesome).
We’ll spend a few months after the birth in NZ whilst we get used to having a baby and to give us a chance to earn some money then we’ll head back to North America so Baby Baker can meet his/her Canadian family and get some travel experience.
We will spend a decent chunk of time in Canada but we’ve also already had daydreams about road trips around the northeast USA in Autumn. That is all just ideas at this stage. As much as having a baby forces you to change your priorities and plan ahead, we’re trying to keep our options open and will do what feels right at the time.
Babies do travel free for quite a while after all…