It’s the middle of the night and I can’t sleep; Kirsty is sleeping away from home tonight, with the children, they are enjoying a night at my mother-in-law’s and I didn’t go because they will all be fast asleep on the living room floor and by the time that I would have turned up after work all four would have been sound-o, and we didn’t fancy trying to get four semi-hysterical toddlers back to bed after their mama had woken them up.  But now the house is silent and dark save for me tapping away on the laptop keyboard, because I can’t sleep.  I’ve never been much good at sleeping when the house is empty.  It’s not that I am afraid to sleep alone, it’s just that Kirsty and I are so rarely apart that it feels odd not to wait up for her, like a labrador.  Even when I am trying to wind down, I find myself listening for the sound of her key in the door.  She even has the dog. So I thought that I would write a quick update as to what we’ve been up to recently, pregnancy aside.  I find that I get so caught up in writing little updates on instagram, I forget that not everybody uses it or follows me – and of course, my blog audience was my first.  Some of you have been here since before my sons were even born. Our daughters turned eighteen months old on the 30th January.  On… View Post

It’s not often that I spend a full day with my ‘firstborn’, as we sometimes call the dog. Woodland walks and pootles around our local parks are typically enjoyed with two, if not four, toddlers in tow.  This in itself is lovely, of course, but sometimes I crave little excursions of just the two of us; a chance to connect.  Josephine-dog has been my dog for six years next month; she was my dog before my children were born, she has been my devoted companion for almost all of my adult life.  There is something special about spending time with her, about the way that in quiet spaces, she seems almost able to hear my thoughts and to respond. We were excited to be invited to a ‘Behind the Scenes with Bakers’ event on Thursday, just me and the bearded lady.  I requested and was granted the day out of the office, took the little chaps to nursery and then hopped on the train with my little dog to go and learn more about Bakers. We started the day with coffees and a chance to chat amongst ourselves – it was lovely to see Hannah from Make, Do and Push and Laura from Five Little Doves, with their little companions in tow.  Josephine-dog enjoyed a polite sniff of both, and a little meet-and-greet with the other dogs there as well.  It was good to meet the Purina team, as well as to meet Sandra Strong from ‘Dog Film School’ and ‘Pippin’… View Post

It’s the fifth of February. I’m laying on my back, thighs parted and held apart. And I am trying to steady my breathing; I feel as though my lungs are leaking. There is something about this position that makes me feel small, that reminds me of the frogs that Persephone and Magnus used to startle from the detritus around the pond, the frogs that would lay prone and still upon their backs like little, breathing corpses. I am trying to remind myself that this is consensual, that I was excited for this; I am telling myself the story of it as though I am a small child, the way that my heart thudded like horses racing as the bus took me from the stop by the Dorchester Hotel all the way to the Lister, how just ten minutes ago the embryologists beamed like children receiving a commendation in assembly as I took the photograph of the blastocyst on the screen and immortalised the before-you-were-human forever. The doctor between my legs is explaining what she is doing, she is apologising, I can feel my lips mouthing ‘fuck’ over again and just as my body begins to twist away from the pain it is over and she is retreating, with a scraping sensation and a platitude that I barely hear. My body feels like a bruised apple. It feels like an apple that has been thrown against the wall until the skin has split and the flesh is mashed.  I replace my… View Post

I am pregnant. The baby is three weeks and four days old and smaller than a full stop at the end of a sentence.  It is such early days; it was only on Monday that the baby was transferred from cryopreservation to my womb, and we found out yesterday that I was expecting.  My head is a mess of emotion; this baby was (obviously) so planned and is so wanted, and yet I am feeling everything right now.  Enormous joy, what-have-we-done terror, sadness for those friends to whom babies don’t come so easily and for whom my news might feel like a knife in the heart.  And this pregnancy feels like a bit of a shock; we made a whirlwind decision in mid-January to bring forward our planned frozen embryo transfer, which was originally planned for March, and to see that beautiful double line on a test so soon… my own heart is so full. All week long, the boys have been talking about Baby Winter.  In fact on Wednesday, as the snowflakes began to topple from the sky, Balthazar turned to Kirsty and he said “Yook, Mummy – it’s snowing for Baby Winter!”.  Kirsty texted me immediately, because it seemed such a strange connection for a three-year-old to make.  I should have taken it as a sign.  Of course, these are such early days and there are no guarantees of a baby to welcome home at the end of this – but we are full of hope.  And whatever the outcome,… View Post

Tuesday, CD5. On the table, I think about the meat under my skin; the yellow blubber into which I’ve pressed the needles, the throb of arteries and swoosh of blood and the jumble of organs inside of me. I am worlds away from the susurrus of consultation between my thighs. The rise and fall of my breaths are tsunamis and my being is displaced. So I build a boat for my mind and float away on the water. I am untouchable until they speak my name. This will all be worth it for the baby: approximately one-hundred-and-fifty cells of human potential whom the embryologist graded ‘perfect’ one October, just as the leaves were turning golden, before tucking it away for its long Winter. I have given up coffee and I decline champagne in the boardroom, laughing when when a colleague asks me pointedly if I am pregnant again. But I feel contaminated by the memories, the body-that-was-not-my-body that will belong, for a time, if it sticks, to this perfect new human. How can I convince an embryo to make a home of this toxic wasteland? I don’t know how to be habitable. But oh, beautiful tiny human, I want you. When I picture our future I can see you; the boys and their sisters are exploring the beach together, they are investigating the rock pools, gentle hands cupping tiny crabs, running strands of seaweed through their fingers, displaying to each other tiny treasures and then bringing them to you, our… View Post