On the morning of New Year’s Day 2012 I was deeply and irrevocably hungover. My wife wasn’t. Not even a bit. In fact she was chipper. She shouldn’t be chipper on the morning of New Year’s Day. It was wrong.
In fact, it was very right. She was pregnant. It seems that her unusual sprightliness was her body’s way of getting her attention. To say it had something important to tell her.
When she showed me the line on the stick the first thing I felt was a searing sensation in my face. My brain at that moment must have resembled a ginormous home computer from the 1980s. It didn’t have the processing power to deal with the information just fed into it. And it overheated under the strain.
That the news came as a shock was a shock in itself. We had been trying for six months after all. But we had reached the stage of introspection and self-doubt. I had looked deep into my own crotch and wondered if the issues were to be found there.
It was troubling to think that my own genitalia could be so obstructive to the thing we wanted most. Like they had declared independence and were acting directly against the rest of me. So one of the first things I experienced that morning was a warming sense of pride that me and my bits had collaborated to such productive effect. And I gave them a high-five (virtual obviously). We were impregnators.
The truth is that we had become a little more precise in our process. Nothing too taxing, just a simple case of knowing when ovulation was happening and acting on it. Egg-timing, I suppose.
We are confident in pinpointing the moment of conception to a night just before Christmas. I am fairly sure that I had inadvertently prepped my swim team by going ice-skating. When I say ice-skating, I mean ice-mincing. I mean clinging onto the side of the rink and at one point briefly yet violently interrupting a young smooching couple.
I am convinced that the ice had brought down the temperature of the lads downstairs. Apparently cool sperm are healthy sperm, and I’d just subjected mine to the equivalent of a fortifying Boxing Day swim in the Serpentine. They were just jiggling about for warmth.
It took a few weeks for me to properly get my chops around impending fatherhood. In this time I often sought sanctuary in John Lewis. There I would roam around the baby paraphernalia section trying to ascertain exactly what emotional and financial toll that my unborn child would bring. More often than not however I would simply ride up and down the escalators in a stupor. I still do that now. I regard it as a mindfulness technique.
The only thing I was certain of in this ocean of unknown was that again all of me would need to work together as a team. Hot face, cold balls, we were all in this together.