(From my memoir ‘to Paris for lunch’)
Celebrating my Daughter’s ninth birthday last week, I remember how it all began one cold January night in 2008. ‘Of course you can still get pregnant! You might be an old bird, but you are a healthy old bird!’
This was my plain-speaking friend, Jo, on our first night out after she gave birth a few weeks earlier to a lovely baby girl. Smelling the baby’s head and seeing her little nursery switched something on inside me that had been dormant for many years, and I became very broody.
‘Don’t think it’s easy, I tell you – giving birth is like passing a melon and then follows nothing but sleepless nights and sore nipples. But…isn’t she beautiful!’
After two miscarriages in my mid-thirties, I gave up hoping and trying. Life was busy anyway with work and stuff, but two glasses of red wine and seeing her at home with her lovely daughter made me talk. I told her about my longing to have a child; my sadness and frustrations, and that I felt I had left it too late. But my friend couldn’t understand why I thought it was too late and what I was waiting for. ‘This is why we are here, to reproduce!’ was her simple conclusion.
‘It’s the best Nicole, believe me. You still can get pregnant, just get on with it. If it does not work within the next few months go and see a doctor and get some help. It might be your last chance!’
She was right, I thought. I still have a chance!
Walking home on this very cold night, it started snowing and I could feel snowflakes falling gently on my face. They felt pure and fresh. Slipping into bed I told my partner that I had made up my mind. ‘I want to have a child!’ And that was all I said.
One month later I celebrated my forty-fourth birthday with some of my girlfriends. We had seafood and champagne and I remember feeling very odd in the evening. My instant diagnoses was: too much champagne or too much seafood, or too much of both!
I woke up at three a.m. I opened my eyes and suddenly I knew what was going on. I crept into the bathroom and found a pregnancy test. My hands were shaking as I was watching the blue line appear. It was impossible! It had been only four weeks since I made the decision to try and get pregnant, but can it have happened so quickly? I sat down on the edge of the bath holding the pregnancy test, looking at the blue line in disbelief.
On the 23 October 2008 I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl.
Is this what it is all about? Mind over matter? Or was I just very, very lucky?