Welcome to my weekly blog on impending fatherhood. I’m Jim, my wife’s name is Daisy, I turn 50 in September and Daisy is 37, and we're expecting our first child - hence The Geriatric Dad Blog! This is a proper, ‘in real life’ read from a man's perspective, so I hope you enjoy and follow the series as we go from pregnancy tests, to first scans, through all the ups and downs of impending parenthood. This week - lightning crotch and finding out you're pregnant...
One of the many things you’ll find about being a dad-to-be (geriatric or not) is that you learn new things about your partner almost every day during her pregnancy.
Today I got home from work and, as I walked through the door, the first thing to come out of Daisy’s mouth was: “BABE! Today I had my first case of…”
She paused, no doubt to increase dramatic effect.
“Of what?” I prompted.
“LIGHTNING FANNY!!!” she loudly exclaimed.
I glanced over, worried a neighbour had heard, as the front door was still open. Luckily, nobody was about.
I didn’t really know how to respond. I'd never heard of it.
“Erm…” I mused. “Is that, er, a good or bad thing?”
“It’s something that happens during pregnancy,” Daisy explained. “It’s like an electric pain that runs through your vagina. I was in Waitrose this morning when it happened - it went right through my labia. I had to stop for a few seconds as I walked down the vegetable aisle!”
It's not often I am lost for words, but on this occasion – as I put my work bag down onto the living room carpet – I was indeed struggling to know what to say.
I couldn’t think of anything similar pain-wise I had ever experienced in my genitalia that could ever compare to a lightning bolt through labia. Perhaps getting kicked in the goolies while playing in the Under-14 rugby Second XV might have come close. That was pretty bad (luckily, as evidenced by the fact I’m going to be a dad, no lasting damage was done).
I sympathised before getting the sausages out of the fridge for dinner.
“Oh don’t worry,” she said, looking me in the eye. “I’m quite excited. It shows the pregnancy is moving on!”
Later that evening – and being careful to put the Chrome settings on my work laptop to ‘private browsing’, lest the IT department were to see my search history – I Googled ‘lightning fanny’ and ‘pain in vaginal area during pregnancy’ to see what came up.
The first thing to say is, it’s a real condition, though the more accepted terminology for it is ‘lightning crotch’ as opposed ‘fanny’.
While it’s most common in the final weeks of the third trimester, it can happen earlier, as was the case with Daisy, who’s coming up 13 weeks.
Causes of it are debated in the medical fraternity, but generally it can come about through baby being overly active and ‘dancing’ in the womb (which is a VERY cool thought!) or perhaps pressing on a nerve.
Potentially also it can be caused by a lack of magnesium in the diet, so when we speak to our midwife next we’ll raise it and see if Daisy’s next set of bloods mean an alteration to her diet might be needed.
But generally, ‘lightning crotch’ is nothing to worry about and not an indicator of any immediate problem.
Over our sausage dinner, we recalled the moment three months previously that we found out Daisy was pregnant.
It didn’t really go quite to plan. Not that I know how finding out you’re pregnant should go to plan.
You might recall how last week, Daisy tested herself using a cheap test strip from Amazon some nine days after ovulation, to try and find out if we’d been successful after almost a year of trying. And that a positive line came up on that test – a line that was so faint, to start with only she could see it.
So… it was time to bring out the heavy artillery of pregnancy testing kit; a two-pack digital Clearblue digital jobbie costing in the region of £16 that boasted a 99% success rate, even though Daisy was not even two weeks past ovulation.
Out came the pee-pot. Into the pee-pot went some urine (more urine, you get used to urine) and – after reading the instructions – into the urine went the test end of the Clearblue digital device.
Daisy kept it dipped for the recommended timespan (I think it was a good few seconds) then laid it down flat on the bathroom floor.
A light started flashing and, on the small screen, a bar appeared – also flashing – which slowly got longer and longer, indicating the test was underway; giving us an idea of its likely duration.
It was just after 5am on a cold January morning and I needed a number two desperately, so as the test did its thing I sat on the toilet to do what comes naturally.
Daisy was horrified.
“This could be the most important moment of your life… you choose now to have a poo?” she said, as the bar on the digital display agonisingly crept toward a conclusion.
After what seemed like ages, the bar filled most of the screen. Then… it disappeared. The screen went blank. Nothing.
“What happens now?” I asked.
“I don’t know!” said Daisy, in a sense of heightened excitement, mixed with a substantial level of anxiety. “I’ve never used one of these before.”
We both sat there, me on the khazi, Daisy on all fours on the bathroom floor next to me, watching the test screen.
Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought that finding out you are to be a dad could be like this.
Seconds passed slowly, each one seemingly longer than the previous one.
“Do the other test,” I said eventually, finishing my business and getting up off the toilet. There was obviously either a fault in this test, or we’d done something wrong. We re-read the instructions and found we’d followed them perfectly a few moments previously.
Nevertheless, we ran the test again.
Once more the bars built up to their endpoint, just like a computer downloading a new piece of software. Only this time, rather than going blank, a message appeared.
“ERROR!” the screen shouted at us.
Error? Error!? How could there be a sodding error? We’d done exactly what we were supposed to do, to the letter. We were not amused. It was now coming up to 5.15am and we didn’t have any more tests.
“JIM!” Daisy exclaimed loudly. “GO TO THE 24-HOUR CHEMIST NOW AND GET MORE TESTS!!!”
After Googling where there might be a 24-hour chemist nearby and finding the closest one was over an hour away in Leicester, I suggested we wait until the local Boots was open.
Off we traipsed to Boots immediately after breakfast. Two more Clearblue tests were purchased along with a couple of alternative Boots-owned kits, and back we went.
The whole process was repeated.
This time, the bars reached their endpoint and stopped flashing. There was a brief pause (that felt like ages) before those immortal words appeared on the screen.
Daisy and I simultaneously drew in a sharp lungful of air and, as if choreographed, turned to look at each other in perfect symmetry.
We were both silent, mouths agape. Finally, it had happened. Daisy let out a quiet scream of joy, sheer excitement tempered by disbelief.
I just felt a sense of overwhelming relief that, despite rugby injuries sustained to certain dangly body parts some 36 years previously, I was capable of becoming a father.
A couple of very close friends were told later that day, but other than that, we kept schtum right up until I started writing this blog at 11 weeks. Following the positive tests, we just went to work as per normal. But despite this apparent normality, I also had that sense that my life was never going to be the same again…
Next week I hope to talk about the viability scan we had privately and the anxieties of pregnancy in the first trimester. But let’s see what happens over the next seven days!
Read more popular articles
GDB Part 1: Introducing me, my wife, and our conception journey