A Diary Of Artificial Insemination: The Hollyoaks Years

Aurelia and Rebecca face up to it: trying to conceive isn't romantic

Feature by Rebecca Siminski | 02 Jul 2010

Books and blogs on insemination told Aura and I that however much we tried to create a romantic conception atmosphere, we’d eventually be sitting in front of the telly, inseminating in front of Hollyoaks.

But we were determined this wouldn’t be us. We wanted candles and music and a romantic atmosphere. Otherwise we’d be no different from a straight couple.

In fact, Hollyoaks has been specifically outlawed – Tom’s not happy about having children with soap fans. He also told me that the whole deal was off unless I watched the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. And I think I was supposed to enjoy it. The future father of my child is a television nazi.

The first try was actually surprisingly beautiful. The bedroom is cleaned out and there are new white sheets on the bed. Tealights burn above it and the scent of incense fills the room. Aura gently massages my back, my neck, my feet, my legs. They say that for best results, have an orgasm. Oddly, this isn’t the easiest situation in which to do that, but we still manage relaxed and loving.

We have now tried this charade 17 times over 8 months and the Hollyoaks years are well and truly upon us. Twice I have inseminated by myself. We discovered after the first couple of months that the use of softcups, a sort of reverse diaphragm designed for women on their period, is much better than the syringe option both for getting the stuff up there and keeping it there. And, for lesbians, pleasingly less phallic. But it does sort of make Aura more redundant – no-one but yourself or a qualified professional can jam a 3-inch-wide circle up inside you without spilling the contents. It’s sad, and I always want her there if she possibly can be, but the control of my ovaries is beyond me and cannot be planned for.

Contents, of course, have been spilled. Everyone’s combined schedules mean that we quite often have to carry out the whole operation late at night. Once, tired and hurried, I spilt half of the stuff onto a dirty sock lying on the floor. I had to rinse it out in the sink to avoid that smell hanging around. That night, Tom had been getting down to it while I brushed my teeth. Mostly, though, we are still out of the house when he's producing the goods. We get the same ‘safe to come home’ text every time and I wonder whether he has it saved as a template on his iPhone. For Aurelia and I, it's become routine: leave the house, pop to the shops, make a quick phone call, return. I have managed to become blissfully numb to what he’s actually doing while we’re out, which I have to say is mostly a good thing. But it makes me forget that what is a slightly dull chore for us still needs a fair bit of effort on his part. The performance anxiety must be dreadful.

Maybe not. Maybe it’s dull and routine for him too. I do hope I get pregnant soon before we all get too bored.