'I want a GIRL!'
Here's Lysa's story in That's Life magazine, after her story appeared in the Daily Mail. She was so desperate for a girl that she kept on trying until she got one - six kids later! #sellmystory
Walking through the shop, I gazed at the cute, frilly baby dresses on their tiny hangers and drew my hand to my bump instinctively.
‘I hope it’s a girl,’ I said.
‘Why?’ my partner Mark asked.
‘So we have one of each,’ I said.
I liked the thought of our three-year-old son Rhys having a sister and so did my mum Sonia.
She was battling breast cancer and was worried she wouldn’t get to meet her new grandchild.
‘If it’s a girl, can you call her Riyah?’ she said.
‘Of course,’ I said.
When I was seven months pregnant, Mum passed away. She was 46.
I was a complete wreck and was grateful I had the baby to help keep me distracted.
At the right time, I gave birth to another son, Recoe.
Clutching him in my arms, I looked at his tiny features. He was adorable, but I felt sad I hadn’t been able to grant Mum’s wish.
Two years later, I fell pregnant again.
‘Shall we find out the sex this time?’ I said excitedly.
‘If you want,’ Mark replied.
At our 20-week scan, we discovered our unborn baby was a boy and my heart sank.
I was so happy he was healthy, but I couldn’t believe we would have three sons.
We soon welcomed Romario into the world.
I wasn’t done yet though.
I was obsessed with getting my little princess and I refused to stop until we got her.
But Mark and I went on to have two more children – both boys, Reyon and Rakai.
I had enough kids for my own five-a-side football team.
Coming from a very boy dominant family, everyone thought I destined to have only sons.
‘Let’s prove them wrong,’ I told Mark.
‘What?’ he said, his eyes widening in horror. ‘We’re not having any more kids.’
‘Just one more,’ I pleaded. ‘Before I’m 40.’
‘Come on Dad, we want a sister,’ the boys chimed in.
I laughed and Mark rolled his eyes.
Tapping into Google, I started researching how to conceive a girl. I scoured forums, read every old wives’ tale and learnt all about the various methods.
I’d tried some before half-heartedly, but this time I meant business. I was desperate to change my luck.
That week I burst through the front door, my arms laden with bags. Then I filled the fruit bowl with oranges.
‘What the heck?’ Mark said.
‘An acidic diet could help us have a girl,’ I said.
Within days I’d switched from eating salty foods to citrus fruits, dairy, meat and vegetables. I even had to ditch my favourite spicy crisps.
Next I bought a pack of PH strips online and started testing my urine to see if my diet was acidic enough.
I also started taking magnesium supplements.
My final party trick was timing when Mark and I had sex. I’d studied the theory about female sperm being slower, fitter and living longer than male sperm.
I worked out that if we had sex earlier in my fertile window, the slower female sperm might still be alive to fertilise the egg by the time I ovulated.
That month, I worked out the dates and five days before ovulation, I grabbed a bottle of red from the kitchen.
I poured Mark some wine and later, once he’d had a few glasses, I led him to the bedroom…
After that, I kept up my acidic diet, supplements, PH level testing and planned sex.
Months later, I fell pregnant for a sixth time.
As the pregnancy progressed I began to feel quite different to before. Instead of feeling drained I was full of energy and zipping around the house, decorating and tidying it.
My breasts had always stayed the same size when expecting my boys, but now they were huge! The baby was wriggling around a lot more too.
‘Maybe I feel different because it’s a girl,’ I told Mark.
But I tried not to get my hopes up.
Soon it was time for my 20-week scan.
‘I don’t want to know the sex,’ I said quickly.
The sonographer was a trainee though and as she moved the scanner over my tummy, she said: ‘She keeps moving’.
My heart skipped a beat as the word ‘she’ ticked over in my head.
‘Let’s not get excited,’ Mark said. ‘She might have got it wrong.’
At 41 weeks, I went into labour and slipped into the warm birthing pool at hospital. I breathed through my contractions and the second I pushed my baby out, I pulled it up through my legs and turned it upside-down to check if it was a boy or girl.
‘Pull it back up!’ the midwife screamed.
I’d accidentally dunked my baby’s head back underwater - but I was on cloud nine.
‘A girl!’ I cried.
‘She’s beautiful,’ Mark said.
We named her Riyah Sonia, in memory of Mum. I was sure she’d sent her as a gift from heaven.
When we returned home, the boys were all smiles.
‘She’s perfect!’ Rhys said.
Soon after, I stocked up on girls’ clothes and loved being able to put Riyah in the frilly dresses I’d been dreaming of for so long.
Now we have a house-full with our six kids, Rhys, 22, Recoe, 18, Romario, 15, Reyon, nine, Rakai, six and Riyah, three, and Mark works hard to ensure they don’t go without.
It’s lucky the boys adore their little sister because she definitely rules the roost. Riyah is feisty and demanding, and always ends up getting what she wants.
After years of trying, I am thrilled to finally get my princess. I’ll never know if the methods I tried helped or whether it was fluke, but I’m relieved my addiction to having babies and my obsession of wanting a girl is over. It only took 18 years and six kids!
Lysa Martin, 42, North London