My husband and I were planning on trying for a baby in late March 2013. We figured that, like most couples, we would try for at least a few months, and maybe we would encounter challenges, and maybe we would have to see some specialists, and maybe with luck and blessings we’d be expecting sometime in 2014. I was pretty convinced that I would have minor-to-major problems getting pregnant, because:
- I had struggled with some form of acne most of my life, no matter what products I used, what I ate, or how hydrated I kept myself. I assumed I had hormonal issues.
- A few years back I began spotting a day or two before my period, which I was told could be due to a progesterone imbalance.
- I could feel myself ovulating, and it was not comfortable. I assumed this was not okay.
- As a teenager I struggled with super heavy, very painful periods.
- I struggled with anxiety for most of my life.
- I have some serious childhood trauma and my fears of being incapable of mothering someone masked themselves as fears of infertility (but more on that later).
I had spent 2012 using Fertility Awareness and religiously tracking my basal body temperatures every morning. As I mentioned, I could pretty much always tell when I was ovulating because I would get crampy and one of my ovaries would pulse. I stopped charting in January of 2013 because my love and I decided we were just going to relax, and “whatever happens happens,” and you know, I really honest-to-goodness did not think I was going to just easily get pregnant. That sort of thing only happens on television anyway, right?
As a fertility massage therapist, I had been practicing self-fertility massage for years to alleviate cramps during ovulation and to help my body cleanse after my period ended. I loved this practice- it was always very cathartic and really helped me with gastrointestinal pain as well. I believe that weekly massages are a major factor in why I have been practically symptom-free from Ulcerative Colitis for over 4 years. Despite this practice, however, and even as a doula who fully trusts a woman’s body to labor and birth… I couldn’t shake this very deep (and unfounded) concern that my body was broken in some way.
We were married on Friday, March 1st, and after an exhaustingly fun weekend full of festivities and wine and thai food, I was feeling rather depleted. I awoke Monday morning with an aching throat, a runny nose, and I was just so tired. Tuesday was full of the same symptoms. I felt like real crap. I figured all of the stress over the wedding, and a lot of wine just had me run down. Wednesday I felt a little bit better, but in the evening I noticed I had begun spotting. This horrified me, because though I hadn’t been temping, I still kept track of when my period came and went. If I was on a regular schedule still, which I had been for a few months at that point, my period wasn’t due until SUNDAY.
I couldn’t believe I was spotting so early! A few years back I had begun spotting a day or two beforehand, and recently had spotted as early as 3 days before my period had started. Now, by spotting on Wednesday, I was spotting a full FOUR days early, which surely meant a hormonal imbalance, which surely led to fertility issues, am I right? I cried to my new husband that night, telling him the sad news. In typical fashion, he gave me his best sympathetic look while politely telling me to relax, that I was over-thinking things, and that everything was fine.
Thursday, March 7, I awoke feeling like something was amiss. I was either sick or something was up. Though I hadn’t charted my basal body temps in a few months, I had done so so often that I knew what my normal range of temperatures was depending on where I was in my cycle (very handy information). It was 7 am, a bit later than I usually temped, but I took my temperature anyway. I’ll never forget that it read 98.1. Usually before my period and after ovulation I was in the mid 97’s. I NEVER crossed the 98 degree threshold, anything over a 98 is a good indicator that I am approaching a fever. I did not. feel feverish.
I had one pregnancy test in the medicine cabinet, left over from a paranoid episode back in 2012. I decided to take it with first morning urine (FMU), completely not expecting anything to turn up. Because that would be insane. There was only one possible chance of conception, but I wasn’t even sure exactly when that was, and I, of all people, certainly wasn’t going to get pregnant “from just one time.” After dipping the stick, I sort of forgot about it and went about my business washing hands and talking to the cats that came to see what I was up to, and eyeing all of the cathair bunnies on the floor that I needed to take care of. Before I left the bathroom, as an afterthought, I plucked the stick off of the edge of the sink and was reaching across my body to open the trash can when…
Is that a line? No. It was so, so faint. I had played this game before, where I could only MAYBE see a line an hour after dipping it, or when I turned it a certain way, or squinted with one eye. I tried all of these tricks, and yet could still see the line. And it was pink, and it was within just a couple of minutes. My heart started racing and I told the cats “Uh oh.” I thought after years of being baby crazy (mothers and babies are my line of work, after all) that if I so much as SENSED a second line, I would be ecstatic. But I wasn’t ecstatic, I was concerned that I was losing my mind. I took some pictures of the stick as proof, though the line barely registered on camera, put on my shoes and headed to CVS. I purchased a double pack of digitals, because then there would be no guessing. I was 99% sure I wasn’t pregnant, and was fully expecting NOT PREGNANT to show up so I could make some coffee and go about my day.
I very calmly drove home, calmly read the directions, and calmly dipped the stick after hydrating and waiting the longest hour of my life to generate some fluids. I placed the stick on the floor and pretended to delve more deeply into the instructions, trying to focus on anything other than the stick on the floor that was about to decide my fate. The directions stated that the digital screen would go through a series of blinking, and would then deliver The News. I couldn’t help but peek, and lifted my head over the giant sheet of directions…. and saw blinking. My heart really started pumping then, because I knew that the next time I looked I’d have my answer. I also knew in that moment what the answer would be. And I was right.
A few seconds later, I peeked again, and in big black letters saw PREGNANT. No. Way. My jaw dropped and I just stared. Once I remembered I have arms, I reached down and picked up the stick, staring in disbelief. No. Way.
After a week of mild panic attacks everytime I went to the bathroom (afraid of bleeding), 20 (yes, really) more pregnancy tests, many tears, states of total shock, realizing that we apparently made a baby after a Star Wars concert at William Paterson, and beginning to grasp the lifetime commitment that was rapidly developing inside of me… I made peace. Now at 19 weeks, I am in awe of my changing body, my (VERY) active daughter, my appetite, and my husband’s patience as I ride the waves of pregnancy.
Here’s a 16 week snapshot of our little jedi mid-kick: