After my little rant about how hard the third trimester is, I felt a little guilty so I wanted to rectify that by documenting some of the nicer parts of pregnancy. Overall, I know that I won’t look back at this as a horrible experience because I think the good days have definitely outweighed the bad! I thought that this would all fit into one post but it turns out I blab on a bit (Who would have guessed?!) so this post is on the journey leading up to me actually getting pregnant.
So, how did it all start? Don’t worry, I’m not going to get into some educational spiel about the birds and the bees. Basically, I have wanted kids for quite a while. Funnily enough, when I was a teenager I swore blind that I never wanted them. Children were smelly and sticky and they shit themselves and threw up on you and that was just not for me. Then, when I was eighteen, (now bear with me because this sounds made up but I swear, it isn’t), I had this really vivid dream one night that I was holding a baby and the baby had that glorious new baby smell. That was it. That was the whole dream. But I awoke the following morning feeling broody and I’ve wanted kids ever since. Of course, I didn’t want them at eighteen but I had it in my head that some day, yes, kids were for me.
Fast forward seven or eight years when I was engaged to be married and my other half would bring up kids quite often. He was eager to start a family and while I knew I wanted kids, the thoughts of having them rightnowthisminute was slightly terrifying. I used our impending wedding as an excuse. “Well I don’t want to be pregnant at the wedding”/ “Well I’ve already bought the dress now, if I get pregnant I won’t fit into it” etc. So we waited until after the wedding, and the honeymoon, and then I started a new job so that wasn’t ideal either. When the subject came up again and again, there was always a way to offset it a few months. I wanted to feel ready. When I mentioned that I thought we should wait until we had a house (we currently live in my parents’ house while we save), my husband flipped. I was constantly moving the goalposts and who knew how long that would take?! He was right. There was never a perfect moment.
Despite being on the pill, any time my period was late or I felt a little nauseous and the ‘could I be pregnant?’ question flashed in my mind, I never felt nervous. I would think ‘okay, not planned but not upset about it!’ so why did the idea of trying to intentionally get pregnant scare the living shit out of me? I think maybe because it is so final. So life altering. Once you’re pregnant, that’s it. You’ve got a kid to look after for the rest of your life. (Okay, obviously until they’re eighteen but hey, I’m twenty eight and I live at home, and it’s not as if you stop worrying about them the second they’re legally an adult!) I knew I wanted all of that but at the same time, you’ve got a one-way ticket to a destination you cannot leave.
I heard stories about people trying desperately for children for years with no luck. I watched documentaries about IVF, about people losing much-wanted babies and it scared me. We spend so much of our lives taking pills and morning-after pills and buying condoms, fretting when our periods are late in case we’re pregnant. What if we tried to get pregnant and it turned out that all of that worry was for nothing, because we couldn’t?!
I would love to say that I woke up one morning and said ‘This is it. I’m ready.’ but in reality that didn’t happen. I fingered my half-empty pill packet anxiously after taking it out of the pocket of my handbag where it lived and I tossed it into a drawer in my room. Stupidly, I was halfway through a packet. It was sort of a spur of the moment thing. It took me a few days to tell my husband even though I knew it was what he wanted. It was like saying it out loud would make it real. We were trying for a baby.
Babies were something that came up in conversation at work or with friends, and at first I was anxious to tell anybody. I didn’t want to say we were trying because a year on if there was no sign of a baby, I would have to explain that it wasn’t as easy to get pregnant as they try to make out at school to scare you. If I started having difficulty, I didn’t think it would be easy for me to talk about and I didn’t want everyone I knew asking about it.
I downloaded an app on my phone to track my cycle. I noted when I got my period, I kept track of when we had sex, I got a notification when I was ovulating. I have an obsessive personality and I was scared because I knew that I was the type of person who could become totally addicted to this. It could take over my life. Eventually I could talk about it out loud but I would say “Well, we’re not actively trying but if it happens, it happens!” with a shrill laugh, the app sending me vibrating notifications in my pocket reminding me of signs I was fertile.
Then I felt sick. It had only been two months. After the inital period I had gotten when I stopped taking my pill, I got one more and then nothing. I was very irregular before I started taking the pill and I got awful periods which was why I was on it in the first place. My cycle was around five weeks, sometimes six, always a guessing game so it wasn’t concrete evidence that I was pregnant. My stomach was very swollen though and I was extremely nauseous. I had no appetite. I knew I wasn’t feeling right so I did a test. Negative. Three days later I still felt awful. Another test. Negative. A few days later, still no period. Another test. Negative. I started Googling if it were possible to be pregnant but for it not to register on a pregnancy test. Of course it could happen but it was rare, particularly after taking so many. It was irritating me. Even if I wasn’t, I would get over it but why was my body acting like this? And if I wasn’t, could I just get my period so I could start thinking about getting pregnant the following month?!
Eventually I did get my period and I have no explanation for that body weirdness except for perhaps it was a side effect of coming off the pill and having my body trying to regulate itself.
The following month, I watched my app. Based on my round-about five week cycle, I was due my period in a few days. I had no symptoms but the thought of pregnancy was always in the back of my mind. I was standing in the bathroom, just about to hop into the shower, completely nude when I decided that I would take a test. It would say negative and I would be able to stop overthinking my period. Checking and double checking every time I went to the loo. I was home alone so I slunk into my room, grabbed the test and did it. I had done quite a few tests at that stage. I knew it took time for results to appear. I had sat and looked at the little white box while the minutes ticked by. I had studied it up close to see if anything faint had appeared.
The last thing I expected was for me to dip the test in my pee and for a dark blue line to appear almost straight away. It was so vibrant. So strong. Almost instantaneous. I was pregnant. No symptoms. No inklings. No idea why I had even bothered with the test in the first place. Yet there was a big bold blue pregnant line.
And I was home alone.
Oh, I had all of these lovely visions of presenting my husband with a World’s Best Dad mug or wrapping up the test in a gift box to give to him. I imagined filming his reaction. I had dreamed about telling my mam who was desperately needling me for a grandchild. I had seen all of the lovely pregnancy announcement videos online with people hugging and crying. I panicked.
I picked up my phone and contemplated ringing my cousin, who was also pregnant, to ask how accurate pregnancy tests were when they had a giant screaming blue line on them. I was sure my mam was at the shop and thought about calling her to ask her to pick up a second test so I could be sure. Then I realised that I absolutely had to call my husband and let him be the first to know.
He was at work which meant it was rare that he could answer his phone but he did after a few rings. I’m pretty sure I said something like “Are you alone? Can you walk outside please? So eh I was just going to get in the shower but I decided to do a test, I don’t know why, but eh it says that I’m pregnant but I don’t know, maybe it’s wrong but the line came up straight away and I’ve heard that if they say you are, that generally you are, like they’re not really wrong but maybe it is but I should do another one to be sure…” or some other babbling nonsense like that. He got the general gist though and I burst into tears. Obviously I wanted to be pregnant, we were trying for this baby but it was such a shock. I had absolutely no clue that I was pregnant so it was a complete surprise. We didn’t stay on the phone for very long. I think he was just as shellshocked as me.
Then I rang my mam. Still in total disbelief. She was driving when I rang so my aunty answered. I asked her to put my mam on and she said they were in the car park of the shopping centre looking for a space and that she’d put her on once they parked. She heard the tears in my voice and kept asking if I was okay. I burst into tears once more and then she got really worried. I heard my mam in the background asking what was wrong, her voice edged with panic. Eventually I spilled the beans and my mam started screaming in the car with excitement, she later told me she almost crashed. They parked up, forgetting why they were at the shops in the first place, ran straight to Boots to buy me another pregnancy test and flew back to me so I could double-check. (Again I know that while there are a multitude of reasons that your negative test may be wrong, if it says positive, it is almost always right but I was still in disbelief).
My mam and aunty arrived back and I couldn’t cook up a pee for the life of me. I sat on the edge of my bed and explained in detail exactly what had happened. They were so excited but I still couldn’t bring myself to believe it. Eventually I felt like I could go again and the more advanced test I had urged my mam to buy for me read ‘Pregnant 2-3 weeks’. After much screaming and hugging and crying, I eventually got in to have my shower.
As I washed my stomach, the idea of it one day growing huge in order to faciliate a child seemed the craziest thing in the world. There was a little person inside of me. It felt so surreal. In fact, I wouldn’t say that it felt real for an incredibly long time. Perhaps when I found out the gender or started to notice that my clothes didn’t fit, or maybe even when she started to kick? Pregnancy is a weird and wonderful time and I have become obsessed with reading other people’s experiences with it so please share your stories in the comments. How did you find out? Were you trying for long? Who did you tell first?!
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