KT’s work offers a free baby kit through our insurance for expectant parents. In the kit is a book called The Pregnancy Journal. It’s really more of a day-to-day guide of what to expect during the pregnancy than a journal. Recently, the book asked us to reflect on what we remember best about this pregnancy. It made me think about when we first found out we were expecting. It also made me think about the experience we had while trying to conceive.
I have debated long and hard about whether or not to write about this experience since it’s so personal. But then again, I think the discussion about breastfeeding is personal but everyone, men and women, around me brings up this topic in casual conversations without blinking an eye. Putting that aside, I think it is important to remember this so here goes.
We had been trying for a few months before it happened. I was stressed out because it didn’t happen right away. Our doctor tried to manage our expectations from the get-go. She said it usually takes three months for the birth control pills to flush out of the system after we stop taking them. BUT for some people, it happens right away. I wanted to be one of those people who conceived right away. It eventually happened for us at month four. So in terms of the average timeline, we were right where we should be in the best case scenario. Even so, it was a rough journey getting there.
I was stressed out about the probability and difficulty of conceiving as we get older. Especially for the first pregnancy. Then throwing in the mix our less than stellar health, I was completely at my wit’s end. I’m not 20 years old and we’re not fit enough to run a 5k with ease. I know there are many people who aren’t 20 and aren’t in the best shape of their lives, who are having babies. I just wanted to have more on my side to bet the odds.
On top of that, we had to worry about timing. Even though we both learned about the egg cycle during health class in school, I still subconsciously thought anyone having unprotected sex will most likely get pregnant. Come on, all we see on TV and ads is the astonishing numbers of teen pregnancies from their “first times.” But reality hits when we finally decided to start a family. We can only conceive when I’m ovulating so I better know my menstrual cycle like the back of my hands. Even then, the egg is only viable for 12-24 hours. When ovulation starts and you’re not in the mood, you better figure it out soon.
After the third month, the stress was taking a toll on me. I finally decided that we will still be happy without having children. I rather we be happy now and let it happen naturally than be at each other’s throat trying to conceive. I stopped peeing on ovulation sticks and jumped back into my strenuous exercise regime.
Around the time I was expecting my next period, I started getting cramps like usual. But after a few days without menstruation, I remembered reading that cramps is a sign of pregnancy. I decided to take a home pregnancy test the next morning (that’s when it is most accurate), and waited to see if there is anything to tell KT. After I peed on the stick, I went back to sleep because it was way too early. I woke up again a couple of hours later and I rushed to the bathroom to check the result. Pregnant? Not Pregnant? Pregnant. I was thrilled. Cautiously thrilled. I heard enough about false positives to know that I better take the home pregnancy test again.
I brought the test back to bed and tried to wake up KT. I was grinning at him as he glared at me for waking him up. I showed him the test and he asked, “Is that why you’re smiling?” WEIRD question. Yes, that’s why I’m smiling! It took a while for it to sink in. I warned him that I should take another test the next morning just to be sure.
I tried another brand of test the next morning just for good measure. It was one of those sticks that shows either one line or two lines. Is the line darker than the test line or lighter? It was confusing. KT and I stared at it for a while. We think its telling us that we’re pregnant. We finally decided to go buy another digital test that will tell us either we’re “pregnant” or “not pregnant.” After the third home pregnancy test confirmed it, we made an appointment with our doctor for the final test. Usually the doctor will do a urine test, then a blood test. But because we were so thorough with our own urine tests at home, our doctor let us jumped right into the blood test. A few days later, we got our blood panel back confirming our pregnancy. We were finally allowed to celebrate.
Note: Our doctor did mention that we were less than two weeks pregnant. It was significant to point out because most people don’t realize it until they are a month or so along. In calculating back, the cramps most likely started on the day of conception. I took the first pregnancy test three or four days after the cramps started, and then the following tests two mornings after that. We saw the doctor a little more than a week after the cramps started where we took the blood test. That brings us back to less than two weeks pregnant. In hindsight, this should have been an indication that I will feel the pregnancy symptoms earlier than most women and it will be more severe for me.