So… that escalated quickly. One minute we’re quarantined and the next, we’re pregnant! I have a feeling we won’t be the only ones coming out of this weird season with a quarantine baby.
Okay but truly, we could not be more thrilled! John and I have just been spending the last couple months wrapping our minds around the fact that we’re going from a family of 3 (including Piper) to 4 in just about a half a year! I’m 12 weeks and 1 day pregnant, due January 4th, 2021.
The due date is actually one of the sweetest things for me. Of course, I know he or she could come early or later, but I’m guessing it’ll be after the holidays regardless. First, my sister’s birthday is December 29th and it will be so fun to have a side-by-side celebration. Plus, I LOVE the holidays and always have a bout of sadness when they’re over, but now I’ll never be sad after the holidays again. Just one of so many blessings both known and unknown in this new journey.
Or at least on our families’ minds when we told them: Did we plan this?! I mean, we just moved across the country last year to California. John switched jobs with the move, we bought a house, our dog had to get knee surgery. The world is sort of in shambles and not to mention, a major pandemic is going down. *Chandler from Friends voice* Could it BE a worse time to get pregnant?
We’ve had… a lot on our plates, that’s for sure. But, yep! This was planned! This is when my nervous laughter would kick in if we were sitting across from you in real life discussing this because I definitely do see how crazy this timing is, but hey, I’ve always said I embrace and thrive in chaos.
So, here. we. go.
To be fully transparent, I was never sure I would be able to get pregnant easily. Actually, I was pretty certain it would take a while. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 19 because of severe hormonal acne and a very irregular cycle. When I Googled the other symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome at the time, infertility (or major fertility issues) was at the top of the list. And I was a little heartbroken. Of course, I was a CHILD then. I wasn’t even sure I wanted kids and had some fears about it outside of the fertility part, but not knowing if I’d be able to didn’t seem fair either.
I began quietly carrying that diagnosis and story with me. Other doctors would say they weren’t sure if I had it; one outright said I very likely did NOT have it a couple of years ago, but they never told me I should do further tests or a sonogram to check since I wasn’t considering having kids at the time. So, I just kind of wondered and let the worry hum softly below the surface anytime I thought about having kids.
It didn’t matter on a day-to-day basis because I went into marriage saying: at LEAST 3 years until we start “trying.” (And then baby fever hit, whoops.) After we got married, I felt so secure and so happy. And I began getting curious and more ready to learn who was right: the doctor from when I was 19 or the doctors since? I also kept hearing heartbreaking story after story of friends of friends who would start trying and then struggle for years to conceive.
The part of me that carried the fear of infertility for all those years began wondering… What if we wait 3 years just to try and then it ends up taking 2, 3, 5+ years, just for baby #1? For someone who wasn’t so sure about kids for a long time, the worry became heavy and persistent.
I shared my concerns with John and while he was open to starting to try earlier than my original 3-year plan, we both knew the first year of marriage just wasn’t the right time. He was applying to jobs in the wine industry and we hoped for a move into a better role for him (which ended up coming with a move from Texas to California). We hoped he’d get a job but if he didn’t, we knew he’d continue searching as long as it took until he got something in that industry. It just wasn’t the right time to get pregnant OR to start the journey of figuring out fertility if we couldn’t get pregnant.
And then… he got a job in the wine industry! And we moved to California. And settled in. And fell in love with it here. And just felt SETTLED for the first time probably ever. We were busy soaking in our new home (which, if you didn’t know, is in Sonoma County and we honeymooned here the year prior, so we had LOTS of fun settling in and being tourists in our new home).
So, 6 months after moving to California, John had a job he loved. We were actively looking for a house to buy to settle down here more permanently. My work was going so, so well, and our relationship was in a great place. So… why not start trying now? We weren’t going to put a ton of pressure on it, but the timing felt good and if we WERE to get pregnant, we’d be totally fine. But again, in the back of my mind, I figured it would take 6 months, maybe a year… and I also expected to have to go on some kind of medication or treatment based on what I’d heard others with PCOS go through.
My cycle was still irregular and I’d still get the occasional cystic breakouts (those same symptoms that got me the PCOS diagnosis in the first place), so I always just assumed my hormones were screwed up and it would be a tough road for us. It sounds so, so, so cynical now, but I think it’s more a testament to how the stories we tell ourselves for years become truth in our minds if we let them.
I knew I had a pretty doubtful mindset about the whole thing, and as someone whose mom raised me to believe our thoughts become our reality… I figured I better start trying to reframe my thoughts if I wanted to potentially have a better chance at getting pregnant naturally.
Okay, let me say here: I KNOW how woo-woo and weird this sounds, and I also fully believe that medicine can do wonderful, miraculous things. I would not have been deterred if that was our story, and I really expected it to be… But to combat what I believed about my health, I started repeating a sort of mantra to try to be more positive about my body and its capabilities. This is majorly woo-ey, but it made ME feel more confident. I’d repeat to myself: “My body is strong and capable of making, carrying, and birthing a healthy baby.” I’d say it again and again on walks and runs mostly, and even though I didn’t totally believe it, I think it helped me start believing in myself more in a subtle way.
I KNOW. It’s very kooky and I am a bit embarrassed as I type this. And I also don’t think this mantra “healed” me. I truly think I was misdiagnosed from the beginning — I probably had imbalanced hormones and fatigued adrenals from years of intense, competitive sports and horrible food habits/body image. Anyway, I only share this because I do believe our minds our powerful, and this mantra helped me visualize actually getting pregnant and seeing myself as a mother more than I ever had before.
After we bought our house and moved in March, I was tracking my cycle more closely using an app called MyFLO, and we “tried” this time during the ovulation window it gave me and… that was it. A few weeks later, our dog had just gotten surgery and as I sat working with her sad, drugged little self in our bedroom, I randomly pulled out a pregnancy test before brushing my teeth, completely sure it would be negative. (It was the week before my period would’ve been, so I wasn’t even sure anything would show up.)
I took the test and set it down as the one negative line immediately began to show up. Unsurprised, I brushed my teeth, and afterword, I picked the test back up. The very faintest, but definitely-there, second line had appeared. POSITIVE. What!? I jumped on my computer and began Googling false positives (not a thing) and faint double lines (still a positive). Then I ran back to the bathroom and took my only other test, and again, a faint second line appeared. I STILL was not fully convinced.
I ordered a 4-pack of more tests from Target that would arrive the next week, actually on the day my period was due to start. I wanted to wait to tell John until I was totally certain. I knew it was so early that it could be a chemical pregnancy and I honestly just was so shocked that IT (maybe) WORKED and my body COULD do this, that I just sat trying to grasp this secret for a week until the next tests arrived. Thanks to quarantine, we weren’t running any errands, like at all, so I couldn’t just pop out and pick out some for myself, which ended up being a blessing because I didn’t want to take another early test.
The most hilarious part (to me) was having to tell John I was going to do a “dry week” without alcohol because, I said, I felt like I was over-indulging in quarantine so I wanted a health reset. Wine is a pretty significant part of our life since he works in that field, so he was like… “Okay, enjoy yourself! But I’m not doing that.”
Jokingly, he then asked if I was pregnant. “Nooo,” I said. “Just trying to stay on top of my health.”
It was semi-torturous keeping the secret while waiting and wondering until the tests arrived that next week, and then they showed up one day earlier than expected. (Which NEVER HAPPENS, especially not in Coronavirus times!) I was so relieved and John was on a work call when they arrived, so I ripped open the box and took one the moment they got here.
After I took it, the screen stayed blank for minutes — not positive or negative — and as I frantically read through directions to see what this meant, I learned it was a defective test. By then, I’d waited and held on to this secret for 6 days and then emptied my bladder on a broken test, but I was determined and forced out the tiniest bit of pee (TMI, sorry but I need to remember this, ha!) for a second test.
I was so annoyed at first, and then became worried the whole box was defective. You’re supposed to pee on the test for 5 seconds and I could hardly get a few drops out. But it didn’t matter because immediately, it read positive. No wait time. I took another the next morning, JUST to be sure. Positive again! IT WAS REAL!
I told John that weekend. It felt like Christmas morning and I woke up at like 4 a.m. just so excited to share the news with him. I baked homemade cinnamon rolls and printed out a sign that said, “Cinnamon buns aren’t the only bun in the oven.” (I can’t help myself with carb puns!) I hid the sign in our coffee mug cabinet as the rolls baked and woke him up, saying I found something weird in a kitchen cabinet. He was SO freaked out, and I was just giddily trying not to giggle or give it away.
He came out into the kitchen, very groggy and VERY skeptical, asking what was in the cabinet the whole time. “I don’t know! I promise it’s not gross though,” I told him. (He later said he thought it was going to be a dead rat hahaha.) He very, very, VERY carefully opened the cabinet from a distance and pulled the sign out. He just kept saying, “What?! What?!” as he read it and teared up. It was truly the most special moment and such a surreal gift to share the news with him that we are going to be parents.
Oh, and the buns were delicious, too.
After taking the second round of tests, I was just so, so, so thankful and thrilled that my body could actually do this. Our bodies (both John and mine) could create life, after I’d worried for so long that it would be a difficult, painful road. In a way, the positive tests were like an affirmation of what my body (and our bodies as women) can do. For so long, I wasn’t sure if I was capable, and here was the proof (a pee-covered stick of proof) telling me that I actually CAN do this.
It’s the most beautiful, sacred, and still-shocking realization I think I’ve ever experienced. And it’s also showing me to be careful with the stories I choose to carry about myself. Sometimes, yes, they’re absolutely true, but sometimes they’re not, and I wonder if the last 10 years would’ve looked any different if I hadn’t worried about my body’s capacity and strength. But more than that, I’m more thankful than ever for health — mine, John’s, and the little one’s on the way.