So yesterday I alluded to exciting news. Well, let’s not beat around the bush. I’ll just lay it on you, and lay it on straight:
I’m pregnant! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!
I’ve been waiting soooo patiently to tell you, and now that I can finally spill the beans it’s such a relief. It’s been hard sitting on this news, and I feel like I’ve just been holding my breath in. Exhaling feels . . . amazing.
WARNING: If you don’t want to hear talk about periods and bodies and birth control and the like (ehem, gentlemen), you can just mutter ‘congratulations,’ look a little awkwardly at your left toe, and close your browser window. I’m not getting too graphic here, no worries there (though the words “period,” “cycle” and “blood” will appear repeatedly), but since I love hearing the details of pregnancy stories, I want to share the details with you guys and gals too! Plus, I gleaned so much from women who were willing to be open about their stories that I want to pay it forward to anyone else out there who may be wondering about . . . stuff. Right.
We decided last year that in September of 2011 we would start the “baby process.” In preparation for this, I stopped taking the pill in June 2011 and we used natural family planning during the summer. I’m so glad that the Spirit honed my instincts to make this decision, because it took my body 3 months to get a period again. Can you believe it? I mean, I was on the pill for 6 years, but I wasn’t expecting not to actually get a period until the end of September. Thankfully, September was the month in which we had decided to initiate Plan Babytastic. In other words, start trying.
“We’re trying.” Those words are so intense. When you’ve finally come to realize you want a baby, entering the “we’re trying” phase–even if you only say those words to yourself in your own mind–opens up a big old emotional . . . thing. Suddenly, you start a mental calendar. You start tracking how long you’ve been trying, and looking ahead to when you think the “we’re trying” might become “I’m pregnant.” Those words “we’re trying” hold the past, present, and future in tension with each other, saying clearly to yourself and to everyone “we’re ready to leave our old life behind and start a new chapter,” and more than that, “we are daring to hope.”
In an effort to keep his heart free from the anxiety that the hefty, weighty “we’re trying” can bring, my husband (and this is just my opinion–though who can fathom the mysteries of the masculine brain?) referred to the process not as “trying,” but as “seeing what happens.” His approach sounded almost like a casual flinging of the odds to the winds by a carefree spirit who wasn’t worried about the cycle of fertility, and definitely could have a baby if things panned out, but would be fine with whatever, really. I’m so happy he took this attitude. I encouraged this, because I didn’t want to make this a time of anxiety for him, or for us as a couple. But . . .
. . . in my little arrangement, I was counting days. There was no ‘casual flinging of the odds’ or losing track of the fertility cycle. Oh man was I counting days. I was counting days and making moves and making moves and counting days. Yup.
I tried to prepare my soul for this process. I coached myself on a regular basis saying, “It takes some people years and years to get pregnant. In the end, it might turn out that one of us is infertile. And there’s always the possibility of miscarriage. Just chill Jenna–just chill. Anything can happen.”
I didn’t dwell on these scarier realities for long or get myself down imagining the worst-case scenarios in high resolution detail (believe me, I know what it’s like to walk in fear, with the discouragement, dragging, and dreadfulness of it–that wasn’t what I was doing), but I wanted to make sure my heart didn’t leap ahead of reality, expecting to get pregnant immediately and for everything to go smoothly. I’ve had too many friends go through the pain of miscarriage for me to go into this assuming that nothing bad could happen to me.
Throughout everything, I tried to look at reality, recognize the possibilities, and then turn to God and say, “You are good. I trust you.” And move on.
Overall, I didn’t feel obsessed. I felt good, ready for anything. Trusting. Until my period came due every month. . . and then I would take a pregnancy test. Or two. They would be negative. I’d wait a few more days, and when that first blood inevitably showed up, my heart would sink. For a split second I would feel a rush of emotion and sadness, almost like an adrenaline wave–and then I would move on and start counting days again. Trying to look forward, not back.
When I heard other women announcing they were pregnant, in person or on facebook or by email, I had to make a conscious decision not to go down a certain path–the “what about me, God?” path. The “why does she get that blessing when I’m still waiting?” I could either let myself embark on a path of jealousy, dissatisfaction and whining, or genuine joy and thankfulness for their good news. With the help of God I chose the path of joy each time (and not thanks to my own strength–I know myself too well to claim that!), but I was always aware of the temptation to do otherwise, lingering on the sidelines. It wasn’t too hard yet, but I could see how every month was going to get a little more challenging as we waited.
Then, January happened. My cycle started on January 4th. I counted days, made moves, prayed for trust, tried to chill out, and generally succeeded in staying calm, living life, not thinking too hard about it. And then day 32 arrived. This was totally normal, since my cycles since September had consistently been 35 days. But I was getting impatient to know, so I took a pregnancy test anyway. It was negative, but . . . was that a tiny, faint, tiny, almost invisible line?? I bought another packet the next day and took another test. Clearly negative.
When day 35 came, I held my breath every time I went to the bathroom. Was my period going to start? Would I be able to quickly step through the disappointment and out the other side?
Then day 36, 37. Still no blood, but I told myself that meant nothing–just that when my period did finally start it would be a little harder to take. I examined myself for symptoms, but I really had none. I mean, my dreams were really vivid (something Heidi has experienced), but they’re always pretty dang vivid.
I told myself I was completely out of control with my heavy pregnancy test usage, and decided to wait until Valentine’s Day to take another. But on Monday February 13th (day 41) I just couldn’t wait any longer. I took one, and as the colors washed into the little circle and the little oval, a line started to appear quite quickly–then two lines.
I was pregnant.
My heart was racing. I got a rush of joy.
. . . to be continued tomorrow . . .