When Does Pregnancy Start to Feel Real?

Originally posted October 26, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

I waited until the day before my blood test, knowing that the trigger shot I had taken to help me ovulate at exactly the right time could still be in my system and could give a false positive on the home pregnancy test. By then it was nearly two weeks since the shot. All traces of the artificial hormones should have been out of my system, yet I stood there staring at the faint pink line unconvinced I was pregnant. “Don’t get your hopes up,” I told myself.

The next day the first blood test results came back, low but promising. Promising. That was how I referred to it in my head. Not positive, not definite. Hey, even the nurse told me we needed another test to be sure, so it wasn’t just me being nervous.

Three days (and three more positive at-home pee tests) later the results of the second blood test were great; my hormone levels had tripled. I was pregnant—for now. Because things  happen sometimes, I mean, everyone knows that.

And things did happen. Just days after my first ultrasound, after seeing the reassuring flicker of an early heartbeat, there was a scare. I had bleeding, a completely normal, fairly common, but absolutely terrifying first trimester occurrence that no one, not even Dr. Google, had warned me about. The fears and doubts I’d tried to ignore flooded me in a gush of tears and panic. So I had ultrasound number two. All was still well. Beanie was growing stronger, just as he or she should. So I could finally relax, and enjoy, and stop touching my boobs every hour to be sure they still hurt, right?

Well, two further ultrasounds, multiple mornings of nausea, a new bra size, and countless naps later, I have to admit, the disbelief over this pregnancy is only marginally better, and I really don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because I’ve wanted this for so long that I can’t believe it’s finally happening. Or perhaps after the months of trying to conceive, where not getting my hopes up was the best means of survival, disbelief has become a bad habit. Or maybe it’s just the normal fear and worry any parent feels, in which case I better get used to it, because it’s likely to stick around for . . . well, forever.

I never thought the first trimester would be a piece of cake. But I expected the physical symptoms, not the fear and anxiety, to be the biggest hassle. Instead, I find myself almost relieved when a wave of nausea hits—at least that means the hormones are still doing their job in there! And this from the woman who has an actual fear of vomiting.

In less than two weeks I’ll know my baby’s gender, which may help me picture this little Beanie better than the alien-like images from the ultrasounds. A relatively short time after that I’ll start looking more pregnant. And then I’ll finally be able to feel the miracle growing inside me; actually, at 5’1″ and ridiculously short-waisted, I’ll probably be feeling more than I want.

Hopefully then it will all feel more real, more permanent. Hopefully soon it will sink in that my dream really is a reality—growing bigger and more present every day!

So when did your pregnancies begin to feel real?


Photo credit: Monkeybusiness

Pregnancy: The Secret I Just Couldn’t Keep

Originally posted October 11, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

One of my favorite stories in the seventh grade literature anthology is “Secret for Two” by Quentin Reynolds, a short story of an old man living alone who shares his big secret only with his loyal horse, Joseph. It’s a sweet story that nearly always brings tears to my eyes.

Unfortunately for me, horses must be far more receptive to such confidences than my self-centered feline, who has done nothing more than vomit on the carpet a few added times since I shared my secret with her over a month ago. I thought I was supposed to be the one with morning sickness once I got pregnant?

Yes, that was my secret: I’m pregnant!

I say ‘was my secret’ because the secret for one lasted about as long as it took for the pee to dry on the at-home pregnancy test before I shared with one of my best friends in the form of “Is that a second line, or am I seeing things?”

I wasn’t seeing things. After seven months and five IUIs, I really am pregnant! Pretty much from the moment the second, confirming blood test came back, I wanted to shout it from mountain tops while wearing a neon sign and, of course, my lucky socks. Sure I was nervous. I was terrified something would go wrong, but I wanted someone with whom I could talk about it. And there were so many emotions, questions, and joys that I wanted to talk about it constantly.

But I’m single. There isn’t someone waking up next to me with whom I can roll over and gush. There isn’t someone at dinner each night to laugh or cringe at my odd food combinations (o.j. and pickles, anyone?). It’s just me.

Of course, that’s not true. So many people have been supporting me all along this journey; I knew I could share my happy secret with a few of them. I swore to myself, though, that I wouldn’t put it on social media until after my first trimester, because that would be taunting the fates, not to mention breaking the bump code. So I started with my immediate family and closest friends. Then I let some of the ladies at work know. And, how could I not tell my ‘dad-at-work’? When I needed some appointments during the school day, I realized I had to tell the boss. And I couldn’t tell my boss and not my aunts who worked in the same building. By the time I was just eight weeks along, my secret for one had become a secret for many.

From then on, I promised myself I’d rein in my over-sharing. I had plenty of people to talk with now if I needed. No more blurting, I vowed. But, hey, when was I ever going to see this supermarket clerk again? Or this random lady in the maternity section of Target where I couldn’t help but browse? And book club only meets every other month, and I really wanted to tell them in person, right? Yes! Oh, boy.

Why was keeping this secret so hard? Was it just that I’ve always sucked at keeping secrets, especially about myself? Did it really have anything to do with being single and not having a close confidant to chat with each night? Or was it that I wasn’t sure pregnancy was a secret that was always meant to be kept?

Honestly, I think it was a little of each. If I’d had a spouse at home to talk about it with everyday, maybe I wouldn’t have wanted to blurt to total strangers. If I wasn’t the type of person willing to share my stories, good or bad, maybe I would have been more anxious about the what ifs (and I was, okay, still am pretty anxious as it is, so I completely understand women who wait!). Or maybe if I just had a slightly better poker face, I could have kept my promise to myself to stay mum until trimester two. But I don’t, so here I am blurting to the world three weeks early.

When it comes down to it, a woman should tell who she wants, when she wants.

For me, there wasn’t the option of an intimate secret for two, and a secret for one wasn’t cutting it. Once I started sharing, I couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. And now I don’t need to. Beanie, as I refer to my little-one-to-be, is doing superb as of my week ten ultrasound; s/he even had some in utero dance moves (clearly the donor’s genes at work there). This mamma-to-be is feeling overjoyed—even when I am exhausted or a little nauseous. And the finicky feline, well, she’s no Joseph, but she is enjoying the occasional middle-of-the-night cereal bar breaks that accompany our not-so-secretive secret.


Photo by Duskbabe