Thursday, July 15, 2010

The day after

Note: This post was written the day after we found out I was pregnant. I couldn't post it at the time, obviously, so I saved it until now. I've since moved on from these particular feelings but they were so strong at the time that I thought it was still worth posting.

I found out yesterday that I am pregnant. Tomorrow I will be four weeks along.

I don't even know how to describe these feelings. I thought when I got a positive pregnancy test that I would cry and be overwhelmed, and I wasn't. I was thrilled. And it still hasn't totally sunk in that in nine months, if all goes well, there will be a baby here.

When I think about the baby my heart squeezes. When I imagine a tiny newborn I am just overcome with joy and gratitude.

I am also incredibly grateful that we did not have difficulty getting pregnant. I always assumed that we would have trouble, and found the wait between ovulation and time of expected period absolutely agonizing. I know most people who are trying to get pregnant feel the same way. The first month we tried, we didn't succeed and when I got my period I sobbed. It was awful and I was crushed. I had just been so convinced that I was pregnant and it was a shock to realize that I wasn't.

Then I picked myself back up, pulled myself together, and we tried again. And on the second month of trying, I got pregnant. I saw the signs as I waited for those interminable two weeks to pass again, saw my basal body temperatures going up every morning, felt the fatigue and then the smell aversion and related nausea, and I thought this is it, this is a real sign, but after my incorrect conviction the previous month I couldn't believe anything.

So on a Saturday morning, May 8, twelve days after I'd ovulated, I took a pregnancy test and saw the faintest of faint lines. Torsten couldn't see it at all and told me I was crazy. So I didn't pee for four hours so that it would be nice and concentrated, and went out and bought a digital test. Two, actually, of different brands, because I'd heard they sometimes gave false positives. I peed on them both and in under a minute, both said the same thing: Pregnant. Then I peed on another regular stick and there was a darker, though faint, line.

Only then, when I saw all three positive tests, did I believe it. Torsten and I stood in our bathroom and hugged and kissed and stared at each other. Then we called my parents, then his parents, then my sister. I spent the day feeling elated. I said hi to my belly several times, and asked how it was doing. When Torsten kissed me I asked for an extra one for the piglet. When Torsten made off-color jokes I told him not to say those things in front of the piglet. I researched what was happening in my uterus at three and four weeks. And I felt a huge weight off my shoulders just knowing we could get pregnant, having it confirmed after years of wondering if this would ever be a possibility for us, even though I had no specific reason to think that it wouldn't be. I wonder if every woman is secretly terrified of not being able to get pregnant. I'm thinking yes.

So, I was elated for a day. Less than a day. I mean, I'm still elated now, obviously. Still can't believe this is happening to me, that there is this little future baby inside me, right now a blastocyst but busy growing, busy developing an amniotic sac and a placenta and a throat. It's smaller than a grain of rice but it's there. I can't believe that. I am so happy about that.

But last night we made the mistake of researching miscarriage statistics. And that was a good lesson to me: don't research the morbid stuff. It is truly better not to know. Until we did that I had thought, "Oh, I know there's always a chance, and we won't tell people until the second trimester just in case, but really the odds are low and I'm sure it will be fine."

Then I saw the stats. The risk of miscarriage is shockingly high, especially in those first few weeks. I almost wished I didn't know that I was pregnant yet, so I wouldn't worry, though of course if I didn't know I'd still be worried about the possibility of not being able to get pregnant.

I always knew that mothers, all parents, worried about their kids. I knew that when you're pregnant you always have the possibility of something going wrong in the back of your mind. But I had no idea what the worry really felt like.

It's weird, being pregnant. It's weird that wherever I go, the piglet comes. I'm going to the grocery store? Oh, I guess the baby will come with me. Dog park? Piglet might as well come along for the ride.

Mostly I feel joyful. I try to put the worry out of my head, because I know the odds are that it will all be fine, because there's nothing I can do to prevent it other than to generally stay healthy and safe. But the thing is that I've only known that I am pregnant for a day and I already feel fiercely protective of this baby. In the past I'd thought oh, if I get pregnant and have a miscarriage it will be awful, devastating, but at least we'll know we can get pregnant. But now, I can't even wrap my head around the idea of that. I don't want A baby, I want THIS baby. This little tiny grain of rice in my uterus, THIS is our baby and this is the only one that I want. No other baby will do.

And so I worry. And try to enjoy the experience at the same time. And take comfort in the incredible smell aversion that I am feeling (I can smell EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE and it all smells TERRIBLE; let's not even discuss the gag-inducing properties of dog food and the seafood counter at Safeway), because unpleasant as those feelings are, they are also reassuring because they tell me that things are progressing as they should.

And I will continue to be optimistic. I will worry, and I imagine that this worry will never leave me again, not when I move out of the first trimester, not when I give birth to a healthy baby, not when it is grown and moved away and living a life of its own, because you always hear parents say they worry about their children, and now I have tasted that worry and I can't un-taste it.

But in the meantime I will focus on the positive. In January there will be a baby. There is no reason to think otherwise, and so I won't. This is our baby, and it is on its way to us. And we are on our way to it.


  1. Great letter! It's so cool that you have this record of how you were feeling right when you found out you were pregnant.

    Maybe not all women, but I think a lot of women, including me, worry that we may be infertile. As we approach that time in our lives there definitely is this fear component and just wanting to know already! I'm so glad things have gone smoothly for you guys.

  2. Oh man, this is just like me, when I found out I was pregnant for the first time.

    Taking more than one pregnancy test, having a husband that claimed not to see the faint line that indicated PREGNANT (I remember reading to him from the instruction pamphlet that said "even if the 2nd line is really faint, you are still pregnant" and he STILL said he wasn't sure if he could see it.

    I was elated too... but I also sometimes felt like OH CRAP this is really happening. I wanted it to happen, but it was a little scary, too.

    Anyway, I'm simply so excited for you!

  3. What a sweet post. It's nice to have these memories already written down instead of trying to re-enact them now that you've gone public.

    I definitely questioned my fertility, mostly due to my age. But, unlike you, I was never upset in the couple months we tried, but didn't get pregnant. I was emotionally detached from the whole process ... not letting myself get truly excited until we knew we were pregnant. And even when I suspected I was pregnant, I didn't run out and get a test - I waited until my scheduled doctor's appointment later that week.

  4. I think you and I are very, very similar in this regard. I'm 5wks4ds, and I'm completely panicked! Reading this, and your post from yesterday, has made me feel a little more normal. Thanks :)

  5. Awww what a sweet post! I completely agree- the two weeks between ovulation and your period seems like FOREVER and I do believe that all women worry about infertility (as you know, I am still a bit worried about that).

    The two things I worry about in terms of getting pregnant? The smell aversion stuff b/c I already have a very sensitive nose and my boobs getting bigger. I don't need any help in that department!!

  6. Wow, what a beautiful post. I am definitely scared of having trouble getting pregnant and the risk of miscarriage. It's horribly high. Thank goodness you're doing well.

  7. This is such a beautiful post. I cried.

    I agree with Rebecca, that every woman who wants children has a fear of not being able to get pregnant when they want to. I know for me, my mom had 2 miscarriages (in between my sister and I) due to dropped hormones, and had to have weekly shots to keep my sister. That is always on my mind when I think of pregnancy, because maybe I'll have to do that, too.

    I'm so excited that you are sharing this journey with us. Not just the "here's what I'm shopping for" and "look at this cute baby stuff" (although I love that, too), but also how you feel emotionally. That is more educational than the offerings of the diaper genie, I promise!

  8. Aw, you described it so well. So sweet!

  9. This was a beautiful post, Jess. I'm so EXCITED for you. A baby! YOUR baby. Oh, I know it's silly because I'm just an internet commenter, but I hope you have a little girl!!

  10. I loved reading this. Ryan and I got pregnant and found out a year ago this past Father's Day, and I was just thinking this year about how I felt that day. You describe it all so well. I cried the couple months we didn't get pregnant, even though I knew it was irrational. I feared that we would have problems. But on the 3rd month it took, and here we are now.
    I'm so excited to keep reading about your journey through pregnancy and motherhood. Thank you for sharing.

  11. This is wonderful. And so honest and real. I have tears streaming down my face! I can't wait to experience everything you're experiencing, the good AND the bad, the joy and the worry. I'm so, so happy for you.

  12. That worry must be one heck of a feeling.. and I'm glad that you guys managed to get pregnant so fast after you decided to try. That is fantastic!

    I'm already sad, despite not actively trying yet, because I just have this feeling that it's going to be heartbreaking.. but that's a post in itself!

  13. This is a beautiful post... what a fantastic love letter to Piglet. What an awesome thing, for THIS baby to know exactly how you felt in the earliest of times!

    And unfortunately... you're so right. That worry is yours to carry now for the rest of your life. Specific worries will ebb and fade, but yeah. Someone once said that having a child is like deciding to have your heart - your most important part - go walking about outside your own body. It's so very right.

  14. I know I'm the billionth person to say it, but congratulations!!!

    There are lots of fears I felt along the way of my pregnancy. After a while, I figured it would be better to assume and hope for the best, and tackle the challenges if and when they came.

  15. congratulations! you are right, the worry never goes away. i remember when that realization hit me sometime in the first trimester, it was like a wallop- i will always carry this worry from now on for the rest of my life. of course, it's not always so prominent, mostly it's a dim thought in the back of my mind now that the baby is here. i was worried sick through the first trimester, and then after that was over, i started to worry about all the tests and the baby being normal. i screened high for downs syndrome on the quad test around 14 weeks and worried about that, etc etc etc. baby was born totally perfect and normal, but now i worry about sids and on and on!!! if there is one thing i could go back and tell my pregnant self, it would be 'DON'T WORRY SO MUCH!' just enjoy the little life growing inside of you as much as you can with the morning sickness, etc.


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