Updated: Jul 11, 2019
I was about to write a post on the first half of pregnancy now being at 22 weeks, but then realized it might be a book's worth of reading! Instead I've decided to break it down into a few shorter posts, and figured what better way than to start at the beginning?
*Before I continue I will give a warning to anyone who's struggled with infertility that this may a post to skip or may be triggering.*
Our first two little ones were very much planned and I feel lucky that we tend to conceive quickly. We are that couple that the joke "you just have to look at each other and you'll be pregnant" could be true. Our first I had wanted a baby for what seemed like a long while until JG was on board and all his checklists were completed (i.e. buying a house, etc). It was that anticipation of the two week wait and giddiness of a positive test I so lovingly waved in his groggy half awake face at about 5:30am (I know, so thoughtful and romantic). After the whole premie, NICU, postpartum anxiety thing it actually took me a while to warm up to the idea of heading into pregnancy again with our second. I was apprehensive as I had only been in therapy for a few months when JG mentioned trying. Then the Army issued a new uniform, and well, I'll just say I didn't need much convincing as our daughter was quickly conceived! Since we were trying it was again the two week wait, pee on a stick and my joy trying to hide behind a more fun way to tell JG (who had already figured it out by my heightened smell- one of my tell tale first signs).
After making it to term with our daughter and navigating the transition from one to two kids, we were on the fence and had agreed to talk when she turned 1 about if and when we may want any more kids. We both knew at one year we were not ready at all and needed more time, so we decided 6 months from then to have the talk again. I had felt it had not been my last pregnancy and had always envisioned us having 3, but our daughter's fierce personality had me unsure. I would often say if we have a third there needs to be more space between them. I've read about spirit babies, and definitely felt like L's spirit was hovering over me though and wanted to be conceived sometime, I just wasn't sure when. At 18 months we had the logistical talk of a third and again agreed we needed more time and more things needed to be in place before we were willing to entertain trying. I committed to trying to finish up my birth doula certification with a client lined up for January/February and we focused on enjoying our family as 4. I even began to envision what life would be like if we didn't have more kids and felt like we were in a good rhythm as four of us, thinking maybe we really were done. Now I like to think L must have heard this and seized his opportunity to be conceived! A week of sleep deprivation after a birth, perfect timing, natural family planning that had not failed us for over a year and voila L snuck in.
My first thought of "maybe I'm pregnant?" was during a date night when we ventured to a new restaurant and indulged in oysters for the first time. I didn't eat a ton of food, but was surprised I felt a little queasy afterwards. I brushed off that thought instead thinking nah, probably just oysters don't sit well with me. Still I took a test the next day just to be sure and it was negative -- phew I thought. Then a few days later I grabbed coffee with a friend and daughter in tow. Surprisingly I kept grabbing bites of her muffin as I felt so hungry. Less than an hour later I rushed with her to the bathroom after arriving at my oldest son's preschool to pick him up, because I had to pee so bad. Later that day I mentioned to a friend maybe, but still doubtful. Of course being the birth nerd I was I checked where my cervix was as I was due to get my cycle any day and to my surprise it was tucked high and closed making me think maybe.
Two days later still no sign of my cycle arriving and having been gifted a bottle of wine by my doula client I decided to swing by Target on my way home to grab some tests just in case before I popped open that wine to enjoy. The whole ride home I mentally ran through all the symptoms that were making me believe there was a possibility - sore boobs, heightened smell, nausea, high closed cervix. But I kept dismissing them, until I got home. Finally I worked up the nerve to tell JG I was going to take a test because I thought there was a slim chance that we were knocked up again or that finally the acupuncture was working and my cycles were lengthening out again. He waited as I peed on the stick and after many minutes of silence opened the door to find me squinting behind tears as I held up the faintest of faint positive lines. "Maybe it's just a false positive" and "retest in the morning honey" and "even if it is, it's ok" were the only snippets I heard. My mind raced and I couldn't stop the tears from falling. We went to bed in silence, and the next morning I retested with a still faint, but definitely more obvious positive line. My heart sank. This was not part of the "plan". We were supposed to wait until O was 2, if we did even try again. But it seems my boys like to teach me that life is what happens when you make plans!
In the spirit of honesty it took me most of the first trimester to wrap my head around a third and not break down in tears. The hormones surging through my body certainly didn't help! How was I to manage 3 kids, especially when JG was on tour for weeks at a time? How would this impact the dynamic between the kids that currently was great? Would this stress our marriage beyond belief after finally getting into a good routine of investing in time for us? So many questions and worries flooded my mind. Seeing the kids be so excited by the news once we told them helped immensely and slowly I warmed up to the idea of carrying another one (hopefully to term!). This experience left me open to understanding when women find themselves pregnant and grappling with what to do. Time will only tell how we transition from a family of 4 to 5, but I'm starting to realize our family maybe needed this little one all along regardless of our 'plans'.