“That was fast!”
Michael and I got married in June of this year. We already knew we wanted to start a family and didn’t see a point in waiting. We had been living together for 3 years already. There was nothing new we needed to experience before starting a family. Also, let people do things on their own time and terms without feeling the need to state your two cents.
Well, besides the obvious…. here’s what I did. I had my Mirena IUD removed after having it for almost 6 years! My ObGyn told me, when I was close to 5 years with it, that she has seen them effective for up to 7 years. Therefore, I just didn’t go back until I was ready to get it out.
Having my IUD taken out was not fun! I know some people have had to go under anesthesia to get it out because the provider couldn’t find the strings. I was thankful to not have to do that. However, as soon as she tugged on that string, I about jumped backwards out the bed! She said, “well you did the job for me.” Ouch.
I told myself I wouldn’t start tracking dates and that “if it happens, it happens.” I didn’t want to stress about it because that certainly doesn’t help you become pregnant. However, I was too curious. I hadn’t had a menstrual cycle since I had the IUD placed, therefore, the first thing I had to do was track how long my cycle actually was. They say 28 days is the average length of a cycle. Mine was 27 days. According to most doctors, ovulation occurs around 14 days prior to the start of your period or 4 days before or after the midpoint of your menstrual cycle. Sperm can live up to 5 days in the woman’s body. Therefore, the woman can get pregnant days after intercourse occurs. One article I read said that you have the best chance of getting pregnant if you have sex every 2-3 days.
Anyway, I had my IUD taken out in July and got pregnant in September. I only had one full cycle after my IUD came out. Luckily for us, it really didn’t take long to get pregnant. I know that some couples aren’t so fortunate.
I started taking prenatal vitamins long before I had my birth control removed and have continued taking them through this whole process. This is super important and everyone will surely tell you when they find out you’re pregnant!
When I found out
I was at work and having severe cramping all day. All I could think was, “here comes another period.” My birth control used to tame those symptoms. My coworker laughed and said , “that’s implantation.” I said, “no it’s time for my period.” (I was supposed to start the day before that if it was going to be another 27 day cycle). It was the one time I was not thinking that I may be pregnant.
Implantation occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus and pregnancy begins. It usually occurs 8 or 9 days after fertilization. So…she may have been right.
I went home after work and wanted to pop open a beer because it had been that kind of day. However, I took a pregnancy test instead. I was home alone. I sat on the toilet and prayed for a few minutes. I said “God, I know you have your own plans but I pray that this is it.” I looked at the test and saw a very dark line with another faint line across it. I was like, this looks like a plus sign but maybe I’m seeing things. I sent the photo to my coworker first (because I have no patience). She said “yep, you’re pregnant! Told you!” Needless to say, I did not pop a beer open that evening.
This is how impatient I am. I then, sent the photo to my husband while he was at work. Then I thought, “why didn’t I just wait so I could see his reaction??” So I started trying to FaceTime him until he answered. He was so shocked and excited with tears in his eyes and said, “is this real??”
I told a couple other friends right away. I don’t think I could ever keep my own secrets. One friend told me to take another test. I know you can have false negatives but I doubt people get false positive often. Sure enough, it was positive again.
I waited a few days before I made my first prenatal appointment. According to the first day of my last menstrual period, I was 4 weeks when I found out. I literally found out right away! Therefore, it was even more painful to wait for my first ultrasound which was at 12 weeks. I was eager! I started to doubt I was even pregnant.
Our first appointment
When I got to my first ultrasound, I said, “is there really a baby in there?” She said, “yep there’s a baby!” Michael was holding my hand and we were both quiet, watching the screen. With tears in our eyes, we watched the little bean’s arms and legs move around, stretching out then curling back up in a ball. It was the sweetest moment.
Symptoms in the first trimester
After finding out I was pregnant, the week or two before that started to make sense (when I didn’t know). I had considered getting new bras because my boobs were SO sore. I was also exhausted. I’m already a tired person but this was pure exhaustion. I would come home from work and sleep all evening, wake up and eat dinner, then go back to bed for the rest of the night.
Other than sore boobs, exhaustion, and cramping, I was very nauseated the entire first trimester. It made it hard to function effectively while at work. I never actually vomited but I wanted to. I finally asked for a prescription for Zofran and was taking 4mg twice a day. I also didn’t want coffee, which was not usual for me. The Zofran, pregnancy, and lack of coffee made me constipated. (I swear a coffee a day keeps your bowels regular). So then I had to start taking stool softeners. I got chewable docolax and they weren’t bad but then the taste started bothering me. I also wasn’t hungry which really made me mad because I love to eat. I cannot believe I forgot to mention my low back pelvic pain! This pain was so severe that I spent many nights alone at home crying in pain. (Michael and I usually work opposite shifts). I tried stretching, epsom salt baths, sleeping in different positions, and nothing helped. I thought something was seriously wrong or that I injured myself somehow. I tried rolling on the foam roller and couldn’t get off the floor for about 20 minutes. I had to hold onto the door knob and use my arms to pick myself up off the floor. I just cried and thought, “I know I’m thankful for this baby but I don’t know if I can do this again..” It was also an emotional roller coaster due to normal changes which didn’t help. As you can probably tell, my first trimester was miserable for me.
People tell you not to complain because there are women out there who wish they could get pregnant… That bothers me because no one talks about how hard the first trimester is. I was not expecting any of this. People also generally keep pregnancy a secret during that time so these women just suffer in silence. We did not keep it a secret. My first thought is, if we experience loss, we have a support system there for us. My second thought is, the more people who know, the more that are praying for you. We didn’t shout it out on social media until I was at 13 weeks. However, all of our friends and family pretty much knew.
The second trimester
About a week into my second trimester, I did get that burst of energy they talk about. However, that may have come from a long weekend off work. (My job exhausts me mentally and sometimes emotionally). I used that energy to catch up on house chores and finish my my semester of school work.
Side note: My husband freaked out one day in the first trimester about the house. “Oh my gosh the sink is full, the laundry is overflowing, the house is disgusting!” I said, “honey, that’s what happens when I stop cleaning.” I knew I had to stop overdoing it and just let my body get the rest it was begging for. I would go to work then come home and sleep. I repeated that for several days. Thankfully, I came home to a clean house that day. It’s like his eyes were finally opened and he realized a fairy doesn’t come clean the house while he’s at work every day… (MEN!!)
Anyway, I am currently 17 weeks. I still get very tired some days and have occasional nausea and food aversions. However, my most problematic symptom the past few weeks has been these headaches!! I knew I probably wasn’t drinking enough water, so I increased my intake. No improvement. I would take one 500mg Tylenol with no relief. I made sure to get enough sleep. I have taken hot showers and hot baths. I finally told my provider during my last appointment. She told me to make sure I’m not cutting caffeine out completely, drink plenty of water, and that I can take the normal amount of Tylenol as someone who is not pregnant. The past few days I have been taking two 500mg Tylenol about twice a day, eating hearty meals, drinking plenty of fluids. No relief. My over-dramatic thoughts told me I was having a stroke or something. However, I posted on social media asking for advice for pregnancy headaches and received countless responses. It gave me some relief knowing this is something a lot of women experience during pregnancy. I have received advice anywhere from hot rags or cold rags on the back of the neck, soaking feet in hot water, warm baths, essential oils such as lavender and peppermint, tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner, plenty of fluids, congestion medication such as Sudafed, antihistamines such as Benadryl, advice to ask for migraine medication from my provider, and other remedies. The warm bath in epsom salt infused with essential oils did help. However, this dull ache is still lingering. I will be trying some other remedies later. I have noticed more sniffling, sneezing, and running nose this trimester. I read on my “Bump” app about that being expected as well.
Speaking of the Bump app… I highly recommend! It gives me daily updates on the size of our baby, weekly updates about symptoms, information on what is happening to my body, as well as the baby’s growth process! It also has links to other informative articles that change everyday as well.
Found out the gender early
The anatomy scan is not until after 20 weeks. That is where people typically find out the gender. However, most couples tend to do blood tests or pay for an early ultrasound to find out the gender early. I’m not going out of my way to get more blood drawn than I have to because, needles! And seeing the baby one extra time is something we were both down for. We went to a place in Midlothian, VA, called ClearSight Ultrasounds. They have 5 stars and do anything from 2D to 4D ultrasounds for personal use only (not medical). They can tell gender as early as 15 weeks! So we went and paid for the 3D ultrasound experience right at that 15 week mark. That is when we found out we were having a sweet girl. Our plan was to have it put in an envelope to do a surprise reveal, however, we couldn’t wait. We are so glad we didn’t because that was such a special moment for the two of us that we will never forget. We also had the heartbeat recorded and placed in a stuffed animal so we can listen anytime we want.
Overall, we are super excited to become parents this year. No matter how difficult this pregnancy has been for me, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve always wanted to be a great mom and raise a beautiful family. My biggest fear is failing as a mother and I think most moms feel that way.
I wrote this article to be informative. I wish someone had told me these things before I became pregnant. I knew some of it would be difficult but didn’t expect a lot of these symptoms to happen until late pregnancy. I hope this helps some of you and I can’t wait to tell you about the rest of my experience!