Originally posted to the anonymous pregnancy blog July 21, 2008.
Note: this post talks about getting pregnant so if you’re reluctant to read about the physical logistics of this, you might want to skip this entry.
In Thanksgiving of 2005, we discovered that my mother had misunderstood our procreation plans. As a result, she was breathlessly waiting for us to announce that we were spawning. I was horrified by this idea as The Plan put this event about three years into the future. As soon as we got home, Jaeger and I immediately formalized The Plan and posted it on his website where all our friends and family could read it. People keep trying to say that you can’t plan when you get pregnant. I will admit that trying to get pregnant is not always the easiest thing to do. However, in this era, avoiding pregnancy is fairly simplistic as long as you can follow directions.
In late 2006 I decided it was time to start researching pregnancy. I want to give my child the very best start in life I can. As a result, I knew that I should probably make some lifestyle changes and I believed that it would be easier to change my habits before I became pregnant. I’ve never smoked or regularly consumed either alcohol or caffeine. However, I was overweight and had a sweet tooth that was out of control. Over the last two years I’ve gradually shifted my eating habits to healthier fare and resumed my daily exercise habit which had faltered since I left college.
I also started checking out from my library every book I could find about pregnancy and nutrition. No doubt the staff were convinced I was trying very hard to conceive. However, whenever I was tentatively asked if I pregnant I just told them I was an obsessive researcher. I’m not sure they believed me, especially since I don’t drink and it seems only pregnant women don’t drink by choice.
In early 2008 I decided it was time to interview obstetricians. I am not a very social person and the thought of talking in real life to people terrified me. However, every book I read said I needed to interview several obstetricians before choosing one. Dutifully I drew up a short list based off who my insurance would cover and then contacted two of them.
The first obstetrician I interviewed was very nice. Even though I was a little uncomfortable with how busy the group practice was, I assumed that this was standard. Driving home from the office, it suddenly hit me that I was actually seriously considering getting pregnant. I’ve never been very in to children and the thought of having children myself is a little scary.
I interviewed the second obstetrician a couple of days later. While I liked the first one, and would have chosen her if I hadn’t forced myself to find multiple options, I really liked the second one. She was in practice by herself and wasn’t nearly as busy as the first group. Also, I never felt rushed talking to her even though I had literal pages of questions I was asking.
One of my friends had used the fertility awareness method to both successfully avoid pregnancy and then later conceive. While I was a little dubious, I thought it would be interesting to try this out. I had read that most doctors recommended women go off birth control three months before they were planning to become pregnant. I talked to my husband and he agreed to try using condoms for 3 months and then, once I figured out my cycle, try the fertility awareness approach. By this point, we were close enough to our implementation date that it wouldn’t matter if we got pregnant a little early.
This is where the first chinks in my plan started to develop. I went off the pill fully expecting to pop right back into my normal menstrual cycle. After the first month I had no period. In addition, I started feeling nauseous and bloated. I frantically thought back to when I stopped the pill and decided there was the off chance that I was pregnant. I went to Costco and was horrified to discover that pregnancy tests ran about $5/each. I took the test and discovered that I was not pregnant. I was relieved but confused about the nausea. Eventually I discovered that this isn’t terribly abnormal for those going off the pill. Two months went by without my period and I got even more nervous. I started reading anecdotal accounts from women on the internet about how it took them more two years to get back to their normal cycle. This would destroy our carefully-crafted plan. I decided that if I didn’t get my cycle back by the third month, that I would make an appointment to see the doctor. I think my body was teasing me because a week before I was going to call, I got my cycle back.
Since the implementation time for our plan was getting nearer, I decided it was time to schedule a pre-conception visit in order to get on prenatal vitamins and make sure I wasn’t missing anything else important. I was in no hurry so I scheduled the visit for about a month later. I wanted to go on my day off so I didn’t have to explain to my work why I was visiting the doctor.
Over the 4th of July weekend, my husband and I went backpacking. He was amused by the idea of conceiving while backpacking and so we agreed to have unprotected sex once even though I hadn’t been to my preconception visit yet. I was feeling fairly confident that in the previous two years I had discovered the obvious things I should watch out for before becoming pregnant. Plus, Murphy’s law seemed to dictate that only teenagers or those trying to avoid getting pregnant did so on the first time they had unprotected sex.
The day of my pre-conception visit Jaeger went to the appointment with me. We asked a couple more questions and she prescribed me prenatal vitamins and gave me samples of an algae DHA supplement. I had a little cramping and blood the next morning but ignored it. We were planning on going camping the next week which coincidentally lined up with when I should have my next period. By the time Friday evening rolled around, I was starting to suspect I might be pregnant since my period hadn’t appear yet. However, I had only had two regular periods since going off the pill so it seemed possible that my body was just hiccuping again.
I had read that in order to get the best results, one should take pregnancy tests in the morning. I woke up at 4:30 am and decided that was as good a time as any to see if I was pregnant. I trudged through the dim light to the outhouse and took the test. For the record, it’s a little hard to be sure one is aiming correctly while sitting on an outhouse seat with a small headlamp for illumination. This particular test showed one line for a negative result and two lines for a positive result. For some reason, I wasn’t terribly surprised when the test said I was pregnant. However, I wasn’t entirely sure I had taken the pregnancy test correctly. After all, when used in real life instead of a tightly controlled lab, the test was only 98.2% accurate.
I placed the test back in its foil and trudged back to the tent. I briefly considered waking up Jaeger to tell him that I was pregnant but then decided he might not be suitable excited to learn this before five in the morning. So, I tried to go back to sleep. I dozed in and out my mind insisting that somehow I had managed to take the test wrong. At one point, I dreamed that the pregnancy test had returned five lines and Jaeger and I were puzzling over the instructions together trying to figure out what the significance of five lines could possibly be.
A little before seven Jaeger started making waking up noises and once I saw his eyes open I grabbed the pregnancy test and held the results before his eyes. He was very excited. I spent the rest of the weekend not entirely believing the results.
One of the first things I did after getting back to civilization was buy another 3-pack pregnancy test kit. This morning I took the test and verified that according to it, I was pregnant. I called my doctor’s office and requested that she request a “real” pregnancy test to make everything official. I took it this afternoon and am not exactly sure when I’ll hear back. However, at this point I believe we can safely assume that I’m pregnant. According to the calculator on the Mayo Clinic’s site, this means that our child will be born around March 26, 2009.
At this point, we aren’t telling anyone we know that I’m pregnant. I don’t want to have to explain to everyone that I’m no longer pregnant if I miscarry. We plan to tell our immediate family at the 6 week mark and then everyone else after 12 weeks.