A Valentine's Surprise: We're Expecting!
I've been keeping a secret: Michael and I are expecting! It's been a wild ride during the first trimester, but I'm so happy to finally start sharing our journey with you.
How we found out:
So funny story, the night before Valentine's day, Michael made a chicken stir-fry with chili oil for dinner that for some reason soured my stomach. The smell made me so upset, and I got angry because the house just reeked of it. I ended up holing myself in the bedroom and going to bed early. When Michael came up to get ready for bed, the sounds woke me and I could not fall back asleep (as you can tell, I was in a terrible mood that night). Then around eleven p.m. I started to get painful cramps in my abdomen. I tried a heating pad, but that didn't help. I tossed and turned which woke Michael up. It was so bad I started pacing in the room. At that point Michael and I both weren't getting any sleep. He suggested we either go to the ER or I take some aspirin. I was stubborn. I did not want to go to the ER, since I thought it was a hormonal side effect from going off BCP, nor did I want to take aspirin on an empty stomach since I felt nauseous. So I ended up sleeping in the guest room so Michael could get some sleep.
Then my alarm went off and it was time to get to ready for work. My sister had mentioned off-handedly the night before that maybe I should take a pregnancy test, but I waved it off since I'd taken one a week before and it had been negative. I thought all my symptoms were contributed to PCOS since my doctor was going to test me for that soon. Then lo and behold the pink line showed up.
Oh shit! was my first thought, but I couldn't believe it. Poor Michael did not get any sleep because I woke him up immediately and showed it to him thinking it was a trick of my eye, but it wasn't. He saw it, too. I saw my doctor that day who confirmed it with a blood test. That night we flew to see my family and traded Valentine's Day cards at the airport to commemorate the big news.
Was this a planned pregnancy?
Yes and no. Ha. On our trip to Santa Barbara for Michael's Birthday last Summer, Michael brought up the idea about us having kids earlier than we had planned. In my head, I always thought I would start trying when I was 29-30. At the time, I was only 26. The more we thought about it though, we knew we would at least have one, and we didn't know if I would have fertility issues or not so we planned to start trying in January 2018. In October 2017, however, my doctor suggested that I be off the BCP for at least 3 months before starting to try. So I got off of them and received a rude awakening in exchange. After being on BCP for over a decade, I ended up having really bad side effects and pain on my left side. My periods became irregular, and after an ultrasound they found ovarian cysts. I was dealing with a hormonal imbalance and they suspected I might have PCOS since I might not be ovulating.
At the end of December, we weren't thinking of trying anymore. We were thinking it would take 2018 for my body to heal from whatever it was going through.
So was this a planned pregnancy? Yes, as in we wanted it to happen if it could this year. No, as in we weren't actively trying.
The big reveal. How did you let the family know?
It was our intention that Michael's parents would be the first to know since it would be the first grandchild on their side of the family. Going home for Valentine's Day/Lunar New Year weekend made that kind of difficult. We almost got away with it up until the last hour we were leaving when I ate something I shouldn't have. My sister guessed it when I didn't react. To her credit, I also didn't drink wine at dinner which was a huge flag considering I'm a big wino. I blamed it on PCOS, but I don't think that was really convincing. So when we flew back to Seattle that night, I face timed and told my sisters (because once one sister knows, they all do ;)). In the end, I was glad to have the moral support of my sisters because I was really afraid of miscarrying since I had hormonal imbalances prior to conception. And also, my oldest sister was already a mother and a nurse, so when I fell sick with a fever, it was nice for Michael and I to seek her advice on what I should do and how I should care for myself during that time.
Once we received news of a stable heartbeat at week 8, we felt it was time to spread the news to the rest of the family. We met up with Michael's sister and brother-in-law for dinner to tell them before leaving the next day to Palm Desert to visit Michael's parents and to tell them the news. We face timed my mom that Sunday after sending flowers. We wanted to tell my Mom in person, but it wasn't financially smart of us to try last minute, but we plan to go back down for Mother's Day to properly celebrate!
Time line of the first trimester:
Week Four: We find out we're pregnant. Symptoms: cramping, increase in appetite, frequent urination
Week Five: My sisters learn the news. I catch a fever/cold. I'm sick with absolutely no appetite whatsoever. Extreme fatigue.
Week Six: First ultrasound and we realize I'm not far along as we thought (at this point we thought I was 8 weeks). There's a flickering heartbeat. I'm still getting over my cold. Blood tests are run. Symptoms: Nausea, food aversions, no appetite, emotional weep fests, extreme fatigue where I'm sleeping 10-12 hours.
Week Seven: Same as week six. Ha, except the only thing I want to eat is carbs. Oh yeah, and I have food aversions.
Week Eight: Second ultrasound. Heart beat is at 176 bpm. Things are looking good. Nausea is slowly subsiding, but the fatigue has not. We deliver the news to the rest of the family.
Week Nine: We celebrate my 27th Birthday and the nausea is subsiding. Fatigue during the beginning of the week, but slowly getting my energy back. Cravings have started.
Week Ten: No more nausea. Increase in appetite and cravings, but I am sleeping so much more. Dizziness when I work out. Clothes are not feeling very comfortable anymore.
Week Eleven: Appearance of weight gain, and the start of taking belly progress photos! Which we totally fail at as we have yet to take any more.
Week Twelve: I look into getting maternity pants because my jeans are getting uncomfortable. And OMG, maternity pants are like heaven.
Week Thirteen (Fourteen): Ultrasound! Our baby bean is no longer a bean, but an actually baby! Also, I was super surprised at how active it was in my uterus and the fact I can't even feel it. It's so bizarre. And we get to hear the heartbeat for the first time. We also find out that I am a week further along than we thought! We start doing genetic testing, and we decide to do the gender blood test.
Week Fifteen: I feel like I've suddenly grown in my belly. It kind of just popped out. Whoa. Weird. By week 15, my co-workers all know my news, and we've told close friends. It feels good not to try and hide it anymore.
Week Sixteen: Check up appointment with my OBGYN. Baby is developing well. My uterus is up to my belly button. I no longer look chubby. There's an actual bump! And we receive the results for the gender test! Though we are keeping it a secret until Mother's Day.
Thoughts on pregnancy:
It's crazy how much my thoughts became consumed by the baby growing inside me. From the moment we found out, it was ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT. I devoured books on pregnancy, read forums, and literally crammed my head with info, and then the nausea and fatigue set in. Ha. And then all the emotions! Then I became useless. A crying puddle who just slept all day and hardly left the house. First trimester was no joke, and I started feeling very guilty because I was not enjoying my pregnancy because I felt completely out of control of my own body. I already felt like a horrible mother for even thinking it. Especially when I had thoughts about how raising this child would cut into all my writing time and would hinder me from traveling, and how I was missing out on life experiences.
Once I started feeling better though, once the sickness subsided and things became more real with the heartbeat and ultrasounds, and I was no longer controlled by my irrational emotions, I realized that what I was undergoing was an even more amazing experience that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. In truth, I never saw myself as a mom. I didn't want it ending up as my only identity, but there's something about the process, growing closer with your husband, and the baby you have yet to know, that flips a biological switch.
Now, I want to be the best possible mom I can be, on top of all my other roles in life (wife, sister, daughter, writer, friend). It's a privilege to be a mother, and I can't believe I didn't see that at the beginning of the journey. What's happening is pretty miraculous and the bond that's being established during it is just something that can't be put into words until felt.
The only downside is I'm constantly worried about the little one, but I think that goes along with the territory of being a parent. Michael and I both are becoming worry warts and it's kind of cute because it just shows how much we love our baby.
So far we're waiting on results for the genetic testing and spina bifida, and then we have the anatomy ultrasound in June. After that, it's all about growing, so hopefully the worries will lessen for us and we can enjoy our summer.
Anyway, that's my lengthy post :) The secret is officially out (online anyway)!