I took a dollar store pregnancy test one Thursday night in September on a whim. My period was about four days late, but because I’d taken a test a week earlier and it had been negative, I fully expected this one to be negative too. Imagine my surprise as I watched a second pink line form where there had never been one before. I quickly got dressed, drove to Walmart, and bought a two pack of ClearBlue digital pregnancy tests that read simply “pregnant” or “not pregnant”. I wanted something foolproof since the two line test could be misread, plus I’d convinced myself I must’ve messed the first test up. So back home I went with my two new tests and a bladder quickly filling back up. I read the instructions through three times to make sure I didn’t make a mistake, kind of difficult with this kind of test, and proceeded to pee in a cup yet again. I dipped the test in for the specified length of time and watched the built in timer as it counted down to the verdict. Five…four…three…two…one…pregnant. Nothing has ever made me doubt my understanding of the English language like this one word did.
I sat down right there in the middle of my bathroom floor and processed what that meant. Pregnant. One had was still gripping the test but the other went to my still flat stomach and I couldn’t believe I could feel so normal but be making something to big and life changing. My husband and had been trying the previous month, but had decided to take a break until after my two week Disney World/Disney cruise vacation with my mom in October. Because I obsessively track my period with an app and track my fertility using ovulation test strips (I like to know what’s going on with my body), I knew exactly when I ovulated and had taken measures to not have a baby that cycle. Well, turns out those strips can vary about 24 hours or so because I must have ovulated early. Whatever happened, I was now cooking a tiny pinprick of life no bigger than a sesame seed inside of my uterus.
Probably the most confusing part for me was my lack of symptoms. I had noticed breast tenderness and cramps but they began during the time I was due to PMS so that’s what I thought it was. I had also noticed a feeling of being overly tired and a slightly stuffy nose, but I’m a teacher so I thought one of the many school bugs had finally gotten to me. No nausea, no overt mood swings, nothing that would scream “PREGNANT”. My husband FaceTimed me from work as I was still sitting in the bathroom floor processing what I’d learned. I didn’t want to tell him over the phone, something this big should be done face to face, so I played it off like I was sitting in the bathroom painting my toenails. I had to tell someone though, so I called one of my good friends who has a six month old baby boy and told her. It was awesome to have someone to bounce the news off of and tell my excitement and fears with, especially because I knew she understood completely.
I arranged a baby picture of my husband and one of myself, a onesie, a pair of UK baby booties, a note from the baby to my husband, and the digital test on his nightstand next to the bed and set an alarm for fifteen minutes before he’d be home from work. When he arrived home, I’d barely been to sleep and was waiting anxiously for him to come upstairs to discover the news. When he finally walked into the bedroom, I waited for his eyes to go to the nightstand where I’d left a light on. Thomas didn’t believe me at first, I had to tell him that was the second test I’d taken and both were positive ad my period was late. He was so happy and excited but still wanted me to take the other digital test to make sure. Men. Obviously, that test was positive as well. We agreed we’d only tell parents and close friends at first until the first ultrasound where we’d see the baby and find out if everything was alright or not.
When I called my midwife’s office the next morning before the first bell rang for classes, they said they didn’t see patients until at least eight weeks and I was only four. That meant I had a month of anxiously awaiting the time I’d first see my baby. Mom and I also had our Disney vacation that would take me way from home during my sixth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. Let me tell you this: Disney World in the first trimester is completely exhausting. Also, a cruise while pregnant isn’t super fun. The movement of the ship and the smell of food constantly around killed me. I don’t have nausea, but I do have very strong food aversion with meat being the main one. Yay.
The day of my first appointment came and I was floating on cloud nine, so excited to see the baby for the first time. Thomas had the day off so we went to the midwife together. My midwife high-fived me when she came into the room after I’d left a urine sample. She’s an amazing woman and I’ve been with her since I was 23. She told me there’d be no ultrasound that day since the first visit at their practice was just to confirm pregnancy with a urine test (positive again!) and make sure the mother was on prenatals (I was) and cover the basics like don’t drink or do drugs. I was very disappointed, but Noel assured me she’d get me in first thing on Monday to have my ultrasound and all the blood work and stuff like that. It was a Friday afternoon so Monday didn’t sound too bad. Thomas and I walked out with an appointment for Monday to have an ultrasound and blood work. I swear, that was the only time I’ve ever looked forward to a Monday before in my life.
Monday morning, the office called and moved my appointment up two and a half hours which left me feeling rushed as a made sure I could leave school early and get to Lexington in time. Once we finally got back to the exam room (the place was hopping that day), I was so tired and ready to settle my nerves. The doctor who did the ultrasound had delivered the babies of some of my friends and was a very nice older gentleman who made the appointment fun, even making sure Thomas had his phone out and ready to take pictures/videos as he began the ultrasound. I’ll never forget that first moment of seeing my baby. My belly had started to round slightly by then and I felt (and still feel) very tired all of the time, but seeing that tiny person inside of me made it all real for the first time. The baby was facing away from the camera at first, but almost as if they sensed the limelight, they flipped around to give the most beautiful silhouette view. I have that picture hung up in my office at school because you can clearly see the head, torso, arm buds, and leg buds. The doctor told Thomas to put his phone on video and he let us hear the heartbeat. I bawled. The strong and steady beating of my child’s heart was the best music I’ll ever hear. The beats measured out at a whopping 170 beats per minute, the doctor told us that was perfect and baby was the picture of health and growing very nicely. I play that video at least once a day.
Now everyone knows we’re expecting and it’s nice to have people understand I can’t do some of the things I’d like to (like going to the high school musical production at 7pm at night) because I’m so tired all of the time. Baby hates the smell of meat, so I’m mainly a vegetarian now as well as an avid lemonade lover. I come home from school and pass out right after I take my makeup off and change into pajamas. I’m grateful I don’t have morning sickness, but the extreme fatigue is beginning to get to me a little. I remind myself it’s just baby growing super fast and that I should get some energy back in a few weeks when I hit the second trimester. For now, I’m happy to watch my growing belly (it is becoming a small baby bump even though my uterus hasn’t come up out of my pelvic bone yet) and take all the naps I can.