As some of you may know, I’m a bit behind on chronicling my pregnancy. So I’ll be attempting, to the best of my recollection, to recount each stage. Below is the start of our story, leading up to the Big Fat Positive! Note/warning: I mention my period quite a few times here. If that offends you, well, sorry.
Toward the end of November, we flew to my husband’s hometown in Michigan to spend Thanksgiving with his family. It had only been 4 weeks since our return from our European adventure, and about two weeks past the first cycle in which we were “trying”. Or “Not Preventing”, as we called it, but let’s face it: once you’ve determined you’re “trying”…you’re trying. In my ever-present hypochondria and anticipation of the future, I’d determined that my “sort of weird” period the month before necessitated a pregnancy test. When it was negative, I sort of shrugged and left the second test in the box. As I packed for our trip to Michigan, I thought about that test, stuffed in my underwear drawer where Ryan wouldn’t see it and call me crazy for taking a pregnancy test AFTER getting my period. I thought about stashing it next to the supply of tampons I’d already packed, but decided against it. No one gets pregnant the first time around, I thought. Why waste the suitcase space?
So we arrived in Michigan on Saturday, November 22nd, the expected date of my period. We settled in with Ryan’s family—being in that house with them is one of my favorite things, ever. There’s a toddler or two underfoot at all times, and a sweet and rambunctious 5-year-old nephew with toys and markers and empty milk cups strewn about the living room. There’s someone sleeping on every available bed/couch, and while it can get a little crazy, the craziness is a comfort to me, 98% of the time. On that Saturday though, the littles hadn’t arrived yet, so things were relatively uneventful. No toddlers or toys underfoot, and no period, to boot.
No matter, I thought—these things don’t always follow my schedule. This month is just a longer cycle. Sunday brought a dinner with friends and their sweet babies, but still no monthly visitor. When the conversation that night turned to us, and when we might be starting our family, I couldn’t help but think, “Maybe?”
Two days overdue, but not particularly convinced just yet. I think this is when I texted my two best friends who were in the know on our “trying” status, just to alert them that the jury was still out on the state of my uterus. Ryan and I went out for a date at Buffalo Wild Wings that night, a new practice we’ve adapted every time we’re visiting family for extended periods—it maintains our sanity and keeps us connected when there are far more distractions than we’d find at home. We found ourselves on the “when we have kids” topic, and as I sipped my Diet Coke and licked buffalo seasoning off my fingers (so hot) I mentioned that it could be sooner than we think. We determined that two days late was unusual but not unheard of, and we’d just wait it out.
My sweet mother in law surprised me with an early birthday gift—an 80 minute massage! I was completely elated. I love a good massage, and getting to spend some one-on-one time with her. As I glanced over the paperwork at the spa, my eyes landed on the question: Are you pregnant?
I mulled it over for a moment before discreetly writing in, “Maybe?” In the privacy of the treatment room, Monica the massage therapist looked over my form and then up at me.
“You might be pregnant?”
“Yep! Not sure yet. I mean, probably not, but we just don’t know…I’ll know in a couple of days!”
She proceeded to tell me that they don’t give massages to women in their first trimester for liability reasons. So I panicked and called my husband, terrified that if I went through with the massage I could hurt our maybe-baby, but canceling something his mom had so generously gifted to me because I’d miscalculated when my period was due seemed ridiculous, too. He calmed me down, assuring me that this was just the spa making sure they wouldn’t get sued, and chances are everything was fine. So I enjoyed my massage, but returned to the house and my husband with a heightened sense of “This could be happening!”
Now four days late, we both determined that something could very well be up. Though I couldn’t have known for sure yet, I think deep down I felt it anyway. Though Ryan was all for “waiting till we get home” to test (THREE DAYS LATER) I insisted that no, tomorrow morning was the time. We went to the local Meijer (which is essentially the Midwest version of Fred Meyer, for all of you unfamiliar PNW folks) to pick up some things for Thanksgiving dinner. While he picked up the groceries, I ventured to the pharmacy. Full disclosure, I’ve purchased pregnancy tests before. I knew which brand I wanted, and was pleasantly surprised to find the 3-pack on sale. Yet as I stood there, regarding the pink box, I started shaking. Something deep inside me kept insisting that this time was different. My very interested friends texted again, “Well?” We’ll know tomorrow, I said.
Thursday, November 27. Thanksgiving Day.
Ryan has a tradition of going disc-golfing with his brother and brother-in-law when we’re in Michigan, and they had planned their outing for that morning. They were departing at 7am, so at 6:15 we were both awake. I sat up in bed after a relatively sleepless night. He was getting dressed, all layered up for the chilly morning outside, and asked me if I just wanted to wait until tomorrow. Uh, no, I don’t. We’re doing this now. Ever the supportive husband, he followed me into my in-laws’ master bathroom (they generously give us their room when we’re in town) while I executed my duties. It was dark outside as I capped the test and set it on the edge of the bathtub to settle in for the wait. Neither of us took our eyes off of it, and watched the control line appear. Then, a few seconds later, a fainter second line popped up. I stared at it, and then looked up at him. And back and forth like that for a minute, from the test to my rather stunned husband until one of us said out loud, “Well, that looks like a second line.”
“Alright, wow” and “So, okay” was all I can remember getting out at first. We’re having a baby. The rest of the house, the rest of the world, it seemed, was still asleep. So we didn’t scream or jump up and down. I didn’t sob hysterically like I thought I might. I got a little teary eyed and squeezed my husband, feeling blessed and scared and incredulous, all at once. It had worked. It was happening.
Eventually, Ryan had to leave. We weren’t quite ready to tell the family our big news, so he kissed me goodbye and told me to go back to sleep. I know, I know–LOL,Hubs! I spent the next hour wide awake and on my phone, calculating my due date and reading all about what was happening inside my body at a whopping four weeks pregnant. By 8am when I ventured downstairs, I was already versed on what I could and couldn’t eat, and how big my baby was. The size of a poppy seed, by the way.
It may have been the longest two hours of my life, being one of two (well, three, if you count the Poppy Seed) living souls aware of my pregnancy. I have the worst poker face in the world, and news, good or bad, is difficult for me to keep to myself. My sweet friends had both texted, up early on the west coast, knowing that I was testing that morning. Keeping them in suspense was particularly challenging as I waited for Ryan to get back. When he finally returned, we agreed to tell his family that day. We determined that this was our family, and we wanted their support during this pregnancy, even if something should go wrong. So before we told the group, we brought his sister into the bedroom, and had her close her eyes. I told her we had a question. When she opened her eyes, I presented her with my pee stick (charming) and asked, “Is this a second line?”
“OH MY GOSH!! YES! I KNEW IT!!!” she squealed. More hugs and happy tears. With her experienced eyes confirming that no, we hadn’t imagined that second line, we gathered the family and shared our news. Looking back on that day, on that trip, I’m so grateful for the blessing of being able to tell them in person. Once we’d shared the news with family, I was also able to call my patiently waiting friends and celebrate with aunties Natalie and Lindsay, respectively.
We spent the next two days basking in our excitement, though I’d already begun to feel the anxiety that comes with the many incarnations of “what if?” My gratitude to God for blessing us with pregnancy was honest and profound, but in the back of my mind, it didn’t feel quite real. As we drove to the airport with Ryan’s parents, his dad told us they would come to visit when the baby was born. His health had been questionable earlier last year, but he seemed to be on the rebound. He told us how our news had made the holiday so perfect, and he was so excited for us.
After opting out of the x-ray machine at the airport with some trepidation (“I’m pregnant”, I’d whispered to the female TSA agent. “CONGRATULATIONS, HONEY!” was her booming reply) we boarded our flight home. As always, sad to leave our family, but knowing there was more excitement to come.
Next up: Telling MY parents.