Everyone remembers the moment they found out there were pregnant. For some us it was a complete shock, while for others a massive relief and joy. Regardless, that moment when you first realize you’re pregnant is...weird. Or it was for me. It was simultaneously very exciting and oddly mundane. Honestly, I was not really sure how to feel - which is exactly how I felt leading up to pregnancy and how I still feel now, getting close to the end.
My husband, Max, and I had been thinking about kids for a bit, but still weren’t sure about starting a family. It also wasn’t something I felt like a lot of people were talking about. From the outside, it seemed like many of my 30-something peers were blissfully and confidently making the decision to drop a bomb into their lives - albeit an adorable and ‘best thing that ever happened’ bomb, but life-changing nevertheless. Max and I come from big families - we’re both #3 of 4 kids - and family has always been an essential part of our lives, so whether or not to have kids wasn’t what we were debating. When to bring those little nuggets into this world was something we were decidedly less certain about. One obvious thing you never really think about before trying to have a kid? No one can tell you how long it will take! How annoying. Yes, I realize that is obvious, and yes, at some level I absolutely knew that - I had watched friends run the gamut from multiple miscarriages to long IVF processes to holy shit that was fast. But it hadn’t really registered for me before. Faced with a few knowns - we want kids, we are 33, our parents are not getting younger - and a whole lot of unknowns, we had to decide when to, ahem, pull the goalie.
To say we were uncertain is an understatement. Trying to weigh your career goals, life goals, and personal desires against biology is not exact math. Talking to my closest friends helped, but in the end I wound up where we started: I would likely still feel some trepidation no matter what. And that’s OK. I understand that not everyone feels that hesitation, but that is how I felt. For me, it’s important to be open about the fact that the decision to start a family, while joyous and exciting, is not only joyous and exciting for all of us. It’s OK to feel conflicted. It’s OK to have doubts. I was not particularly worried about whether we could raise a kid (jury still out on that - maybe I should be!), but I was worried about what a baby was going to mean for me and for us and for our other goals.
I wish I could handover some well guarded secret formula we used, but ultimately it came down to this: when we imagined our life, we imagined it with kids (multiple); we want our parents to be around and healthy for as much of our kids lives as possible; and we didn’t see a lot of reason to wait other than our own doubts, which weren’t likely to pass even if we waited another year or so.
So away we went. We were actually traveling when I first started to wonder if I might be pregnant. I was feeling nauseous, but chalked that up to jet-lag and unusual food. I waited until we got home, and didn’t even tell my husband I was going to take a test. When I saw the unmistakable ‘pregnant’ on the stick it really just confirmed what I had felt in my gut the whole flight home. I can’t really call it ‘shock’ given the circumstances, but I sat there not really knowing what to feel - and then a million thoughts came rushing forward like a massive dam opening up: I had been to 2 weddings and had a fair amount of alcohol on the trip, how bad was that? How do you even count how far along you are (thanks, google)? When does someone go see a doctor? How the heck did that happen in the first month? Should we have waited longer (too late now!)? Is my Mom going to be way happier about this than I am (unequivocally, yes)?
Some questions you can get immediate answers to (I was 8 ½ weeks), others we’re still trying to work out. I’m not sure there is really a better word for how I felt then, and how I continue to feel now, than weird. It’s all very new and odd - and a bit confusing. I am not someone who is super in-tune with my body (later in my pregnancy, when my doctor told me that the fluttering I kept feeling was the baby kicking, I - unfortunately - admitted out-loud that I had thought that feeling was gas) and yet even in those early stages I could feel there was something in my body that had never been there before. And that is definitely a new and overwhelming experience.
When the time for our first OB appointment rolled around, we were both still processing the news. We waited in that freezing cold little room, staring at the sonogram machine, wondering what the heck was going to happen next. Our OB brought in an intern, so there were 4 of us crammed in there. Up on the table I went, and the doctor had Max come around the side so he could see what was happening on the screen. And then it happened. He played the heartbeat. Lying on the bed, naked from the waist down, I turned to look at Max and share a moment of disbelief and joy. He was not feeling it. I watched in horror as Max’s eyes slowly rolled to the back of his head and he slipped all the way down the wall, slouching at the bottom with his shirt pulled up around his neck. It was straight out of a rom-com. Me, on the bed, really unable to move. Max on the floor, coming to and trying to process both the fact that he had fainted and that I was, in fact, pregnant. And our very calm OB trying to tell us this happens all the time (sure…) without laughing.
And with that, we started to digest the fact that this was real, and this was happening. That’s us. That’s how we found out. I would love to hear your stories - cuter, sader, weirder - we’re all ears.
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