Just typing those words is giving me the biggest sigh of relief. I joke about being a chronic over-sharer, but having to keep a secret this big really confirmed how true that is. My blog and Instagram have been pretty silent the past few months, and it was mostly due to the fact I couldn’t be totally open and honest about day-to-day life. Oh, why are all my Instagram stories just me on the couch watching crime documentaries for two months? Wait, you’ve noticed I haven’t gotten dressed in 3 days? No, no reason I only eat goldfish and grilled cheeses for all meals. It has seriously been killing me not to share.
I’m 14 weeks pregnant today, and our due date is September 9th. We just found out last week that we’re having a boy! You guys, I was 10000% convinced it was a girl. Is that just something you assume when you, yourself, are a woman? My mom, grandma, and aunts all had girls first, and Denny has 3 sisters so it just seemed like things would head that way.
I know you’re not supposed to admit it, but it took me a day or so to change the picture I’d had in my head. No little dresses? No giant hair bows? Then, I started thinking about every little boy I’d nannied, or the fact my favorite kid at every job has been a boy. Suddenly, it seemed so obvious! Of course this little human inside me is a boy! I know there’s a current trend not to find out the gender, but finding out is easily the best decision we’ve ever made. I just feel so much more connected to him, and I can finally start to see this picture in my head of what he might look like. It’s pretty surreal.
I wish I could say I had an adorable “How I told my husband” story, but it went something like this- I had been using an app (the “Clue” app is free!) to track my cycles for a few months, and I had a general idea of what they looked like. At this point, we were obviously open to getting pregnant, but I assumed it would take some time. I haven’t talked about it much on here, but I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor when I was 19 that wreaked havoc on my hormones. I had successful surgery to remove it, but my doctors could never say with certainty how it might impact fertility/pregnancy. We spent Christmas in Texas with Denny’s family like we always do, but I remember feeling more emotional than usual. I was missing my family and just felt like I was in a funk the whole time.
I came back from Texas a week before Denny and just went back to my usual routine. It wasn’t until Denny got back and said something that I realized I hadn’t even checked the app in awhile. Unfortunately, the Clue app is not dummy proof, and I found myself looking at a screen saying I’d start my period the next day. Well, that went on for 5 days before I realized if you don’t record that you’ve started your period the app will just say it’s coming the next day. (Why, yes, I have a master’s degree. Why do you ask?) Denny finally forced me to take a test aaaand…. I could not read it. Oh my god why are those 1 vs 2 line tests so difficult?! I felt bad for myself but way worse for the 16-year-old looking at it hoping it’s not 2 lines. Anyway, a trip back to the store for a Clearblue “Pregnant” vs “Not Pregnant” result confirmed it. I was pregnant.
You might think we told our parents first, but no no. Denny took it upon himself to make this the very first person to find out we were pregnant. You guys, I cannot even handle it. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, you know, aside from the baby. We’ve since been using it to tell everyone else the news because I can’t keep a secret and the world needs to see it.
Pregnancy and Mental Health
It’s obviously been a fun and exciting time, but I’d be lying if I said it also wasn’t full of anxiety, fear, and worry. From the moment we got that positive result, I’ve found it really hard to just embrace the idea of being pregnant. I think it’s been a combination of factors, but the hardest one is just knowing it could end at any moment. Most statistics I found say the chance of a miscarriage with a first pregnancy is around 20%, but I feel like I know so many women who have experienced it. Why should I be any different? What makes me special enough that I wouldn’t have to go through something like that? I know it’s not the rational way of thinking, but I couldn’t help it. I felt like if I let myself get excited that I was just welcoming heartbreak.
I think these fears might be compounded with a first pregnancy just because you have no idea what’s normal. I remember crying myself to sleep at the end of week 5 because I’d been spotting, and I just assumed a miscarriage would come next. I called my doctor the next morning only to have a nurse tell me I was fine as long as there was no cramping or bleeding through pads. Sure enough, the spotting stopped and the pregnancy continued on. Thankfully, my doctor and the staff at Northwestern are excellent, and every positive ultrasound, blood test, and word of reassurance has made me feel more confident that things are progressing as they should. I’m starting to realize I’ll probably never stop worrying- even once he’s born- but I can finally get myself to start making plans and shop for baby clothes.
I think being an anxious person also makes pregnancy challenging just because there are so many unknowns. How will I feel week-to-week? Is my morning sickness going to get worse? What happens if I need to sleep under a desk at work because I can’t stay awake? I had so many “worst case scenarios” running through my head at all times, and I really found myself putting the breaks on other areas of my life. (Ahem, *last blog post January 4*) It was like I couldn’t mentally handle juggling these new thoughts of baby with everything I usually enjoyed doing. It all just became too much, and I removed myself from it. And it didn’t necessarily feel good. I found myself in a bit of a self-imposed funk, and it’s been hard to pull myself out of it.
I think a lot of women talk about the physical toll of pregnancy (I plan on writing about this later, but my symptoms were overall manageable), but it’s harder to articulate the mental and emotional toll. You should be so happy, and yet you suddenly feel less in control of everything- your health, your body, your future. I found this uncertainty to be somewhat paralyzing, and it was all I could do to get through my work week before lying horizontally on the couch all weekend.
None of this means I’m not extremely grateful for this pregnancy. I never knew what our journey would look like, but I have so many friends who have struggled with infertility. I had mentally prepared myself for that possibility, but I know the possibility is nothing compared to the reality. I feel lucky every time I get to call my parents with a baby update, check “The Bump” app to see what fruit he is this week, and, of course, share the news. Pregnancy has had more ups and downs than I expected, but it’s also cool to finally be the one talking about “our baby.”
As someone who blogs consistently about my real life, there’s no way this pregnancy won’t play a big role in my future content. That being said, you can only talk about it so much. I’m looking forward to getting back to real life as well. We finally had Daylight Savings around here this past weekend, and I saw the most consecutive sunshine we’ve had in at least 4 months. So maybe I’ll actually leave my house now! I also know these next 6 months are my last chance to be selfish and just do whatever I want. I wrote a post last year about why I’m scared to become a mom, and I’m still scared about losing the freedom to mindlessly browse clothing racks, sit too long in coffee shops, and explore the city. I know what I’m gaining is more than all of that, but I also know I want to make the most of it while I still can.