Despite the fact that I've struggled to allow myself to celebrate this pregnancy, and despite all the heartache that preceded it, I actually love the story of how it came to be.
My miscarriage happened in October last year. As if it's not hard enough, my sister continued to be pregnant and soon my best friend, my boss and my direct report at work were all pregnant, as well. I was surrounded by people living what I lost, and it was a very difficult few months. I got my period back on Thanksgiving Day, and I hoped so much that I would easily get pregnant again and have a positive test on Christmas Day, the day my next period was due.
That did not happen.
I was disappointed, but I also thought it was kind of perfect. In my family, there is this opal ring. It was my great grandma's, born in October, and passed on to my mom, also born in October. When I miscarried in October 2014, I had this idea that it would all work out because I'd get pregnant a few months later and have a baby girl in October 2015, putting her in position to someday get the opal ring from my mother. My first pregnancy loss happened in January 2012 and Mo was born a year later in January 2013, so October and October... It was a silly and detailed delusion that I focused all my energy on.
Had I gotten pregnant in my second cycle post-miscarriage, I would have had an October due date. I spent all of the next month full of nervous energy. I knew this was going to happen, but I also knew how easily it might not. We did what we needed to do to make it happen, and I spent the month meditating and throwing all my positive energy at my uterus. I even bought a root chakra candle and burned it every night. This was going to happen.
It did not happen.
I got my period on January 28. The hardest thing about that was that my sister (not the pregnant one) and I had planned a trip to Florida in February, the exact week in February when I would be ovulating next. We didn't have any flexibility on the dates of the trip, and I figured I'd be pregnant anyway so what did it matter. I was not pregnant, however, and now I'd be missing a whole month of opportunity, one whole cycle. I decided I was ok with that. I needed a break from the heartache and the stress. I need a margarita on the beach!
For those who understand how this conception stuff works, the details are that I would leave early on a Tuesday and ovulate that Friday. For good measure, we could "give it a shot" on Monday but that's four days before ovulation. Is it possible to get pregnant? Yes. Is it likely? No. But we tried anyway.
Despite needing a break, I brought my ovulation predictors with me. My cycles had been wacky since the miscarriage, so I was still trying to figure them out. The first afternoon we were in Florida, I took a test and wouldn't you know, it was positive. In case you don't know how these work, that means I would likely ovulate sometime in the next 36 hours. So things were looking up. My chances still seemed slim, but they had increased.
The next day, Tuesday, about 15 hours after the test, I was sitting at an outdoor cafe sipping a mimosa, enjoying the warm sun on skin, and I remember thinking: this is exactly what I needed, I'm happy and relaxed for the first time in five months.
I like to think that's when it happened. Silly maybe, but I like the thought. My sister happened to snap this photo at that moment.
If this baby makes it, I think I'll put that picture in its baby book. The moment you were conceived.
What makes this crazier is that later that night I got VERY sick. A stomach virus. I spent the night and the next day expelling everything from my digestive tract in unseemly ways. I ended up in the ER with extreme dehydration. They did two pregnancy tests (one at urgent care, one at the ER) and of course they were both negative because I was only two seconds pregnant (technically two weeks, but that math is just strange). When I was laying on the hospital bed waiting to have an IV placed, I thought: well if there was a chance I might get pregnant, it's gone now. This is definitely not a healthy environment for egg fertilization. (To make matters worse, after recovering and feeling good for about 24 hours, I got violently ill again. Most of ourFlorida vacation kind of sucked.)
I returned from Florida the following Friday. Four days later, Thursday, I had an appointment with my OB to talk about options. It had only been a few months, but I didn't want to wait another six months only to realize something was wrong and I could have take action sooner. The following Saturday morning, 9 days after ovulation, I woke up really early and, for no explicable reason, I got out of bed and took a test. I was fairly confident I was not pregnant and it was really early to best testing anyway. But I I brought it back to bed with me and waited three minutes. It was dark, and when I glanced at the digital screen of the test, I couldn't see it well. I couldn't see the NOT in front of the PREGNANT. I frantically opened my curtains to let a little light in, but I still wasn't sure. When I turned the light on, there it was, proof that I was finally the recipient of an unlikely gift.
I know there are people everywhere who would love a surprise pregnancy. Hell, any pregnancy at all would do. So I don't take this lightly, and I definitely don't take it for granted. But I do enjoy, when it's appropriate, sharing the joke that I got pregnant when I was in Florida while my husband was home in Michigan.