I’m 29, I don’t use contraception, and I have regular sex with my husband… yet I just found out I’m pregnant and I’ve never felt so unprepared or surprised.
To give you a little more perspective, I’ve had hypothalamic amenorrhea for around four years, rendering me infertile. I had my first period in February, and just a few irregular ones in the seven months since. We (mostly I) thought becoming pregnant was going to be a journey frought with difficulty and challenges. That’s not to say it still won’t be, but I have just found out I’m pregnant, I have no idea how many weeks I am (irregular periods, and all that), and all I can think is “Now What?”
First, I’ll tell the story of how I found out I’m pregnant. Settle in with a cuppa, or, if you’re not interested, scroll to the end to find out what I’m doing next…
Hmm… what if I’m pregnant?
On Tuesday 18 September, actually my late Dad’s birthday (HBD), I was killing time at the gym while the friend I was staying with went to a meeting. I’m pretty familiar with most gym equipment, yet discovered that what looks like a 15lb weighted medicine ball, designed for ball slams or Russian twists (I promise, this becomes relevant….) was actually a 15lb torture device. It only took one ball slam to discover the key difference. I slammed the ball into the ground with all my might, and as I was about to squat, pick up and repeat, it defied gravity and returned skywards with all its might, and hit me right in the swede (video of another making this mistake).
I stumbled around in shock, certain my head had exploded, my jaw was broken and my ear was spurting blood… but no, I just looked clumsy and confused. Still certain I was about to die, I found a gym instructor (where was she when I needed her?!) and sat down with an ice-pack.
Friend returned, I left with tears – mostly of shame – still welling up, and spent the day feeling totally useless.
Exhausted. Dehibilitatingly Weak. Totally depleted and even sad to be feeling so drained.
Sound familiar to anyone?
Somehow, I still felt like a few wines – eek – which we enjoyed with pizza and The Bachelor. The next day, I was the same, I just couldn’t get off the couch. I flew back to Auckland and cried the whole flight (okay, the whole 45 minute flight), and told my sister as much when she picked me up. She demanded I go to the doctor the next day. I did, and I was diagnosed with post-concussion trauma syndrome, referred to the concussion clinic, and sent off for a couple of blood tests.
On the way to get the blood tests (again, my sister demanded we go immediately) I started digging around in the glove box and centre console, wondering if somewhere in the car I still had my old monthly hormone blood test request forms. I did, so I thought I’d get them done at the same time. It had been months since I’d last checked, and I hadn’t had a period in 6 weeks, so I was hoping I hadn’t relapsed into hypothalamic amenorrhea. The blood tests came in by email at 11:30pm but by this time, I think I’d started to wonder ‘Holy sh*t what if I’m pregnant… could I be… omg omg omg’ and didn’t dare look at them just incase… I’d save them until I could go straight to the doctor with them.
Holy sh*t, what if I actually am pregnant?
At 7:30 am that resolve had run out, and I opened the email and started to analyse… estradiol, luteinising hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone…!?! Analytics turned to googling, and that turned to hurriedly dressing and driving up to the local medical centre. They weren’t open til 8, so I diverted to the supermarket to kill time and see if they sold pregnancy tests (I’ve never bought one!). I toyed with buying one and using it in the mall, but determined to wait until the doctor’s opened, as I knew I’d have questions anyway.
When I was finally greeted by the nurse, I shoved my phone displaying the results into her hand ‘What does this mean..?!’ She gazed at them as puzzingly as I had. ‘I’m just making sure I’m not (under muffled breath) pregnant…‘, she continued to gaze, ‘Shall I take a test just incase..?’. I did. She came out with a smile ‘It’s positive!’ Taken aback, I responded ‘Does that mean… shall we do another one to be sure..?’.
Apparently, we didn’t have to. It was very, very sure ‘Probably 5+ weeks, it came up straight away.’
My next thought was “When and how will I tell my husband?!” He works internationally and was due to return home two days later on the Sunday. This put me in a really tricky position, should I tell him on the phone, or wait for him to get home? I decided on the latter. I really wanted to share the news and be able to see his reaction, and I knew he’d appreciate that too. I’ll share the story (and video) of telling my husband I’m pregnant soon – you won’t believe his reaction!
I’m pregnant, now what?
Well… next I began to mentally count the drinks I’d had over the past 5 weeks – we’d just returned from a month’s holiday in Boston, New York, DC and Miami. Cocktails were involved. My birthday was a week ago, I’d celebrated with espresso martinis for brunch and a night out. What else had I done wrong? Put simply, I had no idea.
I started reading and absorbing all advice I possibly could, with a view to share it with you, so hear goes…
Pregnancy 101, First things first:
I downloaded the pregnancy version of the period app I’d been using – Ovia – which has been amazing (it tells you which fruit or vegetable your baby takes a likeness to each week). I’ve since also downloaded Web MD Pregnancy and what is now my favourite – for the most incredible 3D images, Pregnancy +, as well as subscribing to What to Expect and reading their forums.
The most immediate pregnancy advice I followed was to buy prenatal vitamins, folic acid and Vitamin E cream, the latter for vanity, not health. I scoured the internet to find out what I should (or should not) be eating when pregnant, and talked to my GP later that week, where she informed me how to find a midwife ASAP, referred me for a dating scan and sent me off for HCG blood tests.
I also started both writing down my own thoughts and feelings in a diary, but also set about designing and creating a pregnancy journal (my business is a journal company) which is about to be launched, so subscribe to find out exactly when it lands!
Next, see What foods should I avoid when pregnant? or head to the pregnancy blog to read the latest article or story I’ve shared. I’d also love to hear from you – if you have a story to submit, or just a comment to share, let me know.