"I'll be happy when I'm pregnant again."
After our loss at 14 weeks pregnant, I was determined to become pregnant again. I felt a lot of pressure for it to happen quickly. For one, we got pregnant on our first try last time. I felt like people would assume something was wrong if we didn't fall pregnant immediately. I also had a couple of friends who were due around the same time we were. I wanted to be able to experience this journey with them.
So, I did all that I could to "take control" of an uncontrollable situation. Getting pregnant again was all I could think about. I mean I was truly obsessed. I couldn't stop. I obsessively took ovulation tests. I quickly learned to buy the cheap versions in bulk so that I could be mildly crazy without breaking the bank.
When I realized I was the type of person who always had two lines on an LH strip and was growing tired of deciphering it's darkness, I decided to move onto temping. For those of you who have never had to track ovulation, temping is when you take your temperature every morning at the same time before getting out of bed. When you have a significant temperature spike, that's a sign you ovulated. Your body's temperature will stay elevated for the next 12ish days. If you're not pregnant, it will start to decrease and you start your period. If you are pregnant, your temperature stays elevated as your body continues to produce progesterone.
True to my anxious nature, I became obsessive with temping as well. I'd take my temperature throughout the day - even though I knew the only temperature that meant anything was that very first one taken before I got out of bed. I had convinced myself that as long as my body's temperature was in the 99* range, I was most likely pregnant.
Then, one morning, my temperature was lower. Each morning after it continued to decrease until the day I was met with my period.
At this point, one would assume I was devastated. I had spent that last 6 weeks in a manic state (I ovulate later than most) - the first four weeks obsessing over ovulating and then the last two weeks (known as the two week wait) I was consumed by symptom spotting to decipher whether or not I was pregnant.
On that contrary, it was in this moment that I realized I had tried my absolute hardest to get pregnant , and it didn't work. I refused to live this way. I refused to believe the lie "I'll be happy when I'm pregnant again." I wanted to be happy now. So I cut myself off from tracking my cycle completely.
The next month, I was pregnant. I was overwhelmed with peace when I saw the positive pregnancy test. It felt right. I knew it wouldn't be realistic to assume I'd feel this way the whole pregnancy, but in that moment, I was going to soak up this feeling as much as I could.
For the whole pregnancy, I tried my damnedest to avoid the phrase "I'll be happy when..." I was going to do my best to appreciate every moment with this baby without anxiously awaiting to get to the next milestone. I had learned my lesson the last time.
For the most part, I was successful. There were certain milestones that made me more anxious than others. Waiting for our first ultrasound nearly gave me a panic attack. Hearing this baby was free of any chromosomal abnormalities felt like a true triumph. I soaked up my belly growth, every kick and hiccup. For two out of the three trimesters, I stayed true to my word. I was simply "happy," not "I'll be happy when..."
Then, I hit 30 weeks. With 10 weeks to go, it all felt more real and my ego began to take over even more. I had become convinced we wouldn't hear our baby cry. It was all too good to be true - we were bound to be another failed pregnancy, another statistic. "I'll be happy when our baby was here."
The problem was, I couldn't visualize it. How do you visualize something - someone - that you've never experienced? I knew our baby by his kicks and movements, but I couldn't picture his face (despite the multiple 3D ultrasounds that hung on our fridge). Even as I laid down on the table, my legs going numb from the spinal tap, in the most controlled situation ever, I was convinced bad news was waiting.
There was truth in "I'll be happy when he's born." The amount of weight I carried throughout the entire pregnancy was made evident once it was finally released. Though I worked hard to be aware of my anxiety and take all steps I had been trained in to get through it, I didn't know how much grief, fear and pain I had held onto until I was able to finally let it go. I sat in the hospital room and sobbed as I held our son. I couldn't believe he was here. I couldn't believe we made it, we made him - and he was perfect. Everything finally made sense, and I could allow myself to feel true, pure happiness.
Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. In the moments I chose not to journal out of fear, I did what brought me peace at that time. I'm aware it was irrational to believe I could jinx our pregnancy. But, at the end of the day, I know those moments happened. I'm able to own that my anxiety and fear had moments where they were louder than my faith. And, although I can't take it back or change it now, I can encourage others to recognize when their ego is telling a story, and instead, replace it with love.
Yes, "you will be happy when..." but you can also be happy now.