Inside the article: Read my story of discovering and accepting that I was unexpectedly pregnant. Hear the highs and lows, and ultimately the joy that came from a big surprise and life shift.
January 14th, 2019: I started graduate school for the third time.
January 15th, 2019: I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant.
I can vividly remember the moment that my life changed forever. My period was late by about a week, which was extremely unusual for me as I’m generally pretty dang predictable. I also had a copper IUD, a contraceptive device that has a 99.9% success rate at preventing pregnancy. There was no way I was pregnant.
Yet, I couldn’t get it off of my mind. At 9 PM, I insisted that I buy a pregnancy test from the Walgreens down the street.
The test couldn’t have been positive more quickly. I had just barely peed on the stick and the two lines were glaring at me in the face. I came out of the bathroom, exclaiming “oh my gosh, babe, it’s positive.” And my sweet, gentle husband just gave me a hug.
I know the experience of finding out that you are pregnant is different for everyone. Some are trying to conceive, and therefore, might have a joyful response. Some have suffered through miscarriages and infertility, so a positive test is approached with caution and fear.
For me, my first honest thought was, “omg, my body.” At the time, I was in the best shape of my life (likely a contributing factor in my ease of conceiving!). I attended spin classes 4x/week+ and was focused on eating a cleaner diet. In fact, my new health goal for the new year was to focus on strengthening my core (aka get more defined abs).
I still giggle thinking about that. What is pregnancy if not the opposite of gaining a 6 pack?
Then came the fearful thoughts about the expected symptoms (I am a serious vomit-phobe), the puffiness and weight-gain, and most terrifying of all — birth. I could barely think about birth without feeling intense anxiety, so I just promised myself I would worry about that later. For now, was I even really pregnant?
Before the doctor.
After calculating the likely date of conception (yes, we knew exactly when our son was created), I was about 5 weeks along when I tested. Most doctors won’t see you until you are about 6-8 weeks, but since I still had the IUD still hanging out in my uterus, we were immediately considered high risk. Our appointment was set for January 18th.
During the few days in between the positive test and our appointment, I obsessively took tests to be sure I was actually pregnant (spoiler alert, they were all positive still, and darkening by the day). Truthfully, I didn’t really believe it. Seriously, the odds were ridiculously low. And I know what you might be thinking: no, my IUD wasn’t too old and yes it was in the right spot.
Here’s where I still can feel a little guilty. I spent too much time on google, and learned about chemical pregnancies and other reasons for a positive pregnancy test result. In those few days, I vacillated from being a little excited, having been repressing some inklings of baby-fever the past few months, to secretly hoping maybe it was just a chemical pregnancy.
I hate even typing that, but it’s true.
It felt like the worst timing imaginable. We were set to take a two week vacation to Thailand in March, I had just started graduate school again, and my husband and I still had things we wanted to do before having kids. We’d only been married for 10 months at this point!
It’s a baby!
The appointment came, and the ultrasound confirmed: I was 5 weeks along with a little tiny fetus. My doctor was totally stumped. In his many years of practicing, he said he’d never had a patient get pregnant with an IUD. I was famous in the office!
The scary piece, however, was the risk of the IUD. Leaving it in came with risk. Taking it out came with risk. At the end of the day, we decided the risk of pulling it was the better risk to take, and after several attempts, my doctor finally got it out at the next appointment.
And little baby was totally fine. Praise the Lord!
At this point, Zach and I were moving into excited territory. We always wanted kids, so actually having a baby was fun to dream about in the coming weeks.
Moving forward unexpectedly pregnant.
Through the first trimester, and honestly beyond at times, Zach and I both flip-flopped between feeling genuinely excited and seriously terrified. Speaking for me, I still kept the fear of birth in the back of my mind. I remember when the third trimester hit, I had a totally breakdown about it.
And you know what helped? I scoured YouTube for positive birth vlogs, I harassed google with searches of positive birth stories, and I filled myself up with positive affirmations about birth. So much of my fear was fear of the unknown. I have decent pain tolerance, but having something happen to my body that is out of my control freaked me out.
I kept reminding myself that my body was made to do this. It would take care of me and my little guy.
Something else I experienced in relation to being unexpectedly pregnant was the grief cycle. There were times I felt angry that this was happening to me without my permission. Other times I felt sad and depressed that my old life was ending and a new one beginning. Especially at the beginning, I bargained for it not to be real. I also spent a little time in denial, pretending things really wouldn’t change that much and that Zach and I would just keep on living life as we knew it.
Finding the positive.
But I also experienced a lot of moments of acceptance. At times, I could see all of the positivity in being unexpectedly pregnant, and how the timing was really pretty great. For one, it allowed me to quit my job and be a stay-at-home mom, something I never knew I wanted, but have seriously thrived in (well, pre-quarantine anyway!)
It also slowed me down. I am the type of person that rushes through things, and focuses on the ending rather than the journey. I had plans to charge through graduate school once again and get another degree in just a few years time. Having my son forced me to go part-time, and I’m still working on my counseling degree (1 more year!!). And you know what, I’m actually enjoying it!
Finally, becoming a mom cracked me wide open, and allowed me to truly see all of my shortcomings and areas of needed growth. Being a mom is hard work, and you don’t realize how selfish you are until you can’t be anymore. Old ways of coping or ways of relating to others weren’t working anymore.
While I’m still working on it, I’ve chosen to embrace the cracks and work on improving myself for the better. You too?
Embrace the process of motherhood and the transition into a better you. Want encouragement? Sign up for my monthly newsletter. I promise it will be worthwhile for you in your journey to mommyhood and beyond!
Check out this post on Mentally Preparing for Baby.
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