For those of you who don’t know me very well, I’ll start by saying that Steven and I were not trying to have a baby. Having a family and little kids of our own running around was something we had talked about often, but in a dreamy/far in the future kind of way. I’m only 24, and although my own mom was even younger than me when she started her family, I still feel pretty young to be beginning motherhood. We have since gotten engaged and bought a house, but when all this happened we were just two people in a relationship learning to live with each other for the first time. If you’re already a mom, please excuse my naivety. I’m writing this because pregnancy hasn’t exactly been what I expected (or read about), and if this helps any other FTMs out there I’ll be happy.
The Pregnancy Test
I found out I was pregnant a day before New Year’s Eve. My oldest sister was pregnant and I was sitting on the couch scrolling through baby names imagining what her choice would be…and then two hours went by! I got this funny feeling that I wasn’t looking just for her, and then I realized I was late. I went to the grocery store that night and got everything for NYE (including 3 bottles of alcohol…LOL) because I thought for sure I wasn’t actually pregnant. I even stopped by the tampon aisle (because of course I’d be needing those) and saw the pregnancy tests. I decided to buy the most expensive one so I could take it, be 100% sure I wasn’t pregnant, and get on with the NYE celebrations. When the test came back positive it felt like I was in a movie. I remember thinking it wasn’t really happening. So I took another. Pregnant. I googled “false positives” thinking that it still wasn’t actually true. It turns out, false positives don’t really happen like false negatives do. I was shaking and sitting on the bathroom floor for hours before I texted Steven and told him to come home as soon as possible. He was at work and naturally kept asking me if he needed to leave, thinking something horrible happened. I told him just to get home as soon as he was off. I don’t know how women can plan such cute surprises to tell their S.O. that they’re pregnant, because when he got home all I could do was hand him the tests and try to fumble the words out of my mouth while crying. I thought that I had somehow messed up our plans to get married, buy a house, and then have kids…like it had to happen in some certain order. But all he did was hug me and tell me it was okay.
*** Now, I don’t want any of you to think I am not thankful for this baby. I am so happy that we are being graced with her presence, and I can’t imagine my life any other way now. This is all coming from my perspective as an unmarried 24 year old who had never had a baby. Please try to understand 🙂
Anyway…I had so much anxiety about the whole thing that we decided not to talk about it for a couple days and we acted like everything was normal. I still made him drink the alcohol in the fridge to get it out of my sight, and we started a new Netflix show to keep our minds off of it. Then…out of nowhere one night I broke down crying because we hadn’t talked about it. I felt like she was already a part of our family, and we realized it WAS happening. He cried. I cried. That was a moment I’ll never forget.
The First Trimester
The thing I remember most about the first trimester is the loneliness. Keeping a secret so big is no easy task. Before I was pregnant I never really understood the “miscarriage window”. A woman is most likely to miscarry in the first 12 weeks, so everything I read advised me not to announce my pregnancy until I was out of this window. 12 weeks doesn’t sound like a long time at first, but that is THREE MONTHS. I was only five weeks when I found out, and the doctor wouldn’t even see me until ten weeks. Five more weeks = more than a month of waiting to confirm there was actually someone living inside me. The stress of losing your baby is more than I ever imagined and I couldn’t even tell anyone to take the load off. My anxiety took another toll when I found out that my sister had complications with her pregnancy. I won’t go into detail because that is her own personal story to tell, but her baby did not make it. I had many fears that something similar would happen to us, and I decided to wait even longer to announce the pregnancy to my family because of the situation. I never really got morning sickness in the first trimester…just lots of stress. I recommend Dawson’s Creek or any stupidly dramatic high school show to make your mind at ease. Dawson’s Creek and laundry! I also started my baby registry this early. I know it sounds crazy, but I had no knowledge whatsoever about baby products, so making my registry and figuring out which items I needed and how much things would cost really helped me organize my brain and stay busy. When we finally announced the pregnancy we were overwhelmed with love and support from family and friends. I instantly felt so much better. Try not to psych yourself out thinking that people hate you. I isolated myself a bit too much (it didn’t help that it was winter), and forgot how much I was actually cared for.
The Second Trimester
Remember how I said I didn’t get sick in the first trimester? Yeah, I did in the second. For a little over a week straight I couldn’t do anything without getting nauseous. I spent a lot of time on the couch. I had no idea pregnancy made you so tired!!! I’ve had mono, and I will say definitively that pregnancy takes more out of you. I remember feeling guilty like I was making it all up, but you WILL get your energy back and realize how real pregnancy exhaustion is. I also got terrible pregnancy acne. This also goes away (or did for me). This is the trimester when you’re starting to look bigger but nobody can really tell except yourself. I thought that “bump pictures” would be so easy to take and I would look so beautiful with a big belly, but when I tried I just looked chubby and not really pregnant enough yet. I cried about this (THANKS HORMONES), but my best advice is to take the pictures anyway! I thought I’d be one of those people with a chalkboard of weekly update pictures, but when I tried to take these I was embarrassed at how little had changed. I think I must’ve had pregnancy brain because now I love looking back at these and seeing the tiny growth developments she was making. I was surprised at how quickly these weeks went. Cherish it! We found the house we wanted to buy during this time, but because of our rental agreement we wouldn’t be closing until July. So this trimester was A LOT of waiting. I started this blog, we planned a babymoon, and I had this strange urge to get myself back to one of my biggest passions, dancing. I applied for a few jobs and got more offers than a pregnant woman knows what to do with. I am now still happily teaching dance and will be (hopefully) until I am 38 weeks! 🙂
The Third Trimester
We went on our “babymoon” to North Carolina right before I reached the third trimester. If you don’t know, it’s basically just a vacation before the baby. Even though we were tight on money, I am so thankful we went. Steven asked me to marry him and I’ve been over the moon since. Basically as soon as we got back we started packing for the big move into our first house. These past few weeks I’ve spent fixing up our new home and everything feels so much more real. I honestly wouldn’t advise moving so close to your due date because it is probably the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done, but I will never forget this time in my life. I’m 36 weeks 5 days along now, and baby Aurora Jean will be here any day. I’m getting more pains now, but having a big belly is something I’ve just gotten used to. I tell my fiancé all the time that I still feel small, like it’s my old body UNTIL I see pictures of myself (LOL). For me, it’s been so much less stressful in the last trimester. Even though there are probably more things to stress over now than before, there is an overwhelming sense of calm that comes from seeing the nursery done and playing the waiting game. I still probably have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to motherhood, but I’m ready. For anyone else expecting their first, please know that this time will come for you. I am truly the happiest I have ever been.