In the last blog, I took you through my pregnancy guilt, and my personal background of period chaos – this time it won’t be as period-based. If you didn’t read the last one, either check it out here, or here’s the TL;DR story so far – I always had super irregular periods, was diagnosed with PCOS at around 24 which is known to affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant, but we didn’t want to rush into parenthood post-marriage in 2016. I ran out of contraceptive pills in December 2018, so we let nature take its course from there… You’re now all caught up!
Coming off contraceptive pills is weird – I was on a mini-pill that meant I basically didn’t have a period for the two years I was on it (once it settled down), so when you stop taking it, it’s like your body is slowly waking up form dormancy, and it’s usually around six months until you go “back to normal”. And with the aforementioned history of messed up periods, who knew what “normal” was with me, or how long it would take to get back there?!
Now, I’m not going to go into detail over our sex life (reason 1. I don’t generally talk about it; reason 2. my mum will read this; reason 3. it might not be your thing. But mainly reason 1!), but what I will say is that we didn’t actively start “trying” to conceive – we figured we’d just carry things on as normal, not put any schedules into place, and see what happened. It seems from TV and other people’s experiences as soon as you start “trying” it adds stress and doesn’t necessarily help the process. Obviously, if things didn’t naturally happen, then we’d have to look at more of a schedule to line up with ovulation, but it seemed worth just going with the flow for a while and seeing what happened. Especially given how difficult trying to track ovulation would be in reality…
Naturally leading onto the next factor: ovulation. Now, we likely all went through reproductive science in high school and learned about the human body and anatomy and how it works, so I’m going to assume I don’t need to explain stuff that much. Plus I never paid much attention myself, so good luck learning from me… But here’s what I do know, messed up periods = messed up ovulation, and ovulation is needed for making a baby! So online I went to buy ovulation tests (I thank Monica and her struggle to conceive in Friends for the awareness that those were a thing) and found a pack of like 100 together with 20 pregnancy tests – I guess they go hand in hand! Side note – I didn’t want to waste a load of plastic over this, so bought the papery stick things instead, where you pee into a receptacle and then immerse the end of the paper for a few seconds then the control line will appear, and then if positive, for ovulating with the ovulation sticks and for pregnancy with the pregnancy sticks, a second line will appear. Very similar to the more well known plastic ClearBlue type tests, just a bit more environmentally friendly!
Onto this adventure of peeing on things I embarked… I started off doing ovulation tests every couple of days, but I never once got a positive. For every four weeks I didn’t have a period (pretty often), I’d take a pregnancy test – just in case. I had so many of these tests in the cupboard it became quite regular to just check, but every time they came back negative. After about eight or nine months I found it too depressing to keep checking because nothing seemed to change, but every now and then I’d still do a pregnancy test, just to make sure. Unsurprisingly, my periods did not return to any kind of regular rhythm, so there was no telling by the absence of one that it could mean I was pregnant. When I ran out of pregnancy test strips I didn’t bother replacing them. But then last summer I went three and a half months without a period which was longer than what had become normal, so I ordered a two pack of plastic pregnancy tests online – did the test, negative. (And incidentally, much harder to pee directly onto a stick than into a dedicated under the bathroom sink in a bag plastic pot…)
By this point, it had been 18 months with no contraception and no signs of pregnancy, or even ovulation. That sting I talked about in the first blog? Yeah I was feeling it.
One thing that had come out of our conversations about having a family was that both of us were keen on the idea of adoption. We agreed that whether or not we conceive ourselves, we’ll 100% consider adoption later down the road. Having that in my mind was the one saving grace throughout this struggle because I knew ultimately that one day, we could have a child. (I don’t say that lightly, I know there is a hell of a lot to adoption, and it’s not always an option, or a good option. What’s more I had no clue if we’d be successful with that either, but it was at least in my mind.)
I know I said this post wasn’t going to be as period-y, but it’s inevitable when talking about getting pregnant that it’s going to be mentioned… after the 3.5 months, I had a period at the end of August, and then nothing again for another 2 months. At the beginning of November I was getting period pains, but no period came. After a few days of cramps, I started getting uncomfortable sleeping on my front from tender boobs – which is a period symptom, but not one I ever had, so I thought it was weird. After the second night of this I remembered my friend in early pregnancy complaining of having sore boobs, and it dawned on me that maybe I should do a test, knowing there was one more lurking under the bathroom sink.
Mornings are the best time to test, as it’s when everything is highly concentrated, so I waited til the next morning. It was a Friday morning, and I waited in the bathroom for the lines to do their thing. I fully expected another lonely single control line to show up, but that morning a friend appeared alongside him… I was shocked.
My friend has a really lovely story of how she told her husband she was pregnant, but I was having trouble processing and just wanted to tell Tom. I had no idea what to say, so I just walked into the bedroom where he was in bed on his phone, and I’m not sure I said anything other than “erm, so this…” or something equally as eloquent, meanwhile handing him the capped pee stick. Apparently he was unaware we even had pregnancy tests in the house so was fully unprepared for this morning revelation! We both sat on the bed in shock for a good few minutes before agreeing it was good news, just incredibly unexpected.
So there we had it, 22 months, 21 negatives and a positive!
That said, it wasn’t enough! I went out that morning to buy another pack of tests just to double check. We’ve all heard of false positives after all… I went to the closest Shoppers Drugmart (like Boots in the UK), found a 2 pack with one standard test and one digital dating test. I wanted to go to the self checkout, not quite ready to share this with anyone else, but I couldn’t find them, so ended up awkwardly placing the box on the counter and trying to look normal as I checked out. Getting home I did the standard test that afternoon, and saved the digital one for the next morning. Positive! And the following morning, another positive with a rough date to say I was around 5 weeks pregnant, right there in writing!