Lessons I've learned from my surprise pregnancy
Perhaps the desire to drink gallons of peppermint tea should’ve given it away. Or the suddenly too-tight bras. Or, you know, the mysterious pre-menstrual cramps that promised – but failed to deliver – an actual period, week… after week… after week.
Despite what I now see were dead giveaways, I still found myself staring down at a positive pregnancy test (having not had a period in eight weeks!) feeling an overwhelming sense of shock. A shock-mixed-with-elation kind of shock, but a shock nonetheless. Proof, if ever any was needed, that surprise pregnancies can occur at any time in your life – whether you’re a teenager who just thought it couldn’t happen to her, or a 34-year-old like me who thought she knew her cycle better than she actually did.
Why was I so surprised? I had recently come off the pill with the intention of giving myself a year to let my body readjust before getting married next year. We weren’t trying to have a baby (that was supposed to happen after the wedding) and when my period didn’t arrive I just assumed it was my cycle throwing a random curveball at me to prove that the pill wasn’t quite yet out of my system.
Why didn’t I do a test when my period failed to show? Oh, I did. Three of them. One when my period was a week late, the second at two weeks late, and a third at three weeks late. All big fat negatives. I even started to feel a bit ridiculous for even thinking I could be pregnant, so I went to the doctors in the hope of getting an explanation.
He recommended several tests – including another pregnancy test, just to rule it out – and asked me to come back in a week for the results. But something happened in that week that made me take another home test. I started to feel different in myself: a little more tired, a little more irritable, a little more convinced that my body was trying to tell me what the previous tests hadn’t.
So I bought a ClearBlue Digital Pregnancy Test with Conception Indicator, did it the next morning and the results came through in an instant. More than three weeks pregnant: here was the answer that had the power to shock me and make me unbelievably happy in a split second. Because no matter how surprised we were, we were undoubtedly over the moon.
So now, 15 weeks into the pregnancy, things are going well. The horrible sickness is over and we’re flaunting the scan pictures in front of everyone we see. But I do feel I’ve learned three valuable lessons about our journey to this point:
1) Trust what your body is telling you. If there’s a remote chance you might be pregnant and you’re getting all the premenstrual symptoms but no period then go and see your doctor.
2) Pregnancy tests can be wrong. Getting a false negative, I’ve now learned, is occasionally possible when taking a test at home. It could be that you’re testing too early, not carrying out the test properly, or the test may not be effective. If you’re getting a negative but you still feel pregnant, try another one, or try a different brand.
3) Relax, enjoy it, and marvel at the amazingness of it all. I was in such a whirlwind when we found out, worrying if everything was OK and what people would say, it’s only now that I’m really starting to appreciate the magic of pregnancy. But now I am appreciating it (and now the sickness has passed) it is one of the best, most exciting feelings in the world.
Are you a mum or mum-to-be? What were your earliest pregnancy symptoms?
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