I realized that I never wrote up this story- and out of my own selfishness, I do want it written so that I won't forget.
A few factors went into this surprise. First, that we assumed I was fertility-challenged. When you assume you are fertility-challenged, you don't think you need to be extra-careful with precautions. I truly believe that my having taken the pill for 8 years was a big factor in my anovulation and fertility problems, and so Eric and I agreed that I wouldn't go on it again after the boys were born. For 20 months after the boys were born, I didn't get my period at all, and I was frankly worried that I never would. My primary care doctor and my gynecologist both assured me that as long as I was breastfeeding, I didn't need to worry, but 20 months is a long time to go without a cycle!
Once my menstrual cycle returned, it started coming every 28 days. I could feel what I thought was ovulatory pain on Day 16, and then I would get my period on Day 28 of each cycle. My period was short and light, and I really had no PMS symptoms to speak of. Knowing all that I know about infertility, I could think of several ways in which I might still have trouble. I didn't have cervical mucous, was my luteal phase (the time after ovulation) too short, was my lining too thin? I never did anything like take my temperature or have bloodwork done to confirm that I was ovulating, so I just assumed I was.
Since my cycle was predictable, we decided to use a made-up version of the rhythm method. There is the 2nd major factor in this surprise- I think pretty much everyone has an idea of how effective the rhythm method is, and when you make up your own version because you gave away your copy of "Taking Charge of Your Fertility," well... I knew sperm could live for awhile waiting for an egg, so the week of ovulation, we would either be abstinent or use protection. What I didn't remember from 3 years prior was that the egg can also live a few days. After all my carefully timed, and completely unsuccessful, IUIs I thought eggs only live 24 hours after ovulation. When Eric and I were intimate one night, which I believed to be 48+ hours after I ovulated (Day 18 of my cycle), I thought we were in the clear, and we didn't use any form of protection.
10 days later, Tuesday, April 10, was the day my period was due. I usually get my period first thing in the morning, but nothing. I went to work and felt really crampy- enough that I took some Advil, assuming my period was on its way. Then, Wednesday morning, and still nothing. I mentioned to my mom that my period was a day late, and she said, "Oh, I'm sure you'll get it tonight or tomorrow." Wednesday night at bedtime I was checking and re-checking how long it had been since my last period. Eric noticed me counting on my fingers and asked, "Is there anything you need to tell me?"
We both agreed my period would DEFINITELY be there in the morning. For sure. No way it wouldn't.
Thursday morning- which happened to be Eric's birthday- nothing. After breakfast, Eric and I agreed I should take a home pregnancy test. The only problem was that I didn't have any in the house (I am not the kind of infertile who lives in constant hope, and a negative pregnancy test after you just paid a bunch of money to not get pregnant is too depressing). I sent Eric to the Dollar Store because I didn't want to spend good money on a test in order to find out that my reproductive system was screwed up again.
Eric got back and I took the test. We watched it for 30 seconds, and the control line showed up. "Whew!" Eric said. "It's negative. You're not pregnant. What a relief!" I felt kind of sad, because if I wasn't pregnant, that meant something was wrong again, and that was depressing.
I continued getting ready for work- brushing teeth, putting on some makeup- and happened to look back down at the test. Was that a second line??? I picked it up. Yes- it was a second line. I screamed- "ERIC!!!!!!" and went running down the stairs holding the test. "Eric! There's another line! Eric! I might be pregnant!"
"No! No, that second line is lighter than the first. That means you're not pregnant."
"No... a line is a line. I've never gotten a second line before. I've never taken a positive test before. I think I need another test. Go to CVS and get one of the real ones this time!" I tried to tell Eric which brand I wanted and then said, "Forget it! I'll go myself!"
In the aisle at CVS I stacked up about 4 boxes of pregnancy tests before I came to my senses. One test would tell me all I needed to know. I put them all back except for the First Response Early Response and went home.
This time Eric put the wrapper over the test and said neither one of us was looking until our 3 minutes were up. I continued to get ready for work, and then it was time to look. Eric did the honors and went in to the bathroom. He came out, grim-faced and silent. Two lines. I was pregnant.
I vaguely remember flapping my arms up and down a lot and saying, "Oh, I'm sweating. Did I put on deodorant? I'm not sure if I'm wearing deodorant. I should put on more deodorant," in a very panicked fashion.
"Now what?" Eric asked.
"Now I'm pregnant." I told him.
"I don't know what to say!" he said.
"Me neither!" I said.
"How did this happen?!?" he asked.
"I have no idea!" I told him. Let me now mention that I have a doctorate in psychology and a masters degree in human sexuality. I have no idea how it happened?!?! Oy- another case of book smart not translating to street smart. Perhaps they'll ask for that masters degree back...
When I left for work, we were both a little distraught. I had a busy day at work, and we didn't get a chance to talk, so I was very eager to get home that evening. At first Eric was upset- this wasn't our plan, how can we afford another child, what about the small size of our home? and so on. I shared all those anxieties. But I felt as though, after all we went through to conceive our boys, to be able to conceive a 3rd on our own, without even trying, was a miracle. And we are fairly lucky as these things go- we have my parents nearby for emotional support, we do have another bedroom to squeeze another person into, we live in a great neighborhood with great public schools and really wouldn't need to move.
Eric said, very sadly, "This wasn't what I wanted for my birthday," but fortunately, my mom had come by with a bottle of gin as an alternative gift. By the end of the evening, with a gin & tonic for him and a bowl of ice cream for me, we were both feeling somewhat better about the news.
The next night, Eric's parents arrived from Maine to help us celebrate the boys' birthday party and to help build our new powder room. After dinner, and when starting dessert, we gave them the news. I am pretty sure they were surprised!
It still feels very surreal- both that I am pregnant and that we conceived the way we did. I want to remember our shock and denial at the time we found out, because I know once she is here and part of our lives, we will feel that we always planned for her.