Final Stretch

I realized I was pregnant on my thirtieth birthday. I had been nauseous all week, and my boobs were as sore as they were when they sprouted in junior high school — a symptom I’d never experienced around my period.

We were lucky. I got pregnant on our first attempt. Years of safe, protected sex kept the idea of pregnancy — unplanned or otherwise — at bay. The birth control pill had become a crutch of comfort for me, but as our family planning conversations became more real, anxiety set in about weaning off an 18-year habit.

I went on the pill at age 12. Yes, 12. My skin was terrible and my cycles were irregular. At 12 years old, the idea of taking daily medication seemed both burdensome and terrifying, and yet without so much as routine blood work, my pediatrician wrote me a script.

Fast-forward to August 2018, when I decided that my final three 28-day sleeves of pills would be my last for a while. I had no idea how my body would react. Would I have to re-confront pre-pubescent insecurity about bad skin? Or worse yet, would my cycles be completely unpredictable?

They weren’t. For the first time in…well, ever…my body was behaving. My cycles were normal, I was ovulating, but even then, I knew it wasn’t a guarantee that pregnancy would be possible — something everyone in my life felt the need to remind me.

Truth be told, I just wanted to be armed with information. If was going to have trouble getting pregnant, I wanted the facts. So I tested my ovulation for the first two months off the pill (ladies, spring for the name-brand tests), confirmed that the predicted dates from FloΒ were spot-on, and figured that by the first week of November, we were ready to test our luck.

As I waddle into my third trimester (officially today!), I breathe a sigh of relief, but I’m also wondering why — with all of the advice that friends and family have felt compelled to dish out about pregnancy and childrearing — no one mentioned things like body image issues (I really resent that I have to dress around a protruding belly after working so hard pre-pregnancy to lose weight), sudden aches and pains, or a kind of general annoyance that borders on rage and is accompanied by a near-inability to edit oneself.

I’m not 100% pregnant curmudgeon, though. As much as I loathe many of the pregnancy realities, I’m also so grateful that I’m able to carry this baby boy, and will be able to love him unconditionally as he navigates the world with all its imperfections.


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