Another question that I get asked is "were you trying?" I find this an odd question from strangers who don't know me since, really, is it any of their business? The answer is yes. We were definitely trying. My close friends knew that we were trying. We did not tell our parents for the sake of a) wanting to surprise them and b) avoiding the "are you pregnant yet?" question. I don't think that either one of our parents would have intentionally pressured us in any way since both of them had some difficulty getting pregnant with their first kids but we just didn't want to add any pressure.
When Andrew and I had discussed getting married and during our engagement, we decided we wanted to wait about 2 years before starting to think about having kids. We had a short "courtship" - about 13 months from when we met to when we got married so we wanted to take a couple of years to learn more about each other and enjoy the DINK (Double Income No Kids) lifestyle.
Previously, I had never been one who had a strong "urge" to have kids. I liked babies and thought they were cute and all. When my twin nephews were born in 2007, I loved spending time with them and watching them grow. It wasn't until Andrew and I were seriously dating and maybe even engaged that I saw a baby at church and my heart skipped a beat and I said to myself "I want one!".
While I knew that I was ready to have kids, I also knew that we had made our decision to wait a couple of years for a good reason. I would always joke to Andrew that whenever he was ready I would get off the pill in a heartbeat but knew that we would probably be waiting until January or so of 2012 to start trying.
So around February of 2011 (just shy of our 1 year anniversary), out of the blue Andrew says "I've been thinking that maybe we should start trying to have a baby." After I got over the initial shock, he went on to explain that we didn't know how long it would take us to get pregnant and that he wanted our parents to have as much time to get to know our kids as they could.
So, in March I took my last pack of birth control pills and we quit trying to prevent pregnancy. I got an app on my phone that gave me a good idea of when I should be ovulating. I bought the book "What to Expect Before your Expecting" and started perusing the What to Expect website for tips and tricks. This should be easy right?
So, for those of you who don't know me, I am a very analytical and logical person. I generally try to make informed and researched decisions and not let emotions play a factor. I also, after making such careful and rational decisions, often expect things to happen just as I expect them to happen. So naturally, I expected we would get pregnant after a month or two and life would be peachy.
Fast forward about 5 months and still nothing to show for our efforts. We were in Montana in August and I was due to have my period the day we arrived. Still hadn't gotten it a few days into our trip. I had been taking pregnancy tests at my moms house (and hiding them in my suitcase so she wouldn't find them) and they were all negative. And then it finally came about 4 days late. I had gotten so excited that I might be pregnant and then got disappointed. Andrew kept saying to me: "The average couple takes at least 6 months to get pregnant" and my response was "I have never been average - I am a straight A above average overachiever. This shouldn't be taking so long!"
So, we kept trying. And trying. In December, the week before my period was supposed to start, my boobs were super tender and hurt a lot. I asked a few of my pregnant patients if they had sore breasts before they were pregnant and they all said yes. So I started to get excited - especially since we were going to be in Montana for Christmas and I would get to tell my family. My period was due on a Saturday morning and we were going to be hanging out with our friends on Friday night. I was excited to tell my friends that I thought I might be pregnant. I went to the bathroom before I left work that night and sure enough, things had started. I was so disappointed that I cried on my way home and for several minutes at home before we left to meet our friends.
So the next month of "trying" I changed my attitude a little. I was so tired of getting my hopes up and anxiously getting through the "2 week wait" between ovulation and periods and then being disappointed when things didn't happen. I started really praying that God would A) make things happen according to His will and not my own and B) to give me peace about it regardless of the outcome. I knew that there was lots of options out there if we couldn't get pregnant on our own and we still had a few more months of trying before that would even be necessary. I also knew I had my annual check up with my OBGYN in a couple of weeks and that I wanted to ask a lot of questions about what more I could be doing.
In January, my period was due on Friday. I went to see my GYN doc (actually a Nurse Practioner/Midwife) for my annual check up. The breast tenderness was back - I was having discomfort running. And I had just started running again - I had read in a study that 1/3 of all recreational female runners didn't have an ovulatory period so i had quit running for the last 3 or 4 months. She did her exam and said everything looked normal. I asked her a bunch of questions including about the running study. She patiently answered my questions - said while the running study may be true, she hadn't seen anything in the mainstream literature about it. She had seen plenty of marathon runners in her office with healthy pregnancies. She told me to relax and not stress about it. She said she would check my thyroid levels if I wanted and also give me some brochures on accupuncture as well as the fertility clinic she would recommend if we weren't pregnant in another few months.
I kept praying for the rest of that week the same prayer - "God, give me peace. Regardless if I'm pregnant or not, make me okay with it. Help me to trust in Your will and not my own." So when I actually took the pregnancy test on that Saturday morning, I felt at peace regardless of the outcome - of course I was more than excited with our results :-)
Looking back, I know that God was at work in all of this. This was the original time we had wanted to get pregnant for the reasons I mentioned before. Because it took us 9 months to get pregnant, my relationship with my husband is that much better. We got to experience more things together and enjoy trips, and time with friends and family that would have been quite different if I had been pregnant.
I had always wanted a fall baby anyway - mainly because my maternity leave would cover the holidays and we could spend more time with our families. Plus, my child will be in the older part of his/her class which offers several advantages.
And finally, my friend Ali is pregnant about 4 weeks behind me. I know that God arranged for us to be pregnant together. Its nice to have another person (especially another first time mom) to share my experiences with - both good and bad. We even have the same midwife doing our prenatal care.
So, the lesson in all of this? Its the same lesson that God is always teaching me. That His timing is perfect - He carefully plans these things to work out for His glory and not my own. That I should be relying on Him and not my own knowledge. Especially when I start playing the "what if" game in my head, I have to look back in all of this (including multiple other moments in my life) and remember that He is in control. And I'm truly thankful.