What to Expect When You Weren’t Expecting
On Friday, November 20th, I found out that I was pregnant.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute…
I had gone into urgent care for what I thought was the world’s worst UTI but I left with a ‘scrip for pregnancy-safe antibiotics and news that rendered me pretty much speechless.
There were a lot of tears. Sheer panic. Coconut milk ice cream and phone calls to the 3 closest people to me in my life.
Was this really happening to me?
The 2 weeks leading up to this were filled with a complete relocation to a new city, the death and funeral of a close friend, and beginning a brand new job. This was probably the worst possible time for something like this to happen.
And at the same time, it was the best possible time it could have happened.
I was now living in a city surrounded by family and a built-in support system. I was finally making great money working ONLY one job and I had health benefits again. I had found a beautiful 2-bedroom apartment with plenty of space..was this what was supposed to happen?
While the panic subsided (but never fully disappeared) I decided to make it real. I ordered the baby books. I expanded the small group of people who knew of my big news to some more select few. I bought the vitamins. And I started feeling like crap.
I was exhausted, I was depressed, I was nauseous and I was alone. It took EVERYTHING IN ME just to get out of bed every day and get to work having put a brush through my hair. But I embraced it. This was it. It sucked, but it meant this was really happening.
During Thanksgiving I bought some baby clothes. I was only about 5–6 weeks along but I was with family and they were excited. So I was excited. And it just made it feel even more real.
At the beginning of December, baby Daddy moved in. It seemed like the logical decision. The important next step. We had grandiose ideas of how this was all going to work out. We were naive in our thinking and the reality set-in fairly quickly.
Deciding to be in a relationship is a big change in itself. Moving to a new city, starting a new job and moving in with someone are also big life changes. Having a child is a HUGE life change. And I was experiencing all of them in a matter of weeks.
It took its toll.
The panic I felt that night in November at Urgent Care came back full-force and consumed every moment of my day. I had the most insane thoughts.
Why was this happening to me?
How could I have let this happen?
What if I wasn’t good enough to be a parent?
What if something is wrong with my kid?
Can I really do this?
My life is over.
I’m a screw-up.
There goes all of my own hopes and dreams.
This kid is going to grow up hating me for being a young, unwed parent.
I’m not good enough to be a Mom.
I could go on, but those are just a few of the thoughts I remember having.
Each week, the app on my phone compared the baby growing inside of me to some kind of fruit or seed to provide a basis of comparison for how big it was getting. I continued to read all the blog posts and even tried searching for ones that were applicable to my unique situation.
How are you supposed to feel when you find out you are pregnant and it was a complete accident?
How are you supposed to handle a break-up while you’re pregnant with a child who wasn’t planned?
While my situation is far from unique, any information related to it is buried by information to ‘real Moms‘. The ones who have been planning this pregnancy for months or years. The ‘Serious Moms‘. The ‘Married Moms‘. Every source of information spoke to a woman that wasn’t me and it was very difficult to feel like any of the emotions I was experiencing were possibly at ALL normal.
As I reached the 8 week mark, the strangest thing happened. I woke up that Monday and felt normal. I didn’t want to yak at the sight of spinach and my body didn’t feel like I had ran a marathon in my sleep. I simply felt normal. And I thought it was weird.
It was right before Christmas so while I tried to get an appointment before the holiday, no one could get me in til after the 1st of the year. And without any real symptoms that anything bad had happened, there was no reason for anyone to rush me in. I admitted to a few that hey, I don’t feel pregnant anymore. But I was reaching the end of my first trimester and every woman is different. So yes, it very well could have been that I was one lucky gal for no longer feeling like crap.
It’s now January 8th and this is my 11th week — 1 week shy of ending the first trimester and the risk of miscarriage dropping substantially.
And in this, my 11th week, I went for my first prenatal visit and ultrasound.
The preliminary scan showed nothing like what any of us in the room thought we would see. It was almost virtually impossible to see anything at all actually.
So I was instructed to come back a few hours later for the Mack-Daddy ultra sound. The real deal. The doctor was concerned and he wasn’t going to lie to me about it. Either we were way off with our dates (unlikely when you’re in a long-distance relationship — date of conception is very obvious and specific) or the baby had stopped growing because it was not big enough to be 11 weeks.
I had to go back to work for 3 torturous hours when I really already knew the outcome. I knew it deep down. There was no way my dates were off.
I started thinking back to every horrible thought I randomly had. About how I wish this hadn’t happened. About how I wasn’t ready.
I felt like the Universe was telling me I didn’t deserve to be a Mom.
I went back for the real ultrasound and even without the tech telling me, I already knew. The room was completely silent. There was no heartbeat.
After she took some digital measurements her best guess was that the baby had stopped growing about 3 weeks prior — during my 8th week.
Guess I really know my body.
I held it together all the way out of the office and almost made it out of the building but lost it at the elevator. I couldn’t help it. I felt, and still feel, like an emotional baby killer. I feel like I killed this baby with my negative thoughts and lack of appreciation.
And let me make sure it’s known — I did want this baby. I’m an extremely organized person who likes to plan and sort stuff by color. I can’t help that as being part of my personality. So while it was hard to adjust to this major curveball — having a child — I love children. I’ve dreamed of having kids. I grew up taking care of kids. I love all of my siblings like they are my own children. I wanted this baby.
Where does this leave me now?
Because my body hasn’t fully recognized this pregnancy isn’t viable, I will have to go in next week to have it removed. I have to hope and believe that closure will begin after that.
At first, I was glad that I hadn’t told more people. The few people I did have to tell one-on-one was painful. And I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if I had been publicly sharing my pregnancy via Social Media or this blog or anything like that.
So why am I writing and sharing this now?
Because it happened. This is an experience that has changed me in ways I still have yet to identify. Also because I know I’m not the only one who has been through something like this. This is for your friend or your sister or your Aunt or a baby Daddy whose baby Momma is going through this. Just because this pregnancy wasn’t planned doesn’t make its loss any less significant or painful. That is something I have to remember in order to keep my sanity. Every day for the last month and a half, being pregnant has been my identity. That’s hard to just turn off.
I wish that I could slap a filter on my life that weeds out any and all things baby and pregnancies. But I can’t avoid babies forever. And the sadness I’m feeling doesn’t take away from the joy I feel for my friends and loved ones who are experiencing the alternative to this outcome. If anything, I’d ask them to share even more pictures, give even more kisses, more snuggles and know how lucky their little one is to have them.
Originally published at www.andipetty.com on January 8, 2016.