I debated long and hard over to write this post, because it’s definitely a lot more personal than what I usually write about. But here’s the thing: what I love so much about blogs are the tiny glimpses into the lives of real people, who are open and honest enough to share the good and the bad. So, in that spirit, I thought I’d tell you all about the few months leading up to the creation of our baby boy.
(As a quick FYI: I’m scheduling this to post after the baby is born — I know it’s silly and superstitious, but part of me is still a little nervous about this whole experience, and I know I’ll feel better telling the story once he’s safely in our arms.)
Back in April of last year, Chad and I started talking seriously about having a baby. We were settled in Houston, our lives were pretty much under control, and we felt like this was the next step. I’d always said that I wanted to be in our house for a year before we started thinking about kids, and we decided that it would be great if I were pregnant in the fall. And from there, it was an easy jump to think: it can take a while to get pregnant, so if we want that to be the goal, probably we should start trying… now.
And obviously I’m going to spare you guys the details, but that’s essentially what we did. I started paying closer attention to my cycles (I used a website/app called FertilityFriend that I can’t recommend enough) — but my periods were always pretty regular and I figured it would happen pretty soon. (I’d gotten off the pill years ago, so I didn’t have to wait for my body to adjust to life without birth control.)
And then… the strangest thing happened. After we’d been trying for a month, I had some bleeding about a week before I was supposed to get my period. For some people, this might be relatively normal, but for me it was definitely not. When I say my cycles were “pretty regular,” I mean 28 days on the dot, no spotting, nothing wonky ever. So a few weeks later, I went to the doctor to have everything checked out.
The doctor agreed that this was a little strange (and particularly unfortunate the first month that we’d started trying to conceive), so she did an ultrasound to make sure everything internal looked okay. And a few days later, I got a call: I had a rare type of ovarian cyst that needed surgery. It wasn’t cancerous, but it was a type that could turn cancerous if I didn’t have it removed. It was only the size of a golf ball when we caught it, but it could grow quickly to be a lot bigger. And scariest of all, if I were to get pregnant, it could grow big enough that I’d need to have surgery while pregnant to remove it, or else risk losing my ovary. Even with the surgery, they weren’t sure that there would be enough tissue left of the ovary for it to ever work again. The recommendation was to have the surgery as soon as possible, before things got any worse.
I’m not sure I can fully describe how terrified I was — I spent my entire adult life trying to avoid getting pregnant, and the moment I actually want a baby, I realize that there may be serious issues with my reproductive system. I suddenly felt so stupid for all the months and years that I’d put off having kids, thinking I had all the time in the world. In my rational mind, I knew everything would most likely turn out fine. In my totally irrational, petrified mind, I knew there were no guarantees.
After a lot of thought, I went forward with the surgery, which is a whole separate story for another day — but ultimately, the important thing is that it was successful. The doctor was able to remove the cyst and leave my ovary intact, and a few weeks later, once I’d healed, he told me that there was nothing to suggest that I’d have trouble conceiving in the future.
And sure enough, three months later, I got those two wonderful lines on a home pregnancy test (er… three home pregnancy tests, lol). A few weeks later, we heard the baby’s heartbeat and eight months later, he’s just about to join our family. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have an easy and uncomplicated pregnancy, which came as a huge relief after the fear and uncertainty of last summer.
At the end of the day, it only took us a few months to get pregnant — but with everything that happened, they felt like years. In some ways, I’m grateful for the difficulties we went through — they truly made me appreciate this pregnancy in a way that I might have taken for granted otherwise.
So I thought it was important to share the story behind our baby’s conception — in case any of you are going through something similar, and just to be open and honest about the fact that although I’m so happy with the outcome, but it wasn’t always an easy or smooth ride to get here.
Ultimately, I realize that I’m extremely lucky — and not just for my health and our soon-to-be baby boy. I’m fine now and happy to move past this experience — and into the excitement of caring for our newborn son!