Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How To Know You're Not Pregnant

[Pregnant or think you might be? Visit the resource listing on this site for help.]


It wasn't long after I wed my knight in shining armor that I realized something new and strange about myself. I changed my mind - I wanted a baby. 

This was a complete 180 degree turn from the weepy meltdown I had in the car on the way home from premarital counseling in March 2008. That was back when I was a first-year baby protester. But at this premarital counseling session our pastors made a compelling argument against the pill, and we couldn't argue. That afternoon Josh and I decided that we were not going to use birth control pills, which was precisely the day I knew for sure we were going to have a baby on our honeymoon. And I was going to cry. It was all planned out. 

I proceeded to cry-whine uncontrollably for the hour between Kansas City and Topeka. It was a long hour...for Josh.

It didn't help that Cozumel, our honeymoon destination, was known as "the Mayan island of fertility". The airline attendant gleefully warned us of this as we boarded our final plane. I pondered the strong possibility that this "blessing" might also apply to non-Mayans. I rebuked it, just in case.

Not that anyone's asking, but one of the the details that matters a little here is Josh and I were not sexually active before we got hitched. So a baby was never a worry, never a thought. I had a vague thought that I wanted to wait at least a year, but never in my life had this been an issue. As the big day approached, I visited the doc and got a pill prescription, went to the pharmacy and picked it up. I remembering taking that little brown bag back to the apartment, and I knew I was a big girl now. 

Big girl pills. [Photo credit: scientificamerican.com]

Then the pastors told us their story about non-pill use and it was just terrible because we agreed with their logic. Something about how the pill makes the uterus unfriendly to a fertilized egg, which to Josh and I (because we're armed with archaic, fundamentalist science), is a human with a soul. And even though they weren't trying to convince us of anything, they did precisely that. I couldn't handle the thought of meeting a bunch of my kids in heaven. "Oh hey, I didn't know about you...um, this awkward. Nice to meet you." (For the record, I am still not really sure about when humanity begins, but do you want to be the one to find out you were wrong? I don't want to be.)

So anyway, the moral of the story is that in my pre-marriage opinion, the worst thing that could have happened to me would have been a pregnancy, a human life growing inside me, a (gasp!) baby. 

Then I got married and something changed. I had thoughts about babies that didn't involve me turning into a pool of disappointment and rage. This was new. I wrote about it here, about how I could feel the biological clock had turned on. And I could hear it ticking. It was making me want a baby. Darn you, Mayan Cozumel water. If they couldn't get you pregnant, they were going to make you miserable until you wanted a baby so bad you just went ahead and had one. 

I started investing in those little white sticks that tell you if there's a human growing inside of you, pregnancy tests I think they're called. (Right, like I don't know. In reality, I can tell you the ratings of most of them and which ones are most likely to give you a false positive. Or I can tell you where to find out.)

Every few weeks, I started paying attention to the symptoms they listed as pregnancy symptoms on WebMD. I quickly became convinced each month my symptoms indicated that if I didn't have a horrendous case of stage 4 uterine cancer with complications in my thyroid, that I was in fact pregnant. 

Cramping? Check.
Soreness in certain unmentionable locations? Check.
Cranky, irritability? Got that one on lock.
Nausea? Did you know you can make yourself nauseous on cue? Well I can. Special talent.
Fatigue? Um, sure.
Frequent trips to the bathroom? You bet.

So every month I was pregnant. Or almost pregnant. Some months I took more than one test, just to be sure. Those symptoms sure were tricky. You can get them almost any time, like after running a 10k, or drinking 2 gallons of water. Or eating week old pasta. So you just have to have a box or two of them around, just to be sure. 

I took a picture of it so I could show my friend. And myself. Yup,  this one was real.

Well, one day when I had quite given up, run out of tests in fact, my friend at work gave me her extra ones. She was pregnant and didn't need any more convincing. I took the freebie test one Saturday morning when Josh was at work, just for fun. Because at this time it was a hobbie like kayaking and scrapbooking are for some (normal) people. 

But this one was positive. And wouldn't you know it, being pregnant felt exactly the same as almost or not at all pregnant, which warranted a second test-taking venture four weeks later, just to be sure. 

The second moral of the story, because I can have two, is that I am quite adept at knowing when I am not pregnant. And darn right rotten at knowing when I am. So if I ever seem a bit off, a little wobbly perhaps, or a little snarky or rude, tired or glazed over, if it looks like I had one too many drinks the night before, you can assume that I am pregnant. Or that I think I am. 

But really, until I am, I am not.

14 comments:

megtuttle said...

Hahahaha. I love this. And I agree with everything.

The Navy Bean said...

So funny because I always think I am prego but am definitely not. There are birth control pills out there that are a really low dosage. I was against the pill but for the medical reasons that you know about already my doctor put me on a very low dosage that I take when hubby is deployed. I believe God has used the medicine to almost completely heal my body and make it possible to have more kids down the road. Just keep in mind that it medically helps with certain things that can cause infertility issues without very intrusive surgeries. That's my two cents :)

Siders House Rules said...

Thanks, Ings. That's really true. I didn't even think about that part of it, but you're right. I have several friends who have gotten benefit from the medical side from the pill. So it's not one-sided at all. It was a clear decision for us since we didn't have that element, but I truly respect all sides after the ordeals we went through talking to so many people and making up our minds. This perspective is primarily for humor's sake.

The Navy Bean said...

Yes if I didn't have the medical issues I wouldn't really see the point of taking it. Even with taking it I still always think I'm pregnant which is funny!

Siders House Rules said...

Me too, Ings. Which is why we are friends. Because we always think we are pregnant. Like right now, I could be pregnant. OMG. But probably not.

Unknown said...

ha! Lovely blog, I've totally been there! hahaha Out of the frustration of that constant could-I-be questioning and what form of family planning is right for us I found a book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It's the size of an elephant, but makes total sense. You might want to check it out :) Got mine on Amazon

The Navy Bean said...

I love that book! Got a lot out of it and even though it was huge read it really quickly!

Rose Wheat Photography said...

Favorite quote: "because we're armed with archaic, fundamentalist science".

Favorite situation: always thinking you're pregnant because your state in life aligns with what WebMD says the first few weeks of pregnancy are, which is actually how you feel all the time but don't notice because you didn't care before.

Siders House Rules said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Anonymous Friend. And I agree, Emma. We're always pregnant; we just don't realize it until our cycle is supposed to start. Oh dear.

Jessica Bouz said...

Yeah, didn't realize it would leave me "Unknown"!! It's your pal Jessica Bouz :) Yes Ingrid, very easy read. I learned a lot about my body too.....and to think all these years I thought 7th grade health class taught me all I would need to know! ha!

Siders House Rules said...

Okay then, two women I trust telling me this is the book. It's on then. I don't mind elephant sized books, as long as it's not with elephant-sized shipping.

harrisfamilync.com said...

Oh My Gosh! I have 6 babies and I have had my tubes tied...no actually burned...and I still carry around pregnancy tests in my purse. You never know...actually-I am 4 days late right now and I would love just one more...

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Your story put my mind at ease. You see, I am facing the same question right now: Am I pregnant... My opinion is that if God wants to give me a child, I cant send it back, but that does not mean that motherhood (while full-time employed) does not scare the living daylights out of me. It is still too early for a test, but I will let you know. Thanks for listening! Elzanne (South Africa)

Siders House Rules said...

Elzanne, thank you for sharing your story. I am a full-time working mother and there are so many sacrifices to make with that life. For most women, that is their only option. It is ours. I have to work. So I appreciate your dilemma. Despite all the fear I've felt, I have always had comfort after wrestling with God, knowing that he created that baby and it's His job, even more than mine, to take care of it. So that makes me feel better. Your baby, not mine, Father God. :)