I’ve decided to start this blog privately for now, to keep a little pregnancy journal so that some day I can (hopefully) share with the world my story which will (hopefully) end with a happy and healthy baby born at the end!
Ken and I found out about two years ago that I have a Mullerian Duct Abnormality. My uterus is special and is a Unicornuate Uterus. Given that I’ve always wanted to be a mother, learning this information caused us a lot of distress. There is very little information online or in medical literature about this type of anomaly and the little information we did find was negative information. We learned that with this condition, I would have a higher risk of miscarriage, pre-term labor, intra-uterine growth restriction and all of these only if I could get pregnant in the first place. Different doctors I spoke with told me very different things and it was very hard to get answers. The basic consensus was that it could lead to negative outcomes or it could not affect me at all and that the only way to find out for sure would be to try getting pregnant, monitor my pregnancy closely, and wait and see.
To me, the unknown is always scary and intimidating, so telling me to “wait and see” is not very settling. We agreed that in January, 2012, we would start trying to have a baby because we figured out that the earliest a resulting baby would be born is October, 2012, at which point Ken will be 4 months into his Internal Medicine internship. We figured it would probably take a while for me to get used to being off of birth control, as I had been on it since the age of 18 (and I am now 26), so I took out my last Nuva Ring shortly before Halloween, in 2011.
My first few cycles off of birth control seemed strange… they went from 28 days to 31 days to 25 days, and I had PMS symptoms up the wazoo, which I had never experienced while I was on birth control. I was pissy, I had horrible cramps, I had 2-4 days of spotting before my period showed up, I had migraines, dizziness, nausea, horrible acne all over my face and my chest… it was not fun and I was complaining that I missed my birth control. Ken was away for most of November and December on Residency Interviews, so we knew it wouldn’t happen the first two months. During that time I started reading a lot of message boards about pregnancy and about trying to conceive and I became somewhat obsessed with analyzing every little sensation and twinge I felt in my body, assuming it was ovulation or implantation. I was driving myself crazy!
So January arrived and we were officially “Trying to Conceive.” I told Ken every little detail… and it was starting to make him nervous. We kept hearing about friends of ours who were expecting babies and Ken would say “it seems as though everyone is pregnant, except for you,” with a sad look on his face. We both were feeling as though we had to schedule sex according to my menstrual cycle and that is never how you’re supposed to go about getting pregnant. It should be fun, you should be relaxed, and you should just let it happen. Everyone I spoke with said that I had to relax. So when I got my period on January 17th, I decided it would be a good idea to try to relax and to just take my temperature every morning to get an idea of my regular cycle–when I ovulate, how long my Luteal Phase is, etc. Charting your basal body temperature is the only sure way to know if and when you are ovulating. So I charted… my temperature spiked and the charting software told me I had ovulated the day before. Luckily our “timing” was very good in the few days before and the day of ovulation. Then I watched what my temperature did… it went up and then it went down and then it went back up and back down and I analyzed every single little change in temperature… could it be an “implantation dip”? Could it be a “triphasic chart”? I was going nuts!
Then I started to spot… and the spotting continued for 3… 4… 5… 6 days. Off of birth control I had spotting for 4 days, 3 days and 2 days before my period but never for 6 days. And to top it all off, I didn’t feel like I was about to get my period: I was still in a good mood, I wasn’t feeling bloated, I didn’t have cramps, and the spotting seemed to be subsiding. Fast forward to Sunday morning, February 12th which was 13 days after ovulation (according to this fancy charting software) and Cycle Day 27. I woke up and didn’t feel anything, so I figured… what the heck, I might as well take a pregnancy test (I had about 6 of them in a drawer in our bathroom). So I peed on it, left it in the bathroom and then went about my business for the morning. I ate breakfast, gave Ken a big hug, and then went back into the bathroom to look at the test. It had been (about) 10 minutes, and when I looked at it there were clearly 2 lines on it indicating a positive pregnancy test. I ran over to Ken and said, “Ken!!! I think I’m pregnant!” and I showed him the test. He asked me how long it had been since I took it and I said “about 10 minutes.” He looked up the test brand and saw that their instructions advise against reading results after 10 minutes as they can be inaccurate. So we didn’t know what to think… and I felt stupid for not following the directions.
An hour later, I had to pee again so I went back into the bathroom and used one of the digital tests since I figured they have got to be easier to use. The little timer came up and started flashing… and flashing… for what felt like 3 hours (it was probably only about 3 minutes) and then it said “Pregnant”!
I screamed to Ken “I did it! I took another test and it says I’m pregnant!” He and I both looked at it in disbelief for a few minutes, and then we decided to call my Mother to tell her. I said, “Mommy! I have something I have to tell you! I’m pregnant!” and her first response was “I knew it!”
When we had first started talking about trying to have a baby, we always said we were going to tell only my mom and Ken’s dad at first because of the high risk of miscarriage, and that we were going to wait to tell the rest of the family until after the first trimester and that we would wait to tell friends until after I started showing. That plan quickly went to hell because we called Ken’s parents shortly thereafter, and the next day we called everyone else in the family as well as a few close friends, both at home in San Francisco and here in New Orleans. We figure that if anything does happen, it’s more important that we have a good support system in place and that means that people have to know what we’re going through so we can call them and talk to them about things. It’s more important to us to have people we can talk to than that we keep it a secret.
Today is Wednesday, the 15th of February, so this is the 4th day that I’ve known I’m pregnant, and the news still hasn’t quite sunk in. In fact, I was in such disbelief at first that I took another pregnancy test Monday night (it said “Pregnant”) and I took yet another on Tuesday night (it also said “Pregnant”). So now I guess it’s hit me… I’m pregnant! I’ll probably continue taking tests until I actually see my doctor in a week and a half (I’m only half joking… a part of me will want to make sure everything is still going okay, and unless I start getting symptoms, the best way to tell is to figure out whether I still have the pregnancy hormone HCG in my system).
According to the online due date calculators (if they’re accurate), if you go based on my last menstrual period, my due date should be sometime around October 23rd which means that today I am just about 4 weeks and 1 day pregnant. According to a website called “The Bump,” the little embryo is about the side of a poppyseed (hence the name of this blog). I scheduled my first OB appointment for February 27th, at which time I will be 1 day shy of 6 weeks pregnant, and we are hoping we’ll get to see the little poppyseed and its heartbeat at that visit.
I’m feeling a huge mix of emotions: shock that it only took us 2 months to get pregnant, excitement because this is something I’ve wanted since I was a very little girl, and fear that something will go wrong and that I won’t stay pregnant. That fear increases whenever I google something like “pregnancy outcomes in unicornuate uteruses” or “Mullerian Duct Abnormalities successful pregnancies.” The numbers that have been published are very dreary… 30% end in miscarriage, another 20% go into preterm labor and only 50% deliver full-term babies. But then I remind myself what so many doctors have told me: you never know until you see how your own body handles pregnancy. The uterus is a muscle that is designed to stretch. If “Octo-Mom” could carry 8 babies in her uterus, then my 1/2 of a uterus should be able to carry one. Of course it doesn’t help that Ken is in Medical School and has a lot more knowledge than most, so he knows about the worst-case scenario. Because of that, we’re saying that we are “Cautiously Optimistic” and “Cautiously Excited” about this whole thing.
But I figure that our story could certainly help someone down the road… no matter what the outcome is. The fact that I got pregnant so quickly is very reassuring because we know Ken’s pipes work, we know my tubes work, and we know that it’s possible for me to get pregnant. Now we just have to wait and see and I’ll keep updating this little blog throughout the process. Maybe eventually I’ll share it with people or maybe I won’t. For now though, I hope the little poppyseed stays right where it is and continues to grow and develop. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and keeping prayers in my heart.