As of a week ago, I was exactly three months pregnant. My doctor keeps telling me that the nausea and vomiting will taper off anytime now, but I am absolutely convinced that I am going to spend the remainder of the entire pregnancy curled over the closest toilet. I kept waiting to write in here because I wanted to write something uplifting or helpful, but the truth is, I am tired of those kinds of stories myself. I want to know that there is someone else out there who goes through all of the mixed emotions I do, the fear, the elation, the sadness, the hopelessness, the joy, the faith…all of these and all at once.
It is scary; there is no other way to put it. Being pregnant and living on your own at twenty years old is scary as hell. I find myself growing to love this child more and more every day and that is scary. It is scary to think of how vulnerable I will be once the child is born. Never again will I get to make a decision in my life that I will only make for myself. Everything I do in my life from here on out will not only affect me, but will also affect this tiny, innocent, defenseless, little human being growing inside of me, and that terrifies me. And I go through so much guilt and humilation thinking of the awful things I thought when I first got pregnant, that I wanted to miscarry, or that I wanted to give the baby up for adoption, or that I just plain and simple didn’t want the baby. I realize all of those things are natural, and that even mothers who have spent years planning a first pregnancy go through these same things, but I just never knew that my heart, a heart I have always thought was so pure and good, could think such terrible thoughts about my own child. Sometimes I feel really lonely, like it is me and this baby against the world. And I know I am a strong person, but am I strong enough for this? Am I strong enough to raise a happy, healthy child?
Maybe a little background information on my particular situation would be helpful. I was sick from June until September, and no doctors could figure out what it was. I will spare the details and specifics of the various, absurd conditions I was diagnosed with. Some doctors even tried to say I was causing myself to be sick. I lost close to thirty pounds, and since I was 5’7″ and 130 lbs. to start with, you can imagine what kind of shape this left me in. I couldn’t get out of bed. I began losing motor skills and my eyesight. Finally, I was sent to a specialist in Indianapolis who diagnosed me with post traumatic stress syndrome (as opposed to post traumatic stress disorder, which is a psychological problem.) PTSS is caused from an injury to the brain whose effects are delayed. In my case, it was caused by a whiplash injury from a car accident I was in six months before. The good news was, though rare, it was entirely treatable with the right drugs, which I began taking, and made a very quick and complete recovery. However, what I didn’t mention was that in the middle of this whole ordeal, my boyfriend had a baby with another girl…
Michael and I have been together on and off for five years. We have always been the best of friends, even in our off times. However, during one of these off times, he dated a girl, Jennifer, who was a raging psychotic. Jennifer had an illegitmate son at the young age of sixteen, whom her mother mostly took care of while Jennifer continued sleeping with every young man who would have her. In the meantime, she found Michael. He was oblivious to what kind of a person she was; she snowballed him from day one. He loved her son, and the minute she saw the two of them together, she made a plan. To make a long story short, she quit taking her birth control, and got pregnant on purpose. Michael began to think maybe she had a few screws loose, so he broke things off with her. We began dating again, until one night when she came over and informed us that she was pregnant. She brought a positive pregnancy test to Michael’s house, so he decided that maybe the two of them should try to work things out. No matter what he did, he could not ignore the fact that she was absolutely 100% insane. They broke up once and for all. Michael and I began dating again in May, when Jennifer was supposedly 7 months along. As it turns out, she had “borrowed” her best friend’s positive pregnancy test in an effort to get back together with Michael. Once the two of them tried to work things out, this was when she really got pregnant. She tried when she was about eight months along to tell us that the doctor had suddenly decided she had miscalculated her due date, and that she was going to have the baby until late August. When this began to raise some eyebrows, she forced herself into premature labor on the exact due date. The labor was a nightmare that only lasted about a half hour. She almost killed the baby, whose lungs were not fully developed because of being premature. So, on top of everything else, Michael had to spend the week in the hospital with Jennifer and the baby waiting to see if the baby was going to live. All of this took place while I was out in California getting certified in massage therapy. Shortly after this whole ordeal, was when I got sick.
So when I woke up vomiting uncontrollably one morning in late October, Michael rushed me to the hospital emergency room fearing that I was having a relapse. I had taken a pregnancy test that had come up positive, but the doctors on the phone seemed to think that I had miscarried or taken it wrong because I was bleeding heavily. Once there, the doctors began asking me questions. When was your last period? I was on my period that very day. When was your last period before this one? About four weeks ago. Is it possible you are pregnant? No, Michael and I do have sex, but we always use spermicidally lubricated condoms, KY jelly, and we don’t have sex during the week before my period. They gave me a pelvic exam and told me they had found a large cyst that had ruptured on one of my ovaries, that I might need surgery, and they took me to ultrasound. They had pretty much decided that I had probably miscarried early in the pregnancy or that the cyst had somehow thrown off the test, but at any rate, they told me I probably wasn’t pregnant. The man doing the ultrasound pointed to a small circle on the screen. “Do you see that speck he asked me?” “Yes, is that the cyst?” I asked. “No, that’s a baby, and that noise you hear is its heartbeat, 106 beats per minute.” I went numb all over. I was in utter disbelief. He couldn’t believe I didn’t know. I asked him how far along I was, and he told me six weeks and three days. It seemed impossible. I hadn’t skipped a period. I hadn’t had unprotected sex.
I wasn’t that “type” of girl who gets pregnant…at least that’s what my self-righteous, naive self thought at the time. After all, didn’t I graduate third in my class? Didn’t I have the highest SAT scores in my entire grade? Wasn’t I voted most outgoing my senior year of high school? Wasn’t I the goody-two shoes on the homecoming and prom courts? Wasn’t I the girl who had received so many scholarships to go to college that I was actually getting paid to get an education, even after all of my expenses were paid? I wasn’t a slut. Michael was the guy I had lost my virginity to. All through highschool and my first couple of years of college I had watched these ignorant girls sleep around, constantly having unprotected sex, abusing their bodies with drugs, alcohol, etc. It didn’t seem fair.
Michael saw the ultrasound lying on my stomach when they wheeled me back into my room, and he knew right away. He handled it so well. He laid my bed back and gently rubbed my head while they put nausea medicine in my IV in an effort to keep me from vomiting back up the fluid they were trying to get down me. I asked him why he was so calm. He told me that he had been through this before, and the first time was much worse, and hadn’t it all turned out okay? He was right. His daughter, Nikki, was an absolute angel, and after much fighting (since Jennifer tried to tell us that Michael couldn’t see the baby unless he would marry her and move in with her and her parents), Jennifer had begun letting her stay with Michael on the weekends.
I was lucky in the respect that telling my parents and Michael’s parents was so easy. They were all so glad to hear, first of all, that I wasn’t having a relapse of the PTSS. And besides, Michael and I had apparently both been “accidents” ourselves. Although my parents were married, they had only been married for two weeks and were on their way moving out to Los Angeles when my mom found out she was pregnant with me. They had no money, no jobs, and my dad’s rock band was living in a bus on the street in front of my parents’ one room apartment. Michael’s parents were struggling to get by when they found out they were having him, and they already had three young girls at home. So our parents were more than understanding; they were sickeningly nice about it. I wanted them to get mad. I was so angry at myself and at the world, I didn’t want them to be nice.
Michael and I were already planning to get married and eventually start a family, so all this really did was switch around the order of things. And when I really thought about it, we weren’t really in that bad of shape. By the time the baby would arrive in June, Michael would have a college degree in a very promising field and would hopefully be starting a career, and I had gotten certified in massage therapy so I could work at my mom’s business part time making $40-$50 bucks an hour while I went to school. In other words, things could have been a lot worse.
So, within a week of finding out, Michael and I had found a beautiful little apartment on the edge of town overlooking a lake and moved completely in. This is our second or third month here; I’ve sort of lost track of time. I guess that’s easy to do when you spend most of your time puking, or crying, or having raging hormonal attacks, and awful nightmares, and night sweats, and trying to work, and trying to take care of a six month old every other weekend.
That brings me to another point. Who are these people who talk about pregnancy like it’s so beautiful and graceful and peaceful and wonderful…I know, I know. It is. The fact is that a tiny human life is growing inside of me, and that is amazing. It is amazing to feel it happening inside of me, to know that no matter what ever happens to me, right now is the closest the baby will ever be to me, physically. It is truly amazing, fascinating, awe inspiring. But no matter how hard I try, I have trouble finding anything beautiful about myself right now, and that makes things really hard. I’m gaining weight faster than I thought was even possible. I don’t fit in any of my old clothes, but I am still not quite big enough for full blown maternity wear. The doctor informed me that because I was underweight when I got pregnant, I will probably gain close to forty or so pounds throughout my pregnancy, and because my uterus is growing especially quickly for some reason or another, I am getting really huge really fast, and IT HURTS!!! I was at least looking forward to no periods, no cramps, but I still have what feels like cramps all day every day, which the doctor again says is normal because I was so underweight when I originally got pregnant. Basically what she told me is that these first few months are going to be hell on my body. When I’m not sick, all I want to do is sleep.
And yet, the few times I have been able to leave the house and go to the store, I find myself excited about the baby, smiling at women with small children, grinning stupidly at baby socks and onesies. And strangely enough things seem to just keep getting easier and easier. More and more, all of the feelings I was having right at first keep changing one by one into a sort of peace and happiness that I can’t explain or describe. And more and more I realize what a miracle human life is and how amazing and rewarding it is to have a child, made of one of the best combinations of two people I have ever seen, growing inside of me.
I have already had more than a few people ask me if I am ashamed that I am unwed and pregnant. I just want to scream in their faces. My baby was conceived in love, in a kind of love that I think most couples my age will never understand, and what on this earth could possibly be shameful about that?
Megan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your total honesty. I know the emotions you are feeling all too well. I was shocked and scared, too, by the intensity of them. I wanted to do everything perfectly in my life and this was not part of the plan. I, too, was a top student…a “good girl”, etc. I got thrown off that horse so quick and I hurt all over.
I could see my body getting “fat” and it scared me. I sometimes resented my baby for making me go through all of this. It’s really hard when you can’t see or touch your baby and all you can feel is sickness and bloating. Is this all worth it? It is, I know that, but it’s just so hard sometimes to see the bigger picture.
I remember feeling my baby kick for the first time. I was in class, just sitting there in my desk trying to listen to the lecture. Nobody knew I was pregnant yet. All of a sudden I felt a little flutter inside me. It was my baby! I wanted to stand up and shout! It was all I could do to stay in my desk and appear interested in what was going on. From then on, it was me and my baby. I knew we were in this together and it thrilled me.
Things usually get easier after the first 3 or 4 months. The sickness starts to diminish, you start to look pregnant, instead of just fat, and you can feel your baby moving! Everything becomes much more real and exciting!
Keep on keeping on! It is so worth it. You are giving the world a wonderful gift.