The Road to Baby-Making.

Wow, guys – all I can say is THANKS!  Over six hundred comments and climbing, and I spent my afternoon doing nothing but reading each and every one of them with a ridiculous grin plastered to my face.  Even though I’m still riding the high, I’ll come down long enough to resume my regularly scheduled programming.

First things first, I assure you there will still be plenty of food and fitness discussion here – especially once I am feeling a bit better and my appetite returns.  Having a healthy, active, vegetarian pregnancy is something I am so passionate about and excited to share!  I will do my best to find a good balance of baby talk, and down the road I might even consider starting a separate blog – we’ll see.  For this week, it might be a bit baby heavy since there is so much I have been DYING to tell you guys!

When we told our families the good news last weekend, after tears and hugs, the first thing everyone wanted was THE STORY.  Was it expected?  Were we trying?  How did we find out?  I figured it would be just as appropriate to share the same info with you guys, since it sounds like so many of you are moms (or want to be moms eventually!) too.  Here goes…  (Warning: period talk ahead.)

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The Story

As a teenager, I was always ridiculously private and embarrassed about all things female.  While I know we girls all have our mortifying period stories, I took this to the extreme.  True story – when I was 18 and in college my freshman year, I didn’t have a car to take myself to the store and always had to go with friends.  I was SO humiliated that I needed to buy super plus tampons (when all my friends were buying normal regulars) that I called my mom crying and convinced her to mail them to me all year long.  You read that correctly – my mom mailed me tampons in college.  Oh, and she took them out of the box for me too, just to ensure no one knew what size they were.  Because that’s normal, right?  Thanks mom!  :)

Fast forward to life as an adult.  I did finally get over my fear of the dreaded tampon purchase, and (ironically) became a total over-sharer. 

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Casey and I got married in May 2009, and not long after we had the serious “when do we want kids” talk.  I had heard stories and rumors that it could take a long time to come off of birth control, especially for those that had been on it a long time.  Having taken the pill every month since I was newly 19, at 28 I was now staring 10 years of artificial hormones in the face.  I knew I didn’t feel ready for kids right then, but I decided to transition off of my birth control anyways, just to get my body ready in case it took a while to readjust.

Thank god I did.

I finished up my last birth control pack in November 2009.  Months came and went with no period.  I bought about 25 different pregnancy tests, convinced that I was pregnant on a weekly basis.  Finally in March 2010, five months later, I went to see a doctor who prescribed me a drug that would help induce my period.  But for some reason I didn’t take it.  I was already so upset that the BC had affected me so negatively, and taking the prescription had me wondering if I was headed down the path of infertility treatment too early.  I held onto the prescription for a week while I thought about what to do, but I never ended up taking it.

One week later, I got my period.  And I literally cried tears of joy.

I thought my worrying was over, knowing that my body was finally naturally producing a cycle.  And then April came and my period didn’t.  I felt like I was back to square one.  Somewhere in Mid-may, the cycle returned.  This pattern continued well through the summer and into August.  My periods were finally coming, but they were over 60 days apart, which (according to my internet research) meant I wasn’t actually ovulating.

Through it all, I never talked about it.  Casey knew I was having female issues, but for some reason I felt too humiliated to confront my problem.  For some reason I found myself completely embarrassed about what I was going through.  Here I was, claiming to be a role model for health and nutrition, and yet I felt like the basic function of my female body was not working.  I looked healthy on the outside, but felt broken and ashamed on the inside.

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Every month, I told myself I would give it one more month.  Every month I bought a pregnancy test, and every month it was negative.  I started keeping track of my period in my calendar, so that I would have accurate information once I was ready to re-face my doctor. 

And then suddenly, somewhere around last October, my cycles started coming more regularly.  Sixty days dropped to 40 days, and eventually became a steady 29 days.  I had three regular periods in a row and felt on top of the world.

But over the course of a year, I had been completely off of my birth control, doing what married people do, and still no pregnancy.  I knew after the one year mark I would need to face the truth.  I wasn’t emotionally ready to make the leap to charting, temperatures, and all of the other methods for trying to conceive.  I wanted to believe for some reason that I didn’t need that (which in hindsight makes NO sense).

We rung in 2011 excited for a new year, but I was also feeling a little hopeless about our future as parents.  On top of my personal embarrassment about (what I felt was) my failing body, I felt a strong sense of guilt that I might not be able to give Casey the babies that he so deserved.  Of course he told me that was absurd and he loved me regardless, but my own emotional baggage was heavily weighing me down.

In a last ditch effort – one month before I would turn 30 – I downloaded an ovulation tracker app for my phone (so high tech, I know!) and entered all of my recent cycle info.  The program (called My Days if anyone cares) used all my information to predict my ovulation dates, and when those dates rolled around – we did what we were supposed to do.  That was January.

February came and I anxiously awaited the day that my app told me I should get my period.  A few days prior, I had what I thought was the beginning of it, accompanied by sadness and tears.  But it only lasted a day, and then the signs were all gone.  Saturday came and I could just tell that my period was not coming.  In an already needed grocery trip, I threw a pregnancy test into the cart.  Due to the hundreds of dollars I had invested in tests all year long, this was not news or even eyebrow-raising to Casey.

Sunday came – still no period.  I wanted to do the test right then and there, but I knew mornings were best for accurate results.  I woke up Monday morning, crawled out of bed at 6am, and took the test.

The rest, as they say, is history

There is more to the story of telling Casey and the first few days that I plan to share later!  But in the interest of space, and your attention span, I thought for now I would just share my long journey down the road to getting pregnant.

Part of the reason I was so excited to spread the news so early is that for me, just knowing that I could GET pregnant was a huge blessing I wasn’t sure I would ever experience.  So as I said before, for better or for worse, this little raspberry-sized baby is a gift that we will never take for granted.

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If you are anxiously awaiting some food or fitness talk, check out my latest two guest and freelance posts:

Washingtonian’s Well+Being:  How to Eat: Millet

dailySpark:  Bouncing Back from an Injury