“So how did you find out you were pregnant?”
The simple answer? I took a pregnancy test.
The long, drawn out answer? Well, here we go.
After our first month on fertility drugs, we decided to take a break from them for at least three months. We wanted to visit home this summer, and because of pregnancy travel restrictions, that meant no due date in July or August. Really, September would be risky if there were any complications, and the thought of being pregnant in Cikarang all summer did not sound appealing at all. We agreed to reevaluate after Christmas to see where we stood.
In the middle of October we traveled to Malaysia for our fall break. If you are a Facebook friend, you may remember a status update or two about food poisoning. It was so incredibly awful; I don’t remember ever being that sick in my life. When my period was late a few weeks later, I didn’t think much about it. Severe sickness or even travel can delay ovulation (if I were even going to ovulate at all that month), so I wasn’t overly concerned. I did take a pregnancy test (nothing new to me) a few days after I had expected my period, and it was negative.
At this point the more I thought about the months ahead, the more I was willing to delay even further our jumping back into fertility treatment. We were looking at the year ahead, and the benefit of continuing to pay off debt on two incomes was enticing. We began to talk about waiting until we got back from the States (August 2015) to jump back into meds. It wasn’t set in stone; we were determined to pray through the decision and then discuss it again over the Christmas holiday.
Fast forward a couple weeks to Thanksgiving. Earlier that week I told David I was 90% sure I was about to start my period. (There had been indicators.) It never came. I had to take care of some grocery shopping that Friday afternoon for our Indonesian Thanksgiving celebration that weekend, and while I was out I stopped by the pharmacy.
I’ve bought a few pregnancy tests since moving to Indonesia, and it’s always a funny experience. Sometimes the cashiers know what I’m asking for; other times I have to pantomime a big belly to help get my question across. The nice clerks in their white hijabs always give a knowing smile as I fork over my 40,000 rupiah.
This time I was by myself (David was sick), carrying groceries, and about to walk back in the rain. I just wanted to be done. I trudged home trying not to slip on the slick concrete in my sole-worn flip flops.
As I prepared to take this test I had failed so many times before, I told David that of all my prior “sittings” (to use an exam term), I had never wanted a negative result more than now. Previous tests were always at least a little disappointing, even when the timing would have been pretty difficult. There’s always that little bit of hope and excitement at the thought of how in the span of one minute your life could drastically change forever. Maybe it was emotional self-preservation or selfishness in wanting my own summer plans to succeed, but I fully expected and even slightly desired a negative result.
I took the test. Nothing happened. No lines appeared, not even the control line. I was so frustrated. Of course on the one day I would have to walk a kilometer in the rain by myself to get another test, my test would be defective. Thanks a lot, Indonesia.
But then the line started to move across the window, and I could not believe my eyes.
After verifying that I wasn’t in fact seeing things, I said to David, “So I guess we’re not going home this summer,” but with a joyous rather than disappointed tone. My plans suddenly didn’t matter at all. The next few hours are a bit of a blur; mostly we just stared at each other with big goofy grins on our faces. We were going to have a baby.
The next day we were in Jakarta for a dinner to belatedly celebrate Thanksgiving. David’s mom, sister, and our brother-in-law were all there (in addition to his sister, her husband, and two children who live here), so it was a little strange to walk around all evening thinking, “I’m pregnant and can’t tell you!” J We had made a doctor’s appointment for the following weekend, and with less than 24 hours knowing ourselves, we weren’t exactly ready to let the cat out the bag.
Sitting at the dinner table that night, my stomach began to cramp up. I thought maybe David’s gastrointestinal illness had made its way to me, so I excused myself to the restroom. I did have diarrhea (TMI, I know … this whole post is probably TMI), but what really freaked me out was the spotting I noticed. I couldn’t tell if the cramps were intestinal or uterine, and that coupled with the blood terrified me. I thought I could be miscarrying, and here I was surrounded by 30-40 people and not even in my own home. I got David’s attention and asked him to come upstairs with me, where I remained for the rest of the night.
David later said he had never been as scared as he was that night. I kept thinking, “Why did I take a pregnancy test? If I had never known I was pregnant, I would just think this was the start of my period. Why would God allow us to know only to allow the baby to be taken away 24 hours later?”
If the night before had been a blur, this night was equally so. We mostly prayed and cried and looked up stuff on the internet. Spotting is normal in early pregnancy, except when it isn’t. Most sites said it wasn’t something to be overly concerned about but that anytime there’s bleeding, you should go to the doctor. We rescheduled our Saturday appointment for Monday and kept praying.
By the time Sunday night rolled around, the bleeding had mostly stopped. I felt hopeful, although I didn’t want to go into the appointment not being prepared for the worst. The next day we got to see our tiny 6 week, 5 day old baby with its tiny heart beat-beating away. It was still very early, but everything looked normal.
To go so quickly from initial shock to absolute joy and elation, moving to the most debilitating fear and sense of helplessness made for the most emotionally exhausting 24 hours of our lives. The moment we saw the heartbeat, however, eclipsed even the joy of a positive pregnancy test. We don’t know what the next six months have in store for us any more than we knew in November what the next six weeks had in store. The Lord remains our hope and confidence in this and in everything.