Until January 1, I had never seen a positive home pregnancy test, and yet my son was about to turn 2 years old. How can that be, you may wonder? Nearly six years ago, when we first decided to stop using birth control and subsequently discovered that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), I peed on countless sticks and never once saw that glorious plus sign. Instead, time and time again over the course of two years I experienced heartache when I was met with just one line or a blank panel.
By the time I was finally seeing a fertility specialist, I had developed a serious phobia of home pregnancy tests (I’m sure there’s a scientific name for that — pregnancytestaphobia, right?) and refused to pee on any more sticks. I figured my HMO was paying for my blood tests, so there was no need to spend the extra money. Three years ago, I learned I was pregnant from a voicemail left by my fertility nurse.
Even after I was able to get pregnant with my son, I had pretty much given up hope of ever seeing a positive home pregnancy test — I assumed I would experience secondary infertility. But people warned me that I could have an easier time getting pregnant the second time around. Now that the system was working, they said, my body would know exactly what to do, and getting pregnant again would be a breeze. It’s not that I didn’t listen to them. It’s that I never believed getting pregnant on my own — without the aid of any doctors or medications — would be possible for me.
Last November I stopped breastfeeding my son and got my period a week and a half later — my first since my son was conceived. For most women, this is highly unusual, but considering my PCOS, which prevents me from menstruating, going two and a half years without a period was the norm for me. So when I missed my cycle a month later, I wasn’t terribly surprised. I knew I should take a pregnancy test, but only to rule out the slim possibility that I was actually pregnant so I could then move on with my life. In fact, I figured a negative result would be the ammo I’d need to receive quick treatment from the fertility specialist during our next pregnancy attempt.
But my pregnancytestaphobia was still very present. Even though I wasn’t totally ready to have another baby, I was even less ready to see that one single line again and feel that crushing disappointment. It took me a week to gather the courage to face that dreaded stick again, and on New Year’s Day — I guess as a sort of New Year’s resolution — I finally took the test. I looked down, expecting to see the result I had seen dozens of times, and… oops.
Many people don’t like the term “oops baby,” the implication being that a child is an accident or a mistake. I will admit that I cringed when someone referred to my current pregnancy as a “mistake.” (No sir, God does not make mistakes.) However, as a woman who had to overcome infertility for her first baby, I loved the term “oops baby” — mainly because I wanted to have one so badly! To me, an oops baby meant no Clomid. No ovulation prediction kits. No internal sonograms multiple times a week. No blood draws, no humiliating exams, no IUIs, no disappointing negative pregnancy tests. All I wanted was to go about my life and let God choose the perfect time for a child to come. As it turns out, I just had to wait five years to get my heart’s desire.
Now that I’ve been on both sides of the coin, I can say that having an “oops baby” was not the sunshine and rainbows I expected it to be. The clouds did not part, angels did not sing, and a warm light did not shine down on me from heaven into my bathroom. Instead, I was filled with an abject terror I had never felt before. I stared and stared at that plus sign for what felt like an eternity. I didn’t believe it could possibly be true, and I was sure the universe was playing a cruel joke on me. It took four more pregnancy tests and a solid month for me to really come to terms with the fact that yes, I was going to have another baby. Only then did my fear give way to happiness and the realization that what I prayed for so long ago had actually come true.
I’m always happy to talk about my struggles with infertility because I want to bring hope and encouragement to fellow women who also bear this burden. In this case, not only could you get pregnant, you could get pregnant without even trying! So many people told me I would get pregnant if I relaxed and just stopped trying. Much easier said than done, of course, but it certainly proved to be true… the second time around. As I wait now to deliver my second little boy, I can’t help but marvel at how miracles come to us in various ways. And while we may not be expecting or trying for some miracles, that doesn’t make them any less amazing.