After all the pain and mourning that came with the loss of our first pregnancy, I never thought this day would come -- and certainly not so soon.
The months from October to February were filled with some serious soul searching and candid discussions about whether or not Jerry and I were ready to put our faith in our bodies' ability to expand our family and our hearts' ability to let go of the frustration and anger from our last failure.
This time was nothing like the easy-going, casual decision to stop using birth control that resulted in our first positive home test. It became a mission. And we gave it our all.
The 15 days after when I calculated my ovulation to be were the hardest. I tried not to look too hard for signs, tried not to mentally invent changes in my body. But sometimes they were there. Sometimes my breasts felt tingly. And other times I had distinctive cramps in my lower abdomen that normally only accompany my period.
And, yet, I almost convinced myself otherwise. I didn't want to get my hopes up. I didn't want to suffer through the agony of thinking I was pregnant when I wasn't.
Instead, I poured myself into pregnancy research. I checked the odds and reality kept me grounded. A woman and man in their late twenties, even with the most well-functioning systems, only have a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant each month. Over a year, those odds increase to almost 90 percent, which is a little more comforting, but I didn't know if I could survive through the stress and anxiety of getting my hopes up every 30 days, only to be let down.
In my late night online travels, I started reading other women's baby blogs. I felt so comforted knowing that I wasn't alone in my sudden and all-encompassing desire to experience motherhood.
Of course, I'd never say I'm glad I went through a miscarriage. It was, without a doubt, one of the most painful situations I've ever experienced in my entire life. But, like most difficult times, I grew more than I thought I could. It strengthened me as a person. It's given me perspective and resolve.
Now I know, for the first time ever, that I actually want a child. Before I just felt scared, confused and unprepared. It took me at least a week to come around to even accepting the idea that I was pregnant -- and even longer to embrace it.
It also made me understand what a blessing it is even to get to the point of a positive pregnancy test. Sure, I continually replay in my head the comforting words of my doctor, "A lot had to go right to get this far," but I didn't really understand it until now. I didn't understand the crushing feeling of dealing with your period when you're praying for a baby.
And there are hundreds of women who dedicate entire blogs documenting their struggles to conceive. I had no idea about all the shots and drug therapy and hormones some women have to inject into themselves day after day, month after month, just in hopes that one of their ovaries will produce one egg. Not to mention how the egg would have to be harvested, mixed with their partner's sperm and implanted into their uterus -- if they have a deep enough lining to even support a pregnancy.
All of it just humbled me.
So I spent my days filled with cautious optimism and my nights filled with comprehending the likely inevitability that I would be breaking out a box of tampons in a few days.
But none of the normal pre-period signs showed. I didn't have the usual light spotting in the days leading up to it. And, yet, I tried harder not to get my hopes up. I knew from experience that my mind is powerful enough to suggest to my uterus that I shouldn't get a period. And many of the women who participate in online pregnancy forums write about how they often delay their period by days, sometimes even weeks and months because they "think" themselves pregnant.
When I felt myself getting excited at the possibility, I buried myself in a distraction. I refused to get my hopes up. At least not consciously.
So when my period didn't arrive on the day I expected it to, I was prepared with a test. Jerry and I had purchased a generic box at our local grocery store while we were stocking up on groceries. It was half the price of the name brand boxes, contained two sticks and still boasted 99 percent accuracy. I had read on the directions that the first morning urine typically contains the most pregnancy hormones because they have a chance to build up in the bladder, so I set everything out the night before, just in case.
Even though the directions recommend waiting three minutes to read the results, I placed it on the back of the toilet, sat sideways on the seat and watched the entire time. At first, it was clearly negative. One horizontal line indicated a negative.
At that moment, I realized my heart had been beating into my throat. It slowed as my heart sunk. I had been mistaken. I had invented all of those symptoms in my head again. What an idiot.
But then, just as I let out a sigh, another vertical line began to appear. It was so faint, it was almost undetectable. Then, as a few seconds passed, it became more and more clear. It was a plus. A plus! A POSITIVE!
And there, sitting on my toilet, I started to cry.
I was so overwhelmed with joy that I couldn't even move. Then, as soon as the immobility came, it passed. I bounded into the bedroom where Jerry was still sleeping, hopped knees-first onto the bed, turned on the lamp and shoved the stick in his face saying, "Jer, Jer! We did it!"
He broke into a huge grin and grabbed me with all his might.
Today is the day that we break out the sparkling white grape juice. I bought the bottle the day before my surgery and vowed that we'd celebrate when we conceived again.
Because even though we're scared. Even though we're well aware that what we have can be taken away, today is a reason to celebrate.