Here's what happens when you think you can't get pregnant without thyroid medication and then find out that you're almost through your first trimester:
I just thought I was tired.
Starting in January I start teaching at a brand new studio here in Denver. I'm teaching spin+weights, bootcamp, barre, and subbing to my heart's content while Finn is at the daycare center in the facility. It's perfect. At this point I haven't taught many high-intensity classes for about two years, and I was really missing being able to teach the higher-impact stuff.
However.... I'm exhausted, frequently out of breath, and starting to get some dizzy spells during my classes. There are 3 flights of stairs from the daycare center and my classroom, so I'm starting to think that I'm just really, really out of shape. Also- randomly my dreams are getting OUT of control.
Now, eventually I do a little math. I'm slowly starting the weaning process for my son, so my cycles aren't regular but surely they would have returned by now. I honestly don't remember when my last menstruation was.... we've been so busy. Who can keep track of what day it is while working and chasing after a one year-old?? In one of my prenatal Pilates classes my students were all chatting about how intense their dreams were... and this all sounds really familiar... and I think it's been about 2 months since my last period.
However... this is what we learned through months of trying to get pregnant with Finn:
I have a hypoactive thyroid that prevents me from maintaining a pregnancy. I can get, but can't remain, pregnant unless I'm on a thyroid supplement. So in a way, with this and breastfeeding, I'm like my own birth control. We learned this the slow, painful way while TTC back in the day. After Finn was born I stopped taking my thyroid meds, with the intention of resuming when we were ready for baby #2... in a couple of years of course.
After a pep talk from a dear friend (who is also a fellow "2 under 2er", I might add) I decide it's time to suck it up and pee on a stick. It's Valentine's Day, I want wine, and it's better to be safe than sorry.
I take the test and it comes back negative... thank God.
I pour myself a glass of wine after about a minute and breathe a massive sigh of relief. Then I return to the bathroom to toss the test and there it is...
BIG. FAT. POSITIVE.
I schedule an appointment with my OB/GYN for the next afternoon. Remind you, I have no idea when I got pregnant or if there's any chance I can actually keep a baby without medication this time. She squirts some jelly on my belly and there it is.... a VERY active, a VERY much alive, a VERY HUGE BABY HAS BEEN LIVING IN MY BODY FOR 9 WEEKS.
My mouth is wide and I don't pay attention to a single thing the nurse practitioner says. Due in September, sure. It doesn't even have a tail anymore, sure. Almost through the first trimester, sure.
For someone who wants a million babies you would think that I would be thrilled.
I was not.
( I feel ya, kid.)
In all honestly, I was really upset. We had a whole Summer planned, and this whole "sober until September" thing just really ruined my weekend plans. I just started a new job. Spring 5ks, Summer Triathlons, and Fall travel were out of the question. I was so excited to be done breastfeeding, and now this. Ever since moving to Colorado I've been sharing my body with someone in some way shape or form, and I really, really just wanted a damn break.
(Photo taken around the time we estimate this baby was made... did Finn know something we didn't??)
Most of all I wasn't ready to love another child yet.
I know this sounds awful, but I couldn't wrap my head around sharing the love that I have for my son. I mean, come on. LOOK at this kid:
I'm sure every parent feels this way... but I have the greatest child of all time. Finnegan has brought so much joy to our lives in a way we could never even imagine. He was also an incredibly easy baby... sleeping through the night at 10 weeks old, breast and bottle fed like a champ, and is the most hilarious, loving little toddler you'll ever meet. We have always planned on having more kids, but never expected to be so lucky with the first one.
Also, I'm an only child. How am I going to handle having 2under2 when I've never even had a sibling of my own? Sure, they'll be close, but how do you prevent the comparison game when one of them develops faster than the other? How do you balance the love equally?
And on a practical note, how the hell do you get an infant and a manic toddler loaded into a car at the same time?
All of these thoughts ran through my head as I sat there looking at this baby's ultrasound photo, and it finally hit me how incredibly lucky we are. For whatever reason the years of hoping, months of trying, and tears of pain and disappointment skipped us this time. There will be no waking up an hour earlier to take my thyroid meds, no checking my LH levels every morning, no more desperate hate-googling at 4am to why my body wasn't "doing it's damn job" this time.
I don't know what I ever did to deserve this second kid so pain-free this time. I really didn't think this was ever a possibility for us. SO many of my clients and close friends have gone through secondary infertility, and after it took us this long to make baby #1 I just assumed that was in our cards. I honestly had no idea that weaning can increase your fertility, and even if I did I would just assume that wouldn't be our situation. Only a year ago I was tearfully demanded the "let's talk about your birth control options" nurse leave the recovery room. How dare she mention birth control after the child we tried so desperately for was finally in my arms after five weeks of fetal monitoring from suspected intra-uterine growth restriction! I just didn't think we would ever have it so easy, if you can call being pregnant at eleven months postpartum "easy".
Now that I'm writing this all out at 6 months pregnant, feeling our cauliflower-sized daughter kick with all her might, I'm still just as in shock as I did the day I first saw her.
We still have no idea how we're going to manage 2under2 without family nearby, and maybe this is the progesterone speaking, but I'm finally at peace with this.
It's going to be a very difficult few months of adjusting (if we are so fortunate). Finnegan will never remember what it's like to be an only kid, and as an only, I couldn't be more on board with that. He loves (sometimes a little too much) the babies that come to my classes in Denver and has recently been kissing and hugging my ever-expanding abdomen. As much as I wanted more time with just him, he's ready to be a big brother, and I'm so grateful we can give that title to him. Of course, bringing a very active little hug-monster to watch me pee in a cup every month hasn't been fun, (although he thinks it's hilarious).
My plan is to soak up the rest of the Summer as much as I can with this little guy and tackle the Fall as it comes. I'm excited for ruffly socks and newborn giggles. I'm NOT excited for labor again, or breastfeeding, or the sleepless nights, or the postpartum anxiety- it's all too fresh in my mind. I figure, we had no clue what we were doing the first time around, so we'll handle life as it comes with the second.
(One insight so far - is that it's okay to lock your toddler in a highchair so you can drink your 200 milligrams of coffee while it's still warm.)
I promise to share any other tricks I learn along the way, and I'd love to hear from you if you have any!
Thank you so much for reading.
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