Jansen: The Making Of

December 6, 2010 at 7:08 am 23 comments

I’m at that age where the majority of people in my life are either getting married or having babies. I’m 26, that’s just what happens. So I think it’s time we talk about it. Candidly.

Call me naive or downright stupid, but it never crossed my mind that I might not meet my husband in college. That’s where my parents met and it just seemed like that’s what happened. Always. Thankfully in my case, that’s exactly what happened. I met my man at a Bible Study my junior year in college. But that’s not always true. In fact, Stephen and I seem to be among the minority of people who get married 5 seconds after they receive their diploma. So why is it that the world seems to think that marriage is the obvious next step after college? This just leads people (women) to have complexes, wondering, “What is wrong with me??” NOTHING. Nothing at all. It’s not you, it’s them. The world.

But like I said, it worked for us. We met and within a few weeks, I knew this was It. This was Him. He would be my husband, the father of my children, the grandfather of my grandchildren, the breadwinner and signer on my mortgage. He would be the last boy I kissed and the first boy I’d fall in love with.

So we got married.

All according to The Plan.

The Plan told me that I was to graduate from high school, go to The University of Texas, meet my husband and get engaged, graduate from UT within 4 years, get married at the age of 22, and have my first baby at the age of 24. I was on track. It wasn’t until I had that ring on my finger that I realized that maybe, just maybe, 24 was a tad young for me to be having a baby. I was still a kid, afterall. We needed a house and a nice car and a savings account holding more than 3 figures.

Stephen and I started talking about having kids late 2008. Just talking, not planning. Stephen’s Plan is to have all of his kids by the time he is 30. Cough…notgoingtohappen…cough. I wanted to be sure we were married without kids for at least a year, so when July 28, 2008 came, I breathed a sigh of relief that my uterus was still vacant.

We decided that come March 2009 we would “stop preventing.” We wouldn’t necessarily be trying to get pregnant, but we wouldn’t be praying the rosary over our marriage bed. (Yeah… kidding… I don’t even know what the rosary is all about… but you get my point.)

Now let’s just take a second and be open and honest about this. To a man, “not preventing” means exactly that. NOT PREVENTING. To a woman, it means something completely different. I didn’t realize that men didn’t also read between the fertility lines until after we got pregnant and began telling people how long we tried.

To a woman, “not preventing” means “not telling anyone that you’re trying to have a baby because you’re scared that it won’t work and you really don’t need that sort of pressure in your life right now.” It means that you promise not to break into public hysterics every month when you start your period because you shouldn’t care because you’re not technically trying. It means that you won’t take your temperature or track your ovulation because that would mean that you’d think about your fertility 24 hours a day instead of just the 10 that you already are.

But do not for a second think that women don’t know the exact second that they stopped preventing. There are times that we sit and think, “I have been not preventing for 4 months and 17 days. Why am I not pregnant?” But these are things that we can’t say to you because that would actually mean that we are trying… not just secretly trying.

So to clarify what not preventing means:
To a man – not preventing
To a woman – secretly trying but scared of failing

We started secretly trying but scared of failing in March of 2009. I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t think we’d be having a baby 40 weeks later. I thought it would be just that easy. My mom just had to think about getting pregnant and she was instantly with child. I thought I’d be the same. But the first month came and went and no baby. Second month, no baby. Third, no baby. About the fifth month I mentioned to Stephen that I was kind of surprised that I wasn’t pregnant by now. I didn’t show concern in my voice but deep down there was a bit of terror. I’d had plenty of ovarian cysts throughout my life and I was about as irregular as you could be and still be considered a woman.

Every now and then Stephen would say something like, “It’s odd that you aren’t pregnant yet.” It was helpful to hear him say things like that because then I knew I wasn’t the only one thinking about our future baby. But let me remind you, just because he was thinking about our baby, doesn’t mean that he thought we were trying to have a baby.

In October we decided that we should start trying. If we weren’t pregnant that month, we’d start ovulation testing. No baby in October. In November I bought a pack of ovulation tests. (Did you know that those things cost a bagillion dollars?!) Taking those tests was shockingly reminiscent of the countless pregnancy tests I’d taken the previous months. Pee on it, watch, watch, say a prayer, look again, nothing. Nothing at all. I couldn’t find a day I was ovulating. Needless to say, no baby in November. 

We tried the tests again in December. Thankfully we were able to find a day when I was ovulating. Of course we wouldn’t find out until a few weeks later if it had worked or not. So in those few weeks we went to a New Years party, a rehearsal dinner, a fabulous wedding with an open bar, a birthday party with big margaritas, and a brewery tasting. Booze. And then? 

One morning before work, 4 days after I had taken a pregnancy test and gotten a negative, I took another one. (Probably don’t take a pregnancy test before work unless you’re capable of going to work knowing that you’re pregnant and still acting normal.) I watched the stick as it instantly showed me the good news.  There was absolutely no question about it.

I held that magical stick in my hand and walked into the other room to show Stephen. “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh,” I kept repeating. I held it up to him and said, “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.” He looked at the stick and then at me. “A positive? What does that mean?” “It means it’s positive.”

Stephen refused to believe it until I took another test the next morning. So I did. Still positive. Then he refused to believe it until I went to the doctor. So I did. Still positive. Apparently this is another area we differ. I knew I was pregnant the second I saw the stick, Stephen needed a doctor. He was too scared the stick was lying to us (twice) and that it might change its mind later and he “just couldn’t deal with that.”

After two months of trying and an additional 8 months of not preventing, we were pregnant. So let me just educated many of you. Our ten months? That’s quick. The world doesn’t tell you the struggles of getting pregnant, it only tells you about the 16 year olds who got pregnant even though they swear it was their first time. It doesn’t tell you about the millions of couples who struggle with infertility every single minute of their lives. Nobody talks about the women on pills or who get shots or go for test. Getting pregnant isn’t as easy as saying, “Okay, let’s have a baby.” It’s a lesson on patience and trusting the Lord. It’s a test on your sanity and your relationship. Which, if you think about it, is all a preview of parenthood. No patience? Don’t be a mom. Relationship not steady? Don’t bring a baby into it.

Either way, talk to your spouse through the process. I didn’t know that we weren’t on the same page until I told someone we tried for ten months and Stephen corrected me, “Well we actually only tried about 2 months.” In reality, he’s right. But since when do women have thoughts and feelings based on reality??

Entry filed under: Chelsea. Tags: , .

Seven Quick Takes Ten on Tuesday (57)

23 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aunt Bonnie  |  December 6, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Yes, you were lucky and I know exactly what you mean! The way men and women view it is so totally different. My heart goes out to those who try, & try, & try, etc (you know who I’m thinking about)….you were blessed!

  • 2. Kristen  |  December 6, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Thanks for telling it how it really is! Not being able to get pregnant is one of my biggest fears. We are still in the preventing stage, but I hope to move into the not preventing stage after our wedding.

    I like that your honest about your experiences with pregnancy & child birth.

  • 3. Brandi  |  December 6, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Thanks for sharing this! I honestly felt so misinformed once we started trying. It was amazing to me how difficult it can be to conceive – the stars all have to align. We stopped preventing in Nov. 2009 but like you, we weren’t actively trying. It took about 8 months for us, which at the time seemed like forever. Realistically it’s a short time.

  • 4. Rachel  |  December 6, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I always felt guilty telling people that Caden wasn’t planned because I feel so bad for those people who can’t get pregnant. As I freaked out about whether or not being on birth control when I got pregnant would effect my baby I was constantly reminded that it was God’s plan and that other people try for years and never get the blessing I did.

  • 5. Stacie  |  December 6, 2010 at 10:51 am

    My best friend got pregnant on the first try and it’s hard for me to think this isn’t exactly the norm. My aunt, on the other hand, tried for 13 years. Needless to say, I’m a little more than anxious to, um, get started just in case it’s going to take a little longer…hubbs and I are both aging and don’t really have tons of time to waste!

  • 6. mom (nana)  |  December 6, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Great post. So true too. My heart aches for those who ARE trying and not able to get pregnant. You are definitely correct that you have to put this in God’s hands. If you don’t, you would go crazy with frustration. Thank you God for bringing our Jansen into this world. (And Avery too!)

  • 7. Southern Gal  |  December 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Yes, you’ve got this about right. We prevented for four years, then tried for four years. There’s nothing like the waiting each and every month for a different result. The Lord’s timing is perfect, though. I learned that through our struggles. Even when He decides to give you two babies close together and then another sweet baby 10 1/2 years down the road. He knows what you need when you need it.

  • 8. Tina  |  December 6, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I’m writing a Bible study about this RIGHT NOW! Wow! You know what else is crazy? No matter how long we wait or how many trials we have getting pregnant, mothers always look at their kids and know they’re the exact right ones born at the exact right time. God is good!

  • 9. S  |  December 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you for this post. You just described my exact frame of mind. We were “not preventing” for 3 months and have been “really trying” for 5 months. Nothing yet. I’m 32 and it takes every bit of willpower I have to not be utterly and COMPLETELY paranoid that there is something wrong with me. Rationally I know that 8 months is not that long, even “at my age.” But emotionally it’s hard to remember that sometimes.

  • 10. Jocelyn  |  December 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Great post, Chelsea! I found out I had polycystic ovarian syndrome after Josh and I got married, so we half-heartedly prevented for a year and a half (knowing my chances of getting pregnant were slim without drugs). After we started trying, since I had been tracking my fertility and hadn’t ovulated in at least 10 months, my doc started me right away on Clomid. 9 months, 4 rounds of clomid, 6 ultrasounds (the NOT FUN kind…), 1 procedure, 1 surgery, and countless blood draws later, we found out we were pregnant with little Abigail, who is doing well at 21 weeks in my uterus🙂 Anyway, “trying” stinks. I’d take being surprised by a little miracle any day over the stress of trying!

  • 11. katiejulius  |  December 6, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I totally understand what you’re saying about thinking we get pregnant almost right away. I never imagined I’d be here 3 months of “not preventing” and 7 months of “trying” and not pregnant yet. I thought maybe 6 months (total) at the most. It’s been an extremely difficult journey that, unfortunately, isn’t over for us yet. It seems to be even more difficult this time of year – imagining holidays with kids, what all that will be like. It’s so interesting to take a look at our perceptions about conceiving!

  • 12. Kathleen  |  December 6, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Really happy with the way you wrote this. You’re so right, and I wish more people knew it!

  • 13. Nora  |  December 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Love this.
    I thought I’d meet my husband in college.
    And for the longest time was frustrated that I didn’t because the way I saw it… where would I meet someone post college and in the real world? Thinsg are looking up in the romance department but either way it’s still fun to read about how the big life things happen for other people!❤

  • 14. Erin  |  December 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    We are totally taught to believe that you can get pregnant just by looking at each other. Our first official month of “trying”, I was heartbroken that we didn’t get pregnant. I just couldn’t believe it hadn’t happened. Unfortunately, then there was surgery and fertility treatments in order to get me pregnant, but it all worked out eventually.

  • 15. Mama Fuss  |  December 6, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Do you have Dollar Tree dollar stores near you? They sell OPKs for $1 a test. For next time. (Still expensive since you have to use several each month, but cheaper than some big kits)

    We started trying – officially (I was temping. I’m too much of a control-freak to not actively DO something) but secretly when we had our first. It took us 6 months of temping to get pregnant. I kept getting upset because many of my friends can (and do) get pregnant by looking at each other funny. I was also the last of my (at that time) circle of friends to have a baby.

  • 16. lisa  |  December 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    We tried (my explanation of trying) for a year. It blew my mind that it took that long because we always hear “birth control, birth control, birth control.” We end up thinking if you have unprotected sex, you’re *going* to get pregnant. When it wasn’t that easy, I was bummed!

  • 17. april  |  December 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    We got pregnant the first time on the first try – actually, less than a month after we got married, so the second time when it took a few months I got really frustrated! And by a few months, I mean we started trying in August and were pregnant by November. I’m not sure what my hurry was! I love my kids, but sometimes I wish I would have taken that time first.

  • 18. Carrie  |  December 6, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Excellent post, Chelsea! I decided I should actually appear out of anonymous-land to respond. My husband thought “not preventing” would be a brilliant, stress free option. However, his medically focused mindset meant that, as long as there was a chance I could be pregnant, he didn’t want me drinking or eating ANYTHING on the long lists of “what not to have when pregnant.” It took all of 2 “not preventing” months before I informed him that we were either going to actually TRY or start preventing, because I was tired of avoiding delicious food and drinks (alcohol!) when I wasn’t even pregnant.

  • 19. Alyssa  |  December 6, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Wow! I haven’t visited your blog in a long time and this is the first post back for me. You know we’ve struggled, you know our story…infertility affects many more people that you think…I think the stat is like 1 in 6 couples. Thanks for bringing awareness to the subject!

  • 20. Darla Baerg  |  December 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Great post!

  • 21. littlespoon  |  December 7, 2010 at 8:53 am

    It’s always so reassuring knowing that other women feel this way about “not preventing”. Men can be so clueless sometimes about how our minds work.🙂

  • 22. Nicolasa  |  December 7, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Thank you for this wonderful post. My husband and I have been actively trying for 7 months and you hit the nail on the head in your last paragraph. It seemed to me that everyone I knew got pregnant within the first three months of trying. As I started talking about how long it was taking (my unrealistic brain thought it would be quick for us, too) I discovered that it took awhile for others.

  • 23. Laura  |  December 17, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    We’ll hopefully continue preventing for the next 5ish+ years, but I really enjoyed this post and your candidness about your experiences. Good information for me to store away for later!

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