Jansen: The Making Of
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??