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Mixed Emotions of Getting a Positive Pregnancy Test Result


Getting a positive pregnancy test result after peeing on a stick usually brings a mix of emotions. Excitement. Fear. Worry. Today, Jessica Hutton—who works as a traffic safety researcher in Kansas City, Mo., and loves backpacking, soccer, group exercise classes and cooking with her husband—shares some of the thoughts that went through her head when she got that positive pregnancy test. She’ll be dropping in here and there to update us on some of her pregnancy adventures!

Great Expectations

Anyone who’s been pregnant or who has read anything about pregnancy knows that every pregnancy is different. Every woman has different feelings, different symptoms, different experiences. But even knowing this, those of us who are entering into this crazy world of pregnancy for the first time (and maybe even for those of you who have already been through it a time or two) come into it with some expectations of how it will go. I sure did. I think the way I imagined my pregnancy was influenced by a variety of sources including stories from friends’ pregnancies, internet searching, little snippets of pregnancy books, and scenes from romantic comedies and sitcoms. Now that I’m wrapping up my first trimester, it’s been interesting to see what didn’t quite meet my expectations (or fantasies) about being pregnant.

My Initial Reaction to the Plus Sign

Okay, a little bit of background. My husband and I got married last summer just days before I turned 30. We both knew we wanted to have kids (although not agreeing on exactly how many, we both use the plural form of the word when talking about our future family), and we knew we probably shouldn’t wait too long before getting on it, since the chances of getting and staying pregnant with a healthy baby start to go down once a woman reaches her mid 30s. We decided we’d wait a year to start trying—really until we got one more big vacation experience together, which was our big backpacking trip in Colorado with FBG Jenn and her husband this summer. So I went off the pill in February and started taking a prenatal vitamin to get my body prepped. While my body was getting prepped, so was my mind. This spring it started to seem like just about everyone I know adopted a baby, had a baby or got pregnant. I’m talking like 80 percent of everyone I know! Okay, maybe it hasn’t been quite that high, but my ticking biological clock sure felt like it. Around April I started trying to convince my hubby that we should ditch our barrier method and start trying to conceive. Everything I read said it takes a 30-year-old woman an average of six months to get pregnant. I was worried that if we waited until after vacation, I wouldn’t be pregnant until Christmas, and that simply seemed too long to wait. He, however, insisted that we not blow our backpacking trip with a pregnancy, so we waited until the month of the trip to give up the rubbers.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, but we got pregnant that month! In fact, I’d probably been pregnant about a week when we hiked up those mountains in Colorado. It was a good thing, too, since my period was scheduled to start right in the middle of that trip. Having already experienced the joy of “packing out” my used feminine products on each one of my previous backpacking trips, I was more than happy to skip that fun experience on this trip. Even though I knew I was about four days late when we got home from Colorado, I didn’t really think I was pregnant. With the combination of my irregular cycles and all the extra exercise I’d done that month (I ran my first half-marathon, competed in my first duathlon and hiked in pretty high elevations for six days), I figured my body was just adjusting. But I decided that before I kept on with my normal activities, which tend to include some indulgence in an adult beverage or two from time to time, I better take the test.

At first, that little plus sign was pretty faint. But it was definitely there. I showed my husband. We didn’t know how to react. There were no tears of joy, no long gaze into each others’ eyes, no meaningful embrace. We both just stared at that stick in shock. And then we both thought, we better get our act together fast because we’re going to be parents! In the days that followed, I think more than joy, my emotions were a mix of fear, anxiety and maybe even a tinge of regret (please don’t tell my future child that!). I was thinking, “What have we done?”, “I don’t think we’re ready for this responsibility,” “I don’t want to give up the great lifestyle that we have now,” and the biggest one of all, “My hormones tricked me into wanting to do this!” On top of all that, of course, I felt immensely guilty for not being ecstatic about the news. I know so many people struggle to conceive for so long and that I should feel lucky and grateful. I also thought that something would switch on in my brain turning me into a happy, devoted mother the minute I found out I was carrying a baby. But no such thing happened and that made me feel like something was wrong with me. I almost started wishing it had taken us a few months of trying, just so that after feeling the disappointment of some negative tests, I would be more excited about seeing the positive one. Then I felt worse about wishing for that.

So it has taken me a little bit of time to be fully on board with this pregnancy, but I get a little more excited every day. And I know that the amount I worry about keeping the baby safe and healthy is an indication of how much I do want this deep down. So even though my reaction to finding out we were pregnant wasn’t what I’d imagined, I know I’m going to get more excited and anxious to meet this little creature growing inside of me every day until that happens! —Jessica

A big thanks to Jessica for sharing her honest reaction about that positive test. I’m sure there are more than a few moms who have felt those mixed emotions. What was your initial reaction to your positive pregnancy test result? Elation? Fear? Nausea? Tell us! —Erin

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  1. becky says:

    I took the test while my husband was travelling and was in a state of shock when it was positive. I sent him a picture of the test and he responded “What does this mean?”. I think he was in as much shock as I was! When I picked him up from the airport the following week, I don’t think either of us said anything on the car ride home.

    We hadn’t been preventing anything for about 6 months but hadn’t done “it” when I thought I was ovulating the month prior to the test…so it was a complete shock that we somehow had a Vegas baby after many many cocktails! What happens in vegas stays with you the rest of your life!! It was wonderful news however I felt guilty for not being elated about it. I was scared that something was going to happen and didn’t think it was “real”. It wasn’t real until we saw the first pictures at 8 weeks, and then it still wasn’t real until we told people at 14 weeks.

  2. Michelle says:

    I’m a little past 17 weeks and am still waiting for the excitement to kick in. We went the IVF route and I have been filled with nothing but fear and anxiety. After 1 loss and now a questionable integrated screen it’s hard to sit back and enjoy when don’t know if things are going to turn out as you hoped.

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