1) Thinking About Having a Baby: has no effect on whether or not you will actually have one. The universe will pregger you pretty much as it chooses, (or not) any time that it chooses. A general rule of thumb: your chances of conceiving a pregnancy are inversely proportionate to how much you want to be pregnant.
2) Conceiving a Pregnancy: Did you really think I was going to give you instructions here? I will say, standing on your head may be helpful. If you need to have conception explained to you, call your mom. And then enjoy watching her freak out. Especially if you are older than forty. The internet is jam full of very interesting videos (OK, porn) which will offer you limitless ideas for different approaches to conception. Or gonorrhea. You’re more likely to get gonorrhea. Fact: pregnancy IS a sexually transmitted disease.
3) Finding Out: First, you have to deal with the baffling intricacies of the pregnancy test. Most people choose to pee on an average of at least 6 sticks before they accept the verdict. The home pregnancy tests available over the counter are exactly as accurate as the much more expensive Doctor Ones. I’d do them at home unless you are having problems. You may get the dreaded “kinda pregnant” result with the little faint pale fuzzy line. Just repeat in a week. If still fuzzy, call your doc to get sorted out.
4) The Response: divides more or less into three camps, although they may intersect somewhat. You will either be Team Ohhhhh Noooo, or you will be Team Yessssss, with Team Ambivalent hovering in between.
5) Telling Everyone: may be as follows: The OMG So Excited Twitter FB LinkedIn Email Text Phone Call Billboard strategy, also affectionately known as The Drama Approach, b) telling your partner, your family and your close friends, also known as the Moderate Approach or c) telling only your partner until you hit 12 weeks and your risk of miscarriage is pretty much gone – which is a very smart approach. Up to 1 in 3 early pregnancies may end in miscarriage – if something happens, do you really want to face the painful questions and watch your friends fumble to think of the right thing to say? This is the Cautious Approach, and as an OB, I must say I recommend it.
6) Early Pregnancy: you will look like you are getting fat and letting yourself go instead of looking pregnant. It is possible that you may barf up your toenails your entire first trimester. Maybe longer. Your boobs will hurt really bad and you will want to assassinate your partner for merely dragging the bed sheet across your chest. Your refrigerator and your trash will smell so bad you will vomit, because your sense of smell becomes so acute.
7) Your OB: by now, you’ve probably found one. Your first visit will be interminable, you will be asked all sorts of embarrassing questions, and they will remove approximately half of your blood from your body for labs. The ultrasound is really cool, though.
8) Second trimester: you will actually start to show, and get a baby bump, thank goodness. Your raging hormones will chill out a little. You may actually feel almost normal. I will warn you, the “glow of pregnancy” is actually grease.
This is when strangers will start to touch your belly and ask questions. Because the national pastime is scaring pregnant women to death, they will give you wrong and scary advice, tell you horrible stories, and you will call your OB in tears multiple times. One major plus: you get to feel the baby moving. Sometimes your partner can’t feel it yet and gets really jealous. Another bonus: you get to find out the sex of the baby. Or you may argue vigorously with your partner about whether you are going to find out the sex of the baby.
9) Planning For Delivery: you will be terrified of the impending delivery until you are so uncomfortable near your due date that you no longer care – you just want that baby OUT. If you are gung-ho, you will most likely have read at least 8 books about pregnancy and delivery, all of which made you more terrified than you already were. If you are really intrepid, you may have created a birth plan, or you may have gotten a doula or a midwife to attend your delivery. This is all OK with us, but OBs have a cynical expression: “Birth plan + doula = C-section.”. This is not because we want you to have one; we want you to be happy with your birth, but it seems that the universe always conspires to make those who really want a natural birth need a C-section, which sucks for us and for you.
10) Delivery: I won’t delve into this much because everyone’s experience is different. This is a good time to give yourself a pep talk about control. As in, you don’t have any. We happily try to accommodate you, but what we need to do in labor is completely dictated by the baby’s well-being and by what your body does, and you can’t control either. This will help you to accept that you will have no control over most of your parenting either, because kids are little people and they often have other ideas about how any given day may proceed. Also, during your delivery, your partner may or may not pass out.
11) Bringing baby home: a properly installed car seat is a must. Then there is that moment where you pull up your driveway with a whole new person and you look at each other and think, ” Holy crap, what did we just do?!? “. And so it begins…