Expecting the Unexpected: Dealing with an Unplanned Pregnancy

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Silence filled the room. We sat waiting, wondering. The doctor who delivered my last son arrived to perform the ultrasound. Within seconds, she found it. A tiny little blob on the monitor. A tiny little blob that would rock our world.

“It looks like you are about 5 and a half weeks along”, she said. “And see, there’s your IUD, still in place.” We barely acknowledged her, or the ultrasound images. We were in shock and disbelief.

Over the next few days, we did not talk much about the elephant in the room. What do you say when you are unhappy with the two pink lines? The two pink lines that you coveted for so long with your first child, the two pink lines that you were ecstatic to see with your second are now making you cringe with terror. Terrified of the possibility of uterine perforation, terrified of the possibility of three kids in four years, and terrified of yet another pregnancy loss.

Just a few hours before, I was telling my friend I was late this month, and I would take a pregnancy test, since testing always made my period appear. Not this time though. This time, I sat alone in my bathroom, crying and shaking, hoping the test was somehow wrong. The thought of telling my husband, who originally wanted only one child, was making me nauseous. Or maybe the nausea was from the pregnancy itself. I had to tell him though. Not telling him would not make this less real.

“I took a pregnancy test….and it’s…..positive.” I cried like a 15 year old telling their mother. Only I was 31 telling my husband.

He had both our two and one year olds sleeping on his lap, so he couldn’t exactly yell or cry, but I’m pretty sure he wanted to do both.

“WHAT? Are you serious?” He quietly exclaimed.

Shaking, I could only bring myself to nod.

With my other children, it took a combined 18 months to get pregnant. How could this happen to me? How could I of all people end up with an unexpected pregnancy? I had to see a specialist before conceiving my first born for crying out loud! Fertile Myrtle, I am not.

We had no idea how we were going to do this, again. Our house was too small, our kids were too young, money was extra tight … these and other concerns were our main focus for quite a while. We were so fixated on the negative aspects of bringing another child into the world that we were unable to focus on the positive, which of course brought a hefty dose of guilt. I was overwhelmed with guilt for not being excited. Didn’t I know how many people would give anything to be pregnant right now? How could I not appreciate this? I remember sitting and rocking my son, crying and telling him I loved him and would not replace him, all the while being excited about giving him the opportunity to be a big brother. The emotional roller coaster was making me sick…or again, that could have been the pregnancy.

Thankfully, I have some incredibly supportive friends who assured me that my reaction was normal. They reminded me that just because some people had trouble getting pregnant did not mean I had to jump for joy when faced with an unintended pregnancy.

From Disbelief to Acceptance

I cannot pinpoint the day I became excited about the baby. Maybe it was the day of the gender reveal party, or the day we settled on a name? All I know is slowly but surely, the fears were replaced with acceptance, the dread was overtaken by joy, and the guilt was all but gone. Though it has been over two years since I saw those two pink lines, I still sometimes feel guilty about my reaction to the pregnancy. I have to remind myself that it was okay to feel less than thrilled. It was okay to be scared. It was okay to react the way I did given the circumstances.

Nine months later, when this little guy arrived, I felt nothing but joy and gratitude for his presence. He was perfect.

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Our little surprise is now nearly 20 months old, and I could not imagine life without him. He is so sweet and happy and funny. He fit right into his role as baby brother, and he loves playing with (and fighting with) his siblings. Though we thought our family was complete with two children, Dylan came along and filled a void we did not know existed.

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Myndee is a 35ish year old New Orleans area native. She's an author, speaker and self-love advocate. As an introverted extrovert, Myndee loves being part of the generation where most of her friends live in her computer. She and her husband, Luis, live just outside the city with their three kids.

40 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, oh wow! This made me cry. Powerful story. Many moms experience this, but afraid to express it since everyone expects them to be jumping with joy. Thanks for being vulnerable and courageous enough to share this. I’m glad in time you found the joy of expecting as well. What a beautiful baby boy. I love that photo.

  2. Thanks for sharing! My husband also only wanted one kid, so I can definitely relate to this. Our timeframe was just a tad shorter. 🙂

    And I know so many people who have conceived with an IUD. Crazy!

  3. I know this time was very difficult for you and your family……..only because it was an ‘unplanned’ blessing……..now, we couldn’t imagine life without adorable, sweet, handsome, loving, funny Dylan. This just reminds us that indeed, God knows what he’s doing!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

      • I know you wrote this years ago but I am reading it now as it is just the way I am feeling.
        I have one now who is 14 months and just days ago I found out I am pregnant again…I was not thrilled to see the test result, I felt sick to my stomach and have cried pretty much every day since.
        I am 38 so time was getting close to having number two before I turned 40 but never the less I still don’t feel ready.
        My husband and I met late in life so we knew we had to try for 1 right away and after that that if we wanted number 2 we would have to try not long after our first turned 2 in case we didn’t fall pregnant first time.
        But I knew I wasn’t ready but with time not on our side and lots of my family going into menopause before 40 I felt pressure to try…but seeing that test say yes when deep down you are not ready is so hard.
        Our families lie 12 hour drive away and a 8 hour flight away so that also stresses me out, not only because I get no support or visitors able to stay for long but when I travel to see them it is tough enough with one let alone two. I hate feeling crappy about this when I felt so happy first time around. I get seconds everyday of thinking I can do this, it will be ok….then I crash back to tears and not waking to get out of bed to face reality 🙁
        I hope this feeling fades soon. Even with my first as excited as I was he came a week early and I never got to that stage f being ready even for him.

  4. I felt the same way when I first found out we were pregnant. I was a nervous wreck about telling my husband as we had both agreed we didn’t want any children. I cried…alot. I remember when I told him. I had left work early (after I had taken the test there!) & he was working on out broken bathroom (in the broken house we had just bought & planned to restore). I looked at him, cried & told him the news. He hugged me & seemed excited. I said, through tears, “but you don’t want any kids.” His response, “well I do now.” The very next day we confirmed it with my OB who then told me it was twins. Bam! Double whammy! My upset turned to excitment (and nervousness) that very day. I figured that twins, conceived without “help,” was a blessing & a miracle & we both were very happy. I was put on bed rest at 29 weeks & then my twins came at 30 weeks & the guilt from that 1 day of resentment came flooding back. I cried & cried & cried while my babies were in the Nicu b/c I thought that by my not wanting them originally, I had done this to them. Luckily, they are fine & you would never know they were early & we are so happy for our little surprises.

    Your post really hit home with me. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Oh my! That must have been quite the experience. I want to tell you not to feel bad and of course their NICU stay wasn’t your doing, but I am all too familiar with the irrational mommy guilt we bear. I’m glad everyone is doing well now! How old are your twins?

    • That’s amazing and what a wonderful husband you have to say that when you first told him. How many men would be so poised and say the perfect thing? Of course you wouldn’t blame them for saying something less eloquent in a time of shock, but, wow what a great thing for him to have said. What a blessing he is along with the twins!

  5. I know that but at the time, I was juat an emotional wreck! They are 3 & 1/2 now & full of hell! 🙂 I should have mentioned that my husband was 48 at the time (I was 29)…that makes a difference! hahaha! 🙂 So, he is definately the oldest daddy in the pre-k3 class.

  6. Myndee, nice to know I wasn’t alone. When I found out I was pregnant with Mick I was happy and devastated. My youngest was 12! My husband had just been laid off and ki was so overwhelmed it wasn’t funny. I don’t know when I changed over either but we didn’t know he was missing! My house is still way too small (he’s in my room – in my bed) money is still tight but those blue eyes have my heart. My husband was excited and then he cried with worry too. God knew he was supposed to be here. My sister is still in disbelief. She still looks at him and says “I just can’t believe he’s yours!” On the downside – whenever the girls take him anywhere people think he’s theirs.

  7. Myndee, great post and I too had an unexpected pregnancy. Three months after my first was born I found out I was pregnant again and can totally relate to the shock and emotional feelings involved. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I found this on Pinterest, and it was exactly what I needed to read. Although it left me in tears (could be the hormones) I am 10 weeks pregnant with our second. This summed up exactly how I feel. Terrified, guilty for not being excited, yet excited at the same time. It really helped to know that I wasn’t alone in these feelings. I have two friends struggling hard with infertility and I just sit and cry and ask why not them, why me. I’m waiting for my moment when I become excited and let this pain go. It’s just so emotionally draining. Thank you for your honest post. You have helped me more than you know.

    • Kym, I’m so glad this could be helpful for you. I promise, you will soon be on the other side and will not be able to imagine life without your unexpected miracle; just make sure when you get there, you let go of the guilt.

  9. Our stories are very simmilar. I tried for 5 years to have my first and then my second came 2 years later. My second daughter was 6 months old I found out I was pregnant with #3 and I too had an IUD and my husband never really wanted kids. It has been 11 years since our first blessing was born and we are a very happy, fun, loving family of 5! I love my life and the blessings God has trusted me with.

  10. Oh, what memories! My first child was very unplanned (as I was a 19 year old college student) and as upset and scared as I was, I now realize what a blessing that “accident” was. He is 22 years old now and one of my greatest blessings and accomplishments.

  11. I was pregnant with my son at the age of 42. I had three daughters, 10, 11, and 14 from my first marriage. I always said that I was pro-life, but it’s easy to say when you haven’t had your feet held to the fire. The first thing I did was tell the man I was dating, and then a friend, because I HAD to have accountability. My story was so much different than the ones above, I wasn’t married and was so embarrassed. Financially devastated, already exhausted with three children and being a single mom, it was so hard. I had to admit to my church, my friends, other parents at my girls’ school, neighbors, and worst of all, my sister who is infertile, that I was having another baby. I felt like an idiot, and I cried a lot. I am ashamed to say that I wished I would miscarry, I wished it would all go away. I didn’t want my baby. I didn’t gain a lot of weight, and a lot of people didn’t even know I was pregnant until I was almost 8 months along.

    And now….. my husband (dad of baby!) and I have been married since before he was born, and what started out to be one of the hardest things ever turned out to be a huge blessing. My girls love their little brother, and step-dad, and I couldn’t live without the little guy. He still sleeps in our room in his own little bed, at the age of 4, because our house is so small, and all of his toys litter our little family room. We work hard, live a very frugal life, and love our little guy like there’s no tomorrow. I always thought I was pro-life, and now I know that it’s true. 🙂

    • Jacqui,

      I just wanted to thank you for your post. I am a 42 year old single mom with a 7 year old boy. I recently became pregnant accidentally. And I have been scouring the internet to find someone in my same situation. I too am embarrassed and don’t want to have to admit to everyone that I’m pregnant. I wake up every morning hoping for a miscarriage. I’m so ashamed about the whole situation.

      Your story helps so much though. I don’t know if I will have a happy ending like you but your story gives me hope at least. So thank you so much for sharing. At the very least I know I’m not alone.

  12. I also got pregnant on an IUD. I had Paragard for a whopping 5 months when I got pregnant just a week before my 19th birthday. Yesterday was my due date and I was less than thrilled to find out I was expecting. My boyfriend reacted the way most women do. He was ecstatic! He’s been nothing but supportive through the pregnancy and he’s worked so hard to prepare for our little boy to finally be here. I’ve met and heard of several other women who got pregnant on an IUD and I’m beginning to wonder if they actually work! I wouldn’t trade my baby for the world but I do wish that he would’ve come after I finished college and got married.

  13. I just started my period yesterday after taking daily pregnancy tests after taking daily ovulation tests and carefully timing intercourse for maximum fertility and tilting and squinting at the pregnancy test strips them in hopes of finding a second pink line.

    I had a huge turn-around from not wanting kids for nearly a decade of being married. I was absolutely certain I wanted to be child-free and carefree and happy to do life unburdened, unstretched, and unbroke.

    I was terrified but in fall of 2010, I finally caved to my husband’s pleas for children and we got pregnant immediately and have a beautiful toddler who has changed everything. She is such a gift and treasure and there are times I feel guilty for not having wanted kids.

    After a miscarriage requiring D&C, I am starting to fear the operation left me infertile since I can’t get pregnant anymore.

    Funny how our dreams and desires can change so radically.

    There was a time I would have considered getting an operation to become infertile on purpose.

    We are human and our feelings change.

  14. We’ve been trying to have one of our own, been married over 12 years & without any luck as of yet! I’ve had fertility issues that I’m working on with a doctor…but we have looked into adoption, yet keep coming up with dead ends there as well! It’s just so expensive to adopt, yet they are begging people to do so…doesn’t make sense to me!

  15. Thank you for this! I just found out I am expecting my fourth. My youngest are 3 year old twins. I just started going back to school this fall to get my MBA. Our family was complete I got rid of all our baby stuff we were done expanding our family, but I am trying to come to terms with it. There is just so much that needs to be done before this little miracle arrives.

  16. I was told years ago that to have children I would need a minor corrective surgery so we thought no big deal we will get it done when we are ready to have kids. Surprise number 1 came in Sept of 2011 and surprise number 2 came in Feb of 2014……surprise number 3 will be here in March 2015. I did not tell my husband for about a week when i found out about this one. I still haven’t told anyone but my best friend and my mom. I’m embarrassed. I have a 6 month old and i’m pregnant again. I was on the pill and it didnt work but i dont want to hear the jokes….”don’t you know what causes that” and ” let me introduce you to the pill” I am wondering how long i can go before people start to figure it out.

  17. Thanks so much for sharing your personal journey with us. This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today! Just found out a few minutes ago that we are unexpectedly pregnant with #2.

  18. Thank you, just found out our 3rd is on the way. We also have lost several pregnancies. You brightened my day, when I felt so scared.

  19. Thank you for this. I know you wrote this post years ago, but a quick desperate Google search brought it right up. I found out today I am pregnant with #2. My boyfriend is out of state for 2 weeks and I don’t want to tell him till he gets home. We have a 9 month old and he has a 11 year old, and he doesn’t want any more kids. Our house and budget are way too small for 5 people. I’m terrified to tell him and I hate having this huge secret. It helps to know I’m not the only one. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • I’m so sorry you are dealing with this, but I can promise you, everything will be okay. The baby in my post is such a wonderful addition to our family. We didn’t know our family was incomplete without him until he came along. Sure, it’s hard at times, and we are still in a “too small” house, but it is worth it. Hang in there.

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