Every single time I see that positive sign on a pregnancy test, I can’t believe I’m pregnant. Mostly because I haven’t started feeling pregnant yet. It’s also slightly unbelievable that my husband and I are actually capable of creating life and that that new life is now starting to grow inside of me!
Yes, I know how it works, but it’s still amazing.
While I experience several early pregnancy symptoms, it still takes me a while to really feel pregnant, to feel like I’m not just gassy, bloated, and slightly nauseated. Those can happen to anyone, at any time!
No, for a long time, despite fully knowing I am pregnant, I still can’t believe it (or I kinda forget I am pregnant). There are, however, several firsts that happen while pregnant that solidify the reality of my new status to myself, no longer letting me doubt the miracle that is taking place.
10 Firsts that Help You Believe You Are Actually Pregnant
1. The first day, and every subsequent day after, that your period doesn’t start when it should have by now.
2. The first positive test result on an at-home pregnancy test.
3. The first experience of pregnancy symptoms and signs like fatigue, bloating, gassiness, nausea, sore nipples, etc.
4. The first time you visit the doctors for your pregnancy and every time afterward.
4. The first lab test results officially stating you are pregnant.
5. The first time you hear that beautiful, quick lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub, from the Doppler in the doctor’s office.
6. The first grainy black and white images of the new life inside of you!
7. The first baby movements, when you feel fetal movements (usually around 16-20 weeks pregnant), and are the only one that can feel it yet.
This quickening feeling is one of the most amazing and awesome parts of pregnancy to me.
Because though tests and doctors told me, though I heard a heartbeat, though I saw it moving on a screen, it is when I feel the life inside me for the first time that I truly feel pregnant, excited, and thrilled to be growing a new child inside of me!
What I love about this quickening sensation during pregnancy is that it connects me with my unborn child.
These baby fetal movements continue to grow stronger, more sure, more unique. It is when they move, how they move, how they respond to external stimuli that helps a me understand my new child.
It is the fetal movements in my womb that helped my husband and I determine which of our twin daughters we would name Alison and which one we’d name Lisa. These first baby movements are what helped us understand our future children’s temperaments and personalities. We have zero regrets or doubts that we named our twins the right names.
One of my very favorite things to do while pregnant is to record my unborn child moving around in my belly, late on in my pregnant, usually late at night while I’m resting and watching a show. They go crazy! It’s so funny to me (and slightly painful at times!) but also so amazing and I love it so much.
8. The first labor contraction you experience makes your pregnancy feel ridiculously real.
9. The first time you pack your hospital bags and head to the hospital and push out a baby, this pregnancy thing gets 100% real and intense.
10. The first time you hold the baby you carried inside of you, in your arms, kiss their cheeks, stroke their soft hair, count their little fingers and toes, and nurse (or feed) your child, you know that you participated in something truly holy, sacred, sublime, and beautiful.
Unfortunately, some mothers don’t get to hold their babies right away. Some aren’t able to celebrate this first until much later, because some babies come too soon, are too fragile, too sick, too premature, to be held until days, weeks, or months later. These now-no-longer-pregnant mothers are robbed of this final, most important first in overcoming any remaining doubt that they did indeed create a new baby!
One of my twins was whisked off to the NICU immediately after her birth (though full-term) with a partially collapsed lung and I was unable to hold her for hours as I lay on an operating table, and then moved to a recovery room. In fact, I didn’t even get to hold my other daughter for the first time until 3 hours after her delivery either. And when I did finally hold her, it was magical, but also a tad sad, as I felt a part of me missing.
Didn’t I carry two children inside of me? Yet, here I was with only one. The two wouldn’t be together until almost two days after birth, and our family felt very incomplete until we were all together again.
The NICU is a scary place of life and death. It’s traumatic. It’s something you wish and pray for every parent to avoid.
The March of Dimes wants to help Give them tomorrow by collecting 380,000 actions to fight for every baby born too soon in the United States this year.
They need your help to give families with premature babies the chance to celebrate their baby’s firsts by doing one of the following three actions:
- Share a social media post with the hashtags #babysfirst and #givethemtomorrow. (Must use both hashtags.)
- Write a digital message of hope in a card that will be delivered to a family with a baby in the NICU.
- Donate to March of Dimes and support research to find the causes and treatments of premature birth.
Learn how to participate in their Give them tomorrow initiative here.
As a mother of twins, I know a lot of other mothers of multiples. In fact, I used to be a contributing writer for How Do You Do It? where Moms of Multiples Tell It Like It is. When I was there we did a special Prematurity Awareness Week in honor of World Prematurity Day. Sadly, many twins, triplets, and higher order multiples are very acquainted with premature birth and time in the NICU. Their stories are humbling and inspiring to me. It’s not easy on them. It’s not easy on any parent, no matter how many children they have there! And I always want ways to help new moms.
Every time I’m pregnant, I rejoice in every single first that comes, no matter how much I try to doubt the reality of my pregnancy status along the way. May every mother experience these 10 important pregnancy firsts, so they can stop saying “I can’t believe I’m pregnant” sooner, and get on with enjoying every new first as it comes, appreciating the reality of what they mean.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of March of Dimes. The opinions and text are all mine.
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