PREGNANT WITH AN IUD, THE SURPRISE OF MY LIFE
One of the biggest surprises of my life was finding out I was pregnant with my fourth baby. Surprised because I was using an IUD for birth control at the time! I was 37 years old, and my oldest child was 18. We were done having kids, the shop was closed. Or so I thought.
We had just gone through a significant transition. We had moved into the country. It was a move that afforded us an early retirement, a chance to work on passion projects, enjoy each other, travel, and relax. Well, the Universe had different plans in store for me.
I felt exhausted during the move, which was to be expected. We were also renovating the home we were moving into. It was a very stressful time. My husband’s office was moving as well, and there was some strain in his family relationships. Overall, I had a lot of reasons to be run down.
One evening I was in the basement working out when I caught a glance of myself in the mirror. My legs were looking toned, so were my arms, but I noticed my stomach was quite bloated. Strange, I thought. I’m getting close to 40, maybe this is how it’s going down, I can’t maintain a flat stomach forever. I continue on with my training but kept getting distracted by my stomach. Suddenly I think to myself, it looks like a potbelly. As soon as that word comes to mind, potbelly, it hits me. Pregnant belly. NO! It couldn’t be. I start scrambling to remember when my last period was, but it’s not registering, it has been a while. Shit. This can’t be happening.
I decided to finish my workout and then went to the drugstore, where I picked up a test and immediately went home for the results. I unpackaged the box in the garage to get rid of as much evidence as possible; I pull out the test and stuff it into my bra. The last thing I need upon entering the house is my kids catching a whiff of the possibility that I’m
Slipping into my master bathroom, I position myself over the toilet and hold the stick between my legs to catch the stream. The test says results in one minute; I can barely stand the anticipation. As soon as I pull the stick out, there is a line forming. In less than ten seconds, I have an obvious line indicating that I am most definitely pregnant. In fact, out of all of my pregnancies, I’ve never had a line so clear. Not only am I pregnant, but it also seems I must be quite far along. Panic starts to rush over my body. This wasn’t the plan.
I head out to the living room to tell my husband the news. He went from denial to shock, to oh shit, what are we going to do?! I had an IUD; I should not be pregnant. What’s funny is that I always wanted four kids. The reason we didn’t have the fourth already was because my postpartum depression was so intense after our last two. We decided the toll was too much for our marriage to bear.
The next step was to have my doctor confirm the test, which he did. Our doctor’s advice was to remove the IUD, even though there was a 40 % chance that I would miscarry. He was very concerned about infection, pre-term labour, and risk to the mother. His advice didn’t sit well with me; I began to realize I had some difficult decisions to make.
We were able to book an ultrasound on the same day. Jon and I headed into the same clinic I had gone to with my other pregnancies. I was nervous and excited; there was a little human living inside of me, one that apparently really wanted to be a part of our family. Laying on the bed, I pulled up my medical gown and watched the technician spread lubrication over my belly. She started gliding it around and asked me how far along I was. I told her I believed it could be eight weeks, and that I was unsure as I had an IUD and hadn’t been keeping track of my period. She told me it looked like I was eleven or twelve weeks! I was about to enter my second trimester. Holy smokes, how could I have gotten that far along and not have known?
My attachment to the pregnancy was beginning to grow rapidly. Our doctor was still advising me to have the IUD removed. I asked for a referral to an obstetrician for a second opinion. Unfortunately, hers was the same: to remove it. I couldn’t believe they were asking me to voluntarily have a miscarriage. How could I take the risk? I asked for a third opinion from a specialist, they let her know that I strongly wanted to keep the pregnancy. She confirmed that it could be safe to continue the pregnancy with the IUD. She let me know that it would be classified as high risk and that I would need to have ultrasounds every 2-3 weeks with a specialist. I agreed, and while I exhaled relief, I also inhaled new worries. Pre-term labour, infection, and death were words being thrown at me by the specialist. A travel ban was on since the risk of pre-term labour was very high, over 40%. Which meant we had to cancel three planned vacations over that winter. I slipped into a depression, with my world flipped upside down. My training for competitive cycling was put on hold. My body was no longer my own, and I wasn’t mentally prepared for any of it.
Months passed on, and the baby was growing, healthy, and staying put. Each week that passed, my feelings of hope increased. Once we passed 32 weeks, there was a small celebration with the knowledge that we were getting closer to a safe delivery, even if it might be premature. This baby had its own plan: Kayden arrived one day after his due date! No complications and the IUD was in with the placenta! Of course, we took pictures of it in his tiny hand.
I suppose the lesson I learnt is to always listen to your gut. Something inside me roared to keep this pregnancy, I went against the medical advice and took my own. Now I know that Kayden was sent here to shake up my world, which sent me on a massive healing journey. He helped move me out of my comfort zone and level up with my goals and dreams.