I remember staring at the pregnancy test in total disbelief. It took all of about two seconds for the window to reveal two lines indicating I was pregnant.
Surely the test had to be faulty. After all, how could one be pregnant if they were still breastfeeding and had not had a period? Dr Google had even told me that when you breastfeed, the act of breastfeeding in itself acts as a natural contraception. Wasn’t it common knowledge? The same hormones which make breast milk suppress the release of reproductive hormones. It was that simple. Or at least I thought it was.
Whilst this is somewhat true, the fact is, ovulation occurs before you get your period. If you happen to engage in the horizontal bone dance on the day(s) of ovulation, then watch out world. Anything is possible, breastfeeding or not. Of course the chances are incredibly low. Particularly in the first six months where exclusive breastfeeding has proven 99.5% efficient in pregnancy prevention. After all, who really thinks they’re going to be the .05%? Generally speaking, even at ten months postpartum (as in my case), the odds of conceiving are still relatively low, but, as I have come to learn, certainly not impossible.
I was breastfeeding my ten-month-old, now one-year-old, baby boy Sam, and had no sign of getting my period at the time of my positive pregnancy result. In fact, to be precise, the dreaded monthly cycle made its last appearance just before we conceived with our first child back in April 2014.
I had been feeling incredibly flat, exhausted and deliriously tired for nearly six weeks. My head felt like it was in a vortex. I felt bloated, very temperamental and moody (not so unusual for me, just ask my husband) and my appetite had turned slightly peculiar. I had even seen two doctors to discuss my concerns. The first of whom advised my hormones were most likely out of whack because of breastfeeding. The second did a physical stomach examination and had advised I needed to start taking digestive enzymes and eat more raw foods.
No one had thought to do a pregnancy test. No one, not even me. The idea admittedly entered my head for a split second, as is always the case when we women are unwell and feel under the weather, however, the thought was followed by instant dismissal. If the doctors weren’t entertaining the idea then why would I?
The early pregnancy signs were there, but the alarm bells just weren’t ringing. The lights were on but nobody was home. Well, not so true. Unbeknownst to me, someone had found a nice new home for the next nine months.
The truth was my husband and I were super dooper keen to have another baby. It would be an actual godsend if the pregnancy stick wasn’t faulty. In fact, we had decided around the five to six month mark that we would start to try to conceive again. However, as it turned out, I continued to breastfeed, menstruation had not returned and there was no sign at all that my son was interested in weaning any time soon. Accordingly, we had decided that I would breastfeed our son for a full year so we wouldn’t have to transition onto formula, but rather, just normal milk. It would be easier this way especially with all the travel we were doing.
Whilst I had already dismissed the possibility of being pregnant, I had also had flashbacks to my first trimester of pregnancy with my son. I was bedridden with morning, afternoon and night sickness for sixteen weeks and spent the majority of my time making quick trips from the bed to the bathroom sink to be sick. Further validation. How could I possibly be pregnant if I wasn’t crippled with sickness? I wouldn’t be able to function or drive a car if my first pregnancy was anything to go by.