Here Are All The Reasons Why I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant At 19 Years Old
Buckle up, it's a wild ride!
For the past several years — well, 11 to be exact, because that is how old my son is — I've gone back and forth about sharing this story. The story of how I didn't know I was pregnant.
There are several reasons I was so hesitant to share it. First of all, it was because of peoples' reactions whenever I told them my story. (Basically making me feel like I was an idiot for not knowing I was pregnant.) And, more importantly, because I never wanted my son to feel like he was unwanted because he was unplanned — once he heard the story.
But, now that I'm older, I realize my story can hopefully help other people learn more about unplanned pregnancy, what pregnancy signs I may have missed, and the shame that surrounds teenage pregnancy — because I was only 19.
So, let's start at the beginning. I was 19, away at college, and had a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend (who is now my husband). I only saw him a handful of times during that school year — because we were long-distance! I was on birth control, but I will admit there were often times when I would forget to take it one day and then take two the next.
Because of my track record with forgetting to take my birth control, my boyfriend always, always pulled out. Like, he never went in me once. But we also know that the pull-out method is BS — like don't do it 'cause it isn't effective!
Anyway, the point of the story is: I was sexually active, even if it was only here and there when I could see my boyfriend. Since I was on the pill, we tried to use condoms when we could, and he pulled out — I never once thought I would get pregnant. Also, I was still having a period when I was pregnant and didn't know it! Basically, there were no traditional signs telling me that I was pregnant*. I'm four months pregnant in the pic below:
OK, so let's dive right into how I found out. I owe it all to my belly button. For real. One day, as I was getting out of the shower and drying off, I realized that my very much ~innie~ belly button was sticking out. It was REALLY ODD.
At first, I didn't think much of it and carried on per usual. Well, that month my period came (as it had been), but it was really, really light. So I thought that was also odd, but continued carrying on. I wasn't showing physically at all, btw (the pic below is me five months pregnant). Then, one day I thought about how my boyfriend and I had gone to a concert the month before and the condom we used broke. But he said he didn't finish inside me, and I was still taking birth control, so I let it go.
A couple weeks went by and it was really starting to bug me that my belly button was sticking out. I ironically had a friend who found out she was pregnant and that is when pregnancy first entered my mind. I started thinking about the broken condom and got scared. So I drove home that weekend and my boyfriend came over so I could take the test (AT MY MOM'S HOUSE WHEN SHE WAS AT WORK). When both off-brand pregnancy tests came back positive, I was convinced that — because they were off-brand — they didn't work! So I made my boyfriend take one...and it was negative.
I won't get into all the scary details of what it feels like to find out you're probably pregnant at 19, but let's just say it's a scary, horrible feeling!
I scheduled an appointment and went to see the doctor. After confirming that I was pregnant with a urine test, they said they expected me to be about one to two months along, but that I needed to do a sonogram to find out exactly. Here is a photo of what I looked like at that time:
When they did the sonogram, tears flooded my eyes as I saw a GIANT SPINE. The sonogram technician looked at me and, I'll never forget her words, said, "How far along did the doctor say you were? Because this is showing you are due in October." IT WAS JULY. She then got the doctor, who told me I was having a boy and confirmed that I was due in three months. I've never felt so afraid in my life.
Since we knew every time we had been together because we had a long-distance relationship, we traced the dates back to a time when I had taken the morning after pill. I was ALWAYS paranoid about getting pregnant and I knew I wasn't taking my birth control like I should be, so there were times when — if I was feeling super paranoid — I would take the morning after pill. The time I got pregnant was one of those times.
Most people don't know this, but if you take Plan B — also known as the morning after pill — after the fetus has already attached itself to the uterine wall, it won't do anything. You'll still be pregnant. So, basically, in that 12-hour window after I had sex, the sperm met my egg in the fallopian tube, traveled down into my uterus, and latched onto it – making me get pregnant. I took the morning after pill about 12 hours after intercourse, so it was already too late by then.
If you're wondering if I ever started showing, well I did around August of that year — also, my hair didn't grow that much, that is my bad clip-in extension job haha. However, because I didn't have prenatal care, I went through the remainder of my pregnancy being considered "high risk." Luckily, my son was born full-term and healthy. Now that several years have passed, I don't mind openly talking about my experience — which was pretty traumatic at the time. But it does happen a lot...there's a whole show called I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant for a reason!
So, what pregnancy signs could I have missed? The short period of time when I was really tired — 'cause exhaustion is an early sign of pregnancy, for one. However, some people (myself included) never have those early pregnancy symptoms of morning sickness and some women still get periods, just like I did. So it's not always so obvious that you're pregnant for some people!
TL;DR: This is the one-minute version of the story. I just want people to know that there's always a way you can get pregnant, because no method is 100% effective — trust me, because I GOT PREGNANT WITH AN IUD literally a couple years later!!! (My hubs likes to think he has super sperm, but they're just average – I think it's really just that my uterus is a fun place to live in.) My best advice is, if you're sexually active, keep some pregnancy tests under your sink like I do now because finding out early is key!
If you want to hear more of my crazy stories — because I have a lot — you can follow me on TikTok.