In today's post, I, Susanna, thought I would share our story to pregnancy. The journey to a pregnancy looks very different, and it is rarely highlighted what the road there looked like. In the post you will get to share my thoughts and feelings in the various steps in the process, how I prepared my body for an upcoming pregnancy and much more. At the time of writing I am in v14 and have calculated BF on the 23rd of September.
My journey to pregnancy
As many of you may know, my boyfriend and I went through an abortion in December 2021. We both agree that it was the right choice based on where we were at the time. What I could feel in the months afterwards was a greater longing than before, which I reflected on a lot. I think it partly has to do with the fact that, in connection with the abortion, we really set about having a child, because it was not obvious to us to opt out, but it actually leaned towards keeping it. Then there were many factors that came into play that finally made us make the decision that we did. An aspect that I also think played a role and made the longing grow greater was that I physically got to experience a pregnancy in my body. At the moment of writing, it feels vulnerable to write this while at the same time it feels important to highlight as many of you have contacted me when you have gone through or are going through a similar process. Here you can listen to the episode with me about abortion .
The months passed and I worked on processing everything that had to do with the abortion, feeling full acceptance of our choice but also feeling acceptance of feelings of longing that started to creep up. At the end of August, we started talking about "flowing", that is, what happens can happen, but we didn't make a "decision" in that way. We were also prepared that it could take several months, which is normal and natural. In September we got pregnant, which was a bit of a shock that the first month passed without protection, but the little soul was so welcome to us. I took the pregnancy test in the morning but didn't say anything to Oliver as I wanted to surprise him. I went to the store and bought a bodysuit with "I love you dad". It was such an incredibly nice moment when I shared the news. The gratitude, love and happiness of becoming parents is so great to take in.
Pregnancy that ended in miscarriage
A few weeks later, that luck was taken away from us when we miscarried at week 7 (in mid-October). That pain is hard to describe, to experience what you dreamed of and then to have it taken away hurts indescribably. If you want to read more about the miscarriage, how I handled it, lessons learned and how I supported body and soul in connection with it, you can read the following blog post: How I got through my miscarriage . After that, the focus was on healing and processing what happened, for both of us. There are so many gifts and lessons that I can see now in hindsight even though it was one of the toughest things we went through.
The month after the miscarriage I was also told that I had borrelia, bartonella and babesia so in connection with that I did a lot of acupuncture to support the body, drank herbs and did several treatments in Thailand for the exact infections I had. I was completely treated the first week of December and after that the focus was on just being and allowing the body to do its thing. I also had a two-week holiday where I disconnected from everything that had to do with women's health and health. Focused on reading regular books, listening to music, podcasts, eating good food and just enjoying being in the heat.
Then I found out I was pregnant and early pregnancy symptoms
We came back to Sweden on New Year's Eve and two weeks later we went back to Iceland. In the middle of January, four days after we landed in Iceland, which was pretty much exactly 3 months after the miscarriage, we plused again. Already on day 30 of the menstrual cycle, which was day 12 of phase 3 (the luteal phase), I sensed that we were pregnant. My luteal phase is never longer than 12 days, so on Saturday I told Oliver I had a hunch we were pregnant. Fourteen days after ovulation we took the pregnancy test, most people wait until 16 days after ovulation but given that I know my cycle and that my phase 3 doesn't usually last longer than 12 days we chose to take it after 14 days. This time I wanted Oliver to be there unlike last time when I wanted to surprise him. I peed on the stick and then it was just a matter of waiting. I didn't dare look so Oliver had to do it. He looked and the test showed pregnant 1-2 weeks. The world stopped for a minute. We hugged and tried to accept that we had received the best news we could ever receive. That happiness was indescribable at the same time as it felt unimaginable. Although I had known that the probability was high that I was pregnant, it is another thing to actually see it.
Considering all the years I've been getting to know my body, there were several clear signs that indicated a pregnancy that someone not in the know might not have thought about. What made me realize I was pregnant:
- My temperature stayed high throughout phase 3 (luteal phase)
- My phase 3 was longer than 12 days, which only happened when I was pregnant
- Sore breasts
- Almost immediately after ovulation I felt such a hunger I've never felt before, my first thought was that it was a crazy phase 3 (cravings)
- I also felt period pain, which made me doubt that I was pregnant, which I now understand is a common sign of early pregnancy
Here you see a map of my menstrual cycle chart the month we got pregnant.
The first two weeks I felt no pregnancy symptoms at all except increased hunger, period pain and sore breasts. I felt as good as ever. A week after we took the pregnancy test, I took another pregnancy test with weekly indicator to see that HSG hormones increased as it should which showed 3+. I also took a test just 3 days after we got positive which still showed week 1+2 which created a lot of fear in me as I thought the pregnancy had stopped. Then as I said I took another pregnancy test a few days later which showed week 3+ which indicated that the hormones were increasing as they should. The lesson in this and the decision I made based on this was that I decided to have full confidence in the process, taking an "extra test" to see that the hormones increased as they should is not something I recommend to anyone else. Practice having full trust in your pregnancy and that everything will be as it is meant to be instead of trying to control.
Going forward, you will be able to read more about my trimester 1 in an upcoming blog post where you can follow my journey with thoughts and feelings about trimester 1, early ultrasound, what symptoms I experienced and much more.
How I prepared my body for pregnancy
As many of you know, I have had a history of missed periods (HA) and have spent the last five years working to get a regular menstrual cycle back, which I have also had for the last 2.5 years. In Womensync, we talk a lot about Trimester Zero, which is about the time before pregnancy and how to give the body the conditions to prepare for pregnancy. If you want to learn more about Trimester Zero, we recommend listening to the following podcast episodes: Trimester Zero - To support the body before a pregnancy and Q/A Trimester Zero with Maria Sären . My purpose when I started my healing process to get my missed period back was not a pregnancy, but to get back my fifth sign of health which for us women is the menstrual cycle. Then I've always had a dream to experience becoming a mother if that's possible.
The magic of my journey from no periods to a regular cycle is that our bodies can and do heal when we give them love and what they need. For those of you going through a similar journey, it is possible to get your missed period back naturally through lifestyle changes. Could I, can you! If you want to read more about the changes I made to get my missed period back, you can listen to this episode: Missed Periods, Lifestyle Change and Holistic Health with Susanna Moen and read the following blog post: Get Your Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Back for Missed Periods .
Trimester zero - the months before a pregnancy
In one way or another, I have been "unknowingly" working with my Trimester Zero for several years to give the body the resources and conditions it needs to push through a strong ovulation. Below I share some of the things I have done in the past year that have been beneficial to me and that have also prepared my body for an upcoming pregnancy:
In the past, I always exercised on an empty stomach or walking before breakfast. In recent years, I have always eaten breakfast first. Eating right in the morning signals to the body that it is safe and that there are resources (ie we don't have to hunt for food). I have also focused on eating a good breakfast with a focus on fat and protein which stabilizes blood sugar.
Over the past few years I have taken several different supplements to support nutritional deficiencies. The ones I ate include Q10 which I love which supports the mitochondria (our cells) and which has been shown to have positive effects on egg quality. Have also taken supplements of magnesium, vitamin C and Omega 3. In connection with my first pregnancy, I started taking PreNatal from Thorne to also support the body with folate, which is important during the first trimester for the baby's development. Thorne contains very high doses, which has meant that I have eaten about 2 capsules about 5 days a week, something I have done all autumn and also during this pregnancy. Last week I only ate once a week because I ate high doses of B6 due to pregnancy sickness.
Less high-intensity training and running
In recent years, I have cut back a lot on high-intensity training such as HIT sessions, interval sessions and running in general. I have instead focused on strength training, yoga and walking. I could do some jogging in phase 3 (between ovulation and period) or right at the beginning of phase 1 (period). Before ovulation, I never exercised at high intensity as my body could easily see this as stress, which caused ovulation to be postponed. During quieter periods I wasn't affected in the same way but I live a pretty intense life overall considering my job and a lot of travel.
Recovery, sleep and stress
I have worked a lot with recovery and dealing with stress. Stress has been one of the biggest factors in my ovulation being late (it's never the period that's late, it's the ovulation). Even though I've had a regular menstrual cycle for the last few years, my ovulation is very sensitive to stress and if I get too little recovery it shows directly in my cycle. Therefore, I have been careful to sleep at least 8 hours, have time for meditation, read books, go for walks in nature, watch series with my boyfriend and just take it easy in general.
Replace skin care and products at home
In recent years, I have become much more careful with which products I use on my skin and in my home as it can have a big impact on hormones but also egg quality and sperm quality. Among other things, I have changed skin care (which became easy as I only use our products in Womensync), only spray perfume on clothes instead of directly on the skin as fragrances/perfume can contain up to 200 substances, replaced plastic with wood and Teflon with stainless steel. I am not extreme in any way, but I have mainly replaced the products that I use on a daily basis such as shower cream, skin cream, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner.
Allow myself to be
One thing that I think is important to highlight is to let go of perfection and have a relaxed relationship with life (easier said than done). My relationship with food, exercise and life has never been as relaxed as it was in the months before pregnancy and is now. I've eaten what I felt like even if it's white sugar, had gluten from time to time and I've really listened to my body's signals and given it what it craves and needs.
Many women we meet in Womensync want to do everything "perfectly", which makes you become fanatical when it comes to food, health and the body. There is no perfection when it comes to health or the journey to pregnancy. Of course, it is important to nourish yourself, get exercise and do good things for the body, but there is also room to chill on the sofa for a whole day or eat a dessert.
Every week we meet women in Womensync who have gone through miscarriage or involuntary childlessness and I know that a month, three months, six months or years of waiting can feel like an eternity when it comes to wanting children. I am humbled that the journey to conceiving has been relatively quick for us, even though we had to go through a loss in the middle of the process. Something that has been of great help in my process has been the spiritual, it has helped me to feel acceptance of what happened, to learn to live in uncertainty and to have trust in the course of the process. To dare in every cell of my body to believe and trust in divine timing - that everything will happen exactly when it is meant to happen. It is a process that can be incredibly challenging, but for me it has been helpful to take guidance and a belief in something bigger. To those of you who are in the middle of your journey right now - I send you all love and strength. I hope from the bottom of my heart that you will be blessed with a baby when your time is right.
No matter where you are in your process, much love to you!