To my surprise, I knew I was pregnant before I held a positive pregnancy test in my hot little hands. My partner and I had been trying for only a few weeks, but I knew something was different. I went to the bathroom thinking my period had started, and when I realized it hadn't I took a pregnancy test. That test was negative, but I still felt "off." So, how long does it take to know you're pregnant? Every person is different, to be sure, but a few days later I took another pregnancy test and it was positive. So was the next one, and the next one, and the next 100 tests I took. And, of course, I wasn't surprised.
When I asked other moms to share the moment they knew they were expecting, I realized that knowing before you actually "know" is a pretty common experience. More than a few moms suspected they were pregnant before they sat down to pee on a stick. Between morning sickness, painful breasts, and an intensely powerful sense of smell there were some signs that screamed "pregnant" and long before these women realized they had missed a period. And for others, like me, they just felt "weird" and figured it was time to take a test.
Others didn't know they were pregnant until they were well into their first or second trimesters, which just highlights the fact that every pregnancy, and every body, is different. If I've said it before I'll say it again: when it comes to realizing your pregnant, your mileage may vary from practically knowing the moment you conceive, to not suspecting a thing until you feel your baby kick. So with that in mind, here are some real moms on finding out they were going to be moms:
"Something just felt 'off,' so I took a pregnancy test and saw the faintest line. I broke down crying. I was overjoyed and terrified. My husband and I had just lost a baby in December. I am now 18 weeks pregnant with a sweet girl."
"I got pregnant after the fifth intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle. I went in for blood work and was expecting yet another disappointing phone call from the nurse. She usually called by mid-morning, and it was around 2:00 p.m. when I called and braced myself for bad news. She told me I was pregnant. I didn’t believe her."
"I woke up on a Saturday morning, sat down in front of the cup of coffee my partner had made me, took a sniff, and immediately pushed it away. I normally love coffee, but it smelled absolutely disgusting. That afternoon I randomly threw up, and then knew it was time to pee on a stick."
"I needed in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive. Eight days after my embryo transfer, I went to have blood drawn, and then I went to work as a childcare teacher. Later that morning, my phone rang. I let it go to voicemail, but I couldn't stand waiting. So, I announced that I was going to take some babies for a walk. I opened the voicemail. It was my nurse, who told me I was pregnant. I stood under the tree and wept. I still have the voicemail saved to my phone and took a picture of the place where I found out I would be a parent and after four years of trying."
"I took a test out of morbid curiosity, as I was bloated as hell and my period had been AWOL for a while. I'd just put it down to hormonal shifts after coming off the pill. It was blazing positive. An early scan a couple of weeks later said I was nine weeks at that stage, so was seven weeks at the time."
"I was watching Grey’s Anatomy,and felt something move inside me. I freaked out and took a test the next morning. It popped up blue. Found out the next week that I was 24 weeks along. I had been having weird symptoms for months but the doctors thought it was a pituitary tumor, not a baby. [My son is] 10-months-old old now."
"My mom died in April 2013 from cancer. After caring for her so long, I was trying to figure out how to adjust to not being a caregiver. She was my best friend. I didn’t think I had ovulated, because of the stress. Nothing tasted good, and I was the most tired I had ever been in my life. I thought it was just grief. I took a pregnancy test on a whim and while I was getting ready for a friend’s wedding. Surprise. The doctor figured I got pregnant the week she died. I like to think she was my final gift from my mom, because she gave me purpose and helped me heal."
"My partner and I had been trying for five years to have a baby. I began seeing an OB-GYN. He scheduled a laparoscopic procedure to get a better look. I went to the hospital, got my IV, and gave some blood. As I was waiting for anesthesia, my OB came into my room saying that my HCG levels were pretty high. He came back and confirmed that I was, in fact, pregnant. They took out my IV and congratulated me. We drove home in a state of shock. Our little one is turning 3 in September."
"My period was late. I had a co-worker run to the store to get me a pregnancy test. I immediately started crying when it was positive. I was terrified, and surprised considering I had taken the morning after pill. I then became super excited."
"We were at lunch for Father’s Day, and the server put some jalapeños across the table from me. I got a whiff and got nauseous. I love jalapeños. On the way home, I told my husband I thought I might be pregnant. It was too early to test, so I waited a week."
"I knew I was pregnant with my second when I walked into the grocery store and was filled with rage at the strong smell of cantaloupe. I wanted to barf."
"After four pregnancy losses, and three failed IVF cycles, my husband and I decided to try one last time on our own before moving on to donor eggs. I knew I was pregnant when I got implantation spotting, something I was familiar with from my previous failed pregnancies. I was at work and my heart started racing. I got back to my desk and couldn't stop smiling. I wasn't really sure, until I got a faint line on a pregnancy test the next day, though. Somehow I knew this one would be my take-home baby. [My daughter is] 6-weeks-old now."
"My first two were IVF pregnancies, so I started testing and found out almost immediately. My third was an unexpected 'natural' pregnancy. I didn't want birthday cake at my son's 4th birthday celebration. The only other times I'd been turned off by sweets had been when pregnant. It seemed ridiculous to consider an infertile couple could conceive, but I was in the bathroom and casually took a test. I lost it when I saw a second line, and went screaming through the house and the party for my husband."
"I caught my reflection in a mirror after a shower one day and realized that some parts of my anatomy were a very different color than usual. I Googled it,and pregnancy was the first thing to pop up. I took a test. An ultrasound confirmed I was 14 weeks pregnant."