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April 29, 2016

Double vision: A Jersey native's journey to becoming a first-time mom

Parenting Katie's Baby
Katie_Gagnon_01 Charles Griffith/for PhillyVoice

Katie and Ryan Gagnon in Forest Park, St. Louis. Katie was 12 weeks pregnant and they just learned they were having a boy.

I wasn’t sure if my eyes were working. It was early Sunday morning and I was a little nauseous. I really wanted to see two lines. I was holding my breath, hoping for two lines. OMG yes! It’s happening! The First Response stick said I was pregnant.

I went upstairs to my husband’s office, where he was reading. I was holding the test in my shaking hands. This was a big moment, and words were completely failing me. Ryan looked up from his book. “I think I’m pregnant.” He jumped out of his chair and looked at the test; he held my face in his hands and kissed me.

We were elated but decided we needed a second test to confirm. It was hard to believe it happened so quickly. One more stick, two more lines. We’re having a baby!

Katie Gagnon/for PhillyVoice

Katie's husband is thoroughly grossed out that she kept her positive pregnancy tests, but she just couldn't bear to throw them away.

I had taken approximately a dozen tests in the 10 days preceding the positive results. We started “trying” right around the New Year, and within the first week of January, I felt like I was pregnant. I didn’t really know what feeling pregnant was; I just felt different. After so many negative tests, my husband told me to take a break with the sticks, my best friend told me to buy the ovulation tests and give it some time, and I told myself I was manifesting desire into a physical feeling. But Sunday, January 15 I thought, I’ll just take one more. 

And it confirmed that funny feeling.

I felt like my whole life had changed in a moment and I was eager to learn everything I could to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy, happy baby. That afternoon, I went to Barnes & Noble to buy What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. I started reading and researching right away.

Fast forward to 19 weeks pregnant. I’ve learned a lot. Like what to eat, when to exercise, how to listen to my body. I’ve learned what it feels like to see the magic of my baby’s beating heart on that first ultrasound. I’ve learned how to sleep walk to the bathroom four times in the middle of the night and how to embrace maternity jeans. I’ve learned about pasteurized cheese, genetic testing and that feeling a super sharp pain in my lower abdomen when I sneeze is nothing to worry about. I’ve learned how to modify yoga poses, how to switch to decaf, and how to grin and bear it when a TSA agent has her hand on my crotch because I opt out of the body scanners at the airport. I’ve learned that my husband is so grossed out that I saved my positive pregnancy tests. Most of all, I’ve learned that my body is creating a miracle, and there is more love inside me and from my husband than I thought possible.

I am not an expert; I am a first-time mom navigating pregnancy, planning for the future, and feeling simultaneously scared and elated. I am hungry to learn and happy to share what I’ve discovered so far. There is still so much education ahead for me and I am going to share my experience with you, here. 

 I hope you’ll share yours with me, too!