I am officially 20 weeks pregnant today. There were so many times that I never allowed myself to imagine getting this far. Now that I am here, I am so thankful that we’ve made it this far.

From my perspective, the first 20 weeks have gone by relatively slow. In the beginning it seemed like one agonizing wait after another, first with the early ultrasounds and then with the later testing and regular OB appointments. Then, when I started to feel more secure about the pregnancy it because we seemed to have passed out of the “danger zone” it was a matter of waiting for a different set of things – the fun things. Waiting for my belly to get big enough that I could consider myself showing and not just chubby, waiting to find out the gender, waiting to feel those first movements. That’s where we’re at now. We know that we’re having a little girl, I finally feel like I’m starting to look a little bit pregnant now, and I’m pretty certain that I felt our little girl’s first kicks yesterday. And all signs show that things are progressing well as far as the growth and development of the pregnancy is concerned.

Of course the emotional side of things has been a completely different story. There was the initial bleeding scare between my first and second betas and the fantastically delayed notification of my appropriately rising second beta. The huge relief and emotional high of seeing our girl’s tiny little heart beating away at our first ultrasound, followed quickly by the terror of the gushing blood episode. The seemingly nonstop spotting and bleeding that continued through my entire first trimester and left me, for the most part, on edge.

And beyond the fear that I think any woman would have if they had all of the spotting and bleeding that I did was dealing with the fact that nothing was as I would have expected it to be. As I’ve mentioned before, I knew from real life infertiles that the transition from infertile to pregnancy is not always all sunshine and rainbows like I expected it to be. Even thought I knew that, I never quite believed it, and to then live it firsthand and understand what they were talking about was a completely shocking experience.

I’ve been repeatedly surprised by my behavior during this pregnancy. I waited longer than I ever imagined to become pregnant. The entire time we were trying, I was planning out how things would be once I was pregnant. The very first month we tried I was absolutely convinced that I was pregnant. I went out and bought a pregnancy book and immediately started reading it. I was disappointed to find out that I may not start showing until 4 or 5 months into the pregnancy. I wanted the world to know that I was pregnant immediately! I read that book nightly until it was determined that I was, shockingly, not pregnant. I put the book away, knowing that I would need it again in a few short months. I daydreamed about telling all of our friends and family about our pregnancy and how exciting it would be. I read labor stories and bought books on natural births and fetal development. I browsed “belly shot” picture galleries imagining the day that I would post my photos there. I couldn’t be stopped in my enthusiasm for all things pregnancy, birth and baby related.

And I assumed that once I was pregnant, the first thing I would do would be to pull out all of those pregnancy books and start devouring. I would run out and buy super cute maternity clothes. I would sign up for those weekly e-mails that tell you all about your baby’s development and compare her size to a specific fruit. I came up with the off the wall idea that instead of a weekly photo, I would take daily photos and create a flipbook of my growing belly.

Nothing could be farther from reality. Instead of wanting to scream from the rooftops that I was pregnant, I wanted to cower in the corner. To this day I’ve spent less than a half of an hour reading my pregnancy books. I never signed up for the e-mails. Instead of buying all kinds of cute maternity clothes, I’ve been hiding behind baggy, oversized shirts. The thought of telling our friends and family made my stomach turn with nerves and fear. I’ve taken only three belly pictures.

Nothing is how I thought it would be. And it’s not that these things are bad, they’re just different than I had imagined. A small part of me feels like I may be missing out on all of those things that I had looked forward to so desperately, but a bigger part of me feels just right about the way that things have unfolded. I’m not the same person that I was when I developed those grand plans, and I suppose it’s only natural that my feelings, reactions and perspectives have changed as well. And that’s OK.