My wife & I decided to get pregnant in secret. Here’s how we did it

Molly Sprayregen and her wife and dog
Photo: Provided

My wife and I decided I would get pregnant in secret.

We wanted to surprise our family and friends. We wanted to have that special moment, the one where we announce we are having a baby and everybody’s faces light up with shock and glee because they had no idea it was coming. We knew it would be too much for us if everyone was privy to the process and knew the exact date we’d find out if it worked. It’d be nerve-wracking enough without all eyes on us.

We also knew that throughout our entire journey, we would have one thousand and one decisions to make. Which fertility clinic would we use? Did we want to do IVF? Who would get pregnant? Whose egg would we use? What kind of genetic testing did we want? What were we looking for in a sperm donor? How should we finance all of this? When should we get started?

It’d be impossible to filter through the well-meaning opinions of our loved ones to determine our own feelings about everything. This was something we simply had to do together, without outside influence.

Easier said than done.

My wife and I are both exceedingly close to our families. All of our parents and siblings live in the same city as we do, and we see everybody several times per week. Couple that with the fact that it was one of the busiest summers of our lives, that rosy first post-quarantine season of endless events.

It was two years’ worth of weddings, engagement parties, vacations, and family time squeezed into a few months. After officially deciding to go the IVF route, we learned my hormone shots had to be done at very specific times of day, including 6pm, when we were often out and about.

I spent the summer of 2021 sneaking into bathrooms at weddings and restaurants to jab myself in the stomach. I secretly swallowed progesterone pills during my own 30th birthday party and prayed none of my friends would question why I wouldn’t swim at the beach or why I nursed a giant bottle of Pedialyte all weekend.

I snuck meds into a hotel room I shared with my brother and sister-in-law. I hid them in my pockets at my parents’ house and wondered if anyone caught a glimpse of the estrogen patches on my stomach when I adjusted my shirt. And somehow, on a snorkeling boat off the coast of Maui, I managed to sneak away from my wife’s entire family and shoot a dose of leuprolide into my gut while they all tried on their flippers, none the wiser.

Molly Sprayregen IVF photo

I white lied constantly during my daily phone calls with my mom, when I would often be driving to the fertility center for my every-other-day blood tests and ultrasounds to see how the medicine was working. I have never moved faster than the day she showed up at my apartment unannounced. I tossed the bevy of medications spread out all over the bathroom into the nearest bag and shoved it into the closet. I was shocked she didn’t notice my racing heart or the beads of sweat dripping down my face when she got to the top of the stairs.

But miraculously, no one ever noticed a thing.

A few days after we found out that the embryo transfer worked and I was pregnant, I happened to be hosting my sister’s bachelorette party. We didn’t have time to tell our families before it began, so for another three days I kept quiet. Still on hormones, I jabbed progesterone oil into my butt every morning and secretly dumped glasses of wine into the bushes.

And boy was it all worth it.

The looks on our families’ faces when we shared the news was everything. No one had any idea, and they were euphoric. It was just really fun to get to share it with everyone exactly the way we wanted on exactly our timeline. It may not have been the right choice for everyone, but it was perfect for us.

We also documented the entire journey for our families and presented them with a scrapbook when we told them. There are photos of me giving myself shots wearing birthday crowns and fancy dresses and bathing suits and sports jerseys. There are photos of me in a silly blue cap going into surgery, of my dog comforting me in the aftermath, and even photos of us on the phone arguing with our insurance company. There are essays written by our sperm donor, and snapshots of him as a child.

Molly Sprayregen IVF Photo

When my son is old enough, I look forward to sitting him in my lap and showing him the pictures of how we made him, and all the silliness, joy, and love that filled our lives along the way.

I know that for so many people, IVF is a last resort after a painful journey. But for us it was an exciting beginning, a process that allowed the two of us to really make our baby together. At first, we mourned the fact that (we thought) our child could not be made from both of us, but as it turned out, going through IVF together meant we each poured our whole selves into him. We ended up making a baby in the exact way we were meant to. Every shot, every pill, and every choice we made along the way led to the perfect little boy I get to sing to every night.

To me, the process was anything but miserable. Every single jab represented the possibility that soon, maybe, there’d be a baby.

And then, one day, just like magic, there was.

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