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Pregnant On The Pill: 20 Women Talk About How Birth Control Let Them Down

Plenty of women get pregnant unintentionally, sometimes it's just an oversight. But another group of women plan to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy, only to find themselves expecting later, anyway. Not only does getting pregnant unexpectedly wreak havoc on a woman’s life and potentially her health, but it rocks her world in so many other ways.

Whether your children are perfectly planned or sweet surprises, having a baby is a huge undertaking. Therefore, when moms find out they’re pregnant after assuming it was an impossibility, there are a lot of decisions to be made. Many of these women shared their stories of indecision and fear, not sure whether they should carry their pregnancies to term, put their babies up for adoption, or simply roll with the punches and become moms even if they’d never planned to.

What’s scary is that between the available forms of birth control, no one solution is 100 percent effective. At most, any one option may have a 99 percent success rate- but that means some women, somewhere, are still getting pregnant in spite of using pills, patches, or IUDs. If these women’s stories are any indication, getting pregnant while on contraceptives is more common than anyone could have imagined. You may think you are prepared for anything, but these 20 women’s stories prove that birth control can’t always be trusted.

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20 Weird Revealing Symptom

Writing for Mommyish, Jayme Kennedy shared that she accidentally got pregnant while on the pill- and she only realized it because of one weird symptom. Jayme’s lucky, she explains, because she’s always taken birth control with no ill effects. She was on a regular dose of birth control and took it regularly. She and her then-husband weren’t sure yet when or if they planned on having another baby- they already a daughter. But soon, Jayme had a weird symptom- super itchy palms. She hopped online, and a few pages into her search, found out itchy palms were a symptom of pregnancy- she was only 3 to 4 weeks along.

19 The Pill Let Her Down Twice

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Amanda Mascarelli spent over a decade on birth control pills. She had two kids relatively close together and wasn’t planning on having more. After some research, Amanda thought she may have gotten pregnant on the pill because of an antibiotic she had taken. Antibiotics can lower the efficacy of birth control pills, her doctor confirmed. But, as Amanda wrote for the Washington Post, there are tons of other reasons why birth control fails, seemingly for no reason. Sadly, that pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. Afterward, Amanda resumed her pills- but fell pregnant again, and birthed a healthy baby nine months later.

18 Not Just Gas On Vacation

Career woman Natalie Dass was on vacation when she started to feel not quite right. She was gassy and later got dizzy, and although she was on the pill, she opted for a holiday pregnancy test. Not surprisingly, it was positive. But once Natalie saw her doctor, she wrote for Mother and Baby, it was confirmed that she was already 27 weeks along. Shockingly, just weeks prior, she had gone hiking, horseback riding, and even skydiving- the latter two being on the list of no-no’s for most pregnant moms. Natalie’s baby was born easily and came out healthy- and by then, she was adjusted to the idea of welcoming her new bundle.

17 Pill Prompts Life Changes

They’re famous now, but the Duggar family didn’t start out that way. Way back when Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were first married, Michelle took her birth control pills regularly. But, as she’s shared publicly through blogging, reality TV, and her books, the birth control pill didn’t keep the couple from conceiving. After having their first son, Josh, Michelle went back on the pill. But the next year, she fell pregnant and then suffered a miscarriage. The couple explained that after that devastating event, they decided to have as many children as God would allow. Now, their family includes 19 children and, so far, 11 grandchildren.

16 Simple Doesn’t Mean For Sure

While many women are needle-shy and opt for the type of birth control you can swallow, mom Olivia Barrett took the more painful route. She chose Depo-Provera for birth control, getting her first shot at a local Planned Parenthood. However, Fit Pregnancy reported, about nine months later, she’d give birth. The clinic gave Olivia a pregnancy test before administering her first shot, but it came back negative. But since doctors told her that the hormones could mimic pregnancy symptoms, Olivia didn’t pay much mind to her nausea and lack of a period. But months later, she finally took a pregnancy test when her jeans wouldn’t button- and she was 23 weeks and six days along.

15 Third Time’s The Limit

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When Becky and Ed Gower had their first child, they were shocked. Little Dylan was conceived while Becky was on the combined pill, she told the New York Post. But, the couple were thrilled, and a year later, they intentionally conceived little brother Archie. After their second child, the couple decided they were done having kids, and Becky went on the mini pill. But within weeks, she got pregnant with third child, Finn. Becky gave up on the pill then, she said, but after the couple had another contraceptive failure and went with the morning-after pill as backup, they were rethinking that plan. But it was already too late- Becky was pregnant with their fourth child, Cora.

14 IUD Oops Means Baby

With two young sons and no plans to expand her family, Lindsay Hunter willingly chose an IUD as her form of long-term birth control. It was only eight weeks after she’d had her second child, but Lindsay was done. She did not want to risk getting pregnant again, she wrote for The Cut- it made her feel “weak, ill” just thinking of the possibility. But after some questionable symptoms showed up, Lindsay took a pregnancy test that turned out positive. A check of her IUD showed it had migrated into her uterus, and she was six weeks pregnant. At first, she contemplated abortion, Lindsay wrote, but slowly grew to the idea of having a third child. And this one turned out to be the daughter she thought she’d never have, joining her two big brothers in this crazy world.

13 Mirena Fail Makes Headlines

Lucy Hellein made headlines when she delivered her nine-pound one-ounce baby. But it wasn’t because her boy was a big one, or because she’s someone famous- it was because of the photo she took of her baby shortly after birth. Lucy got pregnant while on the Mirena IUD, and the birth control implant came out after her son did. The photograph of the baby, holding the Mirena in his hand, made its rounds online as Lucy lamented that she’d fallen pregnant while on the birth control device. It’s an overwhelmingly common story, despite the supposed long-term protection IUDs offer, Broadly Vice explained.

12 Birth Control Mishap Is Just Frustrating

Since she had an IUD, Melody Reh was reluctant to take a pregnancy test. She was having odd symptoms, but she assumed it was “just logical that’s not going to happen,” she told The Denver Channel. But she was pregnant, although she miscarried before she was able to get in to see her doctor. The experience inspired her to hop online and investigate the failure rate of her IUD, which many providers claim is up to 99 percent effective. Further, the news channel’s research found that out of 11,000 adverse events reported to the FDA about the Paragard IUD, at least 800 reports involved unintended pregnancies.

11 Willing To Try Again

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Another woman interviewed by The Denver Channel, Hannah, explained that she found out she was pregnant less than a month after she got married. She was a Colorado graduate student at the time and was thinking it was strange to have missed a period. Fortunately, she and her husband were well-equipped, financially speaking, to care for a baby. Their son Max was born healthy, and Hannah told the news channel that she would consider using an IUD again in the future, “despite my individual outcome.” Still, she thinks other women should know that birth control failure “does happen,” even though she is the exception to the birth control device’s success rate.

10 Birth Control Goes Missing

After her sisters tried Nexplanon and were successful with it- no accidental pregnancies for them- Ebony Cole decided she’d try it out too. She told CBS Local Denver that in January of 2015, she went to her doctor to have the Nexplanon implant put into her arm. The doctor inserted it, then had Ebony check for herself to verify there was a lump under the skin. But by April, Ebony was told she was five weeks pregnant, and doctors couldn’t see the implant anywhere in her arm. A blood test found no progestin hormone in her blood, Ebony explained, so doctors assume the implant was never put in. However, Ebony maintains that she felt the implant and thinks it’s still in her arm somewhere- obviously not functioning correctly.

9 Implant Malfunction Miffs Doctors

Another mom who used an implant birth control- this one called Implanon, Nexplanon’s precursor- had a similar experience as Ebony. In July, Jessica visited her local family planning clinic and asked for reliable birth control. She and her husband had two kids already and weren’t in a good financial situation for more. Jessica got the Implanon, the Mirror reported, but a few months later, her doctor told her she was pregnant. Not able to cope financially with the birth of another child, Jessica opted for an abortion. But the emotional turmoil caused Jessica and her husband to grow apart, and they later separated. The couple blamed Implanon for the start of the end of their marriage.

8 Student Chooses Motherhood

Before Jane earned her engineering degree, she chose to have a contraceptive implant inserted into her arm. But just after graduation, Jane found out she was pregnant, the Telegraph reported. While she considered an abortion at first, since becoming a mother so soon was not in her life plan, Jane changed her mind. She said that when a nurse explained to her how the abortion procedure worked, she decided that she would keep the baby instead. Jane was among a long list of women who were considering suing over the birth control failure, although they did decide to keep the accidental pregnancies.

7 Failed Implant Poses Questions

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Kimberly is a young mom who never intended to be one, delivering her baby daughter at age 21. She had an implant injection for birth control, but it somehow failed. She was unsure whether she wanted to pursue a court case and ask for compensation for the unexpected pregnancy, Kimberly told the Telegraph, because she didn’t want her daughter to feel unwanted later in life. Which poses the question, is it understandable for moms who fell pregnant by accident while on birth control to seek damages from contraceptive companies? And what about moms who choose to have abortions and then may require mental health services to get their lives back on track?

6 Mix-Up Means Multiple Losses

Although many women go on to try again after having a miscarriage, hoping for a rainbow baby, Kristie Granado decided not to. She and her husband already had two children, a son and daughter, and felt that trying to get pregnant again was too much of a risk. Kristie explained to CBS News that she didn’t want to have more children because of that loss, so she started taking birth control pills. Devastatingly, she fell pregnant two more times while on the pills, losing both pregnancies. Although she assumed it was a fluke with the first pregnancy, by the second, Kristie realized something was up- and it turned out her birth control was mislabeled and recalled, but it was too late for the Granado family.

5 Birth Control Mishap Leads To Lawsuit

Yesenia Pacheco had been receiving Depo-Provera birth control injections at her local clinic. The mom of two wasn’t ready for more kids, she told CBS News, and regularly received her birth control every three months. But one month, the clinic made a mistake. Later, Yesenia would learn that the clinic did not administer a Depo-Provera shot as they had planned in September 2011. Instead, Yesenia received a flu shot. Afterward, a difficult pregnancy and serious motor and speech conditions in her infant daughter led Yesenia to file a lawsuit against the clinic for wrongful birth, which she hopes will help her support her young daughter.

4 Super-Fertility Times Two

When Emma Power and her husband John were newly married, Emma was using contraceptive pills. She was a young bride, just 19, and wasn’t planning on kids yet. But still, Emma fell pregnant- with twin boys. She told Cosmopolitan that she “couldn’t believe” what she was hearing and that it shocked her to see two heartbeats. But she and her husband made the best of it- a two-for-one deal. Still, afterward, Emma switched to an implant form of birth control. It worked well- for five years. Then Emma became pregnant with twins- again- this time girls. The couple’s doctor chalked it up to “super-fertility,” leading the couple to undergo vasectomy and sterilization to prevent growing their family further.

3 Flighty Mom Makes Moves

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Sandy was a flight attendant who didn’t stay in one place too long, she wrote for Women’s Health Mag. Plus, she had a new beau in every port, and she wasn’t looking to settle down. She’d used contraceptive pills for 20 years, but then her period had stopped, so she began using a diaphragm instead. At 43, after “a lot of soul-searching,” she gave birth to her happy accident alongside her husband. Surprisingly, Sandy’s change of plans in the middle of her career turned out to be a blessing in disguise- she later started her own company, one that her now-grown son helps out with.

2 Childbirth Changes Mom’s Life

Bailey had only been with her current boyfriend for about six months when she found out her combination birth control pill had failed. She wrote for Women’s Health Mag that her pregnancy and birth were “transformative and overwhelming,” leading her to pursue a newfound career in childbirth. Before her pregnancy, Bailey was feeling a little lost in life as a home organizer and knew she couldn’t maintain that career with a baby on the way. Fortunately, her experience inspired a life change in more ways than one, and she also published a book plus married her partner a few years later.

1 Forgotten Surgery Switches Up Plans

When mom Maat had her first child, she had severe preeclampsia. For her own health and safety, she decided that one baby was enough. Plus, she was already past 35 and worried that her “advanced” age wouldn’t help things. So she decided to have a tubal litigation after her son was delivered. Four months after the baby was born, Maat found out she was pregnant. It turned out, Maat’s obstetrician “forgot” to perform the tubal, she told Women’s Health Mag, meaning the birth control the couple thought they had, hadn’t existed at all. Fortunately, Maat and her husband were thrilled to have a daughter in addition to their intended-only-child son.

References: Mommyish, Washington Post, Mother and Baby, XO Jane, Fit Pregnancy, NY Post, The Cut, Broadly Vice, The Denver Channel, CBS Local Denver, Mirror UK, Telegraph UK, CBS News, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health Mag

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