Dear 2022,

Last year I wrote a letter to your predecessor, so I thought it only fair to address you too. It’s taken me well over a week to wrap my head around how I feel about you. And honestly, I’m still not sure I can definitively say. Somehow you managed to be the best and worst year of my life. 

You started off with a bang, and right off the bat I knew you were going to be my year. On January 15th, at 39 years old and after taking hundreds (if not thousands), I got my first ever second line on a pregnancy test. I’m sure you recall my elation as the line got darker the second day. But, as you remember, that was a short-lived period of joy, because less than a week later you teamed up with Mother Nature and stole it from me. 

I cried every day for at least a month. I thought I was getting the lowest point of the year out of the way early. If only…

I’ll breeze through the next few months, because they read like a broken record:

  • February 23rd – Failed cycle…but I was coming off of a miscarriage, so everyone was telling me “don’t be so hard on yourself – give your body time.” (something I was quickly running out of)
  • March 28th – I was met with another failure 3 days before turning 40. Honestly, aging has never bothered me, but this was probably the hardest birthday of my life. 
  • April 11th – My body was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing every month. It seemed to be responding to all the drugs perfectly, it just couldn’t get the job done. It was time to try something new – IUIs.  The doctor said that my insurance would not cover them, so he would only let me try 3 cycles before deeming it unsuccessful. I was filled with such hope that this would finally be it. 
  • April 29th – Joke was on me.
  • May 17th – IUI #2 – Numbers were lower, but you never know…it just takes one lucky swimmer! 
  • June 1 – No dice. I would get one more chance, and by now I had lost count of what cycle we were even on.
  • June 10 – HSG Day- We spent our 16th anniversary getting a very painful procedure (for which they do not administer any type of pain relief) on the off chance that it just MIGHT boost fertility for our last IUI.
  • June 20th – This was the day of my final IUI. It was time to come to terms with what “the end” of this journey would look like.

I know I glossed over those 5 months in just a few sentences. Part of me feels like I didn’t do them justice. I know, as time always does, you kept marching forward, dragging me along with you. In the grand scheme of things, it probably felt like you just blinked your eyes and it was over. Meanwhile, I was hanging on for dear life while slowly losing myself. I didn’t know how to hang my hat on the idea of never having a family. 

And then came July. Two days into the month I was, once again, met with a faint second line. By the 4th of July it had become dark and obviously positive while bloodwork every few days proved that things were progressing as they should. 

On July 25th we heard two heartbeats. This day will forever be ingrained in my mind. “This is how it ends,” I thought. It turns out I jumped the gun on that one. You weren’t finished with me yet. 

Because August was right around the corner – the true low point of the year. In a matter of months you stole a second baby from me. Another baby my arms will never hold and, what stung even more, the fact that my sweet Jude will never know his twin. My only solace, and the one thing I still cling to, is the fact that the only thing that baby ever knew was my own heartbeat. 

I still don’t know how to describe the weeks and months following that loss. I have never been so happy, devastated, confused, and worried all at the same time. I desperately needed to keep this second baby alive, and every day became a milestone. I say that as if it has changed. Though I have graduated to “weeks” now, I still count each one as a win. 

It feels as if you finally let me start breathing towards the end. Maybe you were just getting old and tired and didn’t feel like keeping up the fight. Perhaps, through perseverance, I proved myself to you, or perhaps you were just seeking your own redemption. Whatever the case may be, you earned it. 

When I am at the end of my life looking back, 2022, you will bring a smile. You are the year that brought me my son – the child I’ve yet to meet, but already know better than anyone in the entire world. 

I don’t know what the afterlife looks like for you, but I hope somehow you’re able to enjoy your retirement while still keeping an eye on me, so that in a few short weeks you can smile and see what you started. 

Forever grateful, 

Stephanie

**If you came here looking for an update, I don’t have a ton to share. Everything still looks great with Jude. We have frequent appointments with both my OB and my high risk doctor, and they keep assuring me that he couldn’t be more perfect. Other than the normal risks that come along with my age, my iron remains the only issue. It’s still way too low and the infusions didn’t make a difference. At this point, my doctor gave me some things to look out for in the meantime, and said he would be prepared to do a blood transfusion at delivery. 

Other than that, we are anxiously counting down the days. At most, we are eight weeks away from holding our son for the first time. We start non-stress testing in a couple weeks, so realistically, it could be even sooner! How is that possible?! 

(one. nine. twenty-three)

Becoming a Branch

It is currently 2:50am and, thanks to pregnancy insomnia, I am lying in bed, writing this on my phone while unable to sleep. My mind seems to be getting the best of me tonight, as it has been doing most nights lately. Like most people, I am lying awake thinking about all the things I need to do before Christmas – I have yet to wrap a single present and, thanks to being gifted a nasty cold right as school ended for the semester, somehow my house still looks like a mess. However, this year I have this extra layer of thoughts muddling my mind. I am going to do my best to explain, though I’m not sure I’m going to be very successful. There’s probably a 50% chance I’m going to read this in the morning before posting, and delete it before I get half way through editing. 

Somehow Christmas is already around the corner. I know it’s the most cliche question ever – but truly, where has the time gone? I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with this holiday. 

Christmastime is, by far, my favorite. I love the lights, the smells, the cheesy Hallmark movies. I love cold days and snow, and shopping for other people – trying to find the perfect present is not something I find stressful in the least. I love seeing the decorations up way too early in the stores and the switch from pumpkin spice to peppermint everything. Honestly, what’s not to love? 

Well, I’ll tell you – Christmas Day. Somehow I can love an entire season, and hate the actual day. Hate is a strong word. Perhaps, “dread” is more accurate. 

Christmas is, as it should be, “about the kids”. I am not arguing this, because I wouldn’t change it if I could. However, there is a pain that I cannot even begin to describe when year after year, you are forced to watch children that are not your own, walk down the stairs with their sleepy eyes and bed hair, and experience the magic of Christmas. 

Justin and I have traditions of celebrating Christmas with both sides of the family each year – something that we will always do. And don’t get me wrong, I love my nieces and nephews as if they’re my own. But when it comes down to it – Christmas has become a very painful reminder that they are not my own. 

I love watching them open the presents that I very carefully picked out for them – hoping that it will be “just what they always wanted.” But every year I also find myself sneaking off to the bathroom to silently sob and collect myself, unbeknownst to everyone else in the room except my husband, as I crave something that it seems I will never have. Then I return, as if everything is normal. Justin always asks, sometimes with his words and sometimes with his eyes if I am okay, and we go about the day. The presents are just one part of the complicated puzzle. There is so much tied to that day that revolves around kids and family. 

Family – there’s a word that has always felt strange on my tongue. We are part of two really incredible large family structures, but, as the years went by, never having our own subset has always left me feeling like we were just a couple of stray leaves on the family tree, rather than a branch. 

I say all of this to emphasize that this year feels different and strange. It seems we are finally becoming a branch. Even as I type this, little Jude is moving around in my belly – wide awake at now 3:35am, which I am sure will be the norm for many, many months to come. 

He will be here in less than three months. We are a mere 81 days from his due date, and we know he’ll be here before that, either by his own choice or scheduled induction. My doctor very sweetly put it – you will certainly be holding him on your due date. 

The nursery is basically finished, and if we were to bring him home tomorrow, we have enough necessities that we would be just fine. Even though we have been prepping for several months now, I feel like I am just now starting to let my heart picture this future that includes an actual baby. But even now, finally in my third trimester, I am still terrified of losing him, like we did his twin so suddenly. I have read and researched every risk to which I am predisposed. I am scared to death to let myself fully, and without apprehension, embrace this future that is right around the corner. 

Maybe all his squirming around right now is his way of reassuring me that everything will be okay. For him, I want to escape this weird limbo year and enjoy Christmas Day. Instead of being reminded of what we have been lacking, finally start planning the traditions I want to have with my own little family – my branch. 

I am still part of a few infertility support groups online, and upon reading the words and posts of others, I know I am not alone in these feelings. So, if you’re reading this and feeling more like a leaf than a branch, I am sending you the biggest hug. Just remember that, even though it may not feel like it this week, leaves are a beautiful part of the tree. 

As far as updates go, I have little to share. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is excellent news. In addition to our regular and routine appointments with our OB, we started regular appointments and ultrasounds with our high risk doctor a few weeks ago. According to both doctors, every scan has been totally normal and Jude is measuring right on track. He could not be more perfect. 

I go in for more blood work tomorrow to see if the iron infusions and pills have made any difference in my levels. Fingers crossed. 

We’ve officially made it to the home stretch, so our appointments are becoming more frequent. Our next appointments are January 4th with our high risk and 6th with our OB. I love every single one, and will never tire of seeing his sweet little chubby-cheeked face and hearing his heartbeat – and best of all, hearing the reassuring words from our doctors that everything is, in fact, still okay. 

It is now 4:10am. Since I am writing this on my phone, I have no idea how long this post is, or if it sounds like a rambling mess. If you’re reading this, I guess it made the morning edit cut. 

I want to end with a heartfelt Merry Christmas/Happiest of Holidays to all my readers, leaves and branches alike- whatever and however you choose to celebrate. May you find peace and relaxation amidst the chaos, and may you find your own reason for happiness and celebration. 

(twelve. twenty. twenty-two)

(Morning editing Stephanie here, and as I suspected, this post is much longer than I usually try to make them. It reads like one of those rawly honest middle of the night conversations. So, if you stuck with me and read the whole thing – thank you!) 

Hey, Jude!

2022 has, by far, been the hardest and best year of my life, and as it is winding down with the holiday season upon us, I am reminded of the journey that brought me to where I am…which is sitting here writing this blog entry while feeling my baby boy wiggling away in my belly, just like he does every single evening. 

It would be easy to place my hand on my stomach and forget all the hard times – to be filled with such joy that nothing else matters. That, however, is not the case. If anything, the pain of this year is a constant reminder of the fragility of dreams and everything that it took to get this baby – our son. 

In some strange way, refusing to let go of the adversity is my way of never letting myself take this tiny precious life for granted. I am forever thankful for that little beating heart as well as the medical advances and technology that allowed him to take up residence inside of me. 

As far as updates go, I am currently 25 weeks – almost at the end of my second trimester! How is that possible? Part of me wants to stop time and just be pregnant forever. The rest of me, though, can’t wait to hold him and never let him go. 

He now has a name – Jude Randall.  In all honesty, he has had this name since before he was conceived. There was never a doubt. Surprisingly, the name discussion was never a big deal with Justin  and I. We knew this was it. His name is after the line in the Beatles song, “Hey Jude”  that says: “Take a sad song and make it better.” And, in case you hadn’t caught on to the theme of this post, that is exactly what he has already done. 

His middle name, Randall, is after his grandfathers – my dad’s first name and Justin’s father’s middle name. He will also have the same initials as Justin. 

After a debacle at the lab which led to me having to do my glucose testing twice (a long story  that involves lots of tears on my part when they forgot to call me back to check my blood after drinking the glucose), I found out that I passed and do not have gestational diabetes just in time to enjoy all the pumpkin pie! 

The blood tests did come back with some alarming results regarding my iron. What started out at the beginning of this pregnancy with mild anemia has become something a bit more serious. Starting this week, I will have weekly iron infusions at the hospital. Hopefully this, in combination with taking additional iron pills, will get it back up in the range that will make my doctor feel more comfortable. This, thankfully, explains why I have been feeling extremely tired and run down lately. I was beginning to think that my “advanced age” was showing. 


In about a week and a half we have a high risk ultrasound scan to get a more in depth look at little Jude, and his growth from my previous anatomy scan. We have no suspicions that anything is wrong, but will feel a huge sense of relief when it’s visible on the screen and hear my doctor say the words. 

Other than that, my regular OB appointments have been progressing quite normally. To be on the safe side, my doctor said he will not let me get to my due date – March 11. Around early  to mid-February we will start doing Non-Stress Test monitoring and formulate a concrete plan to get our little guy here safely based on what he sees. 

In the meantime, we are working on getting the nursery set up, building baby registries, and buying all the necessities and sweetest little clothes I’ve ever seen – all things I never thought we’d get the chance to do. 

And while we will never forget the tune of the sad song that played in the background for so many years, Jude has certainly rewritten the melody. 

na na na na, na na na na….hey Jude! 

(eleven. twenty-seven. twenty-two)

Here Comes the Sun

Every Sunday, I continue to receive, and then promptly clear, my weekly pop up notification as a reminder to blog. I know it’s been a while (yet again) since I wrote an update on our crazy fertility journey. And though everything has changed for me, when I sit down to write, I keep coming up empty handed. Each and every moment of pregnancy has felt new and wonderful. I am truly living in the present and soaking it all in. I refuse to take one thing for granted. On the other hand, while every detail is monumentally special, I also know that it’s something that is second nature to most of my readers. I’m not sharing anything new or enlightening at this point. So, please indulge my naivety and unadulterated bliss for the rest of this pregnancy. 

However, at the same time, until this week, I haven’t felt at peace. At all. The worry and stress have been eating me alive. The fact that something good has happened to me (reproductively speaking) somehow feels wrong. In fact, if I were to have shown up at my recent ultrasound to have the doctor say “Sike! You’re not having a baby. You’ve just gotten fat.” I would probably have just nodded and apologized for taking up their time.  

Thankfully, this is not what happened. And while I have developed quite the belly, it has less to do with snacks and more to do with the fact that I am 20 weeks pregnant. (Though, I’m sure  the snacks aren’t helping matters.) 

On Monday of this week, at about 19 ½ weeks pregnant, we finally had our big anatomy scan, as well as an additional appointment with my doctor later in the week. This was the moment for which I had been holding my breath. The moment that I was pretty sure I would not survive if something was wrong with my baby. 

A few days prior to this ultrasound, I felt the baby move for the first time. Something tells me this is a feeling I am going to crave for the rest of my life. The movements are still small and sometimes I question myself if I’m feeling the baby or my own heart’s nervous palpitations. The kicks and movement are getting a little stronger each day…or maybe I’m just getting more attuned with my body and growing baby. 

This week proved to be just what I needed to find a small bit of peace and release some of the stress that I have been clinging to as if it were a security blanket. 

We checked into the hospital for the ultrasound which was done by an ultrasound tech who was great, but since she wasn’t a doctor, couldn’t tell us if anything was wrong. Nothing seemed too alarming as she clicked away at our baby’s first (of what’s sure to be many) photo shoots. I mentally ticked off all the appropriate body parts and organs as she narrated the ultrasound. 

One thing I know for sure is that we have a VERY active baby. She struggled getting some of the necessary images because of all the twisting and turning. Another thing I know for sure through photographic evidence is that Baby Weave is a BOY! 

Internet, meet my son…

I am in love. 

Every image they obtained was completely normal, and we have no reason to not feel like we have a healthy boy on the way. However, due to the fact that they were unable to get clear pictures of his heart, along with my “advanced maternal age” (as they so lovingly call it), they have referred me to a high risk clinic to have an additional and more in depth ultrasound. That appointment is in about 6 weeks. 

In the meantime, I am going to try to let go of some of this stress. I am working on convincing myself that just because I sucked at getting pregnant, does not mean I also suck at being pregnant. 

The song “Here Comes the Sun” has long been special to me. Now, however, it has a totally new meaning. Never in my (adult) life, did I think I would get to experience this. After two devastating miscarriages, never did I think I would get my rainbow baby. My sunshine. My son. 

(ten. twenty-one. twenty-two)

Even Pregnancy Can’t Cure Infertility

I thought getting pregnant would fix my infertility. And maybe in a way, technically speaking, it does. But as time goes on, and my baby bump continues to grow, I am learning, for some things, there is no cure. 

In an attempt to make sense of my mind, I have read article after article and study after study over the mental and emotional effects of infertility. One thing that is clear is that they are lasting. A 2021 study shows that nearly 50% of women who undergo fertility treatments develop PTSD. 

To be honest, this didn’t come as a shock to me. The emotions that I have felt for the last thirteen years, and more specifically the last year, have felt beyond my control. In my mind, I’ve labeled it as anxiety triggered by baby showers, pregnant women, and Mother’s Day, just to name a few. 

I’ve wondered how these things would change now that I’m pregnant. I’ve hoped that pregnancy would cure the side effects of infertility. Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

Earlier this week, I was scrolling Facebook and came across a story that felt like it knocked the air out of me: OKC Bennett Fertility Clinic to Closing at the End of the Year. 

For those who don’t know, this is the clinic we used for the last year. This is where we finally found something that worked- something that, for the first time in my life, caused ovulation. This is where we lost two babies. And most importantly, this is where we found our miracle – the one that has been cooking inside of me for the last 16 ½ weeks. 

To say I was heartbroken, would not touch the tip of the iceberg. I am not entirely sure why reading this story rocked my world to the extent that it did. I went down the rabbit hole of trying to discover the reasoning behind this closure. I have read the letter from Dr. Reshef to his patients explaining the abruptness of this decision and the complete shock in which the entire clinic was left. 

Like every female, Facebook stalking, wannabe FBI Agent, I have developed my theories – none of which I can confirm. I do know the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade left devastating effects on fertility treatments, of which Dr. Reshef and fertility specialists across the country have been very vocal. But regardless of the “why”, it’s the “who” that I can’t stop thinking about. 

Several people have reached out to me, asking if this was my clinic. They have all said the same thing. How relieved I must feel that my timing worked out as I was, very recently, released from Dr. Reshef’s care. Common sense would say I should feel relieved – thankful I dodged this bullet. 

Instead, I was devastated. All I could think about was the huge number of women – current patients – sitting at home, suffering another heartbreak on top of their already impossible situation. The woman who was waiting on a call to go over yet another set of lab results, only to answer the phone to find out that they no longer have a doctor. The women who, four months ago, was me. 

The night after reading this story, I had a recurring nightmare. I woke up five times in the middle of the night to some variation of the very same dream. It was after my anatomy scan that is coming up in a few weeks, during which we learned something was terribly wrong with the baby and I wouldn’t make it through the full pregnancy. And in every single dream, I kept searching for my clinic to resume treatment, only to be told it doesn’t exist. 

Like a broken record, this dream played on a loop. The next day, I was a mess – crying almost every time I was alone. That evening, I walked in the door, after a very long 12 hour day at work, balling. Justin, thinking  something was terribly wrong, was baffled when I couldn’t explain why I was crying. And though I am trying with this blog post, I still can’t put it into words. 

I tell you all of this to say that some things are unrecoverable. There’s simply not a cure for everything. And sometimes, just when you think you’ve found it, you learn that even the obvious fix can’t cover all of the scars. 

But that’s okay. It is the scars that make us stronger. It is from hard times that we grow. And I often think of the person I would be if, like it is for the majority of women, all of this were easy for me. I don’t know who that person would be…but it definitely wouldn’t be me – the knocked up, 40 year old woman who wears her battle scars like tattoos. 

(nine. twenty-eight. twenty-two)

Obligatory Update: All is well with momma and baby! Baby’s heart rate was perfect at the last appointment, and I really can’t complain. I have two more doctor’s appointments this month. One of which we will, for sure this time, learn the gender. Most people tell me they think it’s a girl. I still have no gut feeling. It’s a baby. That’s all that matters to me.

Waiting to Exhale

I feel like I am getting through this pregnancy one “landmark” at a time – always trying to make it to the next point where I can exhale. 

Here’s a snapshot of what  it has been like so far:

  • Just let me hear the heartbeat(s)….big exhale around 6 weeks (but still nervous because of my age and PCOS, my chances of miscarriage were still higher than 40%)
  • Just make it to 8 weeks for my first drop in miscarriage chances…only slight exhale because I lost one baby at 7 weeks and ALL the nerves returned
  • Now, just make it to 10 weeks to be released from the care of Dr. Reshef to the care of a regular OB…exhale. 
  • Get the genetic testing results…exhale.
  • Make it through the first trimester…exhale. 

I have officially made it to the second trimester with my next (and fourth) ultrasound on Tuesday, at which point I’ll be 15 weeks. I don’t know if I’ll ever walk into an appointment full of confidence. I think I will always be holding my breath until I see my baby moving around on the screen and hear the doctor say the words that my little one is looking good. But for this appointment, I can’t contain my excitement. I am hoping this will be the one where we finally find out the gender. 

As I mentioned earlier, we did the genetic testing more to rule out chromosomal abnormalities that lead to Down’s Syndrome than determine the gender. However because my pregnancy started as twins and I still am carrying both babies, there is no way to differentiate the gender of my healthy baby from the one I lost. Justin thinks it’s a girl. I am totally without a gut feeling. There are some days I am convinced it’s a girl and others where I am already calling the baby “him.” Either way, we will both be totally surprised. And happy. 

I know gender reveals have become incredibly trendy in recent years, but this is something I will not bend on. Maybe it’s because everything has been so public so far, or maybe it’s my introverted side, but I cannot wait to share this quiet moment in the doctor’s office with my baby daddy. Don’t worry, though…after we’ve had our time to celebrate together, we will share the news with all that are waiting to find out. This has been thirteen years (full of heartache and loss) in the making, so we are going to soak up every single precious moment.

I should also be getting close to feeling the baby move. This will be another BIG exhale. 

All in all, I feel incredibly guilty about how easy this pregnancy has been. I spend most of my time eating, sleeping, or peeing, but honestly, I feel really good. I do have frequent headaches, and I’m already having minor back pain, but these feel like a small price to pay and not anything I would ever complain about. 

I’ve had lots of questions about the nursery and if I’ve decided on a theme. Most of the time I  say we are waiting to determine the gender – which is partially true. We are. However, a large part of me has been too scared to start clearing out the guest room. This is a level of attachment that would be devastating if something happened. Just one more exhale and I’ll start working on it. 

14-week Bumpdate

(nine. fifteen. twenty-two)

Week 12 of 40

I have one more week left of my first trimester. Even as I type this and can look down and see a definite bump, I still have a hard time convincing myself this is finally happening. I can’t help but feel ill-deserving of this absolute gift growing inside of me. As we began this final attempt at fertility treatments, I mostly felt like it was a chance for me to be able to say that I gave it everything I had and be at peace with my family of two. 

I, honestly, don’t have a ton of news to share in this post. While I am so looking forward to officially being in my second trimester, just for the sake of being past the riskiest weeks, my first trimester was not nearly as bad as I had been warned. Yes, I had morning sickness and nausea, but not anything I would ever complain about. More than anything, I have just been completely exhausted. And hungry. 

About a week and a half ago, Covid hit the Weaver house full force. Somehow we have managed to stay well for two and a half years but could avoid it no longer. Justin and I have both been down and out, and still, though much better, not quite back to normal. 

Because Justin was still running a fever and several days behind me, I had to go to our first OB appointment alone. I was, however, able to video the heartbeat for him so he didn’t miss that magical moment. 

I love our doctor! He has declared the pregnancy high-risk but feels comfortable remaining our OB. Everything so far looks great with our baby. It had a strong heartbeat and was very wiggly. For the first time, it looked more like a human and less like a gummy bear. It was fun to watch it move around and see its little arms flailing about. It was, by far, the cutest thing I have ever seen in my entire life. 

Obviously, because of my age, we have a few added risks. Dr. Mitro gave me the rundown on all the possibilities. While this list felt extremely overwhelming, he ended with the fact that he has delivered many healthy babies to women in their 40s. We are still anxiously waiting on the results from our genetic blood tests and should hear back on those next week. 

The twin we lost has not changed in size. A part of me expected it to be gone by this appointment, but it is still measuring 7 weeks in size with no heartbeat. I’ll be honest, I still don’t know how to process this. 

My next appointment is in about three weeks. We are hoping at that appointment to be able to confirm the gender. As of now, I am not leaning either way. I have absolutely no mother’s intuition about what it is. Justin thinks it’s a girl and has since the beginning. I just don’t know and have zero preference. I just need it to be okay. 

I am overwhelmed by all of the love and support shown by family and friends through this entire process. I can’t wait to someday share this story with our child. 

11 week “bumpdate”
Baby Weave. (The thing on the other side of its head is a sweet little hand that, by now, has fingernails!)

(eight. twenty-seven. twenty-two.)

How I’m Doing

“How are you doing/feeling?”

I am asked some version of this question probably 10 times each day. That may be a conservative figure. I honestly love that people care enough to check on me. Upon returning to work after summer vacation, I have been overwhelmed and humbled by how many people have become invested in my story. 

I tend to answer the questions with a similar response each time: “Really good. Constantly tired and hungry, but overall, I feel good.” This is true. 

Partially. 

There is so much more to the truth though. 

It’s been five days since we learned that I miscarried one of the babies. Or perhaps I should say “will miscarry”. I’m still confused by the timeline of this loss as both babies are still inside my belly, but only one is alive. I have not yet learned how to process this piece of information. It is oddly both comforting and gut-wrenching. And no matter how many times and ways I have googled “Can a Vanishing Twin reappear?”, I am repeatedly met with the permanence of what happened. Which leaves me stuck somewhere between grieving and hopeful. However, I no longer cry every time I get in the car alone, and I’ll take that as a step in the right direction. 

Before our last appointment, I was finally enjoying my pregnancy without worrying constantly that something would go wrong. The worry is back with a vengeance. I have now lost two babies in 8 months, and I am scared to death of more devastating news. I know that I cannot live in this constant state of fear, but I also don’t know how to shake it. 

It took us twelve years, thousands upon thousands of dollars, and more stress and heartache than I thought one could survive to get this baby. I NEED it to be okay. 

When I said I was feeling good, it was not a total lie. Somehow I have been lucky enough to dodge intense morning sickness. While I often feel nauseous, I have not thrown up, and I can usually solve it by eating something –  anything really. The food aversions have also been few and far between. This should be a good thing, right? It should not be what it has become – another thing to worry about. Shouldn’t I feel sicker? Since I’m not constantly throwing up, is there something wrong with my baby?

I never said these were rational thoughts and fears. 

Despite all of these emotions and anxiety, I truly am, little by little, getting excited. I bought a car seat and a baby monitor, as well as a few other odds and ends. I have begun creating Amazon and Target baby registries. I truly never thought I would get to experience this. I never thought I would be researching which bassinet or baby bottles work best. I am in love with everything little. When I start looking at things it becomes clear just how much I have to learn. But, these are the things that are slowly edging out the sadness and worry. 

I love that because I started out pregnant with twins, I started showing much sooner than I would have otherwise. Since I can’t feel the baby yet, it’s something that makes it feel more real to me.  And while most of my clothes are extremely uncomfortable, I love the maternity shirts that show off something that I never thought my body would be capable of making. 

For the first time, I am proud of what my body has done. After more than a decade of infertility, these are words I never thought I would say. 

The effects of my infertility still have me feeling half broken. But, the hope of actually holding my baby has me also feeling half whole, and I can only hope that over the next 7 months that half starts edging out the broken parts so that I can truly answer how I’m feeling. 

“Bumpdate” from about a week ago.
Baby is now the size of a green olive– which is, coincidentally, my current craving.

(eight. thirteen. twenty-two)

a juxtaposition of emotions

I have written and rewritten the opening line to today’s blog probably a dozen times. In my previous entry I spoke about constantly feeling like the ball was about to drop on me since things seemed to be going too well. And because of all we’ve been through, I don’t know if I’ll ever go into an appointment feeling completely confident. 

However, I was pretty close to confident going into our last appointment. Overall, I have been feeling pretty well, especially considering I’ve been growing two babies. So far, I have been very lucky with fairly mild morning sickness. Honestly, my biggest symptom has been the most extreme exhaustion I could ever imagine. But a small price to pay! 

This morning we had our last ultrasound with Dr. Reshef, our fertility specialist. In two weeks I will begin seeing my original OB/Gyn – a fact that still seems surreal. 

When he began today’s scan, I immediately knew something was wrong. The entire screen looked “off”. There were still two babies, but they didn’t look the same. Dr. Reshef zeroed in on the larger of the two pretty quickly. Another giveaway that there was a problem. 

Baby A is looking fantastic. Though still only about the size  of a gummy bear, our first little miracle baby has quadrupled in size with a very strong heartbeat. I will never get tired of hearing that sound. 

Baby Weaver (aka the cutest blob I’ve ever seen)

Then, Dr. Reshef switched to Baby B. This little one had only doubled in size and unfortunately we were unable to detect any heartbeat. 

We are heartbroken. Completely.

Baby B is still there, but eventually I will miscarry. The devastating part is that I won’t even know when because there will, more than likely, be no bleeding. Between myself and the healthy baby, we will end up absorbing all of the tissue – which is why this type of miscarriage is referred to as Vanishing Twin Syndrome. 

Dr. Reshef did point out that, as hard as this is, this doesn’t happen to a healthy baby and that there was something genetically wrong with Baby B. So, I suppose this should offer some peace. Also, since this occurred in the first trimester this loss should have no effect on Baby A. Things maybe I can appreciate tomorrow.

I apologize, I know this post is absent of my usual metaphor and clever rhetoric. I also know this is why they caution you in “telling people” too early. I don’t regret sharing the news though, because we all got to experience the excitement of twins together for two full weeks. 

Don’t get me wrong, we are still thrilled beyond words. We are just grieving at the same time. 

(eight. eight. twenty-two.)

The Much Anticipated Update

 

“Now, Justin…be prepared. I’m probably going to cry either way – if we hear a heartbeat, or if we don’t. I’m just warning you now. And when I do start crying, just hold my hand, so I don’t look like an idiot crying on the table alone. ” 

This was me trying to prepare Justin for the surge of emotions I was sure to experience at the doctor yesterday when we had our first ultrasound and viability scan. 

To everyone’s shock, there were no tears in the room. But I’ll get to that part later. 

The impact of infertility and pregnancy loss did not end when we finally got our two lines on July 2. And, in a way, it actually stole the joy of that moment. I never really told the story of us finding out we were pregnant, but it was not a tearful, jumping up and down moment. It was a “let’s not get our hopes up just yet” kind of excitement. Even after several consecutive days of positive tests, we still were guarded. Me, especially. 

It’s hard to explain, but I feel like I am constantly waiting for the ball to drop. Bad news has got to be lurking around the corner, because there is no way that good things are finally happening. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, repeated lab tests showed that my HCG levels were growing quite rapidly – doubling every day or so as they should be. Still…I had not seen the heartbeat, and therefore was remaining cautious in my excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I was all smiles on the outside, but a nervous wreck on the inside. I obsessively checked for blood every time I went to the restroom. And since I was now peeing every 5 minutes, I had ample opportunities to obsess. 

Yet time was passing with no ball dropping. 

About a week ago, I had one of the most scary moments of my life. The morning was totally normal. I had some work meetings which ended around noon. I stopped and picked up some egg drop soup (a totally random craving as I don’t know that I’ve ever even had it) on my way home. All in all, I was feeling pretty good. Even though I had planned on saving half of the soup for later, I devoured the entire thing in one sitting and then crashed on the couch for my daily nap. 

Without warning I was startled awake by a horrible cramping sensation. I had still yet to throw up, so I thought: this is it – this must be what it feels like. I ran to the bathroom, where I promptly fainted. I have no idea how long I was out, but when I came to, I was sitting on the toilet, slumped against the wall, and my foot was in the dogs’ water bowl (I think this is what snapped me out of it). 

I called my husband hysterical and freaking out, but actually feeling, other than a little weak, physically okay at this point. The cramping had passed and there was no blood. However, as it would of course have to happen, my doctor was already closed for the day. I convinced Justin that I did not need to go to the ER, and that I would call them in the morning. 

Again, some terrifying time passed with no ball dropping. 

We never really figured out what caused me to faint. My nurse that I spoke to the next morning said it was probably a vasovagal response to the pain I experienced. She gave me a few things to watch out for and reassured me that everything was okay. 

I still had almost a week to go before my first ultrasound, at which point, based on my HCG levels, they determined I would be about 7 weeks. 

Then time essentially stopped. I just wanted to hurry up and see it for myself – that everything was okay.

The night before our appointment, I couldn’t sleep. I spent the majority of the night with my hand on my stomach just trying to sense the heartbeat. 

When Beverly called my name in the waiting room, my heart literally jumped into my throat. 

And maybe the reason I didn’t cry was because it was still in my throat when the doctor said, “What we have here is twins. And before you ask if I’m sure, yes, I’m sure – two babies, two heartbeats.”

“Excuse me, what?!”

“Take a deep breath and hold it, and we’ll listen to Baby A’s heartbeat.”

We listened to the swishing sound in total shock while he took all the necessary measurements, before moving onto Baby B. 

So, when I say there were no tears it was because both Justin and I sat there, the entire appointment, looking like that emoji with the saucer sized eyeballs. 

At this point we are still not out of the woods. We go back in two weeks to make sure both babies are still viable. He said we have about a 20% chance of Vanishing Twin Syndrome. However, both babies had a good heart rate, and are measuring the same size, so we’re taking that as encouraging news. Also, it turns out, we’re not as far along as we initially thought. Those high HCG numbers were not due to how far along I was, but rather the fact that there are TWO! 

As of today, we are 6 ½ weeks along, with a due date of March 18th. 

For the first time, I can say that I am incredibly happy. An over the moon kind of joy. I am still worried and in desperate need of all the positive vibes for the next two weeks. 

And, it appears, despite all my worrying about dropping balls, we’ve finally caught our break. 

Life is good. 

And as I type this, I am finally crying. Happy tears, y’all. So many happy tears. 

(seven. twenty-six. twenty-two)