The End.

Hey Jude, 

I’m not sure how to end this—this thing that began as a way for me to process my emotions during battle, and then, with each paragraph, somehow became so much more. 

It’s a handbook on perseverance—a field companion for the weary. 

It’s our story—how you and I became a “we”. 

It’s a love letter to you—the greatest love of my life. 

There’s so much more to the story than the words I’ve written here. We are an epic poem, you and I. Like Beowulf, but worth reading. 

There are more stories that I’ll tell you in person someday, and there are parts that I’ll purposely leave out. Your story is one with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with the best ending imaginable.

You’ll have rainy days and storms, my son. As much as I wish that I could be your umbrella for every rain drop, I cannot. But on those days when you struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel, always know that you are my Happily Ever After—the rainbow after my storm.

It is currently 4:15am and you are in my arms after a middle of the night feeding. You make the sweetest moans when you eat and when you first drift off to sleep.  As I write this I am listening to your little noises—the soundtrack of my happiness. I should probably put you back in the bassinet and get some sleep, but I don’t want to let go quite yet. So, in the meantime, I’ll tell you the story of the day we met…

In the days leading up to your arrival, and amidst all the recent chaos, I was overcome with the greatest sense of peace. I can honestly say that I didn’t have one ounce of nervousness about giving birth or going into surgery. I don’t know that I slept at all the night before you were born. This restlessness was not born of anxiety, but of me wanting to cherish every last second of feeling you move as part of me. 

To be at the hospital at 5:30am, the alarm went off quite early. Your dad and I readied ourselves, grabbed our bags and an empty car seat, and headed to the hospital. Your dad kept asking if I was nervous the whole drive…and the answer was a simple “no.” We talked about the how the next time we were in the truck together (and every time after that), you’d be in the backseat. 

At 7:47 on March 7th, a little over two hours after arriving at Labor & Delivery, you entered the world. 

Being awake for a C-section has to be one of life’s most bizarre opportunities. I could feel the pressure and tugging and pulling of everything that was happening, but not an ounce of pain. I remember Dr. Mitro saying, “ok, Stephanie, he’ll be here in less than a minute.” And then he told me to look up as they dropped the curtain separating us to only a clear plastic shield as he pulled you from my body.

Your dad talks about watching them pull you from my stomach by your legs. He says this is the moment he got over his fear and realized he wasn’t going to “break you.” I’ll never forget the sight of you in Dr. Mitro’s hands. You were folded into a seated position. He had one hand behind your neck and the other at your ankles. With greyish purple skin and a head of black hair, you came into this world screaming your little raspy cry. This was the second best moment of my life. 

The first came a few moments later when they laid you on my chest. Though only minutes, it felt like ages between the time that I saw you and held you. The entire time they were checking you out, cleaning you up, and putting my body back together, I heard you crying and the sweet anesthesiologist repeatedly telling me how perfect you are.

She wasn’t lying. You are perfect. 

I am in awe of every tiny perfect feature. You are the very best of me. My heart outside my body.

Someday, when the time is right, I will gift you all of these words that I have written during the wait, as well as the ones I will continue to write to you as you grow. But I hope you hold these first 42 close to your heart and realize just how wanted you are. I will also find a way to preserve all the comments left by others as well—those who have become invested in the story of you. You were wanted and celebrated by so many.

As you read these I hope you take away a few things:

First, if you want something bad enough—persevere. If you wake up thinking about it every day, don’t give up. Life isn’t supposed to be easy. And if it is easy, you’re probably doing it wrong. You, like a pearl, were made by grit. 

Second, learn about other people’s journeys. Give a damn about everyone’s walk—not just your own. So often we have blinders on that prevent us from fully opening our eyes. We judge before we understand. My son, seek to understand first. 

And last, but most importantly, I love you. That is all. More than anything in the world and everything combined. 

And here we are at the end of this chapter, which is really just the prologue of your life. So, I pass the pen to you, Jude. My turn is over. The rest is yours to write.

With more love than I ever thought capable, 


four. twenty-one. twenty-three.


Justin and I first started talking about starting a family around 2009. In 2010 I was officially diagnosed with a condition that was not explained to me, nor were all the drugs I was prescribed. We had no idea what we were doing or why we were doing it, but we were hopeful it would work. It didn’t. Nor did it work with the next doctor a few years down the road, or the many natural/holistic routes we tried in between and along the way. 

Thirteen years later, I am 5 days away from delivering our baby boy. Universe, you really are sneaky.

The last few weeks have been a series of curve balls, and right now I feel like we’re in the bottom of ninth in one hell of a nail-biter. 

Yesterday, I had an appointment with my high risk doctor in the morning and then with my OB in the afternoon. For the first time since losing Jude’s twin, a doctor walked in with “concerns”.  

Let me backup and recap as best I can. The last time I wrote, Jude was 35 weeks, slightly on the smaller side of normal, and breech. We knew if he didn’t flip, a C-section would be his entrance to the world. Curveball #1.

At 36 weeks, my OB did an ultrasound and confirmed that he had flipped head down. He was, however, still very high and therefore could flip again, though the chances were unlikely. He had not begun to drop and I was not dilated at all, so it was just a matter of crossing our fingers that he would stay in the right position. Finally, a base hit. 

In the coming days, I was bombarded with comments from friends and family and colleagues (as pregnant women always are)  about the appearance of my changing body. Many swore it looked like he had dropped, but I knew he hadn’t. More specifically, my ribs knew. 

In the meantime, my non-stress tests were going well except for the fact that Jude hates them. As soon as a monitor is placed on me, he squirms away. Looking back, this should have been my first clue (but more on that later). 

At 37 weeks we got our next curveball, but this time it had nothing to do with me or the baby. The morning of my baby shower, Justin woke up and a spot on his face (that he had already been monitoring) had drastically grown and changed colors. He called the dermatologist first thing Monday morning, and upon him explaining what happened, they squeezed him into the schedule the next day. When the doctor walked in, she took one look and said, “That’s cancer.” 

Excuse me, what? 

She confirmed that she still thought it was cancer after examining it under her little UV light. She removed the cyst portion and sent off a biopsy of the skin to tell us what we were dealing with. She did seem hopeful that it was only basal cell and could be fixed with a simple surgery. 

The next few days crawled by as we waited for the results. Both of our stress levels were through the roof. I didn’t sleep and pretty much functioned as a walking zombie. Friday afternoon the dermatologist called and said it was not cancer at all, but the cyst had gotten infected causing the rapid changes and to return in a month. Dodging this one felt like a homerun. (Maybe we don’t pre-diagnose people, especially those with a high risk 9 ½ month pregnant wife…just a thought.) 

This brings us to yesterday for Curveball #3. We started off our morning at our last high risk ultrasound. These appointments have become so routine, I expected everything to be perfect as I have slipped into that comfort lately. This was not the case. Our little guy is now transverse (laying side to side). As it turns out, I have an amniotic fluid index of 27 – which is way too high this late in pregnancy. (Normal for my current gestational age is closer to 10.)  From what I understand, this much fluid basically means he’s just swimming around, doing whatever he wants (including avoiding monitors) and not able to drop and get in position for birth. Maybe he’ll be able to teach me how to finally go underwater without holding my nose. 

Curveball #4 is that our little guy is not so little anymore. He’s measuring very large which would make it dangerous for both he and I to attempt a regular induced delivery (which was already scheduled to begin Monday night.) My high risk doctor suspects I have developed insulin resistance late in pregnancy well after we did the normal glucose testing resulting in his sudden rapid growth spurt.  

So, it looks like Plan C is going to be the one that sticks. We are officially checking into the hospital on Tuesday morning (March 7th) at 5am for an early morning C-section. I’m sure at (almost) 41, this recovery will be a little tougher than I anticipated. But hell, look at everything I’ve been through just to get to this point. So though not completely ideal, this is the safest way to get our baby here and in our arms. Which after 13 years, is all that matters. Our Grand Slam that we’ve been waiting on. 

three. two. twenty-three.

The End of the Wait

Well, y’all…somehow we’ve made it to the end. While I may not have broken the finish line ribbon quite yet, it’s in sight. I may be huffing and puffing when I get there, but I will break it. (As if I don’t huff and puff enough from just putting on my shoes.) I am, at most, three and half weeks from delivering our sweet (and already stubborn) baby boy, which means this may very well be my last post before his arrival.

A year and a half ago I wrote these words in my first ever blog entry at a time when I hadn’t shared my blog with anyone…and honestly, didn’t really intend to:

I’m not sure what it is, but something tells me this time will be different. So, here I begin this blog. This story of Us: While We Wait.

As it turns out, there was a lot to be learned in the wait. In my second post I wrote:

I don’t really know how to be infertile. I figured this road out on my own over the years, and I’m sure I didn’t do it right. But also, I’m learning I don’t really know how to not be infertile either.

I can’t say that I ever learned how to be either of these things: fertile or infertile. Maybe that was the whole point of this blog – I don’t have to be one or the other. More than anything, I have learned who I am and what I’m made of. And what I am made of is a little bit of a lot of things. 

I am fertile and infertile. 
Broken, but glued back together stronger than I was to begin with.
Sensitive, but tough as nails.
Impatient, but at peace in the wait.
Realistic, but hopeful. 

I will forever be all of these things. 

This may come as a surprise to some, but I do not believe that “everything happens for a reason.” In fact, this sentiment alone may have caused more damage to my own mental health than anything else. 

I spent years, thirteen to be exact, watching friends and family decide to start a family and, within a few months of trying, do just that. No thousands upon thousands of dollars spent, no timing and charting to find the most fertile 48 hours each month, no daily testing, no needles and test tubes. 

I actually used to believe it when people tried to reassure me with those words. But what I heard was, “there is a reason they are a mother and you are not.” 

I learned that this is not the case. Sometimes life just happens, and it’s not about “what’s meant to be”, but what you learn from the hand you are dealt and how you use those cards to grow and become better because (or maybe in spite) of it. 

That’s what I have tried to do. 

There is nothing I have done, and nothing about me, that makes me deserve this gift any more than the next Infertile Myrtle. My body just, after all these years, responded to treatment one time. I am lucky as hell, but I sure don’t deserve it. Most importantly, I will (and hopefully in some ways already have) become a better person because of it.  

I have no idea how to end this blog. I am both incredibly busy and beyond exhausted, but I will try to make the time to do one more entry before Jude’s arrival and figure it out in the meantime. 

I am scheduled for a C-section in about 3 ½ weeks. My little guy is breech and running out of time to flip. He has made himself comfortable high up in my ribs. While it’s pretty uncomfortable for me, I’m totally okay with it. I’m not quite ready to share him just yet. 

Other than his inconvenient position, he appears to be completely healthy. We have lots of eyes on him as we come into the home stretch. I am at the hospital three times a week – which helps ease my constant worrying. Nine months pregnant and I am finally changing my tune from “if I can get him here” to “when he gets here”. 

There is always a chance that he could flip in the next few days or that he could decide to make his arrival early, so things are not necessarily carved in stone quite yet. Perhaps just written in pen. I promise to keep everyone updated through this blog and Facebook/Instagram as we get closer. Justin and I plan to go radio-silent for a few days on social media when he is born. After all this time, we are looking forward to basking in our first few days as a party of three. But be prepared for an onslaught of baby pictures once we get home and settled. 

For now, I will say thank you one more time. Thank you for all the love and support you have shown me and my little growing family over the last year and a half. While I know now that I am capable of doing it on my own, I am certainly glad I didn’t have to. 

two. eight. twenty-three.

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, 


**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.)