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)

Another Letter to HB

Dear HB, 

Someday I will give you these handwritten blog posts as a gift. A collection of my writing over the past 9 months (and all the months to come)  that will tell the story of how loved you were before you were even you. Maybe you were expecting keys to a new car when you saw this small box, but this is so much better. Now hear me out.

The story of you is one of hope and perseverance – but most of all love. It’s a story of two imperfect people who refused to give up on you, no matter how hard the challenges became. 

You should also know that your story helped a lot of people in so many different ways. You helped women like your mama feel seen and that their story matters. You helped others walk in shoes that they wouldn’t have otherwise tried on. Before you were even conceived, you were growing compassion within others. 

I can’t wait to see all that you will accomplish when you have an actual voice of your own. I’m not talking about how much money you will have in your bank account or what kind of car you drive. I’m talking about you making the world better for somebody other than yourself. You see, that’s what it’s all about. 

When your mom gives you her 2014 Ford Edge as your first car, and you’re bummed because all your friends have flying cars that drive themself, find the kid that has to walk to school and give him a ride. Unless you’re a girl…in which case you’re not allowed to be alone with a boy in the car until you’re 30. Maybe go save a stray cat instead. 

I would say that I hope life is easy for you, but that’s not the way it is. Character is born from struggle and whatever life throws at you, you can handle. I promise. Just look at your mom. (wink wink) She went through hell and high water to get you and came out a badass. Okay, okay, maybe that’s pushing it. But she lived to tell the story, and THAT’S what truly matters. 

I am terrified that if you are a girl I will pass on my genes to you and you will find yourself exactly where I am someday. If you do, I am so, so sorry. But, also…you can do this. Perseverance is in your blood. Hell, I even have a guidebook of sorts for you. Who knows, by the time you’re old enough to have kids there may be so many medical advances that this won’t even be a thing. I hope that’s true. If not for you, undoubtedly for someone you know. 

You know, I’ve referred to you as HB this entire time I’ve been blogging – my Hypothetical Baby. I guess it’s about time I change that since you’re now about the size of a grain of rice. This last week has been the happiest of my entire life. Yes, I am constantly simultaneously feeling nauseous, hungry, sleepy, and needing to pee…but I couldn’t be happier. 

You’re no longer my Hypothetical Baby. You’re just my baby. 

And Baby, I can’t wait to meet you. 

See you in eight months! 


A “P.S.”  for all my readers: Things are looking good. Really good. I am currently 5 weeks pregnant. I go in for a second set of labs in a couple of days to make sure things are progressing as they should, and next week we will have our first ultrasound. 

We are far from being out of the woods. Every day feels like a gift, and we are enjoying every single one. Who knew morning sickness could be so glorious? Call me crazy, but I have waited for this so long that I actually LOVE it. 

I’ve gone back and forth on posting this. This is actually the first time I’ve been hesitant to post something because I know it’s a bit untraditional to share the news this early. Every published work says to wait a certain amount of weeks so that you don’t have to retract your pregnancy announcement if something goes wrong – suffer in silence, if you will. I know the whole point is to protect your heart. But, the whole point of this blog is to be open. To tell the story as it’s happening – the good and the bad. 

If you could, continue to send us all the good vibes – we definitely need them in the coming weeks. 

(seven. ten. twenty-two)

Cat Distractions

About a week ago, Justin and I went out to dinner. The topic of our infertility journey came up when I mentioned that I was somewhat dreading all of the 4th of July festivities. Typically we love this holiday. In fact, Justin often claims it’s his favorite. However, this year it is falling at the same time that we will find out if this cycle worked or not. The Monday of the 4th of July is the two-week mark from our 3rd IUI. For the life of him, this statement did not make sense. I think I confused him more when I said that I am utterly exhausted from putting on my pretend smile and faking it all the time. 

He took this to mean that I am never happy, which is not the case. I sat there, silent tears falling in the middle of a restaurant because I was completely unable to express myself. And it was in that moment that I realized that this is something that is wholly unable to be understood unless it is happening inside your own body. Don’t get me wrong, we are in this together and he has been an amazing support for me. But I have realized that even those closest to you, and even those in the thick of it with you, cannot fully understand the all-consuming emotions. 

Even after all that we have been through in the last year, I consider myself to be a happy person. I think I have a can-do attitude that pretty much makes me feel like I can take on the world. I know this isn’t going to make sense when I say it, but just because I cry a lot does not mean I am not happy. I know, I know. It didn’t make sense to Justin either. 

He told me that I have to stop letting it control my life.

“I don’t know how. I really am doing the best I can.” This was all I could think to say. 

I know he was just looking out for me. And I know it can’t be easy for him to see me get my hopes up only to be heartbroken month after month. But this didn’t come with an instruction manual.  And even though I often feel like I am doing this all wrong, I don’t know that there’s a “right way” to do it either. 

I have tried to take his advice and “be less obsessed with the process” during the last couple of weeks. This is admittedly difficult when you’re still taking hormones twice a day, charting temperatures, and everything else that goes along with infertility. I took a short break from the blog, and I haven’t been analyzing “symptoms”/every tiny fluctuation of my body. 

I have, however, found a substitution for my obsession in the neighborhood stray cat. 

Yes, you read that correctly. A cat. I should preface this story with the fact that I come from a family that is openly, and quite strongly, not a cat family. I never really formed my own opinion because it was just something that was. I’ve never disliked cats, I’ve just never been around them. By default (and maybe a little by design), I too became “not a cat person.”

On the other hand, I (like my husband) am a complete sucker for any kind of animal. So when this stray cat showed up in the neighborhood, we had no choice but to feed it. I think this all started during the winter months when I just assumed her hunting options would become limited. We would see her watching us fill her bowl from across the street. Once we went inside the house, she would scamper over and eat up the food. 

A little over a week ago, as I was filling her bowl, she was sitting across the street, supervising and meowing….loudly. I assumed this was a critique of my speed, so I assured her that she would get her breakfast. 

At the sound of my voice, and to my complete surprise, she darted across the street and came up to me, rubbing against my legs. I was even more surprised when she let me pet her and followed me to the porch. 

Fast forward a week, she now has a name, is super affectionate, and lives on my front porch full time – which is fully furnished with a raised bed, toys, and of course food. And last night, Justin built her a wooden cat house for her to retreat to when she needs some shelter. I call her Gypsy because she still likes to wander. She always comes back though.

I’d like to say that I’ve been taking care of her, but I think she’s been taking care of me. She’s given me something to focus on – something new to be excited about. And I didn’t realize how badly I needed that. 

I honestly don’t know how this month is going to go. This morning began with a negative pregnancy test. And although there’s still a little time before we can officially count this cycle out, I really have no inclination one way or the other. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that your mind can be very deceptive.

Gypsy Weaver.

(seven. one. twenty-two)