We’ve officially made it to 20 weeks. I’ve been both dreading the anatomy scan and looking forward to having it behind us, petrified that something would go wrong and this would be the moment we received the Big Awful News. Yesterday, however, we saw the high risk doctor, a genetic counselor, and a sonographer to look over every centimeter of our girls and all looks good. That makes this my final post as the Belle of Infertility and I’ll be launching this blog and linking it to my main blog, belleofthelibrary.com. It’s been an awful ride and I can’t say I’ll miss it.
Jake and I had our first ultrasound with my OB on January 7th, at eleven weeks and two days. It was the first one he was able to attend and it was wonderful for him to hear the heartbeats and see them moving around, since he hadn’t gotten to be a part of pretty much anything, beyond payment. When I asked when we’d be able to tell gender, the doctor verified that we wanted to know and told us she thought they were both boys.
I felt terrible, because I found myself upset, no matter how hard I tried to get excited. I knew how much Jake wanted a boy, but I just really wanted there to be one girl, not just so I could have a daughter, but because I wanted to pass my Gramma’s name (my middle name) on, before she dies. She’s 86 and we’re in a pandemic. While I knew she’d prefer a boy, as she’s always favored my brother, I still wanted her to have that. After we sent off my bloodwork, to check for trisomies and verify gender 100%, I researched how accurate such an early guess could be and overwhelmingly found that it was really too early to tell. Since the doctor had seemed so certain that one was a boy, I just hoped that perhaps the other guess was mistaken. Eleven days after that appointment, I received a call that the trisomies results were negative and we were having two girls.
If I’d been able to choose the genders of my children, or rather had taken the option, because that was a possibility, I’d have decided on one of each. However, always having wanted closer and more plentiful family relationships, I suppose it will be nice for them to be the same gender. They’ll have more in common and share more experiences… and I get to have two little girls. I’ve wanted a healthy, normal mother/daughter relationship my entire life, even if it means being on the other side of it. I get to break the cycles my mother created and be the mom she never was, to not one, but two, little girls. Those little girls each get to have the sister I always wanted, as well. I’m confident that I’d have been able to get there with two boys and was genuinely disappointed when I realized the boy that had been so certain wasn’t coming, but now that I’ve adjusted, I’m thrilled to be having two little ladies and just hope they’re strong and healthy and have no mental or physical issues.
Jake truly is the go-with-the-flow man he claims to be, though. While he never made me feel bad for wishing for a girl, he insisted he wouldn’t be upset if the doctor was wrong and has given every indication of honesty with that statement. The only drama we faced, after the big reveal/correction, was choosing names, as he’d decided over night that he didn’t like any of our previous choices. After weeks of calling them Mando and Grogu or Elsa and Anna, of debating and his vetoing literally every name in existence, we landed on two classic girl names with our grandmother’s middle names. They’re old, as is trendy, but have cute, modern nicknames. For the sake of this blog and the fact that I use only pseudonyms, I’ll refer to them as Violet and Scarlett, both of which were on the table, but ultimately vetoed, because we didn’t like the inevitable Scar and Vi. The actual names have the same number of syllables and sound good together, but stand up on their own. They don’t rhyme and aren’t themed (like colors or flowers). Naming humans is tough, but even that seems to be out of the way.
I’ve yet to share any of this on my main blog and I’m not totally sure why. For starters, I’m not telling the general population the genders until Easter, when we can tell our families, and a few friends read my blog. I did cave and let Jake have his Christmas announcement about the pregnancy (partly because I’ll be clearly showing soon), but he wants to share the genders in person and we’re hoping I’ll have my Covid-19 vaccine by then. It’s more than that, though. I’ve seen the ultrasounds multiple times, recorded them on my phone, so I could watch them later, watched my belly grow before my eyes, and still… I’m terrified that something will happen to my babies, a fear I hear never quite dissipates and I’d imagine that is even more true with IVF conception. So, I’ll keep it a secret from my readers just a little bit longer, since there’s no way I could have done so with anyone who has seen me in person.
We found out at seven weeks, that not only was there one strong heartbeat, but two. It wasn’t a total shock. It was an accepted risk, when we chose to transfer two embryos and I’m not sorry we did… at the moment. I’ve been through my ups and downs, my moments of remembering that I don’t like children and now I’m going to have two, of acknowledging that I don’t know what to do with one baby. Jake, in his confidence and ignorance, having never had children either, keeps assuring me we’ll be fine… and I suppose we will, but I’ve always been a bit high strung. I told my Gramma after our nine week ultrasound and she’s thrilled. I’ve told a couple of people at work, as well, because I’ve been so sick in the mornings, that I’ve had to keep calling in late.
At this point, I think I might want to keep it a secret from everyone else just a bit longer. I’m so worried something will go wrong and I don’t want to have to make the rounds to tell everyone about it. I just want my babies to be safe and healthy and I want to know that’s the case before telling everyone, but I think they might tell on me first. I’ve been getting really sick and I can already tell I’m starting to show. I suggested telling everyone that I’m just hungover and letting myself go, but Jake has vetoed that plan.
My hCG levels doubled properly, at 917.5, which means I’ve been scheduled for my first ultrasound on December 7th. I’ll be 6 weeks and 6 days. Here’s hoping for a heartbeat or two.
They drew blood this morning and on top of my five positive home pregnancy tests (two mid-range and three cheapies), the clinic has confirmed that I am indeed four weeks and one day pregnant… today. I have another appointment on Friday, to see if my hCG (413) is properly doubling and we’ll see if I’m still pregnant then. As much as I’d love to be excited and call up my Gramma and listen to her shriek, I think the most I can muster at the moment is cautious optimism. So many things can go wrong in the next eight weeks. I miscarried at 11 weeks, when I was 21. A friend and coworker miscarried at 10, after IVF. Another friend and coworker found out that her son will be developmentally disabled to an unknown degree, at 15 weeks, after three IUI’s. I’ve told Jake that, assuming all is well, I’m not willing to tell a soul until 16 weeks, when I’ll likely be starting to show… and that’s only because he vetoed my “Let’s just show up with a baby” idea.
On the one hand, I’m sad we can’t be normal levels of over-the-moon right now, like people who get to have babies the fun and free way. On the other, I don’t care about the “experience” of being pregnant. I care about having a healthy baby and a family and this part is just social media fluff… not that I’m on social media.
Don’t get me wrong. So many of my prayers have been answered. We’re pregnant, with six freezer babies… but there are so many more prayers to say. Like most Americans, I’ve grown so accustomed to disappointment in 2020. I can be excited at 12 weeks, when this year is over and I’m well into my second trimester. In the meantime, please, please, please God keep this baby or these babies safe and healthy and let me have an unremarkable pregnancy, ending in a healthy child or two.
It’s 5:15 and today was the first day I could take a pregnancy test, with doctor approval. I bought a two pack of First Response tests last week and it has been sitting unobtrusively under my bathroom sink ever since. The night before last, I could barely sleep, I was so anxious. I still feel pretty crummy. The progesterone makes me nauseous and gives me headaches and my abdomen is still swollen.
I spent the majority of yesterday planning for disappointment and the inevitable two days in bed that would follow. I attended the staff meeting, since the other would be offered Wednesday and I finished my weeding for the month, since the end of November sneaks up on you in libraries. We close for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday and I don’t work the weekend. Weeding requires a lot of bending and lifting small amounts of weight (stacks of books), and it’s taken a toll on my body. My belly feels worse and I was exhausted, so I took two pregnancy approved muscle relaxers around 8:00, with plans to get a full night’s sleep and wake up to test at around 6:00, before Jake went to work.
I woke up at 4:30 and tried to convince myself to go back to sleep. Finally, I admitted that holding it wasn’t going to change the answer and now was the time to face the truth. Half asleep, I went to the bathroom, where I’d gotten the test ready the night before, peed in the cup… and promptly dropped it, spilling half of it all over the bathroom. I grabbed the test with my pee covered hands and tried to open it with my teeth, only to realize there was definitely urine on it, cut it open with some nail clippers, and used what small urine sample was left to test…
… and it was positive. I cleaned the bathroom before I checked the results and, at the sight of two unquestionably pink lines, I ran into the bedroom, turned on the light, jumped on the bed, and woke up a startled Jake.
Me: “It’s positive.“
Jake: ::hugs me and tries to pull me into the bed with him::
Me: “The perk of spilling pee all over the bathroom, when you take a pregnancy test, is that you have something to do while you wait for the results.”
He laughed and hugged me and tried to roll me over for a sweet moment, when he realized I was breathing hard.
Jake: “Are you okay?”
Me: “Yeah, I’m just…” I searched for the right words… “covered in pee.”
So, now I wait until Wal-Mart opens, at 7:00 cuz Covid, to buy ten more cheap tests and have my bloodwork tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I at least have two pink lines and Jake went back to sleep, just like a man.