This Motherhood Thing

~Tiffany

Sometimes a 6 month old can be so difficult to put to sleep, but then they start to do it for themselves. And a part of you breaks when you realize a part of them no longer needs you and then you begin to settle when it dawns on you that this is as it should be, always.

I don’t think I’ve ever analyzed anyone as much as I do my children. Every movement, every breath, every sound, can either bring joy, concern, or a general sense of confusion, when I have no clue what they want. I feel like I could spend all day watching them and still not know them entirely, especially because we have two. It’s double the watching! It’s been six months and we’re still getting to know each other, but they’re getting to know themselves as well and it’s a wonder to behold. There’s a sense of accomplishment evident in their eyes when they figure something out or frustration when their bodies aren’t quite caught up with their minds yet. I’m riveted with every expression.

People are inherently complicated. We have likes, dislikes, thoughts, emotions… Here’s what I’ve come to know in my limited time as a parent: babies are just small people with the same complexities. It’s intimidating as hell when all of that is going on and they have limited ways through which they can communicate it to you. I have trouble sometimes, and I have words at my disposal. Had I only noises, faces, and body language, I’d surely fail, though I must have done it once upon a time. I worked harder then, I suppose. Words made me lazy.

I’ve been a parent for almost 6 months and almost immediately any preconceived notions I had about it were thrown out the window because real humans are completely different from the theoretical ones I’d planned raising in my head and dreams. For example, did you know that you don’t know everything as a new parent, even if you know that you won’t repeat the mistakes your parents made? Or, that even if you do learn things along the way, which you hopefully do, those learnings are only transiently useful because babies constantly change the rules on you? Or, did you know that there’s no room for judgement and tons of margin for error in this thing we’re doing and we have to hope and pray that the daily trial and error we pursue in raising kids will be ever in their favor but when it’s not, that they’ll be more forgiving of us than we are of our parents? And, did you know that babies literally grow before your eyes and from one day to the next will change a feature or habit and you won’t know you missed it until it’s gone, but more than that, you’ll regret not having captured it enough in a picture or a video or just in your memory? 

I jokingly said to Aly the other day that I wished I had a camera in my eyes, so that I could capture every moment and I facepalmed when I recognized what I was describing as memory, then sorrow settled over me because memories can be fleeting and I don’t have confidence in my memory’s capacity to retain every moment of this time.

Did you know that days are too short and too long sometimes and it’s never the one you want when you need it because these moments can’t all be frozen, nor would you want them to be because part of this crazy magic is seeing them change and grow? We joked the other day that we’re going to be a little sad when Arabella gets teeth because her toothless smile is so damn precious it lights up every room. But I have a feeling her smile full of teeth will be just as luminous as her Mommy’s.

I’m overwhelmed daily. Yes, because raising twins is hard, but more so because I couldn’t/wouldn’t imagine doing anything else. In the mornings, when I’m just stirring awake to the sounds of the baby monitor letting me know that Benny or Bella is ready to face the day and so we must all be, I take stock of my aching body. I feel the sting in my hips and lower back from the constant up and down of floor-time and transporting babies from one room to the next, feeding and burping two growing babies, and a general lack of sleep that my muscles and bones need to recover from all of that. I hear the crack in my knees and ankles from the countless trips up and down the stairs everyday, and I feel the ache in the shoulder I had surgery on just before the babies were born that isn’t quite fully healed because I didn’t finish physical therapy prior to their early arrival. Then, I plan my next 15 minutes. It’s usually the same. I make their bottles, set the coffee to brew and throw some water on my face before I check the clock to ensure we’re on time for the day to start as their schedule dictates. My legs carry me up the stairs but I’m beckoned by the sound of Aly lightly playing with the babies and little squeals of delight. I feel my soul light up when I think about the smiles I know I’ll get in just a moment’s time. This is my happy place. It’s aching and exhausting and hyper-scheduled, which is counter to everything I was before I was a mother but it’s phenomenal and it fills me in ways I didn’t know anything could. 

This motherhood thing is painful and a panacea, it’s stressful and blissful, it’s challenging and rewarding. I went into it as someone I knew, in skin and a body that felt familiar and comfortable to me, and am seeing and feeling myself transform into something I didn’t know I could be, but feels like a better version of who I was.

On hard days, we look at each other and joke, “have kids they said, it would be fun, they said.” You know what, they were right… even on the hard days, at the end of the night, we find ourselves scrolling through the many pictures of them in the in-between moments when the day wasn’t so difficult.

Momming is weird because it demands so much of all of you, but you would give it willingly, even if it wasn’t necessary, if it meant that your child’s life would be better for it. It’s about self sacrificing but not sacrificing self because our kids benefit the most from the best of us, we’ve found, at least. It’s about an abounding and transcendent love for your children, your spouse and yourself because attention must be paid to all in order for life to reach equilibrium. 

Six months has been transformative, to say the least. I’m daunted and excited for what lies ahead.

Waiting for Normal

~Aly

You spend your pregnancy, and possibly even before your pregnancy if you’re like us, envisioning your life with your children. You picture beach days with picnics and sand covered baby toes. You picture family gatherings spent passing the baby around from person to person because no one can get enough. You picture days spend at Disney, where your child will have an ice cream bar dripping down the front of their specially ordered family vacation themed shirt. You picture taking them to see Santa for the first time, where they will inevitably cry at this stranger old man who is suddenly holding them. You yearn for a bunch of little moments and adventures in the life you want to give them.


Despite being pregnant in a pandemic, I still spent my pregnant days dreaming of these moments. Moments where we will create special memories that will last our kids forever. Memories that turn into photo albums that we will one day enjoy while we laugh and reminisce.

Of course, reality so far has been quite different from this.

First and foremost, before I continue, let me mention that I do not say any of this looking for sympathy. There is none to be had. I am fully aware that these are first world middle class problems. My children are fed, have healthcare, two educated and employed parents, bunches of love, clothes, a house, and so on. Instead, I decided to share this because I am shocked at how small our babies’ world is due to this pandemic and I wonder…when they are finally able to widen their world view, what will it be like? What will the world look like? How will it feel for them to see that the world is so much bigger than these simple days?

I think we all know that people have approached this pandemic in a variety of ways- some have totally quarantined and have done little since this all began, while some have galavanted about maskless in all sorts of social situations, and of course there are countless versions between these two ends of the spectrum.

As far as our family, Tiffany and I both fall in the high risk category for Covid, due to certain medical conditions we have. I was even more high risk due to the pregnancy- and of course a high risk multiple pregnancy at that. And now our premie babies, with very little immune system developed, are also a concern. This means that Tiffany and I probably fall into a category of people who quarantined to the extreme. We have stayed home since March except for doctor visits and the occasional visit to my mom’s house( she also is quarantining as heavily as we are and when she does have to go out into the world, we quarantine from her too). Groceries are delivered to our house rather than shopping in store and they are wiped down upon receipt. We haven’t stepped foot into a store and the amount of times we’ve even gotten take out can fit on one hand. Basically, our twins lives have been on short walks around our neighborhood, our backyard, various rooms in our house, the pediatrician, and my mom’s house.

There have been times where I wondered how this will impact them. When the world returns to a new normal, and we finally venture out with them, will they be overwhelmed? Will we have to slowly expose them, waiting for a culture shock to hit them? Will their mind be blown being however old they are and never having even walked into a store? How can I as a parent guide them and make the right decisions for them during such unprecedented times?

How, as parents, will this be a major adjustment for us too, as we have to allow them to start exploring the world at some point after fiercely protecting them with our every move during a pandemic? Because if there is one thing I am certain of after spending so many months at home, it’s that staying home all this time transforms you slowly into this hermit version of yourself. That is certainly not the me that I want our kids to grow up with, so I will have to force myself into a metamorphosis of sorts. I’ll have to retrain myself to approach parenting in new ways.

I don’t have any of the answers to share with you. I wish I did.

When I really think about it, parents , especially parents of twins, often spend lots of time at home during the first year anyway because life is so overwhelming and the babies are still so little. I doubt that seeing a lack of places in their early months will really scar them for life, but I do worry about the lack of exposure to people. As an introvert who doesn’t mind some alone time to recharge, I could suggest that interacting with people doesn’t matter, but I know that’s not true. People are the cornerstone of our lives. They are our support, our confidants, our outlets. Our babies are missing out on people. The good, the bad, the ugly of it all. I can only hope that soon they will be able to hug abuelas, kiss aunts, play with cousins, and get introduced to other babies at play dates.


Even now, knowing all of this that we’ve endured through this pandemic, I still hope for the future. I will continue to picture little adventures and hope that one day it won’t be necessary to have them be masked outings. I hope they will be able to hold loves ones in their little kid cuddles, rather than stare at them through face time. In the meantime, we wait for normalcy.


I don’t know what their world will look like, but I know that it will eventually become bigger, better, and we will do everything we can to give them a wonderful life, despite the hell of 2020.

Mom Guilt: The Daily Realities of a Working Mom

~Tiffany

My son smiles as he’s falling asleep in my arms after a middle-of-the-night feed. Besides the fact that I’m providing nourishment to him,
this is probably the best part about life at 3am. He chuckles most nights also, just as he’s drifting off, and Aly and I both wake from a
drowsy stupor, while we’re holding them up before putting them back down to bed, every time it happens. It’s an amazing sound. One we
find ourselves imitating throughout the day to him to try to entice him to reproduce it.

Parenting has turned out to be so many things. A great joy, to be sure. Perhaps the greatest alongside going through life with the love of
my life. It also happens to induce the greatest fear, when your child is running a temperature, the greatest guilt, when at the end of the day
you’re sure you haven’t done enough, and the greatest sorrow, when you realize that one day, you will have to share these perfect beings
with the world and you know that the world isn’t always kind.

A few weeks ago, I returned to work after being furloughed for 5 months. The challenges and blessings that came from being furloughed
can probably fill their own blog post, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll skip to what it’s been like post-furlough.

I’m working remotely, like most who can. I’d like to say that this has only been the best thing ever. I mean, how couldn’t it be? I get to be
home, with my new babies and wife, away from exposure to the pandemic, and I’m saving on gas. Win, win, win, right? I’d like to say
that. But, here’s the truth: there are so many more wins and losses in that scenario that get weighed against each other on a daily basis.

“Balance” is a word that gets thrown around a lot lately in the Albrecht household. This is the ideal. To find the right “balance” has been
my greatest struggle so far in this post-furlough reality. I think perhaps, I naively thought it would be as simple as picking up my
computer at the start of my day, putting on my employee hat, and then, at the end of the day, I would take that hat off and just slip on my
mom/wife/homeowner hat. Do you ever feel dumb sometimes when life just gives you a reality check about your expectations? Not only
is the idea of a hat that only fills one role ridiculous, I’ve found. I’ve also found that taking the proverbial hats off and on happens so
much more frequently throughout the day than at the start and the end.

I’ll address the first point first. I don’t think, since I’ve returned, there has been a moment, where I can be just an employee. This isn’t a
product of working remotely, the more I think about it, it’s a product of just parenting. Throughout the day, as I build my reports and
adjust my spreadsheets, I’m very aware of the fact that I am in the very fortunate minority to have been brought back from furlough. The
inordinate amount of pressure this creates as a parent of twins and wife and homeowner, can be crippling if you focus too much on it. The
understanding that there’s an inherent expectation to perform, whether that expectation is intrinsic or extrinsic, is enough for deep
breathing exercises. So, throughout the day, I’ll help with feeds and make up my working time in the evenings, and while I hold my
beautiful new babies, and have supposedly taken the employee hat off, at least for the moment, that pressure is still there in the back of
my mind, distracting from what should be a very precious moment.

To my second point, my changes in proverbial head wear happen very literally, all day. Even in short moments, when I’ve allowed
myself the reprieve of just observing our children sleep as I’m waiting for a meeting to start or less pleasant but just as valid, when one of
the babies has a blow out that necessitates a bath and now I’m watching the other while Aly manages the crisis. I wish it was easy to take
these hats on and off and isolate what each one represents. The adage, “leave work at work,” seems like an impossible ideal to strive for
as in one moment I feel guilty for not momming enough on a given day, and when we have a blowout emergency, or the like, throughout
the day, that draws me away from my computer, I feel guilty for being pulled away from whatever I was doing.

I’ve heard it called before, “every parents dilemma.” I’m not sure I’ve been generous enough to the ones who have to make this work and
do. That also says nothing for the other role that requires attention and care: wife. It’s very easy for work and babies to be the only things
in your world if you don’t have a constant reminder that you need balance.

Since I’ve returned, I’ve been frustrated at my lack of being able to find that balance. It’s still no where near perfect and I’m constantly
reprioritizing as Aly and I keep communicating, but it keeps getting better. It’s a ridiculous help to have Aly by my side. Taking care of
the twins, basically by herself, barring catastrophes of the pooping kind and feedings unless I have a meeting conflict.

Our days are longer, as we find our focus shifts after we put the babies to bed to maintaining our home and our relationship. And then we
have weeks like the last two where my balance has been horrible, at best, as I work until almost midnight during the week to try to finish
a report I’ve been building during uninterrupted time.

We’re figuring this thing out and that means recognizing that when we’re taking breaks from whatever we’re respectively doing, we’re
focused on each other and our family. It means, finding what works, in terms of understanding that I’m productive with work in the
evening when I’m uninterrupted by the twins feeding schedule, which in turn means, I can be more forgiving of myself when I do get
pulled away from work throughout the day and enjoy feeding my babies and soak in the after feeding cuddles without the guilt of having
to return to work immediately.

All of this is to say, momming/parenting is hard. It’s not for the faint hearted because it’s an emotional rollercoaster of the highest highs
and the lowest lows. Also, if someone has figured out how to “leave work at work,” or get rid of this pesky mom-guilt thing, could you
please feel free to leave a comment with the secrets of the universe below? I’m asking for a friend…

Life Looks Different Now

~Aly

While writing this, I hold my daughter, laying next to my sleeping wife, Tiffany, while her hand is on our son, comforting him.

Life looks different now for The Albrecht Household.

We had life as a couple for 13 years. 6 of those years were spent in the closet, easily finding ways to love each other, even when we didn’t love ourselves. All of the years, full of love and friendship that continued to grow. Those years were full of making our house a home and our marriage one that we could be proud of.

But as our family has grown from 2 to 4, many aspects of our life are unrecognizable. It has changed us. We are no longer just “us.” We are our marriage, our individual selves, our children, and our mom personas all intertwined into something entirely new.

Lazy Sunday’s laying in bed together cuddling, talking, and sleeping are a day of the past. Now our Sundays involve filling life in in between our babies’ 3 hour feeding schedule increments. They are full of tummy time, diapers, and bottles.

Dancing in the kitchen while cooking has been replaced with a new time and place for dancing. Now we dance to us singing “jingle bell rock” together, even though it’s September, with babies in our arms because for some reason, it makes the babies happy. No, the song cannot change. So, Christmas in September it is.

Giving each other massages has currently been replaced by lotioning chubby legs with lavender after bath time. The arms that held each other now provide comfort during cries and rock our children late in the night.

Dinner together while talking about our work day has been replaced by snacks by nightlight in a dimly lit room, so that we don’t wake the twins because while they need sleep, we also so badly need some quiet time.

Where we once showered together, we now run the shower while standing outside of it, holding a baby, because for some odd reason watching the water fall calms them when they are fussy.

Through the chaos, we still find each other, but we find each other differently than we once did. Our love right now is spoken in moments of “I let you sleep an extra hour while I got everything setup for the day.” It’s a check-in during the evening followed by a “Good job, mama” in solidarity. It’s a “you look beautiful,” even when your hair isnt brushed and when there is spit up on your shirt. It’s a hand hold in the night, when we each are reaching towards the middle of the bed to find each other, while we each face different directions towards each baby’s bassinet.

For so long we prayed for our family to grow… for our lives to change.

Yes, life looks different now. It’s hard and it’s messy and it’s lacking sleep, but this new life is also wholly wonderful with its newness.

Life looks different now and with it our marriage evolves. We will find our new rhythm together soon enough, but right now the babies dictate the beat of the drum in this house.

Life looks different now and even though I was happy before, a whole new kind of happy has bloomed. What we had is now surrounded by nostalgia because I know that we can’t have that again. But I also know that there was a time and place for that life and neither of us would ever give up this new life. Instead, we find delight in making our new life together.

Life looks different now and I embrace it all- good, bad, and all in between- with my wife holding my hand as we forge into our new adventure, ready to see what awaits, all while still loving the past for making us who we are in the current moment.

Life is different now and we are happy that it is.

Mama Meets Her Latkes

~Tiffany

Where to begin…The moments following the birth of our children were…too many things. They were amazing, overwhelming, uncertain, humbling… All of the things. 

I was escorted from the operating room by a couple of nurses. I kissed Aly’s forehead and told her I’d see her soon, but I needed to go with our babies. They thankfully didn’t have any NICU time, Bella being just above the weight limit required. We were taken to Recovery to wait for Aly to get out of surgery and to do the first of several assessments on the babies.

I struggle to find words here to describe what this time was like, but I’ll try. It was beautiful, and heart wrenching, it was intimidating, and defining.  We, meaning, myself, Arabella, and Bennett, were taken to a curtained off room. Empty, save for some medical equipment I knew would be used to monitor Aly once she arrived. The nurses wheeled in Bella and Benny and started doing some quick vitals. All I could do was stand at what I thought was a respectful distance (this seems funny to me now, they’re my children afterall). I watched the nurses do their work and make sure that our two latkes were doing ok. Bella seemed so much smaller than Benny. In retrospect, it was only a pound, but, since then, we’ve taken to calling her “delicate” and him “stocky,” so the difference looks much more severe than it is. , Really, the only difference in their vitals was that Bella had a little trouble maintaining her body temperature, so they turned on the heat lamp overhead of her bassinet and told me she was perfect and so was Benny. I already knew this. 

Once the vitals were done, the nurse that had been attending to Benny turned to me, and asked me if I wanted to hold him. My response to this question now, makes me chuckle when I think about it, and I’m sure it always will. I wonder how many new parents are like I was in their uncertainty about their new role as a parent, as I answered, “can I?” I asked the nurse permission to hold my son, really hold him for the first time, and she laughed and said, “of course” before placing him solidly into my arms. 

My son slept soundly as I stared in awe. I had pulled up a seat, so that I could be stable holding him for the first time, much as you would do for a child who is being introduced to a baby for the first time. Again, this is humorous to me now. She placed him in my arms and after making sure I had him well in hand, quietly stepped out of the room. This moment was one of many humbling ones I had that evening. I searched  my mind for what to do next. I loved him already, this was absolute. I looked up into the bassinet holding his sister and confirmed, yes, this was true for her as well. My heart belonged to both of them and their Mommy, with whom I was very anxious to be reunited and share this moment. I began a light rock in the chair on which I sat and inadvertently began to hum the first tune that came to my head: “All Is Found,” from Frozen II. 

I alternated staring at both Benny and Bella as I hummed, unaware, and uncaring if anyone else was hearing me, or I was off tune. I was in awe and this song, and his warmth in my arms, and her sleeping form in front of me, grounded me to the moment. I missed Aly terribly and when Bella’s nurse came in to check on how her temperature was progressing, I asked if there was any news on when she would be out of surgery. This was the first of many inquiries over however long it took until she was being rolled into the room we were waiting for her in, her son, daughter, and I. While I waited for the nurse to find out, I stared again at my beautiful children and tried to let that sink in. They were my children. Our children. They were here. And my God, how stunning were they? I ran my hands softly over every feature of Benny’s beautiful face and placed my hand on Bella’s head inside her bassinet, not wanting to disturb whatever treatment she was getting from the heat lamp overhead. 

It’s funny, three weeks in, I reflect on these moments and consider how I treated them exactly how I thought I would. Like crystal. Like they were breakable because I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. 

Aly was eventually rolled in from surgery and, even in her medicated state, she was just as in awe as I was at the beautiful children she had made in her tummy. Shortly after getting her settled, Benny’s nurse came in and asked if I’d like to help feed them. Again, I answered with the same apprehension, and anxious anticipation. “Can I? I’d love to.” And then I was holding Bella in my arms for the first time, feeding her and it hit me again. This extraordinary love. Aly and I have taken to calling it, “crazy.” I don’t know how many times a day we say, “it’s crazy how much I love them. They’re perfect.”

While we were in recovery, for the 8 hours we were there, I fed both of them and held them both, and comforted them both, each time, growing more confident in my ability to do so. At first, when they cried, I was only brave enough to place my hand lightly on them and rock them back and forth, not having had permission from the nurse to pick them up. Again, this is funny to me now. Aly had skin to skin for the first time with both of the babies there as I looked on and fell in love again and again. 

In the days following, while Aly recovered, I slowly shed the apprehension I had felt in our beginning moments in recovery and the babies and I got to know each other. When Benny had his first poopie diaper, I asked the nurse to teach me how to clean him properly and every change since then, has been relatively without fear (there have been some doozies that have left me with a healthy level of fear, lol). 

Since we’ve left the hospital, Aly and I have only fallen more for our latkes. We spend an inordinate amount of time staring at them. I take an obscene amount of pictures and live for the smell of their skin and feel of their hands wrapping around my fingers. I never expected parenthood to be like this. So, all-consuming. We freely admit we’re obsessed with our babies. Lol. We’re absolutely crazy for them. Aly said to me, “if there was anything else in the world that interrupted our life as much as these babies, we would loathe it, how can we love them this much?” To which I responded, “I don’t know, but they do, and we really do.” That’s to say nothing about how you all of a sudden are able to function on exponentially less sleep than before they got here. It’s what I’m calling, the “parenting phenomenon.” Though I’m sure there’s something much more scientific about it. We keep saying we’re swimming in Oxytocin and that’s what’s giving us our superhuman energy. 

I get life now from the moments when they fall asleep against my chest and when I feel and see them growing. It fills me with joy when Aly cuddles with them and I am in awe of myself, to be honest, and the side of myself that I didn’t know existed but comes out around these babies so naturally. I am unabashedly silly and unrepentantly affectionate. I kiss feet and noses and smell heads and in the moments between feeding, and playing, and changing, when we have some quiet time, I wonder how it’s possible that I didn’t know I was meant for this more than anything else.

Dear Benny and Bella…

Dear Benny and Bella,

I have been your mommy for 25 weeks, but I’ve waited for you for so much longer than that. As a child, I dreamt about being a mommy one day, as I practiced by caring for my own dolls. I changed their clothes and pushed them around in child-height strollers. As a teenager, my heart ached when my doctor told me that having a baby wouldn’t be impossible, but would be challenging for me, based on my diagnosis. I carried it around with me along with my teenage angst. As a young adult, I waited for the timing to be right. I waited for me to do some growing up, but I never stopped thinking about what it would mean to be your mom. As an adult, I fought for you. We, your mama and I, fought for you. We fought to eat a healthy diet, pushed past the exhaustion on the elliptical, researched to find the right fertility specialist, and searched for months to find the right donor to ensure that we could give you your best chance.

We continue to fight for you now, during a pandemic. We waited and waited for the right time to bring you into our life. We wanted you to have the least amount of struggle. We knew what it was like to have financial struggle and only one parent at home. We worked on our relationship during bumps and even during the highs, through communication and workbooks, so that we could be the solid foundation for you at home. We made strategic financial choices to give you every opportunity. But no amount of planning can still make the right time, clearly, as we never wanted to bring you into this world during a pandemic. We have such little control, if any, in all things in our life.

We fight to keep you safe during this challenging time. We have stayed at home for months, without leaving for anything but a doctor’s appointment, which even then meant a mask was donned. We haven’t eaten out a single time in fear that there could be some way that we could infect me or you with this virus. I worry about the kind of life you’ll have with the changes we are experiencing in this world. I don’t know what kind of life will be normal soon, but I hope you know that mama and I will try our best to fill it with happiness, love, and nourishment for your body and soul.

I sit in your room a lot. I sit in there and just experience your imaginary presence. Many people can tell you that Disney is my happy place, but right now during this pandemic, it’s your nursery. I see you laying in your cribs. I see a tired mama rocking you. I feel your positive energy there before you’ve even taken your first breath. You often bring me out of my thoughts while I’m in there, with a sudden kick to a random organ, but I think you’re just making your presence known again. Keeping me grounded.

I used to want to be a mom for me. I thought that this would fulfill my life. Now, I realize that I’m not a mom for me. I’m a mom for you. The shift has already happened. I’m living every second to be the mother you need.

I am someone who has prided myself on my accomplishments. I’ve always done well in school, college, adulting, and my career. I haven’t held you in my arms yet, but I know that you are my greatest accomplishment. Nothing your mama and I will ever do, will ever bring us more joy or pride than being your parents. I feel it with every beat of my heart. I see it with every toothy grin on your mama’s face when she has just a glimpse of you on a face-time screen or has the privilege to feel your wiggles.

We don’t have everything figured out. We will try our best to figure out how to care for you both physically and emotionally. I don’t know if we can give you everything you will ever want, but I promise you that every day you will know the immeasurable amount of our love. Our babies. Our favorite little beings.

We cannot wait to kiss you and love you forever.

Love always,

Mommy

Insemination – Part 1: Two Perspectives

Welcome again to The Albrecht Household blog! This post is a little different. Aly and I decided to tie in both of our perspectives into one post. We’ll keep changing things up to see what works and keep you on your toes :).

Tiffany’s Reflections

What exactly does letrazole do? Was taking it all at once really the recommended therapeutic dose? What exactly is a trigger shot? What does it “trigger”? Will our first try, stick? What did she mean when she said “test your levels”? Is it a blood test? Are they doing another ultrasound when we go in again? How many eggs has she produced? How do we know when she’s ovulating? When do we order the sperm to be shipped? Do we have her sign the sperm shipment form the next time we see her? The insemination seems to be getting close and the form isn’t signed yet, I think I should print a second copy, just in case something happens with the first one…

Early morning thoughts of an anxious wife. I experience anxiety differently than Aly. Normally, I’m very, “go with the flow.” Lately, since we got the news that we would start trying, I have not gone with anything that could resemble a flow. I’ve woken up before my alarm every morning with thoughts such as the ones above and they continue well into the day until I calm myself down by googling for answers to some of them. Research helps me. This isn’t the case for Aly. The more she knows, the more she has to worry about. The more I know, the less I don’t; therefore, easing my mind of the questions that are incessantly floating around torturing me every morning.

I’m the first to admit that we have no control over this situation. God is in complete control here and we have done everything we can up until this point to give us our best chances at success. On the surface, that brings me so much comfort. It’s warm and fuzzy in our little bubble of faith. But, also, I have to know more. I have to know what the things do and how everything works, so that I can fix what I can if I need to.

This feels trivial compared to what I’m sure we will go through when we actually have a little human to take care of, but it doesn’t feel trivial right now. It feels like a freaking big deal.

I want to know everything I can because I want to be able to answer the questions too, not just rely on the doctor to answer them. I want to be able to bring myself and Aly comfort when we don’t exactly understand why it is we have to take a medication at exactly this time in order for it to be the most effective when we need it to be.

It’s exhausting, but in the end, rewarding. Aly’s been doing so much in these last two years that I feel like the least I can do is to just know things, for myself and for her. I can think of no gift I will ever be able to give her that will ever amount to the one she is giving us, but maybe I can just know things so that I can have the answers and make this less stressful.

So, this is what I do. I research, so that I know things, so that when we do things, we feel good about them. I now know that letrazole induces ovulation by stimulating the growth of more follicles, which hold the eggs, and releasing them. I know that the high-dose letrazole has been scientifically proven to show more effective results than administering therapeutically over the course of 5 days. I know that a trigger shot is basically a lab-created version of hCG, which stimulates the maturing egg within the follicle to complete maturing and release. I don’t know if our first try will stick, but I have a heck of a lot of faith that it will. “Test your levels” means that she will measure the thickness of the uterus lining to make sure that it is ready for implantation and see where the follicles are in terms of size. Yes, an ultrasound will be performed at each of the coming appointments. We don’t know yet how many eggs she will release. We’re getting an ovulation testing kit to know when she will be ovulating, although, I have an idea based on the app I downloaded. We’re ordering the sperm to be delivered on a specific day now that, yes, the form is signed, submitted, and processed. It only took one copy, even though I brought two.

This is what I do. I research and I know things. So maybe now I can sleep tonight…

Aly’s Reflections

The doctor said that my uterus wasn’t “thick” enough yet this morning. A thick uterus means my body is ready for implantation- ready to make a baby. I’ve spent my entire life with a thick body and suddenly I’m not thick enough. What gives?! It seems like we are still on track, though.

The next steps are:
-see the doctor again this weekend to check my levels
-give a trigger shot for ovulation
-coordinate sperm shipment (the sperm will be flying across the country). FLYING SPERM! How crazy is that?!

There are many moving parts and all are part of a process that we are unfamiliar with. It’s quite overwhelming. If we ever have to do this again, I take comfort in the fact that we should know the drill now. But, certainly, I’m hoping that it will take this time and we won’t have to do it again.

I’ve worked so hard to get to this point and Tiffany has been by my side every step of the way. Personally, I feel like all I can do right now is pray a strange prayer. Pray for a thick uterus. Pray for a smooth shipment of flying sperm. Pray that the shot works. Pray that the egg will fertilize and implant.

I hope you’ll join me in this strange prayer. Send good vibes, should you be so inclined. The outpouring of messages and comments with support have been so encouraging. We appreciate all of you who are rooting for us.

Dreaming This Dream with Her

~Tiffany~

We’ve been shopping online for cribs…okay, maybe not just online. We may have gone to BuyBuyBaby and may have visited Target (okay…several Targets) to peruse their baby section. I’ve always been much more of a dreamer than Aly. She likes to have evidence that things are real before she dreams about them…something about not wanting to get her hopes up. It was like that when I was dreaming of what our first house would be like and what our honeymoon would end up being. I’d pull up listings of homes on Realtor.com and show them to her, wanting her to jump into this fantasy with me of us cooking in these kitchens and getting ready in the morning in these bathrooms. I haven’t had to search for her excitement with the baby dream. She’s dreamt this one right alongside me all the way through. She’s done it in her way, granted, with categorized atop categorized Pinterest boards ranging from baby gear to tips for labor, but her excitement has matched mine and sprinkled it with anxiety every time we realize how ill-prepared we are, and I’m sure, how ill-prepared everyone is for their first child.

Dreaming this dream with her has been one of my favorite things we’ve experienced in our entire relationship because when I get to do this with her, I feel like I’m seeing it all ahead of time and it feels like a gift, like extra time granted somehow. We sat in gliders at BuyBuyBaby, wondering which would go best with our top three nursery themes, which seem to change weekly. We ultimately disagreed and came to a compromise about that particular baby furniture decision and many others that day. We discussed whether we needed a bassinet or a pack-n-play, or both. She, of course, had consulted numerous pins, which led to blogs on these topics, and we ultimately came to a decision that made the most sense for us, though I’m sure we’ll question it about a thousand times before any kind of purchasing happens, as will be the case for everything we arrived at a decision (::cough:: compromise) over.

She’s worried whether she would be able to have children since she was a teenager, having been diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) at an early age, which is part of why this particular dream is so monumental and sharing it with her, that much more special. To be very clear, PCOS is NOT an infertility diagnosis. But, for Aly, it is a very real possibility and one that she constantly thinks about and experiences anxiety over, so to be so close at this point, and to have her come on this journey with me, feels that much more rewarding and that much more a blessing. She says that the dreaming helps to stop the anxiety in its tracks and keeps her focused on the goal: Mission: Albrecht Baby.

When we left our doctor’s appointment a couple of weeks ago and our expectations about when we could begin the conception process weren’t met, the dream that we had been dreaming felt like it took a stumble. We understood, of course, the reason for the postponement, and agreed. We just wished it was different. It felt a bit like a half step back, not a full one, just a half. BUT, a week later, after suffering through the first Whole30 week, and having seen such transformational improvements for Aly with the health issues she’s been dealing with, we were back on track and cemented in the understanding that this needed to happen, however disappointing it was hearing our doctor push us back a month.

I dream this dream with her every single day, in so many iterations, but even though the dream is sweet, the reality feels like it will be far sweeter. So, last weekend we went back to Target to look at baby things and, in the midst of Whole30 and our new dairy-less, grain-less, carb-less world, we were brought back to center reading baby books aloud to each other.

Mission: Albrecht Baby

~Aly~

Going Back Before We Move Forward

It has been longer than intended since our last blog post. Truth be told, I’ve been processing and slightly procrastinating. We have a lot happening at once, between new events in our fertility journey to general adulting tasks to take care of. Since our last post, we went back to see the reproductive endocrinologist.

Our thoughts before our fertility appointment

Ultimately, the discussion with the doctor, while positive on our conception outlook, wasn’t exactly what we were expecting (maybe it was a bit of what I was expecting). To give me time to taper off certain medications that I can’t be on while pregnant, the doctor pushed our timeline back by a month. This, on its own, is not earth shattering. Delays happen during doctor-led pregnancy missions all the time. (I’ve lovingly been referring to ours as Mission: Albrecht Baby). The more challenging portion of our discussion was that the doctor felt that I should get on the Whole30 diet to help me transition off my medication, which is related to digestion issues. She further felt that it would help continue to boost our chances of conceiving, as it boosts metabolism and improves egg quality.

Whole Diet Changing

I had previously seen friends go on the whole30 diet and always thought, “Well, that’s great for them, but there’s no way I’m getting involved in that craziness.” I already had made major changes to my diet. Now, I have to make more?

My relationship with food hasn’t always been the healthiest and weight is something that I’ve always struggled with. But once we got on the baby journey in January 2018, I knew that I was going to have to make changes to how I approached food daily because I wanted to try my best to have a healthy pregnancy. Never before have I had such a motivator. This wasn’t about fitting into a smaller size or looking better in a bathing suit (although both would be nice). This was ensuring that I would be able to produce a healthy baby. It has taken time and there have certainly been ups and downs, but I have lost 50 pounds. Whenever I thought about giving up, I thought about being a mom. So, now I find myself at a crossroads. As difficult as it has been to make these lifestyle changes, my doctor was now asking me to make more. After coming so far, was I going to really stop here and give up? No way.

For those of you who don’t know much about it, the Whole30 diet is quite intense. No grains. No added sugars of any kind. No dairy. No beans. No peanut butter. No preservatives. I would like to point out that this covers the majority of the grocery store. It’s a strange day when you look at milk longingly, but it’s definitely happening. So, what can I have? Fruits, vegetables, spices, and proteins that have not been processed. This seemed so limiting to me and I knew that even beyond the temptation, that this would require a lot of work. There would be a lot less take out and delivery. As I cried, while ruminating over how my life was going to change even more, Tiffany held my hand and said she would join me on the diet. She assured me that we would tackle this the way we’ve always done everything, together.

Trader Joes Virgins

I spent several days after our doctor appointment doing all kinds of research on the diet. The diet normally only lasts 30 days, but in our case should be followed at least through conception. It feels more like WholeForever. Quickly, through the magic of Pinterest, I found that Trader Joes had all kinds of products that were Whole30 approved. The planner in me kept planning and found recipes that looked like things I could stomach. If we were going to do this, then I was going to go all in. Side note: if you have a Trader Joes near you, and you haven’t been yet, GO! I cannot believe how amazing it is and we have been pleasantly surprised about the prices. I will say that Tiffany yells profanities every single time we leave there because she feels so bamboozled by Publix prices. It’s a bright spot in my day that always makes me laugh, even when I’m up to my ears in spinach, instead of Oreos.

Since we started this our lives have been even more run by schedules. We have lots of meal planning, meal prepping, more dishes (which is something that take out doesn’t make you do), and just general craziness. I’ve eaten more fruits and vegetables in these past two weeks than I have, well… ever.

Perfection is Overrated

We have not always been perfect, but every day we get up and give our best effort to do right that day. I suppose that’s a lot like parenting. Hard as shit. Messing up even though you’re trying. Feeling guilty about messing up. Trying again, and again, but knowing through it all that in the end it will all be worth it. Until then, I’ll just keep dreaming about bring home our baby one day, while I snack on some more mango. Yum!

Opposites Attract

~Tiffany~

She’s the F to my T

I’ve taken the Myers Briggs personality test several times throughout my life for different reasons, and on multiple occasions, up until I hit my late-twenties, my result was INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging). Only very recently did I take the test again during a development class at work and find that something had changed: my last letter. I went from an INTJ to an INTP. Somewhere in the course of my twenties, I started perceiving more than judging. Consistently, Aly and I test exactly opposite. When I tested INTJ, she was a ESFP (Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving). She has since also changed to an ESFJ…still my exact opposite.

So, what does this mean? I thrive in an environment fueled by logic and not clouded by feelings or emotions or any of that other “fluffy stuff.” Aly, on the other hand, on top of being an ESFJ, is a Cancer, which means that if there is an emotion out there to feel, she will feel it, and she will articulate that feeling better than anyone. This has led, on several occasions, to a conundrum: how can I, as a logical problem-solver, be a supportive partner to her, an emotional feeler of all things, and how can she do the same for me?

Our approach to this problem-solving conundrum: the fix or feel method. For instance, when Aly complains about something in her day, I quickly pose the question “Fix or Feel?” Having her say “fix” allows me to go into my natural state. It’s what I do best. The “feelings,” while out of my comfort zone, result in a lot of “Yeah, that would make me upset too.” Or, “That was so rude. I can’t believe they did that to you!” She suddenly feels understood and I feel like a rock star.

My mind at work: “What’s the most efficient route to get through San Diego Zoo in one day?…”

The Emotional Monkey Wrench

I jokingly call her my “emotional monkey wrench,” because when I think I have a problem figured out, and I present her with the solution that seemingly would work perfectly, the emotional monkey wrench gets thrown in and stops the gears from turning for a while until the feelings are resolved. It’s funny how relationships make you adaptable, and now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder how much of my conscious effort to be better at feeling for her, and, subsequently, talking about those feelings, played into my last letter changing.

I had to very consciously make an effort to not approach solely problem-solving with Aly. I had to, when presented with a problem, very literally, take a second to tamp down on my initial reaction, understanding that the moment was about her. I often still fail. Less often now, thankfully, but I do still, now and again.

“And you get emotions, and you get emotions,…” (Oprah voice)

All of this makes me think about how I’ll approach emotionally charged situations with our children. Aly has asked me before, “How are you going to react if our kid/s comes home and says they’re getting bullied?” I proceeded to tell her of all the ways I would engage the administration at the school and ensure that the parents of the bully would be notified and take action. Aly’s next words were, “but what about our child’s feelings? How will we handle those and make sure that they’re ok?” I was at a loss. I responded in the way that I do when I don’t know the answer to a question. I said, “I’ll read a book about how to handle it.” Aly jokes that I think I can find the answer to all problems in books. Perhaps I do. In books I find the known when I come face-to-face with the unknown. They provide me with the possibility of a solution, but it occurs to me now that this approach is akin to trying to piece-meal a manual for child-rearing out of the experiences of others. It’s sounding more and more like a ludicrous approach. So now, where do I turn?

Times, they are a’changin’

I wonder how kids will change our personalities and approaches. I wonder how they’ll change our relationship and our traditions. I’ve always considered us to be so compatible, whether because we are opposites in many ways, or because my passivity is just enough for her necessity to be in control. I often joke with her that together, we make the perfect person because she’s strong where I’m weak and vice versa. I doubt that this will translate into being the perfect parents, but I muse about how we will play off of each other knowing what our strengths and weaknesses are and how our children will receive and perceive it all.