Two Blogs in One

This week you’ll get a blog post from each of us. Enjoy!

Atari ~Tiffany~

We were escorted to the ultrasound room at our new OB/GYN’s office on a couple of weeks ago, and I was just about bouncing, I was so excited to see our babies again on the big screen. I couldn’t wait to see how much they’d grown and I was anxious to hear that they were doing well and growing as they should be. As Aly got her feet into the stirrups, I grabbed her hand and the ultrasound tech motioned that she was about to start the trans-vaginal ultrasound.

My hand tightened and my eyes glued to the screen. In no time at all, there they were. Baby A was making themselves known on the screen and wiggling about. The most amazing thing, truly. Baby B was hiding a bit as they’re positioned a little lower and so the tech had to do some maneuvering to get a clear picture, but, sure enough, they made their appearance and did a little shimmy for us too. It was like magic. I couldn’t believe they were moving! Aly began to squeeze my hand and I basked in the significance of the moment. Our babies, growing, and moving around in their temporary home inside my wife’s belly. I was in awe. The ultrasound tech continued to take a bunch of measurements of the babies and other things and before finishing up, gave us a glimpse of them together. It took her a while to get them in the same image, but she was able to do it, and Aly was a trooper.

The tech wrapped up and gave us some privacy before we were going to be escorted to the waiting room to await our doctor, when Aly turned to me and said, “that was so freaking painful.”

Aly has been checking in with me constantly to make sure that I feel like an integral part of this pregnancy. She had expressed concern that because I wasn’t carrying the baby/ies, I wouldn’t feel like I was a part of it. I laid her fears to rest of course, but, what the appointment brought to light is that even though I feel like a very important part of the pregnancy, my experience has been entirely different than hers. I go to every appointment, I’m constantly kissing or touching her belly, and we’re talking about our future with these babies together.

While the ultrasound tech was “playing Atari with the wand,” trying to get good measurements of Aly and the babies, causing pain to Aly, I was transfixed by the black and white images on the screen before us. Completely in awe. I was peripherally aware that Aly was uncomfortable, but not until the tech left, did I realize how much discomfort she was in. We’re going through this pregnancy together in every way possible, but there are just some things that I’m not attune to.

I think another one of those things will be the first flutters of movement that Aly will be able to feel when our latkes start wanting to make themselves known to her. I’ll have to be patient, which is a small ask when the love of my life is growing our children in her tummy, so I think I can manage.

When our experiences in the ultrasound room were so different, I thought it was worth writing about because it was something we hadn’t considered in the months and weeks leading up to our pregnancy. How even though we’re going through this pregnancy together, we’re experiencing it very differently. There’s no doubt that to both of us, this pregnancy has been nothing short of miraculous and although the idea of twins is daunting and the reality downright terrifying, we’re working hard to try to embrace every moment of this journey in preparation of the our latkes being here.

Not Like the Movies ~Aly~

Twelve weeks. I have been pregnant with twins for twelve weeks! I’ve been doing very well so far. Weight gain has been on track, minimal nausea, and some fatigue. The nausea and fatigue are going away slowly now as I head into the second trimester.

My pregnancy so far has been nothing like the movies. Movies often portray pregnant women incredibly sick, yet feeling unbelievably joyful (when she isn’t having some comedic mood swing). Things just seem to overall go relatively smoothly for these characters. 

My reality has been a bit different. Life is chaotic. My family is living with us while they search for a house to buy. Tiffany has been dealing with a shoulder injury, which she now has to have surgery for. We are preparing to sell our house and buy another. And all this while finding out we aren’t just expecting one new bundle of joy, but two, which is just that much more to prepare for (although it does also mean double the love). 

Honestly, I  guess I just pictured my pregnancy going differently. 

I thought other aspects of our life would basically stop and that we would be able to be pregnancy focused 100% of the time. (I do realize how naive this sounds). Clearly, life and God had other plans. 

I thought I would just continue my plans with what I had been doing for healthy living, but there is so much more I have to limit while pregnant. I don’t mind the limitations, which includes a lot of food I can’t eat (though I do miss a good medium-rare steak), and due to the restrictions of a twin pregnancy, having to swap my gym routine for a casual walk. I obsess over every calorie and pound gained because I want so desperately to avoid gestational diabetes (which I am at an increased risk for due to a twin pregnancy, being overweight, and having PCOS). And in general, this mom guilt is intense every time I eat something sweet or don’t go for an evening walk. All day long I make every decision surrounding keeping these babies safe (I’m sure the moms out there are thinking, welcome to parenthood). Any little mess up makes me feel like I’m letting them down as a parent already. 

Additionally, Twin life is already different than non-multiples life (even before they’re born). I worry about their health because I know that twins may be susceptible to more health problems and premature birth. I try to plan more financially and panic when I think about the cost of infant daycare for two babies, on top of a mortgage and student loans. I’m also bombarded by negativity regarding what is to come with twins. 

When people hear “twins,” they tell you things like, “I barely survived with one. There’s no way I could’ve done two.” Or “ Wow. Think about the cost of diapers for two.” Online isn’t much better. Joining twin parent support groups can feel less than supportive. Their pages are filled with articles about how miserable the first year of life with twins is and how long these babies stay in the NICU. It’s filled with health issues, stories of bed rest, and leaving the hospital without one or both babies. 

Needless to say, all of this is very overwhelming. It’s also unbelievably confusing to feel an immeasurable amount of love towards these babies growing inside you and having no idea how you’ll get through all of that bad that social media and people tell you is coming your way. Of course, your mom guilt also increases for feeling guilty in the first place. Remember, pregnancies need to remain as stress free as possible. 

I want these babies more than my own breath. More than life. More than I can describe. I picture holding them, feeding them, and loving them through every unpredictable moment of life. I’m sharing all this because… because it’s real. Because it’s truthful. Because I secretly hope that other moms felt as much love and concern for the unknown future with their babies as I do. If they do, it sure isn’t shared freely, probably because moms are expected to be perfect. Well, I don’t have room for mom shaming on this blog or in this life. And we really do need to do better about talking about uncomfortable topics like this. 

Currently, we are awaiting the results of the genetic testing for the baby latkes. This will be able to tell us their sexes (which is really exciting), but more importantly, it will be able to tell us if they’re healthy right now. 

Tiffany and I are filling our schedules with even more baby(ies) prep while we wait on the results. It’s a nice distraction that gives us the illusion of some semblance of control. We have spent our time deciding on baby shower games, buying cute onesies, and looking into upgrading Tiffany’s Honda Civic with a SUV. 

In the meantime, we wait. We plan. We dream. We comfort each other. We hold my belly and say prayers for their health. And we take parenting classes to try to give us a better idea of what is to come. Until next time, keep the baby latkes in your thoughts and prayers. Healthy babies are an amazing blessing. 

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.

While We’re Waiting…

~Tiffany

We’ve gone through ups and downs on this journey. It’s hard to believe that it was in January of last year when I asked Aly if she thought we were ready to start taking steps toward trying to have a baby. By far, the most difficult part of this journey has been the emotional turmoil of disappointments, both small and large. We’ve made significant strides in our weight loss journey, losing over 100lbs between the both of us.

Yet, at times, it doesn’t feel like enough. I keep saying that we need to be kinder to ourselves as we’re on this road to motherhood, because, goodness knows, it might not be kind to us. So, setting unreasonable and unrealistic expectations, makes riding along all the harder when we fail to meet them. It’s a little easier for me to take it in stride than it is for Aly. Maybe it’s because I don’t have the weight of impending pregnancy upon me. Whatever the reason, getting through to someone that their best is good enough even when they stumble, is ever more difficult when that person is your spouse because, of course, you’re biased.

I’m ever the optimist about this journey of ours. Always providing words of encouragement when we stumble along during a particularly difficult week, or reminding Aly that we’re doing this together. We’ve encountered challenges along the way that we certainly didn’t anticipate. Things like medications that were road blocks and psychological misgivings to get through that led to false conclusions about what our stumbles meant about what kinds of mothers we would be. Because you see, when it’s this hard, any set back feels like it could be a sign. When it’s this hard, it can make us second guess our plan. But we’ve kept each other on course at varying times during these past 2 years.

We’re coming up on our next appointment with our reproductive endocrinologist and each day leading up to is filled with anxious anticipation for the news she will deliver. Are we ready? I certainly think so. We’ve ticked off all the items that were pending on our last visit. We’ve embraced a healthier, cleaner, preservative-free, whole30-esque lifestyle for the last 2 months. We’ve gotten Aly off the medication she needed to get off of. I can’t think of anything else that we could possibly have done. I just want her to say those magic words, “let’s get started.”

I would never have predicted that it would take this long. When first we spoke, I told Aly, “we’ll be pregnant by Christmas!”…last year. Patience is normally a virtue I possess, but with this, I’ve had my moments. I think God has given us the opportunity to grow closer as a couple on this journey. We’ve talked often about this, Aly and I. How we’ve learned to be more patient with each other and I’ve finally learned how to validate without trying to fix (I consulted books, haha). I feel like these things needed to happen in order for us to be at our best for our little ones. In order for us to be the fittest as a couple, that we could be to take this on. It felt like growing pains sometimes, learning these lessons. You’d think that being together just shy of 13 years would make you pretty well-equipped to be a good partner, but over the past two years, we’ve learned so much about each other and found ways to appreciate each other more in the ways that we respond to, that we’ve found renewal somehow.

I’ve loved Aly for longer than I can remember. I don’t know myself as well apart from her anymore and I feel so much more myself with her. We’ve talked about how she feels the same. I think, as a family, with our two cats, we’ve found a harmony that’s leading us to this new chapter. We were definitely less ready last Christmas than we are now and in the end, I think God knew what he was doing in teaching us these lessons and growing our patience. In the end, I think He was also gifting us more time together as a couple. I’ve always told Aly, “we have so much love in our relationship, I just want to share it with our kids. I’m ready for my heart to grow.” Though I felt like that was true when I said it then, it pales in comparison to its truth now.

Our Time

~Tiffany

I picked this entry up and put it back down a couple of times before I was finally satisfied that it was done. Reasons: work, keeping up our home, adulting, a sick family member, life throwing us curve balls, and my own harsh inner writing critic. So here goes…

More often than not, Aly is the brains of this operation. I may troubleshoot when there are issues every once in a while, but when it comes to our day-to-day, I’m usually pretty happy following her lead. She’s the keeper of “the calendar.” Our friends know this term as the driving force behind every social engagement we attend, but for us, it drives doctor’s appointments, grocery shops, vacations, date nights, etc. On the rare occasion when I have deigned to make plans without consulting the calendar, disaster has ensued involving double bookings and hard learned lessons by yours truly. Our social life survives solely by this calendar and this calendar is kept solely by Aly for this reason. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have a say, it just means that I don’t touch it. See previous disaster to understand why.

We’re busy. We have two cats, a house, a handful of friends we see regularly and no family in the area, which requires travel anytime a gathering is to take place, or that said family gets sick. On top of all of this, we’re each other’s best friend, and more than anything else in the world, we love to spend time with each other, doing anything or nothing. Part of the reason we waited to start trying to have children was because we knew how significantly our lives would change. We knew, though probably not to what extent, that the time, emotional, and psychological investment, a child/children would require, would be massive, and being willing to make those sacrifices was something we needed to come to an agreement on and something with which we needed to come to terms.

While we waited on Dorian a few weeks ago to sweep passed us, we spent countless hours watching Las Chicas Del Cable (Cable Girls) on Netflix, with intermissions of games of Sequence. This was our weekend. It was absolutely blissful and filled with laughter, cuddling, counting of slaps in this English dubbed novella we were obsessed with, and lots of cat purrs from Boo who just wouldn’t/couldn’t have an inch of space between herself and us. I leaned into Aly at one point and said, “Sometimes I worry that when we have children, we won’t have moments like this.” To which she responded, “Why do you think I wanted to wait? I wanted to hang on to this until we were ready to share each other.”

We’re at that point now. Or, at least about there, where we’re ready to share each other. We’re ready for our time to not be just ours and for that to not feel like such a sacrifice.

What will “Our Time” mean for us later?

It’s getting closer to Halloween and we’re getting into what isn’t really a Fall for Florida, but is a Fall nevertheless, which means that it’s time to decorate the house. This is a cherished tradition of ours. We’ve acquired all of our décor over the years together, or inherited it from Aly’s childhood (i.e. Mcdonald’s chicken nuggets dressed in costumes – the charm alludes me, but it makes her happy, so they take the prime spot, front and center, on our entertainment center every year).

Of course, Hocus Pocus plays while we decorate!

Our decorating traditions go something like this: I bring in the bins from the garage that are labeled, “Halloween/Thanksgiving”. We start to unpack, placing things around the house. Aly moves everything I have placed into the exact right spot she has in her vision for this year. One or both of us comment that we’re missing a bin or décor. We inevitably find it, but it was unlabeled and we vow to not do that again next year. Then, we go out and buy more stuff to decorate with and fill another bin that we will inevitably forget to label for next year and that will be the unlabeled bin for the year to come.

Aly’s vision brought to life

All of these steps are time-honored and cherished. I’ve stopped taking offense when Aly moves anything/everything I put down and submitted to the fact that her vision will make our house look beautiful and perfectly decorated for the coming holiday. She makes our house, our home. I’ve come to realize that.

These moments, when we’re taking the time to make it homier, I wonder what role our kids will play. I mentioned this to her this year. I asked her in jest if she would move the decorations our children placed around the house. To which she responded, “When they’re asleep.” I barked out a laugh and loved her just a little bit more. Because the times we’ll share with our children will be ours as well, just differently.

I don’t doubt that it will take a while for us to find a rhythm or to even find that time exists again once we have a newborn, but I also have no doubt that we will, even if it means having to figure out how to live without the calendar that keeps our world from falling into chaos, and I’m looking forward to every second.

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.

Becoming The Albrecht Household

~Tiffany~

My name is Tiffany. I’m the one in the hat on our homepage, sitting next to the beautiful one with sparkling eyes and a gorgeous smile. I’m a ginger that very much cowers in the face of sunlight and I often burn in my car on my way to work. I’m an avid reader and don’t generally discriminate when it comes to genre, though, left to my own devices, tend to stray toward queer and historical fiction (it’s a great day when I can find both in one book). My favorite thing in the world to do is spend time with Aly. This may sound cheesy, but she was my best friend before she was my girlfriend and, subsequently, my fiancé and wife, so it stands to reason that the more time I spend with her, the happier I am.

We want to have a baby, or babies, or however many blessings are meant for us. You see, we’re people of faith, and the journey we’ve been on, has demanded, and I imagine, will demand, a lot of it. We’re in the midst of testing and doctor’s appointments that are too numerous to count, but all worth it. The process we’re planning on going through to conceive is called IUI (intra-uterine insemination), where-in, our doctor injects the sperm from our chosen donor into one of our uteruses. In our case, that will be Aly’s. The running joke is that I have the spare…just in case. It’s sort of an unintended benefit of a lesbian relationship. Lol

We came to this decision over many years and it really felt natural for us to have Aly at least carry our first, if not, all, of our children. I never really felt that “thing” that many women say they feel. The internal pull to carry a child eluded me for most of my life. I want to have children, don’t get me wrong. I want to have tons of them! I just don’t feel that it’s my biological imperative to carry them. Aly, on the other hand, always saw herself as one day being pregnant. In this way, and in so many countless others, we fit. So, my uterus is the spare, and very happy to remain that way, but Aly has always been open to the idea of my carrying, should my feelings ever change. They haven’t as of yet, so for now, I’ll keep the ginger gene to myself.

When we began this journey over a year ago, it all felt like it was going to happen so fast, at least to me it did. Aly has always been more realistic with time. In my mind, I saw it going a little like this: lose all the weight we need to by the summer for a healthy pregnancy, pick our donor by August and get inseminated by December. Badda bing, badda boom, baby(ies) in 9 months… Boy, was I wrong. We’re finally here though, and we’ve reached the goal we wanted to reach.

Am I nervous? Sure. Am I completely freaked out by the idea of raising a human, let alone, a good one? Abso-freaking-lutely. My biggest fear at this point is just that. I want us to raise a good human. I want them to be healthy and then, when our part kicks in, I want them to be kind and think of others first. I want them to think for themselves and stand up for what they believe in. I want them to have Aly’s wit and my humor. I want them to have Aly’s endless capacity for emotion and communication and none of my inability to articulate even the most basic of feelings. That’s what I’ve been doing lately…Thinking about the things I want to make sure to pass on and not to. Thinking about how I can be better at the things I know I’m not great at. But here’s the reality: I’m more thoughts, and Aly is more feelings. I’m more about solutions, and Aly is more about making sure we understand the problem before we fix it. Aly talks more and I talk less. Like I said before, in so many ways, in all the ways…we fit. I can only believe that when it comes to parenting, this will be true as well. We will complement each other as we always have and this brings me comfort and calms the nerves.

A year and a half ago, this felt like a dream, but with a couple of months until insemination, and our sperm in a freezer at the bank, waiting for our withdrawal, we’re very much in reality and I feel anxiously fantastic about all of it!