Crisping Up The Edges

~Tiffany

The official diagnosis is preeclampsia. That diagnosis carries with it the weight of a spectrum that goes from mild to severe and a patient can fall anywhere in between. What it seems like at this point, is that Aly is in between. The interesting thing about this disease is that even though she’s carrying two babies, the diagnosis is hers alone and the only way to cure it, is to get them out. The catch is that our latkes are only 34 weeks and 3 days today, which means they’re not technically done yet. They’re not quite the golden brown a latke needs to be before it’s ready to be taken out.

So, what do we do? Well here’s the deal. Only one test is indicating preeclampsia because in all other ways, she is stable, including her blood pressure that originally wasn’t. Labs are good, organs are good, but that one test is definitely out of range, so nothing really is matching up. With these circumstances, the doctors have empowered us to make the decision on whether to induce now or sometime in the future, unless such circumstances present themselves that would necessitate the decision to be placed back into their hands, such as labs and vitals no longer looking stable.

Here’s what we’ve decided: for the next few days at least, we’re going to let the babies get a few more days of growth under their belts. We’re letting them crisp around the edges, so to speak. Lol.

Because Aly is being so closely monitored, and doesn’t seem, at this point, to have any additional preeclampsia symptoms, we’re holding off until at least 35 weeks, which is Monday. This is the point when the high risk doctors have told us the babies might not have any NICU time.

It feels like we’re on a tightrope. We’re walking the line and balancing between what Aly’s health indications are at any given moment and making sure that neither she, nor the babies, are at risk for being in distress.

This isn’t the way we expected to spend our last days as a married couple without children. In a hospital room, eating mediocre hospital food, with a constant rotation of, albeit excellent nurses and doctors, and what feels like an amorphous plan about the birth of our latkes. I certainly didn’t expect to be so scared and stressed. For all intents and purposes, our pregnancy has been relatively smooth and Aly hadn’t shown any indication that she would be preeclamptic. In the past 3 days, we’ve adjusted not just our expectations, but our birth plan.This birth plan we felt as prepared as you could be for. And one that seems in the really distant past now.

Days are melding into nights and time is measured by when Aly’s vitals are going to be taken, when shift change for the nurses will take place, and when the babies will have their non stress tests. We’re masked and we’re stressed sometimes, but then we calm each other down and a sense of peace overcomes us when we think about the fact that we’ll meet our son and daughter soon. We didn’t expect it to be this way, but we’re grateful to be monitored. We know that we’re not leaving here until Aly delivers our latkes. So, I’ll be a mama soon and Aly will be a mommy. That’s overwhelming and exciting and terrifying when I think about that we’re only at 34 weeks and 3 days, but I know they won’t come until we’re all ready because I know God will bring us all together at the exact right time.

On a lighter note, The Albrecht Household is experiencing severe temperatures. We’re three days into our stay and I’m sleeping in jackets, sweatpants and three blankets while Aly snoozes barely covered by a sheet and asks me to turn the thermostat down.

We’re praying for at least a few more days of this unknown, which seems strange but the right thing to do under the circumstances. And we’re grateful for the care we’re receiving even though we have to do things like wear a mask. We can’t thank everyone enough for keeping us in thoughts and prayers. We’re still cooking these latkes but we’ll be a party of 4 sooner than we planned.

Fall with The Albrechts

~Aly

As you saw in Tiffany’s last post, Fall, well more specifically Halloween, is in full bloom at the Albrecht household the past several weeks. The decorating is complete, with minimal chaos, and I’m now managing our Halloween movie watching schedule.

In between the decorating and movie watching this Fall, Tiffany and I are trying to find our place back in our normal life. I’ve been struggling a bit emotionally these past few weeks, as my mind has been stuck in a dichotomy comprised of two opposite truths:

  1. We are incredibly close to our first round of IUI and pregnancy.
  2. We have hit so many roadblocks getting here that I feel unsure if this journey will ever end with the outcome that we want.

These two views are in a constant war in my head. Things are starting to feel really real- we are so far beyond the hypothetical stage- and the reality is bringing in some anxiety. I keep hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst, in an attempt to protect myself. My mind keeps saying that I should be ready for the floor to fall beneath me at any moment. The constant chatter about babies has been silenced at home, which has been my doing. The thought of possibly leaving this process without a baby is too painful a thought to bear. So, it has been easier to just avoid baby thoughts than confront that possibility.

As a result, each day right now has felt like we are merely going through the motions. Hoping that the next doctor’s appointment will result in the doctor saying, “Now is the time.”

It’s incredibly intimidating and vulnerable to share these thoughts, but I figured if I am going to have a blog, it should be real. I’ve read that these feelings of anxiety are very normal for couples going through fertility treatments. Perhaps, someone out there will read these words and feel understood too.

Tiffany and I are working through the dark thoughts. Trying to just keep swimming past the deep lake of despair and back into the light of hope for the future. We’ve been working on getting past this the way we do everything, together. When I get lost like this, concentrating on making our own happy moments gets me through. Doing this has been pretty successful, as I feel like I’m finally leaving the darkness behind and moving slowly back into a place of hope with my wife.

Finding our center is filled with the two of us spending lots of quality time together. There have been many games of charades at home with Ellen’s “Heads Up” app. We ended a few rounds with belly aches from laughter, as Tiffany pointed out that all of my impressions sound the same.

And of course, we ended up spending a day at our happy place- Disney. It had been so long since we had been there because all the mickey shaped snacks are definitely not baby diet approved. We decided that one day wouldn’t kill us and to go and enjoy our day full of Disney magic. Zero regrets.

Tiffany indulged me at the Magic Kingdom when I grabbed a book out of my backpack. I let the book lead us around to find Disney secrets of hidden Imagineering gems. I am aware that we looked like complete nerds, but we loved every minute. All of the nervous tension left our bodies as we searched for the hidden Steamboat Willie at Ariel’s grotto. Apparently, having a book lead you around Disney is all you need. Who says there isn’t fun in married life?!

Tiffany also inadvertently created a “Conversations in the Albrecht Household” worthy moment when she had me cracking up on Main Street USA. While strolling, Tiffany said, “Ya know what I just noticed?” I looked around and saw some young women wearing some very tiny shorts. I was wondering if she noticed them. I should’ve known better because she continued on with, “That stroller over there looks fantastic,” while pointing at an expensive one parked on the side. I can’t help but laugh that my wife is breaking neck for a stroller. I’ll take that any day.

So this is our life for the past several weeks. High days. Low days. In between days. I don’t know if other people experience life like this too, but if so, and you’re one of them, I hope you find your center. Maybe your center will be at Disney just like ours, maybe not. Whatever works for you, do it. Aim for hope for the future. I’m holding on to the fact that our fertility journey future will be filled with more highs than lows. For now, I’m just going to keep holding my wife’s hand, watching corny Halloween movies, and going to Disney as much as possible. Thank you for being on this journey with us.