Drumroll, please!

We are really excited to share this news with all of you who have been along with us on this journey. We received the best Christmas gift ever this year. Today we are officially four weeks PREGNANT!

We’ll share some reflections with you later this week, but we just wanted to share our Christmas miracle with you. 🙂

Love and holiday wishes to all.

The Albrecht Household

Superstitious

~Aly

There are many stereotypes that are associated with lesbians. I hate to perpetuate any because, like every community, all members of our community are unique. Yet, Tiffany and I do validate a few stereotypes- one being that we met on our high school softball team. I was a freshman on the varsity team desperately looking for someone to pair with for warm ups. She was new to the varsity team and needed a partner too. A friendship developed and more blossomed later. The rest is history. 

Something you may or may not know about athletes is that their lives in sports are surrounded by superstitions. There were people on our team  who didn’t wash their socks during winning streaks. We all had to cross 3 body parts (fingers, arms, and legs) when traveling past a cemetery to a game. Specific bats, mitts, and balls were deemed to be lucky. While Tiffany and I are past the stage in our lives of participating in team sports, sometimes old habits die hard. 

A few days ago, while Tiffany and I prepared for the second insemination (we are currently in our two-week wait again), I noticed that our superstitious mindsets still surrounded us. The routines being setup by us to try to ensure a positive IUI result were and are aplenty. 

Us about to go into the Dr.’s office for IUI Round 2

Our Positive IUI Superstitions:

  • Putting the right movie on before bed the night before our IUI will create a good day the next day. The choices are normally “You’ve Got Mail” or “Mary Poppins.” They set the optimal scene for the next day, apparently. 
  • Jewelry is an important accessory choice that brings the right energy into the procedure, if you choose correctly. 
    • 3 Alex and Ani bracelets:
      • Disney Christmas bracelet- to bring us a Christmas miracle this year.
      • Elephant- for luck, of course.
      • Cross- to bring strength, faith, and blessings. 
  • A specific perfume will make the doctor give us a good report. I didn’t wear it once to our appointment and our 1st IUI got delayed. This further validated the use of this perfume as a necessary part of our IUI routine. 
  • Wearing matching t-shirts, with the word “Love” written across the chest, to the IUI procedure will remind us of the strength within our relationship and will help us keep the right mindset throughout. 
  • Making wishes when the clock shows 11:11 for a healthy pregnancy and baby can’t be missed. 

Do I really believe that all of these things will determine our IUI fate? No, but my gut says “Why chance it?!”

I am able to recognize the hilarity, absurdity, and desperation in it all. When it comes down to it, all of this is just an attempt for this type-A woman to have the illusion of control. I’m grateful that Tiffany joins me in these ridiculous antics, so that we both can embrace our weirdness.

Ultimately, we are so ready to be mamas that we are willing to go through all of these silly routines to help get us there, even if they are just based on superstition.

If you know of any more lucky things we should add to our routine, I invite you to share it with us. After all, it can’t hurt! 🙂

IUI: Round 1 Part 2- Aly’s POV

~Aly

I won’t keep you in anticipation. I’ll start this blog by letting you know what everyone has been waiting for. I’m not pregnant. Am I upset? Yes. Is this the end? No. This blog post was written the night that we found out, so it’s pretty raw, but I thought it would be better to purge it all and also fill everyone in.

The Two Week Wait

After IUI (insemination of sperm deep into the uterus), which by the way was quick and painless, comes the dreaded two-week wait. I had read about this several times and heard about it on other lesbian couple vlogs. I remembered feeling like the two weeks would go by very fast. I thought about all the things you have to do daily- work, cook, clean- and thought this left little time to obsess over this. I was wrong. Never have two weeks felt so long. Days felt endless.

During the two week wait, the reproductive endocrinologist also had me taking progesterone daily. This helps to increase your chances that fertilization will occur by making your uterine lining sticky and decrease your chances of miscarriage. The benefits are great. The downside is that once you’re pregnant your body produces more progesterone naturally. This means that the early signs of pregnancy are also side effects for those taking progesterone. I felt pregnant, with all the early pregnancy symptoms, but without the benefit of actually being pregnant. I felt cramping constantly, extreme fatigue, considerable abdominal bloating, pain in my back muscles, aches in my leg joints, and emotional ups/downs daily. This kept Tiffany and I symptom spotting and truly made us feel like we were dealing with a positive pregnancy result. I think this hope made the fall feel that much harder.

Tiffany was truly a champ during the two week wait. They say to take it easy during this time. You don’t want to over-exert yourself. My wife took this to heart. She did EVERYTHING around the house and insisted that I stay off my feet. She also was my solid emotional foundation through the rollercoaster. Getting through this would be impossible without her. Just thinking about how blessed I am to have her support chokes me up.

The Results

We broke the cardinal rule of the two week wait. Don’t take a pregnancy test early. Take it too early and you risk a false positive from the trigger shot that Tiffany administered (per the doctor’s orders) to induce ovulation. Alternatively, taking it too early can also give you a false negative because the HCG that pregnancy tests are measuring may not be high enough yet, even if you are pregnant. By the time we took the test, the package insert stated that it would be 75% accurate. It clearly was negative, but we kept up faith. We stayed hoping for a false negative within that 25% wiggle room. Unfortunately, the blood test that the doctor ordered confirmed that this indeed was a negative result.

The Aftermath

Getting the final result has been a whirlwind of emotions for both of us. Tiffany has grown very quiet, as I know she is processing her emotions internally. Certainly, she is still trying to be my pillar of strength.

At 14, while undergoing testing to determine the cause of my symptoms, an ultrasound tech looked down at my terrified 14 year old face and said, “Yeah, you definitely have PCOS. You’re not going to be able to have children.” This woman doesn’t know how her words crushed me at 14. She certainly doesn’t know what it does to me at 29, as it still echoes around me like a threat in my mind. The negative result made me go back to that place and feel 14 again, despite that my doctor feels that I have an excellent chance of conceiving.

I have been all over the place. I feel sad that it didn’t take. I feel guilty that my wife and family have been so excited and that now as a result of me not getting pregnant, that they are now disappointed too. I feel like I’m being too hard on myself, while simultaneously wondering what else I could have done. I feel like God has the perfect timing and that this must not be it. I feel hopeful that the next time it will take. I feel loved from all of the support. But most of all, I feel exhausted. The journey just to get here has been so long and I desperately hoped that this next step would be easier. I wanted something to go smoothly for us in this process. It’s hard to keep stumbling and pulling myself back up, but I certainly will.

What’s Coming Up

When the doctor called to officially give us the news, she also gave us a light to look forward to. She told us that she thought we should just keep moving forward and go directly into the next IUI in just a few weeks. We agreed immediately.

We knew that the chances the first round were only at a 20% success rate. Your chances go up each round as your doctor makes adjustments based on the unique aspects of how your body reacts.

I am so hopeful for the next round. Praying to God for His will to be done and praying for strength and faith for what is to come. This process brought me so much closer to God as I’ve come to realize how little is in my control. I’m learning to give up control to Him slowly but surely through it all.

With the hope of another round also comes significant pressure. Each round costs us $2000 and I know each round is also critical to our morale through our fertility journey.

Thanksgiving

All of this comes during Thanksgiving week. While I am sad, I know that my life is full of blessings.

  1. My wife, family, and friends have provided me with a circle of support and encouragement.
  2. This blog has encouraged people to reach out to us and shower us with love and hope. All of it is incredibly meaningful.
  3. We are blessed enough to be able to continue to pursue multiple rounds of IUI, both physically and financially.
  4. The doctor still feels the odds are in our favor.
  5. I know that God, and family members who have passed on too, are moving us forward to our divine destiny.

Closing Round 1

I know that this is only round 1, but the journey to get to this point has been years in the making. This has been emotional for us.

Writing this blog has been a journey for me learning how to be open and honest, rather than only letting people in slightly. I’m being candid through this because this it is only worth writing if it’s real. Perhaps you’ve gone through something similar, know someone who has, or will in the future. I hope this long post helps you to understand the journey of others.

Life isn’t always a pretty social media post. Sometimes, many times, life is messy. Thanks for sticking with us through our mess. Keep praying and sending good vibes. We love you all.

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.

The Albrecht Normal

~Aly

Through these last few blog posts, I’m sure it’s clear that Tiffany and I are planning and eagerly awaiting the next big moment in our relationship: the moment we find out we are pregnant. The truth is, I’m sure that we have spent a lot of time planning for major events throughout the course of our relationship. Graduations. First jobs. Coming out. Major vacations. Wedding.

Our life is made up of so much more than these big moments. While we certainly spend lots of our in-between time preparing, in the middle of it all, our time is spent in a normal, albeit, sometimes nerdy way, like spending way too much time focused on Disney or even taking funny (or what we think are funny) pictures.

We often spend time binge watching Netflix shows together and subsequently feel betrayed when we find out that one of us watched ahead without the other. Recently, we were also plagued by a lost remote control in our bedroom. This meant that one of us had to get up each time the volume had to be changed. After intense searches, over an embarrassingly long time, we literally celebrated together with yells of success when we finally found it in a duffle bag under the bed.

We take breaks from adulting by spending time watching House Hunters or Chopped. Watching these shows together involves a lot of predicting and then critiquing. “How could they choose house number 2- number 3 was so close to their job and had an upgraded kitchen.” Or, “NOT THE ICE CREAM MACHINE!”

We have quiet time where we are “alone together.” Alone time usually involves Tiffany reading a book and me tackling some kind of home project, beauty routine, or crafty innovation. Time apart is spent sending each other recipes that we will never make, political articles to debate, or gifs with complaints about life’s responsibilities. We also send way too many pictures of our cats back and forth.

Dinner time is often a never-ending scripted experience of groundhog day. “What do you want to eat?” “I don’t know. What do you want to eat?” “Pick something.” “Okay, Chuys.” “No. Anything but that.”

We have ugly times too, like any couple. We get frustrated. We cry, which is often because one of us is PMS (a lesbian couple strife with two a month and emotions flying everywhere). Discuss lots of feelings. Apologize. Compromise. Sometimes, little quirks drive each other crazy, but also make us laugh at the lunacy of it all. I squeeze the toothpaste in a haphazard way (or, as Tiffany lovingly phrases, “like an animal”), while Tiffany wants it to be squeezed from the bottom, in a methodical way. I find Tiffany’s no-show socks EVERYWHERE, except the hamper; their most common hiding place is in between the covers of our bed. I inevitably forget to check for toilet paper and yell for help from across the house. Tiffany snoozes the alarm 20 times every morning, disrupting both of our sleep.

We play trivia together on stressful days. Going back and forth asking endless questions about Harry Potter, Friends, or Disney. Acting like it doesn’t matter who wins, but we both know that deep down it totally does.

The little moments create the foundation of our relationship. It’s in these little moments where love lives and grows stronger.

It’s easy to see differences between our relationship and those of others. They’re straight; we’re gay. But I like to think, and I hope that many will see, that while Tiffany and I may not be the next Leave it to Beaver, we tell a recognizable, but unique, story of love in marriage. Our story hopefully showcases that many times, we are more alike, than we are different from one another.  

~Aly~

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!