The Thing About Words…

~Tiffany

Tired

We’ve been talking a lot about the meaning of words lately. Specific words, words like “tired” and “lonely,” but also words like “love” and “win.” It’s funny, I think one of the phrases we’ve said most often in the last 4 months has been, “and we thought we were tired before…” Because the level of tired we experienced prior to having twins was laughable. I dream of that level of tired, actually, I don’t dream, because I don’t sleep, which is the prerequisite to dreaming. I yearn for that level of tired. The level of tired we experience now is an exhaustion I didn’t know existed. It’s when you’ve gone past the point where you are sensible and deliriously clean bottles at midnight, then pick up the house from the mess you’ve made entertaining two 4 month-olds. It’s past the point when you can have a coherent conversation then you think back to the discussion you had the next morning and wonder what in the hell you were thinking. It’s past the point when you can make any kind of logical decision, so the exact amount you will feed your babies at their dreamfeed and the exact time you will wake up has already been decided upon and will NOT change because any method you use to figure it out will surely lead to confusion and frustration from lack of being able to string together thoughts, much less words.

Aly has likened entertaining babies to being on stage. I don’t disagree. And as someone that didn’t spend any significant amount of time on stage, apart from band concerts, and as a self-proclaimed introvert, this kind of interaction, is particularly draining. We are in a unique time when social isolation, meaning not being able to ask for outside help in addition to having new babies, are the perfect storm for daily battery draining on an otherwise daily recharged person. So, that’s tired. It means bone-tired. It means I need to be shut off for several minutes before, even plugged in, I will turn on again, and even when I do, my apps are slow to start until I have my morning coffee.

Lonely

Lonely is different in this COVID world. It plagues (no pun intended) us in such a way that individually and as a family, we’ve been unable to adjust to. Working from home, you’d think, would allow us the opportunity to have quality time constantly, but we don’t actually get to bare our souls to each other as often as we’d like. This means that we ruminate alone while we’re “driving the struggle bus,” as Aly likes to say. The conversations wait until we have the time and the mental capacity to have them after we’ve put the babies down for the night. We take walks in the evenings to get a little outside time, you know… like prisoners. I’m joking, obviously, but our walks allow us some time to soak in the sun and breathe air that isn’t circulated by our AC. Aly jokes around with me that all I do is talk about the changes in our neighbors’ lawns or how some people have, “really nice grass,” and we’ve taken to seeking out a young alligator we’ve named, Rita (the reptile), in the lake by our house as our new hobby while we’re out (while obviously keeping a safe distance). But we don’t normally have any deep conversations while we’re on this walk, and contrary to Aly’s personality, she hardly says anything at all.

During a text message conversation we had while we were lying in bed the other day after we had fed the babies and were making sure they weren’t going to stir, and honestly, just recovering from the crap evening we’d had where Benny had been inconsolable, she said she’d figured out why that was: why she doesn’t talk much on those walks, and it’s because after watching the babies’ alone full-time all day, prior to her recent return to work, she’s talked out. She talks all day to the babies. She “performs” for them all day and they soak in every minute of it because she’s amazing at it, but it’s also draining, so I’ll keep talking about lawns and grass and bumper stickers I notice.

She texted to me that something she didn’t expect about parenting is that we would never get a break. We thought we’d be able to call on friends or family to come over for just a couple of hours while we went on a date night and just be a couple and make sure that we maintain and strengthen that identity even though we’re also moms 24/7. We thought we would be encircled by our “tribe” in this new journey we would be on of parenting and do it “as a village,” as they say, but our relative isolation (sometimes lasting almost a month without any help), has been eye opening, not just in testing the limits of how well we can function with the fewest hours of sleep to keep our eyes open, but how well we’ve been able to raise our latkes basically alone for the past several months since we made our journey back to our own home, with no real end in sight. We never expected that.

The loneliness has made us stronger I think, as parents, and perhaps more resilient and aware that we need to be good at communicating even if it’s hard, if for no other reason than we love each other and them an immeasurable amount and too much to become a statistic of parents of twins, which has extraordinarily high divorce rates. So, somedays, we can be sitting right next to each other, resolutely working independently on our laptops, trying our best to be our best at that, all the while ruminating in our own heads on the many things we don’t have the time or the bandwidth to talk about yet and the many things we don’t have the time or bandwidth to do, and we do it all alone until we don’t, and until we reach out and work one-handed while holding each-others.

Love

The love has been the most earth-shattering re-definition. It’s confounding in a way that we wonder at daily. It’s a sick trick that you can love and be exhausted by something so completely and irrevocably. In the moments when one of the babies is inconsolable and I feel like the worst mother in the world because I don’t have the answer or the key to unlock whatever I need to make them feel better, I also love them so much, it hurts. I think that’s why it hurts, because when you can’t fix it, you hurt with them, but they also break you in ways you didn’t know you could be broken. They take the last ounce of energy you have and with a smile build you back up as if it didn’t even happen. They break your spirit when you’ve broken down all of your walls and gotten outside of yourself and your comfort zone, if only just to try to make them laugh and they respond with indifference, but then some unintentional action finally gets one out of them and you realize you didn’t need to try so hard and you learn that lesson over and over again. Love has taken on an entirely different meaning than it had before because it’s grown to a capacity I didn’t know existed, but also turned into an amorphous feeling that underlies every action we take in this home. I thought love was indefinable before our latkes were born because it knocked me off my feet with Aly, but this steal-your-breath, break-your-spirit, break-you-down-only-to-lift-you-up, love is entirely different and entirely as monumental.

Win

I doubt that most of you know, but I’m sure you can guess that keeping twins on even a loose schedule is a challenge. I have no point of comparison because we went from 0 to 2, but putting two entirely different humans with entirely different needs on any modicum of a similar schedule means that one or the other of them will inevitably get the short end of the stick at some point in time, whether it be that we need to have more feedings because Bella has reflux and requires it, but Benny can actually drop a feeding, or we need to have a dream feed because Benny wakes up otherwise, even though Bella can sleep through the night (irrelevant, because she needs the calories, but still, my point is made). So, having portions of days when we see them both thrive despite that we’re trying to fit them into a similarish box, feels like we’re walking on cloud nine. When we’ve managed successful naps and actually taken them on a walk and had smooth bath times and seen them do something new while they’re on tummy time…those are amazing moments. Though all of those “ands” seem far too generous and definitely never happen on the same day, they are amazing moments nonetheless, when they do happen. Because wins are wins and we take them as they come and we don’t question them for the gifts they are.

Before babies, we celebrated things that might seem big like promotions, graduations, work successes, etc. Now, we had a taco night for the first time last week since we had the babies and that was the biggest win we celebrated as a couple because the guac was the freshest thing we’d eaten in months, due to our many microwave-ready Costco-prepped mealtimes. It was so green! I missed green food. Now, when bedtime isn’t meltdown time, because we are struggling to figure out the perfect ratio of naps to wake time to play time during the day, that’s a win too. When we’ve cleaned enough bottles the night before to be able to spend a little extra time together on the next night, that’s a win. We’re living for these wins because they give us life when the days get hard and time feels endless in this COVID vacuum. We yearn for the day when we can stroller our babies through Mainstreet U.S.A., but take that our kids love Disney singalong with mommy as a great sign of things to come.

We can do hard things

This is the Albrecht Household at its crux. It’s full of a crazy amount of love that sometimes it threatens to burst, but loneliness that isolates in a way a pandemic only wishes it could also exists here because parenting twins is super hard. But, we can and do hard things. Every. Day.

Finding Comfort in Community

~Tiffany

Growing up, as an LGBTQ person, I often felt that there was no one else like me, going through what I was going through, feeling what I was feeling, and living what I was living. And, while every person obviously does have their own lived experience that is unique to them, it was as I grew into an adult and met more people like me, and read of more people like me, that I realized we could find commonalities across all of our experiences. Whether those commonalities existed in our coming out stories, our journeys to self discovery, or the films or books we were exposed to that awakened us to something that made us different, there was always something that connected us. 

Aly and I always talk about that when we meet someone new in our community or we hear about or read someone’s story and we catch similarities to ours. It makes us feel connected to something bigger. It brings us comfort and a feeling that we weren’t really alone.

As soon-to-be new parents, we’re in a whole new community and the stories we read and films we watch do the same thing for us. We watched, “Father of the Bride II” yesterday and so much of it resonated with us. I found myself connecting deeply with the character of George Banks, and some of you that know me well, might laugh and really understand that. Not the “let me dye my hair and join a gym because I’m worried my youth is behind me” part of him, but the self-doubting, protector, who just wants everything to be okay part. 

We’re not supposed to take comfort from films because they’re inherently deceptive. They’re constructed and edited to present the best version of themselves by the time they get to us, but I did. I got comfort, and I feel no shame for it because I feel like for a new parent, you need to take it where you can get it. 

I was having a conversation with friend a few months ago, soon after Aly and I found out we were pregnant, where she was recalling leaving the hospital with her little girl. She said, “I looked over at my husband once we were all strapped in and I looked in the back seat and suddenly realized that we were parents and there was a baby in the back seat that was ours. Fully ours. Our responsibility. No nurses or doctors would be at home to help us. So, I turned to my husband and said, ‘are they really just going to let us take her? I mean, they know we haven’t done this before, right?’”

At the time, I laughed and in passing, thought, “I’m sure every new parent feels that way.”

It turns out, that’s true, at least for us, and we haven’t even delivered them yet.

Still, thinking about this conversation makes me chuckle and feel like everything will be okay, because we’re not alone and other people have done it before us. People just as naive and just as unsure and just as prepared/unprepared as we will be, have done this before. 

It’s no secret that Aly and I, in addition to talking about everything, read anything we can get our hands on that might help us, so that’s what we’ve done since the beginning, and when I say beginning, I mean, before we even found out we were pregnant. We were trying, as best we could, to prepare ourselves for everything, knowing very well that it was impossible. When we found out we were having twins, we joined twin parenting groups and lesbian parenting groups on social media, we’ve been following families that look like ours, and we’ve reach out to those resources when there was a question we just didn’t know how to answer. Things like, “how do other families in the LGBTQ community celebrate Mother’s day?” It turns out we’re in the minority in the way that feels right for us, but understanding how others approach things we’ve never considered, allows us to consider things we, perhaps, otherwise wouldn’t have. I hate to say it, but, “we read, and we know things.” 

Our families laugh at us when we talk about this because they think that, we think, we can find answers to raising children in books, blogs, research articles, and social media, when really it’s that we can learn from people who have done this before, perhaps differently from how they did it, that makes more sense for us. So, perhaps, what they call naiveté, we can probably call reverse-engineering parenting research.

Dear Little Whisp and Thumper,

I’ve never experienced the extreme spectrum of emotions like I have while mommy has carried you around in her tummy, helping you grow. Because of her and you both, I have felt my happiest happy and my scariest scared. You see, parenting, being your parent, your mama, is the most daunting thing I have ever done, or will ever do, in my life.

From the second, I saw you as owl eyes on the screen in the doctor’s office, after she helped mommy, me, and God, make you, I knew that it was up to us to try to make sure you would always, or mostly always, choose goodness in your life. Mommy told me once that I want people to be so good sometimes, that I would always be disappointed in them because it’s hard to be good all the time.

From you, before you have gotten here, and I’ve cuddled you and kissed and hugged you, I want you to know that I don’t expect you to be or choose good all the time and I won’t be disappointed in you when you don’t, but I will love you always. I’ll love you when you choose to be kind and when you’re not, though I hope you always are. I’ll love you when you choose to be gracious and when you’re not, though I hope you choose to give of yourself for the good of others more than you don’t. I’ll love you when you choose to be selfless and when you’re selfish, though I hope you know the profoundness of selfless love in your life.

I hope to be the mama that you deserve. Mommy will be amazing. This I know to the bottom of my soul. I know she will play the best dragon and kiss your scrapes with the most tenderness. I know her words will sooth even the hurtiest of hurts in your life. I’ve learned so much from her already, and you’re not even here yet.

You’re my little whisp and thumper, that wiggle to the music I play you and swish under my ears when I place my head to Mommy’s tummy, and more than anything, I want now to be worthy of the blessing God has given Mommy and me in giving us you.

Mommy and I talked about you for years before you were ready to be ours and we were ready to be yours. We talked about the life we would have and the love we would share. We talked about the things we would teach you and you would teach us. We talked about the home we would build for you and how you would feel not only safe and loved, but free to be whoever, and whatever you wanted to be there. You see, before you were ours and we were yours, we loved you so incredibly much that we made sure we could build that home and give you that love and teach you those things.

I’ve always told Mommy that she was my favorite person. It was something I started saying after she introduced me to what I’m sure will be a recurring film in our home still, “Mary Poppins.” I have three favorite persons now in this incredibly blessed life of mine: Mommy, and my little whisp and my little thumper.

When you finally make your entrance into this world, there is one thing you can know for certain, Mommy and I have loved you since forever because God destined us to be a family long before we knew what our family would look like. Our hearts and homes have grown to receive you and though we want you to keep cooking until you’re ready, we can’t wait for you to get here, so that we can love on you.

Forever your Mama,

Tiffany

While They’ve Been Growing

~Tiffany

The Elusive Kicks

Try as I might, by sight, or sound, or touch, they elude me. Aly has been feeling Bella and Benny for days now. DAYS! As soon as she alerts me that she feels something, my hand immediately goes where hers is resting, presumably, hovering over where they’ve been bouncing. Nothing. I place my ear to her tummy where I can feel my daughter is laying just out of reach and she has nothing yet to say to me, so all I do is sing to them. Songs that I sang just to Aly before we were pregnant, but now they’re our songs, our not-so-little family’s songs. 

CORN!

The many apps we have, tell us how they’re growing (11.3 inches and about 1.5 lbs each now – the size of an ear of corn!). And the phenomenon that I already feel like a parent before they’re even here, when they’re just 1.5lbs, is astounding to me, but I do. As I build their cribs, to make sure their place to sleep is safe, and paint their room, to make sure the place they call home is soothing, I’m doing everything I can outside of Aly’s womb to make sure I can be the best parent I can be. 

The Parenting 

I keep saying that I will only have a chance at being good at this parenting thing, because I have Aly by my side , as with all things in my life. I know I have so much to learn from her. She’s so naturally nurturing with kids. They immediately connect with her and she knows how to connect with them. It’s what made her such a great teacher. 

When these babies are born, there will be a lot of experiential learning. After all, neither of us has ever changed a diaper, but the diapers will get changed, and neither of us has ever bathed babies, but they will get bathed. 

Most who know me, know that I’m not the most animated person. Pretend play will not come naturally to me; Aly has always been better at that. We’ve talked before on this blog that I’m naturally a fixer, rather than a feeler and Aly is naturally a feeler. That means that when they come to us and say that someone hurt their feelings at school, she will immediately tend to their emotional wounds and I will be holding them thinking about who will incur my wrath at their school the next day and who I can contact immediately to rectify what has been done to my child. We will navigate this world of parenting balancing each other out as we always have. She will calm me down and tell me that my wrath is unnecessary, and that my focus should be on bandaging the hurt that was caused to our son or daughter, and I will take her with me to the principal’s/teacher’s office the next day, so that she can keep me calm while I rationally explain to them that they need to do better to protect my children when I’m not around.

I read all these posts about parenting and all the profound things that you want to do for your children and wish, hope, pray, that I will be able to do them. I read a post by Glennon Doyle that said, “I used to lie to my kids all the time, back when I thought my job as a parent was to shield them from pain to keep them safe rather than walking them through their pain to make them brave.” I think about how I want them to be safe AND brave. I think about how I can possibly ensure both and how daunting just that sounds.

Delivery Roulette

We’re taking this online twin parenting class, because of course we are. The good news is that we’ve made the right decisions with things like our cribs and cars seats and the multitude of mom blogs and Pinterest boards we’ve consulted have led us to the right products to put on our registry. The not necessarily great news: One of the tasks that the class gave us to do was to watch some birthing videos to compare a C-section and vaginal birth of twins. An hour and half later, I’m convinced twin mommies are nothing but heroes. HEROES! All mommies are, but twin mommies… Do yourself a favor and watch one of those videos if you don’t agree with me. The moral of the story is that there is no easy way for us to have these babies. 

Here are some interesting facts for you: Vaginal or C-section delivery will be rough because there are two of them growing and if you didn’t know, all of this depends on the positioning of Baby A, which in our case is Bennett. All of this rides on if Bennett is in a good position for vaginal delivery. If he’s head-down and ready to go, then we’re at least starting off that way, otherwise, he’s decided that they’re both coming out through C-section. Our baby boy holds the cards in this crazy game of delivery roulette.

So I Guess While I Wait…

For now, I’ll keep putting my ears and hands to Aly’s tummy, hoping to hear them move or feel them kick. Until then, I’ll just keep singing to them and thinking about how to make them safe and teach them to be brave and kind and compassionate. Also, we’ll be waiting for Benny to decide how he wants Bella and him to make an entrance into the world.

As always, thank you for your thoughts and prayers and well-wishes. We appreciate all of them and hope that you and your loved-ones are staying healthy and safe.

Into the Unknown

~Tiffany

The two-week-wait, or 2ww, as we obsessively on pregnancy blogs/forums know it, is a special kind of torture. It’s filled with a wide range of emotions from hope to despair and everything in between with a whole lot of anxiety mixed in. When you’ve already gone through one 2ww, the second one feels…different. It feels less optimistic and more cautious, while simultaneously, less scientific, and more hopeful, because science has already failed you.

Our first cycle went exactly as planned. The medications worked perfectly, the biology responded as it should have, the fertility process should have been a slam dunk, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t take. So, for this next cycle, nothing was changed, dosages weren’t adjusted, timing wasn’t altered, essentially the same sequence of events took place in exactly the same sequence of time.

There were differences this time though, if not in the process, in the way we were approaching it. In the way we were thinking about the different permutations of futures that could arise. How many more tries would it take? Would this time take? If it takes, how many do you think we will have? What will it be like to have one? Two? Three?! With each question we asked ourselves for the second if not hundredth time, I realized that my mindset was less starry-eyed and more ready to accept whatever future was in store, whichever of these futures that may be.

So, we kept saying things like, “I really hope this one takes, but if it doesn’t, we just try again…” After which I’d think silently to myself, “but I really hope this one works.”  You see, I’m sure if you’ve read any of our other blogs by this point, you know how much we want to be parents. You know how hard we’ve worked to get to the point where we will work even harder to raise good humans. So, even the slightest hope feels like the heaviest weight.

I held Aly’s hand in the doctor’s office, praying my strongest prayer that one of our little swimmers would make it. I stroked her hair in wonderment at this amazing thing we were doing with the heaviest hope I have ever felt.

It’s funny, you know, during the last cycle, Aly and I both had a really good feeling about it. We know now that it was our faith that elevated us. It was something that we really needed at the time, especially it having been our first try. This cycle, however, Aly said to me, “I don’t have a good feeling about this one.” To which I responded, “Maybe that’s a good thing.”

The two-week wait commenced and we waited and waited, but this time, we didn’t drive ourselves nuts on google like the first time. We didn’t read every forum about early pregnancy signs and we didn’t watch endless videos about women who had tested positively after symptoms like the ones that Aly had been having. We “symptom spotted” less and put less stock in things that felt suspiciously like pregnancy signs. All of this we did/didn’t do to maintain our sanity and keep our stress levels down. That is…until Aly’s breasts were continuously tender, and she was smelling the dog from across the house and day 10 was turning to day 11, then day 11 was turning to day 12 and those symptoms weren’t abating and they hadn’t been there the last cycle… When these things happened, our resolve broke and the pregnancy tests that we had stored in our medicine cabinet and sworn not to use, came out.

Have you ever wanted something so much, that when you finally got it, you didn’t believe it was real? That was our life from December 20-23rd, and we have the three positive pregnancy tests to prove it. The faint second line taunted us for three days until, on Monday, our doctor called us, once the lab work came back and told us that our HCG levels were excellent. For those of you who are interested, it was at 187 on day 14. We were in a state of cautious optimism for 3 days and now acceptance has kicked in because Aly is super freaking pregnant with an HCG level that high so soon.

So, now we’re venturing into a new kind of unknown. An unknown filled with nightly readings of, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and registries “must have” lists, and revisiting Aly’s many, many, many Pinterest boards to figure out what the heck we do now that we have a baby (or multiple babies) growing in her tummy. This unknown feels so thrilling and terrifying and amazing. It feels like a blessing I’ve never encountered before. One thing I do know is that as we shared the news with friends and family it was very clear that Baby(ies) Albrecht would know love from so many places and we are so grateful for that.

We recently visited BuyBuyBaby again, this time as expectant mothers, and just to be able to write that fills me with such joy, that I haven’t the words to express it. We looked around and pointed things out we already had on our registry (yes, we already have started building a registry. If you don’t know we’re planners by now, you’ll never know it). We tested and re-tested gliders and ended up compromising yet again, even though my pick was very clearly the more comfortable option. J

As you know, I read. A lot. The “Best of” lists…I’m all over them, doing comparisons on what strollers and car seats should be on the top of our lists, and which bottles/bottle sterilizers/formula/baby monitors are the highest recommended. This pregnancy has my normal tendency to research going on hyper drive.

Strollers have never been as daunting as they are when you’re considering filling them with more than one child at a time. The things you need to consider when buying a stroller for 2+: safety, weight, compatibility with infant car seats, frame durability, wheels, suspension, is it compatible with two infant car seats in the very likely event of twins, do the rumble seats fit comfortably back to back when the babies grow out of infant car seats, how many adapters/what kind of adapters do we need depending which car seat we choose/stroller we choose, what about weight limits for the seats, how easy is it to fold, and a whole host of other things that I’m not thinking of off the top of my head as I write this.

In any case, while I’m obsessing over lists, Aly is busy making little humans, we have our first ultrasound on Wednesday. It’s the 6 week ultrasound to determine if the pregnancy is viable and how many little ones we have growing in Aly’s tummy. Aly’s pregnancy symptoms are pretty strong, and that coupled with the insanely high HCG at 14 days is giving us warm and fuzzies about the viability, but also anxiety about how many we will have at once. No matter what the number, we’re ecstatic. As the number grows, so does the anxiety, but we’re freaking grateful for all of it that we’re just eagerly anticipating seeing our little apple seed/s on the big screen on Wednesday.

As always, we’re so grateful for the good vibes and the love you all have sent our way since we started sharing our journey with you into growing the Albrecht Household.

Eggs and Croissants

~Tiffany

We’re five days into our second cycle. What does that mean? That means four days ago Aly’s uterus was thin and she had a bunch of follicles waiting to turn into mature eggs in her ovaries (according to the picture in the ultrasound).

It feels like a whirlwind. It seems crazy that we can pick right back up and start trying again so quickly. Then again, in different circumstances, I suppose it wouldn’t seem so sudden. Perhaps it’s all the doctor’s appointments. There are so many of them and I’m trying to be at all of them, even when I don’t have a question to ask and all I have to contribute is to look at the picture on the screen to see how Aly’s ovaries and uterus are doing and remember as much as possible about what the doctor says.

I joked last week when one of our friends reached out in a show of support, after we received the news we weren’t pregnant, that I’ve been trying to knock Aly up for years. Lol. This process has been so daunting and specific in terms of timing and medications and cycles, so on, that it’s a wonder “oopsies” happen for anyone.

I mean, the people that go to a reproductive endocrinologist are either couples like Aly and I, who belong to the LGBTQ community, or straight couples that have been trying for some time without success to conceive, or single women who want to have children (I’m sure I’ve missed a population here). How can it be that some people just “happen” to get pregnant when the likelihood for people who are actively trying, with medical professional assistance is only around 20% for the first try. This baffles me, but I’ve digressed.

We’re five days in and the meds seem to be doing the work, at least that’s the only explanation I have for the heightened emotional state at the Albrecht household. We have cramping happening and scattered headaches throughout the day and if this sounds like a weather forecast, that’s because it feels just as unpredictable as one. We suspect that the impact is stronger this time around because Aly’s gone much longer without being on birth control (at this point it’s been over a month, whereas, during the first round, she had only been off for a week). In any case, I’m doing my best to be my best self in the emotionally supportive, household helpery sort of way.

We have another ultrasound tomorrow to see how Aly is doing in her cycle and how she’s responding to the Letrazole. Considering she already had a bunch of follicles hanging out in her ovaries, I’m thinking it won’t have had to work too hard. The consensus after the last cycle was that nothing really went wrong. It just didn’t take, and so the doc didn’t adjust the meds or change the timing or do anything different really, at least not up until this point. She mentioned that she didn’t want to increase the meds because Aly’s ovaries seem to have a good amount of follicles already and we don’t want to make her ridiculously fertile. To which Aly charmingly responded, “I definitely don’t want to be giving birth in a cardboard box.” Lol

So, we’re cleaning the house, and building furniture from Ikea and Wayfair and getting our house all ready for the holidays (At least we were until Aly broke her pinky toe). Basically, biding our time until our next two-week wait, which we think will start in approximately 4-5 days, if you can believe it. Now that Aly’s toe is broken, it’s more her apologizing that she can’t help while I very expertly build  furniture and clean in all the wrong ways. Lol.

We had a conversation this weekend over croissants (this will be relevant in a moment). Aly turned to me and said, “You’re going to have our children learning French, aren’t you?” I should explain that I have been trying to learn French for years, but inconveniences like the CPA exam and life have gotten in the way. I responded, “I don’t speak French, despite my best efforts, but I could, absolutely!”  To which she responded, “don’t they have those ‘teach children languages things for the car?’” I swear I loved her more in that moment. I pictured myself repeating French phrases with the kids in the van while we are running errands, and this parenting thing was even more magical than I already thought it would be. She then said, “And your mom will definitely be speaking to them in Spanish.” “You’re damn right, she will. Our kids will be geniuses! They’ll know all the languages!” I said. Aly may have face-palmed while I dreamed, but that breakfast was so reassuring to me as we started this process all over again.

I didn’t want to write a response from my perspective after we found out the results from our first cycle because Aly very eloquently captured how we were feeling in her post, but we’re hopeful again about this one. We know what to look out for and what Aly experienced before when we were symptom-spotting. We know the things we shouldn’t do and the things that drove us crazy and probably should avoid. We know what questions to ask, so that Aly doesn’t feel stir crazy in the house and like I’m confining her to the couch for two weeks without merit. We know all of the things we are going to know from all of the forums we read up until last week and I doubt there will be anything knew. So, here’s to hoping for good news and a saner two-week wait than the first. In the meantime, our sperm is flying again, so I hope you’ll join us in wishing them a safe and speedy journey. Or, as the French would say, bon voyage.

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.

The Journey Begins

Some 12 1/2 years ago, the love of my life became my girlfriend. Five years ago, she became my fiance, and a year and a half ago, she became my wife. For us, we feel like we’ve been on this journey to motherhood and family since we fell in love, but in actuality, we starting taking steps toward making a baby just last January. I sat across the couch from my best friend in the world, on New Year’s Day and said, “I think we’re ready.” I knew we were newlyweds, and I knew we had a long road ahead of us, but there was no one in this life or any other with whom I would want to travel it. So, I held her hand and promised we’d do it together, as we always had done everything. And so began our journey of growing #thealbrechthousehold.

~Tiffany

Life in #theAlbrechtHousehold

January 2019

Tiffany: Why are there more TJMaxx bags than Publix bags in our extra bags drawer?

Aly: Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answers to…

#doweneedgroceries #raedunnaddiction #thealbrechthousehold

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