I have been your mommy for 25 weeks, but I’ve waited for you for so much longer than that. As a child, I dreamt about being a mommy one day, as I practiced by caring for my own dolls. I changed their clothes and pushed them around in child-height strollers. As a teenager, my heart ached when my doctor told me that having a baby wouldn’t be impossible, but would be challenging for me, based on my diagnosis. I carried it around with me along with my teenage angst. As a young adult, I waited for the timing to be right. I waited for me to do some growing up, but I never stopped thinking about what it would mean to be your mom. As an adult, I fought for you. We, your mama and I, fought for you. We fought to eat a healthy diet, pushed past the exhaustion on the elliptical, researched to find the right fertility specialist, and searched for months to find the right donor to ensure that we could give you your best chance.
We continue to fight for you now, during a pandemic. We waited and waited for the right time to bring you into our life. We wanted you to have the least amount of struggle. We knew what it was like to have financial struggle and only one parent at home. We worked on our relationship during bumps and even during the highs, through communication and workbooks, so that we could be the solid foundation for you at home. We made strategic financial choices to give you every opportunity. But no amount of planning can still make the right time, clearly, as we never wanted to bring you into this world during a pandemic. We have such little control, if any, in all things in our life.
We fight to keep you safe during this challenging time. We have stayed at home for months, without leaving for anything but a doctor’s appointment, which even then meant a mask was donned. We haven’t eaten out a single time in fear that there could be some way that we could infect me or you with this virus. I worry about the kind of life you’ll have with the changes we are experiencing in this world. I don’t know what kind of life will be normal soon, but I hope you know that mama and I will try our best to fill it with happiness, love, and nourishment for your body and soul.
I sit in your room a lot. I sit in there and just experience your imaginary presence. Many people can tell you that Disney is my happy place, but right now during this pandemic, it’s your nursery. I see you laying in your cribs. I see a tired mama rocking you. I feel your positive energy there before you’ve even taken your first breath. You often bring me out of my thoughts while I’m in there, with a sudden kick to a random organ, but I think you’re just making your presence known again. Keeping me grounded.
I used to want to be a mom for me. I thought that this would fulfill my life. Now, I realize that I’m not a mom for me. I’m a mom for you. The shift has already happened. I’m living every second to be the mother you need.
I am someone who has prided myself on my accomplishments. I’ve always done well in school, college, adulting, and my career. I haven’t held you in my arms yet, but I know that you are my greatest accomplishment. Nothing your mama and I will ever do, will ever bring us more joy or pride than being your parents. I feel it with every beat of my heart. I see it with every toothy grin on your mama’s face when she has just a glimpse of you on a face-time screen or has the privilege to feel your wiggles.
We don’t have everything figured out. We will try our best to figure out how to care for you both physically and emotionally. I don’t know if we can give you everything you will ever want, but I promise you that every day you will know the immeasurable amount of our love. Our babies. Our favorite little beings.
This week you’ll get a blog post from each of us. Enjoy!
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.
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.
the Myers Briggs personality test several times throughout my life for
different reasons, and on multiple occasions, up until I hit my late-twenties,
my result was INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging). Only very
recently did I take the test again during a development class at work and find
that something had changed: my last letter. I went from an INTJ to an INTP.
Somewhere in the course of my twenties, I started perceiving more than judging.
Consistently, Aly and I test exactly opposite. When I tested INTJ, she was a
ESFP (Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving). She has since also
changed to an ESFJ…still my exact opposite.
So, what does this mean? I thrive in an environment fueled by logic and not clouded by feelings or emotions or any of that other “fluffy stuff.” Aly, on the other hand, on top of being an ESFJ, is a Cancer, which means that if there is an emotion out there to feel, she will feel it, and she will articulate that feeling better than anyone. This has led, on several occasions, to a conundrum: how can I, as a logical problem-solver, be a supportive partner to her, an emotional feeler of all things, and how can she do the same for me?
Our approach to this problem-solving conundrum: the fix or feel method. For instance, when Aly complains about something in her day, I quickly pose the question “Fix or Feel?” Having her say “fix” allows me to go into my natural state. It’s what I do best. The “feelings,” while out of my comfort zone, result in a lot of “Yeah, that would make me upset too.” Or, “That was so rude. I can’t believe they did that to you!” She suddenly feels understood and I feel like a rock star.
The Emotional Monkey Wrench
I jokingly call her my “emotional monkey wrench,” because when I think I have a problem figured out, and I present her with the solution that seemingly would work perfectly, the emotional monkey wrench gets thrown in and stops the gears from turning for a while until the feelings are resolved. It’s funny how relationships make you adaptable, and now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder how much of my conscious effort to be better at feeling for her, and, subsequently, talking about those feelings, played into my last letter changing.
I had to very consciously make an effort to not approach solely problem-solving with Aly. I had to, when presented with a problem, very literally, take a second to tamp down on my initial reaction, understanding that the moment was about her. I often still fail. Less often now, thankfully, but I do still, now and again.
“And you get emotions, and you get emotions,…” (Oprah voice)
All of this makes me think about how I’ll approach emotionally charged situations with our children. Aly has asked me before, “How are you going to react if our kid/s comes home and says they’re getting bullied?” I proceeded to tell her of all the ways I would engage the administration at the school and ensure that the parents of the bully would be notified and take action. Aly’s next words were, “but what about our child’s feelings? How will we handle those and make sure that they’re ok?” I was at a loss. I responded in the way that I do when I don’t know the answer to a question. I said, “I’ll read a book about how to handle it.” Aly jokes that I think I can find the answer to all problems in books. Perhaps I do. In books I find the known when I come face-to-face with the unknown. They provide me with the possibility of a solution, but it occurs to me now that this approach is akin to trying to piece-meal a manual for child-rearing out of the experiences of others. It’s sounding more and more like a ludicrous approach. So now, where do I turn?
Times, they are a’changin’
I wonder how kids will change our personalities and approaches. I wonder how they’ll change our relationship and our traditions. I’ve always considered us to be so compatible, whether because we are opposites in many ways, or because my passivity is just enough for her necessity to be in control. I often joke with her that together, we make the perfect person because she’s strong where I’m weak and vice versa. I doubt that this will translate into being the perfect parents, but I muse about how we will play off of each other knowing what our strengths and weaknesses are and how our children will receive and perceive it all.
I’m a planner by nature. One look at my desk full of calendars, planners, and post-its would make that clear, should there be any doubt. Deciding to try to have a baby has been no exception. Being a part of a lesbian marriage helped to further enable the planning measures put into place, as an awful lot of planning is necessary for my wife and I to have a baby. No oopsies here!
Since January 2018, Tiffany and I have set goals, made to-do lists, and basically started to research as much as possible. We have spent many evenings reading blogs or watching vlogs about lesbian couples conceiving, pregnancy prep, birthing options, breast feeding, and even baby shower themes. Truthfully, I remember fantasizing about raising children together years ago when we started dating and fell hopelessly in love, like an SNL skit about a stereotypical lesbian couple. Many years have passed since, as have discussions with countless versions of our visions of children. These discussions always reveal that our children are going to be brilliant, gorgeous, athletic, funny, and artistically inclined. We will also be fantastic parents who are emotionally aware at all times, involved by coaching their teams, and planning school events on the PTA. You’re always an amazing parent with perfect children before you actually become a parent, but I digress.
Now, as only a couple more months separate us from our first round of IUI, we are truly moving into uncharted territory. Sure, it’s good to have plans. I’m glad I learned what foods are helpful for conception. I’m excited to look at baby clothes. I enjoy perusing through endless lists of baby names. And I’m sure I’ll be grateful that I read that article about which exercises will help to prevent vaginal tearing during birth. (I am aware that we aren’t pregnant yet. Don’t judge.)
But, what about all the unknowns? The things that no amount of planning can control. Will we have trouble conceiving? How would I ever recover from a miscarriage? What if we become pregnant with multiples- will we be able to handle it? Will the baby be healthy? How are we going to afford all the diapers and daycare? I even think about stuff that is farther in the future, such as, how will we protect our child from the bigots of the world?
To cope, I find myself repeating a phrase I often heard during my mental health counseling grad school classes. “Trust the process.” I think this is going to be a learning experience for me, for her, for us. I already feel myself adapting and growing. I pray for guidance and comfort during our journey. I always knew that having a baby would change me, but I never expected growth while simply trying to have a baby.
Truthfully, I’m so glad that I have Tiffany by my side during whatever is coming. We are each other’s support. Our marriage is our life raft during life’s inevitable chaos. I expect that this fertility journey will bring us tears, joy, and every emotion in between. Yet, I’m pretty sure that embracing the unknown will be necessary now. I’ll have to jump in, not just dip my toes.
So, cheers to growth, to finding excitement/happiness through the unknown, and to sharing the highs and lows with possibly only 5 readers (which are probably just close friends and family who see us regularly anyway). This is the start of sharing our journey with you. Welcome to the Albrecht Household.
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!
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.
Life in #theAlbrechtHousehold
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…