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.

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.

Planners are Planning…

~Aly~

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.

Life, bring it on. We are ready. 

Becoming The Albrecht Household

~Tiffany~

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

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

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

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

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

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