Two Blogs in One

This week you’ll get a blog post from each of us. Enjoy!

Atari ~Tiffany~

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. 

Superstitious

~Aly

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

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

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

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

Our Positive IUI Superstitions:

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Insemination – Part 1: Two Perspectives

Welcome again to The Albrecht Household blog! This post is a little different. Aly and I decided to tie in both of our perspectives into one post. We’ll keep changing things up to see what works and keep you on your toes :).

Tiffany’s Reflections

What exactly does letrazole do? Was taking it all at once really the recommended therapeutic dose? What exactly is a trigger shot? What does it “trigger”? Will our first try, stick? What did she mean when she said “test your levels”? Is it a blood test? Are they doing another ultrasound when we go in again? How many eggs has she produced? How do we know when she’s ovulating? When do we order the sperm to be shipped? Do we have her sign the sperm shipment form the next time we see her? The insemination seems to be getting close and the form isn’t signed yet, I think I should print a second copy, just in case something happens with the first one…

Early morning thoughts of an anxious wife. I experience anxiety differently than Aly. Normally, I’m very, “go with the flow.” Lately, since we got the news that we would start trying, I have not gone with anything that could resemble a flow. I’ve woken up before my alarm every morning with thoughts such as the ones above and they continue well into the day until I calm myself down by googling for answers to some of them. Research helps me. This isn’t the case for Aly. The more she knows, the more she has to worry about. The more I know, the less I don’t; therefore, easing my mind of the questions that are incessantly floating around torturing me every morning.

I’m the first to admit that we have no control over this situation. God is in complete control here and we have done everything we can up until this point to give us our best chances at success. On the surface, that brings me so much comfort. It’s warm and fuzzy in our little bubble of faith. But, also, I have to know more. I have to know what the things do and how everything works, so that I can fix what I can if I need to.

This feels trivial compared to what I’m sure we will go through when we actually have a little human to take care of, but it doesn’t feel trivial right now. It feels like a freaking big deal.

I want to know everything I can because I want to be able to answer the questions too, not just rely on the doctor to answer them. I want to be able to bring myself and Aly comfort when we don’t exactly understand why it is we have to take a medication at exactly this time in order for it to be the most effective when we need it to be.

It’s exhausting, but in the end, rewarding. Aly’s been doing so much in these last two years that I feel like the least I can do is to just know things, for myself and for her. I can think of no gift I will ever be able to give her that will ever amount to the one she is giving us, but maybe I can just know things so that I can have the answers and make this less stressful.

So, this is what I do. I research, so that I know things, so that when we do things, we feel good about them. I now know that letrazole induces ovulation by stimulating the growth of more follicles, which hold the eggs, and releasing them. I know that the high-dose letrazole has been scientifically proven to show more effective results than administering therapeutically over the course of 5 days. I know that a trigger shot is basically a lab-created version of hCG, which stimulates the maturing egg within the follicle to complete maturing and release. I don’t know if our first try will stick, but I have a heck of a lot of faith that it will. “Test your levels” means that she will measure the thickness of the uterus lining to make sure that it is ready for implantation and see where the follicles are in terms of size. Yes, an ultrasound will be performed at each of the coming appointments. We don’t know yet how many eggs she will release. We’re getting an ovulation testing kit to know when she will be ovulating, although, I have an idea based on the app I downloaded. We’re ordering the sperm to be delivered on a specific day now that, yes, the form is signed, submitted, and processed. It only took one copy, even though I brought two.

This is what I do. I research and I know things. So maybe now I can sleep tonight…

Aly’s Reflections

The doctor said that my uterus wasn’t “thick” enough yet this morning. A thick uterus means my body is ready for implantation- ready to make a baby. I’ve spent my entire life with a thick body and suddenly I’m not thick enough. What gives?! It seems like we are still on track, though.

The next steps are:
-see the doctor again this weekend to check my levels
-give a trigger shot for ovulation
-coordinate sperm shipment (the sperm will be flying across the country). FLYING SPERM! How crazy is that?!

There are many moving parts and all are part of a process that we are unfamiliar with. It’s quite overwhelming. If we ever have to do this again, I take comfort in the fact that we should know the drill now. But, certainly, I’m hoping that it will take this time and we won’t have to do it again.

I’ve worked so hard to get to this point and Tiffany has been by my side every step of the way. Personally, I feel like all I can do right now is pray a strange prayer. Pray for a thick uterus. Pray for a smooth shipment of flying sperm. Pray that the shot works. Pray that the egg will fertilize and implant.

I hope you’ll join me in this strange prayer. Send good vibes, should you be so inclined. The outpouring of messages and comments with support have been so encouraging. We appreciate all of you who are rooting for us.

Fall with The Albrechts

~Aly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Albrecht Normal

~Aly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Aly~

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.

Opposites Attract

~Tiffany~

She’s the F to my T

I’ve taken 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.

My mind at work: “What’s the most efficient route to get through San Diego Zoo in one day?…”

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.

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!