Monday, October 25, 2010


I've never been good at sharing.

I'm ridiculously bossy, extremely anal, and I need my space. And because of this sickness, I was pretty nervous about getting married and having to share a bed, a bathroom, and my routines. It was somewhat of a difficult transition, but it worked perfectly in the end and I learned to share, even though it hasn't always been easy.

Surprisingly, despite my inability to share well, I'm enjoying the fact that my body is currently being invaded by a tiny human. Pregnancy is amazing, especially now that we are officially into the second trimester and energy is back up, my chest is no longer sore, the slight midday nausea has disappeared, the ravenous cravings have stopped and I'm no longer in a constant state of lethargy.

If it wasn't for that amazing doppler, I wouldn't even know I was pregnant.

Well, except for the fact that my usually flawless skin transformed about a week ago into foreign mess of breakouts on my upper back and chest, and my scalp is dry and flaky. But I figure it could always be worse, and it's nothing that a quick trip to Target and about fifteen minutes of standing in the acne isle, perplexed by all of the creams, washes, pads and sprays plus a bottle of head and shoulders can't fix.

I hope.

And I'm still struggling a little with the weight gain, though I'm trying my best to contain my obsession. I've never been stick thin and genetics are pretty much against that ever being the case, but I spent so much time and effort getting my body ready for our fourth and final IVF cycle that my mindset was tweaked and hasn't found it's way back yet. The eight to ten pound weight gain happened back when I was just seven or so weeks along and I've managed to hold it steady for the last six weeks, but it's still a constant battle to find that medium between being healthy, and obsessing over bodily changes that I can't control.

I can feel you all shaking your fingers at me, but the reality is, I'm just now in the second trimester and have already gained a third of the recommended weight for a pregnancy. I want to stay healthy, I want to continue to work out, and I want my baby to get everything he or she needs to thrive. And while the scale shouldn't be a stress to me at this point, I do want to be aware of it-but not obsessed with it-as I watch my body change and develop that glorious baby bump I've waited years for.

But despite my new skin debacle of epic proportions and the fact that my body is no longer my own, pregnancy is the most amazing thing I've ever been a part of. The further along we get, the more the fear is being lifted and this experience is becoming a reality instead of just a dream.

This is as good as it gets because right now, I am as close to this child as I'll ever be. It's growing and living inside of my body, protected from the dangers of the outside world. I can carry him or her with me everywhere I go, and I don't have to worry about feedings, diaper changes, crying fits or strollers. I can still go out shopping whenever I want to, go to the gym as I please, travel without having to pack massive amounts of extra baggage, and sleep in on the weekends. I can still work out, shower, put on makeup and hear myself think. And while I'm more than ready for all of the above to be part of my life, I'm enjoying right now while I still have it all to myself.

Because in a few short months, sharing will bring on a whole different meaning.

My life will no longer be my own. Every move, every thought, everything I do will be determined by or related to this tiny, precious little one that God has put in my care, and nothing-my body, my life-will ever be the same again.

But I'm so ready to share.

"There is no delight in owning anything unshared."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Nothing ever plays out the way I plan it in my head.

I suppose it's time to learn how to cope with this loss of control since I'm growing a tiny human in my body, and life as I know it is about to become more unpredictable than ever before.

As we sat in the car ride down to my in laws house, trying desperately not to ruin the giant baked cookies bouncing around in the trunk, we rehearsed how we would share the news. It would be simple; we'd sit down for dinner all together, and as conversations started to die down and plates began to empty, we would announce that we brought desert and we would exit to the car to grab the boxes of cookies. Upon our return, we would open the boxes and display our news for everyone to see, followed by hugs and kisses and congratulations.

But as we pulled up to the house, there was an unfamiliar vehicle sitting in the driveway that I didn't recognise. And as we made our way into the house, I realized that my father-in-law had invited their missionary family to join us at dinner, even though he knew we were planning the big reveal tonight.

The problem wasn't that I was worried about sharing our news with the missionaries, it was that I only had enough cookies for the number of people I thought were coming. And those cookies were all decorated perfectly with each and every family members name, preordained with the title of Aunt, Uncle, Grandma, Grandpa, Great Grandma and Great Grandpa.

And being the obsessive compulsive planner that I am, the thought of my perfect night being ruined by a lack of pre-decorated cookies was about enough to cause this hormonally challenged pregnant girl to cancel the entire execution of our reveal.

Seeing my anxiousness, my father in law attempted his best shot at covering up his mistake by calling up a cousin to explain that we were short on desert, and asking her to purchase store bought dough, bake similar sized cookies and bring them to the house so the missionaries wouldn't be left out.

Which would have worked beautifully, except that the cousin asked to take care of his mistake was at the nail salon getting her toes done. So by the time she had finished her pedicure, ran to the store while trying not to smudge her freshly painted toes, purchased the dough and baked the cookies, we had already been done with dinner for over an hour.

And as I helped clean up the mess in the kitchen while the rest of the family sat around making forced small talk, waiting for this strangely secretive desert, the missionary family decided it was getting late and it was time for them to take there three small children back to where they were staying to pack and get ready for their departure the next day.

I watched the five reasons my perfect plan had gone horribly wrong say their goodbyes and head through the crowd to the back door.

And just as I thought I was going to burst out in a blood curdling scream of anger, frustration and pure self pity, cousin Amy blew through the back door holding a plate full of ginormous chocolate chip cookies, bless her heart.

We didn't waste a second of this precious distraction. We both raced over to the nook where the boxes of cookies were hid under a pile of newspaper and brought them into the center of the kitchen. I remember fighting with the lid to my box as my husband made some embarrassing comment then yelled out, We're Pregnant before I even knew it was time to reveal.

Once again, he just couldn't hold it in until the appropriate time.

Lucky for him, before I could even comprehend what had just happened there were hugs, congratulations and cookies being eaten all around. It felt so strange to answer questions about when the baby was due, if this happened naturally or with treatment, and how far along I was. Something that had previously been a secret was now public knowledge, and it felt all wrong-and so right-at the same time.

It wasn't until later that I found out my surprise that night at my husbands premature reveal was shared by only his youngest sister and one set of his grandparents. Being the awesome secret keeper that he is, he had already shared the news with one set of grandparents, his brother, sister, aunt, uncle-and yes-even the missionaries.

So the Costco lady was not his first breach of our contract.

But after a very real threat to not share the news even with him next time until after I'm well into the second trimester, I just had to forgive and forget.

The boy is excited. He's going to be a father by next Spring, and even the wrath of his newly pregnant wife wasn't enough to douse the fire of pride he's been building for the last few months. He doesn't share my fears and will probably never fully understand them, so for him, this news is just too much to keep stuffed inside his big, fat, secret-spoiling head.

As for my families smaller reveal there was genuine surprise, thought the day still didn't go quite as smooth as the picture in my head.

We had planned a family dinner with just my brother and his fiance and her two kids, and my sister and her husband and their two kids at my parents house on Sunday afternoon. The dinner was to celebrate our families recent wedding anniversary's, and although they didn't know, we would also be watching the CD of our family pictures afterwards, complete with the added pictures of the two of us holding our positive pregnancy test.

But my sister works early on Sunday mornings, and decided that she wouldn't be able to make it to dinner on Sunday afternoon because my two nephews just couldn't possibly survive without their naps, and they wouldn't take them if they were around all of us at our parents house. Then she decided that we should just wait to get together until our family pictures were done, so that we could watch them all together.

So the first surprise went out the window when we had to tell her that the family pictures were, in fact, done.

But she still wouldn't cooperate and make it to dinner. So we ended up telling her she had to be at my parents house no later than 4pm so we could watch the pictures together before church at 5pm that night. But as the rest of us sat there enjoying our dinner, my sister-in-law reminded us that the kids all had to be at church about twenty minutes early that night to practice an upcoming youth night skit.

And my sister didn't make it to my parents until twenty after 4pm.

So as we rushed into the living room and started to play the CD of our family photos, everyone enjoyed the first fifteen minutes of them but began to nervously check there watches towards the end to see if we were going to be able to finish them before it was time to leave for church. And as the last six pictures of my husband and I holding up our pregnancy test flashed across the screen, no one was really looking.

My heart was pounding with nervousness and excitement as my mom finally yelled out what's that? and pointed to the screen. I remember my sister's face, and my sister in-law as they stared at the pictures with the most priceless confused looks on their faces.

My ever excited husband predictably yelled out it's a positive pregnancy test and we're pregnant, so no one would have to guess, and my still confused sister asked if I was going to have a baby.

Well, I sure hope so.

Once again, our news was welcomed with hugs and congratulations and I found myself answering the same questions all over again, but with a bit more excitement and relief this time around.

As hard as it was to let go of the fear, telling our families spurned a wonderful sense of release, and everything finally started to become more real.

But none of that compared to what I saw on the black ultrasound screen today. The second heart in my body that had resembled a tiny, sedentary gummy bear attached to a yolk sac a few short weeks ago was now a rapidly moving, dancing little human. We could see hands and feet attached to flailing chicken arms and legs, and a precious little face with a tiny, perfect little nose.

It was so strange to lie there on the table that resembled one that I'd been on so many times before over the last few years, but this time my legs were not up in stirrups. They were relaxed, laid out in front of me as the tech rubbed a wand over my exposed, slightly swollen belly, projecting a picture on the screen of a baby-my baby-doing what appeared to be a series of crunches inside of my uterus.

Today, I saw an answered prayer on a glorified computer screen. I held pictures of my child's profile, and heard the thundering heartbeat rumble at twice the speed of my own.

God could have said no. He could have chosen a much different path for us, one that didn't include a biological child. We were almost prepared for that path, had nearly come to accept it, but then God chose to intervene and bless us though we deserved much less.

He said yes, and now we are sharing cookies and pictures with our families. I'm holding pictures of my little one's perfect profile, and watching it dance, kick and wiggle on the screen. I'm blogging about my first pregnancy, and scolding my husband for sharing our news before I'm ready, and I'm finally, joyfully, happily, pregnant.

Someday's, nothing seems to go right, and my plans have never really worked out the way I've wanted them to.

But God's are much better anyway.

"Sometimes we must get hurt in order to grow. We must fail in order to know. Sometimes our vision is clear only after our eyes are washed away with tears."
-Author Unknown

Friday, October 8, 2010


It's time.

Not to have the baby, of course; but time to share the news of our growing little one.

As we drove home from celebrating our four year anniversary in Monterrey last week, we stopped by my grandmother's house in Vallejo. Just a few days short of her birthday, my husband thought this would be the perfect time to tell her of our tiny little miracle. But as we sat in her living room talking about our trip, upcoming plans, and how thin she thought I was looking despite my fluctuating eight to ten pound weight gain for reasons unbeknownst to her, I couldn't bring myself to do it.

I could feel my husbands eyes boring holes through my side profile as he made small comments to open up the conversation to the direction he thought it was supposed to be heading, but I simply brushed them off and eventually shot him the look.

Less than an hour later, we were saying our goodbyes and packing back into the car. Once again, I could feel my husband giving me the silent stare down, but before I could explain my erratic behaviour and change of plans to him, I tried desperately to figure out for myself why I was so scared to tell my grandparents.

Why I was suddenly terrified for someone to know the truth at just ten weeks.

It didn't take long for me to assess the situation once I really became honest with myself. This pregnancy is something I've wanted, something I've craved desperately for the last almost four years. I've dreamed of the day when I could admire positive pregnancy test, share the news in some creative way with my husband, watch the weight on the scale go up and blissfully enjoy every single minute of pregnancy.

But even though I've been extremely blessed beyond words to get to this point, it's been anything but what I pictured in my head. With a starting beta of eleven at a day short of four weeks pregnant, there wasn't much celebration; there was fear and waiting. Then with a following beta of what we were told was negative, there was sadness and loss, followed by a corrected mistake of another low but rising beta, and so on.

Since day one of this pregnancy, I've been living with fear.

With infertility, I'd developed a peace between God and I that allowed me to somewhat outrun my fears. If I could pray harder, eat healthier, work out more, take my vitamins and stick with my fool proof schedule to meet all of my goals, then I was on the right track, and I could run fast enough to keep a safe distance away from the fear of failure and the possibility of broken dreams. I mastered focusing on the positive, and enjoying the journey that I just knew would lead me to my miracle someday.

I spent years fighting for a dream, then God answered our prayers and made it come true.

But now what?

Infertility and pregnancy are two different worlds, and I wasn't prepared for this. This is a whole new fear, and I just don't understand enough yet to run fast enough. And because I can't outrun it, I'm still too scared to share the news.

Feeling the slight nausea midday, watching my chest continue to grow at lightning speed and staring at old ultrasound pictures from weeks ago just wasn't cutting it anymore. I had no idea if the life inside of me was still growing, I couldn't hear the heart beating and I had no proof. I just couldn't bare to share the news until I knew that everything was still perfect.

Then yesterday, our dear friends sent us a gift in the mail that changed everything.

Even though I was only a day short of eleven weeks, we found the heartbeat right away. Even if I never had another sonogram or ultrasound for the rest of the pregnancy, I'd be fine as long as I could hear that second heart beating through that speaker.

My other heart.

It's amazing how something as small as a rented Doppler could ease my fears in an instant. Suddenly the spotting, the lack of symptoms and my obsessive compulsive fears washed far away at the strong, constant whoosh, whoosh, whoosh blaring through the tiny machine.

Tonight, we are going to dinner at my in law's house and my husband insists on sharing the news with his immediate family. And although I would still like to wait until the first trimester is complete, I just don't think I'm capable of bottling his excitement any longer, especially after our encounter at Costco last night.

As I headed back to the cart holding our box of spiced lentils that tasted like chili but really are way better for you, I looked back to see my husband having a second sample and sharing a moment with with elderly lady back at the sample station that provided us with our lentil goodness. He was leaning in and whispering something to her, and she turned, smiled softly and gave a little wave.

As he danced back to the cart looking like the brawny man with his scruffy facial hair and dirty construction worker clothes on, he was smiling like a little boy on Christmas morning after having just shared our secret with a complete stranger.

At Costco.

But that's what I get for holding him back.

So tonight, I let him loose. We made giant cookies and wrote every one's names in pink and blue icing, labeling them as Aunt, Uncle, Grandma and Grandpa, and after tonight's dinner we'll reveal our surprise secret in a group setting for the first time.

Then come Sunday, we'll set together with my immediate family and watch the CD of our family pictures together on the big screen, where my brother, sister and their families will see the added pictures of my husband and I holding our pregnancy test for the world to see.

We'll share the news with everyone else after we enter the second trimester, if I can get my husband to stop telling strangers at Costco in the meantime, that is.

It's still scary. I just heard that priceless sound last night, but I'm already craving more as I sit here at work and wonder if it's still beating away while I leak dark brown bodily fluid from my girl parts. But I have to trust that God knows what's best for me, and He'll watch over and care for us just as He always has as I continue to pray away my fears and we begin to share our blessing with family and friends.

Ready or not.

"Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing."
-Wayne Dyer