Sunday, October 27, 2013

for real

Hello, friends...we have quite a bit of catching up to do.

We had our last IUI (intrauterine insemination) in August. It was a "hail Mary" cycle. We knew it wouldn't work. It never had before. We were fixing our eyes on IVF and this IUI was our method of killing time until we could take the plunge.

I didn't get a beta (blood pregnancy test) done after the two-week wait because I never do. Those beta days are the worst. I'd much rather find out that I'm not pregnant at home, in my own bathroom, by myself than over the phone with a nurse I've never met. But my period was late...and then later...and later.

One morning, while Andrew was finishing up his night shift at the hospital, Harriet and I went to Walmart for a pregnancy test. I got there just as they were opening and I seemed to be the only one in the store besides the two young check-out girls. One of them attempted to put my purchase in a bag, and I told her I didn't need a bag.

"I bet you're going right into that bathroom to take it," said the other.

"Yes, I am," I replied.

"What are you hoping for?"

"I really, really want it to be positive," I said, and I told them a little bit of my story.

I entered the bathroom, set Harriet down far away from the toilets and told her not to touch anything. I unwrapped the pregnancy test with shaky hands and left the stall door open as I did my thing. The digital hourglass blinked and blinked and blinked...forever. And then I saw something flash onto that screen for the very first time - pregnant.

And then I sobbed.

"Mama's crying because she's happy. Mama's crying because she's happy," I told my concerned daughter over and over.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," I told a less-than-concerned God.

I composed myself and walked out of the bathroom where the two check-out girls were nervously waiting.

"It's positive," I said, and they seemed very happy to be the first to know.

I strapped Harriet back into her carseat while taking deep, tear-filled breaths and settled myself in the driver's seat before deciding that I needed to go back in for donuts. But first, I texted Andrew...

Just got my period. What a bummer. 

We were going to meet him at a playground, so I quickly planned a fun way to share the news. I'd have Harriet at the top of a curly slide and he'd be at the bottom to catch her. But rather than sending her down, I'd slide the pregnancy test down. Well, like most plans that involve children, this one never panned out because Harriet was zonked in the back of the car when he got to the park. Instead, I just took the test out of the waistband of my shorts and handed it to him.

"You're joking," he said. And he cried.

The next day, I had a beta drawn. Two-hundred-something.

Two days later, I had another one. Four-hundred-something.

We scheduled an ultrasound for about eight weeks but I couldn't wait that long. My doctor agreed to see me just short of seven weeks. Unfortunately, Andrew was hiking the Superior Hiking Trail with my brother and we hadn't told our families yet. Also, hand foot and mouth disease was hitting our community hard around that time, so all of my babysitters were out of commission with sick babies of their own to care for. I had one option - to bring Harriet with me.

She fell asleep on the way to the appointment, so I picked her up and carried her into the clinic. I had called the front desk to warn them that I was bringing my daughter and to ask if it would be possible for me to be taken directly back to an ultrasound room if one was available. I've never brought Harriet to an appointment before and I fully support the no kids allowed rule, so I wanted to be as respectful as possible under the circumstances. There wasn't a room available, which I found odd since the waiting room was empty. I stood there in the fertility clinic waiting room with my lovely little daughter sleeping soundly in my shoulder and (hopefully) another baby in my belly. And all of a sudden, I was that woman...something for another day, another post...something that has been on my heart so heavily during this blogging absence.

They called me back and I managed to somehow undress and situate myself on the table, all the while snuggling my sleeping dear. In came the doctor and ultrasound tech and I told them what I always tell them, "As soon as you have any information, tell me. I get really freaked out when you're silent."

I couldn't really see the screen because Harriet's head was in the way, but I did see the ultrasound tech flash the doctor a sideways peace sign, and that was enough for me to crank my neck around the top of Harriet's head to see two black blobs on the screen, each with its own teeny heartbeat, fluttering away.

More tears. More gratitude wrapped in disbelief.

The next twenty-four hours were tough because I couldn't get ahold of Andrew over the phone and I didn't want to tell him we were having twins via text. The next day, Harriet and I drove up to Duluth with the rest of my family to meet Andrew and my brother for a weekend away. They still didn't know I was pregnant. When we got to the hotel, I pulled Andrew into the bathroom and told him that I wanted him to see the ultrasound picture before we shared the news with my family. I took the grainy photo out of the envelope and handed it to him. He stared at it for a few seconds before the "twin A" and "twin B" labels clicked. "Nuh-uh," he said and stared at me with wide, wide eyes. More tears. This time, some laughter too.

So, that's what's been happening during my absence. Oh, and I took (and passed...whew) my final licensing exam. And we moved three days ago. It's been an intense couple of months, and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm catching up with life. I swore off blogging during my studying period and it was pretty much impossible to get any writing done during the move, but I know that the real reason I put off posting about this pregnancy is the fact that I have been waiting for similar announcements from my blogging friends. I have been praying and dreaming that somehow, someway Caroline, Amanda, Risa, Suz, Liz, Annie, Jessah and all of my other dear friends online and in "real life" would be able to make announcements of their own first. I knew it couldn't happen - not for all of you and not all at once - but every time I sat down to type this post, I couldn't get your faces out of my mind. I am so glad that I have returned to the blogosphere now so that I can at least offer some support and encouragement. I am with you in this.

So here I sit - thirteen weeks pregnant (but looking about twenty-five), in a new home (which I love but still feels like someone else's), with tears in my eyes because as silly as it sounds, in posting this entry, I truly feel like I'm coming home.
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