Telling My Best Friends + The CRAZIEST Story!

I guess at this point in the blog it seems like I’ve told everyone that I’m pregnant. But that’s not really the case. So far, I’ve shared our secret with:

  • My mom, dad, sisters, and close aunts and uncles
  • One close friend
  • Two close co-workers

So you see, not a ton of people. It’s not that I’m waiting for a specific time, but it feels really early yet. Especially without that first ultrasound, and without hearing the baby’s heartbeat. I’ve read a LOT of perspectives online about when to share the news… and my conclusion is that there’s no universal right time. You just have to do what feels right in the moment, and that decision is incredibly personal. (and not open to judgement!)

In a perfect world, one in which we didn’t have to go through IVF to get pregnant, I probably would have waited to tell 99% of people until past 12 weeks. But I had a wonderful opportunity to tell my two best friends from high school in person, as we had planned a girls’ trip to Asheville over Halloween weekend. They knew I was doing IVF, and that I’d know the results before they arrived in Atlanta on Thursday night (same day as Beta #3). So I quickly cooked up a plan to surprise them with the news.

I browsed Etsy for some cute ideas on announcing a pregnancy to friends. Apparently using wine labels to announce the news is a popular thing. You peel the original label off, and replace it with a personalized sticker label saying things like “Sip this for me, I’m a mommy to be!” or “I’ll join you soon! Baby XX due in XX.” I found that there was a special saying for friends: “Only the best friends get promoted to aunties!” So I searched on Etsy until I found the prettiest one.

Browsing through the listings, my eye landed on a cute label with the “best friends” text included. Then, I looked closer. I got goosebumps. The sample listing on the label (NO JOKE) said – “Baby York. Arriving June 2017”

My goosebumps had goosebumps. What!? Like a cartoon character, I literally rubbed my eyes to make sure I was clear on what I was seeing. Yup, sure enough. Our last name, and my due date. On a sample listing I just happened to click on. I was so freaked out. I quickly called my coworker over to confirm what I was seeing. She got goosebumps too. It was WEIRD.

A bit tentatively, I emailed the seller. “Hey Rachel… I have a random question. How do you pick your sample listing last names and due dates? Because… um…”

She immediately wrote back. She was freaked out too! Apparently she just chooses them at random. But… that’s amazing. I’ll take it as a good omen for Baby York 🙂

I quickly ordered and printed the labels (no edits, haha) – then stuck them on wine bottles for my girlfriends. I gifted them the bottles on Thursday night. They absolutely loved them! Lots of screaming, jumping around, smiley faces. Such a happy moment. And I’m so glad I got to do it in person! So much love.

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Beta #3

Waiting for Beta #3, I was a nervous wreck. Google of the Day turned into Google of the Hour. Four days (Sunday to Thursday) crawled by in slow motion. On Wednesday night, I cried to Joe, “It will be so sad if we make it this far just to have it not work now.” He said something reassuring. I worried some more. Sound familiar? Yep, pre-Beta #2 was like this, too… except by Beta #3, you’re a little more invested, so the waiting’s a little worse. You’ve shared your news with a few more people. You’ve maybe bought some baby announcement stuff on Etsy. You’re feeling your symptoms. By Beta #3, you’re 5 weeks pregnant!

So I went in for the blood draw. Again, I worked from home, so antsy for the ACRM phone call. Finally, Megan, my nurse, called. The way she started speaking had my stomach in knots. “I’m calling to go over the results of your third beta…” Oh geez. But then – she said, “Everything’s looking great, you’re at 8……..” I must have passed out temporarily, because I didn’t hear the rest of it. I had to ask her to start again, and tell me my previous betas so that I could compare. So they were:

10/21: 599
10/23: 1561 (two days later, more than doubled)
10/27: 8673 (four days later, more than quadrupled)

PHEW. I was in the Beta clear. Megan scheduled my FIRST ULTRASOUND!! for the following week, Thursday, November 3, with Dr. Fogle. I would be 6 weeks exactly.

So, here we are… in the middle of another unbearable waiting period. So nervous, and so excited to see our baby! I’m sending ALL the positive thoughts to my uterus. I’m trusting my body and trusting God.

Telling My Family

For the last year and a half, I’d been pretty tight-lipped about our efforts to have a baby. For the first year, it didn’t seem like anyone’s business, then when we started doing Clomid and IUI, I just didn’t feel like talking about our troubles. But IVF felt like a different, more intense beast. So I slowly started talking about it to my immediate family.

Of course, when you tell your family you’re going through something like this, they’re bound to ask a lot of questions and check in on how things are going (because they care and love you, obviously). I felt a little odd talking about it, sure, but I wanted them to understand the process – and it helped me mentally to talk through it out loud. But since everyone knew the key dates, when it came time for the beta results, my family group text blew up. “Did you hear back?” “What’s the latest?” “Are you pregnant?!” “Did it work!?”

Hmm. Sort of a drawback of being so open about the process. I lied and said that the results weren’t coming for another few days. Meanwhile, I thought about how and when I wanted to share the good news with my family. After the second beta test came back on Sunday with good results, I decided I was ready to tell them. I planned to tell my dad in person, then the rest of the family on FaceTime, as they were on vacation in the Philippines.

Joe and I had already planned dinner with my dad that Sunday night, so on Sunday afternoon, I was busy brainstorming the coolest way to tell him. I ended up at Swoozies, picking out my favorite baby book, Goodnight Atlanta, and a Quotables card that said “Life doesn’t come with an instruction book. That’s why we have fathers.” I also did a SUPER QUICK photo shoot with Disco, our labradoodle, and three pairs of shoes… then quickly had the photo printed at Walgreens (thank you Walgreens app!!!).

I hid my present until we got to the restaurant (Pasta Vino in Buckhead, for Atlantans), and after we settled into the table, presented him with the card. He read the front out loud (I knew he would). “Life doesn’t come with an instruction book. That’s why we have fathers.” Then he opened the card, to read, “…AND GRANDfathers! YAY! We’re pregnant!!!” He was so happy! He gave me a high five and shook Joe’s hand. I warned him that it was super early on… and he said the most calming thing. He said, “Well, anything can happen at any time. What’s important is that you got here.” Preach! So helpful. He opened the book and pulled out the photo… it was all so great.

We got back to my parents’ house, and Facetimed with the rest of my family. Everyone was so happy and excited! I wish I was able to tell them in person, but FaceTime was a decent substitute. I also got to FT my grandma!! She was so so happy too. She said she had been praying for me every night. There were lots of laughs and happy tears. It felt like a big hug.

The one thing – my family is full of big talkers, and Facebook posters, so I had to warn them multiple times not to share my secret on pain of death. I begged them not to, since we hadn’t even told Joe’s family, and it was so early in the pregnancy. So far, they’ve managed to keep mum about it, thank goodness!

We plan to tell Joe’s family this weekend 😀

 

Beta #2

Raise your hand if you thought you were done with IVF once your beta test came back positive. If you thought the egg retrieval to embryo transfer was the worst wait. If you thought the two week wait was the last misery.

***raises hand***

Yep, that was me. And no, definitely not. When Dr. Toner called on Friday with the BFP and positive beta, he asked me to come back two days later for a second check on my beta levels. Apparently, it’s supposed to double every 48 (or so) hours.

So on Friday, I tempered my happiness, knowing that Sunday’s beta test could dash our hopes of finally having a baby. I cried to Joe, “It would be so sad to come all this way… and have it not work out.” He said something reassuring (I’m sure). I worried some more.

On Sunday, I was back at ACRM for the beta blood draw. I met a good girlfriend of mine for brunch at Bistro Nikko and jewelry shopping at Solomon Brothers (Tacori Trunk Show!), which mildly suppressed my overwhelming anxiety. As we were perusing the earring selection, I felt that familiar buzz in my pocket. ACRM, on the phone. I picked it up and Sharika, one of the ladies that draws my blood each time, was on the other end.

“I’m calling to let you know your beta levels doubled as expected, from ……………” That’s all I heard, honestly. I was elated. So relieved. Sharika booked my next beta test for the following Thursday. I texted Joe a hundred happy emojis, and  went back to shopping with enthusiastic fervor.

 

Telling Joe (!!!!!!!!!)

The night before the beta test, I asked Joe – “How do you want me to tell you?” In typical Joe fashion, he said, “Well, just call me when you find out.”

I thought about this and didn’t love that option, especially since he’d be at work the whole day. If it was bad news, I didn’t want to distract him from meetings by bawling my eyes out on the phone. If it was good news, it would be so lame to find out via a phone call in the middle of the work day. So we agreed that either way, I’d wait until he got home from work to share the results.

So on Friday afternoon, after the best phone call in the history of the world (my positive beta test), my mind immediately jumped to, “OMG now I get to tell Joe!!!” I was so grateful, and so happy, to finally be able to share some good news with him. It had been sad news for so long…  I wasn’t going to let this opportunity go to waste, no matter what.

I Googled online for pregnancy announcement ideas, but didn’t find anything I specifically wanted to replicate. So I got into my car and went to a few stores for inspiration, finally picking up a gift bag worth of goodies to share my surprise.

Here’s what was in the box:

  1. A positive home pregnancy test! I wanted to see the news for myself, so I POAS-ed. The double lines showed up straight away. Unbelievable!!
  2. A Georgia Tech onesie – from Joe’s undergrad alma mater
  3. Goodnight Moon – Joe’s favorite childhood book
  4. What to Expect When You’re Expecting – really for me, but part of the package too 🙂
  5. Framed pictures of our little embryo at Day 5, pre-transfer and then in my uterus
  6. Finally, a card – the front of the card had a straight line from “Point A” to “Point B,” and a bunny rabbit riding a bicycle in loops throughout the line, spelling out “Life.” I thought it was so perfect and appropriate for our relationship, especially the recent years of trying and failing to conceive.

I sat on pins and needles waiting for Joe to get home. Finally, I heard the garage door open – he was back! He came out of the car with a sad look on his face and said, “It’s bad news, isn’t it.”

Before I could say much of anything, he gave me a hug and told me not to worry – that we’d try again. I said, “I’m ok… but I went to Target and found a card that made me think of you.” Then I handed him the card. Inside, I had written a message that went something like, “I’m so glad to be with you, there’s no one else I’d rather go through this with, I love you no matter what.” So he read it, and was motioning to hug me again, but I said — “Wait, there’s a back to the card.” He flipped it over and I had written “P.S. I’m pregnant!! Are you ready to be a dad?!?”

That’s when he lost it. So many happy tears, all around. He said, “Are you serious?” And I said “Yes, they said it’s unmistakable. Pregnant.” (!!!) I let him open the box of gifts. It was one of the best moments of my life, to be able to tell him about our baby.

SO. HAPPY.

We took a walk around the neighborhood and simply reveled in our happy news. We had already planned a Friday date night at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens’ Chihuly Nights exhibit, so we spent the night strolling through the gardens, holding hands, and sharing in our little secret. (It was a good idea to plan a fun night ahead of time on results day… we figured it would either be the most joyful of dates, or a distraction from sad news. Thankfully it was the former!)

I’m so thankful. I feel blessed.

Ways to Survive the 2WW

For the last year or so, each month has been roughly divided into two parts. Part A, in which we work on getting pregnant, and Part B, in which we wait with bated breath for the results of our efforts.

As everyone in this infertility boat knows, Part B sucks. That two week wait is horrendous. You hope for the best. You try to manage your expectations. You Google every twinge and yawn. You dream of getting good news, and what you might do with that joy. You count down the days. You’re filled with dread. You’re giddy with excitement. You are waiting, with a capital W.

If you look up “ways to survive the two week wait” online, there’s a popular list that involves ideas like: Look up the meanings of your favorite baby names. Take a walk and plan your stroller route. Clean out your closet so your new maternity clothes have room.

Oof. For someone that’s suffered through almost two years of two week waits and negative news, that’s a tiiiiiiny bit too much of positive thinking for me.

There are also some super sweet ideas about making gratitude daisy chains or a 2WW advent calendar. Those kinds of ideas didn’t appeal to me, though – I think because I was looking for distractions instead of dwelling on the waiting time.

Here are some things I did end up doing while on this IVF 2WW (really more like Tuesday to the following Friday, 10 days).

  1. Read a lot of historical romance novels… yep I said it.
  2. Binge watched a ton of movies and tv shows (Supergirl and Suits – THANK YOU for taking up countless hours of my waiting time)
  3. Listened to a lot of podcasts, especially true crime podcasts… My Favorite Murder made me laugh even on my lowest days
  4. Made up random plans with non-pregnant friends for random days of the week, so I always had something to look forward to
  5. Planned out some fun things to do for the weekend of my first beta test… so if I was pregnant, we could celebrate, and if not, I’d have something to take my mind of off the sadness
  6. (not really cool add) Work… my work has been crazy, so I spent a lot of the 2WW stressed out and anxious about work… at some points work anxiety was eclipsing the 2WW anxiety. I couldn’t decide if that was good or bad!

I think I did pretty well with the 2WW right up until the very end. By the last couple of days, I was tearing my hear out at work, so stressed out about the beta, and just completely out of my mind. But the days passed by, and finally it was Friday – the day of my beta test. Pregnant: YEA OR NAY?

GOTD: Beta to the MAX

Wow, that blog post title was an 80’s joke if there ever was one. 10/14 Google of the Day (GOTD) as follows:

“how did you get your beta test results ivf”

Today’s point of curiosity was that ultra-critical, ultra-binary moment: when you are, or you aren’t. Say you survive the 2WW (again), and it’s time for that beta blood test, and it’s a couple of hours later and the nurse has your results. How do you deal?!

I’m thinking back to my IUIs, and I recall the first and the last bad news phone call, but not the second, for some reason. Hmm.

IUI #1: I was working from my parents’ house; Joe and I were headed to Miami to see my sister for the weekend, and Katrina, my ACRM nurse, called to let me know the negative results. But the night before, I already felt Aunt Flo coming, so while it was upsetting, it wasn’t unexpected. I also knew that it sometimes took more than one try, so I felt okay about the fact that it was negative. (I mean, I still definitely cried while watching Hook in the basement.)

IUI #3: I was working from home, on a stupid training call about a stupid new tool. The nurse called me and I remember pacing my house, trying to get as far away as possible from the drone of the trainer’s voice, with the biggest pit in my stomach as I listened to the same news, for the third time. I think I sat on my stairs and cried. Pretty sure Aunt Flo came the following day.

Each time the nurse called with the news, I never considered alternatives to straight up picking up my phone and taking the call. But through Google, I found out a multitude of ways that this moment could play out:

  1. You hate hearing the bad news from a nurse. You’d rather hear it from “DH.” You ask the nurse to call DH instead, and he will give you any bad news in a better, gentler way.
  2. You don’t want to talk to a live person, and for them to hear you break down if it’s bad news. You ask the nurse to call you, and to leave a voicemail. You listen to it on your own, or you wait until you and DH are together in a safe place and listen then.
  3. You have a job where you physically can’t pick up the phone, or you don’t have a good place to sneak away for feelings. You ask the nurse to leave a voicemail, and listen to it at home.
  4. You want to film yourself and DH receiving the news. You ask the nurse to leave a VM, then listen to it at home, in front of the camera.
  5. You already know the answer, because you “tested out” your HCG trigger (so you know it’s not a false positive from the meds), and the nurse is just calling to confirm what you think you already know.
  6. You didn’t test HCG out, but you POAS (PdOAS? POASed? POAS’d?) the day of the beta test and you have an idea of what the verdict will be. But the clinical beta will double confirm your home test.

I learned about all of these options from a quick scan through one such forum. Honestly, I think it’s fantastic that women (and men) going through this HORRIBLE FUCKING TIME are figuring out ways to manage the anxiety and make these untenable situations as easy for them to deal with as possible.

But for me? I don’t know what I’ll do, come Oct 21. I know I don’t do home pregnancy tests. I didn’t even do them a lot when we were regularly TTC. As an overachiever and a pretty good test taker, I felt like the HPTs would lower my averages. I also figured, either I’ll have a period, or I won’t, and that will let me know what I need to know. And I was regular as clockwork, so being reliable helped, too. As far as the phone call goes? Will I change my ways and let the nurse leave a VM at the beep? Probably not. I’m too instant gratification for that. But at least I know I have the option, thanks to Google.