Sharing and caring

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. As part of that, I decided to share our experience with secondary infertility with my friends and family in a note on Facebook yesterday. In sharing our pregnancy news over the past month, we’ve made vague references to the effect of “It took longer than expected” — and other general sentiments — but we haven’t shared the specifics with anyone. I figured this was as good a time as any to spill the beans and just get it out there and raise awareness in the process — the whole purpose of the week.

So I typed up a thorough, detailed account of our experience (though not too detailed so as to make people squeamish…I didn’t use the word sperm, for example) and posted it when I was home for lunch.

I got an email notification for the first comment, from a not-that-close family member:

“Is adoption illegal in KY?”

Um, ouch. And: screw you, buddy. Thankfully he must have thought better of his comment and deleted it, but I’d already gotten the email notification.

I will admit that I shouldn’t have let the comment get to me, but it did, at least at first. I mean, is it any wonder that people don’t share their experience of infertility when there’s such a sense of judgment placed upon those who choose to take steps to have their own child? When there’s always a dirty cloak of “you’re being so selfish” heaved our way when adoption is not the path you wish to take?

Other, more supportive comments followed, which certainly helped. Quite a bit, actually. (Many thanks to those of you from here who commented. I appreciate it.)

But then I got a personal email from a longtime friend. The Hopeful But Weary TTCer thanked me for sharing my story, and opened up that she too has been going through infertility for a couple of years — which I was completely unaware of — and also has chosen not to share it with friends and family while going through it and understands the feelings of isolation that come with that choice. To make another person feel less alone in this vortex of up-and-down emotion, heart-wrenching pain, and constant confusion — well, it made putting our story out there (in a less anonymous manner than this blog) completely worth it for me.

Later that evening, a co-worker also sent me a private message. She’s still at the beginning of her journey, currently at cycle 8 and consulting with her OB/GYN today, but she thanked me for putting into words much of what she’s been unable to express with her closest girlfriends.

The naysayers are always going to be there. And they’re always going to speak before really thinking.

But those people who need support are ALSO out there. They’re the ones whose voices should be heard.


Further proof

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No one seems to really believe me when I say I’ve got no obvious baby belly.

Earlier tonight, at exactly 24 weeks.

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Wordless Wednesday: Bowl me over

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

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The gall!

Monday, April 25, 2011

One of the most natural things to do with subsequent pregnancies is compare them with each other — although that’s guaranteed to unearth the people who like to sing out, “But remember that every pregnancy is different!”

Apparently —  at least so far through almost 24 weeks — that is not the case for me. Almost everything has been exactly the same, including the most recent proof of that last night: a gallstone attack. I’d had a few attacks last time when I was pregnant with Baby B, including one that I would classify as pretty severe. I’d met with a surgeon back then and they didn’t recommend surgery when I was pregnant or nursing (unless it was an emergency), and since I didn’t have any attacks when not pregnant, it was one of those things that was easy to set on the back burner and basically ignore/put off.

I woke up last night around 2 a.m. to pee, and when I returned to bed I felt pain on both sides around the lower rib cage, both on the front and back. I remembered that happening before, and sure enough, within 30 minutes the pain had localized to the right side, just under the lower ribs, feeling it still on both the front and back sides. I began moaning and writhing in pain, and I took some Tylenol and got out the heating pad to see if those might work. (There’s really not much else you can do during an attack.) The problem with the heating pad, however, was that I couldn’t stay still long enough to be able to use it, as staying in one place made the pain ten times worse, so I had to keep moving constantly.

Around 2:45 a.m., the vomiting kicked in, happening about every 10 minutes for the next hour. I decided to try to see if some breathing exercises might help me deal with the pain (which has been compared by many to labor but without the happy ending). The Dog was lying on the foot of the bed. I stood at the end of the bed and leaned over the bed, laying my upper body on his with my feet still on the ground. Trying to regulate my breathing somewhat with his, I’d try inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth, focusing solely on that. It took about half an hour, but I finally got to the point to where the pain wasn’t nearly as bad and I was able to lie down on the bed with the heating pad around 4:30 a.m. I was awake another half-hour after that, then finally got back to sleep.

At that point I’d already decided that I’d be calling in sick to work — not an easy decision to make as it would mean the first press day I’ve missed in almost 10 years of working there…and now I have no one as a reasonable back-up for me in my absence. I briefly considered telling them that I’d be in sometime in the afternoon after getting some sleep, but I thought about it some more and figured that they’re going to have to figure out that I need a back-up for unexpected times just like this, and they’re also going to have to figure out a good way to cover my duties during maternity leave. Therefore, I decided they can figure out part of it today so I could rest up and recover from this attack, as I still felt pretty drained when I woke up at 8 to call my supervisor. I have no regrets about that decision.

Now here’s hoping this is an isolated incident and I don’t have repeats as I did last time, because I can’t promise that I won’t perform self-surgery during the next attack.

Wordless Wednesday: Oh, for the love of dimples!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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Preparing our nest

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

By nature, I am not inclined to be a home decorator. I just don’t generally have the desire (or talent…or money) to do it, so it’s a bit of an effort for me to come up with a decor plan for a nursery. For Baby B’s room, we went with light green walls with pink accents throughout. Having a “neutral” colored wall (ie, not girl-specific) was important to me because I have no desire to re-paint anytime soon, and not that we have ANY plans to move anytime soon, but I especially have no desire to re-paint before selling the house. In her room, if you strip away the many (MANY now) pink accessories, you are left with a green room. Perfect.

So for this second nursery, I also wanted to go with a neutral wall color. (Not to mention, I’m pretty sure Baby B would flog me if I painted the room pink and didn’t ALSO paint hers pink. I am not painting two rooms.) Yellow rooms can look very nice, especially with the right shade, but I grew up with a yellow room and grew tired of it after a while. Also, for some reason it’s always struck me more as a kitchen color instead of a bedroom color. (Probably because our kitchen growing up was also yellow.)

I was looking around online at bedding sets for ideas. We have no plans to buy baby bedding (hello, unnecessary expense! and hello, my wonderful friend who can make us a blanket to our specifications!), but I was just looking for some inspiration. Another decorating requirement is that it looks appropriate for a child, but isn’t babyish and is something that can grow with her. So many theme options are very cute, but they felt too babyish for what I was wanting.

Then I found this set:

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Now, don’t be blinded by the many, many accessories pictured here, but focus on the blanket. I was loving the combination of black, pinks, and white, and it was the first color combo I saw that really struck me. It’s definitely girly, but kind of different too. Pair it with a neutral gray wall (but the right shade of gray — not too dark but not too blue or too green) and I thought it was something that might actually work.

However, for it to work, I had to find the right artwork to base it on. That was going to be key. I couldn’t just go with this color theme then be left without something to really pull it all together. Instead of starting a probably fruitless search around town, I started looking online. I’ll admit that I’ve never played around much with Etsy, but figured I might as well start there. Within 10 minutes I’d found exactly the kind of thing I was looking for:

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Two canvas prints, incorporating the two shades of pink, black, white, and even gray, which is what we can use to pick a shade for the walls. I thought about it for a day, showed The Husband, gathered some second opinions from friends, and ordered the artwork the next day. I love these pieces of art. I think they are definitely appropriate for a child, but certainly aren’t babyish and they are pieces that can grow with her as she gets a little older. We will probably get some blackout curtains that are in the hot pink color (we have the same ones in Baby B’s room now and I love them).

I sent a photo to The Wonderful Friend Who Can Make Quilts (she made one for Baby B’s room that we based the room decor on), and we’ll have her make a baby blanket to further accent the artwork.

I feel pretty good about the plan for the room. Actually, I’m really, really excited about the plan for the room. This isn’t something I really allowed myself to think about in all the time we were trying, so I’m glad to be at the point where I can think about it now. I’m finding — once again — that the 20-week ultrasound was a big turning point for me, and it was at that point that I’ve let myself think in terms of “when” rather than “if.” I’m very aware that things could still go downhill at any moment, but I’ve got to play the odds that things will work in our favor. This is the last time I’m doing the pregnancy thing, and I refuse to be paralyzed by fear.

This ‘n that

Friday, April 15, 2011

Baby B woke up yesterday and asked me, “Is my baby sister still in your belly?” I replied that she was still there, safe and warm, and asked her why. Seemingly disappointed by my answer, she said, “Oh. I had a dream last night that my baby sister was here. And she was wearing a hair pretty!”


When we were listening to the heartbeat and kicks tonight, Baby B leaned over and whispered a question to me, almost as though embarrassed that she was asking it. She eventually got out, “When I’m a grown-up, will I be able to have a baby in my belly too? Will I have the right home for a baby inside of me?” Not only was she happy to hear that yes, she should be able to have a baby in her belly when she’s a grown-up, but she was surprised to hear that she already has the right parts inside her right now. I just explained that they’re small now and aren’t big enough to be used yet. I desperately hope, for her sake, that I was right when I said, “When you’re a grown-up, you should be able to give a baby a home in your belly just like me.”


According to the home scale, I am up 1.5 pounds (total).


I still have pineapple very regularly, but I think the actual craving is starting to wane a bit. It still tastes great to me and makes a great breakfast, but I don’t have that “OMG, I HAVE to have it!” sensation anymore. Unfortunately, my sweet tooth has kicked into high gear (aka, fruit doesn’t cut it), and though I haven’t gained much weight so far, I don’t need to be gaining a ton of weight in the next 18 or so weeks, so I really need to keep that in check.


It seems a bit early, but I started having some pelvic pain today when I walked, as though I’ve been kicked hard in the crotch. It’s very minor at this point, but just something I wanted to document here. Looking back at my blog from last time, I mentioned at around 32 weeks that I’d been having it for “a couple of weeks'” at that point. So it seems early to have it now, but certainly possible.


Baby B has given me a directive: I’m supposed to tell her every single time I feel a kick. At this point, with the anterior placenta, I still don’t feel a ton (though it is becoming stronger and gradually more frequent), so that’s not an issue now and I can generally tell her whenever I do feel something. Something tells me that won’t last much longer, as it becomes more frequent, but maybe I’ll have to stick to that, as I was chastised yesterday. My crime? I didn’t come to school to tell her when I felt kicks during the day. The nerve!


I think I’ve decided on a new blog title and new blog kid names. I’m going to mull it over a little more, then need to decide when to make the switch. Ideally I’d like to wait until AFTER Mythical #2 is born, but with the potential chaos of a newborn, I’m thinking that sooner would make more sense logistically. Maybe sometime this summer, once we’re a little closer…


I think we’ve also decided on a decorating scheme for the new nursery. We’re still a long ways from getting started on the room (it’s in The Husband’s hands to clear out his stuff and figure out what to do about the cats), but I’m planning to order the artwork soon. Once I have that in hand, I’ll share it here.

The necklace

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Back in late 2007, when I was looking for a mother’s pendant to add to my Amazon list for Christmas, I ran across one that I knew I wanted eventually. We weren’t trying for our second child yet — our first wasn’t even a year old yet — but I loved the necklace and wanted to remember it for future reference. So I added it to my list with a note that indicated I didn’t want this yet, but I wanted to remember it for later, as it’s been my dream for as long as I can remember to ultimately have two children.

Years had passed, and I didn’t give much thought to that necklace, to be honest. In the back of my mind, I knew it was still on my list, but it wasn’t something that was haunting me through infertility, and it wasn’t something that I thought, “Oh! I get to buy that now!” as soon as I saw a positive pregnancy test. It was still there, safely on my list, for whenever I was ready to buy it.


Sometimes we run across amazing people in our lives, and I am fortunate to have many who fit that bill. One of those people is Serenity, who is currently struggling with secondary infertility (after primary as well) on top of some other complex issues. I really try to remain low-key when talking about my pregnancy with her, taking her cues each day to determine whether to broach the subject or not. (We both have Gmail chat access at work, so we’ve got a day-long conversation going that we add to as our jobs allow.) If we don’t talk about it, that is fine, as we have plenty of other stuff to talk about (and it helps me remember that it’s not all about me anyway…I am CERTAINLY more than just this pregnancy). If we do talk about that subject, well, I am just amazed by the grace with which she handles it. She showed genuine sympathy to me when I was puking my guts out (even if she was secretly smirking, “Well, you asked for it!”). She reacts excitedly when I tell her about a pregnancy milestone before I write about it here. Her situation with trying for a second child lends itself to potentially having trouble with being happy for others who are where she wants to be, and I know she must feel that way to a degree, even with me, but she’s never made me feel like a jerk for moving on without her.


I received a package in the mail last week.

It was the necklace.

It had the nicest message written on the packing slip.

It was from Serenity.

It made me cry, particular as I remembered our conversations that day and how it was kind of a rough day for her.


The box, with the necklace safely tucked inside, sits now in my underwear drawer, which might seem like an odd place to keep it, but here’s my thinking. I don’t want to wear the necklace until we’re actually a family of four at home. But this is a place I can keep it where I’ll see it each time I open the drawer — guaranteed at least once a day — and smile.

Smile at the wonderful friend I have.

Smile at how far The Husband and I have come in the past couple of years.

Smile at the great things that lie in our family’s future.

And smile at the idea of Serenity hopefully being in these shoes herself very shortly.

Wordless Wednesday: Time to let go

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

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What a doll!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For at least a year (maybe longer), Baby B’s baby dolls have been tucked away at the bottom of her toy box, largely untouched. She played with them quite a bit when she was 2, but as time went on, they become less of a priority for her. We certainly didn’t push it, and I figured that at some point the interest would come back.

And come back it has. With the recent news of her impending baby sister, Baby B decided — completely on her own — to get out one of her baby dolls and play with her again. I’ve really enjoyed seeing her care for her baby doll. It’s certainly no direct indication of how she’ll take on the role, but I love seeing her act out many realistic scenarios:

*Baby Kiersten (also the name she has decided the real baby will have — though that is not the case) joins us for dinner now, with Baby B making sure to feed her and give her enough milk and water, often proclaiming how hard it is to feed the baby AND eat her own food.

*On Sunday she took Kiersten out to the backyard to sleep on the swing of her new swingset while she was helping The Husband put it together.

*The other morning when Baby B and The Husband were leaving to go to school, she made sure to give me complete instructions on how much and when to feed her today while she was away. As though I’d never been left in the care of a baby before. (And as though I weren’t going to work shortly thereafter myself!)

*The other day, Kiersten was in the doll stroller and Baby B said to The Husband, “Do you want to push her stroller?” He was game, so he said, “Sure,” then she said, “Okay, I’m going on vacation now!” The Husband laughed, said to her, “Where ya going, Maizy?” (a reference to one of my favorite children’s books, Horton Hatches the Egg), and said to me, “I thought I had a lot longer before I had to deal with THAT!”

Advice from three cartoon princesses

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thanks to our great friend A for passing along these links.



Snow White:

Generations and gaps

Friday, April 8, 2011

My maternal grandmother had two girls and no boys. My mom had the same. My sister, as well. And now us.

Yet it’s quite interesting that there is nothing about the female line that determines gender.


My dad is very soft-spoken and doesn’t come close to wearing his heart on his sleeve. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard him tell me he loved me, yet I’ve never doubted that fact. So when he does say something meaningful, well, it means even more to me.

When we shared the news with my parents, I talked to my mom on the phone and she relayed the info to my dad, so I didn’t speak with him directly.

But yesterday in an e-mail about something else, he wrote to me, “I’m thrilled that we’ll have another granddaughter.  They are such a joy.”

It’s just two simple sentences, but it made my day.


I find that most people end up pretty happy with the age gap they have between children, whether the children are closer in age than they’d intended, further apart in age, or just as they’d hoped all along. Once you see the age difference you’re looking at — and especially once you see it in action, I’m sure — you begin to realize the positives and you can more clearly see the less-desirable aspects of any other age gap.

Our ticking clock stopped at an age difference of just over 4 1/2 years. There is no way I would have chosen that difference myself, but I’m finding two things:

1. I’m getting a lot of comments from friends with children very close in age who say they love that Baby B is fully understanding what is going on, that she’s asking questions along the way, and that she can share in this process of preparing for a baby. Many of those people have told me that sometimes they wish their oldest had been able to comprehend more.

2. I’ve spoken with many people who have had about a four- to five-year age difference, ranging from the ultrasound tech to my sister. Now again, this is probably just a product of what I mentioned above, with people highlighting the positives of their own situation, but so far everyone I’ve talked to with this age difference has said that it worked out really well for them and they found their transition to be relatively easy. That’s not to say it will be flat-out easy — for example, we’ll be returning to diapers after a 2 1/2-year hiatus, which is longer than Baby B was IN diapers in the first place — but perhaps easier than it might have been at another age.

I’m looking forward to finding out.

Name, name, bo-bame

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Baby B told her teachers and friends yesterday The Big News, and boy weren’t they excited. The Husband said that The Teacher opened the door and yelled it out to everyone else in the building, and Baby B got a chance to stand up during circle time and tell all of her friends about it. Apparently it was the very first thing that one of Baby B’s friends told her dad when he came to pick her up, which was very sweet. I confess: I’m normally not one for that kind of attention, but all the teachers who saw me at pickup were so excited to talk to me about it, and I was very thrilled to answer all of their questions.


And speaking of questions, we’ve started to get probably what will become the most common one of all: Have you picked out a name yet?

First, another confession. I am secretly glad that it looks like it’s a girl because I was very stuck on boy names. I have a number of name rules that end up being quite restricting for boys:

1. Doesn’t start with the same letter as Baby B’s name (too cutesy sounding) or the first letter of our last name (not crazy about intentional alliteration in our case).
2. Doesn’t end in an -en or -den sound because it doesn’t sound right with our last name. (Baby B’s full first name does break this rule, but we knew we would call her by her nickname from the start.)
3. No obviously biblical names.
4. Prefer two syllables over one (and many, many boy names are just one syllable).
5. We tend more toward traditional names than modern/trendy names.
6. No first names that are also last names.
7. Something that’s easily pronounceable, as I have a name that is mispronounced routinely.

So it’s not a huge list of rules, but it wipes out many, many boy names for us, leaving us with not that many from which we can choose — and none of which I seemed to like, let alone love.

As for a girl name, I think we’ve been pretty set on one since before Baby B was born, and I’m about 99% sure that’s what we’ll end up using. However, our deal with both pregnancies was that we would find out what we’re having and tell everyone that, but we would keep the name to ourselves until the birth. That is what we intend to do this time, as well.

Now, last time we were kind of sneaky. Baby B was born a month after Christmas, so when we had our tree up, we put jingle bell snowman ornaments — one with her first name and one with her middle name — on the tree in plain view. They weren’t front and center on the tree, but they weren’t super-hidden either. We had several people look at the ornaments, but no one noticed the names. I’d love to figure out something fun to do like that again, but that’s much trickier without a Christmas tree as an option this time.

Wordless Wednesday: Princess for an evening

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just some interesting changes I’ve noticed during pregnancy:

*Many women experience increased acne when they are pregnant, but so far both times I’ve been fortunate and it’s gone the opposite way — when not expecting, I usually have the occasional blemish (typically on my forehead or chin), but now I have nothing. I’m definitely loving that perk!

*Many women also notice a change in their hair. Looking back at pictures from my pregnancy with Baby B, I can tell that my hair got darker as time went on, but I never noticed any textural differences or anything. (I’m always completely amazed by people whose stick-straight hair turns curly, or vice versa.) Anyway, I did notice something unusual last weekend. Typically I have to wash my hair every single day or else it gets noticeably greasy at the roots. This past weekend I had washed my hair on Friday around noon, and by Sunday evening, it was still in pretty decent shape and had no greasiness to it at all. Normally I would’ve had to wash it on both Saturday and Sunday, so this is definitely a change for me.

*Just like last time, the hair on my legs is growing in much more slowly than normal. Yet another welcome change, as it means I don’t have to shave often at all.

*How about something random now? I am normally a person who does not leave the house without my watch. I can be sitting at work and have a wall clock, computer clock, and a clock on my phone all within view at the same time, but I still feel lost without my watch. When I was pregnant with Baby B, however, I couldn’t stand to wear my watch. Something about it bugged me to no end, and I couldn’t wear it the rest of the time. And I’ll be damned if the same thing didn’t start happening last week. I keep my watch in my purse with me in case I feel the overwhelming need for it, but I don’t anticipate pulling it out anytime soon.

Operation: Clothe Myself Tastefully

Monday, April 4, 2011

So we go straight from meaningful post to petty post. You get it all here.

Today’s petty post is about maternity clothes. (You knew it was coming.) I wasn’t thrilled about winter maternity clothes, but I’m finding that summer ones are even worse. Since presumably I’ll need them at some point (I have switched to pants because it’s easier but I can still wear most regular shirts fine), I decided to go shopping for some maternity shirts at the consignment shop this weekend. Oh, where to start…? (And of course this comes with the usual disclaimer that I’m happy to be in a position to even have this sort of vent.)

Dear Maternity Clothes Designers,

Let me make this very clear: I do not have any need or desire to look like a certified trollop in front of my coworkers. I should be fine to wear yoga pants and t-shirts at home, but I need to find clothing that is appropriate for the office. Shirts that reveal copious amounts of cleavage do NOT fit this bill as I am not a hooker (nor do I have a desire to enter the field), and frankly I have NO desire to wear tank tops under such shirts in the hot summer, even though that’s very likely what I’m going to have to do because of a lack of other options. Also, I’m noticing that casual summer shirts tend to come exclusively in light pastel colors and super-thin materials — revealing my bra, belly button, and everything else under the shirt to everyone. This also is not appropriate in a work environment.

Most of the shirts I do find will have to be solid colors because apparently you buy your prints from the same place that makes convention center carpeting. The only prints I can find are — let’s face it — UGLY. And for the record, I think horizontal stripes should be illegal on any item of clothing made for a pregnant woman.

And in a trend that was not around when I was pregnant nearly five years ago, apparently the fashionable thing of the moment seems to be shirts with a band around the bottom. Really? Maybe this is cute on women with adorable bellies. However, I am not one of these women, and I have no desire to look like a bag of cotton candy, thank you very much.

I thought maybe going the dress route might be good — that sounded like it might be cool and refreshing for the summer even though I’m not a dress person in general. However, all of the dresses I could find were either 1) too revealing (see above) or 2) made me look like a house (and I don’t even have a pregnant belly to speak of), so that quickly went out of the running.

Also, would it kill you to offer more options for underbelly style jeans? Almost all jeans I can find come with a full or half panel, and those just are not comfortable to me.

I’m going to have to endure maternity clothes for just 4 months or so, and it’s a good thing I don’t particularly care if I rotate through the same five work shirts and the same three pairs of work pants because that’s basically what I’m facing.


Can’t I Just Wear Yoga Pants and T-Shirts Everywhere???

p.s. Thankfully I found a pair of underbelly jeans in storage that I’d forgotten about, and they’re as comfortable as yoga pants. I’m pretty sure I’m going to wear the hell out of them.

Feeling healing

Friday, April 1, 2011

I wasn’t sure what it would take to make the lingering pain of infertility melt away into nothing. To make the residual bitterness of a much-bigger-than-anticipated age gap disappear. To make the sting of all the money spent and time wasted go away. To make the heartache of a 12-week loss less heavy on my heart.

I thought that time might be the only elixir, but it turns out the magic potion was simply telling our daughter that her much-desired wish — and our long-awaited dream — of her becoming a sister is going to come true.

Her initial reaction was subdued because she wasn’t feeling well, but she has more than made up for it in the past 24 hours.

She has taken to calling her “my baby.” Can I hold my baby when she’s here? How long has my baby been in your belly? Can I try giving my baby a bottle before Daddy takes his turn? Should we give my baby a blanket in your tummy so she can stay nice and warm? I hope my baby looks like I do.

She absolutely loves listening to the kicks on the doppler. I hold the probe and she holds the main unit, and we lie side by side waiting for the next BLOOP! sound to come out. She always gasps and says excitedly, “There’s one!” I then tell her if it’s one I could feel, and she always says that she can feel them when she’s holding the doppler unit. She will be beside herself when she can feel them for real through my belly.

I told her that the baby’s hearing is developed enough now that she can hear some things and is starting to recognize our voices. She said, “So I can talk to her?” I said, “Yeah, if you want to. Is there anything you want to tell her?” She leaned over to my stomach, and gently said, “I love you, baby sister. I love you, I love you, I love you.” No prompting from me…just talking from an honest place from within.

That’s not just my heart melting. That’s also the struggle of the past two years evaporating bit by bit.

And the best is yet to come.