Category Archives: Early pregnancy

Deuces Wild

(Top) Rufus is calmly positioned for capturing a heartbeat of 177 beats per minute at 8 weeks and 3 days. (Bottom) The seemingly irritated Reefus would barely stay still to measure a 183-beats-per-minute heart rate at 8 weeks and 3 days.

According to the original plan laid out for us in the beginning of the in-vitro fertilization process, heartbeat detection was the stop before the reproductive endocrinologist released us to a normal obstetrician. But at that surreal visit of two strong heartbeats, the doctor said he wanted to see me again. I’d been cramping a little but frequently on both sides, and even though I’d read of such discomforts, I was afraid of miscarrying (isn’t everybody?). Apparently, the hyperstimulation of all the drugs left my ovaries slightly larger than life and the source of my pain. That meant one more visit.

Seeming to grow very quickly, I was already wearing maternity pants when the next visit came around. Yet, I was nervous that the doctor would tell me he’d been wrong and I wasn’t really pregnant. But no, very quickly he found both babies with slightly larger heads with pounding heartbeats. One laid to the left, very calm and immediately detectable. That’s Rufus (though, I might have mixed up the names in a previous post. For future reference, Baby #1 is Rufus, and Baby #2 is Reefus). The nature of this kid was something like the Mr., relaxed and carefree. The second one, however, seemed not only a little shy but downright annoyed to be bothered so early in the morning. Reefus was head down and apparently wanted to stay that way. The kid turned away from the probe like you would to stay in bed when it’s time to get up — at least three times. The little arms waved up and down and the little shoulder shrugged like, “Leave me alone.” It was fascinating to watch. It looked like something I would do (read: will do tomorrow).

Despite the drama, we saw then heard both heartbeats loud and strong. I have no words for that moment. It was just wild.

That was the last time we saw them, but we get to seem them again this week — this time by external ultrasound. I’m anxious to see what attitude Reefus will have to display. Only God knows.

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Birthday Card from God

Meet babies-to-be Rufus and Reefus, who officially have heartbeats. We saw the hearts beating like two fluttering hummingbirds two days before my birthday. Happy birthday, indeed.

I flew to Nashville on my birthday last Friday to cover the Stellar Awards, something like the Oscars of gospel music, for work. Months ago when I arranged the trip, I was only thinking of the fun of celebrating 35 years of life — not adjusting to carrying new life along with me. The Mr. was a very helpful travel companion, but still I was exhausted and couldn’t throw myself into all of the unoffical Stellar-related activites I’d hoped to attend.

But while resting and missing a free ASCAP breakfast Saturday morning, I started praying quietly then not at all. That’s when the words of this birthday card from God came to mind.

“As insignificant as you’ve felt in your short life, I’ve always seen you. As much as you’ve prayed — sometimes more than others — I’ve always heard you. As much as I’ve done to get to this point in your life, in some cases, I let you rest on your own laurels as if it was all you. We both know that you were aware of that fact more times than you’d say aloud.

That’s why you brought your conception struggles to me in the first place, even though you armed yourself with science. Though you believed that perhaps such a blessing was only for others who lived a less “colorful” life, this blessing was always yours — yours and your husband’s.

So what you saw yesterday on the ultrasound screen is what you asked for, and because I really am able to do things that exceed abundantly above all you ask or think, including your prayer for a child, I answered as specifically as your heart desired.

You wanted twins; you got twins. Happy birthday.”

My Hannah Moment

As the story goes from I Samuel, Hannah couldn't have a child and "was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord, and wept sore." It hurt until she cried, and she cried until it hurt.

I’m really behind on the updates. I’ve just been so incredibly sleepy. Some time has gone by since then, but I did have my weeping Hannah moment in church. Ironically, though, it had nothing to do with me or anything I could’ve predicted.

Call it a divine revelation or or a alignment of coincidental thoughts — not that I don’t believe either is possible — but given that this site has been up and circulated, I might call it something different. Whatever it was led to an altar call for “a couple struggling to conceive.” I only recently posted positive pregnancy results, but I knew at time that I was and had told the people most proximate to me on a day-to-day basis. But it wasn’t widely known, particularly not by the person led to invite “a couple struggling to conceive” to the altar.

Don’t misunderstand; I fully believe in inspiration of the Holy Spirit to move a person to say or do something in a way that isn’t based on any prior knowledge. In many ways, I try to live my life with that kind of direction. But to have prior knowledge and to suggest it was revealed by God feels kind of like a carnival show gimmick. Already pregnant and fully aware of it, I didn’t go to the altar, but three women did.

At the moment, I realized that my struggle has not been for me nor has the blessing up to this point. It has been to tell the story of prayer for undeserved favor in an impossible situation, the unrelenting downright stupid-looking faith, and a glimpse of the promise (which is where I feel I am now) to somebod(ies) who feel even more hopeless that I have in the midst of all of that. That was my revelation that night.

I was skeptical of the way it went down, but I thought it was cool that the church, a black church in particular, devoted prayer time to infertility. Rather than let the method of how we got there permanently divert my attention, I directed my energy toward praying for them and just worshiping in general.

And I cried and cried some more, praying that God would show himself strong for those ladies as He has for me.

I’d wondered — with the postive pregnancy test and the ultrasound photos — whether I could still be considered part of the infertility struggle. I know how I felt when I’d read that someone had a successful interuterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization cycle: abandoned and even more like a failure. But my Hannah moment reminded me that the struggle to this point binds me to every woman on the same road.
Not to get too churchy on you, but it was one of my pastor’s sermons that kept me holding on to the idea that God would allow us to become parents. I don’t remember the title (and this tired mama is too lazy to go find her journal), but I do remember the scripture and its context — 2 Kings 3:18. After you prepare, which you’re already doing, you pray and you try to be patient, it’s a simple matter in the sight of the LORD. That’s the New King James Version. The Message translation reads: “This is easy for God to do.”

As hard as the infertility road is, rest with that idea in mind.

It is no secret what God can do …

We're breaking out the sparkling grape bubbly with wine glasses from past tastings at Williamsburg Winery, where it all began for the Mr. and I.

Because we spent all of 2011 praying and fasted twice for 21 days at a time in hopes of a baby, I’d be remiss for not actually saying that the lines we saw nearly two weeks ago showed I’m officially knocked up, preggers (even though the Mr. hates that word), with child, expecting, in the family way, or finally, pregnant.

No, I’m not beyond the first trimester, but I’ve told a close and close-casual handful of people what I know to be true based on a four-week ultrasound (way too early — the nurse’s fault, not mine) and the double-line positive pregnancy test. Further, the way I’ve felt the last several days serves as additional evidence, but I didn’t count it as definitive given all the “symptoms” prior to in-vitro fertilization that were likely imagined.

The early morning “chest cymbals” were a clue. But now I’m beyond tired especially after I find something I feel like eating. This is no -itis; this is it. (For you “Karate Kid II” fans: “This no tournament; this for real.”)

It’s official: I’m pregnant. Feel free to applaud while I close my eyes — just for a second.

Conventional wisdom and practice says to keep early pregnancy a secret at least until you’re through the first three months. I don’t think it ever occurred to me to be that clandestine about it. I mean, we’ve been trying, it’s been a struggle, I’ve enlisted support from anyone who could offer it. I’ve had people earnestly praying for us. They — I’d — want to know that God answered and what that answer was.

It would just be rude to go silent; though, I’m sure some imagined that as the reason for my most recent lulls. Nope; I was just tired. That, and I had to call a few people first. (Actually, I didn’t want people from my hometown startling my matriarchal aunt with the news when I hadn’t talked to her since before Thanksgiving.) But outside of that, I’ve been operating, breathing, sleeping (and passing gas) as a pregnant woman. As you can tell, I’m even using the p-word. (Pregnant, pregnant, pregnant. Per-regggg-nant!)

Even as I say that — and know it — fears remain that this could end at any moment. Not only does that quiet paranoia have me avoiding all fish, caffeine even chocolate, cold cuts and mushrooms (though I’ve forgotten why about the mushrooms); it also has me claiming every minute of the mini-me in the making. So even if it’s for a shorter time than I expect, I feel confident in saying that if God can do what He’s done at this point having made it so, He’ll do it again. Thus, I don’t feel compelled to hide my pregnancy until it’s “safe.”

Also, in not knowing the future — for example, what tomorrow’s latest ultrasound will bring beyond the awaited fetal heartbeat — I decided to claim every victory in this quest to have my own children. Thus, as the song says, “It is no secret what God can do” nor what He has done.

Sparkling grape juice for everybody!