We're Having A Baby!

/ Sunday, January 21, 2018

You guys! I've been waiting so long to share the happy news with you: We're expecting our first little one! Coming soon, our sweet baby girl, due June 13th...

Wow, does it feel good to get that secret off my chest. A lot of you messaged me on Instagram asking where I've been and why I haven't been posting. Cat's out of the bag! My husband and I wanted to keep the news private for a while. And, the truth is, I've been struggling—not only with intense morning sickness (like, all day, nonstop)—but an agonizing pregnancy worry that kept me in a dark fog until recently.

It's been a roller coaster; incredible highs and intense lows. Getting pregnant and staying pregnant can be such a long, heartbreaking process. If you're reading this and struggling, know that I'm sending you the most hugs and I'm always here to talk (in the comments, on Instagram, wherever). Pregnancy can be painfully isolating, especially when things aren't going how you thought or hoped they would. Trust me, I know. So I hope you don't take the "highs" of my story the wrong way. This is just an honest account of how things have unfolded so far...

Here it goes! By total surprise, I got pregnant on the first try. I stopped taking birth control about 8 months beforehand and logged my temperature every morning on the Natural Cycles app (highly recommend it) to track my ovulation. I used the app initially to prevent pregnancy, then switch it to the "trying to get pregnant" mode when we were ready to get going!

Here's where the cloud rolls in. Before things got started, I went for a pre-conception checkup at my OBGYN. It included a foresight screening, basically a DNA test to see if I have any genetic issues that could be passed on to a baby. The test revealed that I'm a carrier for a common mutation that only affects males (which is why I'm perfectly fine and healthy) but it means that any boy baby of mine has a 50/50 chance of inheriting a serious problem. The doctor encouraged me to consider IVF or adoption, "just to be safe."

I can't begin to describe the days and weeks that followed that phone call. I've never been so broken. Even now, I have a hard time writing about it (this is my third attempt and there is a gross pile of snotty tissues next to me). I actually recorded a video on my phone right after I found out because I thought maybe at some point I could share it and help other people not feel so alone when they get similar news. But honestly, I can't bring myself to watch it. 

With all of my options out on the table, I decided to continue naturally. After all, it was more likely (75% chance) that everything would be fine. That didn't stop me from feeling like I had a 500LB brick crushing my chest at all hours of the day. I carried it around with me constantly; at work, at home, even after I found out I was pregnant. It would be months until I knew whether my baby was sick—and whether I'd keep being pregnant. Most days I couldn't stop crying. I had absolutely no interest in the things I loved. The fear and uncertainty was crippling. And on top of it all, I was newly pregnant. I felt guilty that I wasn't the happy, exuberant pregnant lady that my sweet little baby deserved. I also was slowly figuring out that I'd have Princess Kate–levels of morning sickness that kept me from moving, eating or drinking without barfing my guts out. And I felt like I couldn't tell anyone. How do you even start explaining all of this? 

One particularly difficult day, I started feeling really claustrophobic in the office and had to rush outside for some air. I couldn't breath. I couldn't pull myself together. So I googled "prenatal therapy nyc?" The first thing that popped up was a link to the Seleni Institute, a perinatal mental health facility that deals with infertility, miscarriage, postpartum depression, etc. I remember calling the number, walking up and down 18th street in tears. I was blubbering to the person on the other line about how I wasn't sure if I was the right person for what they do but I was pregnant and waiting and struggling and didn't know where to turn. They saw me the next day and I've continued going ever since. It was the best call I've ever made. 

The week before Thanksgiving, I had 9 vials of blood drawn for a cell-free DNA test. It would determine if the baby was a boy or a girl. I prayed my heart out. I went to bed Thanksgiving night, expecting not to hear anything until Monday morning.

At midnight I woke up to use the bathroom and saw 2 missed called and a voicemail on my phone. I quickly skimmed the voicemail transcription and saw the words Downtown Women OBGYN and BABY GIRL. I woke up my husband. We listened to the voicemail. The outcome I had been wishing, praying, hoping for the past 3 months actually came true. She's a baby girl! It was the most overwhelming sense of relief and joy that I have ever felt. I spent the rest of the night crying, laughing, and looking at baby clothes and nursery photos on my phone because I hadn't let myself start believing or dreaming about her until I knew everything was going to be okay. I didn't sleep at all. 

I am now 20 weeks pregnant with our sweet baby girl. We had her big midway anatomy scan last week. She's healthy and growing and we couldn't be happier. To say I feel lucky or blessed would be a ridiculous understatement. Someone was really watching over us. I thank God and the universe for her every single day.

The morning sickness stopped about a week ago. My belly popped. I'm starting to feel her swim around and we have the most adorable photos of her pretty little face that I find myself just staring at morning, noon and night. I love being pregnant. I want to soak up every minute of the next few months.

So that's where we are. My husband and I are over-the-moon, waiting for our lady to arrive. Right now we're working on her nursery (which is currently his office). I'd love to share some of that process with you if you're interested. Since I'm finally able to eat, I'm coming up with new pregnancy-safe recipes that I'd really like to post about, as well. You don't have to be knock-up to enjoy 'em! I'm talking about easy, healthy recipes anyone would love—expectant mamas, included!

I'd really love to hear about your pregnancy stories. What did pregnancy look like for you? Did you have similar issues? Are you trying to get pregnant? Are you just interested in pregnancy (no shame, girl, I was a mommy-blog creeper long before I ever wanted a family of my own)?

Also, do you have any pregnancy advice? Or advice for a first-time-mama like me? I'm all ears! Thank you for listening. I feel like a weight has been lifted writing this all down. I'm an open book, so please let me know if you have any questions. You gals are truly the best xo Erin

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