Disclaimer: If you are in the midst of trying to conceive and reading about pregnancy could be triggering I wanted to send you love and a warning about the content of this post before you embark on reading it.
December was quite a month for us. On December 1st, I signed a contract for a new job in Port Alberni, BC and on December 4th, we found out we were pregnant! Cue excitement!
We went away for Christmas for a week and because I was moving out to Vancouver Island on January 1st, we had an ultrasound scheduled on December 20th before we left on our Christmas holiday. To our surprise with a vaginal ultrasound wand inside me (enjoy that picture), we found out there was not one but two healthy babies growing inside me! Cue overwhelm!
The ultrasound technician asked “how do you feel about multiples?” as two amniotic sacs with little lima beans inside them appeared on the screen. I started laughing and crying all at once and the words “holy shit” flew out of my mouth. The technician handed me a tissue and Mike grabbed my hand as fast as he could.
I was 7 weeks pregnant at the time so it was still early for an ultrasound but they both measured to 7 weeks and we saw 2 hearts pumping. And their heartbeats were perfectly healthy. It was an incredible feeling of overwhelm and excitement.
Ok so let me backtrack to simply the pregnancy excitement before we get all caught up in twin talk.
Finding Out Were Pregnant
Mike and I have known since we met that we wanted to start a family. To become parents has been one of our core values that brought us together and I’m pretty sure we talked about having a family during the first week we started talking to each other. We said we’d start trying the minute we got married so a honeymoon baby had been a huge hope for us.
Around August of 2019 (after a year of trying), we were told about a new family doctor taking patients. Needless to say, our previous one was just a nightmare. We had been trying to conceive for over a year at this point so our former family doctor had started to order rounds of fertility testing.
I’ll share more in another blog post about what we discovered. While I know a year of infertility may seem like a short amount of time for some, for us and for me especially, it was difficult. I’m 37 years old, so my age had started to loom over me. We also want 2 kids so I was cognisant of conceiving as early as possible. Every month, I would get my hopes up, I would track my cycles, we would have sex on all the right days and times. I would even let go of expectations to get pregnant some months and just have fun with life. I would do everything in my power to be healthy for pregnancy from giving up alcohol pretty much the minute we started trying to conceive, to giving up coffee around September to do everything I could to get my body ready. What I now understand about an infertility journey is it’s truly one of the loneliest paths to walk on if you choose to keep it private. AND we had decided to keep it private. I very well could have talked about it publicly as my employer at the time was aware we were trying. But it just felt like something I didn’t want to share with the world. I did share with a few key friends how I was struggling and got just the right friend support I needed.
However, every month when my period came I would find myself experiencing pure grief, my body racked with sobs. Sometimes hiding in the work bathroom overcome with sadness, or wrapped in Mike’s arms at home just letting myself cry. Always wondering what I could have done differently. I would have friends or acquaintances say “it happens when you stop trying!” I equate that statement to someone in a relationship saying to the single girl “you’ll find your person when you stop looking.” And that’s all well and good but you have to date to find your person and you literally have to have sex to have a baby so you literally need to “try”. To this day, you’ll never find me saying “it happens when you stop trying!” to another human being! Layer on hormonal imbalances (more on that later) that were potentially the culprit of our “unexplained fertility” and I felt at a loss for what to do.
We were referred to the Ottawa Fertility Clinic and more tests ensued. For months I would spend mornings getting my blood drawn or having ultrasounds and then getting to work before anyone else and trying not to worry. According to the clinic, there was literally nothing wrong with me. The one hormonal imbalance, which my naturopath explained to me, I had to urge the Fertility Clinic to pay attention to. I’ll share more about the hormonal imbalances that were discovered which led them to suggest we try a round of IUI and apply for funded government IVF treatment (waiting times were a year and three months). We opted for IUI so I’ll share in another blog post our IUI experience. But back to the fun part of announcing our pregnancy to our family!
Telling Our Parents
My mom was aware of what was happening. I had confided in her that we were going in for an IUI procedure in November and when I didn’t call her crying with the appearance of another period I think she figured out what was going on. My mom was performing in her church choir at the beginning of December so we headed out to the performance and then went back to their house for dinner. I used a silver paint pen to write “Grandma & Grandpa Est. Aug 2020” on a glass ornament and put it on their tree before they got home. When they walked in the door I told them “We finished decorating our tree and had way too many ornaments so we brought you one of ours”. My dad walked over to the tree and read Grandma and Grandpa and said: “that’s nice”. See, we call them that with the dogs so I think he just thought we were referring to the puppies.
I told him to go back and read it again, but because I used a silver pen he couldn’t read the August part. So I read it out loud saying “Est August 2020” and that’s when he said “REALLY?” and teared up. My mom was already hugging me with this look on her face like she already knew.
Mike put together a much more elaborate scenario for telling his parents. He bought shirts for his parents that read “promoted to Grandma” “promoted to Grandpa” and “Auntie” for his sister. He lay them out on our hotel room bed (writing face down) with a pair of dollar store mittens and a Werther’s on top of them. We also bought lottery tickets that read “Winner Baby Pineault Aug 2020” in the last scratch-off square.
We went out to dinner on our first night at the resort and then Mike announced he had Christmas gifts for everyone to use while on vacation. So we brought everyone back to our room and blindfolded them. From there we instructed them they’d have to put on the shirts, then the mittens, open the Werther’s and then scratch lottery tickets. We didn’t really think about the fact that they wouldn’t all go at the same speed so we kept yelling at his mom or dad to skip a step so they would all scratch the lottery tickets all at once. Rebecca (Mike’s sister) was the first to figure it out. She read the winning lottery ticket square out loud, screamed, threw her mitts off and jumped on top of me getting her earring stuck in my shirt in the process. Mike’s mom proceeded to stand there and cry and Mike’s dad gave him a big hug while Mike helped extricate his sister’s earring from my shirt!
So on December 20th after our ultrasound, we were having dinner over at my parent’s place. We showed them the ultrasound picture of Baby A and Baby B (first picture in this blog post). My mom clued in right away. I had to say we saw their heartbeats today and then my dad’s eyes went wide and he looked a little shocked.
After telling Mike’s parents we were pregnant, Mike put a picture of Baby A in a Christmas card for his mom and a picture of Baby B in a Christmas card for his dad. When they opened the cards, we waited a few seconds and said “What? You can’t tell your grandchildren apart?” No one figured it out so Mike repeated: “How come you can’t tell your grandchildren apart?” Cue more tears from Mike’s mom and Mike’s dad looking as shocked as mine did.
This past weekend, Mike flew to Vancouver Island to visit (he’s not moving out here until March). We booked a stay at Black Rock Resort and a photographer, Tashia Potter, for a pregnancy announcement on social media (here’s a link to the IG post).
We are so happy with how some of the shots turned out!
Stay tuned for a post about my hormones and our IUI experience if you’re curious to know more.