I am over the moon to share some of the most exciting news that has happened to our family. Our pregnancy journey to welcoming our first baby Haughton December 2019! This has been SUCH a hard secret to keep. Between “fake” cocktails, to the tiredness experienced in the first trimester, to the little bump forming in my belly, I have wanted to share with you for so long!
We always like to keep things real so I wanted to share with you our pregnancy journey, AKA how we got here. Not literally, of course, because you can all take a quick guess on that, but more so the thoughts/process that came along with wanting to (and ultimately deciding to) start a family.
Let’s begin with some background info for those of you that are new here. My husband, Tommy (aka T), and I met right before my 25th birthday, after a tough breakup/move-out. I have always been the “relationship type”, but I’d had my fun, and always seemed to find myself in longer-term relationships. T had a different kind of relationship history. He dated a very small number of people, focusing on his career in NYC (and let’s be honest, having fun along the way). I’m a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, and this breakup to a relationship was no different.
T and I have always been super communicative, open, upfront, and honest with one another. I think because I was fresh out of a relationship where that was definitely not the case, open communication was critical for me, and once we officially established our relationship, T was always pretty aligned. I share this because it leads to the honesty, planning, and upfront discussions that were critical to our future.
Once a Planner, Always a Planner
As many of you know I am a little bit of a psycho planner. I like to think about things, map them out, look at the potentials challenges and opportunities along the way, and level set expectations with those around me. Naturally, marriage, pregnancy, and children were brought up early on in my relationship with T. I told him how I hoped to get married one day. As our relationship progressed, we openly discussed timelines and dreamt about all aspects of our future along the way. We talked about our desire to have children, my nerves about pregnancy, how many we hoped to have, what scared us, and what we felt we still needed to do for us, prior to having kids.
I wanted nothing more than to have a plan, a timeline, a map for the next one, three, five, and ten years as something to dream and work toward. But the challenge for people like me who are planners is that the plan doesn’t always go as you imagined. Life throws you curveballs and challenges, and as much as you try to anticipate each and every one of them, that’s not realistic. And pregnancy is no different. So I’m trying to live more “in the moment”, have a plan, but know that if the plan changes, things will still work out as long as you have the support of your partner, friends, and family along the way.
My Medical Scare
This part of the story, in a way, deserves its own post, but I will keep it quick. When I was a sophomore in college, I went to the ER with debilitating pains in my abdomen after a somewhat wild Halloween night. The doctors were not sure of the cause and sent me home, despite my best efforts. Their instructions were to take four Motrin and come back if that did not work which, of course, it did not (I take four Motrin for a bad headache, and this was FAR worse).
In the middle of the night, I finally called my Mom to come and get me, as the unbearable excruciating stomach pain continued. I have always been told I have a “really good gut” and I knew something was not right. My Mom drove to Gainesville at 2am, arriving at 4am to pick me up, taking me straight to my OBGYN in Orlando by 6am the next morning. After an ultrasound, my OBGYN found “a large black mass” in my abdomen. I needed surgery immediately. I had developed a cantaloupe-sized dermoid cyst on my ovary, and it was in vast danger of rupturing.
From there, it gets a bit blurry. I was rushed into emergency surgery and told that they would try to save my ovary and minimize the scarring. Sometime within the surgery, I remember waking up to the “beep-beep-beep” noise signifying my heart rate was dropping, only to pass out again. I had lost so much blood, that I needed two blood transfusions to keep me stable in surgery. After the transfusions, the Doctors told me that they could not save my ovary. It needed to be removed based on the size and engulfed nature of the cyst.
I was devastated and scared that I would have a more difficult time having children. I was nervous that the same thing would happen to my other ovary, causing me to ultimately be infertile for the rest of my life. And on top of all of this, because of complications with the surgery and the transfusions, I was in the hospital for 14 nights, having to withdraw from school for the semester and missing a study abroad trip to Australia. Another devastating blow.
To top it all off, 3 days after being released from the hospital, I was watching football with my family and saw my stomach turning shades of black and blue. I had somehow managed to pop a stitch, causing a grapefruit-sized hematoma (aka blood clot), and was bleeding internally. I was rushed back into the hospital for emergency surgery, and luckily, the clot was able to be removed.
A Nervous Future
I always wanted to be upfront with T about having one ovary, and my fears of not being able to have children. Reality came to light as we discussed our hope to have three children, realizing by the time we got married, took a year to travel and enjoy married life, and got started on the family train, I would be at least 32 years old.
In NYC especially, I get it, people have kids at 32 all the time. But not three kids, with one ovary, and it’s not always that easy to just get pregnant. The stipulations and facts surrounding our plan, made me nervous. Nervous to not be able to have the thing most important to us, a family. And most of all nervous that my condition (one ovary, age, etc.) could put T at risk for not being able to see the greatest gift of all, the gift of being a Dad. I knew he would be the best father, and I was petrified of taking that away from him.
So, as I do, I took matters into my own hands. I am a HUGE believer of being your own advocate (and building a strong team of advocates) in life and specifically when it comes to the medical world. People slip through the cracks every day, and I was not going to be one of those.
My Mom has always said, “knowledge is power” and that is something I carry with me everyday.
And as scared as I was, I did the full fertility testing (more on this and what you can do if you are thinking of starting a family coming in a new post!) and used my results as power.
T and I decided we wanted to spend a year traveling and enjoy married life. We wanted to stay out late, watch the sunrise, travel to magical places like Italy, Croatia, and Ibiza, and just live a year of really full life adventures. So we did, and we agreed that in 2019 we would start trying for a family.
How it Happened
I am going to get into EXACTLY what I did to prepare us (and my body) for trying to get pregnant in a different post. I did extensive research on this you guys, and if my approach can help even one person, that is a beautiful thing, and what this blog is all about. Until then, I will say that we are so grateful for how quickly it happened. I credit this to three things. The research and approach, medical and overarching knowledge of my body, and building a team of advocates that were by my side as we kicked off our journey to starting a family. We started trying (via the Flo app and Clear Blue Fertility Monitor) in February and got pregnant in March. I also worked to keep my body in top shape and boost my immune system to prepare for getting pregnant.
I have to pause here and say that I know how hard this can be for so many women. I’ve seen the effects of infertility or challenges in getting pregnant first-hand. And I know how isolating and alone it can feel. But if you are reading this and struggling, I want you to know, you are NOT alone. You can take charge of your situation and find a solution. You can have a miracle. They happen every day, and they will happen for you. Just keep pushing forward, keep demanding answers, and keep talking to your friends, family, doctors, and advocates to help you get the baby of your dream. There are great clinics across the country, and we are here for you, praying for your miracle.
My First 26 Weeks
I have so much to say here about what has been happening and changing in my body during pregnancy, and really in life overall. Let me tell you, it is VERY different coming from the social chair of your sorority and the party planner of your friend group to taking a sober backseat, especially in the summer. So another post I promise to write.
But I will share that among all of this joy, pregnancy has taken somewhat of a back seat for me this time, due to other more critical circumstances. Again, I think everything happens for a reason and I strongly believe that God gives you only what you can handle. And while this pregnancy has thankfully been incredibly easy, the rest of the past 6 months have not. I found out I was pregnant right after T’s grandmothers funeral, and per the above was super nervous something would happen to the baby, so told very few people before the 12-week mark.
My mom was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma last year, and she is my best friend. The constant pressures of cancer weigh on everyone. Then, about 10 weeks ago my Stepdad, Len, (who I am incredibly close with) went to the ER with a DVT blood clot, only to find out he has stage four pancreatic cancer. Having two parents in the same family with cancer has definitely taken a toll on me. I am so grateful for the support of T and my family, all urging me to put the baby and pregnancy first, but it is HARD. The whole thing is incredibly hard, but I am trying to keep my head up and fight forward for Len, for T, for my family, and most of all for this little baby who I hope will never have to feel this pain.
Baby Haughton is officially making an appearance this December, December 14th EST. We did not find out the sex of the baby until our friends and family did two weeks ago. We are excited to share IT’S A BOY! With everything else mentioned throughout this pregnancy, I am just praying for a healthy, sweet, happy baby, that we will love unconditionally for the rest of our lives.
Recently, T and I were talking about what we were most excited for the baby. He said something profound, that brought tears to my eyes.
“I just want him to know that he can be great, great at anything he dreams. I want him to live the biggest, fullest, happiest life, and to teach him all that we have learned to take away as many pain and hardships as we can.”
And, I couldn’t have said it better and we are so excited to meet our little one this December! Thanks for sharing in our pregnancy journey. Be on the lookout for our next posts on our tips and advice for getting pregnant and the first 26 weeks.