The weekend of March 12, 2016 will always be etched in my memory as amazing. On Friday, March 11, I found out I was pregnant! Michael and I are going to have a baby after trying for three and a half years! I was in shock and disbelief when I saw a second line on the pregnancy test that morning. I had taken probably hundreds of tests before, hoping that each month would be “the” month. Sometimes I swore I saw a line, only to find out I was mistaken. That Friday morning, I was very skeptical and tried not to get my hopes up. However, deep down inside I had a feeling I really was pregnant this time. It had been a funny week for me. I remember standing in the kitchen when we got home from work one evening eating heaping spoonfuls of extra crunchy peanut butter straight out of the jar while I was preparing dinner. I just had to have peanut butter. I felt an insatiable craving for it, and there I was, spooning it into my mouth like I hadn’t eaten anything in days! Have I eaten peanut butter out of the jar before? Yes. But never with such fervor!
After taking the test, I went about my Friday like it was any other day. Michael and I were still going into work together at the time, so I spent the entire day right next to him in the office, about to burst because of my big secret! I chose not to run out of the bathroom and announce the news after seeing the test that morning because I was still not convinced it was accurate. Yes, the line showed up in the five-minute testing window, but after getting my hopes up so many times during the past three years, I felt like it was a wise idea to exercise caution. I made some excuse to go to Walgreens during the day and picked up some boxes of the big guns of the pregnancy test world, First Response and Clear Blue Digital. The test from the morning was a generic blue dye, and if you know anything about pregnancy tests, you know that those are notorious for giving false positive results. It was time to bring in the cavalry!
I had to hide them deep in the recesses of my giant purse because it would be a while before Michael and I made it back home. It is election season, and we had tickets to go up to Dayton and attend a John Kasich Town Hall that night. I love the picture below because of the expression on my face. I wasn’t listening to anything Kasich was saying; I was elated, and sitting there in a happy daze because I had a pretty strong feeling I was pregnant!
When we got home from the Kasich event, the day was not over. I was still working full time and usually did the grocery shopping on Friday night to avoid the weekend crowds. Luckily, I was able to take another test before heading out to Kroger. There they were again, the two lines. When you test before your period is due, you’re supposed to use first morning urine (fmu if you’re a veteran member of the online trying to conceive (ttc) community). Since it was the evening, I decided to use another generic and save the First Response and Clear Blue Digital tests for Saturday morning. But I was becoming more and more convinced it had finally happened for us.
I had been planning how I would tell Michael I was pregnant for a long, long time. Probably since before we were even trying. I had a cache of ideas in my head and used some of them to orchestrate a “We’re Pregnant” weekend while strolling the aisles of Kroger that night. I bought several items that would serve as little hints throughout the weekend. These items were intended to be subtle, and they would only make sense after the big reveal on Sunday afternoon.
First, I picked out some mini muffins for us to nibble on Saturday morning. But remember, it’s election season. We had tickets for another political event bright and early Saturday morning. We were going to a Trump Rally in Vandalia, north of Dayton. Before we left for Dayton, I took a Clear Blue Digital test and after a minute or two, it read, “Pregnant, 1-2 weeks.” Any lingering doubt was gone now, and I focused my energy on dropping hints for Michael! I brought the muffins in the car and kept referring to them as baby muffins. As we ate them in the car, I commented on how cute they were, these little baby muffins.
Here’s Michael walking into the Trump rally at the Wright Brothers Airport hanger. He has no idea yet that he’s going to be a dad!
Michael took my picture with a Secret Service guy.
The Donald takes his position at the podium shortly after arriving.
My next hint made its appearance as we were leaving the rally. I had two boxes of Barnum’s animal crackers in my purse, and was relieved they did not create an issue at the Secret Service bag check. I offered a box to Michael as we walked back to our car. He might have seemed a little surprised that I had little boxes of animal crackers in my purse, but he didn’t say anything about it. He was just happy for the snack.
When we got home from the Trump Rally, I was on a mission. I had to purchase and assemble the items I was going to use for the big reveal on Sunday. Again, I made some excuse to head to Target since I don’t usually do much shopping on the weekends. Once there, I was in heaven browsing the baby section. It was finally my turn to be in the baby department! I have to admit, somewhere in the three and a half years of our trying to conceive journey, I started avoiding baby departments like the plague. It was painful for me because I wanted a baby so desperately. The happiness and gratitude I felt as I looked for the perfect beachy unisex onesie for the big reveal is indescribable. Once I had all the items I needed, I headed back home and slipped upstairs to prepare. When everything was ready, I headed back downstairs and we went about our Saturday as usual.
Sunday finally arrived, and I was ready to drop my last round of hints. I really wanted to serve Dad’s Root Beer before the big reveal, but they did not have any at Kroger when I went Friday night. I told Michael I just had to try this particular brand of root beer with our dinner, and we went to Jungle Jim’s International Market to pick up a six pack. My hints were still subtle enough that Michael had no idea what was going on!
I had already told Michael I picked up some baby back ribs for our Sunday lunch/dinner. He was excited about this; the man loves meat. He was going to grill them, but it started raining in the afternoon, so we just heated them up in the oven. The last little hint was a side of apple sauce to go with our rib meal.
We sat down to our meal in the afternoon. I couldn’t stop thinking about the package waiting upstairs. I was also still having trouble believing I was pregnant, and about to share this news with Michael.
The baby dinner: apple sauce, Dad’s Root Beer, baby back ribs.
After eating, we cleaned up the dishes and relaxed on the couch. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon, and I knew the time had come for the big announcement. When I prepared the items for the big reveal, I put them in a box my sister had used to send us some goodies in the mail. When I taped it back up, it looked like a new, unopened package from New Braunfels. On Saturday, I told Michael to be on the lookout for the mail because my sister told me she was sending us another package. I explained that she had forgotten to include something in the first one. Now, mail does not usually arrive on Sundays, but we have in fact experienced some Sunday USPS deliveries. Therefore, Michael didn’t bat an eye when I exclaimed, looking out our front door, “there’s a package here from my sister!” I brought it into our dining room and opened the shipping box. Then I said, in a surprised voice, “Oh, it’s for you, your name is on the gift box.” Before I said this, I had propped my phone up discreetly on the counter and hit record. Michael got up from the couch and came in the dining room to open his package. My heart was pounding. I still couldn’t believe I was finally getting to do this!
When he opened the box, he looked very confused. He thought my sister had sent the wrong package and these “bambino beach cottage” baby things were intended for someone else.
I pretended to be confused, too, and then I pointed out the card and told him to open it.
After reading the card, he looked at me and asked, “are you serious?” to which I replied, “yeah, I am!” Michael asked again, “really?” I said, “yes!” Again, he asked, “really? when did you find out?” I told him I found out on Friday, but waited to share the news until I was absolutely sure. I proudly showed him my collection of pregnancy tests. We talked about how excited and surprised we were. Michael said, “it finally occurred!” I shared with him that Baby McLees is due at the end of November. After a long discussion about when to tell our families, we decided we would wait a couple of weeks and share our news on Easter Sunday.
In closing, I don’t want to spend a lot of time dwelling on how long it took us to conceive; however, it was a challenging period in our lives that makes this baby a gift long awaited. During our trying to conceive journey, we eventually ended up going to a fertility specialist in San Antonio. This doctor was never able to pinpoint anything specific as the reason we were not getting pregnant. We both had complete fertility workups and various procedures which revealed some minor issues on both sides, but, according to the doctor, nothing stood out as a concrete explanation. She told us we could try IUI, but that she recommended going straight to IVF. We were seated in her office in front of a large TV screen on which she showed us a PowerPoint detailing our options and the costs associated with each procedure and accompanying fertility drugs. I remember the day very well because it was a cold, rainy, and dreary afternoon in January. She also told me to freeze my eggs if we wished to have more than one child. When I asked her if we could try on our own for another 6 months or so, she advised against it. She made it sound like there was not a minute to spare. Michael asked about the numbers; he wanted to know what percent chance we had of getting pregnant on our own each month. She told us we had a 1% chance of conceiving each month. As you can imagine, this was astounding news. When we first decided to see a fertility specialist, I expected to be told to cut back on caffeine, reduce the stress in my life, and keep trying. I certainly didn’t expect to be told to go straight to IVF.
We were definitely not ready to plunge into IVF at that point. Religiously, I have a problem with it. I also had a strong desire for us to conceive on our own, naturally. We both believed that it could still happen. After our last visit to the specialist in the spring of 2015, we decided to take a break from fertility clinics and the baby issue for a while. We decided to look ahead to our move to Ohio. Together, we made the decision that we would focus on the opportunity to start something new in Cincinnati and all the positive things that went along with that. Once we were settled in our new home, we planned on revisiting the baby issue.
Obviously, we are both so glad that we waited! I am so grateful for Michael’s mindset that if we were patient enough, it would eventually happen. My mother also shared this sentiment. I remember having lunch with her two years ago, and she told me not to worry about it, that it would happen when the time was right. My mother was, as she usually is, right!
Michael and I are overjoyed about Baby McLees, arriving late November 2016.