The realization that you’re having a baby is like a gift you can open again and again.  I’m super excited, but I know it’s still early and the chance for miscarriage is high. My IVF coordinator told me to tell my mom and leave it at that. Maybe it’s because I was raised Catholic and Catholics love to confess, or maybe it’s just because I am a natural-born blabbermouth, but I can’t help but let a series of cats out of bags right away. I tell my mom, my sisters, my co-workers, and our close friends in Richmond. My mom tells the rest of our family. She also, as it turns out, tells the cashier at the local thrift store, because when I go in there to purchase a punch bowl, she congratulates me. Matt, who has more self control than I,  has only told his sister, Katelyn. No one else in his family knows we were doing IVF, so we have a chance to surprise them at Christmas. Continue reading



It’s Thanksgiving! This year, we’re at my mom and dad’s. I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, a rural peninsula made almost-famous by the warped Cornish dialect of Tangier Island, Cherrystone clams, an indigenous, greenish sweet potato known as the Hayman, and a prostitute named Tattoo whose prolapsed uterus once fell out on the porch of my sister’s best friend’s mother’s house.

My parents and sister, Cean, live on a farm on Hungar’s Creek, just over a half an hour’s drive from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. You can walk from one house to the other in about 5 minutes. My brother, Robbie, is about 15 minutes away. I also have three other sisters–Kristin and Kendra, who live in Massachusetts, and Gillian, who lives in Texas. Everyone has one to three kids and zero to four dogs, so family gatherings are usually loud, drooly, and hairy. Continue reading


Let’s do the time warp. It’s still two weeks after the embryo transfer, but since pregnancy is counted from the date of your last period–not the date you actually conceived–you end up gaining two weeks. It’s week two, but now it’s also week four.

My best friend, Mary, is the first person I call with the news. When she and I were in our early 20s, we made a pinky swear that if one of us got pregnant, the other one would have to get in the family way, too. We didn’t really worry too much about logistics, like, what if she got pregnant while I was single?  (Since Mary is golden and beautiful and I am made mostly of nose and teeth, it was more likely she would get scooped up first.)  Continue reading


Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I couldn’t help thinking that when the sun came up in the morning, everything would be different. Matt and I have spent a year and a half trying to make a baby, doggedly pushing through tests, surgeries, injections, and check-ups while racking up thousands of dollars in debt. We have no frozen embryos to use in case this first round of IVF didn’t work, and no money to start another round of IVF from scratch. Adoption and surrogacy are even more expensive, so they’re ruled out, too. Stakes are high on this little gamble of ours. Continue reading


There’s this website called Two Week Wait. My friend, Susan, introduced it to me when she was trying to get pregnant. It’s basically a forum where women share their symptoms during the two weeks after ovulation that lead up to getting, or not getting, your period. It’s supposed to help you identify early indicators for pregnancy, but according to TWW, everything is a pregnancy symptom. You could have bananas growing out of your ears and cats for feet and there will be someone on the website who had THE EXACT SAME THING happen to her and it turns out she was pregnant!

I was a real jerk about TWW when I first read it, namely because (a) I’m a jerk and (b) it’s overflowing with emotions, emoticons, and schmaltzy acronyms that require their own glossary. Don’t believe me? Try deciphering this post, entitled “Cold Feet” Sign ?!? [sic]: Continue reading


When a man loves a woman, and a woman loves a man, they step into a room with a bed. The woman slips into something more comfortable–a hospital gown and no-skid socks. A third party enters, knocks the woman unconscious, and wheels her out of the room while the man is escorted into another room to look at porn.

This is how babies are (sometimes) made.

At least, this is how ours were. And it was amazing. Continue reading


Here I am, naked from the waist down, legs spread, feet in stirrups. Above my head, tacked to the ceiling, is a print of a mother playing hopscotch with her baby. It’s called “Mi Hijo Y Yo” and I guess it’s supposed to make me think tender, maternal thoughts instead of focusing on the fact that there is a doctor perched at the foot of the bed, panning for gold in my uterus.

I’ve been in this position a lot lately. These kinds of examinations are always awkward, and my coping mechanism is to make bad jokes as I lie there. Over the past year that my husband, Matt, and I have been grappling with our fertility issues, there have been many. When my OB/GYN accidentally dropped a dollop of lube on my foot during an ultrasound, I assured her it would now be easier for me to get my socks on. The first time my fertility doctor performed an examination I suggested there may be an old boot up there causing all the problems.

These are the jokes, people. Continue reading