Six years ago, on the day after Thanksgiving, my sister called me with exciting news. They had been hoping for a baby for almost a year, and they called to announce that they were indeed expecting a baby. Stephen and I had been married just six months at the time and were completely oblivious to the news we would receive just two weeks later. We were also expecting a baby.
After we let the news soak in for a day or two, I called up my sister. I remember the first thing she asked was, "When did you ovulate?" She is the oldest and was hoping to have the first grandbaby. She did. Gabriel was born on August 3, 2004 followed just three weeks after by little Miss D'arcy on August 25th.
It really was not our intention of stealing Connie's thunder. She took the news graciously, though, and I think we both enjoyed being pregnant at the same time. We had a joint shower where I bested her at drinking two ounces from a bottle. We bought maternity clothes together, painted furniture for the new babies, and even picked out the same car seat and stroller combo.
Soon after D'arcy was born, we moved to Texas and proceeded to grow our little family. Julian was born in October 2006 and Schroeder in March 2009. Meanwhile, despite his Mom and Dad's attempts, Gabe remained an only child. Connie began the difficult and long journey that is infertility.
Obviously, watching someone experience this isn't the same as experiencing it, but along the way, I've learned a couple of things. Not long ago, it occurred to me that through this whole process I have never felt guilt for the ease at which we've been able to conceive. Certainly Connie has never made us feel that way. She has always been happy to have a new niece or nephew, and she even came to see us immediately following Schroeder's birth which I'm sure was emotional. Instead, I've felt a grave responsibility to never take for granted my blessings.
I've also learned to pray diligently for something, and to retain hope and faith despite the immediate reality. Connie began seeing a doctor sometime between Gabe's second and third birthdays. Three doctors, tons and tons of tests, several surgeries, and lots of medication later, Connie eventually began the process of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). I, along with my family, has been praying and hoping this whole time that God would bless them with another baby.
Sometime along the way, I had a dream. Connie and I were once again pregnant at the same time, and in one pregnancy, Connie caught up to me. After our children were born we had the same number of kids. Now, I believe that dreams can be given by God. It happened throughout the Bible. I wasn't sure if this dream should be taken literally or if it was simply given to encourage and spark hope. I shared this dream with several people, but not with Connie because I didn't want to add to her emotional roller coaster. Stephen and I were planning to have a third baby in 2009, and I was sure she would discover that she was pregnant with twins. That didn't happen, though.
Due to doctor changes, Connie was finally able to begin the IVF process in October. She thought it was funny that, once again, she would find out if she was expecting at Thanksgiving. I knew she was taking a home test on Thanksgiving morning. I woke up at 7am my time (8am her's). I thought for sure she would have already woken up and taken the test so the fact that she hadn't called me yet was not a good sign. I waited till 7:30 before I called my mom who said she hadn't heard from her. I texted Connie, but didn't get a response. So finally I decided to make the call. Her husband answered, and I thought, Ok, it was negative and she can't talk. I said, "I guess things aren't great over there."
Jason replies, "I'll let you talk to your sister." He hands the phone to Connie who casually says something that I didn't understand.
Connie says, "Did you hear me?"
I say, "No."
Connie says, "It was positive."
I say, "What the heck...I've been in tears for the last half an hour...why didn't you call!?!"
Anyway, she was pregnant which was great, yet, hard to soak in, news. She felt more confident that this was actually happening once she had a couple of blood tests that showed her hormone levels getting higher, and she felt even more confident once she had her first ultrasound which she had last Monday.
Her doctor had implanted two fertilized embryos. He told her that she had roughly 70% chance of becoming pregnant with one. If she was pregnant with one, she had another 30% chance of being pregnant with two. That was all the odds that Connie had communicated to me. However, I guess the doctor had told her that there was less than a 1% chance that she would become pregnant with triplets. When the doctor said triplets at the ultrasound, my sister waited for him to chuckle and say he was kidding. Infertility doctors don't kid about this stuff, though.
Connie is indeed expecting two identical "co-triplets" and one fraternal "co-triplet". So in one swoop, she was going to have more kids than I did. This isn't a competition, I didn't care, but it was just sort of amazing to think about.
A couple people had said, "Ha ha, now you'll need to catch up.", or, "Melissa, you are not allowed to have a baby next year." Because on top of the triplets, my brother and his wife are waiting to receive their adoption referral and will hopefully have a baby by next August so that's already four new babies by next Christmas.
"Don't worry," I said, "there are no plans whatsoever to have another one." And there weren't. At all. Whatsoever. NO PLANS. But for three or four days in a row I had woken up feeling like I needed to eat ASAP. But I am still nursing Schroeder so I just thought... I bought a test just to put my mind at ease. And low and behold, we are indeed unexpectedly expecting.
Yep! Yes, this is our FOURTh! and yes, we will have our hands FULL! We've always been planning for five kids, but we have successfully put 2 to 2 1/2 years in between the others. I was thinking we might even put three years in between Schroeder and the next one, but that is not to be. They will be something like 16 months apart. Do you think it's possible to potty train Schroeder before the baby comes? :P
So my parents will hopefully have 5 new grandkids come next Christmas! We are all a little overwhelmed and amazed and, of course, overjoyed! Overjoyed is a great place to be at Christmas. Our hope is that you will also have lots of joy this week. Merry Christmas!