Archive for the ‘pregnant’ Category

First batch of fertility test results. (Mamacrow, this rambling entry is dedicated to you.)

May 11, 2012

Well, bummer.

We went to the fertility clinic this morning, and things didn’t exactly turn out as we had hoped. As I mentioned before, they now test AMH levels. This apparently measures the quantity of your eggs in reserve, not the quality of them. (When I had IVF, they performed two different hormone tests to measure the quality.) Apparently the minimum cut off for being able to eggshare is an AMH level of 15. TMD had 11. They also did a scan to count how many follicles she had – for eggsharing they require ten. She had nine.

So, as the saying goes, close but no cigar.

We have a couple of options, maybe. TMD had new bloods drawn for her AMH today – it’s a pretty stable hormone, but this is just to recheck it. I also took away a kit to test my levels – so on days 2-8 of my cycle, I get my blood drawn locally and post it off to the clinic to see how my egg reserves are. My two minute google on the way home in the car suggested that AMH may not be a good indicator of actual fertility. It tells you if you have a lot or only a few eggs left, but not whether those eggs are high quality.

Three options.

One, TMD gets her levels retested and they are okay. She has another scan and it, too, is okay. We then move forward with the seven hundred other tests you need to complete to share your eggs. This costs about one grand.

Two, if my levels are okay, we move forward with me giving half my eggs to TMD and half to an anonymous recipient. Just like last time, in fact, except I won’t be the one with the swollen belly afterwards. This costs about two grand.

Three, we decide to just pay for TMD to have ordinary IVF and not do eggshare. This costs about five thousand, and that worries me heavily, as it is an awful lot of money. And what if she really didn’t get many eggs?? This option might also make us feel pressured to transfer two embryos as we could not afford another cycle – and while we’d take twins over having no third baby, the aim really is a singleton this time around. However, I think we MAY be leaning towards this – and if my AMH levels are below 15, it really is the only option left to us anyway.

At any rate, I should be getting my period in about a week. Hopefully my local practice nurse will agree to draw bloods for me (jesus, was today expensive – 300 for the consult, 100 for her first AMH, and another 200 for her repeat and my AMH!) and post it off. We then wait a couple of weeks and schedule a phone consultation with the doctor.

I guess once all of our blood levels come back, we may see that we have many options – or only one. TMD was raising all the questions she had about having another child, her fears about pregnancy, on the way to the appointment this morning. As a result of today’s findings, she (and I) are strengthened in our desire to have this third baby. I just hope she/he materialises as quickly as possible, in the best way possible.

Who am I, who have I been, who do I wish to be? HOW do I wish to be?

April 25, 2012

I’ve been talking to David more in the past few weeks than we have in the past few years. I like talking to him. He’s intelligent, funny, and we share a way of thinking. We know each other in a way I don’t know other people, or allow myself to be known. Somehow it’s always just been this way. Easy, and challenging. Our conversations make me think….and feel.

Today I was left with the question: How would I experience the world if I was the adult I would be had I never experienced childhood trauma?

I spent a lot of time locked in my room, trying to not hear the sound of my mother being pushed down the stairs by my father. A lot of time locked in my head, trying to ignore the yelling – or the silences, as these polar opposites were the hallmarks of my childhood. I didn’t experience a lot of the middle ground when I was a kid.

But then the thought occured to me that I’ve had a thousand times, and I know you have too: if I’d never experienced what I have, I wouldn’t be me. And while I have my rusty parts, my terrified parts, my cranky parts – on the whole I like me. So how to move forward?

It’s a fool’s game to try to change the past, to wish things away or into existence. We just can’t do it.

But you know, I think maybe, just maybe, we have the best of both worlds. We get to have learned from our pasts, but we also have the chance to build on that. Everything seems to be a pretty delicate balance, and for me, learning to stay somewhere in the middle has been hard.

I try to be graceful – my experience with a disordered father has allowed me a sensitivity to other people’s pain I might not have known otherwise. I have strong intuition and instincts because I needed them when I was a kid. I am grateful for these gifts….though of course I’ve had some unwanted gifts. A fear of my own creativity, of taking risks. A fear of standing up to people, lest I get punished in some inexplicable way.

We all have our hurting places. We all think we are the only one to have these secret doubts and black places, but that’s bullshit. We all have them. But I think we all have the potential to try to learn new ways of being, to try to be our deepest, most authentic self – yes, the person we would be if we were not scarred by our pasts. It is hard work. It is grueling, painful, and sometimes joyful.

I have gone through cycles of extreme growth, and lately I’ve been stuck in period of grey sameness. It’s been cold, muddy, mostly lonely. Perhaps this conversation, my watching a friend as he tries to force his way out of a concrete cocoon, will be my inspiration to start over.


Shit my wife probably doesn’t want me to blog about, but she doesn’t ever read this anyway.

March 7, 2012

Y’all, I just got off the phone with a fertility clinic in the city we are moving to. Apparently fertility clinic lingo is permanently imprinted in my brain – unlike names of past classmates, what I had for breakfast, or most anything else. I was all, ‘Yeah, send me out an information pack on IVF, ICSI, IUI, price lists, tests needed in advance….just everything you’ve got, really.’ They seem like a really nice clinic – and one of the top ten in our country, apparently – but they don’t do eggsharing.


Eggsharing is how we AFFORD IVF. I don’t think we can get free treatment as lesbians, so we need to fund it ourselves. And when you share eggs, you save moolah. (And enrich someone else’s life, of course!)

So. I’m on the hunt for a local clinic that accepts private patients and has an eggshare programme in full swing. This first clinic I’ve just got off the phone with is apparently planning to start eggsharing in the summer, so I am definately keeping them in mind. At least once I’ve seen the prices.

And, no, it’s not going to be me. If all goes well – and no reason it shouldn’t – my lovely wife is going to be the pregnant one this time. I read a number of lesbian babymaking blogs, and most of my friends are now on baby number two (or more), using the non-birth mother of their first kid. So…welcome us to that club.

We need to get moving on this whole thing, because eggsharing stops at 36. And TMD turns 35 in a month. I also always wanted our kids to be clumped together in age, and we’ve already fucked that up! (Please let 35 year olds be eligible! All info on all sites states ages 18-35 or something, but I was never certain exactly what that meant. Were you cut off at 35 or 36? My friend down the road – who also has IVF twins – did eggsharing and she was 35. So fingers crossed!)

I swear to god among all the other valid reasons for wanting a third child, I need another one just to justify the upcoming purchase of a secondhand BIG ASS CAR. My mother in law was all, ‘I hope you aren’t moving down here and having more children. I can’t help out if you have a tonne.’ Uh, okay. But I want a big car and by GOD having a third child justifies that. People keep joking I want it because the country I was born in is all about gas guzzling giant cars – and they are probably right, but here in Country B cars are more fuel efficient and just generally less shitty for the environment.

So. Babies, cars, my mother in law (who is lovely and I KNOW she would babysit while we went around getting my wife all knocked up. Or ‘with child.’ Whatever you prefer.). Are you keeping up?

I’m so fucking nuts I’m already thinking: one embryo transfer or two? I’ve always wanted another set of twins – no lie – and four kids would be niiiiiiice. I knew I’d never be able to carry more than one again, but TMD….hmmm. That being said, having only one baby would be like a fucking vacation. My slings are calling to me, people.

Deliberations over a plastic bowl.

November 8, 2011

Woke up at four am with a soul killing migraine. Spent some time vomiting up stomach bile.

My response to all this? While my loving wife was shivering and rubbing my back, I said, ‘I don’t want to be pregnant again.’

‘No,’ she replied.

Every time I have a migraine or throw up, I am reminded of the special brand of hell that pregnancy was.

Though I suppose this time it wouldn’t be twins again.

Probably not.

Where’s Bowser when you need a good time?

October 25, 2011

Lately I find myself compulsively reading and rereading my pregnancy on this blog. Last night I even reread a bunch of IVF stuff – I was sort of impressed with myself. It seemed like a complicated mess of needles and medications from three years down the road. Like I couldn’t believe I ever knew how to mix medications or have needles stuck through my vagina to aspirate my follicles. (Yum!)

My crazy obsessive reading has led to me noticing three tiny sentences in separate entries, all relating to Super Mario Brothers DS. I was delighted to remember that I spent literal hours helping TMD try to beat a ghost house in that game.

I mentioned this to her and she was like, ‘Oh, yeah. I was talking with _____ and we spoke about how bored we were before children. How empty the days were. What did we do with all that time?!?!’

I was like, ‘Uh, we spent hours watching each other play Mario Brothers.’ Like I HADN’T JUST TOLD HER THAT.

So, my life before kids: whipping Bowser’s ass while I was on pregnancy bedrest (self-imposed, as I could not walk). My life now: sadly lacking in Bowser time. Blogging is about as close as it gets.

So watch out, people. I’ve got my firepower plant and I’m not afraid to consume it.

(Sigh. No, it’s just not cool. I need to carve out some time for my little DS. And that’s NINTENDO DS, not ‘dear son’, you freak.)

Two years ago…

August 12, 2011

TMD rolls me into Labour & Delivery at 8 am. My stomach is stretched out to my knees, my shirt pulled into a shape it will never recover from. I am nervous, but happy. Excited, and scared.

I walk into a different hospital at 8 am. TMD’s dad is there with me, reading signs and pointing the way to the ward where I’ll get ready to go into Theatre to have my pain injections. We walk up to the reception desk, and for some reason when they ask my name, I say it like this: Pineapple. Penelope Pinapple. The rest of the day the main nurse will call me Pineapple, and by the time I realise she isn’t saying Ms. Pineapple it’s too late to correct her. The other nurses realise my name is Penelope, but they are unsure of themselves as their boss is sure it’s Pineapple. So everyone starts mumbling my name.

I was told I’d be the first birth, but upon arrival I’m told there is an emergency case and I’ll have to wait. I sit in a waiting room for ages, before finally being shown into a private labour room. TMD changes into scrubs, I am stuffed into two hospital gowns. We begin to wait. And wait.

I am hustled into a ward and the doctor immediately meets with me. ‘Here are possible side effects: heavy leg, bleeding, worsening pain.’ There are more. I don’t really take them in; he clasps me on the shoulder and says, ‘You will be fine. You’re young and healthy.’ Nurses put hospital bracelets on both wrists, then add bright red bracelets to warn people I’ll puke if I’m even in the same room as Morphine. There is no waiting. I am moved seamlessly from one section to another.

I look at the hospital curtains, so different from the curtains in the rooms I stayed when pregnant. I wonder what Snort and Coconut are doing right now. I hope I’ll be home so I can spend most of their birthday with them.

Finally I am wheeled into Theatre. My epidural/spinal takes a record breaking hour to get in. I feel every time the needles jab into me.

Finally I walk into theatre, ghosts of that terrible pain from two years still lingering. Today is a day to begin exorcing those ghosts. I am happy I am wearing a robe, because we walked through the whole hospital and…hospital gowns? Ass flashing.

A needle is pushed into my hand. I climb onto a table and lay facedown, a huge x ray machine over my head. The doctor is asking for x gauge needles, red tipped needles, green needles – and worst of all? A spinal needle. Jesus. Still, I’m not worried.

Then he begins poking and I flinch and he seems surprised the seditive has done nothing. I get another dose. I feel every needle jamming into my joint. By the time the third injection site is reached, the sedation has properly kicked in.

By the time they tell me they’re going to take Snort out, unreality has flooded me. My body is totally numb, but my heart is so full. He is held over the curtain, in those seconds I gulp him in. A minute later Coconut is held up but all I see is her little foot. The memory is burned into my mind.

The whole birth happened so quickly; it’s over so fast.

It’s over so fast. I was in theatre for no more than a half hour – and that’s at the absolute most – and I’ve been jabbed and poked and prodded. A lot. I am asked to roll onto a gurney and pushed back through the hospital. I think about what I have learned: my back left joint shows much more wear and tear than the right. I am cleared to begin Pilates. It will take fourteen days to feel the full benefit of the shots.

I am rolled into recovery and I begin to wait. My blood pressure is low.

My blood pressure has been creeping up the whole pregnancy, but it’s never mentioned as a possible issue again once my son and daughter are with me. The waiting is over. Life kicks into a hugely high gear. There is no time for anything, not even eating. When meals are delivered, we wait until they are cold and then TMD spoonfeeds me, as I use my hands to cradle two babies to my breasts. I am so busy.

I am so bored. The porters kept me waiting for a gurnney ride back to the ward, and once back on the ward I am still held captive with no clothes, no bags. I am in a room with four other women, and we slowly begin to talk and trade war stories. Four of us are there because we just had needles of every size and description pushed into our muscles and joints. One is there awaiting a surgery. We talk, we laugh, we bond in two hours.

There is no time to talk to anyone, and I end up in a private room. It’s full – so full – of all our stuff. My bite sized snacks. Nipple cream. Endless nappies and tiny baby onesies. So full of stuff but so little talking, because, my god, THE PAIN. My SPD is so bad I need a midwife, or TMD, to grab my ankles, hold my legs together, and lift them onto the bed. I cannot walk at all. Standing is difficult.

A physiotherapist tells me it’ll take 5-6 months to clear up. I am relieved she seems so definite, that this pain will go away, but worried it will take so long.

It’s been two years since the day they were born, and SPD has been with me every step of the day. I’ve lived in constant pain, though the intensity has shifted.

I’ve had these injections, this day in hospital, and I know I’ll be back for the second round of injections in another month.

As I love these babies so hard, I already know I want more. But I wonder if I’ll ever be back, if I’ll have more children from my own body. The risk may be too great.

Still, after five (seven?) days in hospital, I go home with these people accompanying me:

After less than five hours in hospital, I get to go home. I am shaky and find it surprisingly tiring and difficult to walk to the car. But my eye is on the prize. I get to go home to these people:

One day, and my life is changed so much. I’m a MOTHER.

One day, and I don’t know if it will change my life. I have to wait and see what happens, have to get more injections and physio before we can see how things are. But it’s also been two years, two years of kissing baby necks. Watching them learn and grow without me needing to try to teach them anything. Two years of dirty nappies and triumphs ranging from the small to amazing. Two years to get from babies to walking, talking, wonderous children.

The pain of pregnancy was worth it. It is worth it, I think, as I sleep every night with them beside me.

The pain of pregnancy was worth it. It was worth it, I think, as I watch my naked children screaming in joy and chasing each other around in the garden.

What wonders August holds.

August 9, 2011

August is always the month of Big Happenings for us.

It features our anniversay, Coconut and Snort’s birthday, the anniversary of my grandmother’s death, etc. It is always a busy, full, kinetic month – I don’t know if this is something inherent about August, or just unique to our family.

I wrote last week about this being a scary week. Lots is going on, but I guess – for now – the only other thing I’ll mention is Thursday. That’s Snort and Coco’s birthday…..and also the day I have my first round of more invasive treatment for my SPD/PGP. I’m getting steroids injections as well as nerve blocks. The steroids, oh, the steroids. Multiple shots in my tummy, ass, lady bits. I have the second round in September; I’m not sure which shots are happening on Thursday, only that it’ll probably be my front or back. And I’ve been told they will be painful.

I tell you, I was actually more nervous about the driving test than these shots – on the test day, my hands were clammy, and my voice shook so hard at the beginning I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to talk. I should mention that this isn’t me. I know I come across in this blog as confident, outgoing, etc….and those things are true. The things that worry me about the shots are, really, the hospital they will be happening in. The place is a motherfucking rabbit warren. Lots of little buildings thrown onto a large piece of land in random order.

I’m having a sore week, and today is particularly painful. So I’m hoping we find the right place the first time round, as I can’t walk around searching for the operating theatre!

I’m hoping our pattern of changes in August holds true, and these shots make a big impact on my – and by extention, OUR – lives. Of course not all the changes in August have been good ones. Some have been soul destroying. But I figure the only way I can go from here in regards to the SPD is up. I needed a wheelchair on our recent trip to visit family on occasion, and I’m really ready to be able to plan a trip somewhere without wondering if we should hire a wheelchair for me. I’m ready for my life to expand again.

Within the little circle I live in – about a ten minute walk radius on good days – I have made friends and a life for myself and my children. But if that circle got bigger? Oh, it would be good. So good.

Anyway. On this particular August morning I am embracing the summer vacation ethos. Two little people are in nappies and are just doing whatever takes their fancy. For one bizarre moment they were just lying on the couch in a daze – picture to appear soon on facebook. They are in nappies, I’m dressed in all green like I’m in the fucking army or something, and no one has brushed their teeth yet. We are doing everything that little bit slower and it’s kind of nice.

How I got pregnant with Snort and Coconut.

October 30, 2010

Being a lesbian means you don’t get to have uninhibited sex and get knocked up. I know you know I had IVF, but do you know what I did to prepare – particularly when we thought we were going to opt for an insemination?

1. I lost all my weight…you know, except the weight that was healthy. Being very overweight may affect fertility, but losing weight definitely does. While you are losing weight your fertility can actually sharply drop. So after I lost all my weight, I maintained the loss for awhile. I can’t remember if 3 or 6 months is the recommended time frame (to allow things to stabilize – and fertility can increase if you enter a healthy weight range and stay put), but I kept it steady for at least a year.

2. I learned all about my fertility. I read books, websites, talked to doctors.

3. I did daily cervical checks (by touch) to learn about my most fertile times, and how my cervix awesomely kept me in the loop.

4. I temped daily with a basal body thermometre….for months. This taught me about when I ovulated every cycle, and how long my luteal phase is. If none of these terms are familiar to you and you’re getting knocked up at home? Learn them.

5. I monitored my cervical fluid daily and learned how it changed throughout the month.

6. I learned how items 3, 4, and 5 work together to clearly signal (usually!) when I am at my most fertile and about to ovulate. And how they confirm I have ovulated.

7.  I stopped drinking/eating all forms of caffeine six months before we started ttc. Yes, caffeine lowers your fertility.

8. I started a prenatal vitamin with folic acid six months before we started ttc.

9. I learned about the legal considerations and ramifications of protecting the rights of a two mom family.

These are just the most basic things I did. These are things I would recommend any woman or transman who wants to get pregnant should do.  Even if you aren’t trying to make a baby – or if you have a sperm making partner and want to avoid a baby, learning about your body is empowering. And useful.

Two books I think everyone should have on their shelves? The only two books you need?

The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy and Birth by Stephanie Brill. AWESOME. I read dozens of books and this was hands down the best book for talking about how to increase your fertility. It talks about a lot of things that impact it – I recommend this book to all my friends, even the straight/male partnered ones.

Obviously there is a lot that is lesbian-centric (and most didn’t apply to us as we weren’t using a known donor, etc), but the chapters on fertility make this a must read.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. (website here) This is the acknowledged handbook on all things fertility – well, monitoring it! You’ve got your cervix, the fluid coming out of it, your charts, your how to guide to charting and temping. It is glorious. For the life of me, I can’t understand why this book is not on the curriculum for young women. Buy it. Now.

It simply isn’t enough to think you ovulate 14 days after your period starts. No app on your phone or computer can tell you when you are likely to ovulate without as a MINIMUM charting your temp daily (and remember, you need a special theromometre – but it’s cheap. Don’t worry!). There are also fertility scopes (I never used one) and ovulation sticks, but by far the best way to understand fertility is to understand your unique rhythms.

Now, I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t taken steps to increase/maintain my fertility.  What I do know is that my fertility levels were excellent (tested by blood), I had a good crop of mature and healthy eggs, I got pregnant with twins my first go, and the woman I shared my eggs with got pregnant as well.

Me, 35 weeks pregnant.

It just makes sense to me to understand how your body works, when optimum times for trying to conceive are, and how you can help. I know too many lesbian couples who don’t temp/chart and have cycle after cycle of negative pregnancy tests. I don’t know if I could have coped with that – and charting your fertility is easy and free. You can do it on paper or online (fertility friend is a good site).

I only hope we get such good results the next time around, but I plan to stop caffeine, maintain weight loss (when I get there. Thirteen more pounds to go till I can eggshare, but I’d like to lose at least 28 more.), take prenatal vitamins, and all the other fertility stuff I need to refresh myself on by rereading Ms. Brill’s book.

Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions. I am happy to help.

Egg donation: my eggs become someone else’s child.

July 2, 2010

I wrote a post last week that briefly mentioned that the woman I donated eggs to would be keen to expand her family using more of my eggs. The comments on that entry (go read ’em!) made me think that this was worth writing more about.

The question that just popped into my mind was, ‘When do they go from being my eggs to her children?’ For me, that happened pretty much instantly.

The first comment was asking me if I ever felt odd about this. She said she wouldn’t want to donate her eggs, as it would be the same as carrying a baby to term and giving it up for adoption. And you know? Of course I sometimes feel odd about it. I started feeling odd right about the time that my children were born, and I suddenly wondered about that third baby out there (in the city just south of me).

Did it look like Snort and/or Coconut? Did it look like me? Would it like writing? Scary movies?

So, yes, I feel that way sometimes. On one occasion I did say to TMD I felt like I’d given a child up for adoption. I have all those feelings, and in a way would love to meet the family I helped to create. I think it would make it easier.

But you know what? Every time I talked to my clinic about this lady, I just felt good. Like a deep, bubbling joy.

I knew I would donate eggs when we went to a presentation at our clinic. I looked at the statistics for conception of babies done by IUI versus IVF and was terrified. I wanted a baby so much it was like my heart was big and fragile and wounded and longing. It was all I could think about, talk about. Having a child has been my deepest longing for years.

And I thought about how badly I wanted one, and then about the women who would need egg donation. If they were straight, they probably tried ‘the natural way’ for a goodish amount of time. Probably had IUI. Probably had IVF multiple times.  Waited possible years for a donor egg. Month after month of disappointment, of bleeding, of their dreams becoming more wanted – and more unlikely. Those women are fucking heroes in my book.

So I gave half my eggs to a stranger. In return, my IVF treatment was paid for (egg sharing means I give half my eggs, and recipient couples pay for their IVF and a donor’s IVF).

I got Snort and Coconut, these exact perfect wonders, because I shared my eggs with someone who wanted a baby. My children would not be here at this second if that other baby had not had a chance of existing, if that other family was longing for a baby and remained without one. I had my eggs collected one sunny, if chilly, morning – and from those couple of uncomfortable hours came three shining souls into the world.

I say  it’s worth it.

I will probably continue having mixed feelings, but perhaps my truest feelings happen when I hear from that other woman. She sent us a simple card, a card of deep and powerful gratitude (anonymously, it’s all anonymous to protect everyone). She sent messages through the clinic to me. And when my eggs were harvested and in great condition? When the nurse called to congratulate me and say how happy the other woman was, too? My eyes filled with tears for both of us.

I don’t know who she is. I don’t know if she is single or married, gay or straight, young or old. But whoever she is, she went through a lot to get her child. I hope she is parenting that child well, but I choose to believe she is because of the tremendous effort and commitment it takes to have a baby when you are infertile. I would like to meet her and her child when that baby turns 18; I sincerely hope it happens.

On the flip side, we also used donor sperm to conceive Snort and Coconut. Using someone else’s genetic materials makes those children no less fiercely mine. I am grateful to the man who shared his sperm with us. I don’t know who he is, either, but without him, again, our children would not be here.

It all feels quite karma-ish, you know. I give eggs away, and I get two children. I give eggs away because I needed to accept sperm from someone else. I give eggs away because we needed the money for our IVF treatment.

I would consider donating eggs straight out to this family if we chose to not have IVF again for us. This is a surprise to me, because I do still have all the pain and confusion and wondering and hoping for that other child. That child that feels a little bit like he or she is a piece of me, but when I look at our own children I see – when that baby comes into your life  (by embryo, sperm, or egg donation, by adoption, however) that baby belongs to itself. And to your family.

I am happy I do not have several little embryos on ice somewhere, because that would also make me feel nervous and a bit guilty. Instead of being forever frozen and possibly nothing more than potential, should we choose not to have a third or fourth child – those eggs went to someone who wanted a baby and had one.

It makes me feel good. Plain, old fashioned, ordinary good.

Having children has changed my life forever. That my body nurtured two little beings to a full term pregnancy and real kids resulted? Amazing. That somewhere not too far away another woman’s belly was swelling at the same time as mine and I had helped her? Humbling.

I would do it again.

I would not change one thing we did as we tried for a baby, because everything led these two loving, funny, mischievous miracles to our family. I am grateful for that.

Everyday miracles.

December 18, 2009

Curved from both sides, a little bit lumpy and a little bit smooth

the day before you both came out from under my heart.

And when you came, carefully birthed from the cut in my

stomach, I really couldn’t comprehend where

these two beautiful children

had come from.

Such beautiful twins, they said, such a good size.

So healthy, they said, so wonderful.

We just looked at you

and our hearts delighted.

Now you grow, grow, change every day

into curious, happy, wondering little people.

I carry you both now, tucked against me, curled against my back, my front.

Tiny little sighs puff against my neck, a cheek rests on my breasts.

I sometimes look at you and think, Can this be real?

Are you mine, ours? Are we yours?

Rounded from both sides, a little bit lumpy and a little bit smooth

this day as I wonder at my body.

Each stretch, each tear, each kick I felt as you pressed against

my skin

from the inside out.

This time last year we had just found out you were

inside me. Your hearts started to beat the day after Christmas.

This year, you are here.

Yes, you are here.