Do you remember when both their heads nearly fit in the palm of Angela’s hand?
Do you remember when both their heads nearly fit in the palm of Angela’s hand?
Angela and I are so grateful for your support over the years but I have become so wrapped up in life outside of the blog. Over the weekend I reflected on how far this country has come and how blessed I am to live in a country that allows me to marry and raise children with someone of the same sex. I know this isn’t the case for everyone in every state but even in those state where gay marriage is not yet legal I am confident it will be soon.
Pierce and Gray will be a year old tomorrow. A year! The longest and shortest year of my life. Angela and I are celebrating with a big birthday bash on Saturday and then we are heading to Croatia next week for a much needed vacation without the babies. I hope to post pics of both.
And while I love this blog, the community it has created and the service it is doing for those that want inspiration and normalization it hasn’t been a priority for me over the past year. But don’t worry – I’m not walking away! Shannon has been doing an amazing job of keeping it up for the last 1.5 years. I am looking for another somebody out there who is willing to help her out and keep posts up on the blog. You would be paid with love and gratitude (I fork over more in web hosting fees than I make on this blog). You can be anywhere in the country but I just ask that you are able to commit to it fairly regularly and for a reasonable duration.
If you are interested please email me at traceyraebeal@ hotmail.com. – Tracey
I miss you and hope you guys are doing well. The babies are already 8 months old and I am still trying to get acclimated to how much your life shifts when you go from no kids to two kids (will it ever happen – who knows?). Angela is an AMAZING mother and although it can be overwhelming at times to be home all day with the babies she wouldn’t change it for anything. I am working full time and do mom duty in the early mornings, afternoons/evenings and weekends. During these times I try to give Angela some breaks which means we don’t spend as much time together as we would like. Our focus and priorities have shifted to the babies and to being the best parents possible and for now we take the limited time we can get with one another and relish in it. After the babies go to bed I do freelance consulting work from home and after that if I have some precious free time I work on the blog. Luckily Shannon is still a huge asset to the blog and keeps the posts coming.
Let me know how you all are doing! If you are a new reader introduce yourself. – Tracey
The babies have arrived!
Graysen Anna Beal and Pierson Ross Beal arrived early monday morning via c-section at 34 weeks, 4 days gestational age after my water broke at home late sunday night. We weren’t expecting them quite that early!
My sister, Allison and my mom, Joli threw us a beautiful baby shower last weekend. The weather was perfect, the food was delish’ and I was released from bed rest for a few hours. We all had a smashing time.
We certainly miss our NYC friends and family but it was wonderful to celebrate with the west coast girls. The guest list included family and dear friends that I have grown up with and have been best friends with for 20+ years (I’ve known one of these women since I was five); and other guests were those that we have recently become close with and/or met through the blog. Angela, Graysen, Pierson and I were overwhelmed and honored to be showered with so much love and adorable baby gifts (ok, so maybe the babies weren’t fully aware in utero but I’m sure they sensed it).
Photos by my soon-to-be brother-in-law (my sister is getting married in September), Justin. Thank you Justin for all of your help and for beautifully documenting the memories.
Everything is moving along with the pregnancy (only 2 weeks from the third trimester); we have begun to work on the nursery and have registered (we have NO IDEA what we are doing or what we need). But I am officially on bed rest and have doctor appointments galore - the babies both have umbilical cord problems and as a result they are a bit small. We are all confident that they will be just fine!
Because I have to constantly remain in bed and because I am still working (from home) things are just very busy. So when I received an email from Shannon (a reader who I have never met but can’t wait to have over for a glass of wine…) offering the best baby gift I could possibly receive I was overwhelmed. What a wonderful, wonderful thing.
From Shannon: Hello, On a Bicycle Built for Two Friends!
I started reading Tracey’s wonderful blog about a year ago—initially as a guilty pleasure. I’m a single girl living in SD, and heck, this site gives me hope. =) As easy as it is to gush over all of stunning weddings that this site features (who can’t get these crazy beautiful brides out of their head?), I soon came to understand that On a Bicycle Built for Two is so much more than a collection of pretty pictures. It’s a platform for us as a community to demonstrate the joy that comes into the world when we support each other in love.
With that in mind, I’ve decided it’s time to ante up and support Tracey & Ang in their current project of bringing more love into this world. So for the next few months I’ll be helping Tracey out with blog posts. She’ll still be keeping up her twitter account, so you’ll get plenty of baby news there. In the meantime, feel free to keep sending in your amazing engagement and wedding stories. Let’s keep the love going ‘round and give T&A a few hours to sleep. ‘cause… twins(!)
(Shannon is a 30-something lesbian who resides in SD. She loves the great outdoors, and when she’s not hiking or teaching her cat new tricks, she attempts to keep her instagram addiction in check. She hopes you’ll come visit the site again soon!)
As hard as it has been, when I think back to the beginning of this process I can’t help but smile at the immense hope and excitement that Angela and I had going into this.
We had talked about children and how they fit into our life plans from the get-go. Angela always knew she wanted (read: had to have) children. Although I never particularly thought of myself as a mother, as our relationship grew and our love for each other solidified I was convinced that we had to share that love with children. I had fears and hesitations (how can we be the perfect parents… we can’t) but even with our normal deficiencies it felt right. I told Angela that I didn’t want to start trying until our first anniversary because I wanted the first year to be about us. But six months into our marriage I couldn’t wait to get started.
The donor selection was daunting and time-consuming – no one seemed good enough to contribute to our child’s genetic makeup. After three months of searching we selected a donor and bought the maximum amount of sperm. We then began the process of selecting a fertility center. I remember going into our first appointment and asking the doctor whether I would be able to go on a family vacation in September assuming I was seven months pregnant. He wisely told me that we could cross that bridge when we got to it. In reality when that vacation rolled around I was just recovering from my first miscarriage.
Angela and I decided to start with Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) which is a slightly more high-tech turkey baster method with success rates around 15%. Our insurance didn’t cover any fertility treatment and this method is significantly less expensive than In-Vitro Fertilization. We followed our clinic’s instructions of using drug store ovulation predictor kits; once I got a positive on the OPK I was to go in the next day for insemination. We chose to do back to back inseminations because no one can determine EXACTLY when you ovulate. For example, if the OPK showed up positive on Friday morning I was to go in on Saturday and Sunday mornings for two days of insemination. We did this process three times and each negative pregnancy test at the end of the two week wait after insemination was brutally painful. I had no fertility issues and had a period like clockwork. Why wasn’t this working? After three back-to-back IUIs we had blown through six vials of our precious donor sperm (at $665/ vial plus shipping and storage) and all we were left with was heartache.
Our doctor reminded us that most hetero couples take longer than three months to get pregnant and that we would just have to keep trying. They didn’t even bat an eye while we sat in misery. We decided it was time to get serious. Even though IVF is significantly more expensive (and still not covered by our insurance) we only had the emotional capacity to deal with one or two more negative pregnancy tests. With the insane amount of monitoring and medication and pre-IVF appointments that needed to happen before we could move forward we had to wait a couple months until our cycle began. Once it did it was no joke. Injections, pills, daily transvaginal ultrasounds, ovaries and egg follicles the size of Texas, mood swings like you wouldn’t believe. But we were feeling good. This was going to be it.
In June I had 26 mature eggs retrieved, 19 fertilized (using three more of our vials of sperm) and five made it to really good quality day-five blastocysts at which point I had two transferred back to my uterus (and three frozen). A mere five days later I had a positive result on a home pregnancy test. We were over the moon. We began to research obstetricians and muse over baby names. We even discussed announcing the pregnancy to my family at our big September family vacation by giving my mother a birthday card with a coupon for a grandchild. Corny, I know.
As reality began to settle in I started to worry about miscarriage. I wasn’t overly anxious or stressed about it but I was aware of the realities of miscarriage rates (approx 25%) and based on how bad we wanted this pregnancy I knew our pain from a miscarriage would be brutal. And it was.
I began to bleed about five weeks into the pregnancy. The doctor was closely monitoring us and seemed pleased that our HCG hormone level was continuing to rise right on target and the gestational sac was exactly the size as it should be. We continued for another couple of weeks thinking that even though I was slightly bleeding everything was going OK. At seven weeks our doctor broke it to us that things weren’t actually OK. Things weren’t progressing as it should. On top of that because my hormones were continuing to rise (rather than decrease) my body wasn’t going to miscarry naturally and I would need a D&C. Although the D&C in itself wasn’t too bad, it is impossible to describe the emotional pain associated with having a very wanted pregnancy scraped out of you.
After weeks of tears and painful cramps life began to get back to normal. We still had three frozen embryos and more importantly we still had hope. The fact that we were able to get pregnant was a very good sign. I had the doctors perform extensive testing that is typically only done after repeat miscarriages but I wanted to go into the next cycle knowing everything. All my test results came back perfect.
Last Fall we were able to try again. Because it was a frozen cycle I didn’t have to do much to prep for the transfer. I stopped drinking, I ate a ton of fruits and vegetables and I went to multiple acupuncture sessions. To the chagrin of our doctors, we gained approval from the clinic director to transfer all three remaining frozen embryos. We were out of money and couldn’t afford to do any more fertility treatments. But most of all, we were ready to make this happen.
Five days after the transfer I received another positive home pregnancy test. We knew this was it. It is not super common for women to miscarry twice in a row unless they have fertility issues (and I didn’t). We were nervous because we still felt the pain from the last go-around but we really believed that this was the one. At six weeks I began to bleed. With the first pregnancy we weren’t sure that bleeding meant the end for us. This time around we had no doubt.
But, we were wrong. It turned out the pregnancy continued to progress and the bleeding was caused by a subchorionic hematoma. Angela and I are now well into our second trimester with TWINS – a boy and a girl!
It has been an extremely rocky road and this pregnancy still has a few hurdles to overcome but we are hoping and praying and thinking positively because we have made it this far.
I shared this lengthy recap of our experience because I have received a few questions from readers about our trying to conceive experience and I am happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Weddings forthcoming… thanks for your patience.