Yesterday, Mr. O and I went in for our 6 week ultrasound. I’d been nearly convinced that I would get there, and they would tell me that there was, in fact, no baby inside. A Hot Wheels car? A Hershey’s Kiss? What about a Hermit crab?  All these things seemed much more plausible.

So imagine my genuine surprise when the ultrasound tech found a tiny lima bean hanging out in my uterus. A tiny lima bean with a tiny flickering heartbeat. Fluttering like a small hummingbird. It was awesome.

Afterwards, we met with Dr. Petrel. She was her usual peppy, matter-of-fact self. According to how my little hummingbird is progressing, we have a due date of August 13th. It now feels real.

Mr. O and I sat in her office a little gobsmacked. I completely lost control of my brain. All the smart questions I wanted to ask about potential complications, medications I should be taking, physical activities I should be avoiding… GONE. I just stared ahead at her file cabinet.

In the meantime, Dr. Petrel went over the results of our IVF (besides the obvious successful implantation.) As you all know, I started out with 13 oocytes, 10 fertilized, and then only 3 made it to Day 3. We implanted one, and we have one leftover. That embryo is in excellent condition, we are told. It has a very high grading- it is practically a valedictorian. So if we want to do this again sometime, we have one lovely embryo for FET.

I could feel the conversation winding down, my opportunity to ask all my questions being gently ushered out the door. It’s like that moment in A Christmas Story, when Ralphie is losing out on his one chance with Santa. I was blowing it! Blowing it!

So I quickly spewed all my questions, in no particular order. And as always, Dr. Petrel gave me concise, articulate answers. Some highlights:

  1. We didn’t have a lot of embryos make it, which may have something to do with my egg quality. But it may not. In her eyes, getting pregnant is a little bit like the lottery. So many things have to go right, even if you’re starting off with quality ingredients.
  2. We basically got an entire years worth of trying out in one shot (12 months in a year, 13 oocytes.) Of those 13, 2 were viable. If we had waited another year of conceiving naturally (when I’d be 37) then egg quality would be of a bigger concern from her standpoint.
  3. I can exercise, but nothing crazy. Some light jogging is okay, and nothing that elevates my heart rate over 140. So no more half marathon training for me. The reason they want you to keep things light after IVF is because your ovaries are still very swollen, and there could be some twisting if you’re not careful. (Twisting ovaries. Ouch.)
  4. I can stop taking just about all my meds. My PCP before I moved to Dr. Finch had me on so many damn vitamins which I don’t need. (Given her lackadaisical attitude toward my care, I am not surprised.) I’m now just taking a prenatal vitamin and continued progesterone. No more estrogen patches, fish oil, or additional Folic Acid and vitamin D.
  5. We have another ultrasound in 2 weeks. At that point, we will be considered a “normal” pregnancy. Like this whole IVF thing never happened. I will part ways with my beloved Petrel and will need to find a regular ol’ OB/GYN.

Though still not elated (as I’ve expected myself to be this whole time,) I felt tons better after the appointment. I don’t want to count my ostriches before they hatch (HA!) but I started to feel like maybe this would work out. Maybe the hardest part would be over.

Remember: this is my life we’re talking about. There is no joy without pain, no sunshine without rain.

I get back to work, and actually work. Since I was not fixated on my fertility, I was able to get down to business. So many spreadsheets! There were even graphs and cogent conclusions based on said graphs! At around 4:45, I started to wind down when I got an email from my dad.

On Friday, my mom’s condition took a weird turn. Among a few complications, her heart has started to act “weird.” (Weird. It’s a medical term, I swear.) It will stop for a few seconds, then start up on its own. Her surgeon is recommending that we sign a DNR on her heart. And my dad wanted to talk about it with me and my siblings.

The sad poetry of all this isn’t lost on me. My mother’s heartbeat starts to give out on the day I learn I have two.



  1. My Perfect Breakdown · December 18, 2014

    Oh sweetie, I am so excited that your baby is doing so well, but yet I am so sorry to hear about your mom. The irony of this day is so cruel! Wishing you the best with all of this, the good and the really horrible bad. I am just so sorry.

    • thecommonostrich · December 19, 2014

      Thank you so much. I’m trying to take this in stride. I’m focusing on appreciating each moment while I still have them.

      This just sucks. And there’s no way around it.

      • My Perfect Breakdown · December 21, 2014

        You are right, there really is no way around it. I recommend holding onto any possible happy and/or peaceful moment. Lots of love to you.

  2. AndiePants · December 18, 2014

    I’m so sorry you have to mitigate your joy with such difficult news about your mom. Sending love for the good and the hard.

    • thecommonostrich · December 19, 2014

      Thank you- I really appreciate it. I have so few words for how shit this is, but it is a humbling reminder of how life is about balance. There is good, there is “the hard” as you put it. (Which I love, btw. It takes out some of the judgement of “bad.” I will steal this in future.)

  3. Stefanie @ My Crazy Beautiful Life · December 18, 2014

    Oh my goodness… So happy for your baby, but so very sad for your mother. I will be praying for her and your entire family.

    • thecommonostrich · December 19, 2014

      Thank you for your kindness. I appreciate it so much. As much as I’m sad about what’s happening, I’m trying to see this in balance. There will always be sorrow, but there will also always be joy.

  4. Lacey · December 18, 2014

    Oh, I’m so very happy that you have such a wonderful little hummingbird growing in there, but my heart is breaking for the horrible news you received about your mom. Lots of good thoughts and love to you and your family.

    • thecommonostrich · December 19, 2014

      Thank you so much. It’s was a bitter sweet sort of day, that is for sure.

  5. julieann081 · December 18, 2014

    Sending light and love to your mom and you! ❤

    • thecommonostrich · December 19, 2014

      Thank you so much, dear! We’ll take all the light and love we can get!

  6. Chris · December 19, 2014

    I am so sorry about your mom.

    • thecommonostrich · December 19, 2014

      Thank you- it’s been a difficult few days, but she’s still hanging in there!

  7. melisskavits · December 19, 2014

    So thrilled about seeing the heartbeat (and understand your feelings- i’m scared out of my mind for our first ultrasound on Monday…) but so sorry sbout your mom. Hoping your growing new life and good vibes will be transferred to your mom – will be sending good thoughts as well. Xo

    • thecommonostrich · December 19, 2014

      It was a completely surreal moment. I totally saw it when the tech pointed it out, but wouldn’t have any idea what it was without a professional in the room. I hope you get the same happy news on Monday!

      Thank you for your thoughts and comments. I’m doing my best to balance the happiness and the hardness of this moment.

  8. AdoptiveBlackMom · December 19, 2014

    So very excited and sad for you during this special time. Sending you lots of positive energy.

    • thecommonostrich · December 19, 2014

      Thank you- I do really appreciate it. It’s so hard, but I’m trying to hold both the happiness and sadness.

  9. lucy50 · December 20, 2014

    I’m sorry about your mom, but happy about the baby. 😦 Life should be easy all the time.

    • thecommonostrich · December 20, 2014

      It’s so so shitty. I also feel like a complete jerk face for feeling happy about anything right now.

      • lucy50 · December 22, 2014


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