Are You Pregnant? — A Follow Up

Last year I wrote an article titled Are You Pregnant — A Drinking Game that went viral which afforded me the opportunity to put Professional Writer in my Twitter bio because I made like $1.00 from royalties after it was featured on Medium’s home page. So here I am, a year later, to offer you all a follow up of what the last year has been like on our journey to become parents. And hopefully, make another dollar.

When I wrote my last article in November of 2019, there was no way for us to foresee what was to come in 2020. As COVID-19 continues to sweep through the United States, many Americans are experiencing homelessness & joblessness, some for the first time, and thousands of families are preparing to spend their holiday seasons with only the memories of loved ones who have fallen victim to COVID’s destruction.

Before I continue I want to extend my deepest and heartfelt condolences to all those suffering from loss and heartache this year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This free service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. (800) 662-HELP or for TTY (800) 487–4889.

February 2020 Varicocele Surgery

This year has been one that most people wouldn’t mind taking a mulligan. Let’s be honest, this year has been an absolute dumpster fire for most people on the planet. Luckily, before COVID-19 hijacked the year, I had just been hired for my first job as a Software Engineer and I was able to have surgery as planned.

The surgery included two, one-inch incisions on my pubic line. From there Dr. Tatem could access the varicoceles that had been the culprit of my infertility. If memory serves me right, he was able to sever 7 or so veins. The recovery after the surgery wasn’t so bad. I could manage the pain with non-narcotic pain meds and NSAIDs. However, it did look like I had gone 10 rounds with a professional boxer, and they were only allowed to punch me below the waist.

Spoiler Alert — It Wasn’t Just Me.

By the end of 2019, the story got significantly more complicated. Meaghan had seen her doctor for an ultrasound for some abdominal pain she was having when they discovered a ping-pong sized “chocolate cyst” on one of her ovaries. It was also suspected that she had a condition called endometriosis. Meaghan, too, would have to undergo surgery to remove the cyst and endometrium that was forming inside her abdomen. Meaghan’s surgery was scheduled for April but was eventually moved to June due to the surging COVID19 pandemic that had made it’s way to the United States.

Before Meaghan’s surgery to remove the ovarian cyst.

During the surgery, Dr. Carnovale was able to remove the cyst from her ovary. The cyst was rather large and the way it was positioned required a reconstruction of the ovary. From there Dr. Carnovale was able to then use a laser to remove the endometrium. After the surgery, Meaghan was diagnosed with Stage 3 Endometriosis complicating our journey just a bit more.

August 2020, So Now What?

After following up with Dr. Tatem in the middle of August, several of the markers that indicated infertility had improved. Dr. Tatem is very close to my age and had a very similar experience to ours. For that, it was easy to build a rapport and trust with him.

I remember clearly sitting in the tiny patient room when Dr. Tatem walked in, my chart in his hand, he looked directly into my eyes with a big smile and said “Are you pregnant yet?!” (drink!). Of course, we were not but those 4 words put me at ease knowing that card was added to the deck we’ve been dealing from for a few years. We discussed what he thought the possibility of us to naturally conceive was and he put it somewhere around 25%; however, we would now be able to conceive in some capacity without a donor.

September 2020

After a follow-up visit to Meaghan’s doctor, she was given the dreaded news that we should hold off on conceiving for now. Her progesterone was low and the likelihood of miscarrying was high. Once again, with another holiday staring us down we’d likely just be hopeful for a little miracle going into the new year.

Meaghan and I have been working from home since March because of the pandemic. A few times a week she has to leave the house to distribute personal protective equipment to employees from their office. When she left in the morning that’s where I assumed she was headed. Later that afternoon, on September 29th Meaghan had just gotten home and I came downstairs to make some lunch when I noticed a box of shoes on the counter. Inside of the box was a note that read “You are now a member of the Air Monarch Wildlife Preservation Society”. It was an ode to a Facebook group I had been following dedicated to photographing dads in the wild wearing the very popular Air Monarch Nike shoes. Meaghan did not go to distribute PPE that morning, she went to have a blood test to confirm what she was seeing on her at-home pregnancy test.

Baby Bean Is Coming in June 2021.

We hugged. We cried. We laughed. It was one of the best days of my life and I will never forget it. Finally, the years of sacrifice, heartache, and disappointment were paying off. On October 27th we got to see our little bean for the first time and hear their beating heart.

Looks nothing like a baby but I’ll trust the doctor.

We traveled to our families' homes to break the news in person and each time was as exciting as the last. We swore them to secrecy until we made it out of the first trimester which just so happened to be on Thanksgiving Day. The very holiday that inspired me to write Are You Pregnant — A Drinking Game a year before.

This time, however, I’ll be the only one taking a drink.

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Chris is a Graphic Designer & Web Developer in Indianapolis. He’s married to his beautiful wife Meaghan and they have two kitties, Albert & Elsa.

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Christopher Lien

Christopher Lien

Chris is a Graphic Designer & Web Developer in Indianapolis. He’s married to his beautiful wife Meaghan and they have two kitties, Albert & Elsa.

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