Hey, Bebé!

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Ali Martin and Baby Bump in Barcelona

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve looked forward to finally having this news to share.

We’re pregnant, you guys! ♡♡♡

Those of you who have been following our story for awhile know that it has been a long road for Barclay and I as we have been trying to grow our family.  But for the first time ever, we finally saw that miraculous double line this summer after our second IVF transfer.  And I’m thrilled to announce that we are now fifteen weeks pregnant with our sweet little bebé who’s due to join us around Barclay’s birthday in March 2021.

This past year has been a complete whirlwind as we navigated our way through IVF in the midst of the pandemic, followed by a failed first embryo transfer, a successful second transfer, and then an intense roller coaster of a first trimester.  But we’ve officially now made it to the second trimester with our little sprout and we’re over the moon that this dream of ours is finally coming true.  We’ve totally turned into those nerdy first-time parents who have loaded up our Kindles and downloaded a half-dozen apps to learn about the development of our little one week by week, and can’t get over how fascinating this whole baby-growing process is.  We’ve also been extremely lucky that our clinic has allowed Barclay to attend all of our ultrasound appointments during the pandemic.  And wow, each time we’ve been able to hear our baby’s heartbeat and watch it wiggle on the monitor has just felt like magic.  We’re awed and so thankful to finally get this chance to experience pregnancy and aren’t taking a single day of this for granted.

That said, just as our infertility journey was not at all what we had anticipated, our first trimester also brought its own share of unexpected surprises, joys and heartbreak.  So today, I wanted to share a bit more about what life has been like here behind the scenes these past few months, as well as an update on how we’re doing today.

Here’s the latest from our little familia here in Barcelona. ♡

Pile of IVF syringes

Our Infertility Journey

First, though, a bit of a brief backstory for those who may just be tuning in.

Getting to the starting line of this pregnancy was not a quick nor easy road for us.  Like 1 in 8 couples around the world, my husband and I came to find that we were unable to get pregnant on our own and were eventually diagnosed with infertility.  (In our case, “unexplained infertility,” which basically means that doctors were unable to find a specific medical reason why we could not conceive.)  We went through a battery of tests and exams, sat through what felt like a million appointments, and tried all sorts of different approaches (from traditional fertility medicine to meeting with homeopaths, nutritionists, acupuncturists, and more) to try and get pregnant.  But in the end, we were never even able to see the faintest shadow of a double line on any of our pregnancy tests.  And our doctors eventually recommended that we consider in vitro fertilization.

Fast forward to this past March and we were finally given the medical clearance to begin treatment here in Barcelona.  But — hello, March 2020! — this ended up being the month when the global pandemic hit hard here in Spain.  Literally just days after we began our injections for IVF (or “FIV,” as it’s called here in Spain), everything with the country’s medical system was thrown into flux and Barcelona went into strict lockdown.  And we found ourselves in a day-by-day standby situation of not knowing whether or not our clinic was going to be able to stay open long enough for my hormone-riddled body to complete the first stage of the treatment.  The timing of everything was stressful upon stressful, to say the least.  But thankfully, our clinic was able to remain open just long enough for us to complete our egg retrieval and we successfully collected 17 eggs from the first stage of the IVF process.

Those 17 eggs then fertilized into 13 embryos, which survived to the “blastocyst” stage where they could all be genetically tested and frozen.  And in the end, the results came back that 3 of those 13 embryos were officially viable.  Once our clinic was allowed to open back up, we resumed our treatment plan and transferred (implanted) the first of those three embryos, which sadly did not survive the first two weeks in the womb.  So we then underwent a second transfer.  (I actually shared about it here on Instagram, if you want to watch our literal moment of conception!)  And two weeks later, our doctor called us with the good news that this transfer was successful and we were finally pregnant for the first time ever!!  We gasped and screamed and absolutely could not believe that we were finally hearing good news.  But our doctor assured us that our numbers were strong, so we were elated.

Doctor's appointment finding out we were pregnant with twins

Two Heartbeats

Well, two weeks later we went back to see our doctor for our first official ultrasound.  And once she began the ecografía, we were comforted to immediately be introduced to our baby’s strong little heartbeat on the monitor for the very first time.  But then my doctor grabbed my hand with a twinkle in her eye and told us to listen for — yep — a SECOND HEARTBEAT.

You guys, I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked we were. ♡

Nowadays, thanks to recent improvements over the past decade in blastocyst technology, IVF twins are much less common than they used to be and mainly only occur when two embryos are transferred — and we had only transferred one.  But sure enough, our lil’ embryo had clearly split upon entering the womb and there were now two adorable little blobs there on the screen with two hearts beating strongly.  We were stunned.  (As was evidenced in basically all of our ultrasound videos from that appointment, which have a background track of me saying “ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh” a hundred times, lol.) But of course, the idea of our little “IVF two for one,” as Barclay called it, quickly began to grow on us and we started to feel more and more excited about this chance to become an instant family of four.  Our very own identical twins!!

Well, we barely had a chance to catch our breaths from that news before we were informed that this type of embryo split appeared to be the rarest and highest-risk type of twin pregnancy possible.  Very long story short, because our twins shared both a sac and a placenta (with nothing to prevent their cords from tangling), they were high risk for a number of critical or life-threatening complications.  And even in the best-case scenario, this pregnancy for would require that the twins be delivered a full two months early and I would likely need to be hospitalized full-time for constant monitoring for eight weeks prior to their birth.  Statistically, though, we learned we would be very lucky if we even made it that far.

So just like that, we suddenly found ourselves drinking from a firehose of sobering information for hours upon hours a day as we sought to study more about this type of pregnancy and (at least try to) wrap our minds and hearts around all of the possible scenarios that the coming weeks could hold.  While at the same time, of course, trying to celebrate the fact that we were finally pregnant for the first time.  With two precious twins!

It was a lot to process all at once.  But of course, we already loved these sweet babies and would do absolutely anything for them.  So we were hoping hard for the best and preparing ourselves for whatever the next few months might bring.

Two hearts in the sand

A Bittersweet Loss

Well again, just as that news had begun to settle in and we were starting to feel more ready to take on this type of twin pregnancy, the tides turned again.  When Barclay and I went in for our final ultrasound appointment with our IVF clinic, we both initially breathed a huge sigh of relief the moment we saw both of our cute little blobs still hanging out there together on the screen.  But then our doctor had to break the news to us that one of the twin’s heartbeats seemed to have just recently stopped.  Which meant that our precious baby was miscarrying.

We were crushed.

As our doctor went on to gently explain, this type of miscarriage is deeply bittersweet.  Because there would no longer be two babies vying for the resources of one placenta, nor two cords running the risk of entanglement in the same sac, nearly all of the potential complications we had been fearing with this type of twin pregnancy instantly evaporated with this news.  Our surviving twin would now have the chance to develop as it would in a more “typical” single pregnancy and also amazingly now have the potential to be carried all the way to term.  While meanwhile, my body would eventually “absorb” our angel baby over time.  (Something I’ve actually come to find very comforting, that I’m still physically carrying this tiny baby throughout the course of our pregnancy.)  To put it simply, the death of one twin was now giving our other twin a greater chance at a healthy life.

It felt like an impossible pairing of news to take in all at once.  And initially, I just couldn’t.  All I could think about in the weeks following our appointment was the sound of our angel twin’s heartbeat that we had heard so strongly just the week before.  I was devastated that we would never get to hold this precious child in our arms, or see what our very own identical twins would have looked like side by side, or laughed at the inevitable epic twin pranks we sure hoped they would have pulled.  Even though our twin pregnancy was brief, I know that so many of you also know from experience how quickly your heart can attach to these little ones.  It just felt like such a loss.  And I quickly found myself overwhelmed with anxiety that we might then lose our second baby too.

Thankfully, though, this baby is still with us today and is continuing to grow strong.  So while my body has been in the process of quite literally letting go and holding on tight, our hearts have been doing their best to follow its lead.

The loss of our angel twin still feels raw and hard and is constantly on my mind, but I’m so grateful for those precious few weeks that we got to spend together.  And I find comfort in knowing that our child will forever have a little sibling rooting him or her on from heaven.  As for our surviving twin, whew, I can’t even describe our relief that this little one has mercifully stayed snuggled in there tightly these past few months.  Our baby has grown from being the size of a poppyseed to the size of a pear (yes, cue all of the cheesy pregnancy apps!) and loves to show off its long arms and legs and dance moves every time we’re in for an ultrasound.  And with each passing day, this pregnancy has begun to feel more real and more exciting and more hopeful again, and we are grateful.

Ali and Barclay Holding Sonogram Photos

Fifteen Weeks

Well fast-forward to today, and I’m happy to report that our baby made it through the rest of the first trimester with flying colors.

And thus far, we are all LOVING second trimester life together. ♡

That 13-week milestone definitely gave our hearts a welcome boost of confidence, as does each passing week that this little one continues to grow.  And while everything that I was experiencing physically in the first trimester honestly felt secondary to what we were walking through emotionally, I’m am definitely very relieved that the intense nausea, vomiting, exhaustion that also accompanied my first trimester is now almost completely gone too.  Turns out that it’s pretty hard to try run a food blog with constant cooking, taste-testing, photographing, and writing about food when the smell of food basically sends you running for the bathroom, lol.  (I already had a backlog of recipes already prepared that I ended up posting during that time.  But if the writing these past few months has seemed a little lackluster, it’s because English muffins and egg drop soup were basically the only foods I could stand to eat!)  I’m feeling so much better now, though, and my appetite has returned with gusto just in time for fall soup season.  So I’m very relieved and happy to be back in the kitchen again and can’t wait to cook up some new recipes for you guys!

As you can see from the cover photo, my baby bump also totally “popped” recently, which has been surreal and comforting and crazy cool to watch grow from day to day.  We also finally found out our baby’s gender a few days ago, which we look forward to sharing here soon once we’ve told family and friends.  (Don’t worry, we won’t be doing a gender reveal party and starting any more wildfires!)  Mostly though, we’re just feeling happy and lucky and grateful for each new day in this second trimester that we get to wake up still pregnant with this precious baby of ours.  This whole journey has been such a reminder to us of what a sheer miracle it is that any new baby makes its way into the world.  And we will forever see the gift of this pregnancy through the lens of everything it took us to get here.  So we don’t take a single moment of having this bun-in-the-gimme-some-oven for granted.

And we cannot wait for the day when we will finally get to hold this little one in our arms. ♡♡♡

Sugar Cookie Hearts

Lots of Love

I just wanted to conclude with a word of thanks for all of the love and encouragement you all have continued to send our way throughout this journey.  It still feels surreal that I’ve never met most of you in person.  But whew, your kind comments, emails, prayers, and love have meant so much and have carried us through some really hard times this past year.  So from the bottom of our hearts, Barclay and I again just want to say thank you.

And for those of you who have also walked through infertility, miscarriage, or any form of pregnancy or infant loss — especially those of you who may be in the midst of it all right now — you are on my heart today and always.  Sending lots of extra love your way today. ♡

I promise to be back here with some more updates over the next few months.  But in the meantime, you can follow more of our life here in Barcelona over on my personal Instagram account if you’d like.  Here on the blog, we will be back to recipes later this week.  (With the yummiest pumpkin cinnamon rolls ever, get ready!)

Thank you so much for reading, everyone.  Un abrazo fuerte from Barcelona!

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241 comments on “Hey, Bebé!”

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  1. You are just glowing. Congratulations on this precious baby and I’m so sorry for your loss as well.

  2. Congratulations, truly. You seem just a sweet person, I’m really glad for you. Sorry about the loss of the angel twin and sending you all the best for the remaining of the pregnancy.

  3. Congratulations!! Our little IVF bebe is now a busy toddler! 100000% worth the shots and appointments and heartaches. I’m so happy for you and Barclay and wish you an easy rest of your pregnancy!

  4. I’m so happy that your little survivor twin is doing so well. Your baby bump is precious. I was pregnant with mo/di twins who turned mo/mo after surgery for TTTS. It was definitelyyyy a complicated pregnancy & I ended up delivering my girls at 29 weeks. I’m glad your baby will have the chance to bake for longer, with a little angel twin looking over it from above 💕

  5. Congratulations! Oh such happy news! Can’t wait to hear more!!

  6. CONGRATS! This made me smile so big! :) I am so so happy for you and your hubby! Wishing you lots of blessings for you both and your sweet baby! Hugs!

  7. Long time follower of your blog and fertility journey. So glad things are working out for this little babe and wishing you a healthy remainder of your pregnancy 🤰 I’m only a week behind you so will enjoy following along!!

  8. I’m SO very happy for your growing little family! Congratulations and I can’t wait for March to get here so we can virtually meet your little babe!

  9. I teared up reading this, especially the way you described the loss of one of your twins. I’ve been reading your blog for years and started TTC 6 months ago, and we had a chemical pregnancy in August. Reading your story gives me hope. I’m so happy for you!

  10. So happy for you! I’ve kept up with your journey, and am really happy for you both. There is nothing like seeing the sonogram photos & watching your baby grow! Enjoy every moment! And thank you for updating us all with the good news!

  11. Congratulations again, Ali. I’ve been following your and Barclay’s story on your individual Instagram accounts and I’m an overwhelmed with joy for you both, even though we’ve never met. I sobbed for you when you shared the news of the unsuccessfully first transfer and the loss of your angel twin, but then sobbed in joy and rejoiced that your second twin is holding on strong. I’ve thought of you both a lot and hope and pray that the rest of the pregnancy goes super smoothly and before you know it you welcome a beautiful baby into the world! Hugs from Canada.

  12. Congratulations to you both. I’ve been following your blog for years now and love it, especially with the Barcelona perspective. I was wondering how your IVF had taken since you hadn’t written anything for quite some time. Very happy for you.

  13. I am so, so, so happy for both of you!

  14. Congratulations! I have been praying so much for you during this time. So excited to see this announcement. I am sorry for the loss and heartbreak for all of you.

  15. Ali, congratulations!!! I have been following your blog for a few years now. We use so many of your recipes in our house, they are big hits with the kiddos too! I just told my husband and he said, “That’s so great, I’m so happy for them! I know we don’t, but I feel like we know these people!” <3 After going through our own infertility journey ourselves, I know how hard it can be. I'm so sorry for your loss, but am so happy for you, Barclay and your little bebe:) Take care!

  16. Wow this is amazing! Congrats girl!!

  17. So excited for you guys!!! And love the bump pic :) You’re doing great, mama!

  18. OMGGGGGGG Congrats congrats congrats!!!! Such exciting news! <3

  19. It’s a strange phenomenon, this connecting through social media. I’m not normally one that would participate in relationships this way, but there are a few bloggers who have captured my heart with their posts. The few that I gravitate towards are able to communicate their heart and integrity with their writing, and so it is with you. I KNOW your recipes will always be delicious and will be presented with love, humor, and most importantly, easy to follow directions :). Continued blessings to you and your little family as you continue on this journey.

  20. So happy for you and your growing family! I’ve been reading your blog for years and was so happy to see this post pop up this morning! I’m 6 weeks behind you, and being pregnant in a pandemic is no joke. Lots of love to you and your family! Prayers for safety and health!

  21. Wonderful, lovely story. And congratulations… a girl… the best! Praying for you both and your sweet baby.

  22. So thrilled beyond belief for you two! The love that has been added to your lives is a miracle! Enjoy every single moment of this amazing journey! 💕💙💕💙💕💙💕💕💙
    P.S. your egg drop soup has gotten me through my post-op nausea. Thank you

  23. I’ve found myself getting SO excited for pregnancy announcements recently especially with all the terribleness 2020 has brought, I think it’s the new life through all the pain that gets me so excited- I went through infertility, miscarriages, and surgeries and during that time I dreaded pregnancy announcements but we now have a beautiful little one year old so it’s been nice enjoying other people’s joy🙂 I especially have enjoyed reading about your journey and am so very happy to see your adorable little baby bump growing strong! So much congratulations!

  24. The greatest gift is life and when one gives up, so another can survive, that is a miracle . I have-always looked forward to reading your blog and trying your recipes but lately I have read your story unfold. I will pray for this miracle to continue. As a Mom and now a Grandma, I can tell you the birth of a baby is wonderful but the birth of parents is even better ( especially when they are your own) sending hugs
    Bette
    Ps. Fall is definitely here in Canada, so bring on the soup

  25. Aw Ali, this blog post made me cry! So very happy (and sad) for you two, sending so much love and health to you and your budding little family! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes, can’t wait to hear more about your little one.

  26. So happy for you, you are absolutely glowing! May everything continue to go well, will be praying for you.

  27. Congratulations, Ali! I obviously do not know you in real life, but your recipes are a huge part of the cooking I do at home for my family, so I FEEL like I know you a little. I’m very glad for you, and wish you a smooth, healthy pregnancy and delivery :)

  28. Thrilled beyond words and praying for the three of you to stay strong and healthy!

  29. Hi Ali and Barclay! Congratulations on your precious baby news. So sorry about your twin. Good luck and all the best with your pregnancy Ali. Sending you both my prayers and love.

  30. congratulations! This is such an awesome post.

  31. Blessings to you and your sweet bebe’- hoping the rest of this wonderful journey is smooth sailing.

  32. I am truly excited to hear this news! Thank you for sharing your story. I will put you in my Chorus prayer list. Choral-Aires (Sweet Adeline Chorus in Chicago area) has it’s own miraculous gift of healing. Let Barclay know I will reach out to him through messenger to ask a question. Thank you again and again for sharing your wonderful stories with your food blogs! (remember I got married to Edward!! My name is different!!)

    Do you have a special recipe for lentil soup?

  33. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and for sharing this blessed news! What a blessing children are! Looking forward to additional updates. Love, prayers and hugs!!
    Edie

  34. I started following you just as you had your first date w Barclay in KC 😎 It has been so fun knowing how your life has changed. I was especially thrilled to find Barclay a part of the SnowGlobes when they played at my church a few years ago. I only recognized him from your blog yet felt like I knew him. Congrats to you both!!!!

  35. Dear Ali, thank you for sharing. I had been wondering what was happening with your pregnancy desires. But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, TAKE IT EASY! In my view, our culture perpetuates a myth that pregnant women can do anything. I’m sure some can. I have three grown children, and I almost went into preterm labor at 5 months with my first (and probably would have lost him). Instead my doctor headed it off, and I was on bedrest for the rest of my pregnancy. I learned from this that I am NOT one who can just carry on like usual during pregnancies (I had been working full-time at a stressful job during my first pregnancy). I managed to not work at all during my subsequent pregnancies, and they went fine. Please do not make any soups or anything else unless you really feel you need to for your OWN sake. Just hang out and enjoy this precious time. Many people complain about strangers patting their tummies when they are pregnant. I found this to be the most special time of my life. When else are people so friendly? When else can we enjoy this feeling of fertility and being in tune with nature so much? Sending love and prayers for a joyful remainder of your pregnancy and your new life as a family of three! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, and being a valued part of my life! Your readers will still be there when you come back, no matter how long a break you might need.

  36. Congratulations to you! My IVF babies are now 16, 16 and 8, but boy do I remember those stressful early days. I hope that the rest of your pregnancy is smooth and uneventful. Thanks for your wonderful blog – I’ve made so many of your recipes and my family loves them.

  37. Congratulations, and God Bless !

  38. So happy for you and Barclay! I know we’ll all be expecting more than recioes from now on. Take care, rest when you can and pumpkin cinnamon rolls sound fantastic!

  39. your smiles tell it all, congratulations and wishing you both the very best.

  40. Congratulations Ali and Barclay! I am so happy for you. What a wonderful experience parenthood will be for you.

  41. SO excited for you guys! I love your recipes and can’t wait for more. And also some baby pics, too! Congrats!

  42. Wishing you joy and good health on your journey ahead. What a blessing! You are very brave for sharing your story and helping other families as they struggle with infertility. We too had a very long road to becoming a family. And even though our twins are now 23, I still have vivid memories of those days trying to get and stay pregnant. It makes each day with my family a blessing.

  43. Thanks for the news! It’s so wonderful that you share this with us all. I will stay tuned.

  44. I’m so happy for the two of you. I have been following your blog for a long time, and hoped and prayed a little one would join your family soon. I know the heartbreak of not being able to conceive as my daughter and son-in-law have been trying for so long. They are now waiting to hear from the adoption agency. I hope soon they will be hearing good news as you have. Many blessings to the three of you. Thank you for sharing this wonderful news.

  45. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey with us. It takes such courage and we are blessed by it.

  46. I’m so very, very happy for you two!!!!!

  47. Congratulations! Whoo, that was a whirlwind just reading about your journey thus far! Praying for you and your little Bebe.

  48. Such wonderful. news! and news of sorrow. So sorry. I don’t usually read the blogs, just skim and get straight to the yummy recipes. But your post caught my eye. My daughter-in-law survived a molar pregnancy in conjunction with a viable embryo. The baby was born at 28 weeks and turned 2 this July. This was after losing a full term birth after 4 days. Life is an amazing journey, full of many joys and sorrows. It was nothing short of a miracle. I do not know what your faith my or may not be. But now is a great time to take stock and realize God has not forgotten you but has a purpose for you both and for this child. I know you don’t know me from Adam and I will probably never write again but I felt so moved to just tell you what a miracle this is and to ask you to consider God’s hand in it all. Bet wishes for an amazing journey.

  49. Congratulations!!
    I could relate to your story in so many ways.
    My husband and I went through infertility back
    In the early 90’s. We did the IVF roller coaster for 10 years. Crazy!! Long story short. We were never able to become pregnant not even once, but we adopted a beautiful baby in 2002. Our son is now 18 graduate from Highschool in the pandemic, and is now going to college online from home. He also works at a coffee shop as well. The funny thing is everyone has said he looks just like me, and he does. Anyway, congratulations and looking forward to hearing more about your pregnancy. Glad you can keep baking. Love your recipe.

  50. Your pictures made me smile. You both are just beaming❣️ I am so happy for the both of you as you ride through this journey. Priceless…
    If I can make one suggestion, have Barclay take a baby bump photo at least once a week and be sure to put these photos in an album. My husband did this for us and it is something I love looking back on. I have shared this with our daughter (she is now turning 30) and the smile on her face makes us so happy. She was our only child so the memories are SO SPECIAL.
    Congratulations and I look forward to reading all about Bebe❣️