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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255 comments on “Hey, Bebé!”

  1. I’m very happy for you thanks for sharing this Love you t Po Bill Heyer

  2. “To God be the glory, great things He has done!”
    I have followed your for 5 or 6 yrs I think & this is the best news ever! My DD had a baby last Nov. when she was 42 1/2 yrs old. Every baby is a miracle of grace.
    May God keep you safe & foster this new life for His glory.
    Deep condolences on the loss of angel baby.

  3. What an exciting time! My heart is so full of happiness for the both of you.
    Stay well and be safe.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Congratulations times a thousand! I’m a long-time lurker, but I had to break my silence for this one. Years ago a colleague of mine also weathered the IVF struggle, and today their little boy is so healthy and happy! Like others here have said, they agree it was well worth everything.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have such a tradegy occur right alongside such happy news. I wish you time and space and, eventually, peace for your grief.

    I’m so happy for the two of you and can’t wait to hear more updates! I hope you’re able to relax and breathe and much as possible and enjoy the rest of the process. Sending good vibes from overseas!

  5. Blessings to you both as you continue this journey. Thank you for sharing. Sharon

  6. Congratulations on Baby! I am glad I found you via Marlo Hamrick, in spite of knowing you since you were a little music theatre kid and I only met Marlo as an adult attorney. Sarah, Michael’s sister, the same age as your Sarah, had her own fertility struggles, and as of July, they have two new boys, ages 4 and 7. With Covid, I am caring for the four year old everyday, and have enjoyed cooking your recipes and reading the blog. They are a great alternative to dinosaurs!

  7. Congratulations on your little one! Thank you for sharing your story and please know that so many of us (your readers and fans!) send our condolences for your angel baby, and are so glad for you that you have your angel baby’s support and love for his/her brother or sister and that he/she is helping your baby to become stronger and stronger! Wishing you both (and baby) much love, good health and happiness always!

  8. I have only recently been drawn into the Gimme Some Oven sphere by your wonderful enchilada recipe and didn’t know anything of your personal story but – WOW! – congratulations! I have been blessed with four wonderful, unique children. Pregnancy is such an amazing experience. Enjoy!

  9. I’ve been hoping to see this post for awhile and am so happy and excited for you. Congratulations and I’m sorry for your loss.

  10. I am as excited as a brand new great-grandmother at your wonderful news. Congratulations to you both and I look forward to reading your newborn news.

  11. God is SO GOOD!!! Congratulations!

  12. I am so happy for you both. Congratulations – love and hugs to you

  13. I’m so happy for you guys. Congratulations to you both!

  14. Even when the world is ravished by a pandemic, life finds a way.

  15. I’m so incredibly happy for both of you and for you families. What a beautiful bit of good news during this strange time.

    Ali, you are an amazing writer–capturer of stories. I always enjoy reading your posts so much plus any of the recipes I’ve tried (quite a few) have all bee marvelous. I have YET to try tortilla de patata using thick cut kettle chips but I will. Having spent two years living in Spain in my life, I too have a very soft spot for that wonderful country.

    Take good care!

    An old friend of the family

  16. How fortunate you are living in this age (exclusive of COVID19 of course!) where there is so much more that can be done to overcome infertility. Our 32 year old wonder kid came as a result of AS + clomid and pergonal injections (was always worried I’d be stopped by a cop and mistaken for a drug addict with all the needle holes!). At that time, IVF was relatively new, expensive ($11K per try), and not very successful (15% +/-), so for us it wasn’t an option. We are now grandparents to a wonderful 2 year old. I still, though, very well remember the anxiety and stress. Congratulations and all our very best wishes!

  17. I wish you all the best and enjoy each day during this very special time.

  18. I’ve been following you for years and just want to say a heartfelt congratulations to you three!!!

  19. ¡Felicidades y un gran abrazo desde Ajijic, Jalisco, México!

  20. Congrats!
    I wish you so much love and blessings!
    I have followed your great recipes and hope you will be able to find time to create and cook!

  21. Blessings to all three of you, and to your angel twin. Your bump is adorable. Best of luck in the next months; enjoy all those fun wiggles and stretches you’ll be feeling.

  22. congratulations…you deserve this baby

  23. Ali, I’ve just found your website today and am SO thrilled for you that your pregnancy journey is ongoing. I also feel the sadness that you so eloquently wrote about regarding your ‘angel baby’. That must have been–and I can see continues to be–so hard. My utmost sympathy to you and Barclay.
    Before reading about your baby adventures, I read about you two deciding to live in Barcelona for a few years. How utterly exciting! Barcelona is my favorite place to visit–to the degree that my husband took me (and our children and the girlfriend…now wife…of one of them) there for my 60th birthday. Gaudi, fideua, the language, everything! So, I will revisit your site to follow your pregnancy and see what other delightful things you’ve cooked up. For tonight–I just might try the smoked sausage & apple soup as I also am a big fan of coconut milk-based soups! Be well!

  24. Heartfelt blessings and congratulations to you both! After everything we’ve all been through this past year, how glorious to have one’s heart opened with such wonderful news! You and Barclay will be incredible parents to your little one…At the same time, so deeply sorry for your loss. Your little Angel Twin will always be with you…xo

  25. Congratulations! Wishing you health and joy on your pregnancy journey. Your candor and thoughtful sharing of your experiences and loss are touching and bound to be helpful and comforting to others who are experiencing something similar.

  26. Congratulations! I am so happy to hear this news! I’m so sorry for the loss of one of your twins. It is so bittersweet that you are mourning your loss while trying to celebrate your growing bean at the same time. May you have only joy from here on out!

  27. Virtual hugs!! XXOO

  28. This is such wonderful, beautiful news. Not only is the proud Mama-to-be glowing, so is the Papa-to-be!! May you continue to feel good and enjoy this special time. Prayers and good thoughts are with you from you fans all over the world – what an amazing concept :)

  29. Many congratulations and God bless you and your family!

  30. Congratulations! I imagine your families are thrilled. I’ll be praying for the three of you.

  31. I’m tearing up over all these emotions! Wow! So happy for you guys!!!

  32. May God bless all three of you! With all the love you have to give, you will make the most wonderful parents! God has a plan, just keep the faith. Congratulations 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👨👼💗💜💞

  33. praying Gods love, protection, healing of your heart and continued strengthening of your precious baby. so so happy and excited for you two
    hugs

  34. !!!! Congratulations you two <3

    I have been following you for so many years and have made countless memories cooking and eating your incredible dishes, through relationships, breakups, getting through times of grief, a miscarriage, multi-day river trips, happier times, graduations, and everything in between.

    It’s wild to think about how much your food has played a part in so much of my life and the people who have eaten it and have come and gone in my own story.

    I can’t help but feel a kindred joy for you and Barclay as you begin your journey into parenthood. Take care and be kind to yourself as you navigate this profound sense of loss amidst a wonderfully happy time, and thank you for all of the effort you put into helping others find joy around the stove and the table too :)

  35. SO HAPPY for you two!! Looking forward to more stories of your pregnancy journey! I am sad with you about the loss of one of the babies, I think you are strong and will be a good mama! I got pregnant for the first time when I was 40 which is high risk in some ways, I too was super nervous throughout but tried only to have upbeat and happy thoughts for the baby, I think they can sense our feelings while they are in the womb. What a fun time y’all have ahead in making preparations! Hugs from NC.

  36. When I saw you picture I yelled out loud “their pregnant”. So, so happy for you.

  37. My grandkids call me BeBe (BB).

    Please forgive my crassness, “Gimme Some Oven” with “One in the Oven””.
    Congratulations!

  38. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I wish you good health and happiness!

  39. Congratulations!!!

  40. Congratulations! So happy for both of you.

  41. So happy the in-vitro worked. I am sorry to hear about the one embryo/twin dying but I will keep you in my prayers for a safe delivery for a happy, healthy little one. Thanks for sharing your journey thusfar. God bless all of you.

  42. Congratulations! Very happy for you both. I am currently 16 weeks pregnant, and like you was very happy to make it out of the first trimester with my appetite and energy back in full swing. Best of luck for the rest of your journey! <3

  43. ¡Felicitaciones! Thank you for sharing the miracles and blessings of your journey.

  44. Thank you for sharing your roller-coaster story!! Your little babe will have a wonderful life! All the best to you.

  45. Life has its ups and downs, but your little angel baby with always be there in the twinkle of the eyes of the twin baby.
    Congratulations and enjoy one day at a time.
    You two look so happy

  46. Congratulations! What epic news for you both!

  47. We celebrate your victory and mourn your loss. Thank you for sharing. This made me emotional.

  48. I’m so happy for you !! Congratulations !! :)))

  49. So happy for you! It’s nice to hear a nice story in these times, so thank you for that :)

  50. I cried tears of joy with you guys! Congratulations!!!!!