September 23rd. I wrote this date in my calendar nine months ago.

After two years of trying, we were finally pregnant. The IUI procedure worked. I should’ve known it would. The first one failed, but this one was different. It was New Years Day. A Sunday morning. We did the first part, went to Bob Evans, did the second part then went to church.  We were 45 minutes late, but we were there. And I remember laying my hands on my stomach and praying to God that I would get pregnant this time.

And I did.

I found out on January 16th. It was Martin Luther King day. A Monday morning. I wasn’t supposed to take the test until Tuesday, but I’m off on Mondays and I was home alone with no plans. The night before I felt cramps and I told my husband, “I think I’m about to start my period”.  The next morning, I was watching This Is Us on DVR or on Hulu, I can’t remember. But I do remember tearing up. That show will make anyone cry but this wasn’t a crying scene. The doctor told her she was pregnant…with triplets. Jack dealt with the news so perfectly, I cried.

When the show went off, I realized I hadn’t started my period yet. So I went to Walmart. I bought tampons and a pregnancy test. Optimism and pessimism in the same shopping cart.

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My hopes were high but I was realistic. They were sold out of the cheap tests, perhaps I had bought them all the month before. So I bought the two of the expensive ones. I went home, went straight into the guest bathroom, spread two tests on the counter, deposited my fluids in a cup and proceeded to test the first stick.  The instructions were somewhat confusing. I put the first test down in frustration after I realized I was inadvertently reading the instructions for the second test. I picked up the second test and did that one correctly. While the second test was in the cup, I glanced at the read out on the first. Pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. I looked at the second test. Pregnant.

I left the house in a daze, headed to Meijer down the street to buy a third test, a card for my husband to tell him the news, a Baby Names Book and What to Expect When You’re Expecting book. This shopping cart was ALL optimism. When I got home, I took the third test. Pregnant.

I waited all day to tell my husband. I work in news. I’m a TV reporter and I’ve told some great stories, but this was the greatest news I ever had the pleasure of sharing.

When I finally got in to see the fertility doctor, he confirmed my pregnancy and told me my due date was September 23rd. The day after my mom’s birthday.

I knew I wanted to have my baby at OSU Wexner Medical Center. And it turned out, September 23rd was an Ohio State Football home game. They were playing UNLV. My late father’s alma mater. My Buckeye baby was going to be born at OSU the same day the University was playing his late grandfather’s alma mater. That was the beginning of expectations.

Throughout the pregnancy, I had a thousand more expectations. Lots of imagination. This dream of having a baby was coming true as I was finally pregnant. I hadn’t really considered the pregnancy part in all my praying to have a child. But once I saw “pregnant” on the stick(s), my imagination went berserk. I had it all planned out. I even knew the hairstyle I wanted when I had the baby: box braids.

I mentally planned the entire Summer leading up to September 23rd.

My baby was born July 21st. I was 30 weeks and 6 days pregnant (or 30+6 as I heard it repeated over and over while he was in the NICU).

I hadn’t planned it this way at all. I never considered I would have my baby early. I asked God why He would let this happen.

I struggled between being so upset that I didn’t carry my baby to term and being so thankful that he is okay.

Comment here or tweet me @AlissaHenryTV :)

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