Monday, July 18, 2011

How We Told Friends and Family

When we first began talking about starting our family, Jared and I both really enjoyed the idea of keeping our own little secret, between just the two of us, for several weeks. We thought it would be a really special something that only the two of us would know, share, and enjoy. Then, infertility hit. It really sends you reeling in a million different directions, you never even considered as possibilities.

As most of you know, I was very uncomfortable being vulnerable in this area. I didn't like opening up this area of my life to anyone and everyone. I even had a hard time with people closest to us. This journey has taught me so much about vulnerability! Overtime, we slowly learned how and when to share our struggle with certain people. It certainly wasn't the way I would ever have envisioned it "going down"... but I will say this: if we opened up to you about our struggle, and spoke with you about it more then once, "you" were such an incredible source of comfort and support, and we couldn't have made it through without you.

Once we grasped the reality that conception wasn't just going to happen for us, I slowly began to realize, despite all the new fears I was experiencing, thinking about a future pregnancy, I wanted as many people as possible praying for our precious miracle... if we ever were given one. We wouldn't shout it from the roof tops, but we turn to our "inner circle"... people we knew would rejoice with us, while faithfully lifting us up in prayer. And gradually, we would go out from there.

Our immediate families were the first to know, after we dropped $$$$ at the drug store on all our pregnancy tests, that Sunday afternoon. All of my family lives out of town, which made sharing it with everyone at the same time difficult. This weekend, the family happened to scattered all over the state. We decided my mom needed to be first to know - she had her own struggle with infertility, and as my mom, understood my emotional struggle better then anyone. We decided to send my family the below picture and text, but would send it to mom first, and wait to hear from her, before sending it out to the rest of the family.
Text: So, it looks like we were given an extra special, early anniversary present this year!:)

I didn't hear back from my mom for over 5 minutes - what the heck!?!?!:) So I sent my little sister, who I knew was with her, a text
Me: Hey Gracie, have mom check her phone
Mary Grace: She is talking to nanny, she will when she is done, unless its important, and needs to now?
Me: oh no, its fine, she can wait until she is done.:)

2.5 seconds later my phone rang and all I heard was "Oh my gosh! sobs sobs sob Are you serious??? Sobs sobs sobs, Thanks you Jesus sobs sobs sobs sobs sobs sobs sobs followed by whooping and hollering, all of which took place in Target, I later found out!:) In the back ground, I hear my then 14yr old sister chanting "I am going to be an Aunt, I am going to be an Aunt."

We talked, cried, and celebrated for a while. I told mom she could tell the family she was in East Tn visiting, but to keep it on the "down low" for now. Gracie was allowed to tell one of her neighborhood friends, otherwise the child was going to BURST!:)

Next, the same text and picture went out to my dad and brothers, who were all working a huge AAU basketball tournament. My dad didn't have his glasses on when he got my text, so he showed it to his secretary to make sure his eyes weren't playing tricks on him!:) He immediately called. I asked him to keep the news kinda quiet, as I knew there were lots of coaches, parents, and players at the tournament our family knew very well. He assured me he would. Somehow though, the picture still circulated rapidly, but luckily we were able to do damage control, before the news spread too far.:) Of course, my brothers all had trouble deciphering the exact meaning of the picture and message, but after conversing amongst themselves, they figured chances were pretty good I was pregnant!:) There was LOTS of celebrating going on from one end of the state to the other, in the Elliott household that day.

Next, we went over to Jared's parent's house to tell his parents and youngest sister the news (the middle sister Sara, has Down's Syndrome, so she doesn't really comprehend pregnancy until she sees you great with child. Plus, we were all a little nervous she would bring the subject up during times and at moments when we didn't want people knowing). Of course, there was lots more hugs, tears, and rejoicing.

Later that day, we came up with our "inner circle" we wanted to let in on the news. Some were family, old friends,  new friends, college students, etc... I am surprised my poor old phone didn't explode and die from all the texts and calls we received that day.

Unfortunately, Jared left to go out town shortly after the news. I did NOT enjoy being at home for my first two doctor appointments and blood draws without him, but we managed, and it was a good exercise in trust and faith for me.

The next weekend, we were up in Pigeon Forge at our CSF alumni reunion. We told a few of the students and alumni while were there, but not many. On the way home, we called our Grandparents and let them know our news, and sent out a text message to my network of cousins/childhood friends stating "we were pleased to announce the debut of Baby Ross in January 2012." We also gave my mom the go ahead to tell her sister, and several of her closest friends back home. After that, news spread quickly!

Two of our college girls who had followed our journey/struggle closely were Laurie and Whitney:
Unfortunately, both were out of town when we found out. They were two people we really wanted to tell, but selfishly we wanted to be able to do it in person. Whitney was coming back home the week we found out, and Laurie kept changing her mind as to when she was coming back (and moving in with us for the summer). I kept trying to convince her she really needed to come back, but she didn't listen, and therefore, was one of the last of the inner circle to know. A point she is still mildly bitter about.

Whitney was going to go to Bible Study with me on the Wednesday Jared was out of town, so after talking it over with Jared on the phone, we decided to let her in on the secret. We already knew how we were going to tell both girls. Whitney had gone to Universal Studios over Spring Break and brought Laurie and us back Thing 1, 2, 3, and 4 shirts.  This is what Whit saw when she walked into the living room:
She kept staring at this shirts saying "What does this mean?! I mean, I think I know what this means, but I don't want to say in case its not what I think it means." Once she realized she was in fact correct in her assumptions, her next question was "Does Laurie know?" She got some evil satisfaction out of knowing something Laurie didn't, but I think keeping it a secret nearly killed her too.

Once Laurie finally did decide to come back into town, and move in with us, she waited until we were already in bed before arriving at the house. As pay back for her prolonged absence, we decided to leave her with this gift on her bed:
As we went to bed that night I told Jared, "Make sure you sleep fully clothed. I will not be surprised if she comes flying into our bedroom once she gets home." Evidently, it crossed her mind. :) Needless to say, the next morning I had no less then twelve text messages from her consisting of, "Oh my gosh, are you serious, are you pulling my leg, I hope these messages wake you up, how am I supposed to go to bed now, WAKE UP!!!" Etc... Slid underneath our door was this:

After that, things spread the good old fashion way - word of mouth from one friend or family member to another. 

We didn't make it "Facebook Official" until after our first ultrasound. 

And we all know, nothing is "official" until its "Facebook Official.":)


  1. i love this whole story so touching, the shirts are cute

    shel xx

  2. I am so happy for you! I got teary when your dad told me.

  3. So cool. :) Congrats congrats again!!