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Babe In My Arms, Blogs

When The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year…Isn’t

December 29, 2017

Written by Elena Ridley, guest blogger

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. For many reasons those lyrics are true; being with family, enjoying traditions, partaking in all of the fun and festivities that only happen during this joyous holiday season. But what if you don’t feel joyous? What if you feel like it’s the most awful time of year? For many couples who deal with infertility, this is exactly what the holiday season feels like.

As if infertility was not hard enough, mix in the holidays and you’ve got a cocktail of heartache, sadness, and stress that is tough to overcome.  It can be hard as you sit back wondering if you will ever get to be a parent.  You watch others from a distance; moms, dads, and their children. You get the family Christmas cards, see parents taking their children to visit Santa, and buy gifts for your godchildren, your nieces and nephews, and friends’ kids often with resentment and jealousy.  You muster up enough courage and composure to attend gatherings with family and friends while you watch the happiness on the faces of parents as they watch their children open up gifts never knowing if you will ever get to experience this feeling.  Next to first days of school and other holidays, Christmas is probably the hardest time when you’re going through infertility.

When I think back to my first Christmas as a newlywed in 2011, I was almost certain that I would be pregnant and announcing it with a cute ornament handed out to my parents and in-laws.  I had been married a whole 3 months and I knew I’d be pregnant in an instant after getting married.  Then Christmas rolled around and so did my period and for the 3rd month in a row, I was frustrated & wondering why I wasn’t pregnant yet.  Boy was I naïve.  As time went on and we kept trying, Christmas after Christmas was passing, yet I still wasn’t handing out those announcement ornaments to my family members. I was absolutely clueless as to why I wasn’t pregnant yet 2 years and some minor fertility treatments later.  Little did I know that it would take another 3 years before I would be expecting and 4 years before I’d actually have a baby in my arms at Christmas time.  After a very long journey, we finally get to say that this is our very first year as parents to our miracle Georgia June after 5 years of infertility.

For 5 Christmases we sat in waiting.  We watched our nieces and nephews every year and other family members get pregnant and grow their families (some even through their own infertility struggles) yet here we were, 2 IUI’s, 1 miscarriage, and 6 IVF transfers (3 fresh & 3 frozen) under our belts over the course of 2 years and still no baby.  The final straw for us was our very last fresh IVF cycle in 2015.  Although the cycle started out promising with 16 eggs retrieved and 11 fertilized, by day 5 I only had 2 that were ready for transfer, not even considered blastocysts yet, and 5 more that were still growing but didn’t end up making it.  The day after Christmas I had my beta which was an 8.  It never did rise and that was when we decided to close the book on my eggs (the suspected culprit for about 6 months) and move forward with an egg donor.

The real Christmas miracle for us that years was when a complete stranger who I had only knew through social media reached out to us and offered us her eggs to help us build our family right around the time we found out the cycle had failed.  We decided to take her up on her offer and met her and her family in March of 2016, on June 16th I had my very first donor egg embryo transfer and 11 days later my beta was 967 and I was the most pregnant I had ever been over the course of 5 years.  Our donor is from Georgia which is what we decided we would name our miracle.  Now we are finally able to enjoy our very first Christmas as parents.

But is it possible to cope with those feelings of sadness during the holidays?  I think the answer is yes.  Although this can be such a challenging time of year when going through infertility, it is also a time to remember the blessings that we do have. Remembering that life itself is a gift that we are given every day.  Being thankful for the simplest of things like clean running water, food on our tables, and roofs over our heads. Even incorporating some Christmas activities into your time might lift your spirits. Christmas shopping, donating to a family in need, driving around and looking at Christmas lights, decorating cookies, wrapping presents, listening to Christmas music, and watching Christmas movies were all things that always helped to put me into the Christmas spirit despite our struggles.

There is no doubt that the holidays are hard when you’re going through infertility.  My wish is that no one would ever have to experience the pain and heartache that comes along with infertility, not only during Christmas, but year-round. Infertility is a vicious cycle of uncertainty every single month as you wait for those 2 pink lines that only seems to get worse as time goes on and cycle after cycle continues to fail. I know from firsthand experience the pain that comes along with getting a negative test back after putting your body through ultrasounds and injections: it’s a physical, emotional, and financial burden with no guarantee and it only gets worse during the holiday season. I am here to tell you though that the fight is worth it, and no matter what the outcome of your journey is, as long as you are giving it your all, that is the best you can do. Inevitably, some will end up with children of their own, some will adopt, some will use donor sperm, eggs, or embryos, and some will never have a child. This is the nature of infertility. Remembering all of our blessings and all that life does have to offer is by far the best way to get through the tough times, even when it’s not Christmas time, always count your blessings and always remember that you are not alone.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Adoption Takes a Village

December 27, 2017

Written by Heidi Brubaker, guest blogger

Married in 2005, my husband, Brandon, and I agreed we both wanted 3 children since we came from families with 3 kids each. We also agreed we wanted to wait awhile before having those children, so we could enjoy married life together! Five years later, we began trying to get pregnant. After about a year without success, we started seeing doctors, trying medication, blood work, etc. On February 14th, 2013, my doctor said I had a low ovarian reserve and should look into IVF and possibly egg donors. That was not the best Valentine’s Day, but Brandon was so loving, supportive and never once cast blame!

We did a consult for IVF, but after learning more about the process, the costs, and the odds, we did not feel that was the route for us. But we didn’t give up! I went on an extremely strict diet, one the dietitian claimed would help me conceive. I also found a new doctor for a second opinion. She diagnosed me with endometriosis and after more meds, blood work, sonograms, and test, she figured if we could clean up the endo I would have a great chance at getting pregnant. Good news! In June of 2014, I had a laparoscopy surgery where it was discovered my endo was stage 4! Well the rollercoaster of emotions were back, because now I was given great hopes of getting pregnant within the next year.

We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in the summer of 2010 and still, I was not pregnant. We were going on a great getaway to a tropical island near Tahiti called Mo’orea. Brandon and I decided when we returned home from this trip we would begin looking into adoption!

Neither of us had ever thought we would adopt, although we had been in a community of adoptive families and supported them through local organizations such as God’s Grace Adoption Ministry and Athletes for Adoption. One thing we both felt strongly about was our call to be parents! We just didn’t know how that would happen. We easily decided on private birth adoption since we wanted a newborn and didn’t want to miss a single moment of our child’s life! But we were not sure if we were really suppose to pursue the idea of adoption. One of our pastors, who had fos-adopted 2 kids, told us, “Just go forward and if it sputters and dies, then you know it wasn’t meant to be!” That was great advice to spur us on.

Now that we had our minds and hearts set on the adoption process, we dove in full force! We were referred to a consultant out of Florida, Nicole Witt, with The Adoption Consultancy, who made the process clearer, quicker, easier, and less expensive. We had been quite shocked that private birth adoptions in the US cost as much or more than international adoptions! We did NOT have the funds, but we didn’t let that stop us!

The answers to our questions as to whether or not this was meant to be started to be answered right away. Our first bill due was covered, to the penny, by our yearly tax return and a refund of doctor bills from my surgery!!!
We had friends who had bake sales and gave us all the profit. Our young 10-year-old friend made monster cookies and sold them, raising $1,000 just for our baby! My students (I was teaching 2nd grade, piano lessons and leading a puppet team at the time) participated in a Baby Bottle campaign and raised $1,300. It was so very humbling to accept their donations, but they wanted so badly for us to have a baby and it was more answer to prayers!

Our community is so supportive of adoptions, so our plan to have a dinner/auction was a huge success. Some friends catered the meal and we had silent auction, dessert auction and live auction. My dad was the auctioneer and we sold items like baby quilts, BBQ dinners, airplane rides, a weekend at a beach house, and more, all generously donated and then bought by friends. All in all we raised $19,000 in one night! Talk about being blown away!

We worked on our profile book, home study, agency applications and stacks of paperwork. We had decided not to adopt in our home state of CA because of the 30 days the BirthMom has to change her mind. Instead, Nicole helped us apply in “safe states” where the laws are in favor of the adoptive families. In these states, the BM signs her rights within 12-72 hours after birth. We ended up applying in 3 states at 6 different agencies. We became active in November 2015. The months of December through February seemed to go pretty quickly as we had lots of birth situations emailed to us. We presented to 3 during that time, but were not chosen. Obviously, I was anxious to hold my baby, but I knew if that child was ours, we would have been chosen. There was a real peace in “letting go and letting God!” March and April dragged on because we saw less situations and we started feeling like it was taking forever!

On Mother’s Day, we got an email from Nicole saying there was a BM from Texas who was moving to CA and was connected with a lawyer in southern CA. We talked to her case worker and learned that while the baby would be born in CA, and the BM would have the 30 days to change her mind, there was a law in place where the BM can sign a waiver to those 30 days and her rights would be revoked in 24 hours! That sounded just as good as the safe state laws, so the next day, on my birthday, we presented to her.

On Thursday morning, on my drive to school, I called the caseworker to see if there was any news and she said, “She picked you!!” I was shocked and excited! I called Brandon right away and we decided to keep it under wraps until we could tell our families. That was a hard thing to do! We also learned the BM was having her sonogram the following day to learn the gender. Brandon had the idea of doing a gender reveal for us to learn the sex, so we had the caseworker email my sister, who helped set it up! Brandon ordered pink and blue chalk powder, we went into our friend’s orchard and my sis placed the right color in the box with tannerite (highly explosive). When Brandon shot at the box a huge BLUE cloud of dust exploded! We were having a BOY!

The following Tuesday was an end of the year get together at the school where I taught. I was able to make the announcement that, although I wasn’t coming back next school year, it was because our baby boy would be born the same week school started! Everyone was in tears! Then we posted the pictures and video of our gender reveal to spread the word. Such a long awaited for, happy time!

At the end of July, our birth mother arrived here 3 weeks before the baby was born. It ended up working out perfectly because the doctor wanted her induced Monday morning, August 15th, 2016. When we got her to the hospital and she was all checked in and settled, she began labor on her own! In just 5 hours, our Bentley John was born!

His adoption was finalized on April 19th, 2017 and we have had the most fun being his parents! He has the best personality and now we KNOW this was exactly what God had in store for us all along.

Even as early as a month or two, we could tell he looked a lot like me. People still say “He has your eyes!” or “He’s got your nose.” and they have no idea he was adopted! It’s the coolest thing!

We give God all the glory for letting us be parents to Bentley!

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

What The…? The 24-Year Old Embryo

December 22, 2017
The Scoop:

A 25-year old woman, Tina Gibson, gave birth to her snowbaby that was conceived 24 years earlier. Tina and her husband, Benjamin, struggled with infertility and adopted the frozen embryo through an agency in Tennessee, where they live. The couple went through over 300 profiles of potential embryos to adopt and didn’t learn the “age” of theirs until the day of transfer! How incredible is that?!

Tell Us:

Have you or would you considered embryo adoption? Is the age of an embryo something you would consider when pursuing embryo adoption? Tell us in the comments below!

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Reaching For Your Baby

December 20, 2017

Written by Lauren Bennett, WTF Content Editor

“Reach for your baby!”

My doctor’s words will forever echo in my mind and heart as I relive the day my long-awaited babe was born.

I opened my eyes and pulled my baby from my body onto my chest. And sobbed. I looked at this beautiful being and told him over and over again how long we had been waiting for him.

He was here. Beautiful, perfect, and exactly as I had dreamed. Awestruck by his head full of dark hair and bright eyes, relief poured from my body. This baby was the product of 62 months of waiting, hoping, crying, and praying.

In 2012, after two years of marriage, my husband, Andy, and I decided it was time. Time to add to our family. This was, after all, the next logical step in our journey as husband and wife. As the second of nine children, I figured within months we would be making our pregnancy announcement to friends and family. But as life would have it, that wasn’t the case and we were thrown into a world of unknowns.

After a year of trying without success, we sought the help of my OB-GYN who concluded that nothing was wrong – we were two perfectly healthy people with no explanation of why we couldn’t conceive. He referred us to Yale University to work with a reproductive endocrinologist and I thought that if anyone could help us, surely someone from Yale would know the answer and we would have our baby in no time. There, we went through countless tests, three rounds of Clomid, and three medicated IUIs, but still, no baby to hold. We were heartbroken and tired. So tired. IVF was the next step and the hurdle of paying for it stood in our way. Our dreams of having a family seemed to float further and further out of reach. After our last failed IUI, we decided that we would take the summer in our new home in North Carolina to enjoy ourselves and save for our first round of IVF best we could, no matter how long it took.

But as anyone who experiences infertility knows, you never truly “take a break” from trying to have a baby. It is always on your mind. Infertility is always there lurking around the corner to remind you of what you don’t have. In the midst of all this, I was actively seeking advice from an RE at the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine. So much for a “break”, right? Based on my history, and some additional bloodwork, she thought that I may have endometriosis (which I later would have surgery to remove), but what’s more is my egg reserve numbers were low for my age. At 30 years old, my biological clock suddenly sped up. We were devastated. How would we be able to save enough for IVF in the time needed before my ovaries essentially gave up?

Enter: the world’s best friends. After hearing this, four of my very best girls got together and secretly set up a GoFundMe page to help fund our IVF journey. They reached out to friends, family, and even strangers, and within 24 hours, the exact amount needed for our IVF fee was raised. I will never forget the shock and overwhelming love we felt looking at the page and reading notes of encouragement along with the thousands of dollars of donations. We could pursue our dreams of a family because of these people. These precious friends gave us a renewed hope, something we hadn’t felt for a long, long time. My tired heart suddenly found new energy to push forward and work to hold our baby.

IVF. Wow. To put it lightly, it sucks. You do it because you know what the potential outcome is, but when you boil it down, you pay thousands and thousands of dollars to stick yourself with needles and inject an insane amount of hormones into your already tired body. Then you willingly get up in stirrups and expose yourself to not only your doctor, but probably some fresh interns as well. By the 3rd appointment, the nurse would barely leave the room before I started to get undressed. I knew the drill.

At my last appointment before my retrieval, I had around 20 beautiful follicles, which was amazing considering my low egg reserve numbers. The butterflies in my stomach fluttered as we pulled up to the clinic for the retrieval. In my lovely hospital gown and hair net, I kissed Andy and they rolled me back. It was relatively quick from what I understand, and as I was coming out of it, the first groggy words out of my mouth to Andy were “How many did we get?” His answer – “Five.”

Five? That was it? I was devastated and cried the whole two hour ride home. I anxiously awaited the fertilization report, not expecting much. I had already started the mourning process for the babies we wouldn’t have. When the report came back, I was able to breathe. Out of the 5 eggs, 4 had successfully fertilized! Now, we waited again to see how many would make it to transfer. I went back to holding my breath.

Transfer day came and we still had 4 beautiful embryos! It was decided we would transfer the two best looking ones, although they were all good looking in my opinion. Holding Andy’s hand, we watched as our first real shot at becoming parents happened on the screen next to us. We were officially pregnant. A few days later we got notice that our other 2 embryos didn’t make it to freeze. This transfer of our amazing two was our one shot at our family.

We consider ourselves some of the lucky ones. Our first round of IVF was a success. We were pregnant. For the first time in five years, I saw two lines on my pregnancy test. I didn’t cry. I just stared in disbelief. Was this real? My mind started spinning thinking about my baby (or babies!) and was quickly followed by fear. What if this didn’t last? What if my beta came back too low and all our excitement was for nothing?

A positive beta meant we could schedule our first ultrasound at which we heard the most perfect single heartbeat. Our baby was coming. Finally.

One uneventful pregnancy later, on October 8th, my water broke at 3:00 a.m., almost 3 weeks early. After only 8 hours of active labor, at 6:01 p.m. that evening, I finally held the child we had been waiting for.

All of the heartbreak and uncertainty of those long, hard, and lonely years lead to reaching for our sweet, sweet little one.

But, what I’ve come to realize is that aside from that brief and surreal moment, I’ve been reaching for my baby for years. Each month, I went a little further and stretched myself a little more to grasp what we so desperately wanted. I reached through seeking treatments, by surrounding myself with others in this community, praying, and educating myself. I reached by being vocal about our journey and spreading awareness so others could feel less alone. I reached by envisioning what our precious little one might look like and how life would be once they joined our family, in whatever way that may be. And when I felt like I couldn’t hold out much longer, my tribe reached for me and surrounded me with the support I needed to push forward. For 62 months, I never stopped. And that long reach was so worth it. Every tear, worth it.

My sweet mama in waiting – I know how dark these days are and the pain each one brings. My heart aches for you as I know that same pain all too well. The fear, uncertainty, jealousy, and sadness are far too real and all encompassing. But, I beg you to never stop reaching for your baby until, in whatever beautiful way they come, you bring that child into your embrace and look in those gorgeous eyes and say “We’ve been waiting for you.”

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Surviving The Holidays With Infertility

December 14, 2017

Written by Katie O’Rourke, guest blogger

I have a lot of titles in my life and I look forward to the day when I can add “mom” to the following list. My name is Katie and I am a wife, dog mom, daughter, cousin, sister, auntie, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, friend, and speech pathologist from the Dairy state. My husband and I have been on this insane journey to add to our family for 27 months. I have been through a few holiday seasons with infertility hanging over my head so I wanted to share with you a few tips and tricks for not losing your sh** in front of your loved ones while focusing on your current family and looking forward to the future.


I used to look at holiday cards and think how perfect other people’s families were and that my family wouldn’t be perfect until we had children. But I have more recently learned to appreciate my current family of 3 (yes, including my dog) and know in my heart that someday I will look back and wish I was more grateful for my little tribe. We have made an effort to have our family pictures taken each year and put them into an adorable holiday card for our friends and families to hang proudly on their refrigerators. Send the card. Your family is worth sharing with those you love!


Traditions you pass on to your future children start with you and your hubby anyway so why not get a jump start?! Pick out that tree together, hand make ornaments, or watch cheesy Christmas movies for a whole day in your footie PJs. Document the experiences and put them in a book to show your kiddos some day. DO SOMETHING SPECIAL that you and your hubby enjoy and know your future children will love as well!


Whether it’s a day trip or an AirBnB kind of trip, book it. You and your hubs are going to need some down time after the insanity of the holidays. Take some time to unwind and do something with your little family. Bring the cat or the dog with you. TAKE PICS to document your fun! You will want to show your kids some day 🙂


Sometimes I think I will only look complete and beautiful with a baby in my arms. This is another lie I made up in my head! Get your hair did, shellac those nails, buy the new dress, wear heels, meditate, workout, polish that beautiful, very expensive diamond you have from your love; MAKE YOURSELF FEEL BEAUTIFUL! Because you ARE…baby or not.


Spoil those kiddos in your life. Be the FUNTIE (fun-auntie). Buy them each a little something they will love. It will fill that void of toy shopping for kids around the holidays and you get to see their smiles light up because you thought of them.


Every year, I put up a stocking for my fur baby, Tucker. My husband and I go shopping for him and pick out a toy and a treat for him to have on Christmas. It is fun to watch him get so excited about his gifts. Again, document this time. You will want to look back on this and see how much your holidays change year to year.


This my most important tip for the holidays. If you have been open about your journey thus far, you will have family and friends that ask you about it. Presume good intentions, ALWAYS. They are asking because they care about you and want to be there for you. This mindset will help you keep your cool in times of stress. Answer their questions how you want to. Short answers to avoid follow up questions are okay, if you do it with a smile and a positive spirit. If you want to indulge in the details with someone, that is okay, too. YOU ARE IN CONTROL. If you have been more reserved about your journey, you might have people asking you “when are you going to have kids?” or something along those lines. Again, presume good intentions. They want to see you procreate. That’s a compliment 🙂 Answer how you want. YOU ARE IN CONTROL. “Oh, we are waiting until after our trip.” or “We are working on it!”. Paint a picture you want people to see. Again, you are in control of the conversation!

8. Finally, REFLECT.

You and your hubby (pets too) are a beautiful family unit that have a lot to be thankful for. The fact that you have each other to lean on during the hard times and to celebrate with in good times, is a blessing in itself. Take time to write a list of things you are thankful for or take pictures of those things and make a collage. Hang it up to remind yourself every day of how lucky you are. That is what this time of year is all about. Celebrate your life and look forward to the future!


Babe In My Heart, Blogs

4 Reasons To Switch To #FertilityFriendly Body Care

December 12, 2017

Written by Chiemi Rajamahendran, Miss.Conception Coach Founder

When it comes to fertility, what you put on your body is just as important as what you put inside it. Choosing toxin-free skin care that’s safe is critical to ensure you maximize your chances of the healthiest pregnancy possible.

Here are four life changing reasons it’s important, more than ever, to be conscious of what you’re putting on your skin when trying to conceive, especially while experiencing infertility issues. Toxic-free ingredients ensure you’re not exposing yourself to hormone-disrupting chemicals through skin care.

1. We absorb over 60% of the ingredients we put on our skin.
Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and it’s permeable. This means that when we apply something to our skin, it doesn’t just sit on the surface. Rather, it penetrates through the skin and into the blood, where any toxins present in the products can contribute to hormone disruption, lowered immunity, allergies/intolerance’s and toxin overload.

2. Your baby is absorbing what you put on your skin.
If our bodies are absorbing what we put on our skin, it makes sense that our babies are also taking it in. Studies show toxic chemicals are routinely found in the umbilical cords of babies, and when researchers screened for more than 400 chemicals, 287 toxins were detected within the umbilical cord blood of newborns. Of these 287 toxins, 217 were neurotoxins and 208 are known to damage growth development or cause birth defects. The toxins included BPAs and synthetic fragrances found in skin care, cosmetics and personal care products.

3. Toxins in skin care may contribute to infertility.
One of the key ingredients commonly found in skin care products are perfluorinated chemicals, better known as PFC’s. Contact with PFCs has been attributed to causing a variety of infertility issues. Women with higher-than-normal levels of PFC’s have a 60-154% higher risk of infertility than those who have normal levels. PFC’s can also affect male fertility by decreasing the volume, overall health and motility of sperm.

4. Chemicals found in skin care are endocrine disruptor’s.
One of the main reasons toxins in skin care affect fertility is that they mimic natural hormones, creating endocrine disruption and hormonal imbalance. Many of these toxins are termed xenoestrogens as they have the ability to bind to our estrogen receptor sites, disrupting the function of the endocrine system.

Here is a relaxing way to boost your fertility health naturally:


Want to nourish your skin with toxic-free skin care? You can win a Renew Body Wash bundle from Bloom Essentials Fertility Body Care + Wellness! To enter, LIKE/FOLLOW Bloom Essentials on Facebook AND Instagram, then tag a friend. Good luck babes!

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Conquering The Unknown

December 7, 2017

Written by Vanessa Tully, guest blogger

As a child of just 6 years old, you clearly don’t comprehend the enormity of having one ovary and fallopian tube removed due to gangrene until twelve years later when you’re 18 and it’s happening yet again. Over the last 15 years, I’ve had a lot of time to ask the “whys”, I’ve been angry and sad, and I have learned how to deal with the menopause (those darn hot flashes!). But nothing worried me more than how I’d tell my future husband that I couldn’t make him the father that I knew he deserved to be quite as easily as others. Luckily, this man has never faltered from my side. Even when the sadness and anxiety kick in, he’s always there to remind me that I’m not completely alone in this journey.

Choosing a donor was probably the hardest thing for us at first. We joined 8 different agency websites to maximize our options and to say that it was strange, is a huge understatement. We spent days that turned into weeks trying to find someone who resembled me, had the same blood type etc., and when it became too much, we had to step away for a bit.

Eventually, the search became easier and after a couple of months, we found and even met our donor! We wanted to thank her for the selfless gift she was bestowing us with and we left that meeting with a great sense of peace, one that we hadn’t felt in a long time. She told us “We are all in this together and we all want the same outcome” and we knew we had made the right choice.

During this process, I’ve gone through feeling so low that shopping for baby shower gifts caused anxiety attacks in the middle of a store and watching Huggies commercials made me break out into tears. But I have also felt excitement during our donor’s retrieval and optimism after our embryos went through genetic testing. I’ve gone through bouts of feeling alone because no one really understands these ups and downs unless they’re in “it”.

All in all, it’s the fear of the unknown that scares my husband and me the most. We have no control over how this story ends (or begins). Yet here we are, 6 days away from our transfer date with embryo #4. We still have so much hope that we will be parents one day, whichever direction this path chooses to take us.


Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Praying For What Will Be

December 5, 2017

Written by Mary James, guest blogger

My husband, Brandon and I have been together for twelve years, married for 2 of those years. On the first day we met, at ages 18 and 19, we knew we loved each other. We always promised to make each other happy and worked hard to get to this wonderful chapter in our lives. Our plan was to graduate college, get married, buy a house, and then have babies. So far, we have accomplished everything on our list, but are still waiting on the babies.

Last August, I found out I was pregnant. We were so very excited and couldn’t wait to share the news with our family! We had a big family dinner and announced the great news! It was a beautiful moment where everyone cried and hugged! But, the excitement would soon fade.

Weeks later at a doctor’s appointment, blood work had shown my HCG levels were not where they needed to be. A week after that, my levels had declined significantly. My doctor sat down with me and suggested I prepare myself for a “spontaneous abortion”.

I was devastated.

I didn’t know how to tell my husband or my family. On the drive home from the doctor’s office, all I could think about was everyone else. How was my mother going to take it? What about my poor husband? And my sister? I did not take the time to think about myself and process my emotions. I felt like I failed and could not figure out what I did wrong to deserve this. I was so excited to begin this journey of motherhood, and suddenly, it was all gone.

As a nurse, it is our nature to care for others, often forgetting that sometimes we need to be taken care of, too. The next step for me was to get healthy and focus on self-care. I completely changed my diet, lost weight, switched from night shift to day shift, exercised, and started practicing yoga. By making the decision is take care of me, I began to notice the difference in my mind and body and felt great!

Today, Brandon and I are happy and healthy. We have a supportive family and a tremendous love between the both of us. We often pray for a child and wonder where we will be the day we find out we are pregnant. We wonder who our child will look like? who will he or she act like? What will he or she be when they grow up? We can only pray that this child will come when the time is right and know deep in our hearts that one day we will be parents. So for now, we just pray… and consider this time in our life a journey.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Choosing Happiness During Infertility

November 30, 2017

Written by Leah Scriver, guest blogger

“So do you have any kids?” That dreaded question that ALWAYS comes up when you meet new people. Do I go ahead and tell them that my husband and I have been trying for the past 9 years but I have PCOS and have done everything under the moon to try and get pregnant with no luck? Or do I just tell them “maybe someday”? I am an open book and tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, so I usually tell my story.

It may sound like my story is a depressing one and for a long time, it was. However, a huge epiphany changed that.

Growing up, I never saw myself as a mother. I never played with dolls or played the role of “Mommy” when playing House. I always wanted to fall in love, get married, and of course kids will come….right?

In October 2004, I married my first husband. We tried for one year with no medical help at all. When I wasn’t getting pregnant, we decide it was time to see the fertility specialists at Kaiser. First, we tried Clomid and while I was responding well to it, nothing was happening. As we were about to start the class for injections, our marriage took a nose dive, ending in divorce in 2006.

In 2008. I met THE ONE. He was, and still is, the man of my dreams. We met and got married in 3 months. Hey!…when you know, you know! We’ve been married now for 9 years. About a year into our marriage, we started trying to get pregnant. I just knew that God would bless me this time around because I had married the right man… a man who loves me unconditionally, loves God, his family, and life. And after 3 months of trying, I was pregnant! I cannot tell you how crazy excited I was when I saw those two pink lines show up. I really couldn’t believe it. Felt like a dream. Around 7 weeks along, I started spotting and knew it wasn’t good. The bleeding got heavier and cramps began. My husband and I went to the ER and it was there that I lost the baby. We were so incredibly sad.

As soon as my cycles were normal again, we started trying, but a normal cycle was few and far between. My periods were very absent. At the time, my husband was in the Army and received orders to be deployed to Afghanistan for 9 months. He came home safe and sound and we started trying again. But again, my periods were not normal. When the hubs was honorably discharged from the Army, we moved back to our hometown in Roseville, CA and I decided to go through Kaiser’s fertility clinic again. They diagnosed me with PCOS. We tried everything except IVF and nothing had worked. At this point, I was beyond desperate. Not only that, but I also started to feel like I was being punished. I felt like this so much, that I actually called up everyone I have ever wronged and apologized and hoped that they would forgive me. I asked God to forgive me for not seeing myself as a mother in my childhood and young adult years. Sounds so crazy, but that’s where my mind was at that time.

So, after my husband and I realized that our only option would be IVF, we took the plunge. I’m just glad I don’t have a fear of needles at all, because let me tell you, there is SO much needle sticking! So I gave myself all the injections and the day came for my retrieval. They were able to retrieve many healthy eggs which made me super excited and hopeful. After the eggs were fertilized, we only had 4 that were healthy enough to transfer. Trying to pin point the date of the transfer was very stressful for me because I am a photographer and had a wedding to shoot the day they wanted to transfer. There’s no way I could find a photographer to fill in for me, no way at all. Thankfully, we were able to make it work and two days before the wedding, two embryos were transferred. The other two which weren’t as healthy stayed in the cup so they could keep an eye on them.

Now the awful 2 week wait began. I tried so hard not to read into any symptoms I was having but, as we know, that’s nearly impossible. After the 2 week wait, I got the phone call and the embryos didn’t attach and the other two that they were watching died. I was devastated. We had spent SO MUCH MONEY and now we have no baby and no frozen embryos. And forget about the money, what about my sanity? That’s when my bitterness and anger towards God and the world began. I was angry. SO ANGRY. I put on a front like I was fine and I accepted the cards I had been dealt, but under the surface I was hurting. I stopped going to church, didn’t feel the need to pray at all, and was irritated by every little thing that didn’t go my way. For two years, I was in this horrible bitter state. Finally, about 6 months ago I came to a fork in the road. I realized I could either continue down this path where I’m super unhappy or I can go down the other path of choosing to be happy. I chose happiness and it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.

So here I am 36 years old, married to the love of my life, no kids, a dog, and as happy as can be. But remember that epiphany I was talking about? Here it is… this realization has COMPLETELY changed my thinking about my struggle with infertility. I was on the phone with a girlfriend who is pregnant with a baby girl. They just found out that her baby has down syndrome. She was very distraught, sad and scared over this news. I told her that it’s probably natural to have those feelings, but she also needs to know that that baby girl is going to be crazy loved. She is going to bring so much joy to their lives and be such a blessing to them. She then proceeded to tell me that she’s grateful for my trial. At first I didn’t understand and was wondering if I should be offended. She said that she thinks of me often when she’s having a meltdown from her 3 other children and that my trial helps her have more gratitude for her little ones. When she told me this it was like a light came on in a dark room and I could see. If my trial of infertility can help and bless others, then I am happy to go through it. I am happy and grateful that my trial can bless others. If this is my mission while I am here on the earth, then I am happy to do it. With this realization, my life has become so much more simple and filled with so much more gratitude. We all have our trials and some are harder than others. But one thing that I think isn’t thought about much at all is how our hardships can bless others.

So I may not ever have children, or maybe we’ll adopt, or maybe we will or won’t do IVF again. The important thing is that I remain happy. Come what may, I choose to be happy and I hope my story touches and help others who are struggling with infertility.

Babe In My Arms, Babe In My Belly, Babe In My Heart, Blogs

FertileGirl: Empowering Women Through Conversation and Nutrition

November 28, 2017

What The Fertility had the opportunity to interview Allison Kasirer, founder of FertileGirl, a pre-pregnancy nutrition company. We love the mission she is on to empower women by changing the conversation around fertility and focusing on creating and keeping our bodies healthy. (Psst…be sure to read all the way through to get a coupon code for 15% off the FertileGirl superfood nutrition bars)!

1. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to us about FertileGirl! Let’s start at the very beginning: what inspired you to start FertileGirl?

Allison Kasirer (AK): FertileGirl was truly born out my own personal fertility journey. I did a big lifestyle overhaul when trying to get pregnant—including focusing more on my nutrition. I noticed the conventional packaged food I was eating did not have the ideal pre-pregnancy nutrition that I was looking for. So I started making my own snacks at home and bringing them with me to my doctor appointments. I also noticed that there was no consumer brand out there that spoke to the TTC woman in a way that I needed at the time. After some time, I realized I could merge these two concepts into what would become FertileGirl.

2. Tell us about the FertileGirl Superfood Nutrition Bars. What led you to create these bars? What goodness goes into them?

AK: I found that taking control of my nutrition was extremely empowering when going through something that felt very much out of my control. The bars were my attempt at packing the important pre-pregnancy nutrients into a convenient on-the-go snack. I tried to use clean, simple, and real food ingredients in order to get more plant-based protein, omega 3s, iron, and calcium in my diet. When I realized that I wanted to make these into a real product, I gathered input from our advisory board of doctors and nutritionists, and set out to create a “proof-of-concept.” FertileGirl’s superfood nutrition bars are actually very similar to the ones I made for myself, except the ingredients get ground up more finely by large scale machines.

3. We love how FertileGirl encourages women to talk about the F word: fertility. Why is it so important to make conversations about fertility less taboo?

AK: We feel very passionately about changing the fertility conversation. It’s imperative that we work toward making this topic less isolating, stressful, and confusing and more hopeful, rewarding, and empowering. When I started sharing my story with other women, my whole journey changed. I finally had the support that I needed to get to the other side. It also opened my eyes to how common fertility challenges are! When something is stigmatized, it is that much harder to build community. If we can break the stigma and embrace the F word, we’re much more likely to find and give that support to one another.

4. Since starting FertileGirl, how have you seen the conversation around fertility evolve?

AK: It’s been almost a year since we launched the social platforms for FertileGirl. It seems over the past year, we’ve had more celebrities and influencers talking about their own fertility journeys. Because of their wide reach, those statements have a huge impact on breaking the stigma. I’ve also been surprised by how many women reach out to us with questions around fertility. There doesn’t seem to be a good resource out there with accurate, approachable information. We hope to continue to provide informative content written by experts through our social feeds and blog, “Real Talk.”

5. Not only do you create amazing nutrition bars and provide a place of support for those on their fertility journeys, but you “put your money where your mouth is” by giving back a portion of your proceeds to Baby Quest Foundation. Can you tell us a little bit about this partnership?

AK: I met Pam Hirsch, the founder of Baby Quest Foundation, many months before we even had a product. It was also before I found out I was pregnant with twins. She has created an incredible organization that has helped bring over 50 babies into the world. I’ve personally met with some of the Baby Quest recipients and met some of the Baby Quest babies. We try to be as hands on as possible in addition to supporting them financially.

6. What advice do you have for women who are looking struggling with their fertility? Aside from FertileGirl, what other resources would you recommend?

AK: Mother yourself. I realized on my personal journey that I wouldn’t be able to mother a future child until I mothered myself. Self-care is just as important before and after pregnancy as it is when you’re pregnant and growing another human being. It’s hard to recommend specific resources since each person’s journey is unique. Also, different women have different reactions to those resources. For example, some women love acupuncture and find that it reduces stress during the process. Other women find it stressful! Some women want to change out every beauty product and household product to organic. Other women find that process stressful and unnecessary. We provide a lot of these different resources on our social feeds and blog; however, I think it’s important to do what’s right for you and “mother yourself” in whatever forms that takes.

Want to try the FertileGirl nutrition bars for yourself? Use the code WHATTHEFERTILITY at check out to receive 15% off your order! Head on over to the FertileGirl shop here.

What The Fertility

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