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Babe In My Arms, Blogs

“Just Relax” They Say

June 26, 2017

•By Kathryne Shrewsbury, Guest Blogger

Let’s keep it real, dealing with infertility issues sucks. It is stressful, time consuming and expensive. You are not in control of the outcome even if you do everything right. I know first hand what infertility looks like having gone through two rounds of IVF, one fresh embryo transfer, one frozen embryo transfer, hundreds of injections, 40,000 dollars spent and countless hours at doctors appointments.

My husband and I decided early on in this journey that we would be open and honest about our fertility issues. We didn’t shy away from the fact that we needed help to start our family with the hopes our story may help someone else who is also struggling. I have pretty thick skin and don’t let what others say get me because I believe most people are undertanding, caring and compassionate. But sometimes others also don’t quite understand what you are going through when it comes to infertility. People may make comments that come from a good place, but trying desperately to have a child it can come off as rude, naive or insensitive. In my opinion, here are the top 3 statements never to say to someone who is TTC/going through fertility treatments.

“You guys just need to relax. It will happen when the time is right”
Do not say this to anyone trying to have a child. This statement is the number one thing that makes my blood boil. There was one person in my life who said this to me over and over during the time we were trying to conceive and even after we found out we would have to go through IVF. I just wanted to reach over, shake her and scream that she had no idea what she was talking about. I think people who say this don’t know a lot about infertility. In my case my husband’s low sperm count, not stress, was causing our infertility issues.

“My sister/cousin/friend did XYZ and they got pregnant.”
I don’t care if your sister started meditating or doing yoga and got pregnant or if your friend started eating some special foods or supplements and got pregnant. Those women and their partners did not have fertility issues that required medical intervention. I understand that the person suggesting these activities/products is just trying to help, but it will not help someone who is actually suffering from infertility.

“Do you really need to be doing that?”
This was something that didn’t really bother me at the time, but looking back I find it very annoying that someone would question the medical decisions my husband, my Doctor and I made together. No one would ever choose to have fertility problems and it’s not like I woke up one day and said, “I’m going to do a round of IVF.”  There were tons of doctors appointments, lab tests, blood draws and stressful decisions to get to that point. So yes. I really need to be doing…IUI/IVF/ICSI/PGS testing etc!

Thankfully my infertility struggles have a happy ending. I have a very active 18 month old son, Renner, and another on the way both conceived through IVF. My family would not have been possible without the help of our amazing team of doctors and nurses as well as the support of our family and friends.

If you know someone struggling with infertility be honest and tell them you don’t know what they are going through physically or emotionally but that you are there if they need you. Ask questions and educate yourself. Personally I am always more than happy to answer questions people have about our journey to start our family. It makes me feel so honored when family, friends and even complete strangers open up to me about their fertility issues. Sadly it is so much more common than most people realize and if we’re keeping it real, the best way to get through infertility is if we do it together.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Timing. Is. Everything.

June 20, 2017

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always pictured myself having a big family. Not just 3 or 4 children, I seriously want 10 kids! Even though my two “almost twins” can be a lot to handle and completely test my sanity at times (coffee helps!), I actually still want to have more babies! Ok, ok…so 10 kids is probably a bit outrageous and mainly because logistics…like who’s gonna do all that laundry and would I ever even wash my hair? Gabe and I know that while our family is perfect as it is, it doesn’t feel quite complete yet. So it’s time to start thinking about the next babe and how exactly are we gonna “get it.” The options are naturally (we’ve already agreed no more IVF), another adoption (including foster/adoption) or maybe even both!

First we’re going to try and see if we can’t prove those Doctor’s wrong (again) and get pregnant on our own! That’s why I am so excited about my Ava bracelet. It takes all the guess work out of fertility tracking and will get us on the right course to conception! All I have to do is wear this bracelet at night while I sleep and then sync it to my phone in the morning. No charting temperatures or using those ovulation predictor kits…which by the way I did religiously for about 4 years when we were trying to conceive! Ava makes fertility tracking easy and effortless by charting 9 different body signals and detecting my 5 most fertile days of the month.  I’ve learned that timing is everything and I seriously love my Ava bracelet. Gabe and I are excited and hopeful that we will be able to conceive naturally if that’s God’s plan for us!

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m nervous about this next step. For starters, I’m not even sure that I will be able to get pregnant again and it brings back all those awful infertility feelings. For 4 years we tried everything to start our family and all the loss and disappointment we endured comes flooding back to me. Even though we are technically considered fertile now the scars of infertility are something I will always carry with me.

I also struggle with feelings of guilt about even wanting more kids. I mean, look at me now…I have two beautiful, healthy children! I’m a mom! I have everything I’ve always wanted. And now I want more??? How greedy am I? My heart breaks for the couples who are still waiting on their babes and it just feels wrong to want more kids until they get theirs. Like somehow I’m taking up more than my fair share of the universe’s baby dust.

Although the anxiety and fears I have about starting this process again weigh on my mind, there’s absolutely nothing that’ll stop me from adding to this family. And if I’ve learned anything from the journey to my babies it’s that if you REALLY want to be parent you absolutely will. Do not give up, keep pushing forward, be open to all options and stay the course. I’m guess I better take my own advice …so herrrrrreeeee we go!

Want to try Ava? Use the discount code ALEXIS for $20 off. Click here!

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Your Day Will Come

May 15, 2017

“I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.” 

Seems like it was just yesterday that I would have done ANYTHING to hold my babies on Mother’s Day. I will never forget how painful it felt to have empty arms when I just knew I was meant to be a Mama. But ya know what? As crazy as it seems, now I am thankful for those days because they shaped me into the Mom (and person) I was always intended to be.

Even when I’ve got two babies who are sick and fussy, I am grateful. When I wake up every hour through the night, I am grateful. When there’s a double meltdown at the grocery store, I am grateful. When my arms are tired and my back is sore from holding a baby all day, I am grateful. When I can’t remember the last time I showered or brushed my teeth, I am grateful. (Yeah…I know, I really gotta do something to keep my hygiene in check!) I will always be grateful because I know that not having a baby is so much more difficult that having one. I know that infertility is so much more exhausting than a baby. And I know that being a mom is one of life’s greatest privileges that some woman are still waiting on.

People always ask me if it’s hard to raise to two babies so close in age and I always say, “Yes, but it’s not nearly as difficult as struggling with infertility.” So thanks infertility for giving me that perspective and the teaching me the power of perseverance.

If  you are in the middle of a struggle, continue to have faith and don’t give up. Your day will come, I promise, and when it does it’ll be even more extraordinary than you can imagine. For reasons I’ll never quite know, I just had to walk that difficult road to find my babies. And for reasons I’ll never question, I’d do it all again. In a heartbeat. And someday you’ll say the exact same thing.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

A Mother’s Day Without Mom

May 12, 2017

By Andrea Robinson, Guest Blogger

It’s another one of those days. A marker. A reminder. A day I feel the emptiness a little more. You see, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, they are all bright flashlights into my heart. They shine on the void I still feel without my Mom. She’s been in Heaven a little over 9 years. You know that saying “time heals all wounds?” Well, I’m not so sure that’s true. Yes, time marches on, people go about living, people forget the dates, but not me.

I think, those of us that have lost someone so dear as our mom, we never get over it. Whether you were 10 years old or 70 years old when she left you, it still brings heavy sadness. The grief bursts still come…like huge tsunami waves. They hit so randomly. No fair warning, ever. Like when our songs come on the radio that we used to obnoxiously sing( think Tom Jones and Diana Ross, those were our jams)! When I wander through Target and see a darling young mom, her kids and her own mother browsing the aisles. When I see pictures on Facebook of mother/daughter trips to fun places, exploring together. When I hear my friends complain about their “annoying, intruding mom.” When I’m riding the struggle bus of adulthood and can’t figure out how to get off. When I’m constantly second guessing my motherhood skills, my wife skills, my friend skills or my job. When I’m unsure of myself, my worth or my talents.

I can’t even tell you what I would give to be able to pick up the phone and hear her say “I love you Annabelle (that was what she called me). What I would give to have one of her famous pep talks. She left me way too soon. I got married without her here, I gave birth to two amazing kids without her here, I have celebrated without her, I have endured heartache without her. I have lived a good portion of my adult life without her. I feel like I need her most now. I find myself rummaging through old boxes and pictures looking for her. To feel her and find her presence in any thing. I stare at my kids searching for her. I thank God everyday for my babies, It’s the one place in which I have found her. Her eyes, her smile and her personality. So much of that has been given to them. They are 4 and 6 years old and are curious and have never ending questions. “Where’s your mom?” “Why did she have to go live in Heaven?” “What did she look like?” “Why was she sick?” I don’t have the best answers for them because I don’t really know why but it opens the door for us to talk about Grandma Connie all the time. It gives me the path to share her because I’ll be damned if they don’t know the amazing, fabulous G-ma that they would have run wild with, eaten junk food with and belly laughed with.

I will continue to trust that all of this is part of the plan. A plan that is greater than mine. He knows best and always will. I know for a concrete fact that God gave me 25 loving years with her and I’m forever grateful for that. The memories she left me with are deeply imprinted into my heart and brain. She was everyone’s friend, the woman that wore a cape under her dress (true super gal) she was the constant encourager, the supporter, the glue that holds it all together woman. Basically, she was everything to me and my brother. So, on days when we celebrate our Moms, I don’t get to shower mine with brunch or gifts. If she were here, I would be making her crispy bacon, hash browns and toast with butter. No eggs, she hated eggs. Coffee too, with cream. She loved her coffee. Oh and black licorice, she so loved that. Yuck, right? But she loved it, so you bet she would be getting it. So instead of all of that, I’ll share her spirit today, tomorrow and all of the days in between. I’ll relish in our time we had. I’ll hug my kids so tightly just for her. I’ll thank God for the women He has put in my life that have lifted me up since the day she left. Today, I’ll smile as I know she is shining down, so brightly. Today, I’ll work to make her proud and If I close my eyes long enough I’ll see her beautiful, perfect smile and I’ll hear her whisper “I love you.” I encourage you to dig deep inside and pull out those sweet memories and share yours with those that matter most. Our memories are the best gifts our Mamas could have ever given us. My deepest love to all of you that are missing yours today.

  

In Memory of Connie Cordrey
June 30, 1958-December 29, 2007

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Empty Arms on Mother’s Day

May 8, 2017

By Megan Boss, Guest Blogger

For those of us living with infertility, holidays are hard. But Mother’s Day is definitely the most difficult. Honestly I wish I could just wipe the day right off the calendar. I’ve spent what seems like a million years dreaming of being a mom, but instead that dream fades away each and every year. No tiny handprint gifts, no homemade cards, no breakfast in bed for me once again this Mother’s Day.

My husband and I have spent all of our married life trying to make our dream of becoming parents a reality.  It’s something we’ve both wanted since childhood. It was actually one of the things that attracted us to each other, both wanting a big family, a house full of kids. After about 8 months of just “relaxing and seeing what happens” we made an appointment with the OBGYN. She told us to give it 2 more months then she would recommend us to a specialist because of my age. (Insert eye roll here.) So there we were, 10 months and still no sign of Baby Boss. It’s official, we’ve been formally put into the INFERTILITY department.

10 months may not seem that long, but we just knew something was not right. We had an appointment with a specialist. We sat awkwardly in the waiting room trying not to stare at other couples. We tried the horrible clomid pill for a couple of months- nothing but hot flashes, night sweats and tantrums. We did an IUI (Intrauterine insemination)- nothing and plus that was really awkward. After some additional testing we learned that my ovarian reserve is very low. This told us that we should move on to IVF sooner rather than later.

IVF Round 1 we thought was a for sure thing. We were told there is about 50-60% chance of pregnancy with IVF ( I know…why is not 100%?) How do you spend $20,000 and not come home with a baby? We had appointments every other day. The waiting room became more comfortable. We were the “experienced couple” in the waiting room now and had a little fun picking out all the newbies just starting out or watching someone’s husband awkwardly turn in his sperm sample (Dude-we know what’s in the brown bag you are trying to hide in your jacket!). We really got to know all the staff at the infertility clinic…it was starting to be like a second home which…well it’s kinda depressing 🙂

We retrieved 17 eggs, 14 of those eggs were mature and 9 of those eggs fertilized. 3 of those eggs made it to day 5 to freeze. We transferred 1 egg in May (Mother’s day actually- we thought that was a sign) that egg did not implant. We still remember that phone call. We were shocked, so confused and so very sad.


In July we transferred our second egg and…PREGNANT, just in time for my birthday even though that sadly ended in a miscarriage after 8 wonderful weeks of being “parents”. We went through another emotional roller coaster of feeling shocked and so let down. We transferred our 3rd and final embryo in October. The 3rd time was not the charm for us. No implantation took place.

So just like that, we were out of embryos, and we lost a little bit of hope and faith. Parenthood seemed so far away. Going through infertility is a huge rollercoaster ride. You grieve the loss of what could have been, yet you have so much hope, then that hope is taken away from you and ends up returning a little later. The thing is though…you can’t just give up. How do you let go of the thought of not having a baby when that is the one thing you want more than anything in the world?
As another Mother’s Day approaches, the pain is very much real. Infertility is a loss. It’s the loss of a dream, it’s the loss of a family you thought you would have. Yes the handprint gifts, the # 1 Mom mug and the breakfast in bed would be fun but obviously I crave so much more than that. I crave having a little one who depends on me and who needs me, a daughter or son who thinks the world of me. I want the privilege of raising a little human, I want to teach him or her right from wrong, manners, morals, reading and writing. My heart wants all of that.


Although Mother’s Day is another reminder that I am not a mom, I can’t hide under the covers all day. I have to celebrate the ones I love who are moms. I have to keep the hope that one day my babies will come. Instead of crawling in a hole and crying all day, here are 5 ways to Survive Mother’s Day:

1. Celebrate the Moms in your life. Celebrate your Mom,Grandma or bestie who has little ones. Personally, I am so thankful for my mom. She has been with me every step of the way. If this seems to difficult, just send a card or a nice message and let them know you’re thinking of them.
2. Perhaps avoid massages, manicures or spa treatments around Mother’s Day.  This last weekend I got a facial. When it was done, the lady said, “ Happy Mother’s Day. You’re  a mom right?” I could have made that real awkward but I kindly just said thank you. I am a mom to a cat and an angel baby so I will take it, but it’s the assumption that is hard. If you go get any treatments done that weekend, be prepared for a lot of unintentionally hurtful comments.
3. Take a Social Media break. No doubt there will be tons of posts on Facebook, Instagram etc etc of Mother’s Day celebrations. My advice…you just have to stay offline for the day so those posts don’t trigger painful and raw emotions.
4. Keep busy. Do something that makes you happy. Gardening, puzzles, reading, hiking, take a day trip ect. Keep busy so your mind doesn’t overload with negative thoughts.
5. Netflix and Chill. It’s okay to stay home and cuddle up all day. Binge watch your favorite show, shut the windows, turn off the lights, eat junk food and do what you need to do. As my TTC friend always says “there is no rule book for grief.”

Going through infertility on Mother’s Day plain sucks and it’s going to hurt like hell. It’s going to hurt like Christmas hurt, like Easter hurts and so many other days, but I am not alone. I will survive like I always do because I am a warrior and I have hope that one day I will be celebrated on Mother’s Day!

Blogs, What We Love

We LOVE Heartbeat

November 28, 2016

Hey Mamas! I hope you all had a very special Thanksgiving weekend with family and loved ones! I want to let you all know about a new company called Heartbeat that rewards ALL moms for posting on Instagram no matter how many followers you have. Right now they are running an Amazon sweepstakes with $1,000 in gift cards just for posting a pic like this and using a few hashtags. I mean who couldn’t use the extra cash this time of year? Share this with fellow moms looking to make extra money and click HERE to learn more and sign up for Amazon sweepstakes today! Happy Holidays friends!

 

 

 

 

 

Blogs, What We Love

We LOVE Ruffle Butts

September 27, 2016

Just like every one else in California, we’re over here waiting for Fall to arrive! At the moment we’re hiding indoors with the AC cranked on high, but it won’t be long now…evening walks in the crisp Autumn air, way too many Salted Caramel Mochas and dinny warming in the crockpot!

IMG_4984

And of course best of all-Fall clothing!!! Grant and Gigi are all suited up for the season in their darling Ruffle Butts and and Rugged Butts outfits. I mean…can you even handle the adorableness?! Grant lookin’ all cozy in his plaid button up and the big bow on her booty!!? I can’t! I’m pretty sure there’s nothing cuter than little ones sporting plaid…and so on-trend too! Shop this look and other darling Fall styles HERE! So until the weather can actually cooperate with what the calendar reads, the babes will just be getting a head start on the season and looking as darling as can be. 

 

Links to Grant and Gigi’s clothes:

Buffalo Plaid RuffleButt

Buffalo Plaid Headband

Boys Buffalo Plaid One Piece

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Back on The Doctors

September 9, 2016

imageToday we were back on The Doctors sharing the happy update to our infertility story. The Doctors started following us on our journey to start a family about 3 years ago. In front of a national audience we shared our fears and insecurities, 3 unsuccessful rounds of IVF, a failed adoption, and our struggle to make sense of a life without kids…really it was quite depressing. Every time we went on the show for an update I cried explaining our progress (or lack there of) because I was just so darn heartbroken. Well today I also cried, but they were happy tears as I finally introduced our son and daughter. It was such a relief to have positive news to share for once! At times I questioned our decision to share our journey in such a public way (I mean, hello TMI!?) but now I’m so glad we did. Perhaps we’re able to give hope to other couples battling infertility and if so then we clearly made the right choice. Infertility is such a silent struggle, but it doesn’t have to be. Btw, the kids were absolute dolls while we filmed. Phew! Afterwards was a different story as you can see, but hey…they’re babies, that’s what they do! Our segment is slated to air September 19th! You have to watch and see how Dr. Travis Stork and Mabel’s Labels surprised us- it’s pretty special!

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Jeremiah 29:11

August 30, 2016

It is truly amazing what a difference a year makes. Last year at this time we were adjusting to our new lives in NorCal, we just bought and remodeled our home and we were still childless. We’d stopped doing any infertility treatments because nothing was working (and besides who can afford to do infinite rounds of IVF?) We had recently started the adoption certification process (again) with a new agency, but were still months away from our final approval. I felt like the family I’d always dreamed of having was still so far out of reach. And then BAM!! Everything changed. I miraculously got pregnant, we adopted Grant and just like that this is MY family! You guys- I have a family!!?? WOW! I would have given anything to take a quick peek at this photo a year or two ago, just to know for sure that everything would eventually turn out ok. In my heart of hearts I knew that it would, I was just soooo tired of waiting. I guess that’s what faith is truly all about…knowing and trusting without seeing. image

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Our Rainbow Baby

August 23, 2016

“He makes all things beautiful in His time.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

We are so thrilled to introduce our little miracle baby Gianna Marie. Born 8/22/16 at 7lbs 7ozs, 21 inches. Our hearts have never been fuller. Thank you God.   image

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