This post is dedicated to women and couples who are struggling with infertility... Please don’t lose hope. “The Greater Your Storm, The Brighter Your Rainbow.
It is with a happy heart that my husband and I are expecting a baby boy this Christmas! I am currently at 31 weeks - nine more weeks to go! I’m keeping busy by getting the nursery ready, trying to gather all of Fletcher’s old baby stuff (and washing it), and of course trying to run a small business.
Chad, Fletch, and I are over the moon, and nervous, it’s been seven years since we brought home Fletch. And let me tell you, being pregnant at 38 is a lot different than being 31. But you know what, I’m soaking it all in: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Chad and I didn’t think this was going to happen for us again, so I’m trying not to complain when my feet are so swollen I can’t get my shoes on or when I have to get up and pee three times in the night or not recognizing myself in the mirror because my 38-year-old body is tore up. So when I’m on the verge of an emotional break-down I immediately think of women who are struggling with fertility who would do anything to be in my size 10 shoes. This post is for those women - my girlfriends, family members, past clients who have reached out to me about their fertility struggles, and strangers who may come across this post and decide to share their stories. I really do believe the more we share, the less it hurts. This post was written with the utmost sensitivity towards women who are currently experiencing infertility with the hope my story inspires you to not lose hope. Please feel free to share your story, your journey, your loss…. This is a safe place - a community of women supporting other women.
Summer Vacay at Adventure Land, 21 Weeks + The Moment Fletch Finds Out He's Going To Be A Big Brother
Our Three Year Baby Journey
Our baby journey began in 2016 when Chad and I decided to start trying for baby number two. Naively I thought it would happen the first month of trying - Fletcher was conceived three months after we were married so I assumed this time was going to be just as easy… wrong.
I was not prepared for what was to come with in the next three years of trying: We experienced three miscarriages, my diagnosis of PCOS, and unsuccessful fertility treatments. Not to mention all the heartache and discouragement that came with all of it.
Our last unsuccessful fertility treatment was exactly one year ago this month. I remember nervously driving to my appointment and right in front of me were two vivid rainbows spreading across the western sky. My nerves instantly disappeared, I started to weep, and I knew it was a message from God letting me know everything was going to be okay.
After we found out that fertility treatment didn’t take and that I had residual ovarian cysts from the unfertilized eggs, we decided to take a break from the baby-making and to enjoy the upcoming holiday season. When 2019 arrived, we both decided to cease fertility treatments altogether and leave our baby fate up to God. I think deep down Chad and I knew it wasn’t going to happen, we lost hope, but we didn’t have the heart to tell each other, we were pretty broken as is. We knew we wanted another child, a sibling for Fletcher but it was out of our control which was really hard for me to accept. I wanted to know why. Why was my body failing me? Was I too old, too fat, was I being punished? I got really angry, resentful, I started drinking wine every night, I would sob myself to sleep. It was bad. Like real bad. I was in a dark place. I felt like I had no one to talk to. And the saddest part of it all - I was missing out on my messy, perfect life with my loving husband and our hilarious son. I knew then had to move on.
So I decided to get help. I saw a counselor, I upped my antidepressant dosage, quit drinking, and slowly but surely, the heavy fog of disappointment started to lift.
One night in February, I was laying in bed and I had a conversation with God. I said to Him: “I know you only give us what we can handle. I trust you.” The next month Chad and I found out we were expecting! And now we’re almost there! We take it day-by-day, we know we still have 9 more weeks and a lot can happen from now till then, but so far so good. We are staying positive and anxiously awaiting the birth of our son.
Like I said earlier in the post - it’s important that we share our stories of fertility struggles. The number of miscarriages is at an all-time high and the U.S. birth rate in 2018 fell to the lowest level in 32 years. Economical and social factors play a part in these surprising numbers but we all need to wake up and realize that environmental factors are also to blame for both miscarriages and infertility.
I encourage every woman to do the following- (Please note, I am not a certified medical professional, the information below is from my own experience and research. I also slowly integrated these practices into my daily routine over the last three years, it didn’t happen overnight).
1. Take control of her fertility health! Know your numbers and hormone levels! Modern Fertility is a great and inexpensive way to get started.
2. Get to know your cycle! Like really get to know it. If someone would’ve asked me a few years ago about my luteal phase I probably would’ve given them my zodiac sign. But seriously, there is POWER IN KNOWLEDGE! I recommend reading: “Period Repair Manual” by Lara Briden. You can also download fertility apps if you haven’t already. I use Fertility Friend. It can track your basal temperature, cervical fluid changes, ovulation calculator, all of which will be helpful to show your doctor.
3. Research environmental factors! Environmental factors play a big role in fertility, for both men and women. Avoid plastic, even if it says BPA free. Chemicals found in plastic have been linked to disturbing estrogen levels - a vital hormone needed to conceive and maintain a pregnancy.
4. When you can, try to drink filtered water, not tap water. Unfortunately, your drinking water may contain toxic chemicals linked to infertility. Forty-three states have tested positive for levels of a dangerous chemical called Polyfluoroalkyl or PFAS. PFAS are used to manufacture products including non-stick pans, water-resistant clothing, and pizza boxes! You can find out if PFAS has been detected in your drinking water here. PFAS contaminate water supplies often located near sites where PFAS are manufactured - including airports, military compounds, and industrial plants.
What can you do? Install a complete water filtering system. My parents installed a Reverse Osmosis filtering system in their home and they really like it. It’s pricey to install, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get clean water in your home. My sister purchased a Berkey Water Filter System and LOVES it! Find it here. Chad and I have a simple Brita pitcher we keep in the fridge, we like it, but I’m asking for a Berkey for Xmas!
5. Consider starting a fertility diet or research fertility-boosting foods to increase ovulation. You can find lots of recipes on Pinterest or contact a prenatal certified nutritionist in your area to help minimize the stress of starting a new diet and even where to begin.
6. Ask for help. Talk about it. Once I started sharing my struggles with fertility I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I was being contacted by friends and family who wanted to share their stories and it made me realize, sadly, that miscarriages are way more common than I thought, it’s just no one wants to talk about it. Having a miscarriage is extremely traumatic! Please find someone today to talk about it or share your story in the comments below, I promise you’ll feel better! Be an advocate for other women who are going through the same shitty situation, we need to support each other.
I hope this information is helpful in your baby journey. I am thinking of you and please do not lose hope.
We have nine more weeks to go! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We’ll keep you updated with our baby journey and God willing, introduce you to baby boy Pick in a few short months.
Lesley and Fletch at Valas Pumpkin Patch, 26 Weeks + Date Night at MOQ Trivia Night - Gothtastic, 30 Weeks
My Five Wins of The Week:
1. Made a delicious loaf of banana bread - but then discovered the dogs got to it the next morning. Ugh!
2. Found a really darling dress for my sister-in-law’s wedding this weekend. And it was under $50. #winning Now I just need to find shoes that will fit my feet.
3. Had my 31 Week Check-up and I only gained a pound from my last appointment. And the baby is doing great!
4. My Mother-In-Law helped me put wallpaper up in the nursery, I’ll show sneak peeks soon.
5. Work-related - Got a big Paper Source order out! Whew! Printing is getting more challenging with a growing belly, but I just take my time and take breaks. Lots of breaks. Lol.
Be the best version of yourself, even if it’s a hot mess sometimes. Embrace it.