My Fertility Journey

First of all, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of you for the incredible response to Monday’s post. I can’t get over how much love and support you guys sent to my little growing family. It meant the world to us, you have no idea.

I know a lot of you are excited to learn more about our process and what ended up working at the end of the 18 months it took us to get pregnant, so I’m going to share as much of my story as possible with you today. For those of you who aren’t in a place where you want to have a baby, I want to assure you that these posts will slow down soon. I remember when I was in my early 20’s and some of my favorite bloggers started getting pregnant and having babies, I would skip that content. I hope you’ll bear with me in the meantime!

I’ll start at the beginning…

Two summers ago, we made the decision to start “trying”. In June, the first month we tried, nothing happened. I remember feeling so disappointed… Little did I know what was to come! Two months later, in August, we got our first positive pregnancy test. If you want to read about the beginning of that pregnancy and the subsequent loss, read this post that I wrote last summer and then come back to finish this one. I can’t emotionally go through writing it out again.

After two miscarriages, I was left feeling empty, lonely, depressed, and hopeless. I didn’t know what to do next, so I saw a fertility doctor (Reproductive Endocrinologist). My experience there could not have gone worse. You can read about that in detail here, but the gist of it was that she only offered me one option: Chlomid and IUI, a combination that I didn’t personally feel comfortable with given my situation: Unexplained Infertility. That’s what the doctors call it when you can’t seem to conceive, but all of the tests show that you’re just fine.

In that same post, I wrote that Anel and I were going to take a few months to take a step back and relax about the whole process. Sure enough, we conceived naturally… the very next month! Throughout my year and a half process, people kept telling me to take a break and not think about it so much. I wanted to smack everyone who said that. When you’re in the thick of it, you feel this intense desperation to get pregnant that is impossible to shake. The only way to stop trying is if you’re ready for it, and I don’t think there’s a magic wand you can wave to get yourself there.

For me, the wand was meeting with a doctor who made me feel stupid and gave me only one option that didn’t work for me. I knew that process wasn’t something I wanted to go through, but I wasn’t sure what to do next, so taking a break finally felt right. And I mean a serious break! No ovulation tracking, to temperature taking, no worrying. It was glorious. That month I felt so amazing. I was eating well, working out a lot, enjoying my relationship and life for the first time in over a year. I know that my change of pace had a big effect on me getting pregnant, but I also did a lot of other things in the year before that month to prepare my body and mind for pregnancy. I’ll go over those and then tell you the story of how we found out I was pregnant. Make sure to at least scroll down and read that because it’s a good one!

Lifestyle and Diet:

The first person I got in touch with after my miscarriage was Aimee Raupp. We had a Skype call a month after my second miscarriage that changed my life. She helped me realize that I was super unhappy with my house situation, work situation, and a lot of other situations! One by one we worked on fixing these problems so that I was in a better mindset. The biggest takeaway on that first call was that I could no longer work 70-80 hours/week and have lasting pregnancies. It just didn’t work for my body.

She basically told me I’d have to either quit blogging or quit my day job. After a month of discussions, Anel and I figured out a way to make it work financially with me quitting my day job. It was hard at first, but we’ve made it work and I’m so much happier and calmer!

Once my work life felt in order, we worked on my anxiety. She had my reconnect with my hypnotherapist, start meditating daily, and create a real yoga practice. These three things made a world of difference, and greatly improved my anxiety and sleep which was huge.

The last thing we worked on was my diet. After we had been trying for about 14 months, she suggested I go fully gluten-free, something that she has seen work for people with unexplained infertility time and time again. Three months later I was pregnant, and I know this also played a roll in it. I felt incredible when I cut out gluten 100%. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so good in my entire life. I also gave up wine which was a big one for me because it makes me really tired and stuffy. I did that in the last two months before I got pregnant which added to feeling so amazing. You can read about these decisions more in this post. Fun fact: I found out I was pregnant the day after this post went live!

Once I got pregnant, Aimee was incredible, answering emails from me multiple times a day. She knows everything about everything when it comes to fertility and pregnancy, and I truly don’t think I’d be here today without her. She’s hosting an e-course this spring about how to get pregnant naturally, and I’m helping her promote it with a Webinar where I’ll be sharing my story, so as soon as that info is live, I’ll share it with you guys!

Acupuncture:

While all of that fun stuff was going on, I was simultaneously getting acupuncture every two weeks for that last six months of the process. Although it was a pain, I went to the city for every session because I trust Ailin more than anyone in the world. Whenever I have any problem, I email her before seeing a doctor (unless it’s serious of course), and she solves it every single time.

When I started seeing Ailin in May of last year, she told me that my body was still out of whack from the miscarriages and it wouldn’t be ready for a healthy pregnancy until August. August came and she told me I still wasn’t ready. While I believed her, we still tried every month. Turns out she was right! We worked on everything from my digestion to my anxiety in our sessions.

After a few months, my cycles were more regular, I didn’t have menstrual cramps for the first time in my life, and other PMS symptoms were seriously muted. It was cool to see such an intense physical change in only a matter of months.

Supplements:

Dave, one of my husband’s clients owns a few holistic pharmacies around the city. He knows everything about supplements. Whenever either of us gets sick or has any sort of weird ailment, we text him and he recommends a supplement that usually works shockingly well. Between him and Aimee, we put together a “fertility cocktail” of supplements that I took religiously for the months leading up to baby.

I’ll go over this in more detail when I do a full on supplement post with Dave (soon!), but here is the overview of what I took daily before getting pregnant:
– Dr. Rons grass fed beef liver pills (2x/day)
– Blue Ice fermented cod liver oil (2x/day)
– Klaire Labs probiotics (1x/day)
– Prethera prenatal formula (3x/day)
– Pure Vitamin D drops (10K IU’s/day)

I know you guys wanted to see that list ASAP, but I’ll go into more detail (with Dave’s help) about each of these and why they work in my upcoming supplement post.

How Learned I was Pregnant

After making all of these life changes, you can only imagine how frustrated I was feeling when I still couldn’t get pregnant. Mind you, I also had every test under the sun, and the doctors could find nothing wrong with me.

After trying for so hard for so long, it felt nice to take a break and enjoy my life again. I honestly did not expect to get pregnant that month, let alone within six months.

On November 9th, I woke up at 5am to check the election results. When I saw that Trump had won, I was devastated, and got back into bed, crying until around 7am. At that time, I thought ok why am I still crying? This is a little over the top! Then I remembered that my period was coming soon so I checked my Kindara calendar for the first time all month to see if it was just PMS. To my surprise, my period was due the day before.

I got up a took a pregnancy test. While I was waiting those awful two minutes for it to give me results, all I could think was, “Why am I doing this to myself again? It’s never positive… and we weren’t even trying!” You can imagine my shock when two pink lines showed up on the test. I couldn’t believe it. I called Anel, hysterically crying. He couldn’t believe it either. After everything we had been through, we were in shock.

I checked the test every hour that day and week to make sure I wasn’t making it up.

I’m going to share the rest of this story and what happened throughout my first trimester next week, so stay tuned. It was rough, but I made it through!

Photo by Taylor Kinzie.

  • Carrie Barnett Miller

    I never get tired of reading these kind of personal stories. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage and I now have 4 beautiful kids (including identical twins – no fertility.) I will so enjoy following you on your journey and am super happy for you!

  • Lisa Mari

    So happy for your little family! I love that you found out about your pregnancy on November 9th – what wonderful news on a day full of nonsense! I’m in my early 20s and far away from having a baby but I will happily follow your journey and not skip the posts 😉 Love from Germany!

  • Pam

    Congratulations, Julia! As someone who has struggled with unexplained infertility and has had similar experiences to yours, I am so happy to hear your news and follow your journey. As a momma of a healthy 3 year old and 7 month old, I can tell you that though the journey may be difficult, the end result will be more amazing than you can imagine!

    • So happy to hear that your story had a happy ending too!! Than you so much for your sweet words 🙂

  • Seriously so happy for you and Anel! So exciting.

    Ellen | A Pop of Pink

  • Caitlin Cress

    Smiling like a goon at my desk! So happy for you two. One of my friends had her baby on Nov. 9 🙂 Feels very affirming to know that so much good happened that day.

  • Dana Mannarino

    Even though I’m not in a place to have kids yet, I still love reading about your journey. I’m so happy for you and love how open you are – you’re probably helping so many women that are going through similar situations!

    Pink Champagne Problems

  • What a beautiful ending to your story! The last paragraph had me in tears. Congratulations again!

  • Janice Darlyne

    So happy for you and am loving all the sharing! I’m not sure if you mentioned this, I know you said “they” claim you had “unexplained infertility”-did that same term apply to Anel? I wasn’t sure if that was implied or if they only checked out you. Did everything come up “normal” with him, too? This stuff can be so mysterious! We’ve had friends who tried for years, went through rounds of IVF, finally got pregnant that way and that got pregnant with their second child VERY QUICKLY and naturally. It’s nuts how everyone’s journey is so different and unpredictable. I am thinking of your pregnancy everyday! We hope to give our son a sibling soon. 🙂

    • Hi Janice! Yes so Anel and I both were testing for pretty much everything under the sun and my regular OB/GYN and the Reproductive Endocrinologist noted that neither of us had a medical problem that they could detect.

  • Kendall Harris

    Thank you so much for sharing. It’s always helpful for those struggling to read through others’ fertility tips. I’m just starting to try again after 3 miscarriages and a couple of surgeries that will hopefully correct my issue. It’s such a scary place to be! I’ll be interested to read how you got through the first trimester after experiencing the losses.

    Thanks and Congrats on your happy ending 🙂

    • Kendall, I’m so sorry for your losses. I’m sending you much love and light in your journey!

  • Lizzy Z.

    I am so happy for you and Anel! When I read your announcement blog the other day, I let out a little excited yelp for you! This post gave me happy tears, only because I know how much you’ve wanted this and what a great mama you will be (very telling with your warmness and the great advice you give during your Q+A’s). Keep the pregnancy posts coming. As someone who’s not ready yet but knows that they (I) want a big family someday, it’s nice to read the fertility tips, advice, etc! Enjoy this special time Julia!

    • Aww thank you so much. That is so nice of you!!

  • Laura and Sarah

    Congratulations! Thank you very much for sharing your fertility story. I know it is personal, but it is so helpful to hear. We’ve been trying for about 6 months, which I know isn’t that long, but I just started seeing an acupuncturist and I’m trying to be better with my diet. Your suggestions are wonderful. I think it is great that you recognized the fertility doctor’s treatment wasn’t the right option with you and decided to relax and enjoy life for a little while. Thanks again for sharing! I’m so happy for you! Cheers, Laura

    • Good luck with your diet and acupuncture. At the very least, you’ll feel so much better. And hopefully it will help with fertility as well! Just be patient as neither of those things are quick fixes 🙂

  • Kristin Haus

    Love Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil! It’s the best!

  • Aw, I’m just SO happy for you! What an incredible story. Congratulations – can’t wait to keep following along throughout your pregnancy journey!
    Isn’t That Charming.

  • Katie

    I’m so over the moon excited for you and Anel! My heart broke for both of you when I read your post months ago about infertility.

    I had been using acupuncture for fibromyalgia and another autoimmune condition. Once those resolved, my acupuncturist started working on my fertility and we got pregnant soon after. We now have a four month old and couldn’t be happier!

    Enjoy this special time and I can’t wait to read more of your pregnancy updates!

  • Morgan Roberts

    I just read the comments and one reader said I think of your story every single day. That is so true for me too! Thank you for sharing your life with us!!! We feel like a part of your journey and your life! Thank you sweet friend! P.S. Even my husband is excited for you! He said WOW! tell Lemon Stripes congratulations on one of her snap chat Q&A’s lol

  • Carly

    I’m in my mid-twenties and not ready for babies yet, but I still LOVE this kind of content! I’m so happy for you and it gets me excited for the future when I AM ready. Keep it coming!

  • Jayme Evans

    So so SO excited for you guys! One quick question, did those supplements taste bad?

  • I can feel the excitement in your voice! How lovely to go from a bad morning, to the morning that changed your life forever! <3
    http://www.accordingtokiki.net

  • Monica Duggan Webster

    Julia, Congratulations to you and Anel! Love reading this post on your journey to pregnancy. I have 4 boys and past having babies now but I love following your journey (I will never tire of baby stories). Be true to yourself and your readers and followers will always enjoy it. Best of luck for an amazing pregnancy!

  • Lexi

    Im in my early 20s and I loveee these posts! I can’t wait to graduate college and have babies a few years after! I find fertility and pregnancy very interesting, I lov hearing about your journey! SO excited for you, xoxo

  • Nicole

    Congratulations! And thank you for sharing! I’m currently having the exact same experience, except I’m not pregnant yet. . . Soon though, I know it’s coming! I found acupuncture through friends when all hospital tests came back fine. I’m taking a Chinese herb mixture too and could not believe how quickly we’ve seen changes in my body for issues I’ve had my whole adult life but masked up with birth control. I love my acupuncturist and sing her praises to everyone!

  • Julia

    Congratulations, Julia! I’m 15 weeks pregnant myself, and when I read your post “fertility update”, I had the feeling you were going to be pregnant fast with a new relaxed attitude. It’s so tough for people to do but so important! Kudos to you for making tough but healthy life changed to make it happen 🙂