Motherhood did not come easily to me. Five years of infertility, two miscarriages, a year of IVF, a bazillion shots in my tush and side, and once I did get pregnant I was diagnosed with a life-threatening pregnancy condition that let him to nearly die at birth.
But I'd do it all over again for his giggle. It's so important for me to share so that every woman knows she's not alone on her journey. So for Mother's Day and in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, this is my fertility journey…
I knew I was meant to be a mom as a young child. I had it all planned out. I was going to have my first baby at 24 and my second at 27. At 22, I got married, and we moved into a new house at 24, but we were already fighting so much that we divorced at 26.
That divorce led me to pause and question everything: Who am I? What do I really want?
As my purpose of empowering women became clear, I was no longer sure I wanted kids. I just wanted to light women up.
Fast forward to meeting Josh and going on honeymoon to Italy. After a few glasses of wine and some really good calamari, I said “Oh let’s go for it” and we had unprotected s*x for the first time. We got pregnant.
I was so nervous, but also so excited. And then 8 weeks in, I started to bleed and had a miscarriage in the ER.
Losing that baby showed me that I really wanted to be a mom.
Because we got pregnant so easily the first time, we figured we would easily get pregnant again. But a year later, we still weren’t pregnant.
So we went to a fertility doctor who told Josh he had the sperm of a 25-year-old, and then looked at me and said “you're old.” I was 41 at the time and felt defeated.
I decided that my body could do this, so I worked with a nutritionist yogini baby coach and changed my diet, did different divine feminine practices and sure enough, we got pregnant again! I was sure this was was meant to be.
But when we went for our 8 week scan, the doctor said the baby wasn’t growing. Another miscarriage. I was 43 and didn't want to live anymore.
As I healed, I kept saying to the Universe, “Show me what else I’m here to birth,” and an image came to me of women gathering in sisterhoods all over the globe. Women’s Happiness Day was born! One year after that miscarriage, on October 18, I held the very first Women’s Global Happiness Day with 99 events in 20 countries on 6 continents.
Turning that pain into purpose helped me heal.
Feeling better, I said to Josh, “let’s try again.” We found a new fertility doctor and began the process. We decided on using a donor egg, which means that another woman (typically in her 20s) donated her eggs for a mom like me to utilize to get pregnant. I was scared, but I was like, “Yes, this is it. I feel it. I know it.”
But then my doctor called me to deliver some bad news. He had done a blood panel on me that is called a recurrent miscarriage panel for people who have had multiple miscarriages, and said, “You have an autoimmune issue that is linked to miscarriages.”
I started hyperventilating. I’ve never had an autoimmune issue, but my grandmother had three miscarriages, so it actually made a lot of sense.
Fortunately, he had a protocol for it that he calls “The Kitchen Sink” – think lots of shots upon shots, lipid infusions for 3 hours at a time into my veins, and even more shots in my belly that hurt beyond beyond.
But we remained hopeful. We bought the donor eggs and all in, spent $40,000 on the process that was supposed to yield at least 3 healthy embryos, mixing the 26 year old’s donor eggs with Josh’s sperm, but after all of this heartache, we ended up with only ONE embryo. I was devastated.
At night, I would go into the baby's room, rock myself and cry. We had ONE chance and the chances of your first embryo working are only 65%.
We were financially strapped. We had just spent all this money on IVF. We were in debt because of a real estate deal that went awry. We had just found out that our chances of having a baby were almost zero.
I mean, we were devastated.
But I never give up. I’m resilient AF and I turn everything in life around.
I knew I needed to do something extraordinary. A huge experience that would jolt me into my power.
So I went to Burning Man. A massive festival of 80,000 in the desert of Nevada with no electricity and no money. Just a lot of freedom and healing. There, I said goodbye to my two Angel babies who had miscarried. I did a lot of personal work. I did a lot of spiritual connecting with the one embryo. I used all of the tools that I teach you to use.
I came home and I said, “Okay, I'm ready. Let's do this.”
And then, are you ready for this? Then my uterine lining wouldn't grow.
Week after week, month after month, we tried more and different shots. We tried more medication. We tried all that until my doctor one day said to me, “Maybe we should start looking at a surrogate.”
I have nothing against surrogates. I have a friend who had a baby via surrogate and it's such a beautiful, beautiful experience. But I had had a vision of me being pregnant in our home.
So I went online and I researched. I found ONE woman in Australia who had used Viagra (up her vagina) to grow her uterine lining, so I decided it was worth a shot.
My doctor said it had never worked for any of his patients, but he would give me a prescription if I wanted it. Boom. Five days later, my uterine lining grew to the thicknesses it needed to be!
I wanted to give this once embryo every shot of working, so it was time to bring in the Divine Femimine.
On the morning of my embryo transfer, I held a women's circle in the doctor’s office. Several girlfriends circled around me and Josh, reading poems and invocations that they had prepared to welcome baby. They threw rose petals on us and let the baby know that we all wanted him. And we danced our butts off in the fertility clinic.
Then I was taken in for my transfer. And sure enough, baby boy stuck. And then I had never been, and I don't know if I've ever been, as happy as the day that we found out that we were pregnant, and that my levels were very good.
Another Turn of Events
Because I suffer with anxiety, my OB let me have an extensive ultrasound at week 17. And that was when I was first diagnosed with a very, very, very rare condition called Vasa Previa, which is a leading cause of stillbirth, if not diagnosed early.
At this point, I’m like – are you kidding me? All that to have a baby and now he might die? Vasa Previa means there are a couple of baby's blood vessels floating outside of the umbilical cord, which is where the baby's blood vessels normally are. And if they break or rupture, baby only has 10 minutes to live. And the danger is if they are over your cervix, you can't have contractions because they might break the blood vessels.
You can't have sex because your body might have some convulsions that could break the blood vessels. You can’t exercise. And my doctor put me on a stool softener to ensure I didn't even strain to poo.
Can you imagine after all that, then I am given what seemed like a death sentence for my baby? My precious baby who I worked so hard for.
I was angry. I was devastated. I let myself scream and cry for a few days. And then I had to prepare for the biggest speech of my life: I was keynoting at Amazon’s International Women’s Day Conference.
That was when I decided that I am not letting my baby boy go. I researched everything I could. I read medical journals studies, I joined a Facebook group of other women who have this.
My high-risk OB (an old school white man) misdiagnosed the Vasa Previa as resolving, but because of my research, I knew better. I found another high-risk OB – a fabulous woman – and we created a plan of action. For the full story, listen to podcast episode 117: My Pregnancy Journey.
My fertility journey was not an easy journey. As you can see there were many times that I wanted to give up but I knew that my beautiful, sweet boy Shay was meant to be.
Listen to Podcast Episode 121: My Birth Story…Baby Almost Didn’t Make It to hear the challenges of my birth journey in which my baby almost died. He is now a thriving almost 2-year-old.
Motherhood isn’t easy. We have a lot of temper tantrums in our house. I’m learning boundaries and how to say “No.” But it’s all worth it for his giggle. For his hug. For him saying, “Mama”.
Sister, if you are going through your own fertility struggles, I want you to know, my heart is with you. You aren’t alone. I hope this gave you some hope and encouragement about defying the odds. I'd love to hear from you about your own journey, if you'd like to share.
With so much love,