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29 Apr

our fertility journey

READ BEFORE SCROLLING: i just want you all to know that i’m aware so many women face a lot harder and longer journeys trying to conceive than i did. my heart goes out to them and i want to be sensitive to them. while i didn’t suffer from any actual infertility issues, i did experience health issues that made it tough to get pregnant and take longer than we ever expected. i think every woman’s fertility story is just as important as the next. just because someone else’s trials are different or more difficult, does not discount your own trials. we’re all facing personal battles and i think we’d have a lot more kindness on the internet by remembering that. a lot of people have asked me to share our fertility journey, and i hope in doing so it helps someone else. sending so much love to you all who have babies, who are pregnant, and who want nothing more than to be a mom and are having a hard time doing so. you have my complete support and sympathy. this is just my journey, my story, nothing more, nothing less.

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as soon as i threw away my birth control, Robbie and i were pretty open about sharing that we were trying to conceive. i never wrote an actual blog post on it, but we didn’t hesitate to mention it here and there on Stories and tell people we were trying when they asked if we wanted kids. it was always the most asked question by followers in comments, DMs, whenever we’d do Q&A’s, etc. while i know those questions came from a place of curiosity or love, the more it was asked over and over again {and i was receiving negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test}, the more it stung.

in January of this year, i read a blog post by Christine at Hello Fashion about her fertility struggles, and it helped me not feel so alone in my own journey. it took us just under a year to get pregnant, so i thought i’d share our fertility journey with you, in hopes that it helps someone else.

we always wanted a family and it was something that has always been very important to both of us. robbie and i are celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary next month in May, and we’d been trying to get pregnant since last March.

for context, it’s pretty common in our religious culture to get married young and then get pregnant pretty soon after, a lot of times within a year or less. robbie was 23 and i was 22 when we got married, so we always said we’d discuss starting a family after a few years of marriage. we were so young and had so many goals/dreams to accomplish first! we celebrated our second wedding anniversary about a month after moving to San Francisco… in other words we’d just made a huge life/career change and definitely wanted more time to adventure with just us two {okay, to be completely honest, i had been telling him i wanted a baby after about six months after getting married haha!}.

i’ve always, always wanted to be a mom. i started taking prenatal vitamins last January because we had decided to start trying in early spring that year. i went off my birth control pill {which i had been taking for over four years} and we started trying to conceive! as soon as i went off birth control, i started tracking my cycle with the app Ovia. i knew it’d take a month or two for my hormones to adjust, but boy did that end up being a much longer process than i thought. my cycles weren’t normal {either super short periods, would skip an entire month entirely, or 30+ days cycles, etc.} and this was the start of the hormonal acne i’ve been dealing with ever since.

this is where celery juice comes in… bet you didn’t realize that was part of my fertility journey! we started juicing in October, and at that point i had been having allergic reactions all year long and couldn’t pin point what they were from. they started the previous spring, which means i had been dealing with them for two years total. it was such a frustrating process because every time i had an allergic reaction, the only way to find true relief and make it go away was by taking a prescription of Prednisone {usually about five days worth}. Prednisone is a steroid, and even though i was taking small doses, it’s not something you can take while trying to conceive. i had been taking it off and on since the previous spring, but in 2018 my allergic reactions were happening more often {i talked more about those in this blog post}. it was so frustrating that the only thing that brought me relief also made it so i had to wait an entire menstrual cycle for it to be safe to start trying to get pregnant again. by the end of summer 2018, i would try to just suffer through my allergic reactions without any medication so i wouldn’t have to stop trying to get pregnant… and that was miserable.

by this point, i’ve shared how we finally went to a allergist and had tons of tests done to pinpoint exactly what was going on with my body. shortly after, my amazing sister-in-law Shannon Tripp suggested i start celery juicing every morning. she told me that celery juice removes toxins from the body with its natural salts. there’s lots of health benefits {read my miracle juice story in this post}, and since October 2018 after celery juicing every day, i haven’t had a single major allergic reaction. now, i’ve obviously avoided the things i know i’m allergic to, but i feel so much better celery juicing and it’s a huge part of my every day health routine now.

around the same time, i went to lunch with my girlfriend Kathleen. she had just moved to SF from Orange County, and it was so fun to have her in town. during our lunch, the topic of kids came up. i told her what was going on and she recommended i start tracking my cycle even closer, but with an actual ovulation kit. so i started peeing in a cup every single morning and dipping a stick to check my hormone levels. along with celery juice helping my health issues, this was a game changer, people!

while Ovia can be a great tool, it’s just an app designed to track a typical cycle. guess what?! my cycle was anything but regular. the days Ovia said i was ovulating {and most fertile} were WAY off compared to the ovulation kit i was using. i couldn’t recommend enough actually tracking your ovulation while trying to conceive. that sounds simple and something i should have known, but i thought using an app was good enough. i feel like this is a huge part of trying to conceive that isn’t talked about enough. for 95% of my adult life, i was told you just have sex every other day if you want to get pregnant. but figuring out your actual peak ovulation and timing it is SO important. whether you decide to track your cycle with an ovulation kit, basal body temperature, cervical mucus, etc., there’s multiple ways to do it! don’t just use an app though, as they are based on a “normal” cycle, which most women don’t have. think of them more as a convenient tool so you don’t have to use pen and paper to track.

i’ve had a handful of people ask me about how long you should do all of this tracking to conceive, and most doctors advise closely trying/tracking for a year before seeing a fertility specialist. but definitely talk to your own physician about that!

i want to share my own personal emotions during this time period. seeing negative tests repeatedly was super frustrating and sad. it was an emotional rollercoaster because i didn’t understand what was happening with my body. i’d miss a period, take a pregnancy test, and it’d come back negative. this happened time and time again. i knew it would take a little bit of time to get pregnant of course, but as a healthy 27 year old with no fertility issues running in my family, i guess i wasn’t prepared. i had real life stories in my head of friends who literally got pregnant their first time after throwing out the birth control.

as the negative tests started to stack up, i knew stress was likely playing a huge part of this as well. last year was easily the most stressful year of my life/career. i wasn’t happy living in San Francisco anymore, we were traveling and working at an insane pace, and for the better part of the year i was having health issues that we couldn’t figure out and taking meds that restricted us from regularly trying to conceive.

as soon as we moved to Arizona at the beginning of 2019, i instantly felt better. less stressed, more work-life balance, and overall much more happy with our quality of life. i had gotten my period a few days before Christmas and then we left on a relaxing family vacation, where we completely unplugged and enjoyed being present.

in early January, i started chatting with good friends of mine who have been through IFV before, and they all said the next steps would be to get me and Robbie tested, then possibly IUI, and then IVF if necessary. at that point, we had accepted that we might need a little extra help, and were much less stressed about our lives in general, so i decided to go ahead and make an appointment with an OBGYN who specializes in infertility here in Arizona to get tests started. i made that appointment for the end of January. however, we had a last minute work trip pop up and i canceled with the intent of rescheduling when we got back.

well, that leads us to the present! it turns out that if i had gone to that first appointment, expecting to talk to the doctor about infertility, she would have told me i was pregnant then and there!! i ended up finding out on my own with an at-home pregnancy test a few weeks later.

Robbie and i have said over and over and over again how blessed we feel for the timing of our pregnancy. yes, it was so frustrating trying and trying and not getting a positive test. but looking back, i was so stressed and miserable last year that it would have been so difficult to be pregnant while living in a one bedroom in San Francisco, not to mention raise a baby in our hectic and often inconvenient city life. we feel so blessed to be happy and healthy here in Arizona. even more so, we will be moved and settled into our new home before Baby Tripp arrives. God’s timing is always so perfect! we couldn’t be more grateful.

i want to say it again: i personally know so many women who struggle for much longer and harder than i did. i just wanted to share my own fertility journey because it really is different for each and every person, and i’ve received so many messages with interest on my own journey. everyone’s is so different! as i mentioned, i have a close friend who got pregnant the first time they didn’t use any contraceptive. i also have a friend who had been trying for years and had to go the IVF route. everyone’s journey is special and unique, and as long as we’re all respectful, there’s no need to compare trials or shame others for theirs {or perceived lack thereof.} everyone has their own struggles, and you never know the battles people are fighting silently.

if you’re struggling with getting pregnant, i’m thinking about you! if you have a healthy baby, i’m thinking about you {because motherhood isn’t easy!}! if you have a baby with health issues, i’m thinking about you! motherhood looks a little different for everyone, and i don’t think it’s ever easy, even if you did or didn’t struggle with fertility. i feel so blessed to be welcoming this miracle into our lives and we can’t wait to shower little Baby Tripp with love.

xx