In college, I started a small Etsy shop and blog from the storage closet in my sorority house. A few years later, and through a very non-linear journey, that small Etsy shop grew into an internationally recognized sweatshirt brand & that little blog led to bestselling books and a publishing career. Now, I'm obsessed about helping other women uncover what they're made to do and take steps to make it happen, too.
Every Wednesday, I send my insiders exclusive resources, ideas, and advice directly from me.
A lot of you have heard me share about my journey to motherhood and have asked about the fertility testing we’ve pursued after two miscarriages. Honestly, it’s been a painful and frustrating journey to find answers, one that sometimes has me feeling like I’ve got a one way ticket on the struggle bus.
It’s weird because I’m not doing traditional fertility testing, since we don’t have trouble actually getting pregnant. It’s just getting to the bottom of why pregnancy itself has been a royal hurdle that’s been a process.
Some days feel like I’m taking one step forward and then two steps back. I’ve had to continually advocate for my health and the health of my future family, and that takes effort.
In the process, I’m learning what it looks like to remain so fiercely committed to my family while also walking in faith because so much of this is just out of anyone’s control.
I’ve also learned that solutions don’t happen overnight. You can’t just Amazon Prime your life (although trust me, I wish I could). 🤷
There are still a lot of questions I’m figuring out, but we’ve also seen progress and made big steps forward. So, I want to share with you the steps I’ve taken on this rocky (rough, hard, painful) journey to motherhood.
And for those of you who are in or have been in a similar place, I also want to speak to your heart and let you know: you’re not alone, it’s not your fault, and we’re going to freaking get through this with the grit and grace it takes.
This journey really started last year, just a few weeks before Christmas, when my husband and I had learned that we were expecting our first child. We were so excited to welcome this new life into our family, but on Christmas Eve, I started bleeding and had to go to the ER to get checked.
They diagnosed me with “threatened miscarriage,” and I scheduled a follow up with my OB for after the holidays. The first week of January, we went in for an ultrasound appointment only to be told that our baby’s heart was no longer beating.
(I shared that whole story in episode #92 of the podcast if you’re curious).
There are just no words to describe that pain. And I couldn’t believe that the traditional medical system tells women not to undergo testing until they’ve had multiple losses because miscarriage is so “common.”
Hear me on this: no woman should have to go through multiple miscarriages before looking into what might be wrong.
I mean, come on, we get annual tests all the time to check for other issues, so why on earth is it that when it comes to the loss of our babies, we are told to not to seek any kind of answers right away? I wish we were more proactive about preventative care in this country.
Anyway, after our first miscarriage, I was determined to be proactive and pursue some testing right away. We started working with a functional medicine doctor to get some baseline tests, such as hormones, thyroid, and overall gut health.
A few months later, we had started to make some lifestyle changes and were still in the process of getting test results back when we learned we were expecting again.
We really thought this time was going to be our redemption story. As much as I tried to be proactive, I also tried not to panic and keep my heart and hands open to getting pregnant again as soon as possible because, like I was told, it likely wouldn’t happen again.
In June, after seeing 3 ultrasounds and just as we were about to announce our news publicly, we found out we had lost that baby too. I was at 13 weeks, and I was supposed to be in the “safe zone.”
I’ve since decided the idea of a “safe zone,” is silly. There really is no safe zone.
It was devastating and we were in absolute shock.
Everything had been going so well, we saw a fully formed little body wiggling around with a strong heartbeat at 11 weeks. And at the time, I felt like I did everything in my power to prevent it.
I haven’t shared the details of this loss publicly because there was just so much more to it, it was ten times harder to walk through, and there was a lot more trauma associated with it.
So there is not an episode to point you to for the story of this loss but perhaps one day, as I feel able to talk about it, I may share. I may not. We’ll see.
Anyway, since then, we’ve been on a long road of healing and further testing. I fiercely want to pursue answers, but I’m also realizing that finding answers takes time.
Since my first miscarriage, I’ve been working with a functional medicine doctor to get a full picture of what may be going on and what may be causing these traumatic losses.
If you want to know more about functional medicine, you can listen to my podcast episode with Adrienne Nolan-Smith. Basically, a functional doctor’s approach is different from the traditional healthcare system because they spend their time digging to find the root cause of an issue, rather than just treating the symptoms.
Now listen, I’m not a doctor. I want to share with you my own journey and the tests we’ve done as we’ve searched for answers but what I’ve done might not be what you need to do. If you’re going through your own miscarriage journey, I encourage you to see a professional and pursue your own answers.
Having said that, let me share with you what I’ve learned.
Quite a few things we had tested came back normal with no signs of anything we needed to address:
While a lot came back normal (or frustratingly inconclusive), we did have a few tests that came back abnormal:
After all that testing, my focus now is just to be intentional in helping my body heal and giving myself grace and space to get there.
Intense grief, insane hormones, and two pregnancies back to back does a number on a body and I’m allowing myself the time to get through that emotionally and physically.
I also don’t want my goal of getting healthier to only be about getting pregnant again. I’ve had to take a step back to realize that this can’t just be about getting the outcome I want. It has to be about the process and about building a healthier body, mind, and lifestyle for the long-term.
So moving forward, here are the things we’re focusing on:
Look, if there’s anything I’ve learned through this journey, it’s that sometimes you can do everything *right* and things can still go wrong. Because that’s life,
But I need you to hear me say this:
It’s not your fault.
It’s just not.
There are some pretty crappy things that come our way and sometimes our best efforts won’t prevent it.
We may be the main character, and we can do our best with what we do have control of, but God is ultimately writing the story.
It’s true in family building, business building, life building, and everything else.
Sometimes I don’t like that. I want to be in control. I don’t get why He lets things happen, or not happen. The math just doesn’t compute and I’ve had a heckuva time with accepting that this year.
But my point is: if you find yourself in a similar situation, busting your booty trying to do everything you can for an outcome you’re aiming for, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT if you don’t get the outcome you’re working toward when you want it.
It may be a crappy chapter… or a crappy ten chapters… with no happy ending in sight. But dang it, I dare you to believe this with me: the sun will come out, and we will find a way to flourish right here in the messy middle.
Because there is so, so much more to our story. And there’s so much still here in front of us to love and build a life on.