Mama Christie titled her mama story with “One Helluva Journey…” and after reading it, she couldn’t have titled it better. I met Christie a few years ago at my sister’s 30th birthday, and I knew then she was struggling to get pregnant. Her and my sister became pregnant around the same time, I didn’t know the whole story but all I knew was how happy I was for her and her husband. I think her journey is close to home to so many mama’s out there, and that’s why I reached out to Christie to tell her story. If she can at least touch one mama today, she has made a difference. The topic of infertility, or having difficulties of getting pregnant is such a hard and emotional journey, and to have someone live and breathe it is why I wanted you to hear it in her own words.
I never really wanted kids, I was convinced I would be way too rich and way too busy for kids, it probably just wasn’t in my cards. I always said “I would be the best Auntie” – funny thing to say coming from an only child. I was a wild child- a free spirit. I worked hard and I played hard, I loved to make money and travel. In fact – there was this one time when I was traveling in Hawaii and then I met the man of my dreams.
Didn’t see that one coming. It wasn’t odd – it was God. There I was in Hawaii (with a dude by the way – but totally “plutonic”) and the person I was with ran into people that she knew – FROM VENTURA! Ok, we think Ventura is small but when you are in Hawaii and you still run into people from Ventura, well that is just serendipity. We caught each others eyes, I mostly liked that he had tattoos and a surfboard, and then we went our separate ways. I never stopped thinking about him for some reason, so when we got back to Ventura I told a girlfriend that I had a crush, described him and told her his name. No Joke – that night at 2:00 am there was a knock at my door. Yep. you guessed it – my drunk friend somehow convinced him to come to my house after the bars closed! She literally threw him in and shut the door. OMG.
That was 12 years ago and we have been together every single day since then.
Once Tory & I were together I knew I wanted to be a mommy. Something in me changed. We were not in a hurry and we really did things the “right” way. Bought a house, Got Married, decided to go off of Birth Control and “see what happens” – and that’s when nothing happened. 1 year went by and NOTHING. 2 years went by and NOTHING. So we went to a fertility specialist and of course his swimmers were robust and mighty – and there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with me – so they simply summed it up as “Unexplained Infertility”. Infertility – what a label? Wow, so I’m broken? That is what it feels like – it feels like you are somehow less of a woman, or less worthy, or maybe you said you didn’t want to be a mom too many times and you wish you could take it back.
SO we followed all of the protocols.
Clomid to make sure I was ovulating – that didn’t work.
Inseminations to give us the best possible chance of conception – 6 of them – None Worked.
You know what comes next right? IVF and a ton of money – we did 2 of those – None Worked.
We were exhausted, physically, emotionally and financially. However – when a woman is on a mission to be a mommy there is nothing that will stop us. We knew there was a happy ending to our story – we just had no idea what it would be. We talked about adoption and were very open to that possibility.
November 2012 (at this point we are about 4 years into this journey): We had 13 frozen embryos left – I needed to wait until I got my period in order for us to plan the next try at IVF.
Christmas Eve my husband left the house and said he was going for a quick surf and to wait for him before we started opening presents (I can never wait until Christmas Day). About 2 hours later I got a phone call and he said “Babe – I need you to come pick me up, my surfboard hit me in the eye and it might be something bad.” – Boy did he downplay it. The tip of his surfboard had literally popped his right eyeball. We didn’t know if he was going to lose his eye or not, and when you have a massive eye injury your body actually starts attacking your good eye, so the doctors were scaring the crap out of me with the news that he may be totally blind from this. And he is of course unconscious from surgery and I may have to be the one to tell him. I was beside myself.
The doctors saved the eyeball and we began a journey that included 7 surgeries in a very short amount of time and many nights sleeping face down on a massage table. I was exhausted and sad and worried, but needed to be hopeful and positive and take care of my husband. On December 31st we were joking about where we wanted to go for new years eve – and then it hit me – OMG its December 31st and I never got my period. I was sure it was the stress of everything but when you are obsessed with getting pregnant you take every chance you have to pee on a stick.
This time it was different – it said YES with a smiley face. There must have been some kind of mistake. I was broken, I couldn’t get pregnant with all of those procedures, there is no way I could get pregnant NATURALLY. Well….. I did. I can feel the chill bumps popping up all over my body as I recall that moment. Here was the light in our darkness, she waited until we needed her the most. On that day everything started to turn around, the frowns turned to smiles and all hope was restored. In fact Tory started to regain vision in his right eye and the first thing he saw was her heartbeat on the screen at the doctors office – unfortunately that didn’t stick around and he is totally blind in his right eye, however he is stable and the eye is stable and he is fantastic – surfing again almost daily.
Lyla Blue is the light of our lives. She is a dream come true and her timing was just right. We knew there was a happy ending to the story – we didn’t know what it was, but we believe she knew. She knew all along, she waited for the exact right moment when she finally chose us.
There is always a happy ending in every story – don’t we wish we had a crystal ball to keep us going. There are no crystal balls, you must have faith and keep putting one foot in front of the other in order to get closer to your happy ending.
If you could give yourself advice when you were going through infertility for all those years, what would you tell yourself?
Just keep going, put one foot in front of the other and know in your soul that there is a happy ending to your story. Know it and believe it.
Describe your hardest day during the infertility process?
Getting my period after the first embryo transfer in our first IVF. When you do IVF and you have an embryo inside of your uterus, you are for all intents and purposes pregnant. You feel it, you love it, you believe and you pray so hard. When you get your period you feel like you have just miscarried, I had all of the grieving that one would have when you experience a loss of pregnancy. People often don’t understand that part, they think for some reason it is less of a pregnancy, I can assure you it is not.
What feelings did you have when you first met Lyla Blue?
Gratitude and Peace. We were so grateful and we still are, every second of every day.
Describe motherhood in three words and define each word?
1. Instinctive – You can read every book, you can google every question and yet there is a quiet voice inside (which I believe is a higher power) that will guide you every step of the way. Trust your instincts first, the outside noise can get pretty loud.
2.Transformative – The gift we are given is incredibly important. We are tasked with raising a human, this is not to be taken lightly. Everything we do will teach them in some way shape or form. We will forever be more responsible for our actions and reactions, we must be conscious of this at all times.
3. Enjoyable – There is such joy in every moment, even in the crazy times, you get to reflect on the joy. When your heart is beating outside of your body – inside of your child’s there is no greater joy.
What part of being a mother were you surprised about?
Breastfeeding. I thought that it was going to be this magical experience. I couldn’t have been more wrong, Lyla Blue didn’t latch and she was losing weight and the breastfeeding groups felt more like Nazi’s than a support group, they were rough with me and my baby and my breasts in a time where I was already in Post Partum Depression and I needed everyone to be tender and kind. They made me feel ashamed of pumping and formula. I cried when I opened the first can of formula and that is just wrong. We do what we can, we do our best, and Lyla Blue fricken loved her formula, she ate it, was full and slept in utter bliss. Once I gave myself permission to feed my baby the best way I could my dark clouds started to clear.