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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

14 Comments
  • Callie Owen

    Such a wonderful post! Congratulations you two! I truly know that Goad knows you so well. Love you two!

    April 29, 2019 at 7:45 pm Reply
  • Lorraine Sargent

    Such a genuine heartfelt journey to share. May God continue to Bless you both! As the Mother to 3 boys, ages 26, 19 and 12, those infant days are a precious and fond memory. You will hear the phrase ” Cherish every minute, it goes so quickly” a million and one times. Truth is…it does! I wrote the story below last year as our middle son was entering his Senior year of high school and thought I’d share it with you. Cherish every minute…it goes so quickly! Warm Wishes,
    Lorraine Sargent
    Our Home will be Different..

    Trust me I understand how lucky I am just to be able to write this in regards to how I’m feeling. Goodness knows there are many Mama’s out there that wish they could be feeling this way whether it be because they were not able to have children or God forbid they lost their babies too soon, so this is certainly not to down play those Mamas that are going through REAL struggles, but I gotta tell you this one is really really hard…
    I hate seeing all these college posts, all they do is make me cry. I read them with such a a range of emotions from accepting reality to wanting to pretend it’s not happening, it’s so difficult to put into words. I’m going to share this from a Mom’s perspective but I know there are many Dads that feel the same, it just seems for us Mamas, it’s just so hard to deal with.
    I think if there’s one thing that I could do differently it would be taking more photographic memories and putting them in a special compartment in my brain so I wouldn’t forget anything that happened from the time my boys were born till the day of send-off. You know one of the things that you’re told as a new mom over and over again is “It goes by so quick… Cherish every moment”. Well, when you’re standing knee-deep in poop and throw up and hours of crying and temper tantrums and piles of dishes, never feeling like you have enough hours in the day, racing home from work to stuff your mouth with something to eat and perhaps get a few morsels into the tummies of everyone else that’s supposed to have nutrition just in time to get to the game or dance class, or music class, then racing back home getting everybody to sleep remembering at 6am the following morning that you didn’t do any homework and you have a major toilet paper roll project that was due… well it seems when you’re in the midst of all of that it can’t go by quick enough. I can assure you, the young Mom out there, it does it goes by WAY WAY too quick. So many memories flood my heart as I realized my son is starting his senior year of high school. I feel so stupid at the amount of tears that I’ve shed because it’s reality, it’s life it’s something that a million moms have gone through before and a million moms will go through again, but when you’re going through it, it feel like it’s just you. You’re remembering the times you had just with him or remembering all the times we would make forts together, and the only person he wanted to sit next to was you! After those forts we would make cookies and read books and he would snuggle up next to me, with his little hand clenched in mine. I remember looking at that little tiny hand and stroking his fingers and staring at his tiny fingernails and his nose and his precious eyes and long eyelashes and his chubby cheeks, just thinking to myself, he’s going to be my baby boy forever… and that’s just not true. They grow up, just like they’re supposed to. But it still sucks! I remember making a million and one different Thomas the Tank Engine train courses, I especially remember when he received his first Thomas the Tank Engine set from Santa Claus. He was so excited that Christmas morning. He ran down and found his table, all set up, the train track all displayed and all of his new little Thomas and Percy trains but being the very meticulous child he was he came in with his hands on his hips all frustrated and said
    ” Mommy, you need to fix this!” I said “Why, what’s the matter?” He said “These train tracks are broken, they do not stay still!” I said “What do you mean?” Still with His hands on his hips, he responds “This is just not going to work out!” He said he didn’t care he needed them sturdy and stable. That’s pretty much the best way to describe my son today “Sturdy and Stable” so I proceeded to get my hot glue gun and glue every single one of the train tracks, in meticulously, perfectly straight positions. So that they would be “sturdy and stable”. What a wonderful young man he’s grown up to be he’s kind and considerate genuine and real….He’s not a baby anymore. I can’t stop thinking about all the talks that we’ve had, as he’s grown up. The importance of realizing his own self-worth and knowing that his contribution to our world should be to make it a better place, Honor God, and Go Far and Beyond his parents have. To certainly strive for excellence and to achieve the most possible success that he wishes to achieve but, to NEVER EVER walk over anybody, in order to make that happen. I look at his structured face and dark brown eyes and think to myself when did that happen when did he go from my little boy to the world’s young man. It was overnight. It does go by quickly, way too quickly!
    I want to stop the roller coaster I want to stop the ride I just want to stop time, but I can’t. So as his Last, First Day of School approaches I will enjoy his sneakers left on the steps, his room smelling like spoiled yogurt, his last minute race to get in the shower, his texts asking if he can have a ” couple” of guys over to hang out, as about 8 come walking in the back door. I will enjoy every minute of listening to a bunch of young men go from sharing an intelligent conversation with me, to pounding up the steps to all hang out and play xbox. I will hold onto the last few unsolicited hugs around my shoulders with an ” I love you Mom…and by the way can I go out with my girlfriend tonight?” I will prime my voice box for the numerous times i will holler up the steps ” You forgot to change the cat litter” and the many times I will ask ” Did you take out the trash?”
    I will cherish and savor eaxh and every one of them, because in just one year, Our home will be different..
    Oh so very different.
    “Lorraine Sargent “

    April 29, 2019 at 8:47 pm Reply
  • Kathleen @ Carrie Bradshaw Lied

    Love this post and so happy for y’all!!! What a lucky, lucky little baby. You guys will make the most loving parents. Big hugs!

    April 29, 2019 at 8:47 pm Reply
  • Dominique

    You shined a light to be hopeful, for many women, thank you for sharing. We as women are resilient and we need more people such a yourself to share these stories, thank you again! Congratulations on your bundle of joy! Xoxo!

    April 29, 2019 at 9:12 pm Reply
  • Chandler

    So happy for y’all Sarah! We’ve been struggling with similar issues. Can you share the ovulation tests you were using?
    I don’t think mine are accurate.

    April 29, 2019 at 9:17 pm Reply
    • Jessica

      I’d like to say that I was using the clearblue advanced digital OPK’s for over 7 months- testing in the AM. The month I finally got pregnant, I learned I’d been waiting for the OPK to hit peak, which was too late for my body. So don’t always rely on them! Or test more than once a day once you hit “high fertility” on clearblue.

      April 30, 2019 at 7:55 am Reply
  • Holly

    Congrats!! Timing is always right! While I just finished having babies (tubes tied now!), I’m excited to see how you’ll style your bump as a curvy girl. I could have used your advice with my latest pregnancy but was pleasantly surprised there are some really cute maternity dresses out there so shopping was fun and I didn’t spend a lot. Our journey was similar except our first son was via IVF and then our second—we had just visited our IVF doctor to talk about doing a frozen transfer, then we went on vacation, and then I was supposed to call them when my cycle arrived the next month. Well a week went by without my period and I honestly thought nothing of it, but then it was like hmm I’m definitely not getting my period maybe I should test and lo and behold on Xmas eve it was positive!! So it’s crazy how everything works out—had I gone to the IVF doctor for the follow up like you they would have discovered my pregnancy. And now we have an 8 month old. So congrats again and welcome to parenthood!

    April 29, 2019 at 11:04 pm Reply
  • Shealeigh Smith

    Looove the honesty! Also it’s so important to hear different and unique stories to know we aren’t alone. Even though my pregnancy issues were different it just confirms we are all doing our best and already killing it at being mamas by how hard we have to work to get those sweet babes!

    April 30, 2019 at 1:31 pm Reply
  • Corey

    I’m not normally one to comment, but this made me tear up. So happy for you and this next chapter of your life! There are many heath issues women bear the burden of alone and it needs to stop. As someone who isn’t trying to conceive, but has struggled with female specific issues tremendously the past few years, this makes my heart warm. Thank you!

    April 30, 2019 at 6:45 pm Reply
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    August 19, 2019 at 5:46 am Reply

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