My Fertility Journey and Path To Motherhood ~ Your Trainer Kristina Shares Her Story

Hey babes! I’m your TIU App trainer Kristina. As I type, my 5 1/2-month-old daughter Madison is napping upstairs. To say I am obsessed with the baby monitor is an understatement — I am constantly looking over at it wondering, “Is she comfortable? Did she just move? Oh…ok she’s fine.” I bet many moms out there are doing the same thing or reliving the past! But there are also probably many of you who are feeling exactly like I was two years ago. I’d see a mother and all I could think was, “why can’t I be one too?”

Let’s start from the beginning. For the first DECADE of my husband Mike and I being together, I thought of all of the ways to avoid getting pregnant. No babies, not yet! We have to travel, work, be selfish, do STUFF. Finally, while living out in California, we bought a house in the beginning of 2015. We painted all but one room and left it bare because we hoped that someday soon we’d fill it with a beautiful baby.

2015 came and went with no pregnancy. By March 2016, I knew it was time to get serious. My doctor suggested I try Clomid to see if it would help me ovulate — it didn’t.  So we doubled it, even tripled it, but not once did I ovulate. After maxing out my attempts at Clomid, my OBGYN put the names of three doctors on a sheet of paper. I knew exactly what they were — specialists. I asked him who he recommended and he suggested I call from the top down. I got an appointment with the first doctor listed for August 2016.

In August, we studied my blood work and my tubes (OMG that test hurt). All we could gather was that I was not ovulating. It was almost as if when that time of the month came around, all my follicles would point to each other and go, “You go, no you go, wait I thought it was your turn? Ah forget it, we missed the window.” I had a surplus of follicles, so we decided to try Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization. I had to do a few shots into my abdomen that I insisted on doing myself, but Mike was there every time just in case I decided to bail out. The last shot was — ready for this? — on the last night of the 2016 Tone It Up retreat! Within 48 hours I was at the doctor’s office for my IUI procedure. All I had to do for the next two weeks was cross every finger I had.

It worked! I got my test results back and I was pregnant! We were so relieved; we thought we’d be in this for a LONG time and the first try worked! We saw her on weeks 6, 8, and 9 growing like a champ, looking like a gummy bear. At my 12-week appointment, I had a bizarre feeling so I asked to come in a little early. Mike was traveling for work, but he attended every other appointment so we were not worried at all about me going alone. The nurse attempted a sonogram, and then told me to lay down so they could do an ultrasound instead. I didn’t think anything of it. I put my feet in the stirrups and turned to stare at the screen. There she was, my little gummy bear, without a heartbeat. That moment is still a blur. I was told to get dressed and meet the doctor in the office to talk this through. I called Mike before I got dressed and all I remember saying was “it’s gone” — pants-less I hit the ground screaming. Mike couldn’t have gotten on a flight faster.

Two days later, I had a procedure called a dilation and curettage (D&C). One month later, I had to have another for the same pregnancy. The beginning of 2017 was awful. What happened? Why did it happen? And the worst feeling, what did I do wrong?

I want you to know that if you are here, YOU DID NOTHING WRONG. I did nothing wrong. We found out 1 month after the D&C that our sweet girl was diagnosed with Trisomy 21, and sometimes those pregnancies are simply unable to continue. There is no way of knowing, no way of preparing. The best thing you can do during this time is talk to those you trust and be with your significant other. I don’t want to say you move on, I still think about her constantly, but it gets easier. I promise.

While back with my specialist, we determined that because I didn’t ovulate many of my follicles were considered risky (I thought of them as “expired”), which could result in future miscarriages. Therefore, we proceeded with IVF with PGS testing. PGS testing would let us know if our embryos could potentially result in a healthy, sustainable pregnancy. Now let me tell you, the IVF process is NO JOKE. Hundreds, I mean HUNDREDS of shots to my abdomen and buttocks happened over the span of 2017. After everything was said and done, we had 12 perfectly healthy embryos ready for action.

Our first two attempts resulted in miscarriages as well — both happened early and naturally. The second one happened at a boxing studio right before I was about to audition. Needless to say, none of what happened over the summer went in our favor. Every month I got continuously more frustrated. I couldn’t help but ask myself, “am I ever going to be a mother?”.

Completely confused, we agreed to running lots of tests. We discovered that (in addition to the whole not ovulating thing) I do not absorb folic acid well, which is essential to maintaining a pregnancy. Also, I required more time before my embryo transfer. Most bodies are primed and ready by day 5 of medicine. They performed an endometrial receptivity test on me and I was NOT receptive after day 5. We found my window and tried for a third time. My third attempt is currently waking up from her afternoon nap.

I LOVE my body because it created a life. A life that, for years, I thought only lived in my dreams. But in the beginning of 2018, I would be reminded by her little kicks from inside of me that she would always be with me. She would be with me when I was reading my baby books, when I was re-organizing our closets in preparation, when I was lying in bed designing her nursery. While it took longer than anticipated, somehow in the end it felt like she timed it perfectly. On July 29, 2018, we couldn’t have been more ready to become parents.

Every journey to motherhood is unique; it could take 1 month or 10 years — you simply do not know. When you’re in it and it feels like every day lasts a year, I urge you to keep fighting. Yes, it’s nearly impossible to think that way sometimes. I know because I WAS in it. Every negative test, every miscarriage, every procedure filled with confusion drove me deeper into this strong desire to be a mother. My mantra throughout those three years was “sunshine comes to all who feel rain.” Those rainy years brought me someone even more perfect than my dreams — because she is REAL. Whether our babies are in school, in bed, angels in the sky, or dreams in our hearts, they are forever ours. And that is really special.

Sending lots and lots of love to you. And please know I am ALWAYS here to talk more or be a guiding light in your time of need! Kat actually encouraged me to share my story here and was there every step of the way, and I want you to know you’re never alone. We and this community are always by your side.

Please share any questions or your own stories with me in the comments below or on Instagram. I’ll be looking out for you 💗

xxo,

Kristina

COMMENTS 26

  1. I cried reading your post. You are definitely a fighter in your journey. You never gave up and you received blessing of love in the end for you and your husband. I admire your strength in posting your personal blog regarding your pregnancy. Thank you for the reminder as I needed to read it for myself. I have a 12 years old son whom I love so much that I wanted another baby for years but it hasn’t happened yet because my husband is in prison and I will have to wait even longer if he’s still in there for ten more years. So I just have to hold on to hope and faith that it will happen to me one day. Thank you for sharing your post with the TIU community.

  2. Tears in my eyes reading this at the office! Kristina, tanks for sharing this amazing journey. So proud of you for not giving up!! Lots of love to you, the supportive dad-to-be beside you in all this, and your little girl!

  3. I am crying at work for your story. I am so happy for you Kristina. I commend you on your strength, and ability to keep going forward. I hope to one say soon be a mom and I have fears that match your story, but to see you have such success even in the hardest of times gives hope! Thank you for sharing this vulnerable story, SO happy for you and your beautiful little family!

  4. Kristina,
    Thank you so so much for sharing your story! I had a missed miscarriage in December followed by a D&C and I’m still reeling from it emotionally. While every day is a little better, I’m struggling so hard with coming to terms with things and gaining back the courage to try again. I also just want to say how much TIU has helped me with this! I’ve been a TIU girl for years, and in December when I felt so betrayed and devastated by my body, getting excited about TIU and the LYB challenge are what really boosted my spirits and helped me get back into the swing of things in the new year! Getting excited about good nutrition and keeping my body strong and active has not only boosted my endorphins, but my confidence as well. Knowing that I can power my body to hopefully have a more successful pregnancy in the future, but at least in the meantime help me feel strong, confident, and fit has just been so helpful! I couldn’t have done it without TIU. So much love!!!!

  5. Kristina, Thank you for sharing your story. There is so much stigma around fertility. I see it everyday as an embryologist. We need more stories to be told so that couples can get the treatment needed for infertility, and so that more couples won’t be afraid to talk about it! Your journey is inspiring and I hope that it gives those wanting to give up another nudge to keep going. The favorite part of my job is finally seeing a picture of all those sweet babies that are made with lots of love and a little bit of science!

  6. You are so strong! Thank you so much, beautiful mama, for sharing your journey. So many times we don’t share our journies and no one knows what challenges we have been through to get us to where we currently are. I read your post breastfeeding my 2 week old. He is our little angel baby. We found out that (after multiple tests) that I have low progesterone. Once we found that out & started progesterone supplementation, we got pregnant right away… that little miracle did not stay with us “non viable pregnancy”. The following month, God blesses us with this angel boy I’m holding in my arms right now. I was in no way poked and prodded as much as you on your journey (I had weekly and sometimes bi-weekly progesterone shots my husband administered). But after it’s all said & done, I’d do it all over again to be able to have this little boy. I know you share that feeling.

    Again, thank you for sharing your story. It’s not always sunshine but through the rain that we get rainbows. Praying for continued blessings for you & your family. Xoxo!!

  7. This post came at the right time for me too. Thank you so much for sharing your story Kristina, and to Tone it Up for providing this amazing forum for women to share their stories, passions, and relationships with their own bodies. Even when we are at our saddest, weakest, or trying to reconcile why this happening, we have the ability to rise up and find that inner strength. xoxo

  8. Omg thank you so much for sharing. I too went through the awful fertility tests (HSG test included), did a round of IUI and 2 rounds of IVF with 3 embryos transfers before I was able to get pregnant with my miracle baby girl Brynn who was born in October 2016. Infertility is a cruel and scary journey and I’m so thankful you shared your story with us. So many women out there are afraid to share their struggles and it’s so important to let other women know they aren’t alone.

  9. I’m so happy that you are sharing your experience with us. I went through fertility issues and unfortunately had to stop after chlomid due to insurance. They did not cover anything more and IVF is out of our financial realm. It’s a hard pill to swallow that fertility is an issue and embarrassing, I’m glad people are starting to be more honest about it. So thank you!

  10. Beautifully written, Kristina! These stories are SO important to share! I struggled and felt so much shame and heartbreak for losing 4 babies to miscarriage. What was wrong with my body? Is motherhood not for me? I now have 3 kids and 1 on the way. Before I had my 1st successful pregnancy I had 2 losses in a row. After my son was born I had another loss, then I had my beautiful girl. I had another loss and a second baby girl. I didn’t have any losses after my 3rd and I was surprised a couple months ago with a 4th baby due July 2019. All of my pregnancies have been filled with worry, “will I lose this baby too?” And with suffering from hyperemisis all my pregnancies, that threat has been even more prominent. I think it’s amazing when women share these stories. It’s so powerful to know your not alone, and gives you some comfort to talk to each other about it and lean on each other. Thank you for sharing your story!

  11. Tears ! Thank you for sharing this. I’m
    Curious about how you had so much information regarding the cause of your first miscarriage. I’m assuming they were able to run tests because you had s D& C ? I had a miscarriage as well but no D&C. I was always wondering about getting more information on why.

  12. Thank you for sharing your story <3 I work as an Embryologist so I know very well how the IVF process works. I'm really happy for you and your beautiful family. It's all about persistence and patience but it's so worth it! Xxx

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this. We just got our IVF referral and are saving every penny for the next year to give it a round. There’s so many things I wish I knew sooner-it’s my hope other women begin to recognize some of those things so they don’t have to endure all the waiting and disappointment-and that only happens when we are open about it and begin to break the stigma around infertility. Thank you thank you!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this. It could not have been better timed. I had a missed miscarriage in December at 9 weeks and have gone through every emotion possible. We’re getting ready to try again and my anxiety is skyrocketing, so this was exactly what I needed today. It is so generous of you to share your experience and it will help so many women! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  15. This is so so sweet Kristina. I am so happy you are able to be a mom now!! I am a medical student interested in going into Ob/GYN and reading this just solidified my desire to help couples like you and Mike become parents <3 So happy for you and thank you for sharing this emotional story!!!

  16. Thank you for sharing Kristina! I’m currently going through my journey with fertility and it’s very encouraging to hear your story. I’m so happy for you and your family! 💕

  17. That sounds like a carbon copy of my fertility journey right down to painting our house! We didn’t paint “the baby’s room” until I was past my first trimester. I also got pregnant with an IUI after receiving a notice from my insurance company saying that they wouldn’t cover any more fertility treatments because it was not going to work. Now my son is 10 1/2 months old and I’m planning his 1st birthday. Congratulations!! :)

    1. hey Sarah! thank you for sharing this ~ congrats on your little bundle of joy!! love u! Xxo 💙🤗✨

  18. Thank you for sharing your story. I just underwent my first IUI procedure yesterday. So I decided to come back to TIU while I wait. Im so glad I did, your post was encouraging and inspiring!

  19. Kristina, thank you for being so honest and vulnerable about your journey. Sometimes I feel so alone in this because my friends have not experienced infertility. My husband and I have been trying for the past year and a half. Before getting married, we knew I had PCOS and it would be a harder journey to get pregnant and maintain a pregnancy, so we sought medical advice immediately. I was also prescribed clomid and hcg shots. After 3 months, my husband and I conceived last May. We were so excited and started planning for our little one. Unfortunately, a few weeks later on Father’s Day, we miscarried. I was devastated, but my husband and my doctor remained hopeful that the next time will be better. In August, we conceived again and sadly miscarried in September. That one was tough for both my husband and me. We decided to take a break from trying to conceive and from taking the medications. For the last few months, we focused on grieving the loss of our children and praying. I found the Tone It Up community during this process. TIU has helped me love my body again despite its challenges. Last month, my husband and I restarted our journey to conceive. We truly believe we will become parents naturally or through adoption. Thank you for sharing your story because you gave me the strength to share mine. May you continue to be blessed with beautiful moments with your daughter and husband.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story Rachelle. Your strength will inspire other women to open up too. You’re never alone in this…I’m always here to talk more and this community is always here to support you. Sending you so much love. xxo Kristina

  20. You have no idea how much your story speaks to me. I have been trying to conceive since May 2016, still with no luck. I did the first year with no success. Got testing to find out that nothing was wrong with either of us; hence being diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”. Continued for 6 months before agreeing to try IUIs (at this point I lived over an hour away from the nearest clinic and drove daily for bloodwork and ultrasounds before heading into my job). All 3 IUIs were not successful. Joined the IVF waitlist! Switched clinics and now waiting to start my IVF journey this month! It is definitely not the journey so many other women seem to have, but it is common and it is helpful to hear that I am not alone in my struggle. I won’t lie… I am terrified about the IVF… I am worried that the drugs will turn me into a moody hot air balloon blimp! I am scared that it wont work. I am trying to keep happy thoughts. I even booked off time for the retrieval and a few days after for healing. I worked out a schedule that will allow for a few days of rest around the time they may complete embryo transfer…. I am trying to stay on the ball and be optimistic. Plus I am super lucky with work being flexible around this journey too! So much love and prayers to bouy me along. I am grateful to have read your story and know that this is normal even though it does not feel like it all the time.

  21. Thank you for sharing this AMAZING TRIUMPHANT story Kristina! I am blown away by you determination, love for your future baby, and strength emotionally and physically. Overcoming stories are my heart’s song… I pray I continue to overcome things in my life as we speak. I am currently pregnant and going into my 5th week. I’M SHOCKED and SCARED and NERVOUS and SO EXCITED. My story is different yet, God is really pulling me through so much and I pray so deeply that my body remains strong for my baby. I’m praying my baby has an innate strength and longing for the Lord. I also pray that my heart is strong for all of this… I have some fear about this because I was diagnosed with an irregular heart beat and my heart flips/skips at times. I shows more of this when I’m stressed. I know Kristina that you had a heart condition through out your life as well. How did you handle that throughout your pregnancy? Were you scared about that or did your doctors do a great job leading you? Did you decide to do a cesarean? Any advice you can give would be so helpful. Thank you again for sharing your story.

  22. Honestly, so grateful to have heard of your journey despite how hard it must be to share. I am learning myself to share with others, and knowing there is a community out there willing to help each other helps so much. Thank you for sharing, and very happy for you and your family!

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