natalie’s truth • motherhood


Ankeny Family Photography


Before motherhood became a more prominent factor in my life, I’ll admit that I was embarrassingly ignorant to a lot of what it entails. I didn’t understand why fake pregnancy announcements were hurtful, I had *NO* idea how conceiving a child & carrying it to full term heatlhy was truly a freaking miracle (think about it though – isn’t it?!). And I didn’t even get why it was so bad to ask “when are ya gonna have a baby?” I bet some of you are thinking “Yeah, me too!” It’s not something anyone educates you on unless you’re in a certain profession or are just exposed to these things firstand. It’s something you oftentimes have to experience personally to really get it.

The way I felt reading Natalie’s story shocked me again in how ignorant I felt. Before I continue, I hope that by reading this post – you’re in a non-judgmental place. A lot of us are saying things from very vulnerable places when we open up on this series. We admit things aloud that we might not have said before and we oftentimes admit past thinking. Natalie and I discussed the types of lingering comments from others and we both admitted “I’ve said those things to someone before I truly knew what kind of pain it could cause.” By talking and learning and sharing, we can try to be a little bit more empathetic towards other people.

There’s really not a proper introduction from me to give Natalie’s story what it deserves. I will say that I learned a lot talking to her. She’s pretty freaking amazing – Her journey through motherhood had me smiling, in tears, and most of all grateful that such BA women open up their hearts to me. <3 <3

Natalie’s Story • Possible trigger warning //

AJ and I got pregnant super fast with Levi. I came off my birth control and was pregnant before I even had a period. I didn’t know I was pregnant with him until I was 6 weeks along, after we went to the doctor to figure out why I didn’t have a period. A pregnancy was why! So we figured the second time around, we would plan it out more. I got off my pill and waited a month to make sure I got a period, then we started trying. That was July 2016. By January 2017, I was feeling like something wasn’t right. At my yearly OB checkup, I asked about clomid. She agreed to try it, so I was on that until June. It was terrible. I gained about 20 pounds and became a raging lunatic. When that didnt work, my OB sent me for an HSG scan…basically they inject dye into your uterus to view your fallopian tubes. At the same time, AJ had a sperm count done. I knew deep down this was probably on me. During the HSG, they weren’t able to view my left tube at all. After that, my OB sent us to the infertility doctor. I was really upset, but ready to come up with a plan. Dr. Cooper was amazing…he had this comforting demeanor and even said at the end of our consultation that he was going to put a baby in me haha. He told us we had secondary infertility that was unexplained. He reassured me i could still get pregnant with a bum tube and told AJ he had “michael phelps” swimmers. He took me off clomid and put me on femara. We were going to try that for six months.

By the end of the 3rd month, I was defeated. The femara raised my levels and gave me all the signs of ovulation but still no baby. It was like every month I would hold out hope, fall apart, pick myself back up, and do it again. I was even more upset because a few people I know got pregnant when they didn’t want to be. I blocked people who were vocal about how much they hated being pregnant. People would say things like, well at least it’s fun trying! Or at least you have Levi! I would smile but I felt broken inside. I got some advice from a good friend and a family member who had been through it and called and requested to do the IUI our 4th month on femara. We did the IUI and femara, and got pregnant with Theo. They monitored be closely for the first 12 weeks at the infertility clinic then released me to the ob. At week 13, I started bleeding. I bleed off and on until about week 18. It was horrible…I was terrified that i was going to lose this baby we worked so hard for. I think were I work didnt help–we see a lot of miscarriages in the PACU, so every little twinge i was nervous about. It wasn’t until about week 30 that I really started to feel comfortable and calm about the pregnancy. AJ and I are incredibly grateful to Dr. Cooper. We also acknowledge that we are incredibly lucky…we were ready to go all in for IVF. Our infertility story is actually a short one…about 16months before we got pregnant.

my biggest struggle I think was feeling like it was my fault. I held a lot of guilt, even before I had my HSG done. I somehow knew it was on me. Even after being reassured by Dr. Cooper than I only need 1 good tube, I still carried that weight. Every month I would hold out hope and then fall apart alone in my bathroom, pick myself up and face the world with a smile. It’s a lonely feeling, even if you have support from all over.

There were times when AJ was great and there were times when he wasnt the greatest. I felt really bad for him when I was on the clomid…I was a raging bitch and he put up with it. Even Dr. Cooper said it was hard to have sex with someone when you feel like you hate them. Its one of the many side effects of the clomid. For the most part, he was super supportive. He never made me feel like he blamed me for anything. The hard times were the scheduled sex sessions. It takes a toll on your relationship. It’s not fun. It’s not romantic. Its work…and it was work without a positive outcome. That’s where we had the most struggles and fights. We even took a break from trying one month just to clear the funk. This entire process has brought us so much closer. He is amazingly supportive and just gets me. He knows exactly what I need, even if it is just for him to hold me a little closer at night. I couldn’t imagine going through this with anyone else. both of our families were very supportive as well. They backed us 100% with our decisions. My mom was the best—she was able to talk me down a lot and reassured me that no matter what she supported me. AJ and I are so grateful for all the people in our lives who helped us in ways they didnt even know.

Of all the things people say, probably the bad comments linger the most. People would ask us when we are going to have another baby…a lot. It was like a knife to the gut. The worst was if we were open and honest, people would say things like, “at least you have levi” or “calm down, have a bottle of wine, it will happen.” Or my favorite, “at least you get to have fun trying!” This was not fun. A family member of mine and a good friend have been through infertility treatments before, and they helped me a lot. Their confidence and just saying, I know what you are going through was comforting. There was also a girl I previously worked with who was going through infertility as well, and we would comment on each others inspirational instagrams without ever coming out and officially saying what was going on between us. Those 3 were my biggest cheerleaders in their own ways. A good friend of mine got pregnant while we were trying. She was there for me through the entire process and was one of the first people I told. I’m really lucky to have her as a friend…shes like an Iowa sister to me haha

Things don’t work out how you plan them too, and that’s ok. Maybe there’s a reason all this is happening…something bigger than what you see now. Just because plan A, B, and C didn’t work out doesn’t mean plan D wont either. Hold your head up mama, you’ll get there…one way or another. You’ll get there.</p

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