Hello, my name is..

Oh, hey there.

It had been suggested to me on more than one occasion to start a blog. After being assured that at least one person is interested in reading what I have to say, I said “why not?”

I guess that leads me to why I’ve started a blog. It’s simple, really. And also really, really complicated. “It” is infertility. If you, too, are familiar with a reproductive endocrinologist or want to learn more about what the heck that is, you’re in the right place. So then, I guess this means I should introduce myself for those of you who are new here, huh?

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My name is Mallory and I am 25 years old. I’m happily married to my awesome husband, Josh, who is almost 28. He is otherwise known as “that guy with the beard.” We live in a small town in Indiana with our four (yes, four) dogs: Freckles, Max, Peanut, and Leia. We also own a cat named Bandit, or as we like to call him, Kitty. We were married August 6, 2016 and started trying right away. We knew it would be difficult to conceive, but it became very clear, very quickly just how big of an understatement that was. To paint the picture for you, let’s take it back a few years.

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After a five year battle, I was officially diagnosed with stage four endometriosis when I was 18 years old. It was so extensive that 2 weeks after surgery, my doctor flat out told me I’d be lucky to ever get pregnant. However, if I DID want to get pregnant, I’d need to try sooner rather than later. I was young, dumb, and unmarried so babies weren’t exactly on my mind. I naively continued on my birth control. Collectively, I spent nearly 8 YEARS on the pill. Ask me now how I feel about birth control and its effect on the body, I dare you. Hindsight is 20/20, amiright? Anyways, there’s a lot of irrelevant fluff from 2010 to early 2015 when Josh and I met. I can tell the whole story later, but we knew on night numero uno that this was it. A few months before we got engaged, I started tracking my cycles intently. Anyone who knows me knows I’m very educated on the inner workings of the female reproductive system. My current gynecologist once described me as “very astute” and her most “well informed patient.” *insert curtesy here* I say current because the OBGYN I was seeing when we got married is not the same doctor I now see. In fact, I told my previous doctor in 2014 that I thought I had PCOS. Long story short, she essentially told me I was ridiculous for even mentioning it. Spoiler alert: I was right.  ANYWAYS, I called after the wedding to let her know I was having 50-70 day cycles that were extremely irregular and that I needed help ovulating. Wanna know what she did? Not a darn thing. She said “lose some weight and call me in a year.” Mind you, for a woman my age with no known gynecological history, this is a standard response. But she KNEW of my history. However, she still found a generic response to be appropriate for my case. Well, if you don’t know this yet, I’m very strong willed and stubborn. Needless to say, I didn’t like that answer. I sought out my current OBGYN in October 2016, and guess what!? She diagnosed me with pcos in the first week of my being her patient. I was already headed down an awesome road to finding answers.

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We started with two rounds of clomid (a drug that aids in ovulation). I responded really well to it, but I didn’t get pregnant. In January we did our first semen analysis and started talking about surgery. Surgery was scheduled for Valentine’s Day, and our results came back from the semen analysis. They weren’t good. We had very poor motility (the way the sperm swim). It was only 10% and she wanted it to be at least 50%. Our counts were great at 34 million, with a minimum being 20 million. We got Josh started on some supplements to see if we could improve the numbers. Those results will come later. I want to take a moment to pause and say that although Josh is fairly open about this half of our infertility journey, I’ve never shared that publicly until now. In fact, very few people knew until now. I guess I wanted to protect him in a way. From what, I don’t know. But I’ve come to the realization that I’m not truly sharing our journey with you all unless I’m honest about that. I am a huge advocate for infertility awareness and part of that is breaking the stigma that it is something to be ashamed of. It’s not! — Anyways, back on track. Surgery showed more endometriosis, definite pcos, and unfortunately completely blocked Fallopian tubes. Doctor felt confident that she got them unblocked and was optimistic about our chances of getting pregnant moving forward. Keep this detail in the back of your mind, it’s important later. Two more rounds of clomid were unsuccessful, and my final round caused painful overstimulation. Josh’s second semen analysis showed 34% motility (yay! Improvement!) and 51 million sperm. Still not ideal, but a huge improvement! Way to go, hubs!! However, I began to feel like something wasn’t right.

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I’ll spare you the nitty gritty details of my emotional roller coaster through those months. There were millions of tears, days of utter depression, moments of screaming out to God, physical pain, emotional agony, countless hours of prayer. The list goes on. The only way I made it through those moments was knowing God promised me my baby, and someday I’d get it. And on a day when I’d gotten yet another negative pregnancy test and laid on the couch and sobbed uncontrollably, God spoke to me. He shook me right out of my emotional breakdown and awoke in me the desire for more. More answers, more professional opinions, more options, more, more, more. That day I made an appointment to meet with my first reproductive endocrinologist. A reproductive endocrinologist (RE) is, to put it simply, a doctor specializing in infertility. This doctor agreed we needed help. Clomid wasn’t enough. He said we needed intrauterine insemonation (IUI). Long story short, that idea was okay at first but eventually, it didn’t sit right with me either. That’s not because of my humanly feelings, by the way. God had bigger plans for us, and I just hadn’t hit the nail on the head yet. As always, He showed up to direct my path. By God’s own good design, a friend reached out and recommended her RE from Indianapolis. I did some research and listened to her testimony. I took a leap of faith and scheduled an appointment for 5 days later. When I got there, the doctor confirmed what I knew in my heart. We didn’t need clomid. We didn’t need IUI. What we needed was IVF. My endometriosis and pcos combined were too extensive and too damaging. However, her number one concern was my Fallopian tubes. Remember those? She said they’ll never be properly functioning and it is only a matter of time before they are blocked again. This was our only shot. But it was going to cost us roughly $15,000. How in the world!?

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I came to terms rather quickly with the idea of IVF. You see, God has given me peace about it since day 1. We are in the midst of fundraising for this procedure (actually, procedureS, but whatever). Not once have we hit an obstacle or had something stand in our way. God has taught me everything about what it truly means to surrender the things I want to control. Let me tell you a secret: I don’t have control anyways, but I pretend I do. He has never failed me or my husband. He has promised us children. One verse I cling to is Psalm 113:9, which a friend shared with me almost a year ago. It states, “The Lord will give the barren woman a home and make her the happy mother of children, praise the Lord!” Amen!? He has promised us a baby, and He has even gone so far as to give me visions of her face. That’s right, blog page heard it first. HER. I fully expect a baby girl first for the Dull family. We aren’t picky, but the Lord shows her to me often. She’s gonna be gorgeous, and I’m totally not biased. But, for now we just have to wait for the Lord to decide when we get to hold her. I will praise Him through this wait because He is GOOD. He may have assigned me infertility, but He also designed me as a leader. And as it turns out, He needed me to be a voice for those who don’t have one. Because the reality is, an estimated 1 in 8 struggle with infertility. Estimated because not everyone is open about it. So I will gladly be the voice. I will gladly advocate and spread awareness. I will gladly share my story in the hopes of inspiring others. And you bet you tush that I’m going to have one powerful testimony to share one day, and I’m going to do it while holding my miracle baby, sharing the glory and the power of Jesus. Because in all things and all situations, He. Is. Good.

Thanks for reading!

Wishing you blessings,

Mallory

A letter to my future daughter

Baby girl,

One day I’m going to tell you how much your daddy and I fought for you. I cannot wait to tell you all the ways the Lord came through so we could get to this point. Right now, I’m a massive mix of hormones and emotions. In fact, I had an appointment today and it didn’t go like I’d hoped. Right now, you’re growing on my ovary. Isn’t that cool!? The only problem is, my follicles aren’t growing like they should. I’d like to think the follicle that will become you is the lone, big follicle on my right side. The rest are small and having a hard time catching up. Even in feeling discouraged, I need you to know some things. Are you listening?

Baby Girl, I will never ever stop fighting for you. Not even for a second, and certainly not once you’re born. I promise to raise you as a strong, humble woman of God. You are precious, you are chosen, and you are His. Your name has a very special meaning, and your father and I chose it because the Lord spoke it specifically to me. Your middle name, which has never been a secret, was chosen after so many women in your family who have come (and some gone) before you. You come from a family of strong women who have all fought mighty battles, including the one I’m fighting so hard right now to bring you here. You are a natural-born fighter because it’s in your blood.

Sweet girl, you can do absolutely anything. Let your dreams and your heart be huge and limitless. Be unapologetically yourself, always. Be kind, help others, and always, always remember your way home. Never forget who you belong to. He will never leave you or forsake you. You were fought and prayed for, and we will never stop loving you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are loved, you are precious, and you are invincible so long as you remember to keep your eyes focused on Him.

Never be afraid to go after a goal. What man thinks is impossible is possible with a little faith and a whole lot of Jesus. You’re proof of that. I love you so unbelievably big, my girl. I can’t wait to meet you.

Love,

Your Mama

Let’s Talk About Pills, Baby

You know what is really frustrating? Needing a specific type of product, finding one you like, and then having that company be bought out. I’ve been taking a prenatal that I loved for about a year, but they were recently bought out by a large corporation and I have serious fears about what the quality of the product will become.

I began my search for a new prenatal last week. Unfortunately, I had a specific list of demands that I knew would be hard to meet. With my dietary needs and recent diagnosis of the MTHFR gene mutation, I need a very specific type of product. That product would ideally contain NO soy or gluten (a shocking number of vitamins contain one or both), it would contain folate as opposed to folic acid (which I absolutely cannot have), it would be made from Whole Foods, and it would be compliant with the Auto Immune Protocol, which I follow as closely as possible. I took to Facebook to see what vitamins my friends took. Come to find out, I’m not the only one in need of quality prenatals that fit these types of requirements! I had friends asking me to let them know what I found out. So, I went to work.

I’ve been researching for days now, and I’m pretty satisfied with what I’ve come up with. I’ve composed a list of vitamins that I find to be suitable options for anyone who is TTC. I know it’s super hard to believe, but I’m not a doctor or a pharmacist so this simply a list of what I think are good products. I definitely encourage and recommend that you check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any kind of supplement or medication to make sure it is right for you. Keep in mind that these will all contain folate and be soy-free because those are the requirements that I personally need to meet.

I did price everything through Amazon to keep the playing field even. These are by no means the “only” prenatals that there are, nor the only ones everyone should consider. Also, these are listed in no particular order. So, without further ado, here are the best prenatals I’ve found:

Smarty Pants

This one has been recommended to me several times. It seems to be a top recommendation by obstetricians and fertility specialists alike. I personally don’t like all the added sugars (natural or not) but I’m also trying to follow as closely to AIP (auto immune protocol) as I can. These are not AIP compliant, and aren’t made from whole foods. But, they’re an affordable brand that is backed by doctors and contain folate. Smarty Pants does contain DHA, so a separate DHA supplement is not needed. Plus side, they’re allergen-free! These can be found on Amazon for $19.49, or you can click here.

Mega Foods Baby & Me

This brand comes highly recommended from several of my “crunchy” mama friends, including one who is a midwife in training. It is a good food based vitamin, and from what I can tell is at least vegetarian friendly, if not vegan friendly. It is free from soy and contains folate, but is not AIP compliant. I did see this suggested on an AIP support site but the biotin is from brown rice, which wouldn’t be compliant. Overall a great brand, and I highly recommend it for those who are not following the auto immune protocol. Baby & Me does not contain DHA, so a separate supplement would be needed for that. It can be found on Amazon for $33.23, or you can click here.

Mega Foods Baby & Me 2

The biggest difference between the Baby & Me and the Baby & me 2 is that this one does not contain the herbal blend that the original version has. Same food based vitamins and great quality, but again, not AIP compliant. Another huge difference (and a big downfall for me) is the price! Baby & Me 2 can be found on Amazon for $53.97, or you can click here.

Best Nest Mama Bird AM/PM

Lots of good things to say about this brand! Allergen free, contains folate, and natural. What I’m unsure of is if this supplement is food based. I’m not sure it is as it doesn’t explicitly say so, however they pride themselves on being “natural” and “GMO free,” so I could speculate that maybe it is food based. There are digestive enzymes, which are great for pregnancy heartburn and gut health! From what I can see of the ingredients, this brand is AIP compliant. This one also does not contain DHA. The Best Nest Mama Bird prenatal can be found on Amazon for $29.95, or you can click here.

NATURELO Prenatal

NATURELO is a vegan/vegetarian friendly brand that has plant-based components. This one, from what I can tell is AIP compliant. Also contains folate and is soy free. Does not contain DHA. It can be found on Amazon for $39.95, or you can click here.

The Honest Company

In general, The Honest Company has great products. This is definitely one of them! No soy, and contains whole foods and folate. However, this is not AIP compliant. Also does not contain DHA. This product can be purchased on Amazon for $38.68, or you can click here.

Nutrigold Prenatal

Another great vegetarian friendly option. This one is also organic, which is not a common find. It is whole food based, which means it contains folate. This one is free of soy and other allergens, as well. Nutrigold is not AIP friendly, and does not contain DHA. You can purchase this product on Amazon for $37.32, or you can click here.

Nested Naturals Prenatal

Fantastic product from what I’ve read! Whole food, soy and allergen free, contains folate, organic ingredients, etc. I also love that this is one tablet, once daily. My infertility ladies will understand this importance. When you’re on lots of supplements, you don’t want to take something you’ll have to swallow a million pills for. This one doesn’t contain DHA, but as you can see, most do not. From what I can tell, this is AIP friendly. Nested Naturals Prenatal can be bought on Amazon for $25.95, or you can click here. Update 3/10/18: I tried these vitamins and they have a very strong and unpleasant taste and odor, in my opinion of course.

And there you have it, folks! Hopefully some of you get some help from this. I was able to find a prenatal through my research, and I’m excited to try it out!

As stated before, I’m not a doctor or an expert, and I suggest you consult one if you have questions or concerns. There were a surprising amount of products which fit my checklist, but didn’t make this list for one reason or another. I mean, one of them was great quality but required you to take 8 capsules a day. Who has time for that!?

Let me know what y’all think, I’d love to connect with you about it. If you try any from this list, let me know how you like them. If you already take one of these, tell me all about it! I’d love your feedback. Happy searching!

Thanks for reading,

Mal

You’re Never Gonna Let Me Down

I could appropriately begin this blog post with an infamous 90’s song lyric that goes a little something like this:

“This is the story of a girl, who cried a river and drowned the whole world.”

My dear friend called me yesterday with the sweetest words of encouragement. She had an analogy for me that was so incredibly fitting. Picture this: you’re baking cookies with your child. This kid loves cookies, so naturally they want to eat them right NOW. When you tell them “not yet” because they’re either still being prepped, in the oven, or cooling down, that child is probably going to be inclined to throw a temper tantrum. You’re not saying “no,” and you’re not telling them “not yet” because you want to be mean. It’s because you know that they aren’t able to have those cookies yet because it’s not safe, even if your child doesn’t understand or see it that way. See where I’m going with this?

Yesterday morning, I got an email from the office manager at our reproductive endocrinologist’s office. She’d previously emailed me to ask if anyone had gone over the financials for our upcoming IVF treatment. I’d told her that they hadn’t. When she responded with the breakdown and listed the out of pocket costs that insurance won’t cover (even Starbucks insurance), I felt like I’d been sucker punched in the stomach. I knew we’d have our out of pocket deductible to meet. And I knew medication costs would likely be out of pocket (which were also revealed in that email to be higher than expected). What I didn’t realize was there were things our insurance wouldn’t cover, even though Starbucks covers IVF. A quick tally brought the total to an approximate number between $4,000 and $5,000 dollars. We don’t have that kind of money saved. In fact, almost all of our Baby Dull money that we’d raised and saved is spent because of testing we’ve had to complete that wasn’t covered by our current insurance.

At that point, I broke down in my car in the parking lot at work. I cried, and I cried, and I cried. I felt the weight of the world barrel into my chest as I dealt with the revelation that we wouldn’t meet our daughter in 2018, either. That another year, another holiday season next year, more birthdays and family get together would all pass while Josh and I stood childless. To say I was devastated was an understatement.

Naturally, I threw a temper tantrum. I scolded God. “Don’t you know how bad I want this!? Where are you!? Why would you do this to us!?” I called a few of my prayer warriors and asked them to lift us up. I laid in bed and I cried some more. For hours, actually. It felt like I was grieving. In a way, I kind of was. I was grieving the fact that what I’d thought was about to happen suddenly wasn’t. That wasn’t an idea I knew how to handle.

When I’d arrived home, I walked into my bathroom and looked down to see the card in the image above. I even posted it on my infertility Instagram with the caption “okay, God. I hear you.” But then I proceeded to go out and lay on my bed and sulk. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

Josh had needed to run a couple errands, and had convinced me to go with him. As we got to the first stop, I got a message on Instagram reminding me that Josh and I are eligible for a military discount through our fertility clinic. I began to breathe a little easier. Okay God, I see what you’re doing. Except, I still wasn’t prepared for what was to come.

After dinner, we were hanging out with Josh’s parents. Sitting on the couch at their house, I received a text message from another dear friend. She told me that there was a woman looking to donate the EXACT amount of one of the medications I still needed. Momentarily, I couldn’t breathe. Could this really be happening?? Not to mention, I had another friend reach out last week offering to send me two day’s worth of the same medication. I was so grateful then, and even more grateful now. You see, with IVF, having a few extra days’ worth of medication on hand isn’t a bad idea because things happen and your medication protocol can change at any moment. So I’ll actually have extra of this medication! But wait, there’s still more!

We left my in laws and I couldn’t wait to tell Josh what had just happened. But when we got home, I had another woman reach out to me and I was offered another medication I need for treatment. But wait, there’s more! This morning I woke up to a message from another woman offering me more of the same medication. I’ll even have extra! Are you joking me, Lord? No, He’s not.

In a matter of hours, a situation I thought was hopeless, did a complete 180. God is a God of abundance. Our medication costs were eliminated! We don’t need to buy ANY meds! That erased a couple thousand dollars for us. What a relief! Not only that, but we’re back on track for February. And now, we don’t have to wait for a medication order to come in. We can start as soon as insurance is live.

Our military discount will help a lot! There’s still a couple thousand dollars we’ll need to cover, but we’ve got some savings still, and I’m more confident than ever that God will show up. He’s already got it covered.

Sometimes, as Christians, we feel like we can’t be angry or upset with God. We have to just grin and bear it. But that’s false. You see, God is a BIG God. He can handle our temper tantrums. What He’s done in my life in the last 12 hours is still mind blowing. He is in every single detail. He cares so much about our baby, and He wasn’t about to let me lose this opportunity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ve never been more confident that the Lord has asked us to do IVF. Whether it’s something some people agree with or not, we are obeying Him! How silly was I to doubt that He would show up? He’s never, ever going to let me down.

By the way, the special test I mentioned in my last post went flawlessly. In fact, all of our pre-IVF testing is done and has gone perfectly. In fact, Josh’s semen analysis improved SO MUCH, that we’re actually over the target numbers in all areas. Nothing has even changed! That’s GOD y’all! We’re completely set and ready for our baby girl. We couldn’t be more excited. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you in advance for this miracle!

I don’t know if our cookies are still in the mixing bowl, in the oven, or on the cooling rack. What I do know is that God is big, God is good, and God is faithful. I also know that I can smell those cookies, and it will be a most joyous occasion when He finally tells us “now.”

Trust in His plans, even when they don’t make sense.

All my love,

Mallory

Long time, no talk

Hi! Long time no talk. So, I haven’t been around lately because the WordPress app and I have been fighting. It wouldn’t let me log in. Until now! So, what’s new? Well, a lot actually!

  • Since my last blog post, I’ve gotten a job at Starbucks and I seriously love it! Starbucks actually offers IVF coverage through their insurance, so I left my previous job to work there. This leads me to my next update.. we are officially in IVF mode! My insurance begins February 1, 2018, so we are currently doing all the prep work we need to do before we begin. We will begin as soon meds arrive in February. In fact, today I’m going to have a special ultrasound to make sure everything looks good to go.

  • Josh got a promotion within the company he works for, and that’s been a huge blessing for us! We’ve also been making a point to work on our marriage. Not that our marriage was “bad,” but infertility can do a number on your relationship. It does a great job at creating separation. We’ve made a point to do date nights and really focus on each other. Baby Dull needs an example of a strong, loving marriage. We want and need to be a powerhouse for her to witness her entire life.

  • In October, I went to the first annual Moms in the Making conference in Dallas. It. Was. LIFE CHANGING. I met so many amazing women who totally understood my heart. I met face to face with online friends I’d connected with for such a long time beforehand. I made three new best friends with three absolutely amazing women from a simple trip to the bank. I worshipped harder and more passionately than I ever have in my life. I cried, I prayed, and I learned. I left that space with my heart absolutely bursting with hope and childlike faith. And to think, I wasn’t going to go originally. Thank you, Jesus, for working in my heart for me to go there that weekend! {Side Note: We’ve chosen elephants as our baby girl’s “theme,” and I bought a little pink elephant that has since become our IVF “mascot.” You’re going to see that pink elephant appear in several of our photos along the way. That’s the story behind it!}

I have recently had multiple opportunities to educate others on my journey and what infertility truly means and looks like. I’ve also had multiple opportunities to be able to guide and support other women who previously had none on their own journeys. I think that’s why the Lord chose this journey for me. It wasn’t to harm or curse me. It was to guide and bless others who are struggling, or the “outsiders” who might not understand. It’s a job i take seriously and (finally) feel blessed to be given. He trusts me that much? How lucky am I!?

I have never felt so close to the Father. I have been acting in faith more than ever before. I’ve started crocheting a blanket, I’ve bought small items for our future nursery, I’ve bought small items of clothing that seem to speak to me. No longer will I worry about “jinxing it” when buying baby items. Oh no, it’s just the opposite! You see, God showed me this baby girl. He speaks to me about her all the time! He will even use other people to do so. And you know what? I’m ready for her! WE are ready for her!

I’ve reached a place of peace. Full disclosure, it wasn’t an easy road. But I’ve reached a place where I’m genuinely happy. I have a loving, supportive husband who stands beside me every step of this journey. We have a huge, amazing support system of friends and family. Baby Dull’s cheerleading squad is massive, y’all! I have a job I never expected to love this much. I have amazing coworkers and probably the world’s best boss. Seriously. My boss is the most understanding and supportive person. Having her on my side during this journey is so important and such a relief to me. She takes an interest in my journey, and has already reassured me that we will work everything out along the way to make sure this happens. That’s GOD you guys. He has shown up at every single point to show me that not only am I doing exactly what I need to be doing, but that He will take care of everything. I’m so blessed and I’m so happy. Although I’m admittedly anxious and nervous as IVF approaches, I’m also so excited and feeling very fortunate to even be able to do so. Life is so good, God is so good, and this baby girl is on her way. Watch out, world!

Be blessed,

Mal

20 Things NOT to Say to Someone Facing Infertility 

In the infertility world, we tend to notice trends in the things people say to us. “Advice” that is given, even by the most purely intentioned people, that is far more harmful than helpful. So, in no particular order, here’s my cohesive list of the top 20 things not to say to someone struggling to get pregnant. Prepare yourselves, the sass is real, y’all. Ready? Great!


1. “Just stop stressing”

– No. Just, no. First of all, that’s way easier said than done. The more intense the treatments, the higher the stress. I mean, you have to not only repeatedly poke yourself with needles (or be poked by other people), but you legitimately time certain injections down to the minute. Any delay, even by 30 minutes, can be catastrophic. So yeah, it’s stressful. However, not the cause of the infertility in the first place. Second of all, we play the self blame game enough as it is. This reminds us that there’s something more we could be doing when in reality, there’s probably not.



2. “You’ll get pregnant if you adopt”

– First, I know this sounds crazy, but adoption isn’t right for every family. Not only that, but it’s a very long and difficult process that is very costly. In fact, it’s no less stressful or less of an emotional roller coaster than infertility treatments. In some cases, it’s probably more stressful. So, just because your cousin’s boyfriend’s sister’s mom got pregnant after she adopted, doesn’t mean that’s how it works every time.



3. “Just have fun ;)”/”Trying to get pregnant is the fun part”

– I’ll combine these two. For starters, it’s “fun” in the beginning when you’re starting out. Then you start tracking ovulation because fun isn’t working. Then it’s not so fun anymore. If you think trying is the fun part, clearly you’ve never tried and failed to get pregnant.



4. “Just get drunk”

– Tried it. Still not pregnant.



5. “Have you tried _______?”

-Yes.


6. “Maybe it’s not meant to be.”

– For a million reasons I don’t have room enough to list, just don’t say this to anyone. Ever.



7. “But you’re young, you have time.”

-I have severe damage to my reproductive system that actually gets increasingly worse as time goes on so no, I really don’t have time.



8. “Try (insert random sex position) or putting your legs in the air after sex”

-I’d really prefer not to discuss my sex life in this much detail, but if you must, refer to number 5 for this one.



9. “Maybe you should try losing weight”

-Can we not discuss my weight? I’m painfully aware that PCOS make gaining weight incredibly easy to do, and losing weight near impossible. I stick to a pretty strict diet (with the exception of occasional slip ups) and am a fairly active person, so thanks for that.


10. “Take a vacation!”

-This goes with number one. Also, I’m saving all my pennies for expensive fertility treatments since I have an actual medical condition that prevents me from getting pregnant. You see my problem.


11. “My (insert relationship) had trouble getting pregnant, they did (insert treatment). You should try that”

-To quote a fellow infertility warrior, this isn’t as simple as sharing beauty tips. (See also: number 5)


11. “Take one of mine!” / “My kids will make you change your mind”

– This isn’t Amazon, and I wasn’t looking for a review of motherhood. Please cherish the gifts I so desperately want


12. Anything considered medical advice

– I’ve had the test, I eat the things, I take the meds. Please, please, if there’s not an “MD” after your name, refrain from doling out medical advice 


13. “It’s all in God’s timing”

-Believe me, I know. God and I discuss His timeline allllllll the time. But, in behalf of non believers, please be sensitive that not everyone is a believer and this might actually be more frustrating in those cases.


14. “Wow, I can’t imagine! All my husband had to do was look at me and I was pregnant.”

-Don’t ever respond with this. Literally ever. 


15. Anything about miscarriage

– I’ve never had a miscarriage personally. But I imagine things like “at least you can get pregnant” “it’s for the best” “there must’ve been something wrong with the baby” or “you can just try again” are anything but helpful


16. Anything about “real” children

– In reference to adoption (or egg/sperm donation) the term you’re looking for is “biological.” Those children are real, and those adults are the parents. “Real” parents. Perhaps not biological, but still “real”


17. Referring to IVF successes as “designer babies”

– Stop. Just don’t do that.


18. “You don’t need IVF! God performs miracles every day!”

-That He does. And my baby will be no less of a miracle. In fact, I feel strongly that God is telling me to do ivf. 


19. “It was just a negative pregnancy test”

– I have a less than 2% chance of getting pregnant naturally. While not impossible, it’s extremely unlikely. Doesn’t make it any less disappointing each cycle when I’m still not pregnant


20. “Get a dog! It’s basically the same thing”

– I have four. Not the same.


There you have it! My comprehensive list of things not to say to a woman (or man) experiencing infertility. I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally know that most of you have nothing but good intentions. People don’t know what to say, I get it. But unfortunately, sometimes saying something you think is helpful is actually the opposite. So what can you say?

“I’m thinking about you”

“How can I help support you?”

“I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this”

“I’m here for you”

“Hoping/praying/wishing for your baby, too”

Join us on our battlefield. Lock arms with us. Be there to listen. Give advice only when it’s asked for. Love on us, support us, be there for us. If the person you know struggling with infertility is a person of faith, offer to pray with/for them. If they’re not, you can still offer positive thoughts/vibes. We don’t want or need to feel judged. This journey is hard enough, and we’ll be judged enough when we actually become parents. Just love and support us until we get there.

And, if you can’t find it inside yourself to love and support us on this journey, then simply keeping quiet is best. I can appreciate and respect that not everyone “gets it,” but you know what they say about when you have nothing nice to say…

Hopefully you enjoyed my *attempts* at humor, y’all. Thanks for your continued support!

Until next time,

Mal

Follow the leader

I’ve learned so much in the past few weeks about following the path God is paving for me. It’s funny, you think you’ve got it all figured out. You think your relationship with Him is on fire and couldn’t possibly change or improve. But then He breaks you down in a new and different way. Sure, it hurts. Sure, it’s scary. But it’s also necessary. You need those experiences so that you can go to a whole undiscovered level of Him.  

Everyone always tells me I’m so strong and I totally appreciate that! But if I’m being honest, I still have bad days. I still cry and ask God why I have to wait. I recently had a night where I didn’t think I could do this infertility thing anymore. I didn’t think I could handle the weight of my maternal desires anymore. But then He sent me a dream of my baby girl and I remembered why I have even stuck it through this long in the first place.

One of my absolute favorite songs right now is called “Called Me Higher” by All Sons and Daughters. The song has legitimately been on repeat on my iPhone for weeks now. It speaks to me so deeply and profoundly. In fact, we sang it in church a few weeks back and I wish I could describe the presence of the Holy Spirit around me in those moments. Wow. The lyrics I’m really feeling connected with right now are these:
And I could hold on

I could hold on to who I am and never let You

Change me from the inside

And I could be safe

I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home

Never let these walls down


But You have called me higher

You have called me deeper

And I’ll go where You will lead me Lord

“I’ll go where you will lead me, Lord.” Profound. Infertility is hard. Life is hard. I could have chosen to let these trials drag me down. Sometimes, I actually did. I could’ve been comfortable just simply believing in God and believing that He’d eventually give us our baby. But He called me higher than that! I had to know and trust that where He was, and is, calling me was is going to be more amazing than I could even imagine. It really is as simple as a game of follow the leader. He stuck his hand out to me, and I took it. The Lord wasn’t satisfied with idleness, and frankly, neither was I. 

Since I finally surrendered this journey to Him in July, I’ve seen a major shift in my relationship with The Father. He’s always around me, always talking to me, always directing my steps. I mean.. honestly. He’s doing some crazy stuff. Y’all, I’ve always dreamt of the medical field. Anyone who knows me, knows that about me. But a few months ago, I felt Him call me to ministry. Specifically in the realm of infertility. I actually had one friend mention this to me without me ever sharing that with her. Ministry!? Not in the form of becoming a pastor (I don’t think), but definitely being an example and a light for women who know this hurt. What??? But God, ministry wasn’t in my plan. 

Then again, neither was infertility.

 

“In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord. “If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,” says your God.” -Isaiah 66:9

God never intended for me, or any of us for that matter, to suffer for no reason. There is always a story to be told. Whether you’re experiencing a death or loss, whether you’re experiencing a divorce, illness, job loss, infertility, etc. The Lord is always for us. When these things come along, it’s to shape our testimony and prepare us to go out into the world and share the good news of victory. He makes beauty from ashes. Even the most devastating and tragic events will be something beautiful in the end. I may be waiting for my sweet miracle, but Jesus Christ bought and paid for this struggle when He died on the cross. He paid for yours, too. The battle is already won! He has called you and I higher than our pain, higher than our struggles, and higher than idleness. He has called us into action! Don’t just sit and wallow in that pain. It hurts, and the last thing you want to do is to keep going. It may even feel like you can’t keep going. But I promise you, He’s got so much up ahead. You’ve just got Trust that He’s called you to it.

I refuse to sit back and be quiet. I refuse to let this struggle be for nothing. I refuse to not celebrate the victory that I know is coming. I refuse because He chose me. He called me. And buddy, I’m going. Why? Because He’s never failed me yet.

Have the most blessed day,

Mal

Dear Joshua

My sweet husband,

Where do I even begin? I guess I’ll start by telling you I love you. I know you know this, but this is just your daily reminder. Let me tell you why.

I love you because you take care of me. Whether I’m sick, emotional, or facing some sort of problem, you’re always there to make sure I’m taken care of. I love you because you support me. Whatever crazy ideas or endeavors I come up with, you’re right there to cheer me on. I love you because you’re willing. I ask some crazy and silly things of you sometimes, and generally, you go along with them. You’re willing to do things, even outside of your comfort zone, simply because I ask you to. I love you because of your sense of humor. I couldn’t even begin to count the times we’ve sat and laughed until we cried with each other. I love your paternal instincts. I completely and utterly melt anytime I watch you interact with children, especially our nephew. These tiny glimpses at the kind of father you’ll be are exactly why I fight so hard to make you one. I love your passion. Whenever you do something, you do it 110%. You’re driven and hard-working, and I’m so inspired by it. I love you, because you’re you. The Lord designed you perfectly for me in His image, and I’m so grateful for that.

I know this infertility thing isn’t easy. It’s changed the both of us. Mostly for the better. We both have grown exponentially in our relationships with the Lord. But it’s changed us in other ways, too. Like the way the corners of your mouth now turn downward when you hear the news of the pregnancy of someone we know. I don’t know when we will get to announce our own pregnancy, or when our journey will be over. What I do know, is that I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else.

One day I’m going to watch you become a father. I’m going to see joy spread across your face as you lay eyes on our child for the very first time. I’ll watch you gaze into the eyes of a tiny human as you nervously hold them for the first time. I’ll watch you grow into the amazing father I know you’ll be as you learn to bathe, clothe, and care for the child we waited so long for. I’ll get to sit back blissfully and watch you run around the house with a squealing toddler. I’ll watch anxiously as you teach our children to ride their bikes. I’ll sit nervously with you when our children leave for college. I’ll celebrate with you when they each get married. And I’ll rejoice with you the day we become grandparents.

Until then, we just have to wait. Impatiently, faithfully, and prayerfully. I know we will receive our blessing. I know this, because the Lord has told me we will. When that day finally comes, I don’t know that anything else will top that. So even when things are tough and I’m falling apart, I’ll lean on you because you’re my rock and you get me through those times. When things are exciting, I will celebrate and rejoice with you as we praise God for the blessings he’s given us. Above all, I will continue to love you as your wife and your best friend because that’s my current role, and one that I love to fill.

Thanks for waiting with me,

Your wife

An Open Letter to my Pregnant Friend

My sweet, sweet friend,

You probably don’t realize this, and probably never will, but what you’ve done has had a profound impact on my life and our friendship. You have shown me such respect and love, and for that, I cannot thank you enough.

Pregnancy announcements are hard sometimes, and you knew that. That’s why you took the time to carefully share the news of your own pregnancy with me. I know it was shared carefully and thoughtfully because it took you 21 minutes to reply to me after you said you had news. For 21 minutes I watched the little grey dots appear and disappear from my screen as you typed and retyped your message. Truthfully, I knew what you were going to say before you said it. But yet, I waited. 

You gently and eloquently delivered news you knew could be a crushing blow to my emotions. You stated that you didn’t want me to distance myself. You acknowledged my infertility and my journey. You selflessly put my feelings before your own. You are the very definition of the kind of person I want supporting me during this wait.

I don’t think the sadness ever goes away for myself. The disappointment as I wait my turn in the never ending line outside the gates of motherhood. But thankfully I’ve learned through my surrendering of my journey to God, that babies are all meant to be celebrated. I will want my precious baby to be celebrated. I would be doing you an injustice as your friend to not give you the same love and support as I will want from you. Your baby is a miracle, a gift from the Lord, and I cannot wait to celebrate this new life with you!

God has used you in many ways in my life, but this has to be one of my favorites. The tenderness and kindness you exhibited are breathtaking. It may not seem like a big deal to most, but for me, it was everything. You respected me as your friend and as a mama in the making to make this announcement personal and sensitive. You, my friend, are a blessing in my life. Thank you for respecting me. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for acknowledging my journey. Thank you for loving and supporting me. But most of all, thanks for simply being you.

All my love,

Mal

Obedience: Not just for the dog

So I’ve had writer’s block since my last post. I couldn’t think of what I wanted to write about, even with lots of prayer about it. Even now, I’m kind of unsure where this post is going to go. Let’s find out together, shall we?

In the days and weeks since I finally surrendered to God and handed the reins back to Him, my life has improved immensely. My spirit is lighter and brighter. My smile is bigger and the most genuine it’s been in a long time. Shoot, my worship has even changed! I started letting my hands drift outward during worship at church a few weeks ago, but today my hand went straight. in. the. air. I was getting it! I’m completely certain that this has everything to do with the fact that the Holy Spirit and I are totally in sync these days. Are you ready for this, y’all? 

This past week, I was laying in bed, and Holy Spirit whispered a name in my ear. Very specifically He mentioned the name of a girl I only knew because she is engaged to a guy I went to high school with. She went through an absolutely devastating loss earlier this year (which I knew about via Facebook) and you know what I was instructed to do? Message her. Y’all, I didn’t even know this girl. Did you hear me!? I said I didn’t even know her. And yet, He said to reach out. Hesitantly I did. I gave her the instruction to hand her pain over to God. To surrender all that hurt and brokenness to Him because He wants to restore her. WHAT!? Luckily, she received that instead of thinking I was a lunatic. Of course, my fear was of the flesh because He already knew she needed that message. She even told me she did! I can’t make this stuff up, friends. When the Lord says go, you go. 

We all know the saying “actions speak louder than words.” But did you know that saying works with God, too? Acts of faith and being obedient are part of being in an intimate relationship with Him. I mean, hello!? He is our Father. Part of trusting Him and His plan is obeying His instructions, even when they seem questionable. He will literally never lead you astray. He promises us that. And if I know anything about the Father, it’s that He never breaks a promise. 

Acts of faith are just as important. Remember last blog post when I talked about speaking life over yourself? How everyone who asks, receives? Well, acts of faith are an extension of that. Believing for a job at a Fortune 500 company? Go buy yourself a suit to wear to your first day on the job. Believing for the offer to get accepted on that house? Go buy your welcome mat. Or, if you’re me, you’re believing for the miracle baby girl that God has promised you and you’re starting to clean out your current guest room so you and your husband can paint it pink. Some might call me crazy, but if I turn out to be wrong and we have a boy, at least the nursery was already cleared out and we can always paint it blue. Buuuuuut, I don’t forsee that happening.

When you’re obedient and faithful to Him, He will bless you in ways you never imagined. He loves to spoil us! So, show Him you’re open to receiving His blessings. It might be intimidating, but you’ll never look back, I promise!

Wishing you blessings,

Mallory

Ask, Believe, Receive

Let me tell you, I’ve started and restarted this post approximately 4,000 times. I know what I want to say, but I can’t seem to get it out effectively. Let’s see if attempt 4,001 is a success.

I was inspired by two totally incredible people this week to write this. This post is actually something I posted about on my personal Instagram back in March (photo below). 

Special shout out to Caroline, the creator of our infertility support group, Moms in the Making and author of the devotional and blog In Due Time. She talked about this a few days ago in the group.

The second person is a guy I just virtually became acquainted with via Facebook after I shared a powerful message he gave. You can find a link to that here.

So, what’s this mystery subject I’m alluding to? Well, I’d be happy to share. Hold on to your seats, folks. It’s a big one.


This subject came to me months ago when a friend suggested I watch a Netflix documentary called “The Secret.” The documentary talks about the law of attraction and that if you want something, you have to speak it to life. The documentary refers to “the universe,” so I wanted to see what The Word had to say for me as a believer. What I found was that it actually lined up quite well. 

In short, Matthew 21:22 says, if you pray for it intentionally and believe you’ll receive this blessing, you will. I talk a little more in the caption about what this means. To go even further, I also looked at Matthew 7:7-8. It says:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Wow. It doesn’t get much more plain or simple than that. Our words literally have the power of life and death over our situations. What does this mean?

Well, it’s all about wording. Caroline gave a great example. You can say “I am infertile.” Which, by the way, is speaking death over your situation. OR, you can say “We are believing for a miracle, and we just haven’t received it yet.” THIS is speaking life over your situation. 

Essentially, when you speak with purpose and confidence that you will receive your blessing (a baby, money, a new job, a new house, healing, etc), you speak it into reality. But when you listen to Satan’s lies and you speak death over yourself and your situation, that’s what you bring into your life.

Don’t believe me? Tell me, when you have a goal and you are motivated and determined to meet it, how often do you achieve that goal? Most times, right? What about when you have a goal but you say “I could never reach it”? 

To push this further, let me touch on Vaughn’s message. He makes an excellent point. Why do we focus on our problems instead of focusing on the One who has already promised to provide a solution? Why did I waste so much time focusing on the mountain of infertility I faced before I realized I needed to turn to the Father, who has conquered the world and promises me redemption? God crumbles mountains! What seems impossible to us is minuscule in comparison to God’s power. Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing! 

One of my favorite worship songs right now says “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” A-stinkin-MEN! I don’t have to live a life of fear, of what ifs, or of pain because I have JESUS! Jesus came, died, and rose again to set me free from the fear of the unknown. He gave us the freedom and the power to speak LIFE over ourselves and our situations because what makes us happy makes Him happy.

Speak life over yourself! You only need faith the size of a mustard seed to see that your Mountain can be moved. All you have to do is tell it to.

You can do this,

Mallory