Always Choose Hope

This upcoming Tuesday is my 29th birthday. Here is a picture my husband took of me one year ago on my 28th birthday:


I’m sure you can easily guess what I wished for. When I blew out that candle one year ago, I wished that I could become pregnant with a healthy baby. Never since my childhood days had I wished so hard for anything. I was eating at one of my favorite restaurants downtown with my husband and my mom. The waitstaff came out singing, and, much to my chagrin, the air conditioner blew out the candle before I got to make a wish. When they finished singing, they began to walk away. I motioned the waiter back over to our table. I asked him to relight the candle so I could make a wish. Matt asked if I was kidding, my mom shook her head and the waiter looked at me like I was crazy. He happily obliged, though.

You see in past years I wouldn’t have thought twice about asking anyone to relight a candle. Not in my adult years at least. I usually didn’t put too much stock in wishes and absentmindedly wished for something general like good health for my family.

Last December, however, we were in the middle of the infertility roller coaster and things were looking bleak. I was back on birth control recovering from Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome with an estrogen level I probably should have been hospitalized for, a multitude of giant cysts covering my ovaries and a uterine lining that was just about destroyed.

It was the month my doctor all but washed her hands of me, told me she thought my chances of conceiving a baby were slim to none and didn’t offer any solutions. I was broken and devastated. I cried hysterically, I got mad, I questioned God and I moped around. Each new pregnancy announcement felt like a knife in my heart. I let myself feel a full range of emotions. Then I realized that even when I thought I was losing my sanity, there was one thing I never lost: hope.

I made a conscious decision to have hope. Being a mom had always been my heart’s desire, and I wasn’t going to let anyone shatter that dream for me. I had already experienced a lot of difficulty and numerous roadblocks. I knew there would be many more in my future, but that wasn’t any reason to give up. I had to change courses and I had to have hope.

When you’re coasting through the good times in your life, you don’t put too much stock into things like wishing on birthday candles and praying with prayer relics. When you’re in the trenches, though, those things become so important to you. They’re signs of hope, and hope is all you have.

So even though the air conditioner had blown out my candle (and my doctor had dashed my dreams), I didn’t give up. I got the waiter to relight that damn candle, I wished with all of my might, I changed courses, I got a new doctor and I made a new plan.

The road still wasn’t easy. We had a lot of setbacks and felt a lot of pain along the way, but my wish came true. One year later, my beautiful little angel is growing inside of me.

I’m sharing this story for all of you who are still in the trenches. Maybe you’re wishing for a baby this year or maybe you’re wishing for your dream job or maybe you’re wishing for something else altogether. Maybe today is the lowest point along your journey, just like my December of 2014. Maybe everyone is telling you that your dream is impossible and it can’t be accomplished. You might even be starting to believe them.

Scream. Cry. Get pissed. You deserve to feel all of those things. But DON’T lose hope. I don’t care if one person or one million people have told you no, it’s impossible, it can’t be done, you are out of options, quit trying. I’m telling you: find another way. Light that candle, make a wish and choose to have hope. Eliminate the people from your life who don’t believe in you and aren’t helping you move forward towards that goal. Find another doctor, find another boss, find another avenue to pursue your heart’s desire. The only person who can ever truly stop you is yourself.

I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m not even saying your end result will be the exact end result you imagined or the path will unfold the way you once planned. God might have an even better plan in store for you than the one you have for yourself. What I am saying is that God won’t put a desire in your heart without helping you fulfill it in some way, shape or form. If the things you’ve tried in the past haven’t worked, try something else. There are many different ways to arrive at the same destination. Most importantly: always choose hope. Miracles happen every day.


With love,

Praying to be Mommy

Weekly Check-up

Hi, friends! I hope you’re all having a great week. I went to the doctor today for my first visit since the positive blood test. I had to get repeat blood work to make sure my hCG level was doubling and a blood flow study to ensure my arteries were pumping an adequate blood supply to my uterus. Additionally, they were going to perform an ultrasound today to see if they could see the gestational sacs. Since I’m only 4 weeks and 4 days pregnant, they told us it was highly unlikely we would be able to see the sacs yet. We hoped we could, though, because that would tell us if we are going to have one baby or two. I was excited about the possibility of finding out so soon, but that didn’t matter all that much to me. Most importantly, I wanted to hear that my levels had risen appropriately and my blood flow looked good.

I got my blood drawn and then started off with an ultrasound. The tech told us it was too soon to see the sacs. I think Matt was a little disappointed, but I was more focused on the task at hand. Tell me that baby or those babies are healthy! Then it was on to the blood flow ultrasound. They checked my blood flow laying down and standing up. As it turns out, my arteries are doing a great job of pumping a nice blood supply to the uterus. Alleluia!

Once that was finished, we waited for an hour until the blood tests came back. I was so nervous! What if the levels hadn’t doubled? What if something was wrong? After what seemed like an eternity, the doctor called me into his office. My original hCG level last Friday (7 days post transfer) was 49. The hCG level only needed to reach 200 today to indicate a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby or babies. I prayed he would tell me the level was 200, but he didn’t. IT WAS ACTUALLY 465!!! Such amazing news! God just keeps blessing us at every turn.

My estrogen and progesterone levels were also right where they were supposed to be (FINALLY!). So, I can stop taking the daily injections and switch to cream and pills. I just can’t comprehend all of this good news. We are so blessed and all the glory goes to God for every positive thing that has happened to us.

The outpouring of love and support from family and friends has been almost impossible to digest. This baby or these babies are so incredibly loved already. Thank you to each and every person who has called, texted, prayed, come to visit, mailed us cards and gifts or reached out in any way. We are eternally grateful. My heart is still overflowing with joy, and I can’t believe this is real.

For the first few days it hadn’t sunk in at all. It’s finally starting to sink in, though, because I have been experiencing a lot of morning sickness, migraines, fatigue and food aversions. I feel like I am starving and then as soon the food is in front of me, I can’t even look at it and start gagging. The cool thing about going through infertility, though, is that even when your head is hanging in the toilet bowl, you have a smile on your face. I will gladly be sick every day until delivery if it means I get to hold my precious baby in my arms.

I am going back next Thursday for another ultrasound. The doctor said they will definitely be able to see how many babies are growing inside of me then, so I’ll keep y’all posted. Matt thinks it’s twins and I go back and forth daily between 1 and 2.

I want to share one more thing that is very personal. The day I found out my first fertility treatment didn’t work was the absolute lowest point I hit throughout my journey. I was so confident that it was going to be successful. When it wasn’t, I was shattered. I sobbed for an entire day straight and just didn’t know if I could pick myself up and keep going. It was probably the saddest I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I looked in the mirror, and I saw such a void of happiness in my eyes. It scared me, and the last thing I wanted to do was take a picture. I decided that I needed to take one, though, because one day I would come out on the other side. I could take a picture the day I found out I was pregnant and put these pictures side by side to see just how far I had come. Here is that side by side comparison for you:


I’m not sharing this because I think it’s a cute picture. I’m well aware of the fact that it’s probably the worst picture I’ve ever taken. The reason I’m sharing is because I want to inspire all of you who are still struggling with infertility or any other issue in your life. Maybe you have hit rock bottom and you feel like nothing will ever go your way again. It will. As Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” You might look and feel like the picture on the left today, and that’s ok. But I promise you, one day you will be the girl on the right. Keep trying, keep dreaming and keep your faith in God. Sending love and light to each of you! ❤

Soon to be Mommy


I am sitting here still in complete disbelief as I share the news with you that I AM PREGNANT! I still can’t believe it. I can’t process it. I can’t believe it’s real! Here’s how it all went down…

Last Friday (June 5th), the doctor transferred 2 of our embryos into my uterus. I was on strict bed rest for the entire weekend. I could only get up to use the potty. I have to give a huge shout out to my mom, who kept me at her house and took incredible care of me all weekend while Matt was working. She fixed me meals and snacks, gave me my shots, took care of my dogs and hand delivered any and everything to the couch to make sure I didn’t have to move an inch. She is an outstanding role model for me, and I hope I can be even half the mom she is. With her loving care and attention, the weekend flew by.

By the time I came back home and Monday rolled around, the anxiety started creeping in. I wanted to take a home test, but I knew I couldn’t. The trigger shot (which contains the pregnancy hormone and can produce a false positive) was still in my system. I started googling what the embryos should be doing day by day and what, if any, symptoms I should be experiencing. Doubt started to creep in because I didn’t feel any different. I started to wonder how I would handle it if we got bad news. I didn’t think I could take it. If this didn’t work after everything we’ve been through, I honestly wasn’t sure I could handle another blow of that magnitude. My mind started to race and I went to afternoon Mass to calm myself down. I left Mass with a renewed sense of faith that I could handle the outcome, whatever it may be. I had definitely lost confidence, though.

When you go through fertility treatments month after month and you never get good news, you start to become a little jaded. It’s not that you want to be negative. It’s just that you feel like you have to protect yourself. I decided that I would remain cautiously optimistic. I went to the drug store and bought a box (ok, 3 boxes) of pregnancy tests. My doctor advised me not to use home tests, because they only detect such a high level of hCG that I was highly unlikely to get a positive before my blood test. Of course I didn’t listen. I have peed on hundreds, if not thousands, of tests throughout our journey. Matt jokes that he wishes he had bought stock in First Response as soon as we started trying to conceive.

Tuesday morning I woke up and used my first home test. I was relieved to see it was negative, because that meant the trigger shot had left my body. Now it was game time, and I knew I could test away!


Tests, tests and more tests!

Wednesday morning I woke up and used my second home test around 5a.m. It was negative, so I went back to sleep for a bit. When I woke up for the day, I took a closer look at it. After holding it in numerous different lights, I noticed that there was the faintest, tiniest semblance of a shadow of a second line. I ran in the other room and showed it to Matt. He told me I was crazy and that it was probably an evaporation line. I was indignant. I have taken more pregnancy tests than just about anyone in the world, and I have NEVER EVER EVER even seen a hint of a second line. I tried not to get my hopes up. It was a “squinter” for sure, but it was there. I went about my day with an added spring in my step.

Thursday morning I woke up and took another test. The line was still faint, but it was undeniable at this point. The tears started flowing and just wouldn’t stop. I danced all over the house, laughed, cried and felt the craziest rush of emotions I have ever felt. My doctor usually performs the blood test 9 days after the transfer. In my case, 9 days post transfer fell on a Sunday (of course). He said he could do the blood test Friday but very few patients get a positive result that soon. So, we originally opted to do the blood test Monday. After I saw that second line Thursday, though, I changed my mind and re-scheduled the blood test for the next morning at 8a.m.

Friday morning I woke up and took another home pregnancy test. The second line was even darker! I tried to contain my excitement as I drove over to the doctor’s office. The nurse called me back and explained that it was extremely rare for a positive blood test to show up this soon. She was trying to manage my expectations. That’s when I hit her with the news that I hadn’t followed their advice and I had been taking home tests and getting positives. She assured me that if it was already showing up on home tests, it would ABSOLUTELY show up on the blood work. She congratulated me and hugged me, the receptionist hugged me, the phlebotomist hugged me and we basically had a party in the hall. The tears flowed down my face, and my heart felt so full to know that they were THAT happy for me. They have seen me through my worst times. I have walked out of the office in tears on numerous occasions, but happy tears were definitely something new!

I still felt like I had to hear the results of the blood work to believe it. Maybe the tests were errors. This was just too good to be true. I got my blood drawn and made a quick trip to Target to pass the time. I drove home and walked in the house at the exact moment the phone rang. It was my nurse. Not only was the test positive, but the level was fairly high. We either have 1 very healthy baby on our hands or twins! Cue the waterworks!

Matt had just walked in from working overnight and I got to tell him he was officially going to be a Daddy. He was exhausted but elated. No rest for him! We were off to tell my mom and his parents the good news. They were over the moon. We came home, and he finally got a nap. We spent the rest of the day calling and texting family and friends with the incredible news. Last night, my aunts were eating at my mom’s house, so I showed up with baby carriage and pacifier balloons. They started crying.


Holding the balloons with my mom!

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. The weight of the world is lifted off my shoulders, and everything is just a little sweeter. I can’t explain the joy I feel in my heart. I can’t wipe this silly smile off of my face. There is at least one little angel living inside of me. How did I get so lucky?

There were lots of days when I never thought I would get to experience this. Days I never thought I would get to feel the joy of pregnancy and I thought the prospect of us having a child was just impossible. I’m living proof that no matter how bad your conditions are, no matter how impossible things seem, no matter how many valleys you go through and setbacks you experience, and no matter how many times the answer is “no,” there will come a day when the answer will be “yes.” In the blink of an eye, God can turn it all around. If you follow this blog because you’re struggling with infertility or even if you’re dealing with an unrelated issue in your life, I’m here to tell you: DON’T GIVE UP. DON’T LOSE HOPE. DON’T EVER ACCEPT DEFEAT. It may take a long time. It’s taken a lot of people a hell of a lot longer than it’s taken me, but you WILL get your miracle. And when you do, your heart will be so full with joy that all of the hurt from the past will melt away. The sun will shine brightly again. Brighter than it ever has before, in fact. The light will come at the end of the tunnel. You’ll see the rainbow after the storm. Keep dreaming. Keep praying. Most importantly, keep your faith in God. Nothing is impossible when He is on your side.

I want to thank each and every one of you for reading my blog. You have given me a purpose and kept me focused on the good days and the bad. In you I have found an outlet, a support system, an army of prayers and a network of friends. You have been an invaluable part of my life, and there’s just no way I could possibly thank you enough. I will continue to write and chronicle my pregnancy for those who are interested. If you’re going through infertility and it’s too difficult to see pregnancy updates, I completely understand that too. I’ve been there.

Please continue to keep my ever growing little family in your prayers. I go back to the doctor Thursday for repeat blood work to make sure my numbers are doubling every few days, a blood flow ultrasound to make sure my arteries are pumping an adequate blood supply to my uterus and an ultrasound to hopefully see if we have one little Pipplet in there or 2.

Again, thank you. I am the most blessed woman on Earth. When I first started this blog, I didn’t know if even one person would read it. The fact that so many of you read and care so deeply is something for which I will never be able to convey my sincere gratitude. Because of you, I am no longer Praying to be Mommy but Soon to be Mommy. 🙂

The Waiting Game


Hi friends! I know I’ve been MIA since my transfer last Friday, but there hasn’t been much to report. It’s all just a waiting game now and I’m left feeling like Sweet Brown…Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That. I will go to the doctor on Monday, June 15th for my beta hCG blood test to find out if I’m pregnant or not. I’m trying to keep myself occupied, but the wait is driving me a little crazy.


Today we are 4 days post transfer, so the embryos should really be getting to work and getting their implant on. I have done everything I can think of to encourage them to do so. First of all, I’ve been playing a lot of Justin Timberlake for them. My children have no choice but to like him, so I want to get them started early. We’ve already made it through 3 of his albums.

I’ve also been looking for signs everywhere. Y’all know how I am about my signs. Matt and I ate Chinese food and I got this fortune:


I was elated! The doctor told me I can start testing at home over the weekend but probably won’t get a positive until Monday. The answer to our all important question was revealed by a fortune cookie! We will find out this weekend that I’m pregnant! I know, I’m crazy. Everyone I have shown this to so far has either laughed, shaken their head or done a combination of the two. What do you think…generic fortune cookie insert or message from above? 🙂

Also, someone messaged me to recommend positive visualization of embryos implanting by a specific spoken word artist. I tried to listen to those yesterday, but Matt told me to “turn that hippy sh** off.” I listened to them this afternoon while he was gone, and they were quite enlightening. I learned that my uterus is smooth and supple. A little bit out there, but hey whatever works.

I’ve also been using the relics and oils people have given me throughout our ongoing battle with infertility. My favorite saint to pray to is St. Gerard Majella. He is the patron saint of infertility as well as expectant mothers. I wear his medal around my neck every day. You won’t catch me without it. Holding onto it is the only thing that has gotten me through some of my toughest doctor appointments. He was with me the day I thought I was going to lose an ovary, and he has been with me at every appointment since. I also have a small piece of cloth that was touched to one of his relics that I like to rub on my belly.

Another person I like to pray to is Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. He was from my hometown of New Orleans and is credited with numerous miracles. Pope John Paul II proclaimed him Blessed in 2000, and he is just one miracle away from becoming a saint. I was lucky enough to visit his shrine with my friends Mrs. Betty and Brittanie and get blessed with his relic and the cross he used to pray with. When I went to the shrine, I was at an ultimate low. We kept getting setback after setback and weren’t even able to proceed with treatment. Shortly thereafter, things started looking up and we were able to start our treatments. I don’t believe in coincidences, only miracles. I keep a cross and a piece of cloth that were touched to Father Seelos’ relics on my nightstand, and I have been rubbing those on my belly every night too. If you ever get a chance to visit the shrine in New Orleans, you should! It is beautiful. You can read more about Father Seelos here:

Another thing I like to rub on my belly is holy oil from the Basilica of Sainte Anne de Beaupré in Quebec, Canada. The shrine was built in honor of St. Anne, who was the mother of Mary. It has been credited with countless miracles of healing. I haven’t made my way to Canada yet, but a close family friend who suffered with infertility brought me a bottle of the oil. He and his wife conceived a month after visiting the shrine after years of exploring every option available.

The funny thing about going through something like this is that everyone you meet offers different solutions that have worked for them. I can honestly say I have tried them all. I won’t be able to credit a particular saint for interceding when our little miracle comes along because I have called on so many. Instead, I will give credit to each and every person who has offered help and prayers along the way.

I’ve read that when you go through your darkest times, that’s when you flex and strengthen your spiritual muscle the most and that’s when your faith grows by leaps and bounds. It’s absolutely true. When things are going well in your life, it’s easy to forget to stop and thank God. But when you struggle and you suffer and you fail to understand, faith is the only thing that pulls you through.

Of course I always wish our path to parenthood could have been easier and we could have conceived with little to no effort like most people. But that wasn’t God’s plan for us. God chose us to be the 1 in 8 couples who have to struggle and fight a little harder. I’m thankful for the growth I’ve experienced in my faith and my relationship with God throughout this process.

Please pray the test is positive Monday and that I can have a healthy pregnancy. If It’s negative, I can honestly tell you I will be devastated beyond belief. I know God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers, though, and I will keep fighting the good fight either way. I promise to update as soon as I know something and have shared the results with family and close friends. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for every single prayer and positive thought you have sent our way.

Plot Twist

plot twist

OK, good news first. I had 40, count them 40, follicles show up on ultrasound today. Many of them are already mature, so egg retrieval surgery is scheduled for this Sunday. Phew!! I am so miserable. I have spent the entire day dry heaving, and every time I take a step my ovaries bounce up and down like beach balls. I’m also on day 7 of the migraine from hell, which is worsening by the moment. I am in a state of discomfort I can’t even explain. I told my doctor to GET THESE OUT OF ME. He just laughed and told me he will take them out on Sunday.

Now for the bad news. Based on the fact that I now have 40 eggs, the doctor diagnosed me with PCOS this morning. In case you are keeping track, I now have Stage IV Endometriosis, a history of OHSS, escalated hormone levels, a hostile environment and PCOS. Based on the combination of all of these elements, my doctor firmly believes the quality of many of my eggs will be very poor.

Things are starting to make a little more sense now. Poor egg quality may be the reason I didn’t get pregnant with my last IUI when I had 9 eggs. That being said, he thinks my odds of success are now slim to none if I limit fertilization.

If you’ve been reading since the beginning, you know that my husband and I are not comfortable having any embryos left over because we believe life begins at conception. For this reason, we were only going to allow him to fertilize 3 eggs. Originally, he said we were looking at a 2 out of 3 fertilization rate, which would leave us with 2 fertilized eggs. Of those 2 eggs, he said statistically 50% would grow into usable embryos. Worst case scenario, this would leave us with 1 embryo to implant. Best case scenario, we would be thrilled with triplets.

That has been our plan all along. But once again, when we make a plan God laughs. Armed with the knowledge of this new diagnosis, my doctor is convinced that if we limit fertilization we will end up with NOTHING. We simply can’t bear the thought of going through all of this and wiping out our savings and not even ending up with 1 embryo to attempt pregnancy with.

He feels that if we allow him to fertilize all 24 mature eggs, we will be lucky to end up with 3 to 4 embryos at most. This would be perfect. It will probably take 3 to 4 embryos to eventually end up with our ideal family, as not all embryos turn into successful pregnancies.

On the flip side, there’s always the possibility that things will go better than expected and we will still have embryos left over after our family is complete. We were originally uncomfortable with donation but have changed our minds. After going through this process, we truly feel that any couple who wants a baby as much as we do deserves a chance to have one. If God blesses us with more embryos than we need, He must have plans for those embryos.

So we have decided to go big or go home. I know some of you might have mixed feelings about our decision. It might seem like we are abandoning the beliefs I pledged to stay so true to at the beginning of all of this. I have struggled with it myself. I honestly feel, though, that we aren’t abandoning our beliefs. No embryos will be destroyed or left frozen indefinitely. The only thing that changes is that if we are lucky enough, we will be able to bless a childless couple with a chance to fulfill their dream.

We do have one stipulation. We would send leftover embryos to another state across the country to be donated. For those of you who aren’t from New Orleans, let me start out by saying it is the smallest big city in the world. No one ever leaves, everyone is interconnected and there are MAX 2 degrees of separation from any stranger you meet on the street. If we donate the embryos at our local clinic, we worry that our kids could end up in the same high school class as their biological brothers or sisters, or even worse, date them! I also don’t want to run the risk of going to Target and seeing a baby that looks just like mine and constantly wondering. So it’s best if we send them out of state. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a crazy person who over thinks every situation and plays out all the scenarios in my head. Pray for Matt 🙂

All kidding aside, please pray for us in the home stretch of this journey. My estrogen level continues to rise and the doctor is still concerned about the possibility of OHSS. He said he will not decide until 4 days after retrieval if we will be able to transfer the embryos back into me on the 5th day or freeze them until my body gets back to normal. There are so many balls up in the air and I’m just hoping we can keep them all up long enough and make the right decisions. Luckily, I know God is guiding us every step of the way, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

You Gotta Have Faith


“In this world you will have trouble. Take heart; I have overcome the world.”

This was part of the reading at Mass today and it really spoke to me and gave me a renewed sense of faith. I felt inspired to pass it along in hopes that it might help someone else.

I am a chronic worrier. I tend to plan every aspect of my life. That worked out pretty well for me up until this whole infertility thing shook my world. When I was younger, I often heard adults say, “When you make a plan, God laughs.” I feel like I finally understand what they were talking about.

It’s so hard when things don’t go according to our plan. I read somewhere that the thing that messes us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s all supposed to be. When I think back on some of the things I wanted and the plans I had for myself 5 or 10 years ago, it’s plain to see that God knew better than I did. No matter how many times I’ve learned that lesson, though, it’s something that I have to remind myself of daily.

I’m not going to lie. It makes me angry sometimes when people hear about my experiences and reply with the all too cliche, “Well Katie, everything happens for a reason.” I usually just smile politely and change the topic, but I often wonder what the reason could be. Maybe this is God’s way of teaching me patience or God’s way of teaching me to trust in His plan.

The truth of the matter is, we don’t always know why bad things happen. Sometimes the reasons become clear down the line and sometimes they don’t. All we can do for now is trust and have faith that the plan God has for us is way better than any plan we could ever have for ourselves. No problem is too big for God and there’s no prayer He can’t answer. In this world we will have trouble, but take heart. He has overcome the world.