My story of loss and secondary infertility

I want to preface this post by saying that I am in no way comparing my infertility experience with anyone else’s. I definitely know how blessed we are to have our children and have two pregnancies without experiencing infertility. I have watched, first hand, friends and family who have struggled with infertility for too many years. I have watched the emotional, mental and physical toll it has taken on each of them, and although my heart breaks for them, I do not know what that must feel like.

This is my story.

After conceiving our first two children by a little planning, sprinkled by a bit of bad math, it came as a shock to my husband, Mike and I when we experienced secondary infertility and two early miscarriages, when we tried for our third child.

Rewind almost four years from today. I had been taking a much-needed break from being pregnant. We had a beautiful boy and a beautiful little girl, just 20 months apart. Although I was starting to feel like we were emerging from the darkness, we had been through a lot of stress during our first three years as parents going through a language delay with our son.

We had always planned on having more than two kids, but at that point, I wasn’t sure. So instead of throwing in the towel, Mike convinced me to take a break and see. After a couple months I knew our family wasn’t complete. It was January 2013.Beau and Holden

We made plans, and figured, based on our past experience of getting pregnant quickly, we’d be able to set a date and stick to it. Little did I know that I was very wrong.

That first month I did get pregnant. We were over the moon. In typical fashion, I took daily home pregnancy tests at the beginning, and although the second pink line was slightly on the lighter side, we decided to tell our immediate family and kids. It was February 2013.

I can remember clearly, Mike and I walking through the mall and debating if we should buy shirts for our kids that said “big brother” and “big sister” to wear to our families’ homes to surprise them. In the end we didn’t and just blurted out the news. Everyone was so excited, and we all celebrated. I was five weeks pregnant.

The next day, I took another test. The second line was even lighter. Something wasn’t right. Usually by this point the second line would be getting darker. It was in that moment that I knew what was happening.

I told Mike about the ominous light line, and confided in him that I was experiencing cramps. Mike was optimistic and held out hope.

But the next day, it happened. I began the day with light spotting, and told Mike with almost 100% certainty, that I was going to miscarry that day. Again, he was optimistic as he left for work.

I dropped our kids off at daycare and left for work at an interior design firm. Within an hour of arriving at work, I was hit with intense cramps, mostly localized to one side and I began to bleed.

I made up an excuse about stomach pains and left and drove myself to the hospital. I know that the hospital probably wasn’t necessary, but I had a friend who had recently had surgery for an ectopic pregnancy, and I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind.

I called Mike on my way, crying. Then I called my parents, (who were away), and also my mother-in-law. She and Mike met me at the hospital, and we waited, again, them full of optimism, and me without a doubt in my mind, I was losing this baby.

After many tests it was confirmed. I had definitely been pregnant, I was miscarrying, and it was not an ectopic pregnancy. The three of us sat in the private room of the hospital and held each other and cried. We were heartbroken.

The doctor said all of the right things, including telling me she had three kids, but has been pregnant five times and how common miscarriages are. This did make me feel better.

The hardest part was telling our kids. They were two, and almost four at the time. They didn’t really understand. In fact, they seemed to forget and still talk about the new baby for the next few months.

mother and daughter

Mike and I went back to trying, and month after month I convinced myself I was pregnant, but I wasn’t. This constant unknown and disappointment really began messing with my head. I felt like I was in limbo. Stuck.

It was during this time that I made the decision to leave a very stressful job situation and begin my own business. Although the relief of finally working for myself was exactly what I needed, I contribute a lot of the fertility obstacles I was having to the stress from being in a toxic work environment.

Months continued to roll by and by September 2013, another second faint line showed up on a pregnancy test. Mike and I stayed extremely tight-lipped about this pregnancy. Sure enough as the days went by that second line faded to nothing.

By this point we were a lot less optimistic and had closed off our hearts, shielding us from more heartbreak. We quietly mourned again together and then moved on.

It was November 2013 when we decided to reach out for help. We went to a fertility clinic and met with a fertility doctor. He reviewed our history and my case. Although he felt that there was nothing wrong, I was just a bit older and had been through a lot of stress, he still recommended that we explore what was going on. We were instructed to relax and have fun for the remainder of the month, and once I was in my next cycle, they would start to investigate. So we did.

Note: I did not take any fertility medication, or have any procedures done.

There was something about handing our problem to someone else that took a huge weight off of my shoulders. It wasn’t in my hands anymore and that felt great. We went on wine tours with friends and enjoyed life finally.

In early December 2013, I was just getting over a stomach flu, when I felt it come back for round two. Then my period was late. Could I be pregnant? Although I was told not to take at-home pregnancy tests, and wait to be tested at the fertility clinic, I did anyways.

A second dark pink line. I was definitely pregnant.

My pregnancy was confirmed three more times that week at the clinic with blood tests. I was five weeks pregnant, and everything was progressing, as it should. We started to tell my family, and a select few friends, but made the decision to wait until my seven week ultrasound to tell our kids and Mike’s parents, especially because it was set for December 23rd. What a great Christmas gift that would be.

Leading up to my ultrasound, something didn’t feel right. Only this time I didn’t feel like I was losing the baby, instead I felt very pregnant. Compared to my previous pregnancies, I was so sick. I would bring up the idea of multiples to Mike, but then he and I would logically dismiss the idea, knowing that nothing unusual showed up during my five-week blood tests.

So, on December 23rd, I left Mike at home with our kids while I went for my seven-week ultrasound. After getting a little nervous that there wasn’t a heartbeat because my ultrasound technician was so tight lipped, the nurse after informed me that I was having twins. Twins!!!!

Arriving home, I couldn’t get the words out to Mike. I just held two fingers up, while laughing and crying at the same time. It took a little convincing that I wasn’t trying to trick him, and in fact, we were expecting two babies.


It was very fun telling our kids, and then family over Christmas. I always loved the shock on people’s faces. Priceless.

Looking back on our journey of secondary infertility, I feel like it was meant to be all along. The long wait helped me prepare for two, and I feel I have gained empathy for the family and friends who have walked the difficult journey of infertility.

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The Story About My BAD Epidural And Tips On How To Stay In Control While Giving Birth

My bad epiduralDid you know that some epidurals are fabulous and some are a total fail? Yup, I can tell you first hand, because I have had one of each. With my second, Beau, my epidural was magical. In fact, I felt so great the entire time I was in labour, that Mike and I felt like we were on a date, while our toddler was home with Grandma.

But the first time I gave birth, my epidural was spotty. It only worked in some areas and when I spoke up about it, I was too drugged and started throwing up. Watch both footage from my son’s birth, as well as hear the whole story below…

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What’s In A Name? The Story Behind Holden, Beau, Mia And Everly’s Names

Four kidsChoosing a name for your baby is hard. In fact, its a HUGE responsibility, and you basically need to nail it, or else your child is screwed. No pressure though.

A few days ago, I got a message from a reader asking me if I could share the stories behind each of our kids’ names…

“Could you do a post on how you decided on your kids names? They are all so unique and different that I thought it would be fun to hear where you got them from.” -Danielle

I loved this idea! I really do have some great stories behind each of our kids’ names too. So grab your popcorn.Kids dancingLet’s start at the beginning. Holden.HoldenI remember being around 20 months pregnant, sitting in Florida with Mike and family, and flipping through baby name books. It was eventually Mike that came across the name Holden. We had only ever heard “Holden” from the famous book, The Catcher in the Rye. But something about that name stuck.

We were having a hard time deciding between the names Holden and Hayden. We loved both. But it was a co-worker of Mike’s that posed this question: “what if he becomes CEO of a company one day, what name would suit that kind of position of power?” Easy, Holden.

Holden’s name suits him so well. To me, Holden is a strong, serious name, which is a perfect fit for our sweet little rule-follower.

Full name: Holden Michael Venditti

Next in line… Beau.BeauBeau’s name was one that we had ready to go if we were having a girl. I have this tiny obsession with the movie Signs. You know, the one where Aliens invade the planet, but the focus of the movie is on a family living on a farm? The little girl’s name in it is Bo. I absolutely loved that name since the first time I watched SignsSigns

The only problem was the spelling. The female spelling of Beau is actually Bo, like Bo Derek. But we were worried that Beau would get teased at school and be called B.O. – body odour. So, last minute we made the decision to change the spelling to the male version, Beau.

Beau completely suits her name. The only problem is, anytime her name is called from a list, like at a doctor’s office, they think she is a boy. Oh well. You can’t win them all.

Full name: Beau Bianca Venditti

Then came the daunting task of naming two people at once. Twins. Mia and Everly

Shhhhh, Mia and Everly and pretending to sleep in this photo. Pretty convincing, right?

When I was first pregnant with our twins, I was absolutely convinced I was having two boys. So, we went ahead and picked out two boy names: Sawyer (from Lost) and Landon (from A Walk to Remember).

We were completely shocked when we found out that we were having two girls. I could think of lots of girls names I loved. Daisy, Ella, Mila and Maisy, just to name a few. But Mike kept vetoing every one of them. Mike found it so hard naming our girls.

Then I got really stuck on the name Ever. I loved the simplicity of it. But Mike still wasn’t sold. It was when I heard that Channing Tatum mmmmmm…. and Jenna Dewan Tatum named their daughter Everly, that I knew that we had found our name. It was such a beautiful name. Mike was sold immediately although I initially thought I would shorten it to Ever, I never have.



Full name: Everly Mae Venditti

For a long time we thought that the two names would be Everly and Ellie. Have you seen the movie Up? That’s where we got the name Ellie from. But the more we thought about it, the more we wanted them to have very different names.

So, we threw around Mila for a bit, but then we read Mia in a baby name book and it stuck, (this was just before the name Mia exploded in popularity). Mia was simple, (which we love), and pretty.


Full name: Mia Lilian Venditti

How did we decide who got which name? When I was late in my twin pregnancy and we had FINALLY settled on our names, we let Holden decided who would get what name. So, he turned to my belly, and first pointed to the bottom, which he knew was where baby A was, and said “this is Mia.” Then he pointed to my top left, where baby B was camping out in my ribs, and said “and this is Everly.”

So when they were born, and the doctor held the first baby up, we said “that’s Mia” and when the second baby was held up we said “and that’s Everly.”

They each really suit their names perfectly. Good job Holden.

We overall opted for somewhat unique names, and we will probably never find personalized water bottles, or key chains with their names on them, (well, maybe Mia). But we love how unique they are, and fingers crossed, we are pretty sure we nailed the whole naming people thing.

I Don’t Want My Pre-baby Body Back

pre to post baby body

“Did you get your pre-baby body back?” “No.” I answered honestly to a nervous, first time, pregnant mom. The truth is, given the chance, I don’t think I’d want my old body back.

For as long as I can remember, and way before becoming a mother, I struggled with my weight. I was painfully self-conscious, and I missed out on a lot of life because of my insecurities. I was always comparing myself to everyone around me, and never feeling good enough to relax into my own skin.

Throughout my teens and early twenties, I was so hard on myself and focused on every flaw. The littlest comment, or ill-fitting outfit irrationally discouraged me.

Even when I had finally reached my goal weight before having kids, I always felt like I wasn’t thin enough, toned enough, or sculpted enough.honeymoon

Becoming pregnant and having children slowly changed me. During my pregnancies, I felt like my body had a purpose. I accepted my new curves and was able to wrap my mind around losing the baby weight after each pregnancy.

But it wasn’t until my twin pregnancy, when I fully appreciated the violent and miraculous journey my body had been on.

The hip pain, swollen ankles, sore breasts…

first pregnancy

Braxton hicks contractions, stretching…

second pregnancy

Contractions, rib pain and so much more.

Twin pregnancy

During and after birth, my body was stretched, sliced, stitched and pulled apart.

after giving birth

This journey of creating, birthing and caring for life is really wild and brutal when you think about it. But I wouldn’t give all of that torture up for one second. My body endured and withstood and healed from all of that pain.

It created these four perfect humans.four kids

So, do I want my old body back? No, I don’t. Although I am on a new fitness journey to regain strength lost. My body worked really hard for those soft, doughy spots, those wider hips, those stretch marks and those scars.

Today, I am more confident than ever. I see my body’s purpose and know it’s power. I know that the war my body has been through is it’s own and can’t be compared to other bodies.

I have no intentions of erasing my journey, just rehabilitating the body that brought my kids into this world.

With toddler on beach

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Photo of my four kids: Sarah Martin Photography

I Am Still A Person Despite Having Children

Mother of four kids in colourIt took me years to realize it. But I am a person outside of being a mother.

As young as I can remember, I had baby fever. I would mimic my mother of four, while she cared for my baby sister, I would even pretend to breastfeed my dolls. I thought becoming a mom would fill a hole in my heart. That I would be completely satisfied by caring for my own children.

I still went to college and got the fancy big city career, but in the back of my mind, I knew that this was just temporary… until I became a mother.

before kids

Kid-free and carefree

When I was finally pregnant with our first, I would daydream the entire train ride in and out of the city each day. I wouldn’t need anything else. I would stay home and bake, read stories, go on mommy playdates, do bath time and have a beautiful home cooked meal on the table for my husband when he came in the door from work each day.

My husband supported my dream too. So much so, that we put all of our savings into two investment properties, and he worked two jobs, his day job and taking care of our investments, so that I could stay home with our kids.

We welcomed our son into the world and it was time to live my dream.

Only, my dream was not at all what I pictured. My son was not the happiest baby. Don’t get me wrong, he was a great sleeper, and when it was just the two of us, he was fairly content. But add another person to the mix, or dare go out, and he was miserable.

These sensory issues, along with a language delay, eventually became a problem we had to address. I became a warrior mom. I had left myself behind in that train, and I gave my entire being to my son.

But, I didn’t like reading books, especially when he would want to switch halfway through. I dreaded bath time, it was a chore. I slowly stopped going to mommy playdates, partly because my son didn’t enjoy the chaos, and partly because I was bored of talking about my kid to other mothers.

When we found out we had an oops, and another baby was on the way, I didn’t know how to feel. I was in shock. I knew I wanted more kids, but I felt like I hadn’t really nailed the mom thing yet. I was still in the trenches and didn’t know how to get out.

pregnant with my second

My second pregnancy flew by, partly because I was full of anxiety

Three years after becoming a mother I was a shell of a person. I had no identity, other than being the person who cared for two children. I was definitely not the same person I was before having kids.

My husband would come home from work after the sun had gone down, and I would be pacing our upstairs hall. I wanted to scream “get me out of here!”

This was a pivotal point in my journey to becoming a person again. I began to search for a new path. Not my old path, not my mother’s path, or my current path, but a new one. A path that would only fit me.

It took me three more years, one more career, two failed businesses and having twins to get to my custom motherhood path, where I am today. My sweet spot.

I am a part-time stay-at-home mom, full-time entrepreneur. It’s my perfect fit.

attending a conference

Attending a conference

I now know that each mother’s balance and path is different from each other. Some mothers do love every minute of being home with their children. Really, I know some! Others need a stimulating career that may keep them out of their home. We are all good mothers, just different.

But all of us need to establish who we are as a person outside of our kids. Giving ourselves completely to our children will not fill that hole in your heart. There has to be a balance. Every mom has their own unique path, and it is okay to change your direction if your journey isn’t fitting you.

I am a person

You won’t be the same person you were before kids. Trust me, the new person you are is stronger, more caring, empathetic and driven… because you are also a mother.