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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This Is What Happens When You Are Surprised With Twins – Digging Us Out Of Survival Mode: A Series

twinsIt was inevitable. I had to have seen it coming. But I don’t think I was ever prepared for the magnitude of what was about to happen to our lives.

The weeks leading up to finding out we were expecting twins were marked with unusual fatigue and illness which was peaking my suspicion. At the time I was running my mural painting company and business was booming. I had two large scale murals to paint and from the moment “you are having twins” were spoken by the nurse after my seven week ultrasound, I felt sick.twins ultrasound

I pushed through. I would climb up on my ladder, paint for twenty minutes and then climb down, eat a snack and lay on the carpet (the home-owners were away, thank God) and pray I didn’t throw up. Then I would start the process all over again. This went on for days.


When I would arrive home after a long day of painting I would collapse. Forget the housework, forget cleaning, I needed to rest.

“If I could just make it to the second trimester.” I would often think to myself full of hopeful optimism.

The second trimester came and I felt a little better. My husband Mike, and I had an exciting Vegas trip coming up and I couldn’t wait to get away. As we walked through the doors of Bellagio, I was in awe of the sheer size of our hotel.

As we stood at the counter waiting for our room key, my oversized baby bump was drawing a lot of eyes. Although I was only 17 weeks pregnant, I looked almost full term. I am sure people were thinking that a very pregnant woman in a casino looked a little out of place.pregnant in vegas

After being pointed in the direction to where our room was, we started to make the trek. Now when I say trek, I seriously mean TREK. It was about a ten-minute walk (at least) from the front lobby of the Bellagio to where our room was. That’s when it happened. It felt like someone placed a vice on my belly, and I couldn’t move.

Now, I have heard of Braxton Hicks contractions before, but this was cruel. I quickly sat down in one of the many chairs peppering the long halls in the Bellagio and waited for the searing pain to subside, which, at this point had begun to start shooting down my legs and even through my lady parts.

Las Vegas is a walking city. Here I was unable to walk, or at least walk very far. We made the best of the trip walking short distances, taking cabs and sitting a lot. Mike was very patient and took very good care of me.pregnant in vegas

Upon arriving home, the cleaning, tidying and clutter-clearing continued to wait.

By the third trimester I had completely thrown the towel in. I was living on the couch with a pillow between my knees, barely able to climb the stairs without blacking out. We scraped together what money we could and graciously accepted gifts from family to hire a cleaning company.

We continued to shove, store, and cram the items that needed to be purged, the clothes our kids had grown out of and all of the extra stuff that was slowly becoming noise, occasionally spiking my anxiety.

The day our twins were born, July 24 2014, was the next phase of survival mode. We had now reached the life phase of survival mode. Add on my new business that was gaining steam and I could barely fit any time for me in, especially not time for our house which at this point was screaming “I am busting at the seams.”IMG_1146

To this day, I have felt like I have been keeping a deep, dark secret. Clutter. Most days I have been able to rationalize the noise away, pushing it to the back burner, reminding myself I have bigger fish to fry.IMG_9281

But every once in a while I would gasp, looking around at the mess, the garbage, the stuff, the junk, the crap and feel like I was drowning.

So here I am, weeks away from our twins’ second birthday, and although I know that some days are a sh*t show, I have to admit, we are out of survival mode. It is time to face the mess.

I have made the decision to purge our house. To be ruthless. To make our home a priority.

This is the beginning of a series that I will be continuing… well… on and off until the process is done.

Digging Us Out Of Survival Mode will include my real confessions of mess, of motherhood and survival mode. I will be journaling the purge, my inspiration, some fun home DIY projects and sharing my nesting story both on the blog and on my YouTube channel.

You can follow along by liking Nesting Story on Facebook and subscribing to Nesting Story on YouTube. You can also find me purging our house in real time on Snapchat: nestingstory.

Stay tuned…

Honestly, This Is What It Feels Like To Be A Mom To Twins

joanna085The day I found out I was expecting twins, my mind exploded into a million different directions. I almost couldn’t fully comprehend the news. My hands shook and my body shivered as I tried to wrap my mind around this unexpected future ahead of me.

After being a mom to two singletons, I had no idea what to expect being a mother to twins. I knew so little about the challenges twin moms face, and how my life would really be impacted, good or bad.

Honestly, having twins has both broken me, and made me stronger than I had ever thought possible. Other than hearing the typical twin mom rants about the bizarre and often inappropriate things strangers say, I don’t really think that people can really understand what being a twin mom feels like.

Here is my experience…

The Spectacle
I think for every mom, finding out they are expecting more than one baby, one of the first things they realize is that they are now a spectacle.

A side show.

From the excitement that comes once the announcement is made, to your body and the invasive curiosity you experience, your private life, as you know it, is over.

I made the decision early on to ride the wave and play the fun “let’s shock them card.” When people made comments about having my hands full, I loved (and still do) watching their faces when I dropped the bomb that I also have two more kids. When people were curious how my body was adapting to two humans growing inside, I would flash my belly and get it over with.

Then there’s life after pregnancy.

By this point I was kind of over the attention and quickly mastered the art of avoiding eye contact and quick grocery shopping excursions.

However you handle it, there is no way around it. People are naturally curious about everything twins.

The Loneliness
Once the initial shock-and-awe dust settled and the morning sickness and reality of two on the way sunk in, I was finding myself feeling eerily alone. I was surrounded by mothers, each with multiple children, but I quickly realized that when you are pregnant with twins, you just want to be around other people who have been there and can relate.

This feeling of wanting to be surrounded by your multiples tribe doesn’t disappear after your babies are born. You long for other people who get it. Get the exhaustion and the pain and how much you are constantly giving of yourself.

The Determination
When I was pregnant with my twins I received a long email from a twin mother who a family member had reached out to for me. This, I thought, was the connection I had been craving.

As I read her email filled with negativity, preparing me to give up everything, plan to not step foot out of my house for at least a year and prepare my husband to be woken up for every feeding, a fire lit within me.

“Thank you twin mama,” I thought to myself, “you have just set the bar that I will be hurdling over.”

From that point on I researched like crazy from my couch. I watched YouTube videos on how to tandem breastfeed twins and I read every book possible and highlighted any tip that would give me independence.

I was a twin mama on a mission. Guess what? All of that research, planning and even rehearsing in our twins’ empty nursery paid off. I killed it from day one, and I couldn’t get rid of the help I had set up fast enough.

The Pain
In my life I have endured my fair share of pain. I have had stitches, a broken ankle, back injuries, given birth vaginally twice and have had major surgery. But nothing can compare you for the constant agony of your body shifting organs and moving bones to house more than one baby.

It’s not the intensity, but the endless affliction that other than giving birth, there is no relief from. From the pain in my hips, to the heartburn that can only be described as blades being swallowed, almost broke me.

But I persevered. I moved from bed to bath and then to bed and bath again and again. I clenched my teeth when I had to stand longer than five minutes and braced myself when I’d have to go up a flight of stairs, ready for the inevitable black-out.

But going through that kind of constant pain for so long does something to a person. I would compare my current pain tolerance to super powers.

The Triumph
It’s not just cause for celebration when your babies are born, every week passed during a twin pregnancy is a milestone. The day my girls were out of my body, I sat and watched, filled with satisfaction as my family and friends passed them around.

I had done it. I created these two beings.

The pregnancy was a marathon and I had crossed the finish. No one can ever take that feeling away from me.

The Isolation
Getting out the door with twins is doable. But is it always worth it? Going out without help, even to this day is a major challenge, and sometimes I opt-out because I know I am setting myself up for a disaster.

The isolation when you are a parent to multiples is inevitable. But I have found my peace with it. I have mastered many scenarios on my own, but there are just some situations I honestly think “why bother.”

The Frustration
The thing is, I am okay with sticking to my rigid rules, like bedtimes, schedules and opting out of participating in some events. I know that the backlash from messing with a twins’ schedule is hell compared to when it’s just one baby.

What is frustrating is the other people. The people that don’t get it. The people that think they know better because they’ve popped out a few kids. But what they don’t get is when your baby won’t sleep, or wakes screaming, there is about a 95% chance that their twin will too.

Unlike the other people’s children that are different ages, at different stages and need different things, you have to make a choice…

The Choices
Almost everyday as a twin mom is like a scene out of Sophie’s Choice. Both cry… who is currently my favourite? Haha, no. That isn’t how it goes.

But yes, you have constant difficult choices to make and many of them involve choosing one twin over the other. How do I do it?

I start by triaging the situation. Who was the original cryer? Is someone faking it? Who is dirtier/hungrier/in more pain? Is one of the cryers at risk for making themselves throw up?

All three of us have thankfully learned that this is the way it has to be and my twins have the kind of patience my older kids will never know.

The Efficiency
I don’t think that there is a person alive who is as efficient as a mom of multiples. We know how to so many things at once it would blow your mind.

It’s not possible to double up? We have also nailed the art of creating an assembly line.

Oh, and don’t forget the body parts. My legs, feet, elbows and chin have finally found their purpose in life, post twins. I am pretty sure moms of singletons still use their hands for everything… ptff… amateurs .

The Pride
Honestly, growing, birthing and raising twins is the most impressive, selfless, bravest thing I have ever done. I still look at my girls and examine their perfect little fingers, toes and ears and think what an amazing thing my body has done.

The fact that countless things had to go right to create my girls is not lost on me for one second.

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The One Thing I Wish I Had During My Multiples Pregnancy

Newborn twins by Nesting Story

Finding out I was pregnant with twins brought such a mix of emotions that I didn’t even know what I really felt at any given time. I knew I was shocked, yet crazy excited, but there were other feelings that I was constantly fighting.

Fear, loneliness and disbelief were clouding my mind. I would smile and laugh, but inside, all I really wanted was to connect with someone who had been through it.

I bought many twin and multiples books, not just for the tips, but mostly for the personal stories. I just wanted to know that what I was experiencing was normal, and to feel a little less alone.

When I was contacted by Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee, and asked to contribute my twin story to their book Multiples Illuminated, I had to turn it down because I had so many projects on the go. Well, I just read their collection of stories and advice from parents of multiples, while on the plane coming home from California and I am kicking myself for not being a part of this amazing group of parents.

This book resonated so deeply within me. I could relate to every story and somehow felt connected to each parent. I swear, at times I could almost feel those two babies inside my tummy again as I read details about other twin pregnancies.


The book has been split up into sections including trying to conceive, pregnancy, labor and delivery, NICU and the first years. Each section is filled with essays from both twin and higher order multiple parents.

Although I am absolutely loving reflecting on my own experience, I would have lived and breathed this book during my twin pregnancy, reading it over again and again.

Here are some of my favourite parts…

I have never heard anyone describe being pregnant with twins so beautifully and accurately…

“How am I going to fit two babies at a time in my body?” I asked the sonographer, gesturing a little wildly at my torso. “I’m a pretty small person.”
She was kind. She smiled. “Bodies find a way,” she said. I’m here to report that, yes, they do. That way is out. That way is sphere. That way is bloom and push and stretch. My hips and pelvis shifted like gears of a clock, and I realized that my body had been full of beautiful, complicated machinery this whole time. I just didn’t know it. -(Belly talk) by Janet McNally

You will also find the most perfect hospital packing list known to the multiples community, by Megan Woolsey.

I had people staring at me on the plane when I was reading this side splitting birth story…

I  put my hair up  in a style that can only be described as “Scare the Neighbours” and pulled on a tank top and a pair of my husband’s SpongeBob silk boxers, declaring myself most decidedly not having babies that night. Husband and dog joined me by my side and feet, respectively.
When you have more than one baby in your belly, you create exactly 5,782 more gallons of amniotic fluid than a singleton pregnancy. At 1:37 a.m., I woke to a popping noise and a release of pressure as though a balloon filled with warm, slimy fluid had been punched out of me. My water didn’t break, it unleaded… all over the dog.
With a start, I yelled, “Holy shit, my water just broke!” I jumped out of bed, hoping one of the babies’ heads would act like a cork and stop the gush. It didn’t. -(Outplan) by Jackie Pick

The next minute I was sobbing…

I never expected parenting would be easy. I only expected babies. What we had before us now was beyond my comprehension. What if they had been born in perfect condition? That would not exempt them from some other harm later in life. It is all a roll of the dice. I would worry just the same. Crying would be a daily occurrence. Waterproof mascara would have been a joke and a waste of time. I trekked daily to two hospitals, holding each baby as often and as long as I could.
Touching them was an undeniable sedative. What small creatures to have such power over my heart. -(Same Time Last Year) by Lexi Rohner

Then eventually nodding my head, relating to my past year with twins…

I didn’t realize during the shock of finding out I was going to be a father of multiples that my wife was also giving birth to the hottest attractions for the casual passerby to “ohhh” and “ahhh” at. In fact, when in public, the only people who don’t seem to acknowledge our existence are the other families with twins. Surprise, right? Maybe after wading through countless people asking, “Twins?” we don’t have the energy to jump in the air and shout “Twin life!” while hitting a mid-air high five. No, usually our eyes stay averted, gifting each other with a moment of tranquility that is quickly interrupted by the next couple seeing twins for what must be the first time, ever.

If you are pregnant with multiples, have multiples, or know someone else who may enjoy this book, it is a MUST HAVE.

You can order your copy of Multiples Illuminated, edited by Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee, at one of the following places:

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Want to win a copy? Head to Nesting Story’s Facebook page, and all you have to do is leave a comment on this post >click here< about your multiples connection, whether you are pregnant with, have multiples, or know someone with multiples. Don’t forget to LIKE Nesting Story’s Facebook page while you are there!

Giveaway closes on Wednesday May 11th at 8pm EST. I will draw one name at random and that person will be contacted via Facebook. Good luck!

For more information on Multiples Illuminated, head to the website You can also follow Multiples Illuminated on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Top photo by Sarah Martin Photography and Ooh Ooh Darling Photography

The Dangerous Symptom I Foolishly Ignored During My Twin Pregnancy

twin pregnancyDuring my twin pregnancy, and not unlike my two previous pregnancies, I would race into Labour and Delivery anytime I felt something was a bit off. Whether it was unusual pains, less kicks than usual, lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, or a racing heart, I would go in and demand to be checked. Each time, I was properly assessed and sent home being told that everything was  great and what I was experiencing was normal.

One symptom that I always experienced during each of my pregnancies was low blood pressure. My blood pressure is always on the low end, but whenever I have been pregnant, it dips even lower. This is actually very common. It is caused by the hormonal changes, which causes a dilation of blood vessels, which in turn causes low blood pressure. For me, my low blood pressure would cause me to feel dizzy and lightheaded.

My twin pregnancy was fairly uneventful. My twin girls were growing well, and although my body found it challenging, all three of us were healthy. By the time I approached my 35th week, it was time to schedule my C-section due to my twins being breechMy doctor set the date for 37 weeks, four days.

By the time I entered my 37th week of pregnancy, I started to relax about every little unusual symptom. I figured I was in the home stretch and there wasn’t any point in racing to the hospital.

Just five days shy of my delivery date, I decided to pack my two older kids up and head to my parents for one last outing and family get-together. My husband was at work but thankfully I had our nanny, who was temporarily helping me with our older kids, with us.

I drove all of us along the country road that connects my town and my parents’ town, and I was chatting away with our nanny who was in the passenger seat when suddenly, something went horribly wrong.

I lost all of my peripheral vision. Picture looking through a pinhole in the center of a black piece of paper. It was terrifying. I had no idea what was happening.

I had experienced moments of blacking out with my twin pregnancy after climbing the stairs, but this was different.

I stopped talking and luckily found a shoulder on the side of the road to pull over onto. I sat there for a moment blinking, as my vision returned. To say our nanny was concerned was an understatement. I had her take over driving the rest of the way. ignored pregnancy symptomThis photo was taken minutes after arriving at my parents. At this point in my twin pregnancy, I was only able to stand for a minute at a time due to the strain my belly put on my body.

When I arrived at my parents’ house, I told them what had happened. I had thought it had to do with my low blood pressure, but they knew better. My parents had each worked in the medical field, and were suspecting I might have preeclampsia.

According to Baby Center, preeclampsia is “marked by high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine.” One factor that can put you at higher risk of preeclampsia is carrying more than one baby, and one of the symptoms of preeclampsia is a change in vision. Left untreated, preeclampsia could have had catastrophic and even deadly outcomes for both myself and my babies.

When my parents took my blood pressure, they noted that it was within the normal range, but slightly on the high end. Although this was not an alarming number, they were concerned because they knew I usually have low blood pressure. I phoned my husband and we decided together that we didn’t think I should bother going into to the hospital. I was going to be heading there four days later, for my preoperative appointment, so we decided to just wait.

From that point on, I had other people drive me around, and when it came time to head to the hospital for my preoperative appointment, I had a friend of mine drive me. We walked in, all smiles and almost giddy with the fact that I would be welcoming two babies the next day. I strolled into the assessment area, which I knew all too well at this point. A kind, older nurse, who I knew, started having me fill out forms while she checked the babies’ heart rates. Then she began checking my blood pressure.

A look of concern spread across her face. I turned from my friend, ready to listen to what the nurse was about to tell me. My blood pressure was high, scary high. After she peppered me with questions, I filled her in on my terrifying experience while driving.

Almost immediately I was rushed to a bed in labour and delivery, and what was supposed to be a short appointment turned into hours of assessments by various doctors trying to decide if they should take the babies out right then, or wait until my scheduled C-section the next morning.In the hospitalIn the moment, I think I was in shock. I just laid there, being examined over and over again. It was finally decided that they could wait until the next morning, because my blood pressure had gone down a bit, but not a minute longer. I was relieved that I would be able to get one more nights sleep and be able to keep my babysitters that I had orchestrated so carefully for my older kids, in place.

The next morning went on without a hitch. My girls arrived pink and screaming at 8:08 a.m. and 8:09 a.m. We were over the moon and thankful that everyone was healthy.IMG_0940

I was told that the sweet nurse I had seen the day before, had called multiple times after her initial check-up with me, asking about my wellbeing and making sure that I was being taken care of.

Now that I have had over a year to digest the events leading up to my twins’ delivery, I almost can’t wrap my mind around what a toll my pregnancy took on my body. I should have gone straight to the hospital after my vision-loss incident.

Preeclampsia can happen very suddenly, and without warning. Things could have gone in a very different direction and I am very lucky and blessed that it

Newborn twins

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