Tell us a little about yourself.
I lived in Mexico City until I was 12. My family still lives there. I graduated from UCLA, and my husband, Nick, and I met outside of a bar in San Diego the year I graduated college in 2006.
We were married in 2009, and I owned a mobile gymnastics company for preschoolers. Once my twins were four, I sold that and eventually became certified to teach yoga.
I love anything chocolate and anything broadway musicals! If I could move to NYC tomorrow, I would and hope to someday soon. I currently live in Encinitas, California and love the little beach town, but I'm much more of a city gal!
Tell us about your journey to motherhood.
We started TTC about nine months after getting married and were told we would need to seek fertility help since I was not ovulating on my own—that was scary! But we went in, with our heads down since we were very embarrassed at the time and went through a medicated IUI. We didn't tell anyone as I was only 26 and Nick was 30 and we felt ashamed to be going through fertility treatments.
Luckily, the first IUI worked—so much so that we were pregnant with triplets! We were then advised to get a reduction. Due to my very small frame, my health would have been at risk, and so would the babies’ health. So we did. We went to the clinic that did the reductions and honestly, I have rarely talked about it until recently when I opened up through my blog and Instagram.
Nick and I were very traumatized by this but we also knew we made the right call when the twins were born vaginally at 37.5 weeks. One had to be in the NICU for 11 days to put on some weight (her chord size was significantly thinner than her sisters’ so she wasn’t getting enough food). But thankfully, they were perfect.
Fast forward 6 years later, and we were ready to try again. We tried for a few months but then realized we would probably need help again as I still wasn't getting a period on my own.
We then jumped right into IVF. We wanted to avoid multiples, if possible and any reductions, so we went for it. We were very naive and thought it would work the first try. Well, three years, four egg retrievals, seven transfers, and a misscarriage later, I'm finally pregnant with a baby girl who is due November 7th, 2020.
What was happening in your life when you decided to start your family?
When we tried for the girls, we had just gotten married. We were very young and had no idea what we were about to step into. Infertility and everything that came with it for us was very hard on our marriage. We didn't realize it for a while but we now know that not talking about how all of these big life decisions made us feel really broke us and made us fight instead of bringing us together.
The second time around, three years ago, Nick was starting a brand new business. It was a lot of pressure since he was focused on that and I was focused on growing our family and IVF. Again, we had to talk to our therapist and really dig deep to fix what was happening to us.
How did your experience with infertility and IVF change your perspective on women’s health and inspire you to start your blog My Beautiful Blunder?
I was silent for two years. I barely spoke to anyone because I felt like no one could understand what I was going through. I felt very alone and lost a few friendships. I didn't feel like I had an outlet or anyone to talk to (other than a handful of friends and my therapist), and I knew I needed to let it out. So I decided to start my blog. Honestly, I did this for me, selfishly, so that I could express myself somehow. Then I thought, if I could help one person feel less alone then maybe it would be worth it to put it out there—so I did. I wanted to share my experiences and see if anyone could relate. I thought it could help others and also help me feel less alone.
You’ve been open about having multiple miscarriages. What advice do you have for other women who have experienced infertility and loss? What has kept you going and feeling strong through loss?
I’ve had one big miscarriage in January 2019. The rest were lost embryos that did not implant, but I still consider them hope, I still think of them as babies. A loss is a loss, and the first thing I would say is please don’t diminish your loss. It’s important to note that just because someone lost a baby at 13 weeks rather than at five weeks doesn't mean either is harder or more difficult than the other.
Infertility alone brings a lot of grief and sadness and it's ok to feel this. It’s normal to feel sad some days and not as sad others. Dealing with grief isn't linear and infertility is not just the loss of a baby, it's the loss of your life plan, of what you thought it would look like.
So definitely, let yourself feel whatever you need to. I encourage women to talk to others, to find someone they can either relate to or feel comfortable talking to because while it doesn't make the pain go away, it really helps to connect and feel heard and validated.
Also, know that trauma doesn't just go away. Even when you think you are healed it can show up in things you never expected. These are called triggers, and they will be around most of your time, even if and when you close the chapter of grieving and infertility. Just know that it’s ok, and it’s normal, and you're not alone.
Lastly, remember that infertility and miscarriage do not define you. You are still you, you are loved, and you are human. Unfortunately, this struggle is just part of your story, but you will see better days, I can guarantee that much.
You now have two beautiful daughters. Tell us how you found out you were pregnant each time. We'd love details!
Well they're twins!! They were from my first IUI in 2010. We waited the dreaded two week wait and when beta day came, when I drew my blood to see if I was pregnant. I made the fertility center call Nick—I didn't want to get the phone call and he was at work so I didn't want to be alone if it was negative. Suddenly, mid-day I heard him come home, and he swept me off my feet and told me it had worked! We were so excited! We had no idea that we had multiples but were so happy to be pregnant. A couple of weeks later, I started bleeding a lot. The clinic had me come in the next day and that's when we realized that we were carrying triplets. Apparently, bleeding is caused by the excess hormones and I had a lot of excess!
How did you care for yourself while TTC? During pregnancy?
My twin pregnancy was actually very easy (after the reduction) so I continued to exercise, eat healthy, and just enjoy it. When we were going through IVF these past three years, I continued to stick to my routine so that I didn't completely lose myself in IVF and TTC. I still exercised and ate right (but also drank the wine and had the deserts). It was hard and there were so many times I felt so exhausted but I know that keeping a solid routine helped me navigate through a lot. I also started seeing an acupuncturist two years ago and now see her regularly every week.
Now that I'm pregnant again, I try to do the same. As long as my energy level is up, I try to work out in the mornings and take my dog for walks to get outside. Covid has made it very hard at times because I would have loved more pedicures, massages, and just more socialization but we are making the best of it, of course, and I am so thankful to be where I am today!
How has your body changed and/or felt differently during your pregnancies?
When I was pregnant with the twins, nine years ago, my body felt great! I really never felt sick, and I felt like I had all the energy in the world. I was also very much into having sex and truly enjoyed every minute of those 37 weeks.
This time around, things are different. I was very nauseous the first 12 weeks— ALL DAY LONG. I believe it has to do with all of the hormones I was on because of IVF. Once I stopped those around 11 weeks, I started to feel better. I also think age has had a lot to do with it and taking care of twin girls during a pandemic probably hasn't helped my energy level either.
I still try and exercise daily and move my body, which helps, but I'm definitely more uncomfortable this time around and it's just one in there!
What stigma(s) in women’s health do you wish to lift the veil on?
So many! I think secondary infertility guilt is huge. When I was going through IVF I got so many comments like ‘well, at least you have twins,’ ‘at least you already have a child,’ and ‘whatever is meant to be will be.’ These were all hard to hear because anyone who wants to expand their family should be able to and should be encouraged to! You would never say this to someone who could have babies ‘naturally.’
The guilt that comes with secondary infertility is also so strong and something I wish we could all be kinder to ourselves about. I was always so worried about losing time with my girls because I was so focused on TTC and IVF. I felt so guilty about not being fully present, mentally and physically, because of how much time IVF takes on your body and mind.
The miscarriage stigma is also big for me. Why don't we talk about this more? When I miscarried, granted, I wasn't on social media yet, I didn't know one person who had miscarried. It wasn’t until I started telling people that I heard from others that they had also miscarried. Miscarriage is not a woman’s fault, and I think we feel so guilty losing the baby that we feel ashamed and alone. But so many of us miscarry and yet we don’t talk about it!
What advice do you have for other aspiring mamas?
Don’t compare your journey to anyone else's. It is so hard but at the same time no one will ever have your exact protocol or your exact journey because we are all so different and our bodies react so differently to foods, medicine, and of course hormones. So please always ask questions, take the advice from people, and use it to make a list for your doctor, if you are concerned.
Also always advocate for yourself! This is something I learned way later in my TTC/IVF journey and is something I wish I would have done sooner. It's your journey, your body, and your family. It’s more than ok to switch doctors, clinics, and protocols (I switched clinics twice and worked with three different doctors). It’s ok to ask all the questions, to get second opinions, and to ask for explanations. Remember these doctors (should) want for you to have success so never feel worried or embarrassed to ask a question.
Listen to your gut! You know your body best, so even if you're unsure about something, just ask. Peace of mind is the best thing to have.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Remember that you are allowed to share or not share however you see fit. I get a lot of women who message me that are worried about sharing and opening up. There is not a right or a wrong way. Share however much is comfortable for you but never let others make you feel like you don't belong or like your voice doesn't matter because it absolutely matters!