Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Jillian Horn, and I am 32 years old. I was born and raised in Chicago, IL and am a nurse turned stay-at-home mama blogger. I have two little ones. My son, Greyson, is two and my daughter, Lincoln, is two months old this week.

You can follow Jillian at @jilliankhorn and check out her blog jillianhorn.com.

What brought you to where you are now? Bring us along from the beginning.

I graduated from nursing school in 2010 and worked full time as an RN for almost seven years. I met my husband at work and once we had our son, I transitioned to staying at home with him.

Tell us about your partner. What made you want to start or grow a family together?

My husband, Michael, is a doctor in downtown Chicago. He is not only the best person I know but the best husband. With that being said, I just KNEW he would be an amazing father...which he is. I say this often but the best thing I have ever done as a mother is to give my children a father like Michael.

What was happening in your life when you decided to start your family?

Michael and I were married in 2015. We took a year to travel and then decided we wanted to start our family. 

How did you care for yourself while trying to conceive?

I was doing everything I possibly could to try and get pregnant. I was tracking my ovulation with home tests, doing prenatal yoga, seeing a weekly acupuncturist, massages, etc. You name it—I was trying it.

What experiences shaped your understanding of conception and pregnancy?

After months and months of negative home pregnancy tests, we decided to meet with a fertility clinic. I noticed at home with my testing that I was not properly ovulating. I had a late luteal phase. We started with several rounds of in-office IUI's.

After four rounds of no luck, we moved onto IVF. I did one cycle and sent the retrieved embryos for testing. Once we had a healthy frozen one we went ahead with the transfer. It worked on the first try and we were both over the moon! However, at 35 weeks pregnant with our first, my son, I was diagnosed with May Thurner Syndrome. I had a 18 inch blood clot and my son was delivered early at 36 weeks via C-section to save us both.

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Tell us how you found out you were pregnant. We'd love details!

When doing IVF, you just get a phone call telling you you are pregnant...haha. Not as eventful as some women's stories, I'm sure. However, I told my husband I had not heard from the doctors office yet. We were heading to London, and I had the flight attendant place a card on his food tray telling him he was going to be a dad. He cried. The plane clapped. It was awesome =)

What have you learned as a result of trying to get pregnant and/or being pregnant?

Trying to get pregnant, staying pregnant, and being pregnant all proved to be very difficult for me. After being diagnosed with May Thurner Syndrome with my first, I knew any future pregnancies would be high risk for me. I just was not prepared for exactly how difficult and/or dangerous for me it truly was. When pregnant, I have to take blood thinner shots twice daily, have frequent ultrasounds done, have studies done to check on my stents for any additional clotting, and I always have to have C-sections. 

We transferred another frozen embryo when my son was a little over one. We found out that we were pregnant shortly after and once again, we were over the moon with excitement. Unfortunately, I delivered our sweet angel girl halfway through that pregnancy. She is watching over our family everyday <3 I didn't give up and tried and tried again. I went through two more rounds of IVF and finally became pregnant with our daughter, our rainbow girl. She is currently two months old and doing great.

From all of this craziness, I learned A LOT. The main take aways are 1. There is no strength like mom strength. I went through all of this for my kiddos. 2. After my last pregnancy, it was decided that future pregnancies for me are not safe or recommended. We might not be done having children, but I am done being able to carry them. That being said, there are MANY ways to have a family, and that does not make a woman weak or less than. It makes her brave and determined. We are looking into some other options for a third currently!

What's your wish for women who are trying to conceive?

My wish for women trying to conceive is to understand they are not alone, and they are doing nothing wrong. I constantly felt alone and that I must be doing something wrong and that's why I can't get pregnant. I have learned that is not even close to true. I fought for my family. I fought for my kiddos. I put my body through a lot to get them here safe and healthy. It made one tough mother. So be kind to yourself and know that you will get there...one way or another.