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After 3 years of trying and a round of IVF, I am finally pregnant

It was as if I lived in a world of successive failure. Month after month, benchmarked by my inability to get pregnant. I would break down at every pregnancy announcement.

After 3 years of trying and a round of IVF, I am finally pregnant

"Your chances are about 5-7%," the doctor said flatly. After meeting with two infertility specialists, I found out about my slim chances of a biological pregnancy with IVF.

John, my husband, and I had been trying to conceive for nearly three years. We had baby names picked out before our honeymoon. During the first year of trying, doctors told us to "just be patient, you'll be pregnant by Christmas." Well, Christmas came and went and I wasn't pregnant.

I tracked my ovulation, basal temperature, took Pregnitude, ate royal jelly, and any other possible recommendation, but still never saw a positive pregnancy test. We bought a four-bedroom house in faith that we would eventually have children running around. Friends announced their third, fourth, and fifth pregnancies. We decided to take a trip to Europe.

It was as if I lived in a world of successive failure. Month after month, benchmarked by my inability to get pregnant. I would break down at every pregnancy announcement.

While I was happy that they were able to start a family, it always felt like a reminder of what I wasn't able to do. John would comfort me every time and listen to my irrational rants, usually cueing up a favorite movie to take my mind off of the hurt.

I switched to a new OB/GYN who recommended a rapid fertility screening, before potentially prescribing Clomid to help us conceive. My husband and I went together for the full screening. Two days later, the doctor called me with the results. My AMH level was alarmingly low.

AMH levels are detected with a blood test and represent a woman's ovarian reserve or how many eggs are available. This is rarely tested outside of fertility screenings. A normal AMH level ranges from two to seven. Mine was 0.17.

"I'm so sorry," he said repeatedly.

The doctor wanted to run additional tests on my thyroid because he believed that could explain the low AMH. I immediately went for a blood test that would identify my thyroid levels. Sure enough, I had hypothyroidism in addition to antibodies that resulted in the autoimmune disease, Hashimotos. According to his theory, my thyroid had been attacking my ovaries, resulting in the low ovarian reserve.

At this point, the doctor said that IVF was the only fertility treatment available for our situation. They said that my ovarian reserve was so low, that I was basically running against the clock, at 31 years old.

We spent the weekend absorbing the shock of our new reality.

While the doctor recommended starting treatment as soon as possible, I needed a month of hormone therapy to jumpstart the process. For the next 30 days, I was sneaking away to the bathroom at work to apply testosterone gel to my upper arms and taking estrogen and progesterone pills to help boost my hormones. Ovaries produce hormones and since I had a diminished reserve of ovaries, all of my hormone levels were extremely low.

Thankfully, my body responded appropriately to the hormone therapy and I was cleared to begin a cycle of IVF.

On my 32nd birthday, a large box of injections arrived with my name on them. We unloaded the mini-pharmacy into our bathroom and waited for the instructions we would receive at the next doctor's appointment.

I was put on the maximum amount of stimulation medications and my husband became my at-home doctor. The concept of IVF is so different from the reality of IVF. There are at least three shots a day, doctor's appointments almost daily, accompanied by an emotional roller coaster of potentially starting a family, or closing that chapter completely.

"If your body doesn't respond after a few days, we will cancel the cycle," said the IVF nurse.

So all of this preparation could literally mean nothing, but we had to try. My husband reached out to friends and family to pray for us because it truly felt like we needed a miracle.

After nine days of stimulation injections, there were eight follicles with potential eggs at a preferred size, so I was cleared for the egg retrieval surgery. And for the first time in three years, we heard positive news from the doctor, saying he was "cautiously optimistic."

They were able to retrieve seven eggs, but of those seven eggs, only two fertilized. Overnight, our chances dropped to two. It was hard not to feel devastated, however, five days later the embryologist called me to let us know that both embryos made it to a 5-day blastocyst. So our two little embryos were now frozen and ready for transfer.

It is counterintuitive to work tirelessly toward something in such an all-consuming way and then, when it comes to fruition, put it on ice. Frozen embryo transfers have a higher success rate, so we went with our doctor's recommendation, but it was strange to drive by a hospital and think about our two potential babies frozen in there.

There was another month of preparation, and then, finally, I was ready for the transfer. I elected to transfer both embryos and followed every IVF superstition. I ate pineapple core leading up to and following the transfer, wore socks 24/7 (not an easy feat in the middle of a Texas summer), drank electrolyte water, ate French fries immediately after the procedure and stayed in bed for nearly two days.

Exactly two weeks later, I went into the doctor's office to take an hCG blood test. When called later with the results, I found out. I was pregnant! I remember thinking that it was all so surreal.

We waited another two weeks to go in for a sonogram that captured the heartbeat, and then, two weeks after that—we transferred from the infertility specialist to a regular OB/GYN. I was (finally!) officially eight weeks pregnant and couldn't have been happier.


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They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

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Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

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Balance board

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Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

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Detective set

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This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

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Wooden doll stroller

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Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

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Sand play set

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Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

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Water play set

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Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

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Mini golf set

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Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

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Vintage scooter balance bike

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Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

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Wooden rocking pegasus

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Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

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Croquet set

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The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

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Wooden digital camera

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Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

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Wooden bulldozer toy

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Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

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Pull-along hippo

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There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

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Baby forest fox ride-on

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Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

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We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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11 products to help parents survive the 4-month sleep regression 😴

So you—and baby—can start getting more rest.

Ah, the 4-month sleep regression...unlike, say, your baby's first solid food or her first steps, the 4-month sleep regression isn't a milestone that many parents typically look forward to. Whether you're currently in the midst of the madness or just anticipating what might be ahead, odds are you have some questions—and some worries—about this much talked-about sleep (or lack thereof) phase.

But guess what, mama? The news is good! According to experts, sleep regressions aren't really a thing; they're more like transitions. And they're actually a good thing—they mean your baby is growing, changing, developing, + finding new ways to interact with the world around them.

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