Mama Journey Part 1: It's been a long time coming, but...

Mama Journey Part 1: It's been a long time coming, but...

Welcome to our journey to become moms! Lacey and I hope that this series provides you with a little education on the scientific route to TTC (trying to conceive), pregnancy, as well as connecting with you, should this be a process you're beginning or in. Small trigger warning: this is an emotional post with very honest descriptions of this process.

Every couples decision to conceive is a deeply personal and unique choice and we were no exception. We both knew we wanted to be parents and had made the choice to put off parenthood until a few things happened: our career goals had been met, we felt we were in the right place physically, emotionally & spiritually and we knew the time was right. 

For us, that time came in the winter of 2022. 

While Lace and I knew there would be some challenges in building our family, plus the non guarantee that this process would result in a 'quick pregnancy', nothing could have prepared us for the emotional roller coaster we were about to begin. The journey started with an appointment with the fertility clinic and Ria was first to try to conceive. This resulted in a consultation with the doctor, baseline bloodwork, a HSG (hysterosalpingography) test and an ultrasound. Once the results from all of this were in and negative to any issues, we were given the green light to start the first round.

We knew we were going to use donor sperm and wanted to try the least aggressive treatment options if possible. For us, this meant we would be doing IUI. Similar to IVF, IUI is a process of putting sperm into the uterus at the time of ovulation. Generally these cycles are medicated with options (based on what your doctor offers), then observed via 2 ultra sounds about a week apart. Given that all of my testing showed there shouldn’t be a reason I couldn’t get pregnant this way, we were hopeful, excited and we began!

A quick note on the process for me: first day of my period I call and schedule a baseline ultrasound. Through this ultrasound the doctor is looking to see that your ovaries and pelvic organs are ready for treatment. Then medication options are discussed which are either pills or injections (sometimes both). A week later, after having taken the necessary meds, I went in for another ultrasound. This time they are looking to see how many follicles I have ready. Ideally you are hoping for 2-3 and at my age, a warning about the possibility of twins should there be more. Once the follicles are confirmed as being ready you are given a trigger shot (injection) to administer 36 hours before your IUI procedure. Lastly, you come in for your procedure which is much like a pap and lasts about 10 minutes.


Then you pray for all the 'baby dust' and enter your 2 week waiting period. During this time you are encourage to take it easy, but continue to do life as normal (sans lifting heavy items). This 2 week window is the most anxious feeling I've ever felt in my life. The anticipation was strong and since pregnancy symptoms are similar to period symptoms - it was hard to tell if it was really happening or not. I did not early test and instead waited.

My first cycle of IUI ended in an early miscarriage. I was devastated. We were devastated, watching the line fade. Even though you know that this while process may not take or have several attempts before you may become pregnant, nothing prepares you for loss. It's important to allow yourself the grace to feel as you do, to get through it.


We had built up the idea that we were going to be parents. Started to buy things for our future baby, talked about baby names and fantasized about who they would be when they grew up. It was deeply emotional and in the moments after we made the decision to keep our journey private. Lace and I used the time to lean on each other, strengthening our own bond, to get through what would ultimately be our darkest moments together. We realized that while our dreams of parenthood were close- they also were not guaranteed and we became protective of our peace and our story. 

After coming to terms with what had happened, we decided to try again. The next 3 attempts were emotional as I moved on to medicated cycles to increase our chances. Every month we started with baseline testing, medications to help hyper ovulate, trigger shots to time the ovulation and finally the IUI procedure. Every month we found the hope and strength to continue trying but unfortunately it did not lead to another pregnancy. Nobody could have prepared us for emotions that came with trying to conceive. The reality was that it was the hardest thing we have ever done. My heart goes out to anyone who goes through this...and more.

At this time, we decided that I would take a break from the process and Lace would step in to try. For a variety of reasons we thought that our chances might increase slightly with this change. Here we were, chasing that feeling of hope again and for 3 months we were disappointed to see “not pregnant” appear on a plastic stick...over and over. 

It was time to make decisions to make in our journey. Would we stop trying? Take another break? Change donors? Opt for a more aggressive treatment? Adopt? These questions became the forefront of our daily lives. The will to conceive a child had just grew over time and with each month that passed without success we began to question every decision that lead us here. Was I too old? Is it my diet? Is there another supplement I should or could take? Will this ever happen? 

We decided that we would try one more time. One more, 100% ALL IN attempt before we took a break to recharge and regroup. We found the perfect donor and started the baseline testing. Lace did a medicated cycle and at the time just before ovulation, we had 3 eggs matured and ready for the trigger shot. 1 cycle, 3 chances, and countless hopes and dreams of growing our family! 

I still remember the day of the procedure like it was yesterday. We woke up and something in the air felt different- electric even. We made our way to the appointment and the procedure began. Lace was calm, relaxed and focused. The procedure itself was quick and in the moments after we were optimistic, jovial and connected. We then went home to wait…the dreaded two weeks to see if a positive pregnancy test would be next or if our dreams would be put on pause while we regrouped. 

I'll have you know that Lace isn’t a superstitious person. She lives in the reality that is somewhat black and white, however, there are some exceptions. Her favorite number is the number 9. It was a number assigned to her during her first year playing soccer as 10 year old kid who just wanted to be a part of a winning team. That first season her team went all the way to the finals and a core memory was created. The number 9 became the most important number to her. So it’s no surprise that when the doctor told her to wait 14 days before taking a pregnancy test, she would only wait 9. 

It was 5am, 9 days post IUI. I was asleep - a deep sleep I might add - when Lace abruptly woke me up with a pregnancy test shoved in my face and asked “DO YOU SEE IT? The second line?! I think there is a second line! I think we are pregnant! I think it worked!” Honestly I couldn’t see the second line, I couldn’t see anything. My eyes were barely focusing as I tried to wake up and make sense of what was being said. When I finally did wake up and looked at the test, she was right. There was something there, although very faint- a glimmer of hope!


The next few days were a bit of a blur. Lace became obsessed with testing- multiple times a day and with each test that second line became darker and darker. By day 13 it was clear that we were in fact pregnant. Blood work confirmed the pregnancy a few days later. We were scheduled for an ultrasound a week after that and we were able to confirm a gestational sac was present in the uterus. 

2 weeks later we were back for another ultrasound - this time with a heartbeat. Words cannot describe the feeling of hearing a tiny heartbeat at 7 weeks pregnant. The months of trying to conceive, the emotional highs, the emotional lows and hopes we had for our future all cumulated into this moment. It was there: a heartbeat, a life, a child. We are going to be parents to a little caterpillar! 🐛


Our medical team was simply the best and deserves all the flowers for helping us on this 2+ year journey. 🌸


Thank you for reading our journey, part 1! It only gets better from here...


Ria + Lace


Our favorite TTC resources:

✤ Ovulation + Pregnancy Tests: Bird & Be

✤ Digital Early Detection/Pregnancy Test: Clearblue  

✤ Prenatal Vitamins: Olly 

✤ Sperm Bank: FCC, San Diego