A Small Handful

“So, how many kids do you want someday?” I inquired of my then-boyfriend, David, in a moment of bravery. After a long day at work, we lingered over dinner at a neighborhood taqueria.

“Hypothetically,” I quickly added, popping a tortilla chip into my mouth.

David sat in silence for a second. “I’ve always thought a small handful would be good,” he casually replied.

“What does that even mean?” I laughed.

“Well, it depends,” he teased. “How many are you willing to give me?” His blue eyes sparkled with mischief.

By the end of the evening, we had settled on three kids, maybe four.

Hypothetically, of course.

Several years later, I gave birth to our oldest daughter, Ellie. She was beautiful and wonderful, everything we ever imagined. But she did not sleep. Ever.

Somewhere around her first birthday, when we were approaching our 12th straight month without a full night of rest, David suggested our optional fourth child should be off the table.

“Definitely no more than three,” I affirmed.

Just before Ellie’s second birthday, I was pregnant again. In the months that followed, David struggled with a clinical anxiety disorder diagnosis while I struggled with gestational diabetes.

“I am so excited to welcome this baby into our family, but I’ve reached my capacity,” David confided to me one evening. “I think we should be done having kids after this.”

Hugely pregnant and tired of pricking my finger four times a day to test my blood sugar levels, I readily agreed.

“Two sounds perfect,” I assured him.

Then I gave birth to Lauren. She was beautiful and wonderful, everything we ever imagined. And she slept!

I knew right away I wanted another child.

But I didn’t know what to do with this revelation. It marked the first time David and I stood on opposite sides of a weighty family decision. As we settled into life as a family of four, I started to test the waters. I made small comments, mostly lighthearted, and gauged David’s reaction.

“These girls are so cute, are you sure you want to deny the world another one?”

“The newborn stage with Lauren was euphoric; wouldn’t it be nice to experience it again?”

His responses were always sweet, but telling.

“Yes, they’re adorable.”

“Thankfully we got a lot more sleep when Lauren was a newborn than we did with Ellie.”

I knew he was happy with our current situation and what he could provide for us. I decided I could be happy, too. I loved the life we had created. Our children were thriving, our marriage was strong—who was I to ask for more? I knew I would feel the occasional pang of “what if?” as time went on, but surely that would be manageable.

Then a friend announced she was expecting her third baby, and my carefully crafted charade came crashing down. Her news did not bring wistful thoughts of what might have been; it exposed a gaping hole in my heart.

That night I slipped into David’s home office and sat on the guest bed across from his desk until he finished his project. “We need to talk about something,” I said softly.

He turned toward me and words started spilling out as fast as my tears.

“I know all the logical arguments side with you,” I conceded. “There will be added expenses with another kid. We’ll need a new car, we’ll have less space, there’s the possibility of being stretched too thin.”

He nodded.

“But someone is missing—that’s the only way I can think to describe it. I know in my heart there is another person I’m supposed to mother, and I need them to be here. Am I crazy?”

David reached out and took my hand. “You’re not crazy,” he reassured me. “If you feel this strongly about it, then it looks like we have some praying to do.”

Over the next several months, we did just that. I made sure he knew my top priority was having him healthy and settled. I told him I didn’t want to have another child unless he really wanted it too. He offered assurances that he took me seriously and wanted to do what was best for all of us.

One random Tuesday toward the end of 2020, David and I stretched out on the couch together after getting the girls in bed. I nestled my head comfortably into his chest while he played with my hair. Neither of us felt the need to talk.

David eventually broke the silence. “I want you to know, we’ve talked so much about the possibility of having another baby that I have started to assume it’s going to happen.”

I whipped my head up. “Is this your way of saying yes?” I asked, trying hard to contain my excitement.

“This is my way of saying yes,” he smiled.


Like many families, we carefully changed our behavior in an attempt to avoid the worst of the pandemic. In March 2021, COVID found me anyway.

On my worst day, the pulsing aches that raged through my head and body prevented me from so much as sitting up. Mercifully, I wasn’t pregnant yet, but I hoped to be soon.

I had been alone in the master bedroom for days, curled on my side, head propped against pillows. The room felt stuffy, despite the open windows. The TV hummed constantly in the background, but I found it too hard to focus. Instead, I stared out the window next to my bed and watched the leaves on our backyard trees rustle in the early spring breeze. Looking at something outside my four walls seemed to help a little.

I dreamed of better days ahead, and I prayed for the strength to get there. While I was isolated from my family, I thought of our hypothetical third baby. I imagined snuggling in bed with him or her on my chest, instead of my very different reality.

A few weeks into recovery, I visited my general practitioner for persistent ear pain I assumed was a lingering effect of the disease. I made small talk with him as he finished up what had been a routine appointment. He gave my chart one last glance, and his eyebrows furrowed.

I shifted uncomfortably in my chair, wondering if he was about to bring up the extra weight I had put on from four weeks of barely being able to get out of bed. What he said next surprised me.

“Everything looks great, but your pulse is a little on the high side. I’m going to have the nurse check it again before you leave.”

I gave him a confused look.

“Normally I wouldn’t give it a second thought,” he continued. “But we’re finding that one of the side effects of COVID is heart issues, even in patients who have recovered. I just want to be extra careful with you.”

He exited the exam room. I tried to steady myself with a deep breath, but the seeds of doubt about my health had already been planted.

I thought of the article I had just read highlighting the large percentage of COVID survivors being diagnosed with neurological or mental health disorders. Apparently, the prospect of heart defects now followed me around as well.

My thoughts raced to a place that felt like too much to handle. Once again, the missing member of our family came to the forefront of my mind—the baby I didn’t have yet, but wanted so desperately. I wondered if my body would be strong enough to create and carry another life when we were ready to start trying. Was having a baby still a possibility? Did the long-prayed-about plans David and I had for our family even matter now?

A light knock at the door interrupted my thoughts.

“I hear we need to re-take your pulse?” the nurse walked in with a smile. She grabbed my wrist and looked at her watch.

“All good!” she declared. “You are perfectly healthy.”

“Healthy,” I sighed. For now.


I found out on a Wednesday in July. I woke up with a sore back, and something gave me pause as I reached for the bottle of Excedrin. David and I hadn’t exactly been careful lately, but my fears of the effects of COVID still lingered. I had also been dealing with irregular cycles and a painful ovarian cyst for months. I wanted a baby, but most of my prayers consisted of asking the Lord to give me patience with a body that obviously wasn’t working right.

“I’m not pregnant,” I assured myself and opened the bottle to slide two pills into my hand. That small feeling persisted.

I put the medicine back in the container with a sigh and dug around in the basket under our sink, fishing out a single pregnancy test. I opened the package, preparing myself for the negative sting of one pink line.

“At least this will set my mind at ease and I can take my medicine in peace,” I thought. The second line appeared before I had the chance to set the test on the counter.

I was pregnant.

I moved into the hallway, just out of sight of the girls, and frantically motioned for David to join me. Safely in the privacy of our bedroom, I wordlessly held the test up.

“How is that even possible?” he laughed, drawing me into a warm hug.

“I guess my body is working better than we thought!” I marveled.

The marveling continued as I sat in the backyard later that morning, basking in the mid-summer sun and the glow of the sweet secret known only to me and David. I relaxed under the orange tree just outside our bedroom window and reflected on how much can change in a short period of time. From COVID ridden and stuck inside to feeling the warm breeze on my skin and the tingle of new life growing inside of me.

I surrendered my dream for our family, but I don’t have to give it up—our third baby is on its way to my arms. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Baby Kruckenberg #3 will complete our family in mid-March 2022!

Lauren’s Birth Story

Alternative titles for this post include “I’m not Sure These are Actually Contractions” and “A Redemptive Birth Experience.”

Allow me to set the scene: On Saturday, September 14th, David’s godparents came into town to take us to dinner. I was 37 weeks and two days along. I felt extremely uncomfortable and looked like I had swallowed the world’s largest watermelon. However, baby girl was still sitting pretty high and I had been told at my doctor’s appointment just days before that I still had a ways to go.

“Who knows?” David’s sweet godmother quipped during our meal, “This could be your last dinner without the baby!”

We all laughed and I felt certain that wouldn’t be the case. I had weeks to go! Besides, didn’t my doctor just tell me that she wasn’t anywhere close to being in position yet?

Plot twist: that was, in fact, our last dinner without the baby.

Saturday night as we were putting Ellie to bed, I started feeling a lot of pelvic pain. It felt like someone was taking my hip bones and ripping them apart while baby girl was forcefully using my ribs as leverage to shove herself downward. She had always been a strong, active baby so I just assumed these were normal pregnancy aches and pains.

Later on that night I did start to feel funny–like I just needed to stop and take in everything as it was right at that moment. I asked David to stop what he was doing and sit quietly with me for a little while. I remember having a fleeting thought that maybe this was my body’s way of telling me I was about to go into labor, but I quickly dismissed it. I went to bed early to prepare myself for a full Sunday of church, a baby celebration lunch with a few of my dear friends, and dinner with one of David’s co-workers and her family.

4:30am Sunday morning, my eyes opened. I lay there in the dark for a few minutes trying to figure out why I was awake.

Is Ellie up? No.

Do I need to go to the bathroom? No.

Do I need to roll over? No.

Am I thirsty? No.

Alright, mental checklist complete, I guess I can fall back asleep. But… ouch! What is that annoying abdominal cramp? Oh ok, it’s gone. Time to go back to sleep.

Five minutes later…

Ouch! There it is again!

Five minutes later…

You get the drill. Needless to say, it took me an embarrassing amount of contractions to start suspecting I was probably having contractions. They weren’t intense at all, but they were definitely there and definitely coming every five minutes like clockwork. I assumed they were Braxton Hicks contractions, so I got up and started walking around the house in the hopes that they would go away. They only got stronger. At that point, I decided the best thing to do was go back to bed and try to get as much rest as possible. You know, just in case. I obviously wasn’t in labor.

David’s alarm went off at 7:00am.

“Good morning! Um, let me know when you are awake enough to talk, I have a few things to tell you.”

That right there was enough to wake him up; I’m not usually that conversant first thing in the morning.

“Ok… well… I’ve been having contractions… at least I think they’re contractions… since 4:30am. They are coming every five minutes. But they are so mild! I’m sure they aren’t really contractions. I’m only 37 weeks!”

I answered his barrage of questions.

“Yes, since 4:30 this morning.”

“No, I haven’t called labor and delivery.”

“Well, I figured one of us should sleep, so I didn’t want to wake you up.”

“Ok, ok, fine. I will call the hospital.”

The nurse who answered in labor and delivery gave me strict orders to take a shower, eat some breakfast, drink a ton of water, and put my feet up. I was to call them back in a few hours if the contractions were still coming.

Late in the morning I finally gave in to the fact that, yes, these were actual contractions. I was in the early stages of labor! We canceled all of our plans, asked my parents to get on the road so they could be here with Ellie, and settled in for the day. I spent most of my time laboring on the couch listening to David and Ellie play in the playroom behind me. Every few minutes or so I would call to David that a contraction was about to begin and he would start timing. Talk about multi-tasking at its finest.

Right after we got Ellie down for her afternoon nap, the contractions picked up in intensity. David said he thought we needed to go to the hospital, but I wasn’t convinced. I could still talk just fine in between contractions, and my parents had barely made it past Los Angeles; it would be hours before they made it to our house.

I called labor and delivery again and they asked me to come in. The nurse said they likely wouldn’t admit me, but since I was late pre-term and had already been laboring for more than ten hours, they wanted to monitor the baby for a bit. So, we left Ellie in the care of friends and neighbors and headed out.

We pulled into the hospital around 3:30pm. I got out of the car and felt a contraction coming on. All of a sudden I heard a *pop* and doubled over in pain. The baby had kicked me so hard it felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I stood up and told David everything was fine but as I took a few steps I could feel something leaking.

“Um, this is awkward. I think my water broke? Maybe? It can’t really be that, right?”

The next thing I know I was hit with an incredibly intense contraction. They started coming one right on top of the other, making it impossible to walk and nearly impossible to breathe. Thankfully, by that point, we had made it halfway through the emergency department lobby and a nurse brought us a wheelchair. By the time we were in the labor and delivery ward a few minutes later, I was leaning over the side of the chair in extreme pain. Up until this point, my labor had been much easier and far less painful than Ellie’s, but I was starting to have flashbacks and zone out from the pain. I stood up in the triage room and felt a huge gush. Yup, that episode in the parking lot had been my water breaking.

A very upbeat midwife entered the room and asked me what I “envisioned” for my labor. I managed to gasp out “epidural” and that was about it. She checked me, discovered I was dilated four centimeters and sent us off to our room with a promise to call the anesthesiologist right away. The 30 minutes or so I was waiting for the epidural are a little fuzzy. I remember searing pain, shaking, sweating profusely. Our nurse set about getting me hooked up to everything and running the necessary tests. I turned on my side and gripped the bed rail for dear life. All I could do was breathe and repeat “this too shall pass” over and over in my head. Somehow I answered all the nurse’s questions, while David sweetly coached me through each contraction, telling me constantly what a great job I was doing.

Mercifully, the anesthesiologist finally came and my epidural was placed! It was almost instant relief and I settled happily and comfortably into my bed to wait out what I assumed was quite a bit more time before we met our girl. It was about 4:30pm.

Less than two hours later, I told David I thought I wanted to take a nap. I had been up since 4:30am and laboring for almost 14 hours at this point. I was starting to feel tired. The nurse gave me a funny look and asked, “Do you feel the urge to push?” I did not feel the urge to push at all, I felt the urge to sleep. “I want them to check you, first. The baby is really, really low.”

The midwife came in and checked me. “Yup, you are at a ten! I can feel the baby’s head, try a practice push for me during this next contraction.”

I complied and baby girl started moving.

“Ok,” the midwife said. “It’s definitely time to push, I’ll get the doctor. Are you ready to meet your baby?”

David and I stared at each other in disbelief. Were we ready to meet our baby? Of course, but couldn’t we slow this thing down a little? I had barely gotten used to the idea that I was having real contractions, and wasn’t I just four centimeters a mere two hours ago?

Ready or not, she was coming!

They got the room set up and the doctor came in, the same one who delivered Ellie two and a half years ago. Ten minutes later, at 6:24pm, less than three hours after we arrived at the hospital, Lauren Poppy Kruckenberg was in my arms.

I felt blissfully aware and in control the entire time. I held my own legs when I pushed. I watched as they lifted her up and placed her on my chest. I even cut the umbilical cord myself. It was a beautiful process from start to finish and a moment I will cherish as long as I live.

When we first decided we were ready to think about welcoming a second child into our family, I prayed a rather bold prayer. I asked the Lord for a redemptive conception experience, a redemptive pregnancy, and a redemptive birth story. I wanted to look back on this time with peace and joy, not as something I needed to emotionally heal from. Nothing, and I mean nothing, on any of those fronts went according to what my plan for a “redemptive” experience would have been. But looking back on it now I see that in His infinite wisdom the Lord gave me abundantly more than I could have imagined.

Our Lauren is exactly who we needed in our family and she came exactly when we needed her. What a sweet testament to God’s grace.


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For This Child I Have Bled

“Oh wow!” the nurse processing the new pregnancy paperwork after my eight-week appointment exclaimed. “Your daughter was quite a big baby!” I laughed and glanced over at my tall, now extremely lanky, toddler carefully pulling the pamphlets out of the basket in the corner of the nurse’s office one by one. “Yup! 9 pounds, 11 ounces. Apparently, my husband’s side of the family has big babies.”

The conversation continued, “Ok, so I’m going to need you to complete your glucose screening before your next appointment. Having a baby over nine pounds in a previous pregnancy puts you at an increased risk for gestational diabetes, so we need to test you early.”

At this point, my internal dialogue started going crazy. Um, excuse me? Drink that nasty stuff during my first trimester? Does she want me to throw up all over the poor unsuspecting lab tech?

Unfortunately, no amount of exclamations on my part about how I didn’t have gestational diabetes in my previous pregnancy, I was sure I was perfectly healthy, and really I just have big babies would get me out of it. I (once again, internally) rolled my eyes and thought at least I would get the test over with early on.

What’s that saying? Pride cometh before the fall?

Much to my dismay a mere three weeks later, at only 11 weeks along, I found myself sitting in a “So, you have gestational diabetes” type class learning all about my diet restrictions and how to use my new glucose meter.


Every night after dinner for months of this pregnancy, until the triple-digit summer heat made it unbearable, I took a walk. It’s one of the best things you can do to regulate your blood sugar. Sometimes Ellie and David joined, but many evenings I walked by myself. I put one foot in front of the other, circling our block multiple times, first legitimately walking and then waddling as my belly grew.

The walks gave me a lot of time to think.

I often wondered what our neighbors thought and if any of them felt oddly invested in my pregnancy, even if they don’t personally know me, as they watched my belly expand night after night as I passed by their houses.

Mostly, I just thought a lot about the baby inside of me and prayed.

It’s ironic, really. If you were to ask me which pregnancy was easier I would answer this one without missing a beat even though I’m technically high risk, because physically it has been. It’s been largely free of the nausea that plagued me during Ellie’s entire pregnancy and required medication. For the most part, I’ve had energy and been able to keep up with all my normal activities. I even got used to the unwelcome diet changes pretty quickly. But in its own way, it has been harder this time around.

With Ellie, I had complete peace and confidence that my body was the safest place for her to be. She was literally created for me; I knew I was the only one who could provide her with what she needed during those 40 weeks. As sick as I was, I never had a doubt that she was going to stay ours and come out healthy at the end.

This pregnancy has been one giant mental battle.

It’s the extreme weight loss early on and my inability to gain the weight back because I can’t have sugar or simple carbohydrates; the constant checking of my blood sugar; the phone calls from nurses that come every Wednesday evening like clockwork to record said blood sugar numbers and ask me questions about my diet; the “supervised high risk pregnancy” label that shows up on all of my paperwork. I’m so thankful that she is healthy, but I can’t shake the nagging feeling that my body isn’t the safest place for her to grow. I just want her on the outside where I can actually take care of her.


700. That’s how many times I have pricked my finger this pregnancy and squeezed out a drop of blood to test my sugar levels. I’ll have to do it 112 more times if she goes to full term. I know this won’t be the last time I physically bleed because of her, and I also know that my anxiety for her wellbeing won’t end when she finally exits my body. In fact, it will be the beginning of a lifetime of concern, worry, and prayer over the sweet soul I have been entrusted with.

For this child I have bled, and will continue to bleed, and pray over, and love and protect with everything I have in me. I am so lucky to be her Mama.

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Maternity Pictures!

Over Thanksgiving weekend David and I took maternity pictures and I am so thrilled with how they turned out, I just have to share. We took them in my parent’s beautiful backyard; it was a fun, special time to focus on our baby girl and her upcoming arrival.

Our amazing photographer, Stephen Cavecche, just happens to be my younger brother, but we would hire him again and again for our photography needs even if he wasn’t family ;). If you like what you see, check out his website at http://www.stephencphoto.com/.


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Photographer: Stephen Cavecche Photography
Location: Private Residence
Dress: Pink Blush Maternity

Advice about questioning plans to have kids, from someone who has been there

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to accuse or call out any of my specific friends or family members in any way, but rather to provide general advice to anyone interested in hearing it from my unique perspective.

Thanksgiving is a few short days away, and before we know it Christmas will be here! This season is truly my favorite time of year. I love all the celebrations, decorations, traditions, good food, and, most importantly, quality time with friends and family, some of whom I often don’t see the rest of the year. However, the holidays can also be hard for a number of different reasons.

If you are married without kids, you are probably asked on a somewhat regular basis by friends, family members, co-workers, creepy dudes in the grocery store and other complete strangers when you are planning on starting your family. I know I probably got asked that question from one person or another at least once a month. The holiday season, with all its extended family time, is often filled with these kinds of proverbial land mines.

This time last year, David and I had been trying to conceive for about two months and even though we were still early in the process we already had an inkling something was wrong. Very few people knew we were trying, and I had told hardly anyone that my body just wasn’t working right after stopping birth control.

In years past, handling questions about our family plans wasn’t hard. However, there is something about trying to conceive, even if you have only been trying a short time, that makes those questions incredibly painful and intrusive.

The purpose of this post is not to speak to the women who may be struggling to get pregnant this holiday season. You are brave and strong, and I know you have your own ways of dealing with this very personal issue. Every woman copes in her own way.

Instead, I would like to take a moment to address well-meaning family members who plan on asking their niece/sister/cousin/aunt/daughter/relation of any sort when they plan on having a baby: With all due love and respect, please don’t.

“You guys have been married for what, three years now? Are kids in your future anytime soon?”

“I heard about your husband’s new job, so excited for you! I guess now you guys can get started on popping out some kids! Just kidding. Sort of. When can we expect some babies?”

“I was surprised to hear your cousin was expecting, I thought for sure you would be the next one in the family making a pregnancy announcement.”

“You look great holding that baby, I think it’s time for some kids of your own!”

I know these statements and questions are well meaning and said with the best of intentions. But, the truth is, they are practically impossible to answer if you are trying to conceive and only serve as a reminder of what you want more than anything, but for some reason aren’t capable of at the moment.

While David and I were trying, I voluntarily reached out to those I was comfortable telling. When those individuals asked me how things were going in that department, I felt loved and was happy to answer their questions honestly. When individuals who were not in the know made statements like the above in front of a large Thanksgiving crowd, I laughed nervously at the time and cried to David later.

So, a word of unsolicited advice this holiday season from my humble point of view: if you don’t already know the status of someone’s family plans, it is best to not ask or comment, especially in a public setting. You never know what kind of battles someone else is fighting.

For Such a Time as This: Thoughts on our Baby Girl

“Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b

It has been nearly eight weeks since David and I found out our January baby is a sweet little girl, and I am way overdue to get my thoughts down about this big news!

Both of Baby Kberg’s grandmas came up for the big reveal and were in the ultrasound room when the tech said “three little lines… it’s a GIRL!!” Tears and very loud squeals ensued; and I spent the next several days looking and David and saying “I can’t believe we’re having a girl” over and over. Thrilled didn’t even begin to describe how we were feeling; it still doesn’t.

its-a-girlIt’s a girl! Back when my bump was tiny.

Confession time: I didn’t tell anyone, but I was convinced Baby Kberg was a boy. I don’t know why, I just had a feeling. I was looking forward to being a “boy mom” and everything that comes with raising a son, but when I heard “girl” my heart instantly melted. I know she is exactly who is supposed to join our family at this time.

This season of pregnancy has been very bittersweet, characterized by both extreme excitement and significant loss. Over the summer, two women very dear to me passed away within two months of each other. Sharon Runner and Judy Ball were incredible women of God who each mentored me in multiple ways, encouraging me in my faith, marriage, missions, career and womanhood. They loved so much bigger than themselves, and through a lifetime of service to others left a lasting impression on so many people.

About a week before we found out Baby Kberg’s gender, I tearfully confessed to David that part of me hoped we had a girl coming. Losing Sharon and Judy back to back was a significant blow. The world desperately needs good women and two of its best are now in heaven. I told David I loved the idea of raising a little girl to be a strong, faithful woman who could help carry on the legacy these women left behind.

The Lord knew what the events of this summer would be before we were even pregnant with Baby Kberg. He knew exactly what our lives would look like, and exactly who would fit into these circumstances. Our sweet baby girl is the answer to so many prayers, someone truly designed “for such a time as this.” I can’t wait to meet her!

This is Pregnancy

This post is dedicated to all the amazing women who were real with me about what I was getting myself into. You are my heroes. Seriously.

Now that our pregnancy is public, the number one question I am (understandably) asked is “How are you feeling?” And honestly, now that I’m in my second trimester, I’m feeling pretty good! But the first trimester… that was an entirely different story.

I made a promise to myself during fertility treatments that I when I became pregnant I would not complain about my symptoms, no matter how bad they were. I know all too well that many women would sacrifice just about anything for the blessing of being able to carry a child. In honor of them, and my own journey, I have been determined to ride out the difficult parts of pregnancy with positivity and grace.

However, in some situations, there is nothing wrong with telling it like it is. So ladies (or gentlemen who happen to be reading this), in the spirit of encouragement and camaraderie let me tell you, pregnancy is not all sunshine and rainbows.

Lest you be fooled by what I like to call the “perfect preggo” whose pictures we often see floating around Instagram, let me give you a small glimpse of what my first three months were like.

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My workout routine was the first thing to go, followed closely by my ability to eat anything that remotely resembled healthy food. I didn’t do my hair or wear make-up. Ever. Attempting to shower on a somewhat regular basis and put on clean, matching clothes became a monumental task; as did driving, walking, running errands, doing housework, talking to people, and showing up for work on time. If I was fully clothed, smelling alright, and not throwing up it was a good day.

Insane nausea and fatigue ruled all. Pre-pregnancy Kendra harshly judged pregnant Kendra on a daily basis, but sick and tired pregnant Kendra could have cared less.

There is one incident in particular that I think perfectly captures the “glamour” of this stage. SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t like reading stories that involve throw up, stop now. You have been warned.

One morning smack dab in the middle of my first trimester, David was getting ready for work and therefore occupying our only bathroom. I was in the middle of my own morning routine: lying in bed taking deep breaths while waiting for my anti-nausea medicine to take effect. (Can I get an “amen” for Zofran?) Delaney, our unsuspecting bulldog, was sleeping on her bed in our room.

All of a sudden, a swift and fierce wave of nausea hit; unfortunately this was going to be a day where Zofran did mercifully little to control my symptoms. I jumped out of bed and sprinted towards the closed door of our bathroom. Delaney, thinking this was a signal to play, ran ahead of me and jumped up on the front of my legs. The epic nausea, closed bathroom door, and bulldog delay were the perfect storm. I lost it. EVERYWHERE. Right there in my hallway.

Delaney fled to safety and poor David opened the door a second later to find me kneeling in a gigantic mess, still very much in the middle of getting sick. He gently ushered me into the bathroom and began cleaning up. A couple minutes later, while I was still huddled over the toilet, I heard him say “Aw, bulldog, she got you too.”

You guys, I threw up on my dog. This is pregnancy.

Granted, I have had a harder introduction to pregnancy than a lot of women. I know my “morning” (read: all day) sickness was on the severe end of the scale. I even ended up in the hospital for fluids after an extremely bad bought of nausea left me dangerously dehydrated.

So, if you are reading this and have not experienced pregnancy for yourself, don’t let me scare you. I just want to provide a little levity and encouragement so you don’t feel bad if you don’t live up to the myth of the woman with an easy breezy pregnancy. One day you can say to yourself, “at least I didn’t throw up on my dog like that one chick.”

And if you happen to be one of those aforementioned “perfect preggos” then more power to you! Please, share your secrets with the rest of us.

Blown Away

To say I am blown away by the response to my first venture into the blogging world is an understatement.

It has been such a blessing to read everyone’s responses, and I have especially enjoyed the conversations it has spurred with other women who have either beat infertility themselves, or are in the middle of their journey. I’ve also heard from many men and women who didn’t realize infertility was such a common issue but were intrigued by our story. Thank you for taking the time to read what I had to say. The hope of having these conversations is exactly why I decided to open up. I am humbled, and honestly could not ask for anything more.

I’m still not 100% sure what I am going to use this little blog for. I started it because, due to some current and upcoming life changes, I know I will need a new outlet for my writing. I also hope to use it as a way to keep loved ones who live far away updated on our life and family in a more in-depth way than Facebook and Instagram. However, I am also open to using it for a lot more, and I would love to hear your thoughts!

I am by no means an expert on fertility issues, and there are many aspects of infertility my husband and I did not have to face. But, I found the conversations that came out of my initial post so encouraging that I am considering writing a few posts that delve into the specifics of what we experienced.

So, if anyone out there is interested in the type of testing we went through, hearing more about things like the dreaded HSG, or even laughing at awkward moments in our treatment, please let me know!

There were many times throughout our process that I turned to Google and the blogs of women I sometimes didn’t even know for information, and they brought me a lot of comfort and real-world knowledge. I would love the opportunity to provide that reassurance to others.

What you don’t see in the Cute Pregnancy Announcement

Two pink lines. One much fainter than the other, but there were undeniably two lines.

I will never forget that moment standing in our tiny bathroom. I held the home pregnancy test up to my husband and we stared at each other in disbelief. Over the next couple of days four more home pregnancy tests (what can I say? I was excited!) and two blood tests would confirm it: we were pregnant!

We excitedly began brainstorming creative ways to tell our family and, of course, how to share it on Social Media. Even more important than the cute announcement picture, I knew we needed to open up about our journey to pregnancy.

From what we see in the media and on Facebook, getting pregnant seems simple, fun, and easy; but one in eight couples struggle with infertility. We learned we were part of that one in eight shortly after we began trying to conceive.

I always had an inkling in the back of my mind that getting pregnant might be more difficult than I wanted it to be, but nothing quite prepares you for the rush of emotions that hit when a doctor tells you there is something wrong and you won’t be able to do it on your own.

As a woman, I felt completely betrayed by my body. We are told that God created us with the amazing, unique ability to grow and create life; it’s something to be proud of and something to cherish. Then one day you find out that your body has a hard time with that God-given purpose. Modern medicine, miracles, and “God’s perfect timing” aside, I just wanted my body to work.

As a couple, we not only had to face the reality that our dream of a family would take longer to accomplish, we had to prepare for a litany of medical appointments and tests. We had to answer difficult questions and be open about a very private, intimate part of our relationship; often to doctors we had just met.

The Lord redeems all things for good, and I would not change a single thing about our story. David and I saw our relationship stretch and grow in incredible ways, and we felt bolstered by a wonderful support system of family and friends. There are blessings in every circumstance. I don’t share our story to complain or make anyone feel sorry for us, but to try to bring awareness to an issue that is very common but often not discussed.

I want to give hope to the woman scrolling through Facebook who cries at yet another pregnancy announcement, or comfort to the couple who want children more than anything, but it’s just not happening how they envisioned. I understand you, I feel your pain, I will never tell you that your current struggle will make your future kids “that much more precious,” and I hope by sharing our story, I can make your journey a little less taboo.

The road to pregnancy looks different for everyone. Our road included eight months of trying, a litany of blood tests and invasive exams, countless doctors’ appointments, a lot of money spent, an initial diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and a re-diagnosis of Chronic Anovulation which culminated in a round of Clomid and ultimately getting pregnant with our current little love.

We need to respect the differences in our stories; one size does not fit all and that’s beautiful. It is my hope that we can talk more freely about the story behind the cute announcement picture and celebrate those stories with genuine joy.