Tracey is a wife, sister, daughter, friend, model, and in the last year she has been Mom to Kirra and Greyson, her twins. I asked her to share her story of motherhood on this very special day of celebrating all the beautiful things our mothers do and are.
I think as women, what we learn from an early age is that it feels like our divine right to bear children and that it’s a given. We think it’s a natural course of action that "when I am ready, it will just happen." We never think about it being difficult or a struggle. But as easy as it is for some, there are a lot those who struggle as well. Here is Tracey on a three-year struggle, in vitro fertilization [IVF], and her beautiful daughter and son.
“Think about it...you are on the pill from a young age, going through learning how not to get pregnant, and then you start trying to get pregnant. You then can start to become depressed once you do get your period every month. It starts to become this overly emotional thing. My mom and sister never had an issue. My sister sneezed and got pregnant with her girls. They (the doctors) never quite pinpointed what it [the issue] was, but it’s just that I think I didn’t have as many healthy eggs as someone my age should. You never know what factors into that. They say you are born with however many eggs you will have for your whole life. I have to think certain things can play a factor into it...When you’re going through the process of trying to get pregnant, it can become this emotionally taxing, stressful thing, even though during it I didn’t think it was. I know now internally my body was telling me ‘you are'. I have a friend who tried for so long, then went through IVF, and then get pregnant immediately after. It’s fascinating to me how that happens.
...In the third year of trying we got pregnant, and then I miscarried around 9 weeks. That’s when my OBGYN suggested seeing a specialist.
The specialist told me that he’s seen women even younger than me come in without ovulating any eggs. You wonder how it’s even possible. Is it environmental? Is it stress that works against you trying to get pregnant? We did a couple rounds of IUI [Intrauterine insemination], the turkey baster method, taking Clomid, which helps you produce more eggs since when a woman ovulates regularly only one egg is produced per month...Which, my doctor then explained, if you really think about it, it means getting pregnant is actually super hard. Then I think, well then, why do I see everyone getting pregnant? You wonder how that happens so easily for other people. We did a couple rounds of that and it still didn’t work. After that, he suggested IVF, that it would be our best shot.
I did three or four shots daily for about a month in preparation. It preps your body to produce as many eggs as possible before the doctor goes in to retrieve them.
I was in the zone during this time, my focus on 'let’s do this'. The whole process was so less scary than I thought it would be. For me, it wasn’t that bad of an experience. The shots weren’t great, but for me this was our best option, and I was so ready to do everything I needed to do. I never felt crummy from the drugs, which was good. I noticed a difference in my body, but overall I felt pretty normal...though I’m sure my husband might have disagreed on a few occasions.
The retrieval process went great. My doctor was able to get about 12 eggs. They then are fertilized and go through the process of the doctor watching to see which ones are growing into healthy embryos. By the final phase we had seven. We did more testing to make sure they were healthy, and then we were down to five. We decided to take two and freeze the three remaining. This way if we wanted to have another child we wouldn’t need to go through the process again, just the implantation process.
When I went in for implantation, it was exciting and nerve racking. Luckily they give you the option of a Xanax or two to help you relax, because that is a very important part in the process, relaxing. I had two. The whole process is a lot like getting a pap smear. The two embryos are placed on a long thin tube that the doctor inserts, and then there is a little poof of wind that helps them lay/settle right where they need to be in your uterus. After that I had to be on bed rest for next 72 hours. I never was stressed out during the whole thing. Even on bed rest I never had anxiety, I just had this overwhelming feeling that 'I know this is going to work', and I felt great. It’s two weeks after the implantation you go in to do the blood work to see if you’re pregnant. I just knew it was going to work. I felt very calm.
When the doctors office called with the positive results, all the nurses were on speaker and it was definitely emotional. We (my husband and I) for sure both were crying.
Once we were pregnant, it somehow didn’t even seem that long to get to that point. But while in it, the process before IVF, it felt like forever. Every month was a dread and going through everything to get to the infertility specialist was just exhausting. Crying every month. Trying to figure out how to cope with it. What is the best way to move on and move forward? It takes its toll on you, and I think in turn, sometimes our relationship. You want something so bad, and it’s not happening. You can then unintentionally take it out on each other.
...I was inspired by a friend who had shared something about her own process. I decided that it was time to share mine and be more open about my own journey[on Facebook]. I was bawling, crying, reading people's responses. I was just overwhelmed by the support and love. Instantly three girls privately messaged me about how they were going through it too, their own struggles with conceiving. You don’t realize how many people actually do go through it. The fact that I could give other people support and in turn have people I could lean on by being open about it.
I do feel really blessed that our process went as smoothly as it did because it could easily have not. I know for some people it doesn’t, it can take more than one try, but the whole experience was something that if you asked me my thoughts about...I would say 'one hundred percent, do it'.
It was a crazy journey and even at their recent first birthday I couldn’t even believe we had been here for a year. Someone recently put it to me perfectly...it is 'the longest days and shortest years'.
Miscarriage is such a huge word for people and it really does rock your core. It’s a pretty crushing experience. It affects everyone that loves you and supports you. It’s a weird process to go through, and you never want to go through it, but there are reasons for it. It is so hard to hear that when it’s happening, because you're thinking 'Why me? What did I do?' Going through it all, I’ve learned it’s so out of my control, and it’s all in divine timing. I look back at all the amazing things we got to do before we had babies...
...I never thought I would go through IVF to have my family. If you would have asked me how I saw it all coming to be, this was not what I was thinking. I love being a mom to twins even if it’s not something I dreamed of beforehand. I was not one of those people who wanted to have twins. But I feel like I lucked out with two really great babies, and I love that they have each other.
The support has been overwhelming from our family and friends. The years we struggled, getting through IVF, the pregnancy, and then the first year with the twins. We could not have made it without them. I can’t really remember the first month. You’re in survival mode...Having our families' support was so crucial.
It still can feel weird to even have them, going back to 'you go your whole life trying not to get pregnant, then you are'...then you have them and you’re like, 'shit these are my kids, I’m responsible for them. I’m a Mom.' And it can feel weird to wrap your head around. Like you almost don’t feel old enough, but you are, and you think 'I’m a Mom'.
I will say this too. I am proud of myself for this year and being their mom. It’s been a good year. I feel like now I’m kind of getting myself back again. I’m going to start going back to work and get a little bit of me time back...I [believe] it helps you be a better mom, helps you appreciate all the little moments more. It’s about finding that right balance. Taking it day by day. Trying to do things that fill you in the best way that you can, taking each phase, and doing things that help support your spouse as well. I’m happy to start working again to ease up that pressure on him, and I’m one of those people that believes mama should work too.
Greyson is a mama’s boy, which I just love. Super sweet, more sensitive, loves to cuddle, and just wants to be held. He has always wanted to be held.
Kirra is crazy. I always thought boys were crazy and girls were mellow. But no, it’s flipped. She’s fiercely independent, wants to do things on her own, a great sleeper, but she’s just crazy. She takes her little walker, zooms off, and just goes all day long.
They’re so opposite but they complement each other.
There are always times in your life that things are not going to turn out the way you wanted them to. There will always be good times and hard times. It might not be the way you thought it would be, but there will always be an end result, and it should be a good one. We would have found a good one. Somehow, even if IVF didn’t work, we would have had kids some way. Even if it’s not the plan you had mapped out. You’ll get there. You’ll get your happy ending.
It’s a pretty great blessing getting to be a Mom to these two."
photos Mary Claire Roman
makeup, hair, styling Janelle Walker
edit Kristen Fogle