God Lives in Petri Dishes too

This blog post first appeared in skirt! magazine’s blog as a contributing blog post. Enjoy!


When I first wrote the title of this article, I stopped and thought to myself, Come on Priscilla, you’re in the south. You can’t talk about God in skirt! Magazine. But then I realized, that statement is one of the many reasons why women shy from talking about infertility. God. If you have read my blog posts or other pieces on skirt! you may recall that I am aware of the religious stigma that other people might feel about fertility treatment. But as a huge fan of modern science and the overwhelming drive towards motherhood, I have long casted aside any “fertility treatment shaming” that may come my way.

My husband and I have recently begun talking with our fertility doctor about the next step for our family. After having been blessed with a perfect, healthy baby boy, the idea of giving him the gift of a sibling, and expanding our little wolf pack, makes us smile from cheek to cheek. But we know we will not be able to go at it alone.  But luckily, we have our little embryo #2 frozen in a petri dish for whenever we are ready for him. Or her.

Last month, I was at a dinner party discussing motherhood and pregnancy with some of my girlfriends, like one does of course. It always makes me wonder what the heck I used to talk about when I was in my twenties. The weather? Netflix? Who is Taylor Swift dating? Okay, fine, I still talk about those things too, but motherhood and pregnancy will now and forever be ranked as number one on my list of hot topics. So, we’re at the party, discussing the topic of getting pregnant and I mentioned how fertility treatment can be controversial to some people of various religious backgrounds. My friend Katherine, who never fails to be the voice of reason, turned to me and said, “well you know what… God lives in petri dishes too.” We all smiled, nodded our heads, and the subject soon shifted away. But what she said in that moment, I will never forget. Maybe what happens in petri dishes is highly controlled and solely based on the hands of doctors and embryologists. Or maybe miracles happen in petri dishes that nobody, even the doctors, can explain. Or maybe, just maybe, Katherine is right and God works in petri dishes too. Not a day goes by that I don’t fall to my knees and thank God, the universe, the powers that be, or anyone who is listening, that our little embryo #1, who spent the first five days of his existence living in a petri dish, is now an almost two-year old toddler who loves trains, reading books with daddy every night, and calling himself “baby” as he throws his arms around my neck.

So on this Thanksgiving weekend, I will be giving thanks once again to all of my many blessing, including the littlest one of all, who is no bigger than a poppy seed and is waiting patiently right over the bridge, at a clinic, in a petri dish. 

Seasons Change but Somethings Stay the Same

This post was originally written for skirt! magazine’s contributing blogger series and was published at the end of the summer, but I thought I should share it here as well. Enjoy!


When you live in a place like Charleston, where tank tops and beach days last all the way through December, every day can feel like a summer vacation. Somewhere in between the sunscreen and sandcastles, I blinked and suddenly we’re halfway through 2017. This time last year I was cooped up indoors with our new baby. And now here I am this summer with a wild little toddler. Seasons change and life moves along. And as I think about how fast time is moving, I’m reminded that my clock is ticking. Not just the little clock on my Apple watch but my 35 year old maternal clock.

Our journey towards getting pregnant with Liam was long and at times seemed hopeless. My dreams of wanting a big family started to diminish and I instead had begun to settle on: If I could just have one baby that would be fine. When you are trying to get pregnant, everything revolves around timing. You become obsessed over time.  Long days which turned into two very long weeks, waiting for a + sign to appear on a stick. And then nothing. And then more waiting two more long weeks to ovulate so you can try it again. And around and around it goes. When something is so dependent on timing, ironically time moves by very slowly.

So here we are again trying for baby No. 2. Trying to get pregnant for the second time seems like the same old song and dance. Some things never change: Ovulation sticks, fertility smoothies and hormone injections. But this time seems so difference. The anxiety, hopelessness, and fear are all gone. Before Liam, we felt like we were just waiting: waiting to be parents and never knowing if we ever would. But now that he is here, a weight has been lifted. Adding another baby would just be the icing on the cake of a beautiful little family that we already have.  We beat infertility once, maybe it will happen again. Maybe it won’t.  But if this curly haired kid has taught me anything, it’s that there’s not enough time in the day to feel sad, to be anxious, or to feel sorry for yourself. Those days are in the past.

The days may be long, but the years go by so fast. I am going to enjoy these days with my little family and not worry about the future. Because there is no where better to be than in the present. 



Selfishly Waiting on Baby Number Two

Now that Liam is a year old, Will and I have started to talk seriously about baby number two. We’ve always known that we wanted a big family and since it took us four years to get Liam (and my ovaries are not getting any younger), we probably have to make some decisions soon. We’ve gone through the typical discussions: How long this time should we try to conceive on our own? Can I even get pregnant on my own now that my body “knows” how to be pregnant? Or should we go back right away and use our second stored embryo? Or should we try to make a new embryo and save the frozen embryo that we made when I was 32 to use later down the road when I’m like 40?

 So yeah, just your typical dinner conversations. I’m trying not to have high expectations that I can get pregnant naturally even though I’ve heard so many anecdotal stories that this happens: couples try forever to get pregnant, go through fertility treatment, have a baby, and then boom… get pregnant without even trying. Is that even a possibility for me? Or does my diagnosis of unexplained infertility lead me to think I’ll always need the help of science to have babies? And I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. But I have always been one of those people that hopes for the best but prepares for the worst.

So we’re kind of in a “loving life with Liam” place right now and avoiding making any major decisions. Playing the old “let’s just see what happens” game. But when I get into this conversation about baby number two with friends or people I know, I STILL to this day, get asked the same question. The one question that has always boiled me: “have you thought about just adopting?” And the truth is yes. Will and I have thought about it a lot. We’ve talked about it a lot. We’ve looked into it. It’s not something that we take lightly or an idea we’ve have tossed to the side. And truthfully, years down the road we would love to adopt a child. But right now what we want is to have another child of our own. I think some people read that as selfish. That I’m only thinking about myself. And to those people I say yes I sure am. I absolutely adored being pregnant. I loved feeling and watching life grow inside my belly. I loved being able to breastfeed and know that my body was producing nourishment that was sustaining a tiny newborn life. I will never stop being in awe of what a woman’s body can do. And I know the experience is different for everyone and it’s not for some people. But for me, it was everything! Carrying liam for nine months, nursing him for 13 months, and watching him grow into the amazing boy that he is while thinking, damn. We made that. It’s a feeling I can’t describe. And I want to do it all over again. Selfish or not selfish. That’s what I want. 

So Liam will definitely have a baby sister or brother one day. When that happens or how it happens, I don’t know yet. But I’m going enjoy the ride no matter what road it takes. 
xxxoo Priscilla 

To the Women Still Waiting This Mothers Day

IMG_3795Being Liam’s mother is truly the most wonderful gift I’ve ever been given and through all the sleepless nights, chapped nipples, and 5 am diaper blow outs, I’ll never take for granted what a blessing he is. Being a mother is all I have ever wanted, but contrary to what you see on TV and in movies, it doesn’t always happen so easy.

My road to motherhood was a long and at times very stressful road. I have always loved the quote  “the sweet is never quite as sweet without the sour. And boy do we know the sour.” Infertility will test your faith, test your marriage, and test your patience. Do I think that everything happens for a reason? No I really don’t. I think some times things just happen, or don’t happen in our case, that are unexplainable. But when I look down at Liam smiling at me, I know what he was worth the wait, despite how awful the waiting felt in the moment.

On my first Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think of all the women who are still waiting. The women who are struggling with infertility. The ones who are still asked “When will you start having kids,” “Why don’t you have children yet?” “Do you not want kids?” and don’t really know how to answer those questions. The women who had a little glimmer of hope and then lost it to a miscarriage. The women who have endured endless negative pregnancy tests. Who have been told “you might have to make peace with the fact that you may never be able to carry a child.” These women are still waiting and still mourning this Mother’s Day. To all of you out there, I’m thinking of you and my heart breaks with you.

IMG_3780These photos are from a random afternoon when Will got home from work. I realized that we never really had a newborn photo shoot. But the lighting was so nice that afternoon in the nursery so I put on some mascara and Will got out the “nice camera” and took a few pics. These are some of my favorite pictures of Liam and I. He is about 10 weeks old and it was the first time we have ever used the crib. Hehe!
IMG_3800 IMG_3787IMG_3793 IMG_3789IMG_3794IMG_3784 IMG_3791IMG_3801

38 week Beauty Marks

imageLast week I found a stretch mark on the underside of my stomach and I cried for about 10 minutes. Then I cried again an hour later because I was mad at myself for crying over stretch marks. Then I texted my younger sister and then one of my best friends who although they both live miles away, they were able to cyber-snap me out of it. Because the truth is, all I’ve ever wanted was this baby. And everything that comes with it: excessive weight gain, stretch marks, swollen feet, all of it! But for some reason I felt so pressured to have things go perfect. People constantly tell me how horrible their pregnancies were and then ask me how I’m feeling and expect to hear the worse. Or they ask me how much weight I’ve gained or how sick do I feel. It’s like people expect you to be miserable or expect you to hate being pregnant. So when I suddenly saw that stretch mark I felt like I’d failed. Like “they” were all right. And I was wrong. That it’s not all baby showers, new monogrammed blankets, and pregnancy glow. They said I’d hate being pregnant and here I was crying over how pregnancy changed my body. I hadn’t been true to myself and I’d let vanity get me down. And that was what upset me the most.

But you know what? I think they were wrong. Yes I do have a stretch mark. But I like to think of it as my new beauty mark. And I don’t need to compare my pregnancy (or my body for that matter) to anyone else’s. Everyone’s story is different. And every story is as wonderful as you choose it to be. And as women we need to stop being so hard on ourselves, and stop being so negative to ourselves and to others about such a wonderful part of life that I’m so grateful I was given the chance to experience.

So I decided to share this photo on Instagram today, even though this is probably a little TMI (hello bra). And I’ve decided there will be no more crying, no more #FML or #FOMO, and I will smile at what this wonderful baby has given me. The most grateful, hard earned, desired beauty marks I’ve ever had.


What I Have Been Making These Days

IMG_0019Over the past couple months I have had several folks ask me “so what have you been working on lately?” I know that they are asking about sewing projects and my quick reply is always “oh I have a few projects on the table. Mostly dresses.” But the truth is, since early June I have made very few sewing projects and instead have been working on making a baby. Yes, I am indeed pregnant and Will and I are expecting our first child this February! After three years of trying on our own to get pregnant, 4 failed IUIs, and one miscarriage, we decided in June to go ahead and do an IVF. (For those of you who aren’t down with the lingo, that is basically where they take an egg out of me, mix it with Will’s sperm in a petrie dish to see if it will grow/why it won’t grow, and then pop that bad boy back inside my uterus.) So $1500 in fertility hormones later there were 8 retrieved eggs, 5 that were viable, 4 that fertilized with Will’s sperm, down to 2 little embryos ready for implantation, and finally leading to one little baby in my belly. Our little, it-had-to-be-you embryo that has grown into a 17 week old long legged fetus. So in between the fertility treatments, the medical bills, and the extreme exhaustion that comes with the first trimester, there wasn’t much time (or money) for buying fabric and starting new sewing projects. During my first trimester I would come home from work and then literally go straight to bed. Very untypical of my night owl mentality. I had prepared myself for morning sickness (although that actually never came) but no one prepares you for how exhausted you are. Every afternoon felt like I had just come home from a 2 am rave. Tired beyond description. To the point I was too tired to even eat dinner. And you know if I am skipping meals, something must be going down. So that was the summer. Sorry sewing enthusiasts.  Not too many sewing projects. We made a fetus instead.

IMG_0017So lucky that I had him by my side despite being dressed like a cast member from the final scene of E.T. IMG_0004This baby was straight chilling on the egg sack like it was a pillow. Lazy like it’s mom. This was our second ultrasound and the fetus was starting to look like a baby.  Plus this was the farthest we had ever been with a pregnancy. So feeling good all around.

IMG_0006Ok now its really starting to look like a baby. This is when Baby Brown was nicknamed Baby Long Legs.  He or she also has their hand over their eyes in a very diva-like way: “Please no more pictures.”
IMG_0010This photo was taken the day we graduated from the fertility clinic. I was sad to have to say good bye to Dr. Singleton but it was nice to be a “regular” preggers for a change instead. And boy do I love standing next to Will. He makes me feel so small.

IMG_0316 IMG_0001IMG_0020 It has been quite a journey to get here and we are so thankful for all the wishes on shooting stars, fallen eyelashes, wild dandelions, birthday candles, pennies that you threw in fountains, and all the other wishes that were sent our way. I have learned this year to never underestimate the power of prayers and the wonders that is modern medicine. And now I will finally have to learn how to spell February.  Now that I am feeling more like myself, I have big plans for the sewing machine. Ok maybe some of it is baby clothes/baby quilt related. But not all of it will be. And naturally I will need a thousand more pair of stretch leggings. So stay tuned….

xxoo Priscilla

How To Celebrate Not-a-Mothers Day: the 2015 Edition.


For anyone who has struggled with infertility, you know that there are a few days a year that sting a little more than others. The day you go to the baby shower for your co-worker who got pregnant by accident. The due date of the baby that you should of had but instead miscarried last fall. The yearly anniversary of the day you decided to start having a family. And then, last but not least, there is Mother’s Day. And with all the TV commercials and Hallmark moments, you find it pretty impossible to avoid this holiday. And to avoid the fact that another year has come and gone and you are still not a mother. I remember two years ago my husband saying this would be the last year we celebrated with our mothers and that next year would be all about me. I laughed and told him, “Okay, we’ll see.” And then this time last year, I was the one who said out loud “Alright, this is it. This time next year I will be a mama.” And now here we are. 2015. And I’m still not a mother. So I guess that leaves me with two options this Sunday. Sit in my room, sulking at the posts on my Facebook news feed? Or enjoy this last year as Not-a-Mother by doing all the things that one might do if you did not have any children. Spend the day having fun and enjoying what you have now and not won’t you don’t have. Because staying positive and finding ways to laugh instead of cry is the best thing you can do for your body. And if you send positive energy out into the world, the universe is sure to send some good fortune your way. (It’s a theory of mine; let’s just roll with it.) So to carry on the tradition from last year’s blog post, here are some ways you can celebrate Not-a-Mother’s Day:

  1. Sit around all day and binge watch all 12 episodes of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. (And yes Apple TV, I am still here. I haven’t left the couch. So stop asking.)
  2. Go out to a restaurant and sit at the bar instead of a table. Get elbowed by strangers and order a side of filet minion with lobster mashed potatoes that they serve in a martini glass.
  3. Have sex with your husband in the middle of the day in the family room. Repeat as needed.
  4. Take a flight out of town, grab a window seat, and sleep peacefully for the entire 5 hour flight.
  5. Invent a new drinking game. Maybe one in which you have to take a tequila shot every time one of the characters on Sons of Anarchy says, “I love you brother.”
  6. Camp out on Capers Island for the weekend. Bring nothing but a tent, your swimsuit, and a cooler full of adult beverages.
  7. Go see a movie in the theaters. When it gets out, sneak into the theater next door and catch another movie for free. (That does not count as stealing, right?)
  8. Go to an amusement park, stay the entire day, and only ride the really big roller coasters. Walk straight past all cartoon characters. You do not need their autographs.
  9. Go get a couples massage at that fancy hotel spa downtown and at the last minute decide to get a room for the night.
  10. Stay in bed until noon and when you finally decide to relocate to the family room, eat left over sushi for breakfast. Then see step #3. Repeat as indicated the next day.

The above post was featured on Society Letters, a collaborative blog that is a collection of letters and posts by several women from all over the world who are sharing their views, talents and life with readers. I was honored to be a guest blogger for this week’s Mother’s Day series. Check them out. You’ll be hooked.Society Letters

Forecast for 2015

imageThe weather forecasts for Charleston in 2014 was filled with dark clouds but it’s looking like sunny skies ahead in 2015. Of course I mean this metaphorically. In actuality, 2015 has been freaking cold so far with record low temperatures. (which is why I am currently in Florida with my sister’s family, escaping the 30 degree weather). I would have to say though that both Will and I are generally happy people. At least I used to feel that way. But I feel like the past year there was a dark cloud that’s always hanging over me and following me everywhere I go. It follows me to work as I hear newly pregnant coworkers talk about how lucky they are to not have morning sickness… as I sit in my cubicle and think, “damn I would do anything for some morning sickness.” It follows me to every baby shower I go to and every one-year-old birthday party. It follows me to Facebook as I read the status posts of friends complaining that their baby is teething. Oh how I would love to have a teething baby or even a baby with colic. So I avoid facebook, sulk in my desk at work, and complain to Will constantly. I’ve let this dark cloud hang over me everyday. I’ve built my world around trying to get pregnant and having a baby of my own instead of building my world around the rest of my life, what’s really important: Will, our marriage, our health, our family, our friends, and other blessings that we have. I’m working on it but it’s hard. I guess acknowledgment is the first step. But I do know  that the sulking and complaining in 2014 was not a good look for me and it’s time to change my perspective a bit. And go back to being the happy gal I used to be. So here’s to sunny skies and positive vibes in 2015. That’s my news years resolution. What’s yours?

Take Nothing to the Grave

I have had a lot of people be impressed shocked when they read my blog posts. “You really do put it all out there” was my sister’s comment. And she is right. I decided about a year ago that there was no point in keeping this infertility thing “a secret” that just Will and I had to keep locked away. I’ve always thought the more people who know about what we are going through, then the more prayers, more love, and more positive energy that can be sent our way. And more love is always better than less love. I have met a lot of great people online through other blogs, both “sewing” friends and also bloggers who are dealing with the same infertility woes that I am. And on top of that, its funny to find out that friends or people you have known for years went through the same things we have, but did so privately.

But lately all I’ve done on this blog is ramble about fabric selection, new sewing patterns, and the Charleston weather. I’ve been avoiding talking or writing about one big thing that happened to us this summer. To preface, let me just state that July 2014 effing sucked. One of my oldest friend’s father died and the weekend of his funeral, a weekend where I should of been there crying and reminiscing with one of my oldest friends, I was at home instead. I woke up that Saturday morning cramping and bleeding. I was 9 weeks, 2 days pregant. And I was having a miscarriage. He or she was the size of an olive. We had seen a heartbeat only one week prior. And after two years of trying, four IUIs, and thousands of dollars in fertility treatment, this little ray of light which had given us so much hope was gone in a day. It hit Will and me like a bolt of lightning. I had done everything right: limited my exercising, took my vitamins and progesterone pills daily, and gave up alcohol and all the foods on the “do not eat” list. But it still happened. There was nothing we did wrong. Nothing we could of done differently. But I still look back and question my every move. The Thursday evening before the miscarriage I colored my hair. The pregnancy had me bloated, my skin was breaking out like a teenager at a school dance, and my gray roots were popping out everywhere. So I thought a little makeover would look good. I had wavered about if I should do it or not. All the articles I’d read online said it was safe. I bought the organic ammonia free stuff and opened all the windows. At my follow up appointment, my doctor reassured me that me coloring my hair did not cause the miscarriage. “Some times during the fetus’s development, things go wrong,” the doctor told us. “The pregnancy wasn’t meant to go on.” This baby just wasn’t meant to go on. But I wondered, what if it had gone on? Would it of been a boy? Would he have grown up to cure cancer or be the first man to walk on Mars? Probably not. Would I color my hair the next time, if we’re lucky enough to get pregnant again? Probably not. But did I do anything wrong? I don’t think so.

So that’s my story for the month of July. Maybe by writing it down, by putting it in my blog, some one else out there is able to get something from my story. And if not at least I could get my last “secret” out into the world. A clean slate as we leave for our next big adventure this weekend.


Inspiring Others

20140607-190705.jpgSomeone recently asked me “does your mother-in-law read your blog?” and I laughed because honestly I don’t know if she does (if you do, hi Grier!). But I would be fine if she did. I guess I never really stopped and thought about how others might perceive my blog. I have never been a very secretive or modest person, so when I started this blog a couple of years ago, I never thought twice about sharing my story online.  And as much as I would love to say my life is all sunshine and sewing beautiful dresses that I get to wear on all my fabulous adventures with my amazing husband, I can’t say that. That would just be a lie. Because some days don’t feel like rainbows and butterflies. Some days Will and I argue. Some days there are no adventures but instead sitting around in sweatpants and tears. I do try to blog about the good times, the happy times, the times that I stayed positive, and the times where I learned a valuable lesson that I can share with my readers. That is why I don’t vent on my blog every time I am upset. Or why some times I might go weeks without blogging. That is also why I didn’t blog about the day my friend Kevin died of cancer. Because that was not a good day. In fact it was a shitty day. Nothing positive happened. No lessons were learned. It just happened and it sucked.  Some days are just plain shitty. But some days are better than others. Some days I feel funny or goofy or sexy and those days are bound to get a shock and awe blog post. But today felt like a shitty day. If you have read some of my other posts on infertility, than you know that we have been trying to get pregnant. We were pretty sure that this was the month. I mean come on. I drank my fertility smoothies every single day. My blood work looked fabulous. My follicles were nice and large and right where they needed to be to drop at least one big egg. Will’s sperm count was off the charts. I took my progesterone every night without hesitation. And not to mention, this just HAD to be the month. Purely because we’ve spent over $1000 in fertility treatment for just this month (well actually the total was $1286…for the month of May through now…and this is after insurance “payed” their part….but that’s an entirely different conversation for another day).  All that money and all this effort, this had to be it.  But it wasn’t. Big…fat…Negative.  And what stinks the most is that feeling of hopelessness. That there is nothing I can do about it. Do I really have no control over my life? But then I sit back and think about that and I realize that is crazy talk. We all take life so seriously. Maybe its time I just listen to what life is telling me and wait. Just wait to see what life or the universe or God or Buddha or whatever has in store for me. And yes at this point we are praying to not just God but anyone else who will listen. But maybe that’s it. Thats the plan for this month. Step 1- stop being so serious. Step 2- just enjoy life and see what happens. Will we continue fertility treatments? Sure! If we can afford it. hehe. I’m not going to stop taking control of my life. But at the same time, maybe its good to be ok when things don’t work out the way I planned. And maybe this blog post will inspire some of you to take a step back, breathe, and realize that the universe might have something different planned for you that you would of never expected.