I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I chose to postpone my college pursuit of a career as an Art Therapist to pursue my long-term dream of becoming a wife and mother, when I met and quickly married my amazing husband in the spring of 1999 in Southern Maryland. In 2005, my husband’s work brought us to Culpeper County, Virginia, which has truly become our home in so many wonderful ways.
During our 10-year struggle with infertility, I worked in a variety of fields that gifted me with profound experiences in everything from birth, life and death to business marketing and design, non-profit management and community outreach. Only looking back now, can I clearly see how each one of these jobs was divinely inspired to prepare me for the path my own life would unexpectedly follow.
After being told we would never be able to conceive on our own, we underwent fertility treatments and conceived our first baby, Carleigh Grace, only to suffer her heartbreaking loss in my 16th week of pregnancy on October 15, 2010. Testing revealed she had Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) and we believe, more than likely, had a severe heart defect that prevented her little body from sustaining her life. I was certain my story was over, that the light of hope had left me forever, until a dear friend’s words brought me back to life again.
My husband and I chose to fully embrace our path of infertility and loss and discovered more joy than we ever thought possible. We stopped all fertility treatments and started REALLY living. We honored our sweet baby’s memory in lots of beautiful ways and shared our story with anyone who would listen. We had truly made peace in our hearts with our journey as a couple, as a family, and for the first time ever in our marriage, felt genuinely complete.
Life started to open-up all around us. My husband’s job went through exciting changes, my job was getting ready to change, I decided to pursue a certification as a Zumba instructor and I was FINALLY planning my return to college to finish my career path as an Art Therapist. Life was so full, so fertile and so good!
My husband told me he wanted to take me on a dream vacation to anywhere in the world I wanted to go over my birthday (and over Mother’s Day which was a week later), since this was sure to be a bittersweet May for me with the loss of Carleigh. He was certain I would choose Italy, since it was where I had ALWAYS wanted to go, but when I told him I wanted to go to Disney World in Florida, he thought I was crazy! I decided, more than anything else in the world, I wanted to have fun! I wanted to ride rollercoasters, sip margaritas by the pool at 10 am in the morning and dance the night away…and that’s exactly what we did. We took a two-week DREAM vacation to Disney World and Universal Studios in May 2011 and returned with a shocking souvenir that we never expected.
We were pregnant, completely on our own, after being told it was impossible for us to conceive. We were shocked! My husband even told me that if this baby was born having big black ears, he and Mickey Mouse were going to have a talk!
Panic set in. Fear set in. All the joy that we had worked so hard to find again had left me. I did not prepare for a baby, I prepared for another loss, surely this baby was too good to be true too.
But in February 2012, after a perfect pregnancy, our little miracle was born weighing almost 10 pounds. She came in to this world like a firecracker and hasn’t stopped since. Our world has been forever changed. People say be careful what you wish for because you just might get it and we are living proof of that! I suffered with extreme post-partum depression and she was a very difficult baby who didn’t sleep for the first 2 years of her life, which means I didn’t either. I couldn’t believe this very baby that I spent more than a decade on my knees praying for, had now brought me to my knees in complete exhaustion.
Life is strange, unpredictable, confusing and yet wonderful in so many ways, if we are open to experiencing it all. I KNOW that hope is the key to everything. It IS the path to joy, which fertilizes our lives in ways we never could have imagined. When seeds fall on fertile soil, AMAZING miracles can grow.
My personal passion, mission and purpose in this life is to lead sorrowful hearts out of the darkness back to the light of hope again so that everyone can live a fertile, full and wonderful life regardless of the paths we are each on. I have walked many different paths in my life already; the paths of infertility, loss and parenting a very difficult child and have found the seeds of joy along the way of each one. Regardless of the paths we are each on now, my goal is to comfort your heart and inspire you to embrace your life…and remember, every day you write a new story. I cannot wait to see what’s just on the horizon for us all.