I’m Jalina. My age changes every year, but I was born in 1991. I’m a cloth-diapering, babywearing, breastfeeding mama of two babies on earth and five in heaven. I’m addicted to fresh air, chapstick, and water– hold the coffee. I like to spend my free time encouraging people on all “sides” of infertility and googling stuff I probably shouldn’t but am glad I did.
I used to be an X-ray tech, but my aversion for using breast pumps and triclosan led me to Upstate NY, where I could breastfeed my babies all of my days (hours… minutes…) and wash my hands with good ol’ fashioned water + castile soap + nature’s antibacterial: friction. I’ve always loved writing and now here I am! And here you are!
My husband and I met when we were 14 and married when we were 20, but we are far from high school sweethearts. He’s a Marine Corps veteran and the love of my life even when he’s being a punk. It took us nearly 3 years battling male factor infertility to conceive our firstborn, a rainbow baby boy named Abel. Our second rainbow baby, Theodore, came less than 21 months later. (Find our full timeline below!)
I wasn’t a Christian when we first started trying to grow our family. When I was 15, I prayed to “God, if there is a God” to please be patient as I explored my faith. Through the years of yearning and loss, God pursued me. Now here I am, living on This Side of If. This side of wondering if there is a God. This side of wondering if I’d ever be a mother.
Anthony has been incredibly supportive in letting me share every brutal detail of our story across the web and has even shared his own perspective right here for all the world to read! We hope by sharing our story and its impact on every aspect of our lives that we can make all sides of infertility just a little less sucky.
The struggle doesn’t end with the two pink lines or the birth of a baby. Being a mom after infertility and loss isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It doesn’t cure infertility, and it has a unique set of joys and challenges I was not prepared for. (Read stories of other IF Mamas who agree, share your own story, or join our Motherhood After Infertility Facebook Group.) For me, infertility has forever impacted my faith, health, marriage, parenting style, and world views. If you can relate to any of that, you’re in the right place. You belong. And along those lines, I want you to know that whatever your experience with infertility, pregnancy loss, or motherhood afterward, you are normal. Your feelings are valid. That is a truth I spent far too many hours searching for on the Internet, and I’m here to tell you your search is over.
Here, you’ll find an unadulterated account of faith, family, and feelings through and beyond infertility and pregnancy loss with a little talk about the nontoxic lifestyle I discovered and became so passionate about through my years of trying to conceive. This Side of If is here to meet you where you are, whether you’re on either side of wondering if or somewhere in the middle.
You’re one tiny scroll from signing up for the This Side of If newsletter so you can receive weekly alerts for new blog posts as well as some of my favorite resources from around the Web.
it’s all highly experimental.
what you focus on grows.
Jesus is more than just “a great guy,” as I used to believe.
cavemoms knew a thing or two about raising their babies.
as long as you are still here on Earth, there is still a purpose for your life.
God is funny sometimes.
it’s impossible to please everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.
there will always be another storm, each one preparing us for the next.
in second chances… sometimes third.
dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate.
our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
See you soon!
My Faith and Infertility Timeline…
05/1991 – Born in Anchorage, AK
10/1991 – Baptized Catholic
08/2005 – Met Anthony
10/2006 – Lost touch with Anthony
02/2007 – Prayed to God– IF there was a God– to please be patient as I explored my faith
03/2007 – Recurring dreams of “the man I’m supposed to marry”
06/2009 – Buddhist (I think)
08/2009 – Regained contact with Anthony. He perfectly fit the description of the man from my dreams
10/2011 – Married in a surprise Southern California beach wedding planned by Anthony
02/2013 – Began TTC
08/2013 – Moved into our first home. Plenty of room for babies! Anthony deploys. Not pregnant yet
11/2013 – Discovered Progressive Christianity. Dabbled in that for a bit
03/2014 – Started going to small church. Everyone welcome! Loved it. Joined the church choir
04/2014 – Anthony returns. Ready for our Homecoming baby!
10/2014 – 12 months TTC. Referred to RE by OB during routine exam. Refused to go
11/2014 – OB orders basic fertility workup. Diagnosis: Male factor infertility
01/2015 – Learned about toxins in food, bath products, and cleaning products. Began eliminating them (Learn more here)
02/2015 – Male fertility supplements. Wholefood prenatal (See which one here)
03/2015 – Snowballs cooling underwear for men (didn’t stick with these, but they were fun to try!)
05/2015 – Softcups (Full Softcups experience here)
06/2015 – First ever +HPT. Father’s Day. Ugly crying
06/2015 – Miscarriage at 7 weeks. Devastated beyond my ability to function
07/2015 – Anthony leaves. Like leaves. Turned to the bible in desparation. Romans 8:18
08/2015 – Anthony returns. We reconcile and begin TTC again
10/2015 – Softcups + baby aspirin x 2 cycles
12/2015 – +HPT
08/2016 – Abel born at 41 weeks. Thank you, God!
10/2016 – New church. Long-standing questions answered. YES! Began volunteering
04/2017 – Anthony and I baptized Christian together at our new home church (Full testimony here)
06/2017 – TTC Baby 2. Softcups
07/2017 – +HPT
08/2017 – Miscarriage at 4 weeks. Shocked. Devastated. Confused. Fearful of secondary infertility
08/2017 – +HPT. (Softcups + baby aspirin. 23 days post-miscarriage)
10/2017 – Moved from SoCal to Upstate NY
05/2018 – Theodore born at 39 weeks. (Read why I didn’t excitedly announce his birth)
11/2018 – New church
12/2018 – God calls me to trust his timing for our next baby
01/2019 – +HPT. First EVER spontaneous, natural conception with no tracking, timing, or Softcups
02/2019 – Blighted ovum diagnosis. 16-day wait for viability scan
03/2019 – Shiloh born into heaven at 11 weeks gestation. New diagnosis: recurrent pregnancy loss
04/2019 – +HPT 40 days after the loss of Shiloh. Spontaneous and natural AGAIN!
04/2019 – Miscarriage before 4 weeks. Fourth miscarriage. Physical. Hormonal. Emotional. Real.
04/2019 – Repeat semen analysis. Diagnosis: NORMAL! 271% improved fertility!
05/2019 – +HPT. THIRD spontaneous, natural pregnancy in a row!
05/2019 – Miscarriage at 4+1. 5/24. My mom’s birthday. HCG: 7 (Read about that here)
05/2019 – Second RE appointment for recurrent pregnancy loss.