I would love to introduce you to my friend Emmy.  Years ago we both had booths at a local holiday boutique and she swooped in and basically bought me out as I was setting up.  Since then she has been such a bit of encouragement and sunshine, and is always up for a lunch date at Cafe Rio.  She has a passion and heart for women struggling with infertility, and hoping to grow their families through adoption.  This heart has led her to host the Choose Joy conference next month.  I am humbled to be able to speak and share my story there.

Here is how it all began for Emmy:

I'm Emmy, I'm 35, and I'm infertile.

Wait, let me back up.  I'm Emmy.  Julie has been so sweet to allow me to invade her space for the day.  I own Much Ado About You {where I used to sell printed day planners, and now I just sell printables}, I occasionally blog {Confesstions of a Paper Freak}, and I incessantly Instagram {@itsjustemmy}.  I am married to my high school sweetheart and as of this year we have been together for more than half our lives.

Almost 11 years ago I got pregnant for the first time.  Nathan and I were so excited, and immediately started planning that child's future.  We were thinking of names... wondering if it would be a boy or a girl... hoping its due date of December 26th would not mean we were going to have a Christmas baby.

But just a few days later I started bleeding heavily, and knew in an instant that that baby was gone.

We had only just begun trying to get pregnant, but I had so many friends experiencing infertility and I begged God to spare us from that roller coaster.

Our doctor told us that since we were so early in the pregnancy I would not need a D & C, and that technically I could get pregnant as soon as my next cycle.

Which I did.

That pregnancy was such a relief, and I vividly remember thanking God that I was never going to have to walk that long and painful road of infertility.

A year after Beau was born we decided to start trying for a second baby.  We wanted four, so we thought we'd better get going!

God had different plans for our family. 

The next six years were spent going from one doctor's appointment to the next... from one surgery to the next... all in an effort to figure out why my young and seemingly healthy body was not working.

I have Endometriosis, a condition that basically destroys your body from the inside out.  During my final surgery my doctor made the painful decision to remove both of my non-functioning fallopian tubes, hoping it would increase the chance of my third and final IVF {invitro-fertilization} treatment being successful.

The next month we had our final IVF procedure.  It failed.  We were done.

We were physically {well mostly me on that one}, emotionally, and financially spent.  The chance of a natural pregnancy was eliminated with the removal of my tubes.  I was officially STERILE.  It is still strange to say those words.  I am a woman that cannot do what I was created to do... bear children.  That is a very strange reality to be faced with.

I spent seven dark years in the thick of my infertility {I say "my" infertility because the issues were mine... with another woman my husband could have had more children... more salt in the wounds}.  For some of those years Nathan and I were not on the same page.  He didn't understand my desperation for a child when I already was a mom.  Those years I struggled with a deep loneliness that I had never known.  It is so hard to explain what infertility feels like to someone that has never experienced it, but the bottom line is... IT SUCKS.

However, God also used those seven years to challenge my character and bring me to a place of total trust and reliance on His plan for my life.  I came to a point where I had to say, "God, I love you and I trust you, and I know that {while very different from mine} Your plan is the best plan for my life.  So even if I never have another baby I will praise you and be thankful for whatever it is that you call me to do."

And I really was at peace.  Without tubes I no longer had to live in two week cycles, wondering if each late period was the one.  I had an incredible eight year old that was the joy of my life, a loving, supportive husband, a thriving business... life was good.

Now since I have already babbled on for quite some time {and probably lost most of you} I will leave this next part of the story short and sweet {if you would like to read the whole story, you can find it here}.  Through miraculous circumstances, in March of 2011 we brought home the most beautiful baby girl that looks nothing like us.

And in the instant that I met her I understood every no that God had placed in my path. 

If you are in a season of not understanding the circumstances of your life, please be encouraged that someday you may understand and even appreciate the painful path that you are walking. 

Since experiencing infertility and adoption I have a heart for encouraging hurting women.  Several months ago I felt a calling on my life to do something to help other women that are experiencing similar trials, and the Choose Joy event was born.

Choose Joy is a one-day conference in Southern California for women and couples that are experiencing infertility and/or desire to grow their families through adoption.  I have somehow convinced several other women from all over the country to come and be a part of this event.  We have speakers on topics such as "God's Heart for the Hurting; Waiting Hurts, Waiting Perfects", "Having a Heart of Hope: Overcoming the Hurt of Infertility", "The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly of International Adoption", and much, much more.  Julie is one of our speakers, and if she doesn't have violent flashbacks from her PTSD after speaking at Blog Sugar, then we will be all good.  My desire is for this to be a day of connection and community, and for women to open their minds to the plan that God has for their family.     

The event will include a luncheon and a dessert, and at the end we will be raffling off a cash prize to help someone grow their family.

Tickets are on sale for $30 through the 25th of January.  {After that the price goes up to $40, so don't delay!}  Please visit the website for all the details on the location and schedule, bios on each speaker, and to register for the event. 

If you aren't experiencing infertility, statistics say that someone you know is.  Please pass this website on to your friends or family that could use some support. 

Thanks for reading my story.




  1. Precious family! God bless you.

  2. My husband and I have been trying for 3 years to add to our family. I was diagnosed with PCOS and have tried pretty much every fertility med and option that there is. It's a heartbreaking thing, but God is bigger than this obstacle and we recognize that. He'll move mountains. Thank you for sharing your story, Emmy!

  3. "The instant I saw her I understood all the no's God had placed in my path."

    That is pure beauty. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  4. Thank you for blessing us with your beautiful story. I too wanted more children. And my last was worth waiting for. I will never question that God picked her for us and us for her. Adoption is so beautiful!

  5. While I have two babies in heaven and two here on earth, this amazing and encouraging story spoke to me in another area of my life. We are in a season that we do not understand - my firstborn (3yo) is being evaluated for autism and possibly epilepsy. It's hard to be thankful for it right now - though I totally see God's hand in every solution, every provision, every piece of the puzzle. Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. "If you are in a season..."

    I really needed to hear that...thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Thanks for sharing. I have secondary infertility and my first-born is now 22 and was 7 years old when we adopted our daughter who is now 18. We have since adopted two more children who are 9 and 6. Recently we have realized that God might want us to have an even larger family so we are beginning the process again. Your blog is so timely and I truly enjoyed it.

  8. This makes my heart so very happy. Infertility is a lonely, scary journey; it's so important for all of us who have ever been on this journey to let others know they are not alone! Thank you, Julie. And thank you, Emmy, for sharing your beautiful story with us!

  9. How wonderful to read your story and hear of this awesome conference, I hope you have many attending and may God work His wonders here. We grew our family through adoption with 2 Blessings that don't look like us and last year we welcomed our 'surprise' baby that God chose to give us biologically. There are still days I try to wrap my mind around this as we thought we were quite done having more children. But thankfully I know that God's plans are greater and better than our own! Each of our 3 are a blessing and we are thankful to have been chosen to be theirs.

  10. I have worked in the field for 9 years and am passionate about helping women through this journey. Love the conference idea!! If I weren't a couple thousand miles away, I'd be there in a heartbeat.

  11. Sweet story. Thanks for sharing. I have a babe in heaven who died at 4 days old. She had trisomy 13. I've never had infertility but feel a strong connection with those who are facing it because of our loss. Praying you have an awesome conference! (Hi Julie, Been rocking my hoops).