Katie's Story

Katie's Story

I wanted to share with you a personal story about why I decided to co-create Happy Stork with Ashley. Ultimately, I want to support women in achieving their goals and arm women with what they need to take ownership of their bodies and health. Because female-specific health concerns are routinely dismissed by medical professionals (even by female doctors) and women are frequently not listened to when they bring up their personal health concerns in the exam room, we’ve made developing and providing free educational information to women a core part of what we do at Happy Stork.


This lack of support from the medical community can make pinpointing fertility issues much more difficult than it should be. This lack of support coupled with a lack of education on our own bodies, can make being our own health advocates supremely difficult.


We’re taught “how not to get pregnant” through birth control methods or abstinence, but we’re not taught how to maximize our chances of conceiving or to even fully understand the process of our body’s monthly cycle of fertility. It never occurred to me that I might have trouble getting pregnant. I just assumed that if I ever chose to stop birth control, getting pregnant would happen quickly. That turned out not to be my reality.

My entire life I’ve had heavy, painful periods but I didn’t ever think, “oh this isn’t normal” because the pain never stopped me from living my life. We always hear about how cramps, PMS, bloating, etc., are all normal parts of having a period. I was never once asked by any doctor since I started menstruating about the details of my period. In my mid-thirties, I had several (what I thought were unrelated) symptoms start to intensify and I saw multiple doctors looking for help. I talked to my gynecologist about my ever increasing bowel pressure and pain during my period. She dismissed me by saying, “I was paying too close attention to my body.” I left this appointment in tears. I saw an endocrinologist because my constant fatigue was getting so bad that I would come home from work and not be able to do anything else. She wanted to switch my thyroid medication to a synthetic medication (Synthroid) that I had already tried and knew didn’t work for me. I started crying in the exam room because the doctor just wouldn’t listen to me about my experience. After doing a ton of research on hypothyroidism I tried seeing a functional medical doctor and hoped they would be more open to listening to me. He tried to sell me an expensive nutrition package which seemed predatory and wasn’t what I was there to get help for. I left that appointment angry.


Then I found true, real help. It was pure serendipity and a dogged determination to find a doctor to help me that I ended up in the office of a reproductive endocrinologist who just so happened to be an expert in endometriosis.  This was the first doctor in my entire life that spent any time taking a detailed history from me. After following months of tests with this doctor (many that I paid for out of pocket), I was diagnosed with low-estrogen and early menopause symptoms caused by damage to my ovaries from endometriosis. The low-estrogen and early menopause symptoms were the reason I was so tired, and the endometriosis was the cause of all my over-the-top period symptoms and bowel pressure. I had laparoscopic surgery with this doctor who excised the diseased tissue, including a lesion on my bowel. (Endometriosis can only be successfully treated with expert excision surgery and typically does not show up on any imaging or pre-surgery tests.) From start to finish the process with this doctor took five months from the first appointment to my surgery.


My first period after my surgery was like night and day. All of the bowel pressure, cramps and bloating completely disappeared. It was a miracle. The estrogen supplement I had been started on made me feel like myself again; my energy came back.

At my follow-up appointment, the doctor shared some devastating news. Due to the damage the years of untreated endometriosis caused to my ovaries, my low AMH and my high FSH, getting pregnant was not likely to happen without intervention. With this news ringing in my ears, my husband and I decided to start IVF immediately.


I knew from a prior conversation with the doctor that needing IVF was a possibility, so months ahead of my surgery, I had already started doing anything and everything I could do to improve my overall health including taking fertility supplements. I took CoQ10 and Vitamin D as they’re supposed to help with egg quality. I also started taking CBD daily to help with egg quality, stress management, minimizing overall bodily inflammation and general health and well-being. (Update added to this article in 2024: Taking CBD while TTC or while pregnant is controversial so while I still feel like CBD was helpful in my TTC efforts, it's important to know there is conflicting research on the use of CBD for fertility and there are strongly held opinions on both sides. If you're more cautious, I would recommend against taking CBD. If you are convinced you want to take CBD products while TTC or pregnant however, we strongly recommend taking a US-made whole-hemp CBD tincture that is lab-tested and free of contaminants. We have tried to offer a CBD product but it's very hard to get payment processing for CBD products and you simply can't advertise it. It was hindering our ability to promote our fertility messaging and interfered with our ultimate goal of supporting women who were trying to get pregnant. We still offer a high-quality CBD tincture, but we have to provide that separately through a different website that won't interfere with our main goals of providing research and quality products that support women's health. If you're interested in learning more about CBD for fertility, please sign-up for our CBD for fertility mailing list. )

IVF was insanely expensive and not covered by insurance, we took a medical loan out to be able to pay for it. I wanted to do absolutely everything I could to maximize our chance for success, which included taking daily supplements including CoQ10, Vit D and CBD supplement. We were given a 40% chance of success with IVF, and due to my low AMH, the doctor recommended a mini-IVF protocol which recruits fewer eggs in the hopes of those eggs being a higher quality. There was a real concern my eggs would be very damaged.



After a month of injections and medications and multiple ultrasounds I went into egg retrieval with 12-14 follicles. After I woke up I was informed they had retrieved four good-looking eggs. I was inconsolable; I had expected more eggs than that. I also knew from my intense research the statistics: only a portion of eggs would fertilize, and only a portion of those embryos might make it to day-five, and only a portion of those might be considered genetically normal and viable for transfer. I was terrified we’d end up with no embryos viable for transfer. My husband and I could only wait to hear from the embryologist over the next five days. We got the news the following day that incredibly all four eggs had successfully fertilized.

On day five we showed up for transfer and learned all four embryos had made it to day five. I couldn’t believe it. This flew in the face of all the statistics. We had decided to transfer the best embryo without genetic testing and test and freeze the remaining three. Two weeks later, I got the lab tests that those three embryos came back genetically normal. I had also found out by then that I was pregnant our IVF had been successful! Because of my age at the time of IVF (35) we also did a genetic screening blood test for possible fetal chromosomal abnormalities at Week 10. This test thankfully also came back genetically normal!


Going into the process of trying to get pregnant, I wanted to do everything I could to set myself up for success and this included taking daily supplements. I truly believed Vit D and CoQ10 improved my egg quality and CBD helped me keep my stress low, improve my follicle count, keep inflammation down (which is so important for implantation). I didn’t just take supplements, I also ate a very low-carb diet during this process and continued to use personal care and household products made from all-natural ingredients, free of endocrine disruptors and free of artificial fragrances. I believe this all worked together to help me have a better chance at success. To be clear, I do not believe CBD (remove hyperlink) is a magic wand that made my IVF successful. I do believe it’s one more thing that stacked the deck in my favor. I do think very strongly based on research and many anecdotal experiences that there are supplements known to improve egg and sperm quality and that any woman trying to conceive should take a Vit D and CoQ10 supplement, we hope you'll opt to buy our Happy Stork Vitamin D and CoQ10.

About our CBD Products: Because there are a lot of questionable CBD products on the market and because there are a lot of people who go into selling CBD products strictly looking to make money, I wanted to offer a high-quality CBD product to help women that are interested in trying it and seeing how it might help them in their fertility journey.

If you choose to use CBD Products: I hope you’ll feel comfortable trusting us as your CBD company, if you’re considering adding CBD to your conception plans. Please sign-up for our CBD for fertility mailing list to gain access to our CBD products which we can not list on this website due to limitations from payment processors and online advertisers


With love,


P.S. - After giving birth and the delay in sharing this letter

My due date was in May of 2020. I wrote the above letter in January of 2020 with the intention of sharing it with Happy Stork but 2020 ended up being an even bigger rollercoaster than 2019 even with all the battles I described above. My father died unexpectedly of cancer in February. Then COVID-19 hit. Then my marketing company was impacted by the lockdowns and shutdowns. We made the decision to pause our plans with Happy Stork out of respect for everything everyone was going on in regards to COVID19 and how that may be limiting options for people struggling with fertility.

All of this was happening while I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and it was incredibly stressful. Hospitals were denying women support partners at delivery, I had to fight with my doctors who wanted to induce me and pressured me to get a C-section. (I will be writing another story about that how once again doctors dictate to their patients, instead of treating women like autonomous adults). I thankfully had a healthy baby boy born vaginally, just shy of two weeks late on May 27th, 2020. All the battles and struggles and determination were worth it. My heart still breaks because my father wasn’t able to meet his grandson. I wish I had been able to get pregnant easier and have had my baby before my dad passed away, or that his cancer could have held at bay just a few months longer. I am incredibly thankful for the extraordinary science and doctors that made my IVF success possible. I am thankful for the internet for making so much knowledge accessible and the women who I found support from within various Endometriosis and Fertility Facebook groups. And now, I want to get back to my original plan of sharing and helping other women achieve their goals of growing their family.

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