Behind Closed Doors

March 30, 2012

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




We're Chris + Julia

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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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We are incredibly blessed.  A year ago tomorrow, we bought this house and moved in on April 2nd–which we’re calling our official journey (not to get all Bachelor on you) start date.  Which means Monday it will be exactly a year!  We’ll be celebrating our first House-iversary all next week on the blog as we reflect back on what an amazing year it has been sharing every detail about slowly making this house into our home.  We have made hundreds of new, virtual friends (and real-life friends, too) this past year and our little blog has turned into a place where we feel comfortable and excited to share our feats and failures on the daily.  We have shared a mix of large-scale renovations, quick DIY projects, budget-friendly ways to revamp your spaces, some splurge items, all mingled with a few personal stories to make sure you readers know we’re real people, too. Today is one of those personal story days to remind you we’re human and have trials just like everyone else.

There is a room in our home that we have been waiting to use and design and fill.  A door that remains shut and is opened so infrequently most people don’t even know we have it.  We have shared renovations and plans for almost every room in our house over the past year except one, the third upstairs bedroom.  The second nursery.  Greta’s future sibling’s room.  And while we are over-sharers about almost every aspect of our lives, the feelings and emotions about our big, fat trial called “secondary infertility” has remained on hush.    As another unsuccessful month is being put behind us, I think it might be time to open up about that closed door.

In November of 2010, when Greta was only 9 months old, Chris and I were eager to have another baby.  I remember thinking, “I wish we could just have the baby without the pregnancy part.” Pregnancy has never been easy for me, so the decision to have another baby was purely based on our overwhelming love for Greta-girl.  My first pregnancy, shortly after we were married, was a heterotopic one–two babies, one inside the uterus and one outside.  I lost both.  After that physically and emotionally painful experience, we decided to wait a year to recover.  My pregnancy with Greta, that made me 15 pounds lighter because of all the sickness, took us by surprise two months later.  There are no quick surprises this time around.  Our 9 month old that we had when we started trying is now almost 2 months pass the two-year mark which means we have been praying and trying for our second surprise for a whopping 16 months.

It’s kinda funny (and by that I mean frustrating, although a little interesting, too) how just because my body did something once before–I have no guarantee that it can do it again. To quote this article (which puts my feelings into words far better than I ever could),

“I fully appreciate that I am infinitely luckier than all those who are unable to conceive at all – either through infertility, timing or sheer bad luck – but that doesn’t make the pain any easier to bear.

What I could not have known before my daughter was born was that infertility is infertility, plain and simple, whenever it occurs. I had no idea that trying for a second child would be like starting with a blank page; that my accumulated wisdom and experience of motherhood would count for nothing in terms of conception.”

I can’t help but feel guilty when Greta props herself up on the chair in the living room and stares outside at the kids, a little too young to be included in their crowd.  It breaks my heart, when she waves so enthusiastically at any child in the grocery store and overwhelms them with “hi’s!!” and they rarely say “hello” back.  I pray every day I could give her a sibling. A live-in best friend and playmate.  Chris and I would much rather fill the rooms of this house with children than material objects.

And despite many months of failed attempts, we’re still hopeful and positive about the whole thing.  At least today I am.  Yesterday, my swollen eyes and broken heart were a different story.  So, that’s a peak into where our lives are right now.  I have seen my doctor and there aren’t any immediate answers to secondary infertility.  It is so easy to put off further medical intervention when we’re so hopeful and say, “This is our month!” Every month.  Last year, we didn’t plan this summer’s vacation because we were so sure we would have a newborn.  We have done this a lot over the last 16 months and after postponing life events month after month, we have now decided to focus more on living in the now.  This morning we bought season passes to the water park.  I finally bought a plane ticket to my sister’s wedding in May.  Now I know, I probably won’t have to find a dress to hide any sort of bump–which means I can wear the pencil skirt I’ve been eyeing.  And next week, I think I’ll open the door to that 3rd bedroom and start making plans to turn it into something we can enjoy now–like a playroom!!

You see, we’re normal people that have to work through big trials just like everyone else.  We feel beyond blessed to have so many good things going for us to focus on:  Our little girl.  Our big, work-in-progress house to keep us busy.  You readers that keep us motivated.  Warmer weather rolling in.  Our families (who we can’t wait to see this weekend)!  A loving, Heavenly Father who has blessed us with these gifts and trials that have made Chris and I closer than ever.

Lest I ever forget how blessed I am:

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What do you think?

  1. Holly Martinez says:

    I’ve been following your blog for most of 2016 and saw this linked from a recent Casual Friday post. I just wanted to say I appreciate your honesty and your desire to help others grow through sharing your experiences. Thanks for the reminder to look back and see how much God has done for me instead of focusing on what I don’t have right now. And what a blessing He gave you through Faye. :) We feel the same about our daughter. Love your blog. Xoxo.

  2. Kd says:

    My cousin had secondary infertility. Sadly, she had 4 miscarriages in a row. But the 5th pregnancy produced a beautiful girl with no problems.

  3. Janette says:

    I too suffered from this and that quote you pulled is beyond perfect. 2 years later than planned, we now have our second miracle. But boy oh boy, were those 2 years hard! And the guilt I felt for being sad, and frustrated, when I already had a child…we all just need to be easier on ourselves. Period. Pain is pain and beating your self up for having feelings is pointless!

  4. Reading this at work and crying like a total fool. Makes me see you and Chris in a totally new light and relate on so many levels.

  5. Jen says:

    been following your blog for a short time, but thought I would comment. We got pregnant really quick with our first but tried for 17 months for the second one. I had the dye test, and they say it can increase fertility for the 2-3 months following if nothing else is really wrong. Month one…nothing. month two, shocked and dismayed when two lines appeared on the test. im halfway through pregnancy # 2, and feeling so blessed. It doesnt work for everyone, so not to get anyone’s hopes up, but it worked for me. Its worth a shot probably. Good luck, and thanks for writing this.

  6. Cara says:

    Julia, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I found your blog through YHL and immediately fell in love with everything about you, your family, and your home. I, like you, seem to be waiting to transform a room in our home for that some-day baby. My son is 21 months old and earlier this year (late summer) we decided we would try again for #2. We had no trouble getting pregnant with Aiden (2 months after getting married we were 6 weeks along) and it seemed as soon as we said the words “lets try” we were pregnant with #2. Sadly I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks. Although it hasn’t been nearly as long as your journey for baby #2, the anxiety is there. Each month is another month of waiting. With our second pregnancy I was so excited to move Aiden into a BIG BOY room and transform the nursery so I immediately started. I now I have 2 rooms that are in limbo. Thanks to you I have decided to stop waiting for what WILL come and make the changes I want to make NOW. Make those rooms rooms I LOVE now. I pray for you and your family. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2013.

  7. jane says:

    I’m sorry you are having to deal with this. My sister was pregnant with her 1st over 3 years ago. She miscarried at 12 weeks and for the last 2 1/2 years they have been waiting to adopt a child from Korea. She got the call finally last week and will be picking him up in the next month. This wasn’t how they expected their lifeto be, but their excitement about having a baby (now 1 1/2 years old) is written over their face. The stress of it all is finally making sense.

  8. Melissa says:

    So sorry! It’s a good reminder to me that we all have things in our lives that are hard, really hard, and those around us might not even know. Hang in there- I can think of 4 ladies just in our cul-de-sac that have been there- so you are not alone.

  9. Thanks Emily, we’ll keep you posted, of course. In one of my favorite books, “The Alchemist,” there is a part where the little boy’s heart is speaking to him and it says, “the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” Failing is never ever, fun. But sharing my “failure” with you all has really strengthened me.

  10. *Hugs* Hang in there, girl.

  11. We are putting it in God’s hands for sure. We haven’t done the dye test, but now you have me thinking I should! :)

  12. And YOU’RE in ours. Hang in there Missy.

  13. Love you, Meags! Love you, Briggs. Thanks for always being there for my lowly texts. ;)

  14. We’re rooting for you! What an amazing gift you are giving those children. That’s inspiring.

  15. Thanks Lexy. That was so so sweet and thought out. We really appreciate it!

  16. Kelly M says:

    I bet that was a hard post to write, but glad you did. It’s nice sometimes to see the ‘other’ side of bloggers – the human side. I wish you all the best. And by the way, Gretta is super cute! Love her dancing on the carpet.

  17. Shannonb79 says:

    So sorry to hear about your struggles… we just had a miscarriage in February, and have a 2 1/2 year old girl at home.. your quote is resonates with me.

  18. Emily B says:

    My husband and I have been married for three years and we are purposefully waiting 4 more. I feel like I push the time I’m “ready” back further and further because I have some unexplainable fear of “failing.” I am so sorry that you’re struggling with this and I’m hopeful that when you move on and enjoy the now..something wonderful will happen. Thank you for sharing such a personal side of yourself. :) look forward to seeing what comes of the room.

  19. Jessie McKinley says:

    Julia sorry to hear about all you guys have been going through “behind the scenes.” Sometimes, we really just have no idea that others are struggling. Hang in there!!

  20. Tracey Chapman says:

    We were in the same boat too. We moved to our house when my daughter was 1 1/2. There was an extra room upstairs that was the future baby’s room. I wanted the kids 2 years apart and my husband wanted them 4 years apart so we compromised on 3 years. I didn’t expect to have any problems since I was pregnant with my daughter in 3 months. So we start trying and trying and trying. You know how it is and there are pregnant woman everywhere you go. So finally after more than a year, I just hand it over to God and figure we have 1 healthy child that I should be grateful for and that I shouldn’t keep our life on hold. We plan our trip to Disney World, I buy some new clothes, I have that margarita.

    Finally I figure I should go to the doctor and get my annual (I’d been waiting, for you know, to be pregnant) and mention that we’ve been trying. So my doctor runs tests (and note to self, should have had the normal doctor test horomones and not do it not under infertility so insurance would pay for it). Then I had the test where they shoot the dye in your tubes and they didn’t see any blockages but I was pregnant the next month. So either that was an issue and there was “debris” or we finally just hit my fertile time since I ovulate regularly but earlier than most.

    My daughter was born on 4/5/06 and since I was due in August 2010 (yeah I wanted 7/8/09 and its super creepy when your father in law tells you when its time) but I was due at the end of the month and I said I would get an 8/9/10 baby unless God stepped in. Well, I got preeclampsia and they wanted to deliver early… so I had my son on 8/9/10. So they are 4 years, 4 months and 4 days apart.

    I hope you hear good news soon! It’s all in His time.

  21. Missy G. says:

    I’m right there with you. Just this past weekend on Saturday, I found out that we’ll be going to a wedding in late April because two of our good friends are unexpectedly expecting. On Sunday, well, you know, happened, and my “This is our month!” hopes were blown up again. Hubby and I have been trying for our first for over a year. I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

  22. meaganbriggs3 says:

    I hope you feel a weight lifted from your shoulders. You are such a have woman who writes so beautifully. There is no doubt you guys have been through a lot, even before you had Greta. That first go would been enough to set you back dramatically, but what a surprise and blessing little Greta is in your life! I remember when we talked about trying, right around the same time as each other and thought for sure, we would have babies in the same month. No one could have guessed the last 16 months. You and Chris are such a strong couple and we look up to you two, literally and figuratively :-), thanks for sharing a piece of you and being so real :-) you’re the best sista.

  23. Rachelemma82 says:

    I totally get where you are coming from as we are in the same boat, thanks for sharing :)

  24. Stonak says:

    We’ve been dealing with unexplained infertility for four years. We finally grieved and moved on with it, and are only one home study away from getting our foster care license! I will finally be a mom, just not in a traditional way. I wish the best for you!

  25. Oh Julia, I feel for you girl. It’s really hard to plan trips and plan for other milestones when you’re so sure you’ll be pregnant by that time. I’m sorry to hear you two are having trouble but I know that it will happen when it’s the right time. Greta is absolutely perfect and she couldn’t have better parents. :)

    We don’t have any children yet and I have been getting bogged down this week as I realize it’s going to be an even longer wait. Your words are very reassuring to many women out there. Thanks, girl. Enjoy that playroom now and know that whatever it becomes, you are loved.

  26. Not fun, but it is comforting to know I am in good company.

  27. Julia, I have a couple friends that have been experiencing infertility over the last few years and it has been so hard to watch them…neither of them have a child yet (though one is finally pregnant through IVF!) but seeing their tears and feeling like there was nothing I could say to make it better (because truly there wasn’t) and the fact that I had two healthy pregnancies…it was hard to know what they are going through. And I hurt for them. I am now going through what may be infertility. Some tests I’ve had recently have shown that I may go through menopause earlier than normal. It’s hard to hear because I have always wanted a baby girl…not that my two boys are in any way not enough, but as a woman, it is always hard to hear that you may not be able to have a baby when you want to, so I know how you feel. But you are right, there are so many things to be thankful for and we should never forget that. God bless you and your family…and I agree, live in the now. Let go and let God. xoxo

  28. Linda_Seth says:

    Some how I missed this post, so I am glad you linked it in your recent post. I appreciate you opening up about your infertility and I’m so sorry you are going through this right now! :( I can relate to the frustration and sadness you are feeling. I have been on chlomid, done the blue dye tube test, 3 iui’s and 2 IVF’s. So if you have any questions, I am completely an open book and would be happy to chat with you. I wish you the best of lucky in expanding your cute family!!!

  29. Stephanie Marcum says:

    We love you and pray for you to have another sweet baby. I am glad you are enjoying the now though because soon they grow up and all go to school. Then a little more tears get shed. :-) Luckily we have the promise of eternal lives right.

  30. Michelle says:

    Hi julia :) found your blog through YHL too.. I’m so glad too.. you are so beautiful inside and out! I struggle with infertility just a bit .. And it is so painful. All the planning ahead.. not making plans sounds all too familiar. I saw the post of the room now and you turned something that was broken into such a sweet space for you and your cute girl. !! I’ll be thinkin of ya …

  31. CM says:

    Hi Julia, I found your blog via YHL. I, too, suffered through secondary infertility. About a year after we were married, my husband and I decided to start trying – and boom – I was pregnant. Our plan was to have 4 kids one right after the other – just like the families we both grew up in. Well, after 3 years of trying, one miscarriage, and many AI attempts, we decided to give up. Every month I wasn’t pregnant became more and more upsetting to me. I was completely obsessed with how far apart in age our future child would be to my first born. I had this firm idea in my head about how our family would be. With each passing month, that idea became less and less likely. My husband kept saying to me the whole time that one day we’d know the reason this happened to us. Watching my friends get pregnant with their second, third, and fourth children left me with feelings of jealousy I was so ashamed of. I hated that my infertility made me unable to be happy for other people. I also noticed that people seem to think that since you already have a child, it’s okay to say things like, “She’s ready to be a big sister.” or “When are you going to give her a little sibling to play with?” That used to make me so upset. Well, as it turned out in the end, my husband was right. We did eventually figure out why this happened to us (because none of the bazillion tests I had ever confirmed that there was anything wrong with me) – we ended up adopting our second daughter from Vietnam. This little girl from half way around the world was absolutely meant to be a part of our family. Today I am SO greatful for my infertility, because it led me to the family I was meant to have. Now that I’m older and know myself better, I can see that there were other ways this whole journey happened for a reason… I am forever greatful for the precious one-on-one time my older daughter and I had before our second child arrived. The 5.5 year age gap is nothing I ever would have planned – and yet it’s perfect for the kind of mom I am. I don’t think I would have done well with those “4 kids one right after the other” I had originally planned on. The chaos would have been the un-doing of me. I like having the space and time to really connect with my kids. Some moms can handle this just fine with a large family, but I don’t do well when I have to spread myself thin. Someone up there knew me better than I knew myself. I have the perfect family for me and I couldn’t be happier. I think your attitude about being open to whatever comes next is incredibly healthy. Just trust that what is supposed to happen will happen – and in the meantime, enjoy the one-on-one time you’ve got with your little girl. I wish you all the best!

  32. Lila says:

    I just wanted to say that my story is eerily familiar to yours. . . I have a 2.5 year old daughter (who I got pregnant with in 1 month) and now we’ve been trying for a second for about a year. Its so much harder then I expected and yet I too feel guilty for being sad about it or wishing for something when I am so blessed. We have decided to “stop” trying (ie not “not trying”) and see what happens. Good luck to you:)

  33. L says:

    Hi Julia, I found your blog through YHL (love the new studio!), and wanted to share the story of our kiddos.

    After a few months of trying on our own to make a baby, I decided to go to my doctor where we found out that I had some “problems”. I tried drugs (months and months of drugs), which did nothing but mess with my vision. Then I tried hormone injections, which did nothing but make me more irritable (and weepy). After almost two years of disappointments, stress, and crying, we decided just to quit trying. If nothing happened in another year, we’d look into adoption. Once we made that decision, I was able to just let it go. I was pregnant within 2 months (although I didn’t know it until I was 8 weeks along!).

    Fast forward to when our our little guy was 10 months old. I read a book called Taking Charge of your Fertility It was eye opening – I was shocked at how little I knew about the female reproductive system! I can’t recommend it enough. After four months of somewhat loosely following the techniques in this book, we were pregnant (sadly, we miscarried at 4 weeks). Two months later, we made another little one that will be joining us in April.
    I wanted to share my story to let you know that there is hope! There is a saying that I love: “Let Go and Let God”. We will keep your family in our prayers, and in the mean time, enjoy that beautiful studio!!

  34. Marlena says:

    I totally get this. I kept our secondary infertility a secret for two years, and then talked about it at Listen to Your Mother. It’s painful, but after I shared my thoughts and feelings, it’s really getting easier.

  35. Sarah S. says:

    Julia, I loved your room design on younghouselove. Great job! Years ago with our first pregnancy I had our nursery painted instantly. After a painful miscarriage and two more to follow I finally painted over the nursery and turned it into what we called “the green room” a place to relax. Shortly after that time, I gave birth to our first daughter then we had a son. This past year we adopted three kids that are all older than our biological daughter. So even though we lost three babies we now have five beautiful kids. We are pretty open about our journey too as well as I love decor. Thanks for sharing some of your story and your great studio design!

    ~Sarah at

  36. Anonymous says:

    Bless you and family, thanks for sharing.

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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