My Journey: Samantha Busch

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Q+A W/ IVF ADVOCATE + MOTHER

Samantha Busch originally started her blog to express her style and share favorite workouts, recipes and beauty tips. After years of trying, and failing, to start a family, Samantha and her husband, Kyle, turned to IVF. Samantha bravely decided to share her journey with her followers with the hope of easing other people’s fears and to help other couples who are struggling with infertility.

In 2015, Samantha gave birth to her son, Brexton Busch. After experiencing the overwhelming positive response to sharing their journey, plus the joy of finally having a child, Samantha and Kyle started the Bundle of Joy Fund, which advocates for infertility education and provides monetary grants to couples who require fertility treatments in the Charlotte area.

We spoke to Samantha about her journey to motherhood and the amazing work she and her husband are doing for Bundle of Joy. Read on for our Q+A below!

If you are interested in learning about other paths to parenthood, check out our Q+A w/ Brittney Cain, Candace Farris’ journey, Erika’s journey, and Charna + Sam’s journey.

by CHLOE.: Hi Samantha! Thanks for chatting with us. We are such admirers of yours! Please introduce yourself.

Samantha Busch:  Thank you for asking me to participate in the Beyond Mother’s Campaign.  I’m so excited to help bring awareness about infertility – especially around Mother’s Day, which can be so joyous but also so sensitive to women struggling with infertility.  I live in Charlotte, North Carolina, with my husband Kyle and our son Brexton.  Our life is pretty crazy.  We travel 38 weeks out of the year on the NASCAR circuit where my husband races. I own Murph Boutique, is an online women’s boutique that features trendy, fun pieces to make all women feel confident. I also run our Bundle of Joy Fund which is a nonprofit organization that advocates for infertility education and awareness and also awards grants to couples to alleviate the financial burden of IVF treatment. My husband and I created the fund while pregnant with our son Brexton. After having to go through all of the physical and emotional stresses associated with IVF, we also understood the immense financial strains.  We provide grants to couples in need in the Charlotte area so that they can go through IVF without the daunting expenses.   

 

bC: You are a mother of one (adorable) little boy, Brexton! Please share the story about your journey to parenthood.

 SB: My husband and I were married young, in our early 20’s, so we were in no hurry to rush into parenthood. Plus, we were very healthy and active, so we figured it would be easy for us. Once we decided we were ready, we started trying the natural way with no success. After a few months, we started trying some ovulation kits and some of the wives’ tales you hear. After a few more months with still no success, it started to take a toll on my mental health and on our relationship. Around the year mark, I went to my OBGYN, where I was diagnosed with PCOS (which explained a lot of other symptoms I was experiencing too). They put me on Clomid and I was the crazy, stereotypical hormonal woman you read about – it was not pretty. And it didn’t work. So after another 5 months, I was finally referred to REACH clinic here in Charlotte. They ran tests on both me and my husband and found that he also had misshapen sperm – so there was literally no way the two of us were every going to conceive naturally. While it was disheartening that we had tried so long and gone through so much heartache, it was a relief to have a solid diagnosis and a plan. We started the infertility drugs and shots and went through the egg retrieval process. We opted to do a frozen egg transfer and were so lucky that our first transfer was successful. On May 18, 2015, we welcomed Brexton Locke Busch into the world and it was the most incredible feeling in the world to hold him in my arms for the first time. He truly is our bundle of joy. This past fall, we decided to go through our second round of IVF to have a daughter. We did the transfer and everything looked really good. We announced our pregnancy on Thanksgiving and a week later, out of nowhere, I experienced a miscarriage. There was no clear reason why, which is the hardest part, especially as a woman. But we are hopeful that God has it in his plans for us to have a daughter, and we will try again when we are ready. 

 

bC: We appreciate how open you are about your own IVF journey. Why did you decide to share your journey on social media? How has your willingness to open up impacted your life?

 SB:  Honestly, it wasn’t easy at first. About 6 years ago when we were trying and it wasn’t working, not many people discussed their struggles with infertility, and I felt like even less talked about IVF. I felt embarrassed, alone, scared and searching for answers. It wasn’t until we were past the first trimester in our pregnancy that we decided to open up to others, both in person and socially, about our struggles. While we were on this journey as a way to cope, I began journaling and I eventually took that and turned it into a blog series on my site samanthabusch.com. It was very comforting, the overwhelming amount of support we received from others.  When we decided to try for our daughter this past year, we wanted to be completely transparent throughout the entire journey in order to give people a raw and real glimpse into the emotions, shots, everything. It was great getting to help others preparing for their journey in order to help alleviate some of the questions and fears. We were so excited to announce that we were pregnant, which we did very early on since everyone knew the transfer date. Unfortunately, one week later we had to announce that very suddenly we lost her. It was gut wrenching to share but if I have to look for the silver lining, it has helped me connect with more women and the level and support and comfort they gave to me was unexplainable.

 

bC: We’d love to hear more about your non-profit, Bundle of Joy Fund, and the amazing work that you do as an IVF advocate. Tell us about your decision to start this organization!

SB: When we were going through our own IVF journey, Kyle and I realized the high costs of IVF and that this could be preventing many couples from going through it and having the chance to be parents themselves. We are fortunate enough to be in a position to pay for it ourselves, and we really felt that God put us through our own journey and in a position to be able to pay it forward. While I was pregnant with Brexton, we began the process of creating the fund, and we gave away our first round of grants in September 2016. Our mission is to advocate for infertility education and awareness and remove the financial barriers by granting monetary awards to couples who require fertility treatments to have their own bundle of joy. To date, we’ve distributed over $500,000 to 38 couples with 19 babies born and four more on their way (so far). You can learn more and meet our “family” of Bundle of Joy babies at bundleofjoyfund.org. 

 

bC: What was the most challenging part about your experience to becoming a mother, and how did you get through it?

SB: The most challenging part was trying without knowing anything was wrong. Being in great health and relatively young, I would have never guessed that I had any underlying issues. Trying for a year blind, if you will, was really frustrating. A simple blood test and ultrasound quickly showed that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This was very scary at first, having never heard of this and never knowing I had it or what it entailed. I found it really helpful to start doing a lot of research, and now, after opening up about it on social media, I have received so many tips and advice from women who also have it. As a community, when we share doctors’ advice, diets or supplements that help and all come together, we help each other to manage and overcome PCOS, infertility, IVF, etc.

 

bC: Do you have any words of wisdom for women and couples that are experiencing fertility struggles?

SB: Don’t try to go at it alone. There are only so many fake smiles you can put on. Infertility is HARD. It’s even harder when you do it alone. Rely on your partner, family and friends and explain to them what you are going through and what you need from them. There may be highly emotional times for you (like seeing multiple pregnancy announcements on social media). Communicate to your partner that you are hurting and need extra comfort. Tell your family if you need them to step back from asking when you are having kids or if you need your friends to take you out for a girls’ night with absolutely no baby talk. Join an online support group, see a therapist, seek out others who can understand your emotions and lift you up when you need it.

 

bC: Where there any moments that made you laugh or smile throughout your fertility journey? Or, moments of lightness and hope that you experienced?

SB:  One funny moment is when I read that sperm don’t do well in hot climates. Well, inside a race car, the temperature can soar over 160 degrees and therefore we (well, I) asked Kyle to get ice packs during the race for his guy parts to help keep his sperm happy and healthy!

 

bC: Best part about being a mom? Most challenging?

SB: The best part about being a mom is the indescribable, unconditional immense love you have your child. The smiles, the kisses, the cuddling, the love. Nothing compares to seeing your child happy. And it’s truly something you can’t and won’t understand until you hold that child in your arms for the first time.

The most challenging part so far has been when Brexton couldn’t talk yet but was desperately trying to communicate. There were many immense meltdowns when he couldn’t communicate what he wanted or needed from us. Also the “why” phase has its many challenges as you could imagine.

 

bC: What does the Beyond Mother’s Day campaign mean to you and your work?

 SB:  Mother’s Day for most people is a happy, sweet time – as it should be. But for many others, it’s a crushing day that only highlights their yearning for a child and a family of their own. It can also be a reminder of the pain and struggles we had to face in our journey to motherhood. Although some of us may be mothers now, we still have battle wounds or are still trying to give our child a sibling – or mourning the babies we have never met. I think programs like Beyond Mother’s Day are so important to celebrate everyone’s journey to motherhood – as they are all so very different and special – and to bring us all together to comfort, understand and support each other.    

 

RAPID FIRE:

 Favorite place on earth?:  Ahhhh, toss up between the Bahamas and Cabo.

 Biggest pet peeve?:  People who chew with their mouth open or smack their gum.

 Secret superhero power?:  I have this crazy ability to tell if something is the tiniest bit out of place or not aligned, even just a fraction of an inch, just by looking at it.

 Three objects you can’t live without?:  My cellphone, a bold lipstick and a snack.

 Whatcha readin’?: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty.

 Dream dinner guest?:  Probably Jessica Alba or Jessica Simpson, to learn about how they balance building a brand and running a successful business with being a mom and wife.

 Current fave podcast?: Raising The Bar with Alli and Michael.