"It was three and a half years of struggle -- one of the hardest things I've ever done."
Lissa Hurchalla: Constance Marie, 43, may be best known as George Lopez's wife on the "The George Lopez Show," but she's recently stepped into a new role -- mom to her 3-month-old, Luna Marie. As she tells it, having a child was no easy labor.
Tell us about your personal journey to motherhood.
It was three and a half years of struggle -- one of the hardest things I've ever done. I thought, "Oh, I'm Latin, of course I can have babies late in life." I started trying when I was 38 and a half, and I thought that was plenty of time. After all, you read about older women having babies all the time. At the beginning, we figured, great, we'll just have a lot of sex! After a year of trying and some tests, I finally got pregnant. I was so excited, but when I went for the six-and-a-half-week ultrasound, the fetal sac was empty. I thought I was going to hear my baby's heartbeat, and instead I had to have a D&C on the spot. When I eventually got pregnant a second time, again, there was no heartbeat, and I had to wait to get a D&C because I couldn't take off the next day -- I had to go to work on "The George Lopez Show." It was awful -- there is just no way to be funny when you know you could miscarry at any moment. Then I started fertility drugs and four rounds of artificial insemination, including one when the doctor spilled the sperm all over the floor. After that, I tried IVF twice, but none of the eggs took. So the next try, we froze my eggs and let my body recover from all the fertility drugs for a couple of months before we transferred them. And that's how we got Luna Marie. She survived the embryo ice age!
What would you say to other women who are undergoing fertility treatment and feeling discouraged?
The thing that helped me most was knowing that I was going to have a family one way or another. If it wasn't naturally, it would be with fertility drugs or IVF or donor eggs or adoption. So it was never like, this has to work or I'll never have a family. Women are planners. If we know there's a backup plan to get to where we want to be, even if we have to tweak it along the way, it makes us feel better. I even put up Post-Its over my desk, one saying "Take the pressure off" with a smiley face, and the other saying "No stress." I found when I was feeling down, seeing those would interrupt those negative thoughts in my head. It really helped. I also suggest reading up on the subject and talking to women going through the same thing, even if it's just online. Finally, I totally support women working on their relationships, their careers, or whatever they need to do to be healthy moms, but it's also important to realize you may not have as much time as you think.
How did you use detox to help you get pregnant?
I did acupuncture throughout the process, started eating organically, cut out fish because of the mercury, did a liver-gall bladder detox cleanse, and stopped drinking out of plastic bottles and got rid of all my Tupperware after reading about how the BPA in plastic products can affect the hormones related to fertility. I also tried Japanese enzyme baths, where you get buried up to your neck in wood shavings and enzymes, which pull toxins out of your body when they're heated -- you feel amazing afterward!
Tell us about your green nursery.
I learned so much about the toxicity of our environment while trying to get pregnant, I didn't want to do anything to mess up the kid now that she was finally here! And in my research, I found out that nurseries tend to be one of the most toxic rooms in the home -- simply because the drapes, the crib, the paint, the carpet, and everything else in it are often new, which means they're releasing formaldehyde, glue, fire retardant, insect repellent, and whatever else was used to make the products. So I got an inexpensive crib made exclusively of wood -- not particleboard -- and a crib mattress that's 100% rubber from a rubber tree, so it's naturally antibacterial and antifungal. Today you can get paint that contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are dangerous gases that release into the air. Even Target sells organic clothing now. And the more we all ask for this stuff, the more they'll make. It took me three and a half years to become a mom, so it makes me feel so good to know I'm giving my baby the best chance I can to develop a strong immune system and live a healthy life.