What Didn’t Kill Me is a book I never thought I’d have to write. At 34 years old, though broke and beaten down by ten years of college and a career gone horribly wrong, I was blissfully pregnant. After years of carefully planning, years of being a devoted aunt, it was finally time for my husband, Wayne, and me to have a baby and start a family of our own. I got pregnant quickly, chose a midwife—it would be a natural birth at home—and heard my baby’s heart beat at 11 weeks. Then I got on a plane to California, there was blood, and nearly overnight, I was abandoned by my midwife and plunged down the rabbit hole of fertility treatment and into the serial grief of reproductive trauma.
Devastated by multiple miscarriages, a rare genetic diagnosis, and the brutal torment of IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis), but determined to have the family I’d always dreamed of at any cost, I found myself navigating a path to motherhood that turned everything I thought about pregnancy, birth, and myself ferociously on its head and left wrecked relationships and annihilated finances in its wake. What Didn’t Kill Me is the story of the eight years I dangled from the emotional roller coaster—more like a rigid W—of my new course with my feet in stirrups, as the world tried to convince me to “relax” and that God had a plan, and my biological clock threatened to sound its final gong.
On her thirtieth birthday, Dr. Ellie Gale, a chiropractor, faces disillusionment when she discovers that her lawyer boyfriend, Bob, is cheating instead of proposing, and that she’s trapped in a profession she despises. An attempt to console herself with a cruise to the Bahamas with her best friend Simone ends in disaster when Ellie falls for Troy, a gorgeous surfer who makes her forget she ever had an ex, only for him to disappear the next day, and a tell-all article she writes about her profession that no one was ever supposed to see ends up being published in a newspaper back home in South Florida. Ellie is forced to re-evaluate the life she spent twenty-one years and hundreds of thousands of dollars carefully constructing, while dealing with kooky colleagues and patients, a floundering private practice, a malpractice lawsuit, her sick mother, supportive but resigned friends, and her struggle to reconcile “right” love versus real love. When she decides to compete in an Ironman triathlon, Ellie must find the courage, hope, and ultimately, the self-forgiveness to pursue a childhood dream that could give her a second chance at career fulfillment and true love.