Sophie Partlow has done it all. The Charlotte native is a marketing professional, a successful science fiction author, a frequent traveler, and sometimes, when the mood strikes, a rapper named Mad P.
“I was kind of big in the Charlotte, North Carolina scene,” she tells ESSENCE, laughing, but very serious.
She’s also a wife. She met her husband, Chris, a U.K.-based DJ and producer, on Facebook after hearing his work on a track she wrote with a friend.
“I was like, ‘This is awesome. Good job, y’all,'” she recalls. “He slid in my DMs and I was like, ‘Hey cutie, what’s up?’ That’s all she wrote.”
They would eventually meet up in England, quickly making things official by their third day together. In a mere matter of months, they were looking into the K-1 visa for her to move abroad so they could get married. Even before they officially became husband and wife, they talked about kids.
Fast forward years later, and the one thing she’s most proud of is her role as a mother. The couple are parents to a little girl named Cloud they adopted when she was just two days old in 2019. The family of three now reside in the U.K. and are hoping to become a family of four or five (or more possibly).
“We’d always just wanted a big family, always strived to have three kids, at least,” she says. “That’s what we saw. We said after we adopted Cloud, we want to parent all the kids. It’s just always been on our heart.”
But the journey hasn’t been simple. Partlow says they did “a good 10 years of IUI” hoping to conceive. After adopting Cloud, Partlow still had a desire to see what a baby they made together would look like, as well as a desire to give their daughter a sibling. So she embarked on the journey of trying IVF to see if they’d have better chances.
It’s a process they’ve been in the midst of for the past two years. And while IVF is already a lot, often taxing on the body and the wallet, it’s been a bit more complicated for her as she’s had to trek back and forth from her new home in Ipswich, England to her original home in Charlotte where she found her go-to clinic, Reproductive Specialists of the Carolinas, to complete her cycle of egg retrieval and embryo transfer.
She has balanced these intense appointments with travel for her work as an author, flying from city to city for conventions, book signings and meetings before heading down South to see her doctor and then flying back to the U.K. If you’re wondering why she would go to such lengths versus seeking out treatment in Ipswich, where treatments can be around £5,000, she says while the travel miles collected are a lot, the cost overall for treatments and travel is very little.
“IVF is miraculously fully covered by my insurance in America, and once you start the process somewhere else, it’s almost impossible to transfer,” she says.
Something that has also helped make this an affordable journey is the travel site Skiplagged, allowing her to save “tens of thousands” of dollars for flight tickets. The page, perfect for light packers interested in jet-setting, helps people track prices, letting them know when it’s cheapest to purchase flights, and aids in her in obtaining what’s called a “hidden city ticket.”
“Say you have a flight to Seattle, but you might have a stop in Denver. If you want to go to Denver and not Seattle, you can actually get that ticket to Seattle, but get off at Denver,” she explains. “It’s way cheaper.”
She’s managed to fly from England to America for as little as $200. And the ability to save money has made a difference in how she deals with it all.
Nevertheless, there have been hurdles to overcome. That includes a past PCOS diagnosis and a recent miscarriage in her first trimester following what was a successful cycle of IVF. But Partlow didn’t let that keep her from boarding the next flight to start the process again in the hopes that she will conceive and carry a baby to full term.
“It definitely hurt, but I think the blow was dampened just because it was early and I knew we had more embryos. And we have Skiplagged. We know we’re good. We’re going to be able to get back and try again.”
When she conceives again (because it’s all about speaking good things into fruition), she plans to stay in the States, in her former bachelorette pad in Charlotte, for the first trimester. If things don’t happen as planned, she is open to the possibility of starting over at a new clinic in Ipswich. But Partlow remains refreshingly optimistic about the future, and her family. No matter what, she and Chris are planning to adopt again in the future, and they have not given up and will not give up on having a little one together.
“I’ve so enjoyed getting to know the layers of my daughter as she grows, and to meet her and just see how cool she is and sweet and nice she is. To know that there’s a potentially another person that we get to meet, I just think it’s beautiful,” she says.
“We’re very excited to go ahead and try again, but I think that’s what drives me forward is knowing that, again, we’re going to potentially at the end of this road see a beautiful version of both of us together,” Partlow adds. “I think that’s what really is exciting for me. I can’t wait to meet who this person’s going to be.”