Putting All Their Eggs In The Basket

“There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation.” – Pamela S. Nadav This is a desire of so many women and too often, women are faced with difficulty birthing their own child. 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. When you are young, you never think about not being able to have a child. Especially when there are women having children in their 40’s and even 50’s. So I was shocked when my best friend, since the 4th grade, told me she could not get pregnant without it ending in miscarriage. I’m thinking to myself, “you’re kidding right?” She’s healthy, all into fitness, and never had any medical complications. “Why can’t you?” I could hardly believe it. In my own denial, I did not realize the toll it had taken on her mentally. She’s always so strong, and tends to hide her emotions under her tough, no nonsense exterior. Even after knowing her, for 28 years, I was oblivious to the fact that she was frustrated, hurt, nervous, confused, and emotionally drained by her journey to pregnancy. It hurt my heart that I didn’t realize her pain. Someone that I thought I knew so well. So when she told me that her and her fiancé, Anthony, were going to try IVF for a third time, I wanted to make sure I was supportive and there for them. After one unsuccessful treatment, they decided to try again. This time we brought all the prayer warriors out! Even mother nature, Hurricane Irma, tried to keep them from cycle #2. But nothing could stop them. They made it just in time. Unfortunately, round #2 was also unsuccessful. They were hopeful but it was another emotional letdown. After getting the positive pregnancy test, they were told the eggs never matured; it was a blighted ovum. After all of this, her mind, body, heart and spirit were tired. They are now $45k in debt because their insurance does not cover IVF. Only 16 states mandate fertility treatments be covered by insurance and Colorado is not one of them. Still determined to have a child they decided to go through with their 3rd round of IVF. One last chance at fulfilling their dream of starting a family. The cost breakdown is as follows: IVF with ICSI $6,750Pre Genetic Screening $4,000Assisted Hatching $450.00Laboratory Fee (sperm preparation and cryopreservation) $550.00Estimated cost of medications (from previous cycle) $3,942.60 That’s a LOT of money! I truly believe it’s all about timing and the universe will manifest a child for them. But because I know this will be a struggle for them financially, I wanted to be a blessing in asking all friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers that could relate to their story, to help to make her one wish in life, to become a mother, come true. I love Chisa Marie and I know she will be a great mother! Below I have included her personal story from her perspective so you can truly understand her journey. This is her Facebook post when she came out of the “fertility closet.” Her goal was simply to spread awareness on the topic. It was a raw, real, and extremely vulnerable post. Hopefully, you too will gain a deeper understanding. Thank you all for your donations in advance. Shamieka Nicole In honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness, I wanted to share my story. It BLOWS my mind how ignorant I was on the topic up until about 2.5 years ago. I have learned a TON. Most importantly, that I am not alone and I really WISH more women spoke about these issues. It has taken me a long time but here it goes...I have experienced 3 miscarriages over the last 2.5 years. One at 5.5 weeks and 2 at 8weeks resulting in surgical procedures (D&C) to remove empty gestational sacs. It has been a rough few years. After the 2nd miscarriage and consulting with a Reproductive Endocrinologist, I was diagnosed with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR). I have only a few follicles left which correlates with poor egg quality. I also learned that, although I was medically diagnosed, insurance covers ZERO in fertility treatments. Multiple medicated fertility treatments, 2 IVF cycles later, still no babies, and thousands of dollars spent on a dream. This has been quite the battle. Understanding infertility is difficult; there are times when it seems even I don't understand. This struggle has provoked intense and unfamiliar feelings in me. Life is teaching me that I am not always in control and no matter how much time I’ve spent planning my life, things don’t always go as planned. My infertility makes me feel rushed and impatient. My life-plan is suddenly behind schedule. I waited to become a parent and now I must wait again. I wait for medical appointments, wait for tests, wait for treatments, wait for other treatments. I wait for pregnancy. And with every passing year, those chances get smaller and smaller. My infertility makes me feel isolated. Reminders of babies are everywhere or maybe I’m just more aware of it now. I must be the only one enduring this seemingly invisible curse. I know I’m not, but it feels like it sometimes. Every TV show, every commercial, movie... Every Facebook post of friends I went to elementary school with whose babies look exactly like they did. And knowing I may never have that. It’s a tough pill to swallow. My infertility makes me feel guilty. Frequently I forget that infertility is a medical problem and SHOULD be treated as one. However, insurance doesn’t treat it like a medical condition, adding more stress to an already stressful situation. IVF cycles are not something you plan for or save up for. Because you don’t expect to have to pay for something that most attain so easily. But you do it. You get it done. I have made completely irrational decisions. I have made incredibly selfish decisions. All the while, Anthony has been my rock. Even when he didn’t necessarily agree, or feel the same way as I did, he has been right here fighting the fight. He has put his wants, his needs, his plans on hold so we can fight together. He works 15 hours a day and his last day off was September 28th. NO DAYS OFF! His next day off will be in December. How can I not feel guilty but incredibly blessed at the same time. He IS the reason why I waited so long. He’s the kind of man I want to spend the rest of my life with. He’s the kind of man I want to father my child. So I do not regret waiting but can’t help feeling the guilt. My infertility makes me feel angry. Everything makes me angry, and I know much of my anger is misdirected. I'm angry at my body. I'm angry at Anthony because we can't seem to feel the same about infertility at the same time. I'm angry at my medical caregivers, because it seems that they control my future. They inflict pain on me, pry into my privacy, patronize me, and sometimes forget who I am. I'm angry at my expenses; infertility treatment is extremely expensive. Finally, I'm angry at everyone else. Everyone has opinions and easy solutions. Everyone seems to know too little and say too much! My infertility makes me feel sad and hopeless. It robs me of my energy. I'm sad that my infertility places my relationship under so much strain. It makes me feel unsettled. My life is on hold. Making decisions about my immediate and my long-term future seems impossible. I can't decide about education moves, purchasing a home, vacation or business trips. When the hell are we going to get married? We’ve paid for 2.5 weddings on IVF treatments/cycles. The more I struggle with my infertility, the less control I have. This struggle has no timetable; the treatments have no guarantees. The best thing you can do is be informed. I suspect you know someone fighting the fight. Maybe they’ve told you. Maybe not. So chose your words with care. Your advice and suggestions are only frustrating if they aren't based on fact. Don't let anyone tell you that my infertility will be cured if I relax, adopt or just stop trying and BAM... It will happen. It HAS happened but it’s not typically that easy. “Just adopt...” Yeah because that’s easy right? Who has $20-40k laying around for adoption?!?! Not to mention the emotional aspect of giving up on a little one who is made of you and the person you love. “If it doesn’t work, you can have mine.” They’re cute and all but we’d like our own thank you. “What’s taking you so long to have babies!?!?!” WE’RE WORKING ON IT!!! I know intentions are good. People just don’t know what to say because it’s not often talked about. Be a listener. Talking about my struggle helps me to make decisions. Please don't just give advice; instead, seek to understand infertility and my emotional state. While listening, try to maintain an open mind. I need you to be supportive. Understand that my decisions are not made casually, I've AGONIZED over every one of them. Encourage me to maintain my sense of humor. Celebrate with me my successes, even ones as small as making it through a doctors appointment without hysterically crying. Eventually I will be beyond this struggle and there will be little ones running around, driving me crazy. We will figure it out. I have swapped stories with women whose stories are FAR more heartbreaking than mine. Each one is a reminder that there’s STILL so much to be thankful for and WAY too many blessing to count. Life throws things at us and when it does, we aren’t always prepared but it’s definitely a test of our character and our resilience. However this story ends, I know I will be a mother. I have learned so much about myself and I look forward to what the future will bring.

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Organizer and beneficiary

Shamieka Jackson 
Orlando, FL
Chisa Marie 
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