Hoping for a Baby Pope

Tyler and I have always known we wanted to have a family of our own.  Recently we found out that our only chance of having a baby is through an assisted reproductive technology called In-Vitro Fertilization. IVF is costly but is also highly successful. Unfortunately,  insurance does not cover any of the costs which could end up amounting to $20,000. We recently made a very difficult decision to open up about our struggle to become parents in hopes of raising the necessary funds.  Dealing with infertility and miscarriage can be a lonely and isolating experience. We are also hoping to utilize this platform to help spread awareness about infertility and to let other couples know that they are not alone.  Tyler and I hate to ask for money but as we want to make use of this fundraiser as an opportunity to discuss this often hushed topic; we have decided that a portion of the funds we receive will be donated to Resolve which serves as the national infertility association.

You can learn more about Resolve by clicking here.

We hope that you will consider donating to our cause. Even if you cannot give financially, we appreciate any prayers and well wishes you can offer our way! Thank you!

Please read below to learn about our journey thus far:

In June of 2010, we were surprised but excited to see a positive home pregnancy test. By the time we went to the doctor to confirm the pregnany, I no longer tested positive and was told that I had experienced a very early miscarriage known as a chemical pregnancy. While were sad, we were reminded of all of the expense that comes along with becoming a parent. We spent the next two years savings and positioning ourselves toward that goal.

in November 2012, we started trying to conceive and within a few short months we again received a positive pregnancy test! Our excitement soon turned to sadness and frustration when we learned that I had miscarried a second time. This time I had to undergo a D&C procedure. Getting through this loss was emotionally very difficult for both of us. However we both put on a strong front and tried our best to move on after our loss.

(Tyler and I during a trip to Oregon in July 2013)

After switching doctors last year, I underwent several tests and was told it was safe to try again. 8 months later we became frustrated and concerned with why we weren't getting pregnant. This was a difficult and frustrating time. Month after month I cried each time my period showed up. It was a reminder of the babies we'd lost and our inability to conceive again. 

I researched everything I could as we became desperate. You name it, we've probably tried it! I finally went back to my doctor who started me on a low dose of clomid. I was hopeful and relieved that I could take an active step in this crazy process, but worried what would happen if the clomid didn't work within a few months. 

Well surprise! The day before Christmas Eve we received the best gift! Another positive test! This time we were beyond careful! I had already pulled back several months prior from my aerial training and immediately stopped once I got the good news. Tyler kept me away from my beloved Mountain Dew and I made sure to take my prenatal vitamins every night. My doctor had given me progesterone supplements as a precaution given my history. What a wonderful Christmas! We were so happy that God had finally blessed us after all this time. We told our immediate family and they were also overjoyed for us!

(My niece right after I told her I was going to have a baby)

On January 2, I began having some light bleeding. I was terrified as this was how my previous miscarriage started. My doctor was on vacation so I was sent in to see another physician in his practice. She could not offer any help and said that the bleeding could be normal but I could have a threatened miscarriage and that they would have to monitor me closely.

The next day the nurse called me with reassuring news that my levels all looked really good and while I still needed to be cautious- I might be okay. I took a deep breath and went to work hoping she was right. A few hours later I started feeling mild cramps and suddenly heavy bleeding. I was instructed by my doctors office to go to the ER. I left work and called Tyler as I drove myself to the hospital. After several tests we were told that I had miscarried again. The doctor at the ER was very cold and matter of fact. I will never forget how inadequate she made me feel as a woman. I cried so hard on my way home that night. I cried out to God asking why He was allowing this to happen over and over. What had I done that was so terrible to put us through this heartbreak again and again?

I was told to go home and check in with my doctor that Monday. I was sad but glad that the worst was over and that I hopefully wouldn't have to have surgery again. Little did I know that this was far from over. I began having horrible excruciating pain that Sunday night. Tyler rushed me to the ER in the middle of the night. I was told that I had not miscarried but there was a concern that something could be wrong such as an ectopic or tubal pregnancy. I was discharged and sent back to my doctor who was still out of town.

I saw yet another doctor the next day who hesitated to treat me for the ectopic pregnancy because the results were not clear. She didn't want to terminate a potentially healthy pregnancy which I agreed with. I was sent home on bed rest until I could see MY doctor later in the week. I tried not to get my hopes up but it was hard not to wonder if maybe everything was really okay. Plus by that time the pain had stopped.

Finally that Thursday I went to see my OBGYN. After running another ultrasound and looking at my blood work, he determined that I did have an ectopic pregnancy.  An ectopic pregnancy cannot survive and if left untreated is usually fatal. Basically, my little embryo implanted in my right Fallopian tube instead of my uterus. Because the tube does not stretch like a uterus, as the baby develops it will eventually rupture the tube causing bleeding and ultimately death. 

After discussing our options I was given a chemotherapy drug called methotrexate to stop my baby from growing and allow me to miscarry naturally. I was sad that he didn't have better news for me, but I felt confident that the treatment would help me resolve the situation without surgery. I wanted to get everything over with so I could begin researching why I couldn't have a baby.

Two days later I was in extreme pain yet again. Fearing that my tube had ruptured we rushed to the ER where we were told that nothing was wrong and that the pain I was experiencing was related to the methotrexate. By this point I could barely walk or even sit up. But apparently I was just being a baby!

Hours after being sent home my tube actually did rupture. The short version of events from this point is that I was still told that the pain was related to the treatment for several days. I bleed internally for 4 days and lost a lot of blood. I ultimately had to have emergency surgery and a blood transfusion as I had lost over a third of my overall blood supply. 

(I had just been checked into hospital for surgery)

During the surgery, my doctor had to remove my right Fallopian tube and discovered damage to my left Fallopian tube. I still have both ovaries and my uterus is completely in-tact. However I was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist to help me find the answers we were looking for.

Post-surgery was much more difficult this time. I was in terrible pain and needed help around the house for several days. Thank goodness for my wonderful aunt and uncle who took amazing care of me and gave Tyler some much needed and deserved relief. I think he was physically and emotionally exhausted after the roller coaster ride we had experienced. In as much physical pain as I was in, emotionally I was an even bigger wreck. I couldn't look at a child without bursting into tears and wondering if we'd ever have a family. Just 3 weeks before, we were on top of the world. Now I felt like an invalid in every way possible.

Slowly life began to return to normal and it was time to get the answers and direction we were praying for. I was able to get into see the specialist fairly quickly. He ran every test possible short of another surgery. After 13 blood tests, 3 specialized ultrasounds and x-rays, and numerous other tests we found out that we are both fertile in terms of eggs and sperm. However because of the damage to my tubes it will be nearly impossible for us to have children naturally. Even with surgery to repair my remaining tube our chances of conceiving are very low and if we were able to beat the odds, we would have a higher risk of another ectopic. IVF increases our ability to have children with a very reduced risk of ectopic pregnancy re-occurring. 

It still seems surreal that we are dealing with infertility. It has been a lonely road for us watching so many of our friends and family have children and trying to put on a happy face while wondering when we might receive our special gift. After being married nearly 5 years, it's also difficult everytime someone asks us when were going to have kids. Even when people know what you're going through, they can say some hurtful things. I hope by sharing our story that someone out there will feel less alone in their personal journey.

We feel confident that this is our best opportunity to have a child. After years of waiting, we are hopeful for a little Pope child to join us in 2015. We hope to start IVF this summer if we can raise enough funding. 

Please consider supporting us by donating to our cause. Even the most modest donation will help us toward our goal. If you are unable to contribute financially, we appreciate all of the prayers we can get!


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Autumn Coughlin Pope 
Olive Branch, MS
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