Jonathan and I have recently decided that IVF is not the right choice for us. After much prayer and discussion, we have decided that we couldn't experience the heartache of another loss if IVF is unsuccessful.
With that being said, we are looking into adoption. We will likely start seeking out agencies once we return to Texas in the fall. Adoption is expensive, with costs well above $20,000 for a simple adoption. Therefore, we are adjusting our goal to half of that.
We would like to thank everyone who has so generously donated to our cause before now, and those who are considering to donate in the future. More importantly, we want to thank those who continue to pray for us. That means more than anything else.
Thank you all for hanging in there and supporting us. We love you all so much!
As many of our close friends and family know, Jonathan and I have struggled with infertility for several years now. It's been a rough path filled with heartache and disappointment, and we have come to an impasse. Our RE thinks we are an ideal candidate for IVF, however, it's expensive! Up until this point, our insurance has covered the treatments we have completed. Unfortunately, Tricare does not cover anything when it comes to artificial reproduction. We are looking to our friends to look into their hearts and donate even just $5. I keep looking for the right words to justify why we are asking for help, but nothing other than, I hope you would do so out of the kindness of your heart. Maybe remember a time that Jonathan and I helped you out, and pay it forward. Anything helps, and we are so appreciative of those who continue to pray and hope for us!
If you are interested in the road we have been down please continue reading:
I'll start from the beginning. In 2006, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. There are many less than ideal side effects from PCOS, many of which I suffer from. For instance, my body produces more testosterone than normal, which means I grow facial hair (like a man, not so great!). I also have problems with my skin like acne and dryness. I'm affected by insulin resistance which greatly affects my ability to achieve and maintain weight loss. Of course, these challenges are minuscule compared to the biggest side effect of all, infertility. Because I do not have a regular period (due to increased testosterone), I do not regularly ovulate, which is required to get pregnant.
Jonathan and I have always known that we wanted to have children. We both come from very loving and supportive families and we knew that we wanted to provide the same love and faith that we were raised with to our children. We began trying to have children around 2008, without any assistance. At this point in time, I had no idea the effect PCOS would have on my fertility. After a year of no results, we decided to seek help.
Luckily, while Jonathan was stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, we were able to qualify for a program they offer to infertile patients. We waited a long six months for the initial consultation, at which time, it was decided they would indeed accept me as a patient. However, shortly after I was accepted, Jonathan received orders for us to move to Wichita, KS.
We were discouraged by the sudden change, but charged ahead with the many preparations needed for our move. Once we arrived in Kansas, we were incredibly blessed to be referred to an amazing Reproductive Endocrinologist who was ready and raring to go to help us fulfill our dream of becoming parents.
We started with what I call, the easy stuff. The treatments consisted of a pill for a few days and a couple of ultrasounds. These were ineffective treatments. I never responded as they would have liked. In December of 2010, I required surgery to have an ovarian cyst removed. Our doctor was hopeful that this would encourage my body to work properly during future treatments. Unfortunately, just two weeks after my surgery, we were notified that Jonathan would be leaving on a short-notice deployment for 8 months.
Fast forward 8 months. Jonathan returned from his deployment and we were able to resume treatments. They got a little harder. They required the same pill from before, with an added shot to encourage ovulation. Unfortunately, I still wasn't responding as they had hoped to the treatment. This meant another change in what my doctor refers to as a "protocol".
The next protocol consisted of daily shots for up to 14 days, along with what is called a trigger shot (ovulation booster). This was stressful, but I was finally responding to the treatment! After our first treatment cycle, I was pregnant. I was blown away. After many months of negative pregnancy tests, I was finally face to face with two very pink lines! Jonathan and I were so hopeful that our chance had finally come.
Unfortunately, I had what is clinically referred to as a chemical pregnancy. I miscarried that pregnancy at 4.5 weeks. We were simply devastated. We prayed and pushed forward. In our hearts, we felt it was right to continue.
On our next try, I again fell pregnant. Cautiously optimistic, we celebrated. Unfortunately, at 6 weeks, it was discovered that I had an ectopic pregnancy. I required surgery to protect my tube from rupturing. Devastated does not even begin to express how Jonathan and I felt. I felt sure that I could not press on at that point. I was positive that we would never become parents.
After some testing, Jonathan and I decided to give it one more go. In September of 2013, we started our last treatment cycle. It included a new medicine that I responded very well to. In fact, I responded too well, and I was diagnosed with a mild case of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, or OHSS. My ovaries literally swelled up with fluid and I looked like I was six months pregnant, but it was worth it.
I was again pregnant. We were terrified of losing this baby, as I'm sure most people would be. Our fears became reality when I was 7 weeks pregnant, when the doctor could no longer locate our baby's heartbeat. The world crumbled down around me. This time was much harder than before as we had seen our baby's little flickering heartbeat just 5 days before. I required a D&C, which made the heartache all the more difficult. I was technically pregnant when I went in and felt so empty when I came out. I swore up and down I would never do this again because I didn't think it was fair to put Jonathan and myself through that again.
My doctor encouraged us to have testing done on the baby as well as ourselves to see if there was something abnormal causing my recurrent pregnancy losses. We agreed to the testing and waited anxiously for the results.
First came the results for the baby. The baby was in layman's terms "a completely normal male". A little boy. It was a lot harder than I imagined to find out what gender the baby was, but it also provided closure for Jonathan and I. We both had chromosomal testing, which also proved to be normal. Of course, normal is reassuring, but also frustrating. There seems to be no obvious answer as to why I haven't been able to carry to term.
My RE seems to think that IVF will be beneficial for us, as they are able to pick the strongest embryos that could result in pregnancy. Jonathan and I have prayed about it, as well as had many thoughtful conversations, and feel that we are in agreement with the RE. We know it will be a long road of saving and preparing, but we feel that this path is right for us.
If you have stuck with me for this long, thank you. It's been a rough road, but we are far from out! If you decide to donate towards our cause, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If you cannot donate, or decide not to, that's fine as well, we just ask that you say a prayer for us as we continue on this journey.
Brenda and Jonathan
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