Mike & Suzanne – In Her Words
I’ve always been happier with a baby in my arms. I remember being 12 or 13 and playing with one of my baby cousins. I could hear the adults talking about me in the other room. They were saying I’d probably be a really young mom. I finally chimed in, “I’m not having kids right away. They are my family and I love them, but that doesn’t mean I want to be a mom right out of high school. I want to graduate college, see the world, find the right person. I’m not in a hurry.”
Fast Forward to my thirties...
Mike and I met a decade ago in Las Vegas when two of our friends got married. He opened the door to the bridal suite and I looked into his eyes and just for a moment, the world stopped. We were such an unlikely pair, but I remember dancing with him that night and thinking he felt like home.
After meeting in December, we met in Europe for a week in March. He was living in New York at the time and I was visiting friends in Spain. One night we were in Paris, walking toward the Eiffel Tower and we passed a man selling flowers. Mike bought me a red rose. The moment struck me in the oddest way; It occurred to me he might propose. I couldn’t breathe at the thought of it. I told myself to think fast. “If he asked, how could I let him down gently? Would he break up with me? What’s wrong with him - we just met? No. No. No.” I tried to slow my thoughts down and finally asked myself – Do you want to marry him? I was floored by my intuition’s response: Yes.Yes. Yes. You want to marry someone you’ve known for three months! Have I lost my mind?
But the answer was still yes. Yes with all of the unknowns - yes having barely known him. We had a nice night, but there was no proposal. It turns out he wasn’t thinking about proposing at all. My mind somehow had made a quantum leap. He did however move to San Diego two months later. We had our ups and downs and didn’t end up getting married until 6 years later.
August 2013 was the first-time Mike and I tried to get pregnant. We finally were married and our insurance had kicked-in so we were ready to start a family. A couple weeks later I was certain that I must be pregnant. One evening I started throwing up and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. It was going to happen. What I thought was morning sickness, turned out to be the flu, and month after month we never saw the positive line.
Once our fertility issues started, Mike regretted not asking me to marry him sooner. He thinks that if we would have started sooner that maybe we wouldn’t be going through all of this heartache. Are we struggling now because we took life far too slow or would have this been the case no matter what?
Something in my gut feels it’s no matter what. I think that perhaps 23-year-old and 33-year-old Suzanne would probably have had this mysterious inability to conceive. I can’t imagine how this news would have changed the course of my life. I can’t imagine how sad and incapable of dealing with this I would have been at any age.
Instead of regretting our 6-year courtship, I’m so grateful for it. I’m grateful for the ups and downs and for our trials that helped us learn what the other person needs and how to help each other. The last four years have fused Mike and I together; a trial by fire. We are strong enough to handle IVF, the hormones, the highs and lows, and the constant monthly heartbreak. I don’t think the beginning version of us would have known how to hold on to each other while our world fell apart, we questioned our beliefs and gathered up all of our strength and resources to fight for our family.
Some people go out for drinks and voila; 9 months later they are in the hospital with a baby lying on their chest and the world has forever changed. I believed that would be our story with every ounce of my being.
A friend of mine mentioned that it usually took some time to get pregnant. I nodded and pretended I understood, but I didn’t. I believed those high school sex-ed videos. I was certain it would happen right away. I had been waiting my whole life for this and I was sure the universe would support this dream. I was so sure of it, I promised to make a family with Mike in my wedding vows. I promised to love him, grow with him, believe in him, make art with him, and make a family with him. I honestly never imagined any of those vows would be hard to keep.
Well-wishing friends let us know that as soon as I relaxed, or we adopted a child, or stopped thinking about it, that we would be pregnant. Most recommended getting drunk at the very least.
So, we tried. We tried not trying. And not, not trying. I gave up hope, I tried to have the most hope in the world. We had sex every day, every other day, we tried wine, whiskey, sobriety. I gave up sugar, gluten, dairy, yeast, alcohol. We prayed, meditated, gave up current beliefs, found new ones. We made doctor’s appointments and saw specialists. Western medicine never found anything that indicated we couldn’t get pregnant. And yet month after month, year after year we didn’t conceive.
We tried everything we could think of. We invested in every therapy we could find. We spent $700 a month of our artist’s salary on supplements and tried everything we could think of. After the doctors couldn’t come up with anything, we tried years of acupuncture, 2 years of a restricted anti-candida diet - no sugar, yeast, gluten, dairy, and carbs in general and Chinese herb tea that looks like it was foraged from the gutter of someone’s roof. And then there was…
- Reading books
- Ovulation tests
- Genetic Testing
- Monitoring my Organic Acids and micronutrients
- NET therapy
- Fertilitea Tea
- Art therapy
- Meditation and breathing techniques
- Music therapy
- RTT therapy
- Past life hypnosis
- Aligning my chakras
- B12 shots
- Detoxing of all sorts
- And once IVF started
We did everything. Yet there’s still no crying baby in pajamas crawling into our bed. There’s no “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornament to buy.
You may be wondering why we don’t get pregnant. We do too. Technically, there’s nothing “wrong with us” except that we just don’t get pregnant.
After two rounds of IVF in Prague over the last year - shots, hormones, hope and disappointment - we are somehow still standing. Mike has been working three jobs and Shewanders Photography has been fortunate enough to have many wonderful clients. We are still grounded in love and clear that we want to be parents. I’m so certain that I’m supposed to have a baby wrapped around me and that I’m the mom who fills people’s newsfeeds with first smiles and cute giggles. Hey Universe, how can we make this dream come true.
Where You Come In - IVF 3.0
This GoFundMe page is our third and final hope for IVF as the cutoff for egg retrieval is 42 and I’ll be 43 in May 2018. So we are taking a different approach this time, attempting to fertilize my eggs with Mike’s sperm into embryos. The hope is they will find safe passage earth side through a surrogate mother. To accomplish this we go back to Europe and take a deep breath for IVF 3.0. Our last stand, the last time they can take eggs out of my body, mind bending hormone disruption, one last time, after more than four years of wishing and a lifetime of knowing, one last time of straddling hope and failure with everything in us.
The girl who asked herself a decade ago in Paris, “Do you want to marry this man?”, could not have fought as hard as the woman standing next to him now. I was fearless when I was young, but now I’m hardened by battle. But I am still holding Mike’s hand and asking the world to let our dreams come true.
A last chance and gratitude is what we are left with. I’m grateful we had enough time together to meld into the couple we are today and become a strong team. To love each other through a tough journey that we believe in, to risk it all; mind, body, and soul.
While our path is more complicated than some, it’s one we know is worth traveling. Please consider helping us get one step closer to sitting on a couch next to a lighted tree, tired and happy, staring into the face of our little baby wearing Christmas pajamas.
We will need to raise $65,000 for IVF and a surrogate.
Special Thank You
As an added bonus, Suzanne would love to offer three photography specials as a heartfelt thank you to those who support this fund. Please visit the Shewanders Photography link at the very bottom for more details. They will also be adding regular updates to their progress on this site.
We don’t know how we are going to get there or make this happen but we are going to walk confidently in the direction of our dreams and try with everything we have. Thank you from the bottom of our hopeful hearts.
Shewanders Photography link: Adding to the Ofeldts
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