For those of you who haven't been a part of our story, we will do our best to try and tell some of it below, but we have also written about it in detail for a number of years on our blog (2hearts1hope.blogspot.com ) if you would like to know more. In addition to hopefully having a family of our own soon, we want to continue sharing our story with others who may be struggling with the lonely journey of infertility.
OUR STORY - THE LAST 10 YEARS
Our story together started in a little Texas town where we met and fell in love during college. Eighteen months later, in the summer of 2005 we celebrated the beginning of a lifetime together. We were young and so excited to be married. The first years of our marriage were spent taking fun trips and making great memories doing the things we loved.
By the spring of 2008, we decided we were ready to expand our family and start having kids. We picked out baby names and dreamed every day of the things we'd get to do with our kids. Little did we know, it wasn't going to be that simple for us...
As time passed, we experienced heartwrenching pain and dissapointment month after month. After a year with no success, we sought the help of a fertility specialist. We began multiple rounds of medication and relatively minor (though still expensive) fertility procedures with no results.
As months turned into years, we continued to watch as life seemed to pass us by. New families were starting all around us, and we longed desparately to experience the joy of having a child for ourselves. After four long, painful years of trying, we were right were we had started, only a lot more exhausted, sad, financially and emotionally drained. We decided it was time to move to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), which is the most advanced procedure currently offered in assisted reproduction.
We did our first IVF procedure in July of 2012 and were absolutely over the moon when we learned we were pregnant! We finally got to experience what we had waited so long for! Unfortunately, shortly after our amazing news, we miscarried. It was a devastating loss, but by God's grace and the support of family and friends, we worked through it and moved forward in the IVF process. We did another cycle later that year, but sadly no pregnancy occurred.
In 2013, we travelled from our home in California to New York several times to do another round of IVF. This fertility specialist had expertise in some of the specific issues that doctors had identified as contributing to our challenges in getting pregnant. Once again, we found ourselves pregnant for a few short weeks before another heartbreaking miscarriage. We realized at that point that it was unlikely we would ever be able to carry a pregnancy without the help of a gestational surrogate, though we had no idea how that would ever be a possibility. We had healthy frozen embroys remaining from our last IVF procedure but we were absolutely depleted emotionally and financially. The idea of starting all over with a brand new process like surrogacy was more than we could bear to think about.
At the beginning of 2014, we moved to Tennessee and took a much needed break from all of the treatments, medications, stress and the emotional rollercoaster of this journey. We needed time to grieve, heal and just recover what it meant to enjoy life as husband and wife.
HOPE - AND AN AMAZING FRIEND
Shortly before we left California, we met Amanda through a very close mutual friend of ours. Amanda had been following our story and greiving with us through the losses and pain. And this amazing woman offered to give us the gift of carrying our pregnancy for us. She knew it was something God had prompted her to do and her beautiful family supported her decision to follow God's leading on this. Though we had no idea when or if it would ever happen, she assured us that she would be willing and able if that day came.
Fast forward over 3 years, and through circumstances that only God could have orchestrated (and a much larger story than we can offer here) Amanda and her family now live twenty minutes away from us here in Middle Tennessee, and we have become closer than friends - like family. Though we still never knew for sure if we would ever pursue surrogacy, Amanda remained absolutely steadfast and let us know time and time again that should God open those doors, she was ready to jump through them with both feet!
As things began to line up, we have been able to take some of the initial steps toward making this dream a reality. However, we don't quite have all of the funds we will need to go all the way to the finish line. That is where you come in, dear friends...
HOW YOU CAN HELP
As many of you may know, fertility procedures are rarely covered by health insurance, and in our situation, almost everything is out of pocket. At this point, we are asking for $5,000 to help us with the following portions of our treatment:
-$1,000 to transport our frozen embryos (or, the "tots" as we like to call them!) from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan to the rolling hills of Tennessee
-$3,000 to cover a portion of the cost of the actual procedure that will let Amanda carry those sweet babies through 9 months of hoping, dreaming and praying
-$1,000 to cover most of the medications that our amazing friend will be taking to help maximize our chances of having a healthy and full term pregnancy
Please be assured that any and all donations we receive will go directly toward surrogacy costs. If we earn more than our goal, they will go toward additional surrogacy costs above what we have listed here.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
If you're taking the time to read this at all, it tells us that you deeply care about us. We are so thankful to have so many wonderful people who have been amazingly supportive in these past 10 painful years.
We understand that giving financially is not an option for everyone. We also greatly need a lot of prayers and continued encouragement.
Please feel free to share our story with anyone who may be walking through infertility or anyone else who may want to support us. Research suggests that 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility but never open up about it as it feels like such a shameful disease. We want to continue to spread awareness and be an encouragement to others.
Thank you to everyone who reads this. You'll never know what kind of impact you all have truly had in our lives! God Bless You!
Andrew & Natalie (& Amanda)
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