Ashley and Jacob
Three years ago, my husband and I were blissfully unaware of the concept of infertility and the journey it encompasses. When we found out we were pregnant for the first time in August of 2019, it never occurred to us that we would never get to hold our tiny baby. We would never get to hear their heart beat; we would never have our sleepless nights, lullabies, and giggles. We would never have a life with our baby. That alone was unbearable but was just a prelude to what would follow.
After a year of trying on our own, and more early miscarriages, we were referred to a fertility clinic. We accepted we had to seek help for our dream of starting our family. We naively thought we'd do a couple of tests, have a few ultrasounds, maybe a procedure or two to discover what was happening to the pregnancies and that would be that. Lucky or unlucky for us came the diagnosis of unexplained infertility. We continued with medicated cycles, monitored and unmonitored, all resulting in no pregnancies. We had to make a decision, we could continue with the medicated cycles, or pursue in vitro fertilization (IVF). Knowing we would have to continue paying out of pocket for all the medication, the treatments and procedures, and that IVF offered the highest chances of pregnancy, we decided to proceed with IVF. The idea of starting IVF is a heavy decision. You are handing over your body and control to someone else, you are putting your dreams in another person's hands. It is a completely overwhelming decision and then you get blindsided by the cost. The hope you thought you found now seems far away.
In the three years that we have gone through this journey, I'm willing to admit this has been the hardest three years of our life. Infertility is financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally stressful. These three years have been filled with overwhelming heart heartache, wavering faith, and feelings of hopelessness. There comes a point where it all becomes too much, but it is there that you find miracles. The Chicago Coalition for Family Building is our miracle. By receiving this grant we were able to get our hope back. While we don't know how our story will end, we get to add another chapter.
Ashley and Jacob are recipients of a donated IVF cycle from the Advanced IVF Institute.