Candace- I, well WE had so many misconceptions over the past decade of being married. For starters, I never thought I would have infertility. I thought like most, I would have a romance novel setting: sunset, with the wind blowing our chiseled bodies on the beach and Chris would look at me in his Fabio type gaze and say YOU. ME. BABY and BAM one romp in the sand with the water crashing upon us would create a beautiful baby 9 months later. But just like the reality of sand lovin’, it is one of those ideas that sounds great in your head, but turns out to be an epic fail when it actually happens. Don’t act like you don’t know what I am talking about, sand gets EVERYWHERE. Very chaffy, very uncomfortable, zero romance factor. Point is, we were broken. Our plumbing was broken.
Another misconception was that we would never, I mean NEVER let this skeleton out of the closet. We would incognito super spy sneak into our fertility clinic and “do this thing” if you will, and a petri dish and a catheter later we would be parents with the world none the wiser. Maybe it was the third failed IVF that brought us to the realization we needed to out ourselves, not sure. But we did it, we “outed” ourselves about our infertility and haven’t regretted it one bit.
The last major misconception was we would scrimp and save, use what very little (yet thankful for) insurance coverage I had and get through financial infertility unscathed. We would not DARE ask for money from others. We can do this we said. Pride can surely get in the way sometimes. Our sometimes ended up with a giant money pit (60k) known as 6 failed IVF’s and the unknown road of two paths: adoption or surrogacy. Either one was no longer the chump change (I laugh with snark) of an IVF, it was now double/triple the cost.
**SOAP BOX Digression**
Allow me to step on this box called “Why don’t you just adopt”. Despite popular belief it is not free. No, there is not some local orphanage filled with kids who just need a home. There is a waiting list, you can get on it and wait for 1-3 sometimes up to 5 years after you have paid the piper about 11-15k. You can bring home your baby after you have paid another 10-25k. This free adoption thing that people are confused about is Foster care. You know what… I’ll stop here, perhaps another blog. Adoption is beautiful. It will be how we add on to our family potentially. But it is not easy and it is not a free option. In the world we live in, the infertile world that is family building there is a price, sadly.
OK back to what I was saying. After we faced the reality that our baby fund was now filled with tumble weeds and cobwebs we knew that the only way we would make it happen is if we fundraised. It is when you are at your most desperate time, when you are the most vulnerable that you begin to reevaluate that sentiment, throw your hands in the air and say “fuck it”. So I punted my pride out the door and we got creative. It was time to fundraise.
CHRIS- And Chris gets the ball (it is playoff time folks!!!) … he’s at the 30 … he’s at the 20 … he crosses the goal line … no touchdown, we were still broke and babyless. BUT, we decided to reach out. And ultimately, that was a HUGE score for us. We have a daughter now after all. We reached out, but to who? We reached out to family (thank God for them), friends (thank God for them), and strangers (thank God for them too). Does it help to have a huge family? Sure. Does it help to have a gazillion Facebook friends? Sure. Is it necessary? No effing way! The amazing thing was that, so many people were interested in helping us. People we never met before, people that had no idea about our history, people that we would never see again. Sure we got plenty of No’s. We made little baby bottle fundraisers to put on the counter of stores. We got turned down by plenty of places. But, one place did just the opposite. Check out what Totoy’s did for us here . Sure, we ate there a few times and talked with them, but they didn’t have any real reason to show us the outpouring of love and compassion they did. They are just beautiful people.
We had garage sale fundraisers hosted by amazing framily (friends that are just as family as your family is). We had fundraising public events, sold stuff on Etsy and Craigslist, and of course, re-evaluated our spending to save everywhere we could. Cutting cable and gym memberships. My craft beer budget took a serious hit … sadness. One other thing we did (because we are the super trendy hipsters we think we are, maybe not), we participated in crowdfunding. It is growing in popularity and recently, as in this month, Cosmopolitan magazine did an article on it with a quote from my lovely wife. You can check that out here. Better yet, go out to the newsstand and buy the article. It is the 2015 February issue. Anyway, the article is centered on a couple that raised a significant amount of money for an IVF procedure using www.indiegogo.com. Really impressive what they did. Although our crowdfunding accolades are not as impressive, we were able to raise a few thousand dollars using www.gofundme.com and www.krowdkids.com, which is a crowdfunding site dedicated to family building efforts. It was really inspiring and motivation to receive, even one cent, from someone. It was as if they were saying, “I don’t know who you are, but I hope this donation will bring you happiness and donating to you is bringing me happiness.” That is what you call a win-win folks.
That is not to say there will not be some pushback. Folks outside of the IF world will not understand why we have our grubby, selfish hands out asking for money to have a child. “Here you want money, take my snotty, whiny child!” Of course they would never give you there child and you probably just caught them in an off moment, but the misconception is there. Oh, this fundraising thing is something that they are doing because they were not responsible, don’t really want a family or are not working the right way to get one, or maybe they just aren’t meant to have a family. And when you make the bold, courageous move to ask for help, you will get this too. After the years of tears and trying though, Candace and I would simply thank the person for their time, and walk away. What else can you do? There is no convincing them that the technologies required to cryogenically preserve a fertilized embryo, maybe your last one, actually cost money to keep functional. You can’t tell them that most insurance companies don’t cover the high costs of fertility meds, which are that way because it is a niche market … although statistics suggest that this may, sadly, be spilling over into a more mainstream arena.
Ready for another football metaphor? I knew you would be. Picture it like this, you are the wildcard team. You have been bruised and battered and had to prove your way through brutal playoffs on the road to make it to the big game. It is the 4th quarter with seconds left. Your team is down 4 points. You have the ball on your opponent’s 15 yard line and it is 4th down. What do you do? Kneel and say to hell with it, “We weren’t supposed to win anyway!” Or do you take the snap and see just how much mettle you can put into one last attempt to be the Cinderella story of this season?