WHEN GOD PUSHES YOU TO THE EDGE OF DIFFICULTY, TRUST HIM FULLY, BECAUSE ONE OF TWO THINGS WILL HAPPEN…. EITHER HE WILL CATCH YOU WHEN YOU FALL, OR HE WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO FLY.
In 2009, Brandon and I were married and immediately began trying to start a family. After eight unsuccessful months, we sought medical help… The ensuing three years would be filled with navigating testing and treatment options in the world of infertility. We suffered through four intrauterine inseminations as well as three In Vetro Fertilization (IVF) procedures, with no success. Since we had no insurance coverage for infertility, the burden of having a biological child of our own fell on our shoulders. Although we were finally able to find success with the birth of our twins in June 2013 from IVF procedure #4, it did not come without a price tag, heartache, physical and emotion stress, and so many prayers.
Six hundred and three. No, that is not the cups of coffee I consume each year (though close) or the items on my poor husband’s “honey do” list. It’s the number of injections to my stomach and hips that stood in the way of me becoming what I always wanted to be—a mother.
Had I known it would “happen” after all of it? The pain and emotional turmoil wouldn’t have been so bad, of course. However, nearly 500 needles pierced my skin before I ever even received a positive pregnancy test.
In the very beginning of our infertility struggle, I was an open book. I told anyone and everyone what we were going through. Why? I guess because I was naive enough to think that it would be a short struggle. We would have our perfect little family on the first try. In the years that followed, I began building walls and shutting people out from what was going on. It wasn’t that I didn’t want people to know, it just became debilitating every time I “failed” to face the questions. Plus, it didn’t help that I didn’t really have any answers.
With each passing “sorry it didn’t work” phone call I received, the feelings of embarrassment and disappointment mounted. I mean, women have babies, that’s what they DO! I buried my feelings of resentment toward my body and wondered what I had done so wrong that I was being subjected to walking this path. I cursed under my breath when people gave me their words of wisdom. “If it’s meant to be, it will” or “just relax” or “my sister’s best friend’s cousin’s wife gave up trying and got pregnant naturally.” My all-time favorite was “Everything happens for a reason.” I knew they meant well, but what I really wanted to do was scream obscenities at them at the top of my lungs.
Eventually there were VERY few people who knew what we were going through, and even fewer who REALLY knew. Truth be told, it became the best and the worst time for our marriage. I ruined the “honeymoon” phase of our marriage because I became so hyper focused on becoming a mom. I literally couldn’t turn it off. My husband bore the brunt of my crazy, medicated mood swings and rarely flinched (can you say Clomid?!?!)! Once I knocked an entire box of Cheerios from his hands because he simply said he didn’t want me to make pizza for dinner. They went everywhere! I walked out and left him to clean it up, which he did. But, year after year, cycle after cycle, heartache after heartbreak, he stood by me, and we pushed forward. I realize now the pricelessness of foundation it gave us.
In June of 2013, our prayers were answered, and our blessings came in the form of our boy/girl twins Braxton and Bexleigh! We have since dedicated ourselves to raising money and awareness for a disease that many keep hidden from the world. While I hated every injection I took, I’m also truly grateful for each and every one. Not just because it gave me what I always wanted in motherhood, but something else I didn’t even know I was looking for—a purpose.
That purpose is the Starfish Infertility Foundation my husband and I founded in 2015. Since our insurance did not offer any sort of provision for infertility, the burden of having a child of our own fell on our shoulders, as it does for so many. They told us that pregnancy was an “elective” procedure, not treating something life-threatening and therefore not covered. We spent well over $100,000 creating our family. An amount we know most people would not be able to afford. We have been extremely open regarding our struggles and many have contacted us with their infertility stories and need for additional funds not covered by their insurance company.
Starfish Infertility Foundation is a nonprofit group committed to providing financial support for those struggling with infertility in the United States. There are so many couples that long to be parents and the financial aspect of infertility is standing in their way. Starfish awards grants to couples that do not have an infertility provision through their insurance, nor the financial resources to pay for infertility treatments, and the opportunity to fulfill their dream of a family.
Starfish Infertility Foundation has established two grants, the Bexleigh Grant and the Braxton Grant, each named for our two amazing IVF miracles. The Bexleigh grant is awarded to couples living in and around (within 50 miles of) Nashville who are uninsured for fertility treatments and without the financial resources to personally fund treatments. The Braxton Grant is awarded to couples living in the United States who are uninsured for fertility treatments and without the financial resources to personally fund treatments. Both grants can be used toward fertility treatment at any fertility clinic that is a member of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).
Along with the grants we provide resources and support, we are happy to be an open ear or that shoulder you may need to help you get through the day.
Kara and the Starfish Fertility Foundation can be found online at:
Facebook - starfishinfertilityfoundation
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Their website - www.starfishinfertilityfoundation.org
YouTube - https://youtu.be/09NOIn3rCVM