Hello all! You’ve probably been wondering where on this green earth I’ve been for the past year! Well it’s been a year of ups and downs and a whole lot of big news! Nick and I have been busy growing the homestead!
And I don’t mean buying more land or expanding what we produce. Although we are in the works of more cut flowers!
A couple of years ago I wrote the blog post, Through the Eyes of Infertility, and let you take a little peek into the struggles we’ve experienced while trying to start our family. Since then, Nick and I have been fortunate to be introduced to the New Blossoms, New Life Foundation, which provide emotional and financial support to those struggling with infertility.
I’ve struggled with trying to figure out just how to tell our story to my readers, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the story I wrote when applying for a grant with New Blossoms, New Life Foundation, just might be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever written.
So, before I get to the ups and downs of the year, let me start with that story, to explain just how we ended up searching for the love and support of such an amazing foundation.
“We are the Samuels Family. Nick and Staci. Just us, if you don’t count our Golden Retrievers, Layla and Grace. But we do!
Our story starts in 2012. Just before we were married, we made the decision to go off of birth control and get ready to start our family. That’s always been the plan. About a year into trying to conceive, we decided to talk with my OB/GYN.
We spent that year being told that our stress was the reason that we hadn’t conceived, or the fact that my uterus was tilted. I was put on Clomid and told you’ll be pregnant in a month. Five months later, still no pregnancy.
I was told I should have an HSG. I consulted with the finance and nurses office three times about the necessity and cost of the procedure. At the time, our insurance covered NOTHING under infertility and our doctor seemed so sure that nothing was wrong.
We went through with the procedure and never received a call about our results, nor a return call when I called to meet with the doctor. A month later however, we received a bill that was five times higher than what we were quoted.
When I called the finance office about it, they told me that I “should have known that there would be more expenses” and hung up on me.
I was so defeated and scared that we would completely bury ourselves in debt and not even be able to afford a family, that we quit searching for answers. If it happens it happens. In the end, we’re good people and they said nothing was wrong. Our family will come.
After another two years of watching our friends and family members have children and a countless number of people asking us when we would start ours, we decided it was time to see a new doctor. We were referred to Dr. Collins, who finally seemed to listen to us.
He told us that more than half of the tests that we should’ve had done, weren’t done, to determine that we had “unexplained infertility.” We had another round of blood work and he wanted me to have an SIS. Then, he said, if all goes well we should be able to get started!
All did not go well. My family has a HUGE history of Ovarian, Breast, and Uterine Cancer. In the middle of the SIS I knew something was wrong by the look on everyone’s faces. They didn’t say anything to me until they were finished and at the end I was asked to meet Dr. Collins in another office.
I waited for a few minutes alone, knowing that the original plan wasn’t going to happen. When he came in he asked about my family’s history with the BRCA2 Genetic Mutation. Yep, we have that. He said that during the SIS they found a large mass, with “activity”, and that we were done with our fertility journey for now.
I was to be referred to Dr. Berger, an Oncologist, to determine whether or not I had Ovarian Cancer. After two long months of bloodwork and numerous internal sonograms it was finally determined that I had a blocked Fallopian Tube and was cleared to go back to Dr. Collins.
That’s OK, one tube, no problem. I have two of them! Dr. Collins explained that I needed to have a Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy to examine my Uterus, remove the damaged Fallopian Tube and possibly remove the second. But we still had IVF if they both needed to go.
To prepare, I called the insurance company to make sure the surgery was covered and to ask if there was anyway to have IVF covered, even if that meant buying more insurance or finding a new policy. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right??? I want to be prepared for the “what if” because that seems to be our pattern in this journey.
Great news! I was told that under certain conditions, if IVF is deemed medically necessary it will be covered!
Fast forward to our surgery day. I hazily remember waking up and hearing Dr. Collins consulting with my mom and Nick. “We had to take both tubes, as well as remove polyps from her uterus.” I remember starting to cry, but apologizing, because I knew it could happen and it’s silly because we still have IVF. But I was still left with that feeling that I’m not really, as much of a woman as everyone else. That thing that we’re all supposed to be able to do. I can’t. So, what am I?
At, my follow up appointment, we talked with Dr. Collins about what the next steps would be and we talked about the insurance. They submit a pre-authorization and within 24 hours we were given a denial.
I knew this would be a fight, and I was ready. I called the insurance company and filed an appeal. I had the date that I spoke to a representative and they found the records of the call. I was right, they did tell me that.
But, we had to wait. The appeal process would take 30 days. That seems to be the name of the game with infertility. Here’s a tiny answer, now let’s wait for some more. Here’s another one, but we’ll still have to wait a little bit longer, and so on and so on.
The insurance company eventually denied the appeal again with the response, “We apologize for the incorrect information you were given. We will not be covering your IVF but will use this experience to better educate our staff.”
We were crushed, and I’d like to say we’re so strong that we didn’t let it shake our marriage or our desire to have children, but that would be a lie.
Personally, I felt like I’d trapped my husband into a future that he never wanted. He didn’t deserve this, he deserved his plan and happy ending. This was his out. Because honestly, if by some miracle, we could find a way to do this, I didn’t know if I was strong enough to go through it. And a family is something that I didn’t think I could take away from him.
For about a month, we went back and forth about what life would be like, just the two of us. We could do it. People do it all the time and we love each other. Ultimately, I think we both came to the realization that, yes, we could do that.
But. I don’t think either one of us would be truly happy if we didn’t exhaust every option that we had. We would always have that “what if” in the back of our minds. We want this too much. We want to have the chance to know that feeling of loving someone else so much that we would go to the ends of the earth for them. We want to go to the ends of the earth for that someone that’s not even here yet, and still have hope that our journey hasn’t ended.
Nick and I are ordinary people. We work, we pay our bills, and we want a family. We bought a home in the country, in hopes that one day we would watch our kids play in the big back yard, teach them about sports and nature, and watch them help us gather eggs from our chickens and care for animals.
Nick is an electrician and I write a blog. Prior to that I was a Preschool Teacher and Daycare Provider, until it became too hard to bare.
I write every day for a living, but this is by far the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to write. How do you tell someone your story, that hurts so much to even think about, and at the same time ask them to help you achieve the one thing you want most in the world?
How do you end that story?
When I think about that, all I can think is that I’m not ready for it to end. We haven’t had our ending yet. And If I were to write the perfect ending, that we might tell our kids one day it would be this, “We DID travel to the ends of the earth to find you. When we got there, we found another family. Their name was the New Blossoms, New Life Foundation and they helped us to find you and bring you home.”
We would be honored, and it would mean the world to us, if you would let us join your family. Please help our story continue to its happy ending.
Nick & Staci Samuels”
In November of 2018, the New Blossoms family granted us that wish and welcomed us into their family! We are recipient couple number 83 and were gifted with a grant to cover IVF!
After putting in service hours and another Hysteroscopy, we were able to start our IVF journey in February. Our cycle ended with two beautiful embryos. We transferred one right away and unfortunately it did not take.
Our second was transferred in March. And we were blessed to find out that we were pregnant, only to be utterly heartbroken when we lost the pregnancy on Easter Sunday.
That was our last embryo. We took some time to process where to go next. Do we just except that we were meant to be childless? Do we except our friends help in throwing a fundraiser?
In the meantime we continued to attend monthly support group with New Blossoms and volunteer at all of their fundraisers. They were after all, our new family. A family full of people that could understand every ounce of pain we felt.
At Nick’s favorite event of the year, the annual golf outing (are you surprised?), our new family surprised us with “Maggie’s Second Chance Grant!”
Again, they had managed to completely change our lives! Just the support group, that made us feel some much less alone was more than we could ask for, but now they were again giving us the chance to grow our family.
We were able to start fairly quickly, but this round was much more challenging than the last. Our medications weren’t working the way they were expected to, a polyp was found and I needed another surgery.
FINALLY, on Thanksgiving Eve 2019, we were able to transfer one of the three embryos that we had in the freezer. I like to call them my popsicle babies!
On Christmas Eve, we heard our baby girl’s heartbeat for the first time and are happy to announce that today, I am 17 weeks and 4 days pregnant with our sweet baby girl due in August 2020!