Thursday, September 1, 2011

it changes everything...

Most Americans, myself usually included, hold pretty fast to the belief that money equals a certain degree of security. Gainfully employed since the age of about eleven, I've always been a saver: every dollar tucked away giving me a little leg up against the "what ifs" my mind constantly conjures up. If you'd told me a few years ago that I would willingly gamble away every dollar to my name (and a few I borrowed) on something that is almost certain to fail, I would have laughed in your face.

Infertility changes everything.

Today Camille is hosting a BlogShare contest. The topic is: Things I Never Thought I Would Do/Say and Why I Changed My Mind. You may as well subtitle this blog, my contribution, as "Part 27384 of Erika's Never-ending Whine-fest about her Empty Womb."

I'm not a big spender. It's just not me. We drive non-fancy used cars that we pay cash for. We live in a house we can afford (imagine that!). I coupon and bargain-hunt and yard-sale for things we need. We completed Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University before we got married, and I'd like to think we've done Dave right. We don't make a lot of money, but I'm pretty proud with how responsible we've been with what we've got.

With a track record like that, we probably don't look like the kind of people who go drop $15k on a shot in the dark. But that's where we are. Other than a miracle (which we would prefer, by the way, God), IVF is our only option left for obtaining a biological child. And IVF, even in the best of circumstances, is not exactly known as a sure bet.

Like I said earlier: if you'd told Old Me that this would be an option I would be seriously considering, I'd have laughed in your face. First of all, I would have thought, there's no way we'd have that much trouble getting pregnant. IVF is for people who are just really impatient or lazy or dumb or rich or something. There's no way I would ever be thinking about it. Because even if we did for some weird reason find ourselves unable to have children...we would just adopt. Obviously. It's just as expensive, but at least you know you'll get something for your money. Right?

Old Me was pretty judgmental, I guess. Obviously Old Me had never actually experienced the heartache of infertility and the physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, any-other-ical-you-can-think-of desire to have children that Real Life Me has felt. Obviously Old Me didn't know that adoption isn't "just adoption." It's a separate-but-equal endeavor...not just an easy backup option for getting a kid into your house.

Old Me was never posed this question, the hardest question I've ever had to honestly answer: Do you want a child or do you want to be pregnant? And had to answer that question with a tearful and heart-wrenching cry of I want to be pregnant. I have to know I tried everything possible. Only then will I be able to grieve and move on towards filling my desire for a child through other means. Only then.

So that puts us where we are now: staring down that IVF bill, facing the reality that to do it will mean parting with almost every penny to our name. Sure, we could wait a few more years til we have more money in the bank. But in the world of infertility, time isn't on your side. Our chances are a lot better on this side of thirty. The longer we wait, the greater the chance of failure. So we've got to do it with what we've got now. The emergency fund, the vacation fund, the car fund. All of them. On a gamble. Our one shot at a child. If it works, then we win. We pray we don't lose our jobs or need a new car or a new pair of shoes, but we will be thrilled beyond belief, thankful for our miracle. If it doesn't work, then we're not much worse off than we are now, just a lot poorer. We're still childless. We're still broken-hearted. But probably our hearts will heal, and knowing that we tried everything, maybe we will be able to move on.

I never thought I would be so irresponsible as to want to throw my money away at a dream. I changed my mind because infertility left me with no other options.


  1. As a Dave Ramsey grad myself, I think the weight of your decision hits home even more as I read the struggle and yet, tenderness, in your thoughts.

    As I think about the "constant-ness" of see-saw emotions and the lack of immediate answers, I am reminded of a scripture that was shared with me when my son died at 6 days old..."Hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Prov. 13:12). Yes, I said to the bearer of that scripture, my heart is sick. But I still have hope. Hope keeps me going.

    I can hear the hope in your voice, and for that, I am richer for having been able to enter into your world. Thank you for sharing this so candidly -

    Camille Rodriquez

  2. You're not irresponsible. It's not just a dream you are hoping for, it's a life. And I would say a life, which is eternal, is worth throwing your temporal money at.

    I love you and I'm proud of you for making this decision. I know it is the kind of decision that can bring many critics, but I'm proud of you. Because I knew what it took to get there.

  3. Wait... so do you meant to tell me that you're having trouble getting pregnant? And that you are not rolling in the dough? How did I not know this already?!

    Love you, friend :)

  4. Love this. Thank you for your honesty- you know how I love honesty! ha! As someone who sounds a lot like you in the financial mindset-arena (including the working since you were barely out of the womb), I can only imagine how gut-wrenching such a decision is. It's funny (ok not really funny but you know what I mean) how quickly things can venture so far from what you "always envisioned" for your life. I'm learning that more and more as years go by, and I s'pose I'm trying to embrace the journey ahead, different as it may be. Harder than it sounds, I know. Proud of you!

  5. The dreams we have at night are what power us through the day. Wonderful post.

  6. Fellow Dave Ramsey-er here! It is amazing to me how alike our journeys have been, even though we lost touch for quite some time. I do not regret a penny that we spent to try to create our family, even on the cycles that didn't work. I can't think of a better way to spend temporary money than to create eternal life for your familly (no matter what means you choose, IVF or otherwise.) We will continue praying for you and Matt as you walk this road. ((HUGS))

  7. Great post! Did the doctors give you a good reason why you can't conceive a child? What was the reason? I have a co-worker who's going thru the same thing and I was hoping to give her some insight on the problem.

  8. I thought this was a beautiful post. You write so well. And I echo Kristina's thought. There's no better investment I can think of than a new life. You have seen God provide before and He will continue to provide for each need as it comes.

  9. I really and truly hope and pray that your "gamble" pays off. Because if you are so brave as to pull the handle on that slot machine and the faces come up BABY BABY BABY, it will be better than any new car, any new pair of shoes, any emergency fund you could have ever hoped for. And you deserve a positive pregnancy test, and the right to complain about your swollen ankles and morning sickness, and the sleepless nights and the diapers and the endless hours of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I genuinely look forward to being able to follow you as you make your way through a healthy pregnancy and become a mother. I do not know for sure, but I like to think that God puts a little more weight on prayers from mothers in the name of other mothers and hopefully-to-be-mothers. And you'll be getting plenty sent up from me.

  10. I am proud of your decision. I am pretty frugal too and I understand how the money issue must be hard. This is not a waste of money, you need to do this for yourself. If you don't, you will always wonder...what if? If you get pregnant, it will be the best 15k ever spent. If you don't, at least you will know you tried. Spend the money and don't think about it again. This is what you saved for. You can start saving again.

  11. This makes me so excited for you! I'll definitely be sending up prayers your way for that $15K to result in a baby of your very own!

    And as for the money... I'm just like you, I tend to plan too much and freak out too much about said plans..and then freak out even more about the money associated with said plans...But it's just money, and you can't take it with you..

    Good luck! :)

  12. I feel for you. As my dr. said to me once, you never know HOW God is going to bring about a baby, but to be open to the alternative options (like IUI, IVF) because He might choose to work that way. I'll be praying that you both will have His peace if this is the right time and will hope and pray with you that it works beautifully. If this is His means, then He will provide. Had you considered asking family for donations to the procedure? My aunt suggested that for us if we go down that road. Keep leaning into Him.


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