Luis and I have been married 3 months shy of 15 years. We met in 2003 and started dating in 2005. We quickly knew we were in love and moved from Odessa, TX to Dallas/Fort Worth together for his job. He proposed on Christmas Eve of 2006 and we were married in July of 2008. We started trying for a child in 2009 and got pregnant right away.
We lost our first pregnancy at 14 weeks and three miscarriages followed.
In 2012, on my birthday I found out I had my first ectopic pregnancy. We consulted my OB/GYN and after genetic testing and a dye test for my fallopian tubes, were told that we were healthy and to keep trying.
We continued to try naturally with no success, and in 2014 we had our 2nd ectopic pregnancy. This one wasn’t like the first. My tube ruptured and after an emergency surgery – and almost losing my life – I also lost one of my tubes. The other tube was so damaged that our doctor told us we would not be able to conceive a child naturally, and IVF would be the only safe option going forward. In shock, we both knew that we just could not afford IVF, so we never pursued it.
After 5 long years, we both came to terms that children were not going to be in our future. Luis and I have been listeners of The Kidd Kraddick Show since 2005 and I’ve always been a huge fan of Kellie Rasberry. I’ve followed her for so many years. I remember listening when she announced her pregnancy and when her daughter, Emma Kelly, was born.
When she and Allen started the podcast, A Sandwich and Some Lovin’, it was a no-brainer to follow their social media. I remember sitting at home alone on the couch one day scrolling through Facebook and seeing the post for the contest. I clicked on the link and read the rules. I was shocked that we would even qualify to enter. I remember thinking that I would just type my story out and submit it because there’s no way I would win anyway – so why not, right? So I clicked submit and didn’t think too much about it. I never even told Luis I entered.
Getting that call and learning that we won was absolutely the very best day of our lives up to that point. I honestly don’t know what was more exciting, actually having the opportunity to speak to Kellie and Allen or hearing them tell us we were chosen. I remember crying the day Kellie announced she was pregnant with Emma Kelly, and in the moment of hearing her tell us we would have a chance to try to build our family, that was so incredibly special to our hearts and souls. I’ve never been so surprised by anything in my life.
It was pretty fun trying to explain to Luis what was happening in that moment, when he had no idea what was going on. He was absolutely stunned. He couldn’t find words. Lots of tears were shed that night and the days that followed… Tears of restored hope and joy!
You know, the day after we won the contest in 2019, we discussed the future. It was then that we both felt that one day, when the time was right and we were financially able, we would give hope to another couple who would need it. The gift of hope is something we spent years not knowing could exist. When we experienced it, our hearts were overflowing and we knew without a doubt that we wanted to share that with others if we could.
When we found out that the Maybe Baby giveaway was happening again, I reached out to Kellie and Allen and asked if we could sponsor a second winner. I think they were shocked that we wanted to do it, but told me to talk with Dr. Kathy. The next morning I called her and we chatted about giving the gift of hope to another family. She was so excited that we wanted to do it. I remember her just saying “YES!” Without hesitation, she was willing to let us do it.
I think sometimes people like us want to do something to help others, but they just don’t know how to go about it. The funny thing is that we didn’t know either. We were given a platform to do it and we know just how lucky we are. CARE Fertility and The Doodys have been family to us. We wouldn’t have our two beautiful babies and a chance to keep growing our family if it weren’t for them. How could we not help carry the torch and further the mission they’ve started?
So, deciding to "pay it forward" in this way was a no-brainer. It was our calling. Luis and I felt like it was exactly what we were put in this position to do.
Like any couple going through IVF, we were still nervous as we began the process. We both worried that somehow we would go in for the preliminary testing and not be able to move forward in the process. You don’t know what you don’t know, and it was definitely uncharted territory for us.
Dr. Kathy found that I had endometriosis and a cyst on my ovary. She’s the very first doctor that ever mentioned those things. Luckily they didn’t interfere with the process, but it was knowledge that I didn’t have before that could have been important and helpful to know earlier in our journey.
The entire effortless IVF process was surprising to me. Just the thought of being able to incubate and carry the eggs and sperm around in the INVOCELL device was so exciting. I had never heard of effortless IVF, and I was so happy that an option like that existed for us.
I was able to meet Amee, the winner we sponsored, last month. She and Brandon moved from Houston to New Mexico and she stopped in Abilene on her way to their new home. We were able to spend the afternoon together, chatting and letting our dogs play together. It felt like we’ve known each other forever. Infertility is unique in that way. For the women who go through it, we have an instant bond.
Amee was glowing and is going to be such an amazing mom. She and Brandon plan to come back and stay with us soon. We can’t wait to meet Brandon and Baby France. We’ve agreed that the plan is to stay in each others’ lives one way or the other, forever!
This whole experience has been proof that hope should never be lost. A miracle and a blessing can be just a moment away. You never truly know! God’s plan for us was so much better than the plan we had for ourselves. Never in a million years would I have guessed that not only would I finally get to be a mom to two miracle rainbow babies, but that we would be helping others on that same journey. It’s been such a beautiful blessing.
Infertility was a wild storm in our lives. One we never saw coming. Storms pass. They don’t last forever and sometimes they leave behind something beautiful. The rain helps the flowers bloom and the harsh winds strengthen the trees. That’s what infertility and winning the contest have done for our lives. It’s shown us that we can bend but we didn’t break!
It’s shown us that sometimes we don’t go through hard things for ourselves but to pave a way for others and to be an inspiration of what can be. It’s a promise fulfilled.
If I could go back in time and do anything differently, I would have seen a fertility specialist earlier. I would have given myself the peace of knowing we had options and the reassurance that hope wasn’t gone. It’s something Luis and I could have benefited from 5 years sooner in our journey.
The support I needed during the process was lots of prayer and encouragement from friends and family. Hearing success stories was beneficial. It kept our eyes on the positive side and helped us focus on the chances of success vs the possibility of failure. I made playlists of music that helped us get through and played as much worship music as I could. After all, it was ultimately in His hands.
Thankfully we’ve built a family even if it wasn’t exactly how we thought it would go. It’s changed our outlook on life in general. Every single person walking on this earth is a living breathing miracle. No one is here by mistake. It’s something I think we could have taken for granted if getting to where we are now wasn’t as challenging as it was. Our children, especially Asher will grow up knowing their story and just how loved and wanted they are. They will always know how and why they are here and how many people it took to get them here. Fertility and supporting others in their journey will always have a special place in our family.
You are not alone. There’s a false sense of shame that tends to accompany this journey. Infertility can feel so isolating but there is a community of people who want to help you and support you. There are also amazing doctors like the Doodys who want to help you build a family and will try everything they can to help you realize that it can happen. Don’t lose hope! Take a break in the journey if you need to and protect your mental health but do not give up!
I never realized how many other people struggled with the pain and heartbreak I was going through. Being able to connect with other patients and Maybe Baby winners has been such an incredible part of our story. We’ve built a circle of friends through infertility and we’ve been able to support each other through all the highs and lows, including celebrating each other’s pregnancies and births. We are just so thankful to Kellie and Allen as well as CARE Fertility and the Doodys for making such a difference in our lives.