Couple struggling with unexplained infertility hopes IVF grant is the chance they need to build a family
Broussard couple chosen to receive the Gift of Hope IVF Grant 2022.
“If I could order them like hamburgers, we would have ordered a dozen.”
These are the famous words Brooke heard her father say her whole life. Brooke grew up as an only child for 14 years. When the inevitable question of when her parents would have more children was asked, her father would always deliver this line with a smile on his face.
At the time, Brooke didn’t fully understand how painful this question must have been for her parents. Her mother was a very private person and has never revealed to Brooke all they went through trying to get pregnant after her, but she feels the connection with her now on the burden that infertility can take on your life.
At the age of 14, Brooke’s parents did get the chance to tell her she would be a big sister when her mother delivered a healthy baby girl at 41 years old. Infertility was all around Brooke growing up, but she never realized it until after getting married and struggling with infertility herself. “God’s timing is definitely not what we expect sometimes,” says Brooke, “but my sister has been the greatest blessing for our family.”
Dreams of a family unrealized
Now, like her parents before her, Brooke, 32, and her husband Michael have been trying to get pregnant with no success. As a nurse and football coach, respectively, they both shared big dreams. Not of fame and fortune, but of the children they would have. As she stood on the altar with Michael at their wedding five years ago, Brooke imagined the life they would have. A plump baby boy with Michael’s eyes and her mouth. A beautiful baby girl with her quiet demeanor but with Michael’s confidence. Brooke would be strict but loving, Michael would be a fun and boisterous father. They would teach their children to love God and family and treat others with respect and kindness.
As a football coach, Michael has plenty of experience teaching young guys how to become men making good life choices. Relating drills to real life situations is part of coaching. But for those situations out of your control, that’s a different story. “It crushes me when I see Brooke in these difficult moments knowing there is nothing I can do about it,” says Michael. Men are supposed to figure it out and take care of it, he feels, but mostly he’s felt helpless throughout their journey to build a family. “My wife has sacrificed so much for me, and I just once would love to give to her what she desires most in life and that is a family of her own.”
Unexplained infertility can be a frustrating diagnosis
Instead of being able to love and teach their children, Brooke and Michael have spent years trying to conceive on their own and then through different fertility treatments. After seeing a fertility specialist and running tests, the couple was told they “looked great on paper” and he diagnosed them with unexplained infertility. Although they were grateful to be both seemingly healthy, they were frustrated by the lack of answers. As a nurse and healthcare worker, Brooke struggled with the inability to “fix” what was possibly wrong with her or Michael.
An unexplained diagnosis occurs in 15-20% percent of couples after the work-up and evaluation are completed. Unexplained infertility simply means that we do not know why the couple is not fertile. People with unexplained infertility do have a cause for their infertility, but due to limitations of our current testing, we cannot determine the reason.
At the advice of their doctor, Brooke and Michael underwent three rounds of intrauterine insemination, all of which were unsuccessful. “Emotionally, those three rounds of IUI were extremely difficult for me,” says Brooke. “I was heartbroken with each negative pregnancy test.”
“Just a chance is what we need.”
Over the past year, Brooke and Michael had decided to give treatment a break and focus on Michael’s dream of becoming a college football coach after he accepted a volunteer coaching opportunity at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. Living solely off of Brooke’s nursing income, they couldn’t afford more fertility treatment, so they’ve put their parenting dreams on hold for now.
A co-worker mentioned the Gift of Hope IVF Grant 2022 to Brooke and the couple decided to apply. “I’m trusting God will send us an answer,” says Michael. “Maybe it will be through us conceiving naturally or perhaps through this grant and medical science that brilliant doctors have been blessed to have learned.”
As for Brooke, she fully understands all too well the pain and desperation that she’s sure every woman applying for this grant has. “This grant would be a huge blessing for us. Just like my father, I say with a smile on my face we would order a dozen, but only one chance is what we need.”