Ashley’s Journey to Parenthood
Ashley’s Journey to Parenthood
213Days to go
Ashley Errico is organizing this fundraiser.
My name is Ashley and I was one of those kids who excitedly replied “A MOM!” when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Little did I know then, my prince charming would be a bit delayed in his arrival. I found myself closing in on my 38th birthday with no knight in shining armor to be had, obsessively in love with my twin nephews, but still not a mother myself. The one thing I wanted in life, was slowly fading. It was then I decided to grieve the “happily ever after” I’d always imagined for myself and then, write a new ending. In July of 2022, I began the arduous task of becoming a Single Mother By Choice (SMBC).
I am now just over a year in with $65,000 invested and I can honestly say this has been the hardest thing I have ever attempted. After interviewing 3 separate fertility clinics, reading every book on Amazon having anything to do with becoming a SMBC, and being diagnosed with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR – meaning I had less eggs than most women my age), I took the first steps into the world of infertility treatments.
After going through the somewhat odd process of picking out donor sperm, I set about tackling “plan baby”.
In January 2023 I began my first InVitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle with the hope that only comes from the naive. After the 2 weeks of multiple self-injections a day and scans every other day, the doctors were only able to retrieve 6 eggs. 5 fertilized, 3 survived to day 6 and all had died by day 7, leaving none to freeze and test. That round of IVF cost about $35,000 once you add in the medications, anesthesia fee, donor vials, lab fees and blood tests – all with nothing to show for it. Needless to say, I was devastated and learning quickly that this process is much more difficult than I had originally thought.
After I grieved the 5 embryos, I did some research and found a teaching clinic that did fertility treatments for almost 1/2 the price and decided to try once again. I began this second round in March of 2023, this time with much more realistic expectations. Most people average 3-4 rounds of IVF before getting success. 75% of a woman’s eggs after the age 37 are no longer viable, meaning only about 25% of all eggs retrieved will test genetically “normal” and, once implanted, there is a 50% chance it will result in a live birth. I don’t think anyone realizes, until they go through it or know someone who does, how difficult this process is. I find the inability to celebrate the hardest part, because I feel like once you get past one hurdle there is always another right behind it. At no point can you just relax until you have a healthy baby in your arms.
The second round of IVF resulted in 3 eggs retrieved – only 1 fertilized. While these numbers were a depressing shock to the system, I learned a couple weeks later that this one egg survived and thrived long enough to be frozen and tested! I cried with joy upon receiving that call. After all, it only takes 1! (At this point I am quickly learning that having a 2nd biological child may be too much to ask and am trying to be ok with a singleton).
Sadly, several weeks after that, I learned the genetic test came back showing that my little warrior embryo was a girl and had multiple chromosomal abnormalities. I made the mistake of looking up what each of the abnormalities meant, my heart never dropped so far than when I read the words “Not compatible with life.” I was devastated and, even now, can feel my eyes beginning to well with tears as I type this.
I took a month off from the daily shots to try to de-stress a bit and enjoy the marriage of my wonderful baby sister in June. In July 2023 I did another retrieval. Im still trying to come to terms with the grief of another unsuccessful cycle. Yet again, 3 eggs were retrieved and only one egg was mature enough to be sent to testing and it felt like the wind was knocked out of me to find out that it was another abnormal egg with monosomy 4, meaning there is only one copy of chromosome 4. This was another girl. I’m really struggling this time with the devastation of this information. It’s hard not to start losing hope. My 39th birthday is next week and it’s very hard approaching this birthday without a great deal of sadness. I have one vial of donor sperm left. I plan to try this one more time before re-evaluating my options. But I can’t yet fathom a future where I am not able to give birth to a child of my own. Having learned what we have about how my body responded to certain medications these first 3 cycles we will adjust accordingly. While I will likely never have a large amount of eggs to retrieve, I do have hope of improving the quality of my eggs, knowing what we now know.
This brings us to present day – I have now spent about $65,000 to date and while I am fortunate to have a job that should be more than enough to support myself and a child, coming up with $65,000 at one time, and with no help from insurance, has been difficult. Which is where you come in.
For those who have and those still able to contribute, I thank you in advance and am forever in your debt! Having to ask for help is a very humbling experience and one I have fought with myself on whether or not to do, especially because to date I have not really advertised my struggle through this process. However, I am reminded of words from the smartest, most successful man I know, my Dad. He has told stubborn old me, more than once, “Everyone has to ask for help sometimes.” So, I’m asking. If you are able to help, all money would go towards this next retrieval, medications and genetic testing of any retrieved embryos. Of course, if you cannot spare anything financially, your collective cheerleading voice, happy fertility vibes and kind messages are immensely helpful as I go through this grueling process and in those moments when I find myself losing hope.
P.S. Please re-post and share 🙂
|Janet Carter||$100.00||October 04, 2023|
|Colbie Errico||$150.00||September 10, 2023|
|Kate Keane||$40.00||August 31, 2023|
|Sara Carr||$100.00||August 09, 2023|
|Anna Warren||$200.00||July 22, 2023|
|Anonymous||$100.00||July 20, 2023|
|Karen Gerken||$100.00||May 31, 2023|
|Steven Guy||$200.00||May 27, 2023|
|Shannon and John Errico||$100.00||May 25, 2023|
|Julia Kannapell||$200.00||May 23, 2023|
|Enrique Barroso||$25.00||May 23, 2023|
|Ann Tinker||$25.00||May 20, 2023|
|Audrie Walls||$30.00||May 20, 2023|
|Maida Libkin||$100.00||May 20, 2023|
|Janet Carter||$50.00||May 20, 2023|
|Ruth pearce||$50.00||May 20, 2023|
|Emily White||$50.00||May 20, 2023|
|Colbie Errico||$100.00||May 20, 2023|
|Julie Spears||$50.00||May 20, 2023|
|Vicki Hamilton||$500.00||May 20, 2023|
|Katie McCullough||$50.00||May 19, 2023|