Help us make baby Chesley!
Help us make baby Chesley!
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Sonia Iwanek-Chesley is organizing this fundraiser.
My name is Sonia and many of you who are on this page have been with me in one way or another during my battle with infertility. To be honest, I struggled to start this fundraiser because I still have so much fear, fear of so many unknowns, fear this won’t work, and fear of judgment. Much of my family doesn’t support me or us and while I respect and understand that not everyone agrees with the use of any type of reproductive assistance, for us, for me, the desire to grow our family is what makes this decision feel right. I want to let any of you know that if you have any questions about egg donors or infertility I would be happy to answer whatever I can. If you want to learn and aren’t sure what you believe, I will explain whatever I can with radical compassion. xoxo
And now, our story:
Derrick is a Senior Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force and has been in the military for 19 years (and counting!), and I’ve been a Professor of Political Science at Collin College for 13.5 years. Derrick and I met later in life, and it didn’t take us long to figure out we wanted a life together. Derrick has two amazing children from his first marriage, and at the time when we met, Delilah was three, and Diego was six. I made the conscious decision to be the best second Mum and Derrick and I made the conscious decision that we weren’t going to use words like “step” or “half” anything; we were just going to be “family.” We also knew that we wanted to grow our family. Unfortunately, time wasn’t on our side regarding my own age and fertility, so building our family was our first priority.
Many of you know that from 2016 to 2019, I had 17 root canals and eight dental extractions, reconstructive jaw surgery, braces, bone grafting, and a sinus lift (who even knew this was a thing!). For three years, the physical pain was so debilitating that I was put on Morphine and Vicodin to continue to (barely) function and work. Throughout that time Derrick went on additional orders in the military to help pay for the mountains of medical bills and he remained my unwavering caregiver. While there were days that felt almost impossible to get through, we held onto the fact that in the end, I would be better, and we could grow our family.
By January of 2019, I was finally in a good enough place so we could start trying to conceive. Neither of us thought that building our family would be difficult, especially since we had been through so much – we hoped that this would be the easy (and fun) part. After three months of trying to conceive without success, we went to a Fertility Specialist. It turned out that I was actually the issue. My HSG scan showed my uterus is tipped on its side, making natural conception unlikely. All I could think about was that my body failed us… again. I felt absolutely crushed, and I was angry at my body. We had several unsuccessful IUIS, with one resulting in a chemical pregnancy. We then had to cancel several cycles because Derrick was put on military orders, and I needed more surgeries. With every passing month, I felt myself wanting to be a Mum and at the same time further away from that possibility. Finally, in April of 2020, I was 41, and as we were about to start IVF, everything shut down because of COVID. After more grief, loss, and failed cycles, we thought 2021 would be our year. Well, 2021 initially wasn’t our year. My body didn’t respond to IVF, and after another canceled cycle, our RE said that we needed to find a different path as my eggs were not responding. After several long conversations, we decided that using an egg donor felt the most right for growing our family.
Before proceeding with financing options, we needed to talk to the kids. We wanted to be sure that they felt loved and that they understood what an egg donor is. I explained that sometimes people need other people’s blood, organs, and marrow, and for me, to have the family we still want, I will need to use another woman’s eggs. Picture this; we had this conversation on Thanksgiving and at the supper table! Diego asked about how they will get Dad’s sperm; Delilah asked if she could look at the donors – and then they both said that they would not change poopy diapers! We explained it all to them – every question was answered- it was awkward and amazing and nothing was off the Thanksgiving table 😉 We then looked through donors; it was honestly pretty perfect. 2021 started off as not our year, but I’m happy to report that it’s not ending that way. We just found out that we qualified for financing (a tricky thing to do because of my piles of medical bills), AND we found a donor all four of us agreed on.
Unfortunately, I will continue to need more dental work and surgeries, making the journey to fix my teeth fully and grow our family a challenging one (to say the least!). While Derrick is in the military, we do not qualify for any fertility health coverage, and my work also doesn’t cover any treatments on their health insurance plans.
For the last 2 years, I have applied for nearly every grant that I qualify for to help us with the cost. I have written so.many.essays. I was determined to do this myself because I thought this is the one thing I can do relatively well. Unfortunately, we were not selected for any of the grants. That’s a tough one because I know that the people who did get it deserve it, but it still hurt and sucks. So now, here I am in perhaps my most vulnerable space asking for help for the cost of the medication and the embryo transfer. For me, building this fundraiser has been the hardest thing – I’m not doing it for someone else – this is for me and that’s where I struggle. I want this, we want this and here we are at the home stretch of the possibility of bringing a baby into this world and our amazing family and we could really use the help.
I realize that not everyone will support our decision, that is more than okay. It doesn’t change our path moving forward. I also know that many are not in a position to donate, again, I get it, it is more than okay. If we are lucky enough (not sure if luck is the right word) to be able to bring a baby into this world, I am confident that we will show the world just how much love Derrick, Diego, Delilah, and I are capable of giving to any child and, more importantly, how we choose to love and define who we call family.
Be kind, be better, stay curious, listen more, be radical with your compassion and never stop learning
Much love to everyone
|Celia Hipsman||$50.00||March 17, 2022|
|Melissa Nath||$25.00||February 22, 2022|
|Kathleen Lynch||$50.00||February 17, 2022|
|Tiffany Fischer||$100.00||February 17, 2022|
|Jackie Banda||$50.00||February 17, 2022|
|Kathleen Woodhead||$100.00||February 17, 2022|
|Teri Cristelli||$50.00||February 17, 2022|
|Renee Soileau||$50.00||February 17, 2022|
|Rachal Fleury||$50.00||February 17, 2022|
|Alaya Swann||$25.00||February 17, 2022|
|Kelsey Ramirez||$30.00||February 17, 2022|
|Nichole Sacco||$25.00||February 17, 2022|
|Hattie Northrip||$25.00||February 16, 2022|
|Matthew Milan||$200.00||February 16, 2022|
|Loretta Iacoviello||$50.00||February 16, 2022|
|Maria Daniele||$50.00||February 16, 2022|
|Jessica Lund||$30.00||February 16, 2022|
|Samantha Good||$100.00||February 16, 2022|
|BreeAnna Duiker||$25.00||February 13, 2022|
|Martha Marigmen||$10.00||February 13, 2022|
|Aliza Ostrosky||$20.00||February 13, 2022|
|Lauren Saum||$50.00||February 07, 2022|
|Lesley Myrick||$1,000.00||February 07, 2022|
|Marisa Patos||$20.00||February 06, 2022|
|Karla Arce||$100.00||February 06, 2022|
|Emily Kveselis||$100.00||February 06, 2022|
|Jennifer Eagle||$100.00||February 06, 2022|
|Nicole Provornov||$54.00||February 05, 2022|
|Emily Hawarny||$50.00||February 04, 2022|
|Amy Helms||$50.00||February 04, 2022|
|Cherish Paska||$25.00||February 04, 2022|
|Anonymous||$30.00||February 04, 2022|
|Ashley Hingston||$20.00||February 04, 2022|
|Anonymous||$20.00||February 04, 2022|
|BreAnne Law||$50.00||February 04, 2022|
|Samantha Heafner||$50.00||February 04, 2022|
|Shelby Mitchell||$50.00||February 04, 2022|
|Seher Nasir||$20.00||February 04, 2022|
|Zahra Ahmed||$30.00||February 04, 2022|
|Amanda Sullivan||$50.00||February 04, 2022|
|Brooke Davis||$25.00||February 03, 2022|
|Lauren Redfern||$20.00||February 03, 2022|
|Allison Stoker||$20.00||February 03, 2022|
|Nicole Austin||$25.00||February 03, 2022|
|Martha Boyzo||$50.00||February 03, 2022|
|Payal Murhammer||$25.00||February 03, 2022|