Julie & Jeannie’s IVF Journey
Julie & Jeannie’s IVF Journey
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Julie Maggio is organizing this fundraiser.
This is a fundraiser for Julie Maggio & Jeannie Bringas-Maggio. We are attaching a copy of a letter we wrote to apply for fertility grants, however once we found out that there was assistance out there, we realized we were too late for our upcoming transfer. If you read below, you will see our story and what we have gone through in the past 1.5 years of fertility treatments. It’s very vulnerable, and hard to put into words.
It is VERY hard for us to ask for help, but we have found ourselves at a crossroads. Thank you for considering donating to our cause to start a family, and thank you for letting us share our journey with you.
My name is Julie Maggio and I am writing on behalf of my wife, Jeannie Bringas-Maggio and myself.
I’ve never applied for a grant before, I am fairly uncomfortable with asking for help. I am extremely driven and goal oriented and show up for everyone around me happy to donate to everyone else’s cause, but I’m finding it impossible to ask for help for our own. Jeannie and I have found ourselves deep into the fertility journey with no avail and no more resources. Our story is not outwardly unique, in fact I expect your eyes to glaze over in a few paragraphs because, unfortunately, I’m sure our story is commonplace for a fertility journey.
Nothing since we have gotten together has been predictable or easy, but we are persistent.
We have, arguably, some pretty crappy luck. When COVID struck, I had to close my small business with no government assistance for five long months. As you can imagine, this was financially crippling. Despite flying through savings that took years to build, we made it a priority to still go through fertility treatments.
Our COVID wedding was “ruined” by an unruly guest who monopolized the entire evening which crescendoed when he broke another guests arm. We thought “alright well at least we will have some great pictures and we can crop this maniac out of the wedding video, right? We can focus on the good parts”. Well, plot twist, our videographer lost our wedding footage. Awful doesn’t begin to explain the mishaps during our wedding, but there was a glimmer of hope. Between the generosity of gifts from our family and the refund from our videographer, we had $6,000… just enough to purchase the donor sperm necessary to begin our journey to becoming moms.
I was first up! I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember and I was convinced I would be pregnant by Christmas. My wife knew that she didn’t want to carry and was thrilled that she could become a mom with someone she loved carrying our child. I cried tears of joy during IUI #1 thinking that there was a possibility I could actually be a mom. A true “pinch me” moment. Little did we know this would be the first of many waterworks moments and the rest wouldn’t be happy tears. My period came before the TWW was up and I was sad, but hopeful and ready for the next round. We made some tweaks and into the next IUI! IUI #2 failed and I found out I wasn’t pregnant the exact day my best friend found out she was. Ultimately I decided that the stress of fertility treatments while trying to recover my business from COVID was too much for my mental health.
An angel stepped in… my wife. Although I am biased, I have never met such a selfless kind person as Jeannie. Everyone who knows her quite literally calls her a saint. Here she was ready to jump in and subject her body to something she thought she never would have to do.
We prepped Jeannie for her first IUI and discovered instead that she had brain tumors. Brain tumors?! Well, yes, but thankfully they are pituitary tumors. Okay, phew, she’s not going to die or forget everyone she loves names, but here’s another wrench in the plans… her body already thinks she’s pregnant. Her prolactin levels were that of a pregnant woman and we had to work to get her levels down with an aggressive medication with severe side effects for months. Another setback.
Finally we were able to get her levels under control and prepare her for an egg retrieval. Jeannie had glowing results and we were told that all of the blastocysts we had were tested and all genetically normal. What?! Normal?! They said maybe one or two would be normal, but seven?! How lucky were we, finally things were falling into place for us and we would once again be moms by Christmas! Cue the premature infant clothing hoarding on my part. Oops.
We prepped Jeannie for 8 long weeks for her first frozen embryo transfer. Looking back now, I wish being nervous about inserting long needles into my wife’s butt was my biggest concern. Unfortunately we don’t even bat at eye at the PIO shots now. We chose to transfer two embryos because, duh, two babies would be so much better than one and we had waited all this time. We blatantly ignored not using at home tests during our TWW and watched in awe as two pink lines showed up! Jeannie was pregnant! Oh my God! Twins! We have to get two of everything, how will we tell everyone? Should we use the names we picked that both begin with the same letters or pick our more edgier options? Will they both be in the same grade school classes or should we separate them to give them their own identity? There was so much planning and we had our entire lives squared away within three minutes in our guest bathroom.
Based on every fertility experts advice (aka scouring every forum on the Internet and letting strangers get into our heads) we kept testing. There’s those two pink lines again, but wait they’re a bit lighter than yesterday. Hmmm, could be a fluke better try again. And again, oh and don’t forget to seek the approval of thousands of other desperate deranged women in our situation online. Unfortunately after a few days the lines were getting lighter, not darker. We began to worry. We thought “well, no big deal, maybe we won’t have to worry about twins, maybe it’s better that we have one child at a time to ease into it, it’s ok though because we’re still clearly pregnant, probably just only one baby.”
When the results of our hcg bloodtest came back it showed that Jeannie was, in fact, pregnant but that the levels were very low. She had to continue to blood test every other day until her levels went down, or rose. Well, they rose, steady enough but not enough for a viable pregnancy. Jeannie miscarried one of our babies naturally in our toilet. The other was ectopic. This was an extremely dark time and incomprehensibly traumatizing for my wife.
It took three months and a lot of chemotherapy shots for Jeannie’s body to finally recognize that it was no longer pregnant.
While this was, without a doubt, the hardest thing we have faced as a couple we decided to ultimately move forward with another transfer. Two different doctors told us that it must have been a fluke because there’s a 1% chance that our situation would have happened. We’re not strangers to bad luck, so we foraged ahead. Surely this was a one-off.
Although we had been over year into this journey it was becoming increasingly clear how much of our life revolved around these treatments, or halted entirely. There were no vacations due to “what-ifs”. No days off on my end because I was working 13 hour days 6 days a week to pay for the treatments. We gave Jeannie shots at multiple weddings, dinners, gas stations, grocery stores. It had totally consumed us. After the double miscarriage there was no more excitement about the prospect of becoming a mom, it had become grim and mundane.
Prepping Jeannie for her second frozen embryo transfer was simple, we were used to the protocol and all that it entailed. We were two weeks out from our transfer when we got a call that Jeannie’s dad was in the ICU with septic shock. Her dad was fairly healthy with no issues and suddenly he was given days to live in another state. Jeannie rushed down to Florida hoping that this was a serious but quickly resolved issue and she could get back in time for her transfer.
I’ll never forget the call just seven days later while I was doing bridal makeup where Jeannie said her dad went into cardiac arrest and died. She never got to see him or say goodbye because he was so sick when she got there. It will forever be ingrained in my head and at that moment I knew we were in for a long road of grief and recovery and our fertility journey would need to take a back seat again.
Despite the trauma Jeannie had just gone though she decided she wanted to see if this round could be salvaged. Our doctor agreed and we did another transfer, this time with one embryo. Jeannie kept pleading with God and praying that this was our turn. She kept saying that there’s no way that she could have had that miscarriage AND her dads death and still fail this round and not get pregnant. It would just be too demented and too much for someone to go through at once.
Well, we didn’t get pregnant. Instead we got COVID. Being alone and isolated with our thoughts for two weeks on basically our deathbeds was the nail in the coffin for us.
During our time with COVID, we had so much time to reflect on everything this journey has brought us. We felt thankful that we were able to make it this far when fertility treatments are so inaccessible to so many. We are thankful for emotional support from people who love us, and mostly we are thankful for how close this has made us. We have no doubt in our minds that this experience has made us better future moms than we ever would have been.
Unfortunately we are at a crossroads where everything here on out is “self pay”. I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars and we are facing very high bills for medicines and to even try another transfer after Jeannie does extensive testing. It’s not feasible for us financially and we don’t have an end in sight. This has brought us to applying for any grants that we can to help us to become a family. We have a long journey ahead and it doesn’t stop with one pregnancy, if we want to have more children we will be in a position where we have to pay exorbitant bills for the chance to try again. While that seems years away and gives us the ability to plan ahead and save for siblings, we don’t have a cushion anymore for our first child as we didn’t expect to go through everything we have gone through trying to get pregnant. Any and all assistance would be absolutely life changing for us.
I cannot imagine the amount of heart-breaking letters you read on a daily basis. I don’t envy the job of getting to pick through thousands of peoples intimate lives to decide who you can help achieve their dreams of starting a family or becoming parents. I am certain that our story is similar to others, and I assume there are couples who have been through much, much worse. I felt I owed it to my wife to attempt to receive assistance because I promised her I will do anything I can to make us mothers. I hope that this is our Hail Mary.
|Jeff Hall||$500.00||December 13, 2021|
|Kristy McGrath||$50.00||December 12, 2021|
|Cailin Gibbons||$50.00||December 08, 2021|
|Jennifer Cleary||$30.00||December 07, 2021|
|Klisiewicz Meaghan||$150.00||December 06, 2021|
|Haley Payne||$100.00||December 05, 2021|
|Julia Tirone||$25.00||December 05, 2021|
|Jessica Bugay||$30.00||December 05, 2021|
|Rachel Sparn||$30.00||December 05, 2021|
|Averi Wachowiak||$100.00||December 05, 2021|
|Marisa Borrello||$50.00||December 05, 2021|
|Emily Boccio||$75.00||December 05, 2021|
|Molly Fox||$250.00||December 05, 2021|
|Evan Nicholson||$25.00||December 05, 2021|
|Kim Styliades||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Ashley Mcquade||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Courtney Rash||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Cassie Borden||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Brittany Perla||$30.00||December 04, 2021|
|Jacqueline Rosten||$100.00||December 04, 2021|
|Meghan Chambers||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Suzanne Avolio||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Emily Easton||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Anonymous||$100.00||December 04, 2021|
|Jill Ball||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Nadine Abdellatif||$20.00||December 04, 2021|
|adrienne carter||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Andrea Zasowski||$100.00||December 04, 2021|
|Anonymous||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Lauren Haxton||$100.00||December 04, 2021|
|Michelle Lewis||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Leanna Jividen||$50.00||December 04, 2021|
|Caitlin Haniszewski||$100.00||December 04, 2021|
|Nicole Moss||$100.00||December 04, 2021|