The Messina’s hope for parenthood
The Messina’s hope for parenthood
118Days to go
Courtney Messina is organizing this fundraiser.
My name is Courtney and I have suffered with infertility for the past 11 years. I became pregnant in the summer of 2012, my husband and I were overjoyed at the news and soon began to plan what would become our new lives as parents. At our first ultrasound we heard the heartbeat and were elated. Five minutes later the doctor came in with a very sullen look on her face. “I am so sorry but we need to rush you to the hospital now for surgery. The baby is growing in your fallopian tube , the pregnancy is ectopic and life threatening for you”. I was so confused, we had just heard the heartbeat but a few minutes ago. I was taken into emergency surgery where my precious child was removed from my body. This was the first time I’d ever heard of an ectopic pregnancy but sadly it would not be the last. After grieving for some time we decided to try again in 2014. I got pregnant very easily again. Sadly this pregnancy was ectopic as well, another emergency surgery. This time they had to take my left fallopian tube- it was unsalvageable. We did not understand why this happened again. There are no known causes. In 2015 we became pregnant again. Another ectopic pregnancy, another surgery. Complete and utter devastation again. They were able to salvage my remaining fallopian tube. By this time I had 3 ectopic pregnancies, 1 tube left and it had all taken its toll on me (and my poor hubby) but we could not give up, each time the desire for children only grew stronger. We became pregnant again in 2016. We were so hopeful. None of my doctors had ever heard of someone having 3 ectopic pregnancies, it was so unlikely to happen again. But it did. The doctors advised me to have my remaining tube removed. They said it will just keep happening and that it was time to look towards In- Vitro (IVF). I scheduled the surgery after mourning the loss of my tube- my last chance to conceive naturally. In 2017 we met with a fertility clinic who after multiple tests said I was a great candidate for IVF. We used all our savings and went into the world of IVF. After paying $17,000, half way into the treatment we found out that I also suffer from something called diminished ovarian reserve. Diminished ovarian reserve is when you have fewer eggs in your ovaries compared to people your age. It’s sometimes called low egg count or low ovarian reserve. The results of our first IVF treatment were devastating. Even after $5000 in ovarian stimulating medications I only produced 2 eggs, neither of which fertilized. All that money gone just like that and we’re still left with no child. I had never felt so broken, so defeated but I could not give up. I want to be a mother more than anything. I want to give my husband who was adopted a child of his own. We were advised that our best option for achieving parenthood was to do IVF with donor eggs. My eggs were no good. This was quite the loss for me. It took a lot of tears and prayers to get to a point of acceptance that I would not have a child of my blood. But once I did I was more determined than ever to have a child, regardless of its genetic makeup. IVF with donor eggs is roughly double the cost of regular IVF. My husband and I are not “well off” we both work very hard but the cost of IVF is outrageous. Especially in the U.S. We did a lot of research and chose a very successful IVF clinic in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. After virtually meeting with the doctors we decided that the only way we could ever afford to do IVF with donor eggs was outside the U.S. We put a deposit down and selected our donor. That was in 2017. It took us 4 years to move forward due to coming up with the rest of the money and my mother falling very ill and needing to take care of her. In the summer of 2021 we started our 1st donor egg cycle. Unfortunately we were only able to fertilize our eggs that trip, my body did not cooperate so we couldn’t do the transfer but we were still thrilled, we ended up with 4 great quality embryos. They were cryopreserved until we could return for them. We had serious hope again! We returned for our 1st embryo transfer in February 2022. We transferred 2 of our 4 embryos. It was a success- we were pregnant and our first ultrasound was the most beautiful thing- we saw the baby in the right place with a strong heartbeat. My first pregnancy in the right spot! I was on cloud 9. Due to my history I was monitored carefully- ultrasounds every 2 weeks. 8 weeks- perfect little baby boy (we did a blood test so we knew early it was a boy) We named him Noah. 10 week ultrasound- that little guy was really looking like a baby. Little head and arms and legs. They say your odds of miscarriage go down to 1% after 12 weeks so on our way to our 12 week ultrasound we were the happiest we had ever been in our lives. I can still feel my heart being yanked out of my chest in that ultrasound when the tech said “I am so sorry but there is not heartbeat. He stopped growing at 10.5 weeks” No this could not be. I have to say that was by far the worst of all my losses. It was the furthest we had ever gotten and now he was gone. My heart still aches for him. Due to being so far along I opted for a D&C procedure which took place a few days later. After mourning Noah for several months my fertility clinic ran a bunch of tests on me to try and see if they could figure out why I miscarried. Turns out I have a blood clotting disorder, a gene mutation (MTHFR) that does not allow my body to metabolize folic acid, and elevated NK Killer cells. Any or all of these issues could have caused the miscarriage but all were easily treatable. With a new plan we decided to go back and get our 2 remaining embryos. In March of 2022 we returned for our babies. The embryo transfer was successful I was pregnant again. After losing Noah last year I was so nervous to go to my first ultrasound but surely they had addressed the issues that led to his demise so all would be ok. It was not. At our first ultrasound (I was 6 weeks 6 days along) all they found was a gestational sac and maybe a yolk sac. The techs assured me it was probably too early. But I knew. After so many years of going through infertility, I had done an incredible amount of research on just about everything fertility and pregnancy related. I knew exactly what that ultrasound should have looked like- something was very wrong. I shared the results with my doctors in Mexico, who also said wait til the next ultrasound- it’s probably just too early. Today was that ultrasound. I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum. Blighted ovums are apparently responsible for 50% of all first trimester miscarriages. The embryo never develops but the gestational sac does and continues to grow and produce hormones. So you still feel very pregnant t. I have no signs of miscarriage- no bleeding, cramping or anything. But I will miscarry in the next days or weeks. It is very sad to just be sitting here waiting to lose the last hope you had. My last embryos. My last hope.
My husband and I have exhausted all our financial means. We have no way to pay for another IVF round. One might call me desperate for putting myself out here like this but what am I to do? Give up? I cannot. The one thing that had gotten us through all these losses and struggles is hope. Hope that one day I will be a mother, that one day all the pain and suffering I have experienced will be nothing in comparison to the joy we will feel the moment we look into our baby’s eyes. The thought of never having children is incomprehensible to us. It can’t all have been for nothing.
I pray that this story may reach someone or someone’s who maybe has gone through something similar or knows someone that has and has the heart and the means to donate to our cause. Your donations will go to fund a donor egg IVF cycle. This will be our final attempt at becoming parents.
We are Courtney and Chris Messina and we thank you for reading our story.
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Courtney Messina is organizing this fundraiser.