July 2nd, 2006

We cannot tell you how excited we are to be making this first post. We found out in December we were facing fertility issues, but little did we know that the path ahead would be long, expensive and very emotional. Since this is our first post, I’ll start by backing up, giving you a brief timeline of the events that got us here and then explain where we’re headed.

March 2004- We decided we’d start trying to have a baby. Sounded easy enough. The basic concept of the idea made sense.
August- 2005- We’d been trying for 17 months… and we were pretty sure we were doing it right. Went to our family practice doctor (Dr. H), started charting my ovulation.
December 2005- Returned to Dr. H to review charts. Brandi was normal- eyes turned to Shelton. He had to give a sample.
January 2006- Call from Dr. H that Shelton’s sperm count was, well, a nice round number…zero. We were referred to a urologist, Dr. F.
February 2006- First appointment with Dr. F. A lot of exciting little tests and exams for Shelton. We were told that Shelton basically has a natural vasectomy. We were referred to the fertility specialist, Dr. T.
April 2006- After about a 6 week wait, we finally got our first appointment. This is a normal wait time.

Going into our first appointment, we expected to find out that by doing artificial insemination we’d be on our way to having a baby (this is the turkey baster method, in a nutshell. We’d already been falling in love with our turkey baster baby). We were very hopeful of this procedure because it was quick, painless and incredibly affordable (cheaper than our new dining room table). What a bargain!

Dr. T wasted no time in telling us that due to Shelton’s diagnosis, artificial insemination would not be an option. They’d never get enough of a sample for it to be successful. We’d have to move right up the line to IVF- In Vitro Fertilization. I don’t think Shelton fully grasped what the Doc was saying. I immediately knew, above anything else, the financial impact was substantial. I had guesstimated in my head about a $10,000 cost. Before we left that day we had an estimate for $15,000… and told to allow some wiggle room. This estimate did not include all of the diagnostic work that had already been done, not all of which was covered by insurance.

Now, I work in advertising and I spend my days scheming creative ways to solve problems- whatever works, there are no limits. By the time we made it out to the car, the gears were already churning.

By the time we made it on to the highway entrance ramp, I looked at Shelton and said, “Ok, I’ve got an idea.” Which Shelton always follows with, “How much is it going to cost me?” And for one of the very rare times, I said, “Not much. If anything, it will make us money.” So I explained this idea of throwing ourselves at the mercy of the world- by telling everyone every gritty detail of this long, insane journey we were about to take part in, they would maybe be so kind as to donate some money so that we could have this baby we so desperately wanted.

If everyone who visited donated at least a dollar, 20,000 visitors later we could have a baby. They say it takes a village to raise a child, we need a village to help us just get the dad-gum thing conceived!

By the next day we’d come up with the name, Baby or Bust, and the wheels were still churning. I didn’t sleep for a week because the possibilities seemed endless and I had to wrap my brain around each and find a way to make it applicable. I’m a little researcher, so I immediately began scouring bookstores and the Internet for any tidbit about IVF and what we could expect to go through. Everything I found was cold and textbook- I wanted the private, personal stuff that a girlfriend would tell me. I’ve continued to find that it rarely exists.

All the more reason to do this. If we can help even one other couple understand the procedures and justify their emotions, then some part of this has been worth it.

So here we are, July 2 and the site went live about 3 hours ago. Jeremy Sanchez, a good friend of ours, is responsible for the site design and development. We wouldn’t even be writing this post without his incredible generosity and hard work. Just getting here was the first step, and Jeremy, thank you will never be big enough or loud enough.

As we tend to do, we’ve taken to the lighter side. I keep calling it “this insanity.” And that is exactly what it is. What this process does to your heart, mind, emotions, hell, even your sex life, it’s just insanity. But Shelton and I quickly pulled together and have grabbed this by the horns and said we will beat you. We want this baby and nothing is going to stand in our way. Heck at this point, we’re looking at two babies- the possibility for twins is huge! (Brandi giggles YAY! Shelton passes out).

So where are we now? About two weeks ago in June, Shelton met with his new urologist, Dr. G, who we were referred to by our fertility specialist, Dr. T. This guy is apparently one of like 50 docs in the country who work with male infertility and treatment. He did some initial exams and wants to see Shelton again on July 20- Brandi’s birthday. From there, Shelton is looking at having surgery to obtain his first sperm sample. After that, it’s back to Dr. T to assess the situation and we’re not 100% sure what that involves yet.

What we do know, is that every doctor’s appointment, lab test, poke, prod and band-aid comes out of our hip pocket. We earn a reasonable salary, we live a fairly comfortable lifestyle- but we do not have twenty Gs laying around. That’s why we’re asking the world to help us out. And in advance, thank you.

Tentatively, we’re looking at a February 2007 “conception”. Between now and then, we’re up against a lot- a lot of doctor’s visits, surgery, medicine, tears, laughing, frustration and hope. We’re excited to share all of this with you, and hope you’ll visit often. Yes, we’re baring our souls and more- but it seems like a small price to pay for the little person we’ll get in the end.

Over the next week or so, we’ll work to basically catch-up on everything that has happened. We’ll each blog individually and sometimes together. We think it’s important for both of our perspectives to be shared individually, as the things we’ll experience will sometimes differ; but this is very much a duet and we want that perspective shared as well.

We welcome you to Baby or Bust and thank you for sharing in our journey.