Kristyn Johnson - Member
When I was 28 years old, I was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome (Basically missing part or all of your X chromosome). I was two years into marriage and it came as quite a shock, as there are many ramifications of this diagnosis, especially with infertility. We knew from that point on that our road to children would not be easy. We put things on hold for a while, but 8yrs later decided to get serious about having children. My OBGYN connected us with a Reproductive Endocrinologist who was familiar with my diagnosis. After a couple tries with Clomid, we were faced with moving directly to IVF due to increased risks to my heart. Due to my condition and genetic issues, we chose not to pursue IVF with my eggs, but pursued the coarse of embryo adoption. With our doctors approval we adopted two precious embryos from a wonderful donor family. We became pregnant with one of those embryos, and were so very happy. Finally! However, at 5.5 weeks we lost our precious Adi to a Sub-Chorionic hemorrhage.
This was an extremely difficult period, but around that time I had been connected to a group of Brave women who walked that journey with me. After that, we adopted four more embryos, and have had two failed transfers. We have not received our miracle baby yet. However, I have been given such a precious in having these ladies who get it; who understand. We grieve together; we rejoice together. No matter what.
Sarah Ivy -- Executive Director
When my husband and I got married, we were in our early 30s, and began trying to grow our family immediately. Nearly a year into our journey, I was given a diagnosis of Severe Diminished Ovarian Reserve, and my husband, Severe Male Factor, which led to a less than 2% chance to conceive and carry our own biological child. We were lost and felt so alone. This is the time when Braving Infertility Together truly began. We knew that we could love better, and could allow others to do the same. We began at a brunch, then an online group, and then these new relationships lead us to new options. We adopted two embryos from an amazing family, which resulted in pregnancy…and then miscarriage. We lost Hannah Joy in July 2015. Shortly after, we adopted seven embryos from another generous couple, and were lead to share them with another family. That family welcomed a son, Dawson, in July 2016. While saving money to do a transfer ourselves, and celebrating in the joy of those around us, God showed up and showed off! In January 2016, we became pregnant, naturally, and Charlotte was born in September 2016. We are in awe of this little miracle, but are now painfully aware of the guilt and pain of a secondary infertility journey. The Lord was very clear with my husband, Ray, and I, and led us to sign over the remaining embryos to the other family. This has challenged us to lean on Him to grow our family in whatever way He sees fit. Any time we have followed His call, he has answered our prayers. Ray and I, and the rest of the Leadership Team, are blessed to lead this tribe. Getting to live life with these families is a gift we truly cherish.
Juli Westcott - Executive Vice President
My first and only natural pregnancy was in January 2004. After two years of trying, it finally worked! Or so I thought... Two weeks later, I had a miscarriage. From that day forward, I never had another positive pregnancy test. Not one. I went through all kinds of testing, but everything came back “normal,” and I was told to “just wait” or “keep trying.” Through a painful divorce, remarriage, medical challenges, and a cross-country move, I continued to wait and try. Still nothing. In May 2014, we decided it was time to see a fertility doctor, and were give the diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.” Because of my age, after two failed IUI cycles we were told that IVF was going to be our best option. We did our cycle in January of 2015, and, by the grace of God, had a successful transfer in April. A week after finding out I was pregnant, a woman I met through an online infertility group invited me to dinner with her and a few other women who were struggling with infertility. I agreed, but I worried whether they would still accept me if they knew I was pregnant. That is where the distinction lies with this group. They not only accepted me, they welcomed me with open arms. That dinner changed my life, and I believe the lives of many others as well. That was the day that this movement truly began. As friendships grew and other pregnancies were announced, we became a family. We were braving this journey -- together. In December 2015, my husband, Wes, and I were overjoyed to welcome our beautiful daughter, Cadence Joy, into the world. She is our greatest gift, and was absolutely worth every second of my 13-year wait. This journey has been long and painful, but I would not change it or where it has brought me. I am forever blessed by the amazingly brave women who have and continue to walk alongside me.
Rain Stawar - Member
I am 40, and have battled infertility officially for 3 years. I started IVF in May 2014. My first transfer was a success, and I became pregnant with boy/girl twins, Jacob Benjamin and Elizabeth Anne. We felt so fortunate to get pregnant with our first FET, and began preparing to welcome our twins in the summer of 2015. Unfortunately, in February 2015, my parenting journey became a bit more complicated when I went into labor at 19 weeks 5 days. While in the hospital, my body became septic, and in order to save my life, we had to deliver the babies at 20 weeks 2 days. The proceeding weeks are a blur of tears, confusion and anger. For the first time in my life, I joined an online support group. One lucky day, I received a message about a local group that met for dinner once a month. I was initially hesitant, but finally went to my first meeting after a few months. At this meeting, I was overwhelmed by the love and support I received from the women in that room. They listened and cried with me like we were sisters instead of strangers who knew each other for less than an hour. This group has helped me find myself again after such a tragic loss. I suspect that I will never fully heal from losing my children, but I am heartened by the amount of love I have for them. This group has supported me through three more unsuccessful transfers, including two chemical pregnancies, and is currently loving me through my husband and I becoming certified as foster parents. This journey has taught me many things, but most importantly that God is in control. I will listen patiently for His guidance, and know that my Brave sisters are there walking beside me every step of the way.