Its been 62 months since we started trying to have a baby. I'm not sure when I started identifying as infertile. It was likely somewhere after the excitement of trying wore off and before the fertility testing began. Approximately 1 in 8 couples are considered infertile. No one expects to be part of that statistic. Mike and I always saw ourselves with kids (and dogs) tumbling through our house, so much so that, when we bought our house in South Seattle, we intentionally chose one with a rumpus room. We see parenting as an invitation back to wonder, a reintroduction to the best parts of the world. We want our kids to grow up in a home that celebrates creativity, risk-taking, kindness, courage, intelligence, and perseverance. And perhaps most importantly, we want our kids (and their friends and their friends' friends) to know that they are deeply wanted, deeply loved, and deeply enjoyed. In March 2016, we learned why those dreams continue to elude us when I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis. Endometriosis is a chronic, progressive disease where cells that normally line the uterus also grow outside the uterus. While these cells build and shed monthly as those inside the uterus do, the blood has no where to go. It pools inside the pelvic cavity, causing scarring, adhesions, extreme pain, and often infertility. Doctors estimate that 1 in 10 women have endometriosis. However, it's hard to be sure given that the disease is notoriously undiagnosed and its research underfunded. Many women never get properly treated because they do not find a doctor who will take them seriously. One study found that women who are diagnosed have to wait an average of seven years from when the symptoms begin. In my case, it took 22 years. Tipping Point The scales tipped on January 5, 2016, when my pain levels escalated both in frequency and intensity until I was in constant debilitating pain. Even nowafter years of being told that I just have a low pain tolerance, that this is what it means to be a womanI hesitate at calling it debilitating. But when its so intense that I wake up screaming in the middle of the night, or when I cant complete a full week of work, even I have to accept how much the pain Ive become accustomed to impacts my life. So once again, we sought help, which is how we found my current ob/gyn. Dr. N. quickly became both advocate and ally. She was the first doctor who believed me, who proposed a treatment plan only after listening to our entire story, who promised to keep trying until we figured out what was wrong. In consultation with her, Mike and I scheduled surgery in March 2016 in hopes of finding answers. We got more answers than we had bargained for. At my post-op appointment, Dr. N. first had to show us pictures of normal organ structure before showing us what they found in my belly: severe endometriosis, cysts, adhesions, blocked tubes, organs stuck together in ways they should not be. It was no wonder that I hurt all the time and no wonder that I couldn't get pregnant. I was instantly relieved, infuriated, and devestated. It turns out I wasn't crazy, and the delay in medical treatment cost me dearly. By stringing together years of test results now under the umbrella of endo, it was obvious the disease had progressed, leaving us with very few options. Mike and I didnt anticipate how pursuing healing for my body would bump up against our infertility struggles. Common treatment options for endo, ranging from intense hormonal medications to a hysterectomy, directly interfere with having children. I wasnt even off painkillers from my surgery before we had to start asking the insanely unfair questions about which was more important to us: kids or pain relief? Well, if those are options A and B, we choose option C. Where Were Going I have seen 26 medical professionals (and counting) in the last 10 years, and my current medical team stretches from naturopathy to reproductive endocrinology to physical therapy. At my medical teams advice, we are pursing in vitro fertilization (IVF), where doctors form an embryo from my egg and Mikes sperm before replanting it in my body. IVF is our best shot at a baby (!) as well as pain relief for me. It's possible my body could heal during pregnancy, potentially reversing this disease. After delivering a baby, I could be in better health and in less pain than I have my entire adult life. This has been incredibly hard and isolating journey, and we still have hope. We continue to believein Jesus, in each other, in what is possible--and we need your help. We cant do this alone, and we cant wait: this disease continues to wreak havoc on my body, and time is not our friend. So were going all in. We have never been people who shrink back, and were not about to start now with everything on the line. We are looking to raise $30,000, committed by December 1st. Washington State insurance companies do not cover anything that may suggest fertility treatment, and we need cash in hand before we can begin this process. We are inviting you, our friends and family, to build into our family. Family is always a community endeavor. For us, that endeavor starts now. Be part of this with us.