Medical Expenses and Fertility Treatments

For: Benjamin and Stacy Littner
Organizer: Stacy Littner
$1,158
of $10,000 goal
11% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Ben and I (Stacy) have been together for over 4 years now. We got married October 7, 2012 and like most couples, planned on having a family. We have a unique and strong relationship and want nothing more than to join the journey of parenthood together.

We have been on quite a journey since December of 2013, when we were first diagnosed with infertility. The first specialist we saw really had us down and feeling hopeless. I won't dwell on the negatives of that experience, but rather, I will tell you it is what brought me to start doing a TON of research of my own. I had been told by several doctors that they believe I had endometriosis. Neither told me what it was or how it could be affecting my life and my fertility. Turns out, it affects a lot!! I began to research endometriosis (endo for short) and talking to people in support groups online that have it as well. I learned so much that no doctors ever bothered to explain to me. After a long, through search of endo specialists, I found one that has an AMAZING reputation in Milwaukee, WI. I met with her last week and she had a lot to tell me. 

1. There's no way to 100% diagnose endo without surgery by she is extremely confident that I have it based on my history, symptoms, and tests thus far.

2. Removing endo with excision surgery not only improves quality of life because symptoms diminish after, but it also improves fertility!!

This specialist is also an RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist, which is commonly referred to as a fertility specialist). She was a bit appalled that IVF was suggested for us without having the "full picture" of what's going on with my body. 

I will be having excision surgery on June 24th. At our follow up appointment, the RE will give us her suggestion (based on what she finds) as to what step to take next towards having a baby. It is possible that she will still recommend IVF but the surgery will improve the chances of IVF being successful. She may recommend something more conservative. But regardless of what she suggests, all fertility treatments, along with medications, cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Luckily, our insurance is covering my surgery. Although it will improve my fertility, it is a medical condition, therefore they cannot deny coverage. Anything after that will not be covered. Even with coverage, there will be a great amount of out-of-pocket expense. So, fundraiser is still on! If you can afford to contribute, every tiny little bit helps. We, of course, are also working and saving but with me having to be out of work for a while, it is hard to put much aside right now. If you cannot afford to donate money  but still wish to help, I am having a fundraising garage sale around the end of summer. If you have any items sitting around your home that you would be willing to donate to us, we would also greatly appreciate that! So far we have some really great items from some really great friends!

So that's pretty much where we are right now. I will post an update in about a month, after surgery. In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you want to talk about this or have any questions. I've become very comfortable discussing our journey. It took some time, but I know we have nothing to be embarassed or ashamed of and there are so many people who go through this alone, in silence. Raising awareness of infertiltiy as well as endometriosis has become a very important part of my life! 

We thank you for even taking the time to read this and thank you in advance for any type of donation you may be considering.

Stacy (and Ben)


Fundraiser Updates

Posted on July 9, 2014 by Stacy Littner
Surgery was very successful! There was a ton of endometriosis covering my reproductive and digestive organs, but almost all of it has been removed! Our RE believes this was a HUGE problem in our trying to conceive. And more good news.... Ben's fertility is great! So we're only working with problems on my side (which is much better than couples who have problems with both)! 

I am recovering from surgery right now but our RE believes we should not need IVF!!!! However, your donations have NOT gone to waste. We will be doing IUI which is a form of insemination. It is much cheaper than IVF. Approximately $400-$1000 per cycle. 

We are going in this week to have Ben's sperm frozen because he will be soon having back surgery and will need time of his own for recovery before being able to try naturally again. Then, depending on how my body heals, we should be trying our first IUI in the next month or two!!! 

We can't thank you all enough for your unconditional love and support thus far. It's already been quite a journey and nothing is guarnateed, so we know we could be in for a much longer journey. BUT, we've been given hope again, which is the next best feeling to an actual pregnancy!! 

I will keep you posted as we move forward with IUI and keep your fingers crossed that we only need one! 

xoxo
Stacy 

Posted on May 14, 2014 by Stacy Littner
It's been quite a while since I've given an update and the reason is that I've been spending endless hours doing research and talking to professionals, advocates, and other people struggling with infertility. 

Great things have come of this! One thing I found out is that endometriosis (which is a very serious condition that not only causes a great deal of pain and illness) is not only treatable but can INCREASE fertility! Excision surgery is a very difficult surgery, thus many doctors do not take the time to learn and practice it. However, for the doctors who do, well they change lives. After much research I have found that one of the most reputable doctors is only 60 miles away, in Milwaukee, WI!

Yesterday, I had a phone consultation appointment with a nurse from the office. In the hour that we spoke, she gave me more hope than I've had since first diagnosed. My appointment with the surgeon is next Wednesday, and while I'm very nervous, I'm also very excited to take the next step in this journey. I don't want to say too much yet, until I meet with the doctor and hear exactly what she has to say about our situation, but one thing I do know - getting the endometriosis will not only give me better quality of life, but it will increase my chances of getting pregnant. It's still VERY LIKELY that we will need IVF, however, going through IVF does not guarantee pregnancy. Having the endometriosis makes the chances of the IVF working much, much greater.

So, we are continuing to push forward, researching, applying for grants, saving our own money and seeking help from anyone who is willing and able to donate. Remember, EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS! 

I am also looking for donations of any items that could be sold in a garage sale fundraiser that I am planning for the fall. If you have anything you'd like to donate, please email me directly at cece1712@aol.com. 

Thank you for the continued love and support. This is the hardest journey I hope I ever have to go through but I am so thankful that I have an amazing husband and partner holding my hand as we go through it together. Once baby Littner is here, he/she will ALWAYS KNOW how WANTED he/she is!

xoxo,
Stacy

Posted on May 14, 2014 by Stacy Littner
It's been quite a while since I've given an update and the reason is that I've been spending endless hours doing research and talking to professionals, advocates, and other people struggling with infertility. 

Great things have come of this! One thing I found out is that endometriosis (which is a very serious condition that not only causes a great deal of pain and illness) is not only treatable but can INCREASE fertility! Excision surgery is a very difficult surgery, thus many doctors do not take the time to learn and practice it. However, for the doctors who do, well they change lives. After much research I have found that one of the most reputable doctors is only 60 miles away, in Milwaukee, WI!

Yesterday, I had a phone consultation appointment with a nurse from the office. In the hour that we spoke, she gave me more hope than I've had since first diagnosed. My appointment with the surgeon is next Wednesday, and while I'm very nervous, I'm also very excited to take the next step in this journey. I don't want to say too much yet, until I meet with the doctor and hear exactly what she has to say about our situation, but one thing I do know - getting the endometriosis will not only give me better quality of life, but it will increase my chances of getting pregnant. It's still VERY LIKELY that we will need IVF, however, going through IVF does not guarantee pregnancy. Having the endometriosis makes the chances of the IVF working much, much greater.

So, we are continuing to push forward, researching, applying for grants, saving our own money and seeking help from anyone who is willing and able to donate. Remember, EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS! 

I am also looking for donations of any items that could be sold in a garage sale fundraiser that I am planning for the fall. If you have anything you'd like to donate, please email me directly at cece1712@aol.com. 

Thank you for the continued love and support. This is the hardest journey I hope I ever have to go through but I am so thankful that I have an amazing husband and partner holding my hand as we go through it together. Once baby Littner is here, he/she will ALWAYS KNOW how WANTED he/she is!

xoxo,
Stacy

Posted on March 10, 2014 by Stacy Littner
It's been a while since an update because a lot has been going on! It turns out that Ben has 2 herniated discs in his lower back (just below the place he's already had 2 surgeries). This is has caused him a great amount of pain and he's had to take some time off. He's working with a wonderful ortho, trying just about anything to avoid surgery but only time will tell if he will be able to sustain without it. In the meantime, he is back at work and taking it day by day.

Of course, this has thrown us a curveball in our IVF "plan". We cannot apply for the loan until we know Ben is good without surgery (or if he ends up needing it, healed from surgery) because we need to be SURE we can make the payments. 

You may notice that I've extended the "goal date" by several months. We are going to keep this fundraiser going. Now, even more than when we started, WE NEED HELP. The more we raise, the sooner we can proceed. The sooner we proceed, the higher our chances of having a healthy baby! 

We've come to terms that we aren't going to be able to do this as soon as the doctor urged, but we're not even close to giving up. Please share our story with anyone you can think of. The more people that know, the better our chances!

Thank you all for your ongoing love and support!

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Stacy Littner
Hello all! We are extending the duration of the fundraiser. Partially because my mom (who is going to apply for the loan) is going to be out of town for 2 weeks. Partially because Ben injured his back and we are trying to focus on getting him better. But mostly because we still don't have enough saved and raised to apply for a reasonable loan amount yet. 

We know the doctor wants us to start IVF ASAP, but our situation comes down to the "P" in that. It's just not possible right now, as we don't have enough money. We are working hard and trying to save. With Ben being unable to work right now, it is hard to put too much to the side. Once we find out what's causing his pain, and he's treated, he'll return to work and we'll be able to go back to putting larger amounts of money aside.

This is also all the more reason that we NEED HELP. We're trying to stay positive but I think we're at a point where we still have faith in the best but are having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.


Thank you for your ongoing love, support and prayers! Hopefully there are good things to come :)

Posted on February 13, 2014 by Stacy Littner
I apologize for not having posted an update in quite a while. As many of you know (and many of you may not), I was diagnosed with Chronic Migraine when I was in my early 20's. It took 7 years, but eventually I found a specialist that was able to help me and get my migraines under control. A great deal of my migraine headaches are due to hormones and pregnancy can actually improve the migraines. 

Lately, I've been struggling because I cannot take some of the medications that make me better when we're trying to get pregnant. I know it will be all worth it once we meet our future baby, but right now it's hard. Especially not knowing how long it will be before we can even try IVF.

I also learned this week that IVF can and is actually used as a TREATMENT for endometriosis (which I have and is progressively getting worse). It's actually the ONLY treatment option for a woman who wants to get pregnant. All other available treatments are things like hormones that are often used as birth control, to surgery which creates scar tissue, to a full out hysterectomy. Still, insurance won't consider it a "treatment" for a condition, but only as artificial reproductive therapy. For me, it would be a perfect blend... a treatment of a painful condition, along with trying to get pregnant!

The fundraising has come to a bit of a stand still and we are still brainstorming ways to make this happen. Sometime in the next few weeks we will be applying for the loan, but the more we have to apply for, the higher the chances we will be rejected and/or the payments will not be affordable. That is why every penny helps! 

Please share our story with your friends and family. The more people that know, the better our chances of gaining more help.

Thank you all for the love and support!


Posted on February 13, 2014 by Stacy Littner
I apologize for not having posted an update in quite a while. As many of you know (and many of you may not), I was diagnosed with Chronic Migraine when I was in my early 20's. It took 7 years, but eventually I found a specialist that was able to help me and get my migraines under control. A great deal of my migraine headaches are due to hormones and pregnancy can actually improve the migraines. 

Lately, I've been struggling because I cannot take some of the medications that make me better when we're trying to get pregnant. I know it will be all worth it once we meet our future baby, but right now it's hard. Especially not knowing how long it will be before we can even try IVF.

I also learned this week that IVF can and is actually used as a TREATMENT for endometriosis (which I have and is progressively getting worse). It's actually the ONLY treatment option for a woman who wants to get pregnant. All other available treatments are things like hormones that are often used as birth control, to surgery which creates scar tissue, to a full out hysterectomy. Still, insurance won't consider it a "treatment" for a condition, but only as artificial reproductive therapy. For me, it would be a perfect blend... a treatment of a painful condition, along with trying to get pregnant!

The fundraising has come to a bit of a stand still and we are still brainstorming ways to make this happen. Sometime in the next few weeks we will be applying for the loan, but the more we have to apply for, the higher the chances we will be rejected and/or the payments will not be affordable. That is why every penny helps! 

Please share our story with your friends and family. The more people that know, the better our chances of gaining more help.

Thank you all for the love and support!


Posted on February 4, 2014 by Stacy Littner
We received the letter from the insurance company that was supposed to clarify to the doctor's office that we ARE covered for diagonostics and shouldn't have to pay for our last two tests. 

Unfortunately, the letter is very cryptic. I'll be bringing it to the doctor's office tomorrow, but I have a strong feeling this will not give them the clarification they need and the process will be delayed further.

Today is a tough one.

Posted on February 3, 2014 by Stacy Littner
We are so thankful for receiving another offline donation today! It couldn't have come at a better time, as I was starting to feel like the fundraiser was coming to a standstill. This donation also came from someone who we don't know. The kindness of strangers is just unbelievable. 

Ben and I are doing well. We are trying to stay positive and hoping for good things to come. I personally am very nervous about this not working out financially and being unable to afford IVF anytime soon. I've had people say, "you're young, it will happen" and things to that same regard. While I appreciate the positive encouragement, it just isn't the case. I may only be 35, but I have the eggs of a 45 year old. Another year or two will GREATLY lessen our chances. 

The urgency I feel is what makes this the hardest. It's trying to get together money you don't have in an immediate way. The stress is often overwhelming. Sometimes I let the stress take over the emotions, as those are even harder to face. 

We just want the opportunity to have a baby and raise a child together. All this complicated stuff comes down to just that; we want a family. And if I could make it happen without asking for help, that is exactly what we would be doing. However, we have to accept our situation for what it is - which means we MUST ask for help, in order to have a chance. So please, if you can spare even a few dollars, every little bit helps! Also, I know there are a lot of people who are not on Facebook that still might want to help. Talking to people about our story could help us find new supporters that we wouldn't otherwise be able to reach. There are so many ways you can help, if you're not sure how, just ask! 

We are so unbelievably thankful to all of our current supporters. Although the donations are what we need, we've also received some beautiful private messages and it truly is the thought that counts. Thank you all!

Posted on January 31, 2014 by Stacy Littner
Before the start of the new year, we were going through our diagnostic testing. We got through enough of it that the doctor was able to assess that our best chances of conceiving are through IVF, however, we still have 2 more tests to go before the doctor will offically move forward. **Keep in mind, even if the doctor is ready to move forward doesn't mean we will be, as payment for IVF is due BEFORE any treatment begins.**

As of the first of the year, our insurance plan changed. Originally they covered diagnostics (testing only). Then come the beginning of January, my doctor's office notified me that we were no longer covered for diagnostics either. The price of our final two tests is a little over $1,000. I spoke with my insurance company and got a completely different response, telling me that we still were covered for testing. My doctor's office is requiring a letter from my insurance company stating that we ARE IN FACT COVERED. Last week my a rep from our insurance company said this was no problem and she would get it in the mail right away. We are still waiting for this letter. Once it comes, we SHOULD be good to go forward with our last few tests and the doctor could be ready to start within a matter of a FEW WEEKS!

We won't be applying for the loan until we have completed the two tests (giving us a little more time). It is between NOW AND THE TESTS that we need to raise as much money as possible. Again, our hope is not that someone is going to pay for this FOR us, but rather help us have enough that we can apply for less - thus making the possibility of approval MUCH HIGHER. If we do not get a loan approval, we have no other resources for making this happen in the time frame the specialist believes we need to do this for success.

On a personal note, this terrifies and angers me. Ben and I are good, hard working people who love children and devote ourselves to family. Money should NOT be a factor in us being able to try and conceive a baby. We pay a ridiculous amount for health insurance and the fact that ALL insurance companies have the option of covering fertility health is infuriating. For the most part, we are trying to stay positive and believe that this will somehow happen, but at times it is hard to see the light at the end of this tunnel. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers and keep sharing our story! As I mentioned before, over 50% of the donations we have received have come from people that don't know us. The more people we can reach, the better our chances become.

Thanks again for all the love and support we've received thus far!

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