We’ve fallen, and we can’t get up!
Hi, friends! Cory and I fell down a big, dark hole and we’re seeking help. Read to learn more about what happened and how this feels to us. And if you are in your own big, dark hole, I hope you know it’s okay to ask for help…in big ways and in small.
I’ve fallen on my butt two times in the last month. Hard. Ask my coworker who saw me go down in the hallway by the therapy gym a few weeks ago. Or ask Cory who saw me eat it on that slippery hardwood floor last weekend.
There’s that initial sting. That initial shock. Oh my gosh. What just happened to me? The wind is knocked out of you. The world fades away. You just sit there in your post-fall daze. Then slowly, your senses start to come back online. You wiggle your toes, move your leg. Someone rushes over to you and offers you a hand to help you up.
People want to help when you have fallen. We all know how bad it hurts to fall. It’s easy to empathize with a physical fall. Recently, Cory and I have had a couple more abstract falls. An emotional fall. A financial fall. We have fallen into a deep hole of fertility grief and debt. And now we’re asking for help.
What you should do first
1. Read through this blog post (below), taken from our this page. Then…
2. Watch our “Come Fertility with Us” video to get a sense of who we are while we answer questions about our experience with infertility.
3. Read my first blog post about our fertility campaign - it goes into more depth about our story and what it feels like asking for financial help.
Our inspiration for this campaign
At work, as a speech language pathologist working with individuals recovering from traumatic brain injuries, I (Kristen) have often encouraged patients to start GoFundMe campaigns to fundraise money for treatments that have not been covered by insurance. It’s really easy for me to encourage my patients to fundraise money for medical treatments, but it feels much harder for me to take my own advice. Cory and I first want to say thank you to all of my past patients who have bravely fundraised for treatments not covered by insurance in a very vulnerable time in their lives. I have witnessed these patients’ leaps of faith be met with kindness and generosity. Thank you, past patients, for inspiring us to do the same now.
We are also inspired to fundraise for our fertility treatments to show others that it’s okay to ask for help.
Hi everyone! We are Cory and Kristen Wendling – two loving, doting parents-to-be in search of our own baby. I’m Cory, a ukulele player looking for someone to listen to my lullabies. I’m Kristen, a pseudo mother to my six younger siblings, longing to achieve full biological mother status some day. Together, we are a tender, thoughtful duo ready to cover our baby in kisses and kindness.
After eight months of marriage, two ER visits, and one very expensive ovarian torsion surgery, we found out that we aren’t able to have children the conventional way. Because of Kristen’s congenital uterine anomaly (unicornuate uterus), poor egg quality/quantity, and endometriosis (oh my!), it was recommended that we immediately move to in vitro fertilization (IVF) in attempt to conceive. Long story short, we have completed one round of IVF. Because of my poor egg quality, we only got one genetically normal embryo from the first round of IVF (some women get up to 3 or 5 genetically normal embryos after a single cycle). And because my type of uterus has a 37% miscarriage rate, we decided to do a second round of IVF to try to get a couple more embryos just in case I miscarry our first embryo.
All in all, we have paid over $35,000 in surgeries, fertility treatments, co-payments, diagnostic testing, and fertility supplements in the past five months. My OBGYN recommended that we seek treatment at one of the top fertility clinics in Colorado since I have so many complicating factors (i.e., uterine anomaly, poor egg quality/quantity, endometriosis). Because of this, the IVF price tag at our clinic has been more expensive than at other smaller, less specialized clinics.
How the money will be spent
All generous donations will be used to fund medical costs attributed to the IVF process: stimulation injections, egg retrieval surgery, fertilization, and embryo transfer process. Also, by giving to our GoFundMe venture, you are indirectly supporting my efforts with Embrace Your Unicorn project. My blog is devoted to helping myself and others learn to be okay about talking openly about infertility and other life challenges.
We are so grateful
To show you our gratitude for your generosity, we are going to give you a small gift in return for your contribution! (We think this part is really exciting!) First, if you donate any amount at all, your picture will go in the “Gratitude Picture Book” we will be making for our future baby. This book will live on his/her bookshelf, and we’ll pull it out and read it to remember all of the people who helped make his/her life possible. Then, you’ll also receive a small gift for different monetary amounts you donate. More than anything, we want to show you through our words and actions that we deeply appreciate your generosity. For the gift levels, see below!
$25-99 – Baby’s Footprints: After the baby is born, we will send you an autographed copy of the baby’s footprints. That’s right! At 3 months of age, our baby is going to be autographing baby merchandise.
$100-199 – In addition to the baby’s footprints, you also receive a shout out from the baby in a gratitude video we’ll post on social media and Kristen’s blog. That’s right again! In addition to autographing merch, our baby is also going to be completely verbal by 3 months old!
$200-299 – In addition to the baby’s footprints and video shout out, you’ll also receive an invitation to a donor thank you party we’ll be hosting at our home in the upcoming months.
$300-499 – In addition to the baby’s footprints, video shout out, and donor party invite, you’ll also be invited to the baby’s first birthday party!
$500+ - In addition to the baby’s footprints, video shout out, donor party invite, and first birthday party invite, you’ll also become an honorary aunt or uncle (fo’ real!)! We’ll celebrate your aunt-ness or uncle-ness by naming a small stuffed animal after you that will live in the baby’s nursery. (You think we’re joking? No way, José. Wait until you see all the weirdly named stuffed animals our baby will have because of your generous contributions. “This is Bob the giraffe and Carol the turtle!” Oh just you wait and see.)
Would Cory and Kristen be good parents?
That’s a no brainer!
Will we be good parents?
We understand that you might be asking yourself, “How can I trust that Kristen and Cory will even be good parents?” We get it, we get it. You want to make sure you’re wisely investing. To ease your hesitations, we asked our family and some friends for their opinions.
“Cory and Kristen will be good parents because they are “goals.” They are so kind and always listen so intently to everything I have to say, and they make me feel so included and loved. They also take us to plays and out for ice cream and let us hang out with them all the time. And I love how much they love each other so much.”
-Bailey, Kristen’s 17-year-old sister
“Would Cory and Kristen be good parents? That’s a no brainer! You are both kind, tolerant, patient, fun loving, honest, compassionate people. It’s quite evident from seeing both of you around children that you love being around little ones! Bob and I discussed this, and we believe that you will both be much better parents than the two of us were with our own children, and since we think that parenting is the most important thing we ever did in life, that’s saying a lot!” –Kay and Bob Lowe-Wendling, Cory’s parents
“Kristen and Cory are going to give their kids a fun and stable environment to be raised in.” –Aleks, Kristen and Cory’s brother-in-law
“My beautiful daughter, Kristen, blessed me when she was born! She and Cory deserve the same blessing and would be such a loving, nurturing, and amazing mom and dad to their precious baby!” –Arnie, Kristen’s dad
“I can’t wait to see them share the joy they have for the holidays with their child. We need some young blood at the children’s table at Wendling holiday gatherings. I’m the only one there right now…and I’m 39.” –Kevin Wendling, Cory’s cousin
“Cory and Kristen will be amazing parents because they are so caring and sweet. Plus they love musicals so their kid will be raised right!” Eliana, Kristen’s 16-year-old sister
“How do I intuitively know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Kristen and Cory would be good parents? I guess the same way I know a brilliant orange sunset over the Pacific is breathtaking. It’s next to impossible to put such innate knowledge into words, but here goes. I know they have both always longed to be parents… Kristen, since the time she could play with dolls or hold her baby sister. They’re both loving, patient, kind, understanding, compassionate, balanced, attentive, intelligent, committed, and fun. I just know somewhere in my heart of hearts, beyond my ken, Kristen’s and Cory‘s child will be the luckiest of the lucky.” -Doreen, Kristen’s mom
“I know that Kristen and Cory’s children will grow up to be amazing people…
…and I look forward to the chance to see them kick parenthood in the ass.” -Kristen’s younger sister
"Everyone that knows Cory and Kristen already knows they will be exemplary parents, but even more than that, they'll set the bar for everyone around them. Think Cory or Kristen would bring a toddler on the plane without activities, or show up to soccer practice without orange slices, think again, they'll bring extra." –Kyle Wendling, Cory’s brother
“If there are any two people in the world that are meant to be parents, it’s Kristen and Cory. Kristen has been the absolute best older sister anyone could ask for; she’s the person to go to if you want to vent or need a ride or if you want to share some fries. Her motherly instincts are incomparable, and if anyone in the world is meant to be a mom, it’s Kristen. Cory is the same, except a male version. I have never laughed harder at anyone else’s jokes, and the amount of times he’s offered to go get ice cream is too many to count. All fun and games aside, though, Cory has a fatherly instinct as well, and I can’t wait to laugh at his dad jokes. I know that Kristen and Cory’s children will grow up to be amazing people, and I look forward to the chance to see them kick parenthood in the ass.” –Brooke, Kristen’s 17-year-old sister
“Kristen and Cory aren’t going to be good parents…they already ARE good parents. Just looking at them take care of themselves as they harvest their future children, and the sacrifices they’re making is a prime example of why they already are the best parents out there.” –Karli, Kristen’s sister
“Cory and Kristen will be GREAT parents because we all need a “Coristen” mini-me to bring more of their warmth, creativity, intellect, and amazing spirit to the world!” –Kim, Kristen and Cory’s boss (and friend)
“Good parents stem from a special breed of person: diligent, patient, hard-working, resilient, resourceful and creative, Kristen and Cory not only have the elements of good parents, but they epitomize the characteristics of great ones: they are kind, accepting, caring, thoughtful, charming, goofy, funky, compassionate and most of all, they are loving. Any child would consider themselves lucky to have such an awesome mom and dad.” Shane and Kaitlin Miles, Kristen and Cory’s theatre buddies.
Why should you “come fertility with us?”
IVF is expensive, and we don’t think other couples going through it ask for help enough. Maybe because they don’t feel like it’s okay to ask for help. Maybe because infertility is hard to talk about, and money is even harder. Maybe because of pride and shame. Even though it’s uncomfortable to be vulnerable, it’s important. It’s a gateway to understanding. It cultivates compassion. It opens hearts and is a precursor to love.
Despite it feeling uncomfortable for us to extend out hands out for help, Cory and I are going to embrace it. We are going to keep doing what we’ve been doing these past three months – put our story out there. Show that it’s okay to ask for help. We are going to be vulnerable and voice our needs to you, our community. Meg Cabot once said, “Sometimes in life, you can fall down holes you can’t climb out of by yourself. That’s what friends and family are for – to help. They can’t help, however, unless you let them know you’re down there.”
By choosing to support us, you’re saying, “I see you down in that hole, and I choose to help.” You’re saying yes to a more vulnerable, more compassionate world. You’re saying yes to a world where asking for help is met with warmth and generosity. You’re saying yes to a world where people don’t feel like they have to go at it alone.
What you can do next…
Come fertility with us and contribute to our campaign!
2. Share our Go Fund Me page!
If you feel like our cause is worthy of sharing, we would be so appreciative if you would share this page with your family and friends. Maybe include a reason why you think they should check us out (e.g., fantastic smiles, great hair, modest). Also feel free to share our page or “Come Fertility with Us” video if you feel like someone else in your life could benefit from hearing our message about it being okay to ask for help. If you know someone else who is going through IVF, just lost a job, just received a diagnosis, or is need of help from his/her community, share our video. Others may benefit from seeing us ask for help in a big way and feel inspired to ask for help from their own communities. Embrace vulnerability. Embrace leaning on your community. Embrace gratitude.
To share our GoFundMe page, hit the "share" button at the bottom of this page or copy and paste the link below onto a status update or in an email:
To share our “Come Fertility With Us” video, you can copy paste the link below:
Show some love and leave us a comment on Kristen’s blog or our YouTube video. You can also join her Embrace Your Unicorn group on Facebook or follow her on Instagram (@embraceyourunicorn).
“By asking for help it’s not that you’re weak, it’s not that you’re anything like that, it’s just allowing somebody else to give their gift.” Malean Holden
* * *