Committed to pursuit of parenthood
MANTI—After five years of heartbreaking setbacks, a Manti couple is reaching out to the community where they were raised to help them achieve their life goal—having a child.
Colton, 22, and Ember Olsen, 23, say that during their years of trying to get pregnant, they exhausted alternatives for having a baby and incurred a tall stack of medical bills. The failed attempts took a toll on them and they had basically given up.
Now, with the encouragement of a friend, they are prepared to explore their final (and most expensive) option—in vitro fertilization (IVF). The couple is trying to raise $11,000 through a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign.
“It has been a dream since I was a little girl to be a mother,” Ember said. “It is now my dream to make my husband a father.”
The pair said that although they had no funding options, they never considered crowdfunding. When a friend pushed them to give it a try, they decided they were willing to risk the heartbreak of it possibly not working for the chance to be parents.
And the couple has gone through a mountain of heartbreak in pursuit of parenthood.
The two met for the first time when they were both 8-years old as ring bearer and flower girl in a relative’s wedding. Ember, says Colton was her first crush. They eventually began dating in 2010. He was 15 and she 16.
“We had such love for each other,” Ember said. “We were the typical high school sweethearts.”
In 2012, the young couple were married and decided to move out on their own. They also decided they definitely wanted to have a baby, but that they would just let it happen naturally.
“We were young, but we were so ready to bring a little life into this world,” Ember said. “We told ourselves if it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, we’re still young and have all the time in the world.”
A year later, the couples still were not pregnant, and scores of negative home pregnancy tests weighed heavily on their minds. That was when they decided to consult a fertility doctor.
The doctor was concerned and cleared Ember for a procedure that might improve their chances of getting pregnant. The procedure complete, the tests came back good, and the doctor gave the couple the green light to keep trying. Ember and Colton say they were still hopeful.
Months later, the couple still hadn’t gotten pregnant, so they scheduled a diagnostic surgical procedure for Ember. In February 2013, the couple discovered Ember had Stage 4 endometriosis, a condition with no cure, and known to cause infertility and other negative symptoms.
Ember says the discovery was bittersweet. They had some concrete answers why they weren’t getting pregnant, but the outlook had not improved.
Ember underwent a difficult surgery, hoping to treat the condition into remission long enough to allow her to get pregnant.
“We thought for sure our miracle baby would be in our near future after that, Ember said. “Sadly, we still had no luck.”
After the unsuccessful surgical treatment, under the direction of their doctor, Ember underwent three rounds of fertility treatments.
“Each round failed,” Ember said. “And we got knocked back down again.”
Around then, an opportunity that was too good to be true arose for the couple, a chance to adopt a newborn baby boy.
“We took the chance knowing that this may be our only chance at becoming the parents we so desperately wanted to be,” Ember said.
In December 2014, the Olsen’s drove 28 hours to watch the birth of their adopted son-to-be. The boy was born healthy, and the Olsen’s say they were overjoyed to finally be parents. But their elation was premature.
Complications in the adoption arrangement ended with the Olsens driving home without a baby.
“At that point, I couldn’t even think,” Colton said about the long drive home. “It was better not to think than to let yourself deal with what you were feeling.”
Ember took the cruel twist of fate just as badly. Traumatized by the failed attempt, the couple ruled out another adoption.
Ember says she started to give up on being a mom. She and Colton were raised LDS, but their fertility problems made her doubt her faith.
“It’s hard not to think, “Why won’t God let me have a baby?’” Ember said. She said it was challenging at times to see parents who didn’t appear to be affectionate, or even attached, to their children when she wanted one so badly.
The couple also says the infertility problems caused some challenges in their marital life that they had to learn how to cope with over time.
“It was something we just had to fight through,” Colton said.
Despite repeated heartache in their effort to become parents, the couple sought out some new medical opinions.
“We were referred to one of the best fertility clinics in Utah,” Ember said. “The doctor told us we had a good chance at having a baby through IVF. We finally started to feel some relief. But due to fertility treatments being pretty expensive, we couldn’t move forward.”
After coming to grips with the fact that their only real option was out of their reach, the couple says they decided to take a break from all the stress of trying to become pregnant, and to work on themselves and their marriage.
“It was to try to heal ourselves from all the pain we had felt during the prior years,” Ember said.
Fast forward to now, and the young couple has decided to take their friend’s suggestion to try to crowdfund the procedure.
“It’s not easy asking for people’s money,” Colton said. But the couple swallowed their pride for something they say is a worthy cause.
“I get told so much that I have plenty of time,” Ember says since both she and Colton are still in their early twenties. “But when fighting infertility, every day counts. Infertility is like watching a sport from the sidelines; everyone else is playing the game they love, while you sit on the side wondering why it hasn’t been your turn yet.”
Colton is just as anxious to start raising a child as Ember. He admits his choice would be a little boy. He says he wants to teach a son how to hunt. Ember says she would be happy with either, but having a little girl would be nice.
“I just want my mini-me,” she said.
To contribute to the would-be parents’ GoFundMe account, visit https://www.gofundme.com/embers-ivf-journey.