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posted: 9/26/2012 8:18 AM

Golf outing drives to help couples become families

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When you're expecting, it seems everywhere you look you see baby bumps and bulging bellies. From celebrities to women in the grocery store, you can't help but notice their joy. It's your joy.

When you're hoping for a baby, you see those same joyful women and it makes your heart ache. You long to feel a baby growing inside. You dream of what it would be like to hold your child in your arms. And each month, you're hit by a new wave of pain and disappointment. You look at those happy, pregnant women and think, "Why not me?"

Melissa Trader and her husband, Todd, know the frustration of infertility. After trying on their own to conceive, the Naperville couple began borrowing money to pay for fertility treatments. In two years, the Traders spent more than $150,000 on treatments and six cycles of in vitro fertilization to become pregnant with their first child.

All of the money was out-of-pocket. Very rarely does insurance cover fertility treatment.

Born of their experience, Birdies for Babies now aims to help couples become families. The Traders launched the golf outing nine years ago and donate all the proceeds, typically about $20,000, each year to one couple to use toward a cycle of in vitro fertilization with the Fertility Centers of Illinois.

Birdies for Babies 2012 tees off on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Tamarack Golf Club in Naperville, and no one has higher hopes for the event's ultimate success than Jenae and Jake Waldron of Plainfield. The event will help finance the couple's second cycle of IVF and -- just maybe -- make them parents.

Today, Jenae Waldron tells us of the couple's journey.

Jenae Waldron

After marrying in June of 2009, Jake and I took time to enjoy married life but after a year, we felt it was time to start a family. After nearly a year of unsuccessfully trying on our own, we turned to a doctor to see if there may be a medical reason why we weren't pregnant.

Following testing, we began taking fertility drugs and were monitored monthly. We were on fertility drugs for six months with the final two months adding hormones and injections. We were still unable to get pregnant and had exhausted our efforts with our regular doctor.

With that, we turned to the specialists at the Fertility Centers of Illinois on the recommendation of our doctor and friends. Paying out-of-pocket because our insurance does not provide coverage, we first opted for the lower cost IUI, or intrauterine insemination. This was unsuccessful as well.

In an effort to maximize our chances, we turned to IVF, or in vitro fertilization, with hopes of completing our first cycle in June. This decision was a difficult one as the procedure can cost on average $20,000 per cycle.

Infertility often can be a silent struggle. It tests your relationships in ways you haven't been before. The stress often can affect many other areas of your life. As others around you begin to build their families, the mix of emotions of happiness and excitement for them with frustration and sadness for yourself can be difficult to manage. In the end, we found our relationship could withstand more than we knew.

When we began our journey to start a family, we never expected we still would be trying more than two years later. We thought it was a switch that you could turn on when you were ready.

The emotional roller coaster that infertility has taken us on has been far more stressful and consuming than we had ever imagined. We know one day all of the struggles will be worth it and we will have an addition to our family.

Finding Birdies for Babies was a twist of fate and we couldn't be happier that we did. It has created a network of people with similar experiences that quickly eliminated the feeling of loneliness that many experience with infertility.

For couples who are suffering with infertility and struggling to start their family, we would say to reach out to family and friends. You can really underestimate the love people have for you and you never know who else may be struggling with the same thing.

Birdies for Babies is a wonderful charity that is a great source of support, both emotionally and financially. We look forward to being a part of the Birdies for Babies charity, raising awareness about infertility, and continuing to help couples in the future.

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