We are Ben and Jessica Jarratt. I am an English teacher at a Title IX high school in Shelby County Schools, and Ben is a uniform patrol officer with Memphis Police. We are from Marietta, GA but live in Bartlett, TN.
My husband Ben and I met during our senior year of high school in 2013. From the very first month of dating, we talked about a family together. We discussed baby names within the first six months of dating (Isabella Rose, Izzy Rose for short, and Noah Kyle). We ended up accepting offers to attend the same college- Mississippi State University. Throughout our time in college, we made road trips up to Memphis. Starkville and Memphis ended up feeling like our new home away from home. When it came time to jobsearch, we knew we wanted to begin in Memphis.
We graduated in May 2017, and got married in June. Both of us began our new careers that August. We purchased our dream home in Bartlett in May of 2018.
Right after we got married, we began trying for a baby. We wanted to begin creating our own little family that we had dreamed of for the past four years. After months of nothing, I went to an OB. When I visited her, I found out I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Even with this diagnosis, she had high hopes that we would be able to conceive with the help of IUIs and trigger shots.
After we had been trying for a year with her help and were out of options, we were sent to Fertility Associates of Memphis (FAM). We met with the amazing Dr. Brezina. We discovered that along with my PCOS, I had unexplained infertility, as well as some chromosomal genetic issues. Because of this combination, he confirmed what we had already thought. Our only option was IVF. Ben and I had discussed every option there was prior to our heartbreaking appointments with Dr. Brezina. We prayed every single day for guidance and answers. Because of my genetic background, my percentages even with IVF were lower than the average person. It was- and still is- the only guarantee to the healthiest, safest pregnancy we could have.
The two years we had of trying to conceive were the toughest years we have ever experienced.
All of the medications and disappointment took a huge toll on my mental health, as well as Ben’s. As we were going through all of the medications and shots, it seemed as if everyone around us were getting the blessing we wanted. We continued to hold onto what little hope we had- knowing that if we ever did get lucky, that baby- Izzy Rose or Noah Kyle, would have the best life possible.
We were both at the lowest of lows, and our final meeting with Dr. Brezina truly broke our hearts. As everyone knows, IVF is outrageously expensive. My insurance does not cover anything, so we knew we would have to pay for everything out of our own pockets. We had just purchased our first home- a home we had “sized up” for- to be able to have extra rooms for children. Because of our age and jobs, we do not have the money to pay for IVF. We knew we did not want to take out a loan, and did not feel comfortable asking family/friends for help. We had been through so much heartbreak, there was no way we could put that on our family and friends. Sharing our journey with them was tough enough. It is a deep sadness I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Our final meeting and discussion at FAM was in November 2019.
As we come up on our one year anniversary of this disappointing closure, we sit with heavy hearts. Our dream house is half-empty. We do not view it the same as we did when we first purchased it, imagining children playing in the neighborhood and backyard. Not a single day goes by that we don’t imagine baby cries and laughter, or creating the perfect nursery in one of our empty rooms. We still have a small thread of hope that one day, we can afford IVF. We pray every day, and hold onto that tiny glimmer of hope. We pray for the other families experiencing this pain and sadness as well.
Our goal with sharing our story is to bring awareness to the issue of infertility, and to show others that they are not alone. Even though we do not have a “happy ending” (yet?), we still want to bring light to our own journey with infertility. I hope that as more people share their stories, the “taboo” feeling around infertility can be removed. Infertility is a challenge that no one, or no couple, should have to face alone. We are extremely thankful to be a part of TN Fertility Advocates, and hopeful that one day, all families can achieve their dreams of having children- without stressing about the cost.
Please complete our survey and indicate your interest and willingness to reach out to your elected officials once our bill is submitted. We will provide all the necessary contact information and content.