When Allison Hines Jeppson was in the fourth grade, her career day ambition was “stay-at-home mom.”
Now 24, her goal has never changed.
She married her husband John in 2009, and thought by now she would be well on the way to motherhood, only to experience the heartbreak of multiple miscarriages.
Diagnosed with an infertility disorder, Allison and John have agreed to speak publicly to shed light on the “lonely and private” challenges of trying to have a baby.
Allison, a substitute teacher, is undergoing treatment at the Nevada Center for Reproductive Medicine in Reno.
It’s a complicated and costly process, but the Jeppsons say they are grateful to have found the center.
“I am completely open about every aspect of the process,” Allison said.
She is undergoing intrauterine insemination, a procedure which costs about $1,200 a month.
The Jeppsons’ expenses are not covered by insurance which Allison said precludes many families from seeking help.
“It’s completely out of pocket,” she said. “Some insurance companies regard it as ‘cosmetic’ surgery which is extremely offensive to me.
“People have to put their dreams on hold because of money.”
Allison, a 2007 Douglas High graduate, and her husband are living with her parents, Julie and Robert Hines in Gardnerville.
John Jeppson also is a substitute teacher, and is waiting to hear from several graduate schools to which he’s applied for advanced study in microbiology.
The Jeppsons have learned many lessons in their journey.
The first was not to wait to explore options or seek treatment.
“We were going to wait for a few years before trying to get pregnant,” she said. “And I am glad we didn’t. That would have just put our efforts out that much further.”
The Jeppsons say their journey has brought them closer together.
“I have learned that when a woman has a problem, you just listen and not try to fix it,”” John said. “This has definitely prepared us to have a baby. We will definitely appreciate him or her.”
The Jeppsons are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They met as students at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
The Jeppsons have learned to be patient and open with family and friends when discussing infertility.
“It is a taboo subject,” John said. “People think you shouldn’t be so personal.”
The Jeppsons have had to endure painful — and sometimes humorous – comments from well-meaning acquaintances.
“They’ll tell us, ‘Just relax,’ or, ‘You’re trying too hard,’” Allison said.
“The worst is people who find out what we’re going through, then complain about their own kids, or tell us how lucky we are not to have any,” John said. “They are so flippant.”
People ask why they don’t adopt.
“With adoption, you have to be emotionally prepared,” Allison said. “A good question to ask yourself is have you finished mourning your infertility and your chances of having a biological child?”
Adoption is an option, the Jeppsons said, but is an expensive and lengthy process.
Private adoption can cost upwards of $20,000, the Jeppsons said.
This time of year can be emotionally difficult with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, graduation and other family rites of passage.
There are support groups, but the closest is Sacramento.
Allison is active with online communities and has her own blog: progressingincircles.blogspot.com.
In her blog, she writes about her decision to make her voice heard.
“I had feelings of hopelessness, abandonment, loneliness... Things I felt because I was completely alone in my battle. I was uneducated about infertility and pregnancy loss, and had no idea that help was out there.
“I had to work on my own to pull out of it and find my happiness and joy again. Once I did, I was a new person. I was stronger and knew I could overcome anything thrown into my path. It was then that I knew I had to make my voice heard.
“I had to let everyone out there experiencing infertility know that they are not alone. During that time, I resolved that I would never let anyone I know go through what I went through. I had to let all of my friends, family, and members of my community know what infertility is, and how to help those in their lives who are afflicted with it. I had to let everyone know that infertility is hard, but it sure doesn’t have to be lonely. It can be overcome solo, but why not make it easier and do it with support?”
“I’ll receive an email that says, ‘I know you’re a person I can talk to.’ It’s really rewarding,” Allison said.
“I feel like part of the reason I am experiencing this is to empathize, to help other people, to serve, and be a comfort to others by sharing our trials and tribulations,” she said.
She also recommended Resolve.org, the National Infertility Association.
The Jeppsons grew up with two siblings each, and hope to have three or four children.
“We are ‘realistically optimistic,’” Allison said. “What our doctors have told us is that there is a solution for all the characteristics we are experiencing.”