An Infertility Fundraising Pioneer: Brandi’s Story

infertility-fundraising

Each week I interview someone who has experienced infertility firsthand. This week, I’m really excited to be interviewing Brandi Koske. Brandi blogs at Baby or Bust and in 2009 she was the first blog ever to use her blog to raise funds for IVF. I was so grateful that she agreed to share some wisdom about blogging and raising funds online. Enjoy!

infertility-fundraising

Q.  Tell us a little about yourself.

I like the brevity of my Twitter bio. I use that as a guide point to avoid the “Once upon a time…”. Focused on loving my life w/ @skoskie + Paisley, partner/content strategist @CraftedByClover, creator @BabyOrBust, cooking, wine, laughing, Sooners.

Life really threw me for a loop the last two years so I’m finally getting back to a place where everything fits and feels right and I’m not faking my way through happy. Today’s actually the one-year anniversary of our “Happy Summr” (not a typo). We took off last May for four months, drove 15,000 miles, and visited 27 states. It was the single best decision we’ve ever made. At the conclusion, we moved to Denver. Now we only wonder why it took us so long to get out here. I’m married to my best friend, coming up on 13 years. I get to be Paisley’s mom. She’s a clone of my personality so it keeps us both on our toes! In January I moved toward a major goal and formed a new interactive company with three partners and it’s off to a really strong start. I’m a content strategist and writer. It’s been very energizing to move my work in this direction. I really love to be in my kitchen, out on a hike, exploring the new brewery scene, or just doing something Funtaneous — that’s what we call just taking off and doing something really unexpected, unplanned, and having a great time! I guess Baby or Bust was funtaneous before we got around to calling things that.

Q.  How long did you try to conceive and what issues were you facing?

From the time I went off birth control (2004) until Paisley was born was six years (2010). We tried unsuccessfully for the first 18 months and then started asking questions. We were really young and really healthy and it didn’t make any sense!! In 2006 we made our way to the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Wichita and got the news that IVF was our only chance to conceive. And then we spent the next three years saving and planning.

I assumed I was the problem, naturally. I’d battled ovarian issues since high school, and before the IVF had already gone through one surgery for ruptured cysts and had gritted my way through month after month of horrifically painful cycles and ruptures. But after months of tracking BBT the doctor took mere seconds to look at my charts and say I was fine. So we had my husband’s sperm analysis done, and the doctor called to tell us “the lab thought this was a post-vasectomy sample.” I can only pin one other moment in my life that felt as dark and silent and empty as that one. Further tests revealed that he has a congenital absence of the vas deferens. So the tube that should take the sperm out is just a thin piece of tissue. Hormone tests confirmed it was likely he produced sperm, they just couldn’t get out.

Q.  In 2006, you started blogging and fundraising for IVF at BabyOrBust.com. How did you get the idea to blog and use it as a means for raising funds?  Continue reading “An Infertility Fundraising Pioneer: Brandi’s Story”

Support Your Fellow Infertility Bloggers {and the Weekly Link Up}

Can you all believe that the holidays are almost here?  You know what that means- lots of shopping!

I was thinking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday and it occurred to me that they could be used as a means of encouraging and supporting infertility bloggers and people raising funds for treatment or adoption.

Many bloggers and fundraisers use something called Amazon affiliate links to make small commissions from products they recommend.  I often use them when I do book reviews.  The cool thing about Amazon affiliate links is that bloggers get credit for ANY purchase made after clicking on their link.  For example, if you click on a link I posted about a book, but decide to buy another book instead, Amazon will give me a small commission for that other book.  Commissions are very small- usually pennies on the dollar.  But we all know that every cent counts when it comes to treatments and adoptions.

I also want to include bloggers who are fundraising in other ways, like people who are selling Stella & Dot, essential oils, professional services, etc. Basically- if you’re raising funds to build your family and have a link you share- LET ME KNOW! Continue reading “Support Your Fellow Infertility Bloggers {and the Weekly Link Up}”