Jun. 25—MANKATO — It hasn't been easy, but Maddie and Sandra Exline (Roozen) are determined to make a family.
The couple has been trying to conceive for more than a year using egg donors and fertility treatments because Maddie has a condition that makes it difficult to conceive.
After a round of injections meant to help with fertility sent Maddie to the hospital with life-threatening conditions this spring, the couple is now trying to adopt to help them fulfill their dream of having a child or two.
But adoption is costly and the Exline (Roozen's) spent their savings trying different fertility treatments over the past year. They are planning to take out loans and a friend started a GoFundMe page to help raise money.
"This has been a long, grueling, extensive process," Maddie said.
While trying to have a child last year, Maddie found out she had polycystic ovarian syndrome, a common hormonal disorder that can make eggs not mature normally. Maddie began taking trigger shots each month to work through the syndrome as she tried to conceive through a donor.
The pregnancy wouldn't take and Maddie was prescribed different medications to try each month.
This spring Maddie's doctor had her try injectables, a more aggressive fertility approach.
The injections caused Maddie's ovaries to fill up with fluids, a problem called ovarian hyperstimulation. Her ovaries greatly expanded and Maddie gained about 50 pounds in about five days. She was hospitalized and put on oxygen as doctors tried to remove the fluid from her body.
There was a point during her hospitalization where doctors weren't sure if Maddie was going to make it.
She started recovering and was able to leave the hospital late last month after nine days in the hospital, but the recovery hasn't been easy.
Maddie still isn't able to return to work and has trouble doing basic things like walking up stairs and picking up objects. She isn't able to move much and uses a back scratcher-like object to rub her pet pig Lucy's belly.
"I'm kind of like a fragile old lady," Maddie said.
About a week after leaving the hospital, Sandra and Maddie met with a fertility specialist and were told they wouldn't help them try to conceive anymore because Maddie was such a risk.
"It was pretty heartbreaking," Maddie said. "It's been hard to accept."
Determined to grow their family, the couple is now turning to adoption. They faced some challenges as one adoption agency refused to work with them because they are an LGBTQ couple, they said. But they found an agency they like, Adoption Minnesota, and are trying to get the adoption process underway soon.
They are planning to take out some loans to help with the costs since they used most of their savings on fertility treatments. The entire adoption process can take a couple years so they still have a ways to go.
"This has all been an emotional roller coaster, to say the least," Sandra said.