With the win a baby contest through The New Hot 89.9, this year has definitely been a crazy whirlwind of interviews and press requests. We had to be selective with who we wanted to share our story and lives with, some requests we declined and others we gladly accepted. One in particular, Kelly Kent, won me over and ended up creating a profile on me and infertility for her school project at Algonquin college. After meeting with me and talking to my family friends she created a wonderful profile that brought tears to my eyes. I thought I would share her amazing work with you, my peeps. Hope you enjoy!
Thanksgiving is a time to get together with family and friends to relax, laugh and stuff yourself full of good food. It is supposed to be a time to treat yourself, to gather your thoughts and to recharge before the long and stressful Christmas season.
This was not the case for Natasha Derouchie and her family this past Thanksgiving weekend.
No, for them it was a weekend spent texting, calling and emailing friends, family, friends of family and friends of friends. It was spent behind some sort of screen, desperately posting links and spreading the word. Each member of the gathering was totally engrossed in a laptop or a Smartphone, voting over and over again for Couple A.
The fact that it was also Natasha’s 30th birthday weekend did little to calm nerves or cut tension and only a small amount of celebrating took place.
Each member of Natasha’s tight-knit group of supporters was nearly sick to their stomach with anticipation, anxiously awaiting an announcement that could change their lives forever.
Finally, on Tuesday, Oct. 11 the past-due broadcast was made. Local radio station, Hot 89.9, broke the news that Natasha Derouchie, 30, and her husband Ryan Derouchie, would be given the chance they have been waiting for since they first met eight years ago—they would be given the chance to have a baby of their very own.
That was the day Natasha and Ryan discovered they were one of five lucky couples to receive the grand prize of the controversial radio contest: Win a Baby. Each couple will receive up to three in vitro fertility treatments, valued at over $30,000.
For Natasha, Ryan and their families, it was a dream come true.
Natasha and Ryan met in October eight years ago on Natasha’s 22nd birthday in the elevator of the apartment building they unknowingly shared. Although they only met briefly, Ryan decided to ask Natasha to come down to the bar he was working at at the time.
It took her a while, but in January Natasha headed over to Ryan’s work, accompanied by her best friend, Caitlin Delaney.
Caitlin said she knew right away that Ryan meant something to Natasha because she seemed shy around him when she was normally so chatty and outgoing.
Natasha and Ryan chatted the whole night and Ryan said he was constantly looking for a good opportunity to ask her out for coffee, but Caitlin was always hovering not far away.
Finally, when the two girls got up to leave, Ryan saw the chance he had been waiting for all night and made his move.
“I remember running around the horseshoe bar,” said Ryan. “Like, sprinting. And then when I got outside I tried to act all cool and casual.”
Natasha agreed to meet him for coffee and the two have been together ever since.
Eight months later, on Natasha’s 23rd birthday and one year from when they had first met, Ryan proposed.
“I was shocked,” said Caitlin. “I had to sit down on the sidewalk. It hadn’t even been a year.”
Despite the quick engagement, everyone who knows Natasha and Ryan can see they are perfect for each other. Ryan himself describes Natasha as his love, his life and his everything.
“They absolutely beam around each other,” said Natasha’s mother, Edna (Eddie) Sinclair.
Ryan says he knew he wanted to be with Natasha for the rest of his life after she started to laugh at a funny part in a movie one day when the two of them were sitting on the couch.
“I could just picture our little girl laughing like that,” he said. “That’s when I thought to myself ‘I want to have kids with her.’”
Ryan and Natasha got married after a two-year engagement and they have been trying for a baby ever since.
Having a baby, though, would not be an easy journey.
When Natasha was 16, she needed surgery to remove her appendix, which had become inflamed. The surgery went well, but a few months later she started getting sick.
“She was having the same symptoms as before so I took her back to the hospital,” said Eddie.
Natasha needed to have an organ wash this time around to deal with toxins that had leaked from her appendix before the first surgery and had remained in her body. She was put on antibiotics afterwards and was sent home.
However, the infection from the toxins managed to stay in her system and Natasha needed a third surgery.
Luckily, the infection was healed after that third surgery, but it created a problem that would stay with Natasha for the rest of her life.
As a result of being opened up so many times, adhesions—or scar tissue—fused Natasha’s fallopian tubes to her bladder, making it impossible for her eggs to travel to her womb and for Natasha to get pregnant naturally.
Adhesions can sometimes be removed, but in Natasha’s case, because of where they formed, removing them could be fatal.
So it was a botched surgery in her teens that has made it almost impossible for Natasha to have baby.
“When people think infertility, they think of an old, lonely woman. What they don’t understand is it can happen to someone as young and loving as Tasha,” Caitlin said.
In fact, infertility affects over 8.5 per cent of Canadians—or over a quarter of a million Canadian couples, according to the Royal Commission for New Reproductive Technologies. It is defined as the inability to conceive a child after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse or the inability to carry a baby to term.
Eddie says Natasha has always wanted and loved kids. She is the oldest of three children and has always doted on her siblings.
“I don’t remember her lugging dolls around,” she said. “It was probably her siblings she played with.”
Eddie was 16 when she was pregnant with Natasha, and after she was born Eddie was told she wouldn’t be able to have any more children because of complications from surgeries.
Eddie says Natasha didn’t understand why she couldn’t have any more siblings and was always asking her mother for “just one” brother or sister.
“She really wanted a sibling,” said Eddie, laughing.
Natasha loved the idea of siblings. When Eddie was pregnant with her third child, Natasha would read stories to her mother’s belly and talk to her unborn brother every day.
Eddie says when Dakota was born and the nurses took him away to be weighed and measured, no one could get him to stop crying—until Natasha began to talk to him.
“I guess her voice calmed him,” said Eddie. “Because when he heard her voice he turned to look at her and stopped crying.”
Natasha’s mother-in-law, Nancy Derouchie, says Natasha seems to have a special bond with all children.
“She lights up like a Christmas tree when she see them,” she said.
After trying for a baby for two years, Natasha and Ryan decided to go to their family doctor to see what was going on. After several tests, their doctor referred them to an OBGYN, who in turn referred them to the Ottawa Fertility Clinic. It was there that they were told they would need in vitro fertilization treatments to have any hope of having a baby of their own.
One treatment of in vitro fertilization can cost upwards of $10,000.
“We didn’t know how we were going to pay for it,” Natasha said.
Natasha and Ryan are so deserving of children that people in their community were going to hold fundraisers to collect money to help with the cost of IVF. Natasha’s mother was even going to mortgage her fully-paid for home to pay for the treatments if all else failed.
“They have so much love to offer,” said Eddie. “I couldn’t imagine a life without (Natasha) being able to have a child.”
Cue Hot 89.9 and Win a Baby.
It was Eddie who heard the blurb on the radio advertising a Win a Baby contest that was to begin on Labour Day.
Natasha says her mom called her and excitedly told her she was going to win a baby and explained how she was to sign up.
“We needed to write a bit about why we deserved to win a baby, in 100 words or less,” said Natasha.
Ryan says Natasha didn’t say much about the contest right away; she just said they were going to win a baby.
Ryan was skeptical about the contest at first, because he believed they had no chance of winning and he didn’t want Natasha to be disappointed, but she eventually convinced him to give it a shot.
The top five couples were announced right before Thanksgiving weekend, and Natasha and Ryan, for confidentiality reasons, were Couple A.
Thanksgiving weekend was spent in a state of numbness, at the same time hoping for a win and preparing for a loss.
“I almost fell off my chair when we heard we had won,” said Ryan. “I almost still can’t believe it.”
The contest has given Natasha and Ryan new hope of having a family of their own.
“Win a Baby has given us an amazing opportunity,” said Natasha. “We’re so grateful.”
Natasha starts the in vitro fertilization treatments in
January, and if everything goes well, she could be pregnant in February.
Natasha’s sister-in-law is expecting a baby currently, and the two hope to share the new-baby joys together.
“We’re hoping to have two little ones by Christmas next year,” Nancy said.