Todd and Melissa Trader of Naperville had a long and difficult
journey to become parents. After spending an estimated $150,000 and
six years on fertility treatments, they finally had a daughter,
Jordan, now 5. She was followed by brother Breckin, now 2, who was
conceived naturally. The struggle to have children and the strain
it placed on them, both emotionally and financially, led the
Traders to found Birdies for Babies, a golf outing at Tamarack Golf
Club (where Melissa works) that raises money to pay for one round
of in vitro fertilization for a selected couple.
Melissa talked to Chicago Parent about their road to parenthood,
helping other parents and being a mom.
Can you tell me a little about your own experience with
fertility treatments? I got pregnant right off the bat
with Clomid and miscarried at seven weeks. Then I went through a
couple inseminations and did get pregnant, and at 21 or 22 weeks,
my appendix burst … I had emergency surgery, so I lost that baby.
Then we went with IVF cycles after that and did-gosh, I can't even
remember-like four or five fresh cycles, and one frozen (before I
got pregnant). It was still like a rocky road, though … I had an
emergency cerclage, a stitch in the cervix, because I was starting
to dilate. From that point on, I was on bed rest. She was born very
healthy at 36 weeks.
Why did you decide to help other people going through
fertility treatments? When we were going through it, we
didn't really have anyone to talk to. It was just Todd and I, and
every time it would come back negative, I would cry, I would be
mad, and then I'd be like, "I'm just going to start over again."
And Todd would be like, "The money tree in the back yard is running
out." When it doesn't work, it's all that money gone and you don't
have anything to show for it. We just wanted to try to help people
take away some of the stress of "How are we going to pay for this?"
And it's a support for everyone we've dealt with, a little family
where we can help each other out and talk.
How do you select which family you'll give the free IVF
cycle to? We ask them to give a brief summary of what
they've gone through. We just kind of read through and select that
way. … We're trying to grow this and we want someone who is going
to help bring players and constantly help support. It's not,
"Here's your money, and we're never going to hear from you
If you could say one thing to a couple struggling with
infertility, what would it be? What helped Todd and me
through it is that we didn't lose sight of our relationship
together. You get obsessed with it; when you want a child, you want
one. You don't want to go through this and lose sight of the love
you have for your husband (or wife). If you lose that, then what do
you have? Don't lose that focus: you want to have a family, but you
want to have a family with the person you're with.
How do you think that experience affects your
parenting? Both of our kids, they really are great kids,
but as any kid, they can test you. At first when (Jordan) was born,
I was very protective-"Nobody touch her, we worked really hard for
this!" As people who have gone through infertility, you know
exactly what a miracle having a child is…. I give lots of hugs and
squeezes to the kids. I think that it has helped me to see them as
such joys and treasures. Each is very special.... I'd (do) it all
over again for the outcome.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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