Michael and Jennifer Young didn’t realize what an utter miracle their first two children had been until they were ready for child number three and pregnancy wasn’t happening. It got to the point where they consulted doctors to see if something was wrong.
As it turned out, both Michael and Jennifer had issues that led to their infertility challenges.
“They were surprised we had two kids,” Michael says.
The news of infertility was overwhelming for the couple, and it dashed their dreams of having a bigger family.
“I came from a family of eight kids,” Michael explains. “I had a picture in my head of having more kids, and it was hard to think that we might not have more.”
Michael always loved being around kids—a fact that led to his career as a German teacher at Tooele Junior High School. But being a teacher also meant not a lot of extra funds for expensive treatments for infertility.
“We tried less expensive options, but nothing came of them,” he says.
Having another baby wouldn’t leave the couple’s minds, so they began to consider in vitro fertilization. Still, they wondered, “How could we pay for such an expensive option?”
Connection and Hope
The Youngs attended a dinner hosted by Utah Bundled Blessings. It was a chance to connect with other couples going through infertility and hear their stories.
“The experience was affirming. We learned a lot about the process of IVF,” Michael says. “The couples there were all somewhere on the spectrum of their fertility journey.”
Part of the dinner was a raffle, but not just any raffle. The prize? Paid-for IVF cycles. Something everyone at the dinner would have been overjoyed to come home with, including the Youngs.
“We sat at a very happy table. Another couple at our table won. We were genuinely happy for them, but we wanted it, too,” Michael recalls.
He posted about the experience on Facebook, without much thought other than sharing a big part of his life with family and friends.
But that post would soon change their lives.
A message came from Todd Bulloch, an old friend, regarding the Youngs’ wish for IVF.
“He had a big impact on me,” Todd says.
As the friends attended college, married, and had families, they eventually grew apart. But once Facebook came along, they friended each other. As people do, Todd observed Michael from afar. They ran into each other from time to time. Then he learned of Michael’s infertility issues.
Todd’s wife, Susie, had started a business called Hey Grill Hey. It expanded to the point where Todd quit his job as an accountant to work with her. Susie has been featured on The Food Network and has gone viral with her barbecue and grilling videos.
“We’ve been so blessed,” Todd explains. “We wanted to spread it out and help as much as we can.”
Michael and his family pressed on Todd’s mind to the point where he reached out with an offer that would literally change their lives.
“They wanted to pay for IVF treatments,” Michael recalls. Even now, he can’t believe anyone would be so thoughtful, so selfless, and so generous.
“I almost fell off my chair. I asked them, ‘Do you know how expensive that is?’”
Todd adds, “We didn’t care how much it cost. They are great people.”
There was no guarantee that this round of IVF his friend was gifting them would result in a baby, but they were excited to try.
Waiting for the Miracle
The calendar turned to the year 2020, and Jennifer needed to undergo surgery before starting IVF treatments. Then the pandemic hit, halting the operation for the unforeseeable future, along with it the IVF treatments.
“We waited months. Then there was a tiny window of time and she put on a mask and I dropped her off because I couldn’t come in,” Michael recalls.
Thankfully, everything went well, and Jennifer started IVF treatments. Right away came costly medications and shots to prepare Jennifer for possible pregnancy.
“I didn’t realize how much preparation went into it—those painful stabs of the needle,” Michael says.
Finally, the day came for implanting an embryo, which went as planned. All of the preparation had come down to whether it would result in a pregnancy. The Youngs went through an excruciating two-week waiting period to find out if all the prayers and money and treatments had worked.
Their son Jarem, 13, waited along with his parents on the edge of his seat hoping for a baby sister. Their other son, Bryson, 11, has Down syndrome and hadn’t fully grasped the gravity of the situation just yet.
On December 28, 2020, they got the news. Jennifer was pregnant! All the wishing and hoping and generosity and treatments had worked. Then in March, an ultrasound confirmed that they would in fact be having a baby girl—a true miracle baby.
“We were over the moon,” Michael says.
But that didn’t mean everything would be smooth sailing to the due date in September 2021.
Another Roller Coaster
On May 1, 2021, Jennifer’s water broke. Four months early.
“This was the time to freak out,” Michael says.
In an instant, their miracle baby was in danger. They rushed Jennifer to the emergency room, and a specialist told her that she had a 95 percent chance of going into labor relatively soon. And the baby was considered barely medically viable at that point.
Jennifer would remain at the hospital for the duration of her pregnancy. The question that plagued them everyday was, how much longer would that be?
They sent Jennifer to stay at a hospital in Murray, Utah, about 45 minutes from the Youngs’ home. Michael visited when he could. Their two boys weren’t allowed into the hospital to visit, but Jennifer could come outside sometimes to see them. Every day, they wondered if their baby would be ok if it was born this early.
“They watched her like a hawk,” Michael explains.
Then came July 19, 2021. Birth day. Little Maggie Young was born more than six weeks early. The pregnancy was able to continue for 80 days past the time Jennifer’s water broke—a miracle in every way.
“The same specialist saw her, and his jaw dropped,” Michael says.
The doctor couldn’t believe that Jennifer’s pregnancy had continued for so many days after her water broke. But thankfully it did, and Maggie was born closer to her due date.
Michael called his parents to tell them that their miracle baby was born, and the very next call was to Todd and Susie Bulloch, who made the IVF treatment that resulted with Maggie possible.
“They kept close tabs on things during the whole process,” Michael says.
Little Maggie stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for several weeks and was cared for by a dedicated staff who Michael said saved her life. From the beginning, Maggie has been a fighter who has defied the odds.
Giving Hope to Others
After lots of ups and downs to get her here, the Youngs’ baby daughter is now home.
“I didn’t know what an involved process this would be,” says Michael. “It has changed my whole life. I live with gratitude. I feel like a new and different person.”
Maggie is a happy baby, and having loving parents and brothers definitely helps. Even Bryson, who isn’t very verbal, said, “Hi baby!” and waved at his little sister when she first came home.
Today, the Youngs are still flabbergasted that someone would offer to pay so much money for someone else to receive IVF treatments.
While Michael doesn’t feel he that he can adequately repay his friends for their kindness, he is doing what he can to help other couples struggling with infertility. Besides teaching, Michael is also a writer. He recently published an anthology of inspiring stories of modern-day miracles—like the Youngs experienced—and proceeds from the sales go to helping couples with fertility treatments. The book is called The Boss Level and is available on Amazon.
“I have learned how precious life is,” says Michael. “And I can use my talents and abilities to actively help others.”
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