LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's a moment that has brought generosity, science and one couple's dream to the ultimate culmination. One year ago, Rachel and Tony Bourque could have never believed how a story they saw here on KPLC would change their lives forever. This is their story about the ultimate "Gift of Hope."
When Rachel and Tony Bourque exchanged vows seven years ago, they knew they wanted to have children some day. "My mom had kids and stayed at home with her babies," says Rachel, "and so I wanted to do the same thing - just to be a mom."
Although Rachel had been surrounded by children as an elementary teacher and Tony had a full plate as a pastor - they knew something was missing. "We were wanting a baby so badly and every month we would wait and wait and nothing would happen month after month," says Rachel, "and it turned into years."
After four years of trying to get pregnant, Rachel was tested for infertility problems. When the doctor gave her a clean bill of health, Tony knew he was the issue. "When you realize that you may not be able to make your wife's dreams come true," says Tony, "that was tough and so it was devastating to both of us."
The Bourque's were told there was a chance that in-vitro fertilization could work. But the price tag of $10,000 was not something this couple could afford. Then came a bit of "hope."
"We saw 'The Gift of Hope' on KPLC and Rachel asked me, she said 'Do you want to send in a letter,' and I said 'It can't hurt.' Rachel adds, "I sent it in to them, not thinking anything at all."
"The Gift of Hope" was created by Dr. John Storment at the Fertility and Women's Health Center of Louisiana to give deserving couples with infertility problems the opportunity to become pregnant through a free IVF cycle. Out of over 60 applications, the Bourque's stood out.
Dr. Storment says, "Their commitment number one to each other and their faith is very strong. Number two, they have really a very good medical case because they don't have really any other choice but in vitro."
When Rachel got the news about her selection, she was thrilled. "We went from nothing to we think there's a good possibility," says Rachel, "I will never forget that feeling." Tony says there saw a range of emotions. "Tears, just excitement, disbelief...it was awesome."
The next several months were filled with ups and downs and medication tweaking until Rachel was finally implanted with two embryos in February. Then came the moment they had been waiting for through these tough years.
"I was like, really, is it really positive?" says Tony, "and I would just stare at the test and when it started fading a little bit I would say 'take another one, I just want to know."'
"I didn't know how to react," says Rachel, "it's something that I've been waiting for all of my life and so it was just awesome." While several pregnancy tests revealed that Rachel was finally pregnant, she and Tony knew that hearing that first heartbeat would truly bring this dream to life.
At Rachel and Tony's first ultrasound, they could see and hear that they were indeed, finally pregnant. "We heard the heartbeat loud and clear and that was so cool," says Tony. As small as a grain of rice, this tiny life is truly the Bourque's "gift of hope."
"We just kind of looked at each other and couldn't believe it," says Rachel, "that after this long time there really is something growing in me."
*Rachel's due date is November 3rd.