Accept it…

Accept it…and then challenge it! About 5 months ago I said enough is enough.   I was miserable.     How can you be miserable with a beautiful baby in your arms?  Well… part of it is you keep saying to yourself, “what the hell is wrong with me; I have everything I’ve ever dreamed […]

Why am I begging? 

If you follow me on Facebook or basically any other social media I have probably been driving you nuts with my post lately.  I’d apologize but I can’t because it is just that important.  My Husband and I have been fighting for over a year now for Congress to pass legislation to allow the VA to provide IVF coverage to our wounded Veterans.  I know other couples that have been fighting for over 6 years for the same thing.  Year after year this gets put on the back burner.  Year after year it is voted down or taken out.  Every precious year during our child bearing years is quickly passing us by, while we wait for Congress to decide how they “feel” about IVF and other fertility treatments.

Congress- WE DO NOT HAVE TIME!  44% of Maryland’s Post 911 Veterans are in their prime child bearing years.  When you hit around the age of 35 fertility discussions start to become different.  My Husband spent 2.5 years at Walter Reed recovering from significant injuries that he sustained in Afghanistan during his first deployment in our Army’s Infantry.  Kevin lost his leg and suffered extensive injuries to the rest of his body.  He also lost a testicle that resulted in a significant decrease in fertility.  Every test and doctor we have seen has said the same painful words, we will never have children on our own.  We were told that we would be covered through the DOD if we did IVF while he was active duty.  A perfect time to bring a child into the world… between surgeries and a very unstable situation… NOT! We made the responsible decision to hold off on having children until our life settled and we were ready. Since we waited, we lost coverage for IVF treatments that we needed.  The VA cannot provide IVF treatments to any Veterans, including those who need it because of a war related injuries.  After Kevin retired the VA ran every test, looking for options because they desperately wanted to help us.  Unfortunately they had to tell us that they were unable to help.  Why? Because our government placed a ban that prohibits the VA from providing the treatments.  The funny part is, the DOD is able provide it.  Why is there a difference between the two?

When we met with members of Congress we were hit with some pro-life issues.  Apparently pro-life is not an issue for DOD even though the IVF is provided the exact same way.  IVF is as pro-life as you get.  We are starting life, we are trying to have a family, not end it.  I’m not sure why our veterans are being hit with these questions when all they are asking is to start a family and to have a more normal life.   It is unfair and unethical to make them feel anything other than supported when trying to pursue their dream of having a family!

Our life will never be normal because of war.  Parts of my husbands body are somewhere in Afghanistan and the 2.5 years he spent recovering he will never be able to get back.  Does he regret it… no, he doesn’t.  His Mom had to live with him for about 2 years to care for him through over 30 surgeries.  Now he is medically retired.  He is going to school for his Bachelors degree.  He is ready to be a Dad.  His Mom, who had to wonder if her son would survive, is ready to hold his baby-her Grandbaby.  This is what normal looks like for so many.  All we are asking is for a piece of normal, to be able to be parents.

The reason I am pushing so hard for support now is because Congress will soon be going on break.  If this is not voted on as a yes, more years will continue to pass and more families will be faced with trying to figure out how to have a family.  Like I said before, many of these soldiers are in their child bearing years now, they do not have time for this to take longer! Our wounded service members deserve better.  The ultimate goal of recovery after a war injury is to go on with life as normal as possible, to make the person whole again.  By passing these bills we are helping to make these men and women who already gave so much, whole again.

If you have children, look at them and ask yourself what you would do to bring them into this world if you had to do it all over again.  That is all we are doing.  Our baby is not due until August, but we know the love for her is immeasurable because we have and will do anything to bring her to us.  We will also do anything we have to make sure other people in our situation do not have to feel the way our Government has made us feel.

Please help us by sharing with Congress your thoughts.  We welcome you to use our story.  There’s over 2000 known cases of Veterans who now face infertility because of war injuries. Let’s stand up for these people and help change their lives.  So often we hear “thank you for your service” and we know the people mean well but a true thank you is to help fight for these men and women.  The link I am going to post is a quick and easy to write your representatives requesting that they support these bills.  You do not even have to look up your representatives, they do it for you!  You don’t even have a to type the letter, it is done for you (although you are welcome to add and change things).  You simply put your name and address and it is done!  Something so simple could change the lives of so many and would truly be a meaningful “thank you for your service” for so many!

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Click here to let your voice be heard!

Shaking Ground

“Keep on climbing, though the ground might shake.”  Maddie & Tae “Fly”

I have been listening to this song for awhile now.  I found it during our last two week wait.  I was thankful for the words in the song during and after the two week wait.  The ground is still shaking.  My heart is still broken.  Maybe it always will be, but somehow, I need to find some peace from my grief.   Peace would feel so much better than the emotions I have been running through.  When I was taking Psychology classes, I learned that the stages of grief do not follow steps.  You can visit each stage in any order, at any time. I think I started in these stages when we found out that we would not be able to have children on our own.  That is a fact to grieve in itself.  There’s a lot of feeling of loss with not being able to conceive on your own.  After going through the two week wait and finding out our embryo did not survive was the beginning of a whole new grief cycle.

I tried to keep the mindset that this will happen when the time is right.  However, that is becoming more of a struggle for me, a constant struggle.  I believe Kevin and I are the definition of “all things happen for a reason.”  There is a reason Kevin survived what he did; there is a reason we found each other again.  I truly believe that.  However, I struggle with why we also have to experience this pain.  This pain is more than I would have ever imagined.  It really is a roller coaster of emotions.  You have no idea if you are going to be able to emotionally keep it together minute by minute. I can rarely verbalize how I feel because it often comes out as angry or tears. Neither emotion is something I feel like feeling.  However, writing about it gives me the release I need, while keeping it together.

One of the hardest things for me is that I cannot participate in the pregnancy world.  When someone brings up something about pregnancy, I cannot relate.  I have no idea what it feels like to have your child move inside of you.  I have no idea what it is like to see two pink lines. I have not the slightest idea of any of it. I feel like the outcast.  I feel like the 16 year old, who has no right to get pregnant.  When in all reality, I am 27 years old, successful, married and dying to be a Mother.   I get to be asked, “do you have children” frequently. I know those people mean absolutely no harm when asking.  It doesn’t really hurt me to be asked either.  However, I wish I could always tell our story.  I always just respond with a simple “no”.  But what I really want to say is, “no, but this is what we are going through to try and have our family”.  It is a part of our story and right now it is my life.  However, my journey makes a lot of people uncomfortable so it is better to just stick with “no”.

I am a Christian.  I believe that God exists and that he is watching over us.  However, I struggle when I think that it is in God’s hands and that He might be saying I am not to be a mother.  It is even harder when I watch others have babies over and over in less than favorable situations than I find myself in.  I struggle believing that God would say it is a “good” time for 16 year old or a drug addict to have a baby but not for a 27 year old, financially stable, happily married woman.  It really is a struggle… a struggle to accept, at times, God’s plan for us.  However, the why me” road is not one I want to go down..  “Why me,” is not beneficial to anyone.  I would never wish this one anyone else.  I know that saying, “why me,” is like saying “why not someone else.”  I would rather this be me than to ever watch someone I love go through it.  I will never know why Kevin and I have to face this, but we do.  I have to figure out, somehow, how to survive it.

I am a statistics person.  It was one of my favorite classes in college. I find comfort in facts, reason, and logic.  I like to control and understand why things happen.  I am comfortable in those situations.   I like to know my odds and then I can take what comes next.  I am most comfortable when I am prepared.  I had what we would say to everyone already prepared before we received our news from the beta testing.  Our positive post was waiting in my phone, along with the negative that I, unfortunately, had to use.  While it was difficult to have to use that, I was glad I was prepared.   I researched the odds of IVF working and it is no where near 100%, 90% or even 70% of a chance.  There is no guarantee that I will walk away from this journey with a baby in my arms.  However, IVF, when compared to our less than 1% chance of it happening on our own, is a much higher chance of success and worth pursuing.  I don’t understand God’s plan for us right now. But I am so thankful to God for bringing Kevin and I together. I know he has something amazing in store for us.  And I am thankful that He has made it possible for us to meet and work with these amazing professionals who have the intelligence and interest to help us on our path to parenthood.

My ground is shaking.  I am not steady on my feet as I try to figure out my place in all of this.  I am trying to trust and have faith.  I am constantly battling my heart and my head.  God sent me the most amazing man to get through this journey with and I am so incredibly thankful for him.  We are partners in this process and that in itself has made this journey easier on us both.  We find strength in each other and help ourselves through the rough patches; always loving, always supportive. While God has always been a part of my life, I am working on finding more ways to invite him to all of my life.  Here’s to a stronger, more faithful us, during one of the most difficult journeys of our lives.

This cartoon has been stuck in my head lately.

This cartoon has been stuck in my head lately. “Why me” does not help anything. Figuring out how to survive, become stronger, and build your faith is a much better focus.

Listen to “Fly” by Maddie & Tae here!

The Two Week Wait – Day 5

Today is day 5 post transfer of a 5 day blastocyst. By today our embryo should be completely implanted. If it is not implanted there is little to no chance of a continued pregnancy. What I would give to have a microscope to tell me what is going on in there! Has it hatched all the way; has it implanted? Whatever has happened by today will directly reflect the news we hear next week.

Everyday after the retrieval, we received a phone call that told us how our embryos were doing. They were watched and monitored. One of the highest graded one was chosen for the transfer. It was beginning to hatch out of its shell; which is gave us so much hope. I just wish I could get a phone call to tell me, “hey, I am still growing in here.” Just something to get me through the next week and a half. I have been experiencing twinges of pain in my lower abdomen. Could that be implantation? Sure, it could be. It could also be residual pain from the egg retrieval and some very pissed off ovaries. I am experiencing many symptoms that anyone would when they are pregnant. However, I have no idea if it is the pregnancy or the medications. At this point, it is most likely the medications.  It is a cruel mind game at the most pivotal moment of your life.

 I am consumed.
When we started our journey towards figuring out how we would have a family; I learned about the two-week wait. I thought it would be difficult just from reading about it. Now that I am experiencing it, difficult does not even define it. It consumes you. You wonder all day long; am I or am I not pregnant? How are things going in there, in my own body?  I spent day after day watching my follicles grow at my daily appointments during stims. I saw progress everyday. I was proud of my body for stepping up the stress I was putting it under and providing us with what we needed.  Now, I do not know what my body is doing. I just hope it is being nice to our embryo. I hope it is providing a safe and nurturing home.

Kevin and I have been through a lot in our lives and the past couple of months while planning and implementing this has been just as trying.  Our dreams have always been to have children.  We have a 1% chance of conceiving on our own.  While IVF does not guarantee a live birth, it does significantly increase our odds.  This process is everything to us.  It is our lives; it is our future.  So much planning, money, time, energy, and my own body has gone into make our dreams come true.  This process has been everything but easy. However, it is something we would do over and over again to bring our child into this world.

So today is day 5 post transfer. In the infertility world it is often written as 5dp5dt; meaning, 5 days post a 5 day transfer.  This means our embryo grew in the lab for 5 days and now it has been 5 days since it was transferred back into me. Today is a big day because it should be implanted today and if not, it probably will not happen.  We still have over a week to go until we are able to find out if this actually happened.  We are trying to stay busy.  Last night I went to Paint Nite with some friends; that significantly helped a pretty rough day emotionally end on a good note.  Now to continue to find things to keep my mind busy, my heart happy, and things to laugh about each day!

Please say some extra prayers today that everything is doing what we need it to!  Pray for implantation to be complete!  I bet you never thought that would be something you would read or pray for, I know I did not! Please know how much we appreciate it!

To our Embaby: We hope you are warm, safe, nurtured, and most of all we hope you know how much you are wanted and loved.  Please stick! Love, Your overprotective, worry wort of a Mother and your unconditionally loving Father.

This is my painting from Paint Nite last night! A little heart in the middle for the baby we hope to know soon!

This is my painting from Paint Nite last night! A little heart in the middle for the baby we hope to know soon!

Transfer Day! Officially PUPO!

We are officially PUPO!  This typically stands for “Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise” in the infertility world.  However, I decided to change it to “Pregnant Unless Proven Otherwise”.  The word “until” seems too negative to me; like eventually I will get the phone call that we are not pregnant.  I like the word “unless” much more.  To me this word means that it may not happen.  That I may not get the phone call that I am not pregnant.  Unless means that I have every reason to believe that I will get the positive phone call; and if we do not get that phone call, we will cross that bridge at that time.

This morning we watched our embryo get placed back into its home.  It is now in the blastocyst stage.  Our little embryo is even starting to hatch!  Before I started this journey, I did not realize that humans do

hatch!  This has to happen in order for it to implant into the uterus lining. In two weeks, we will get blood work done.  This will help us if our embryo has survived.

We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers during this time!  The next two weeks will be difficult to get through but we have hope!  Kevin and I choose to be public about this journey in an effort to educate as many people as we can about something that impacts 1 out of 8 couples.  In someways being public is very difficult.  I am still sad sometimes that we will not get the cute surprise pregnancy announcement like most people do.  I also know that if we receive not so happy news in two weeks, it will be difficult to go through that publicly. However, we decided that the impact we can hopefully make is worth it.  We also hope that anyone going through this knows they are not alone.  We want to break the silence that so many feel they must live in while suffering from infertility.  Infertility is a disease that is represented in both men and women equally.  1 out of 8 couples suffer with it.  Our story is just a glimpse into this world and we hope it brings the issues to light.

We will keep everyone updated!  Keep the prayers coming for Baby Jaye and pray for a BFP (BIG FAT POSITIVE)!

This is an actual picture of our embryo!  This picture was taken today; before it was transferred back! It is starting to hatch as you can see on the left side of the picture.

This is an actual picture of our embryo! This picture was taken today; before it was transferred back! It is starting to hatch as you can see on the left side of the picture.

Emotions are high, hopes are higher!

Yesterday was our first appointment with Shady Grove Fertility.   I spent hours researching infertility and some options we may or may not have.  I thought that would help me prepare for everything the doctor was going to say.  It didn’t.  I wasn’t prepared.  I felt like a deer in headlights.  I have no idea what all of the acronyms they throw out mean and I found myself frustrated.  We had to fill out a ton of paper work after the appointment.  It was like purchasing a house… with much tougher questions.  First, we had to decide if we would want our remaining embryos frozen after our first transfer.  Sure…  I think.

Then, there was this question…

“What do you want us to do with you embryos if something happens to two both of you?”

WHAT? I didn’t prepare for that question. It actually never crossed my mind that it would even be asked.   We will have frozen embryos just waiting for us to use them.  If one of us passes away, the embryos’ still belong to the living person.   This just makes me feel weird; I am making plans for my children before they are even conceived.  I don’t know how I feel about it.  I am trying to understand that it is okay to do this.  I am thanking God for giving us such brilliant people who will make it possible for us to have a family.

Then the question, “if you do not want them anymore can we do research on them or if they die what do you want us to do them the remaining tissue?”  Um… okay, it will help other people out right?

Who has to make decisions like this?  Why do we have to?  Why can’t we be like other people who can get pregnant naturally? If he wasn’t injured, this wouldn’t have been an issue.  I hate these questions and I feel bad for feeling them but… I feel them.  Kevin does not deserve to feel like this is his fault, because it is not his fault in the least bit.  I’m very much in love with him and I wouldn’t change a thing.  I know he feels guilty sometimes, but he shouldn’t.  If all of these things didn’t happen, I’m not sure that we would have been brought together.  So I will take the good, the bad, and the ugly because I found true honest love.

Then I think about all the exciting parts of the beginning of a pregnancy and it makes me a little bit sad.  Announcing to your husband that you are pregnant and the excited look on his face, what beats that (besides obviously his face when our child is brought into this world…man I cannot wait for that moment)?  Telling your parents that they are going to be Grandparents, telling your siblings they will be Aunts and Uncles, has to be an amazing feeling.  We won’t get that, people will know we are trying to get pregnant because I will be giving myself shots and going to never-ending doctor’s appointments.  It doesn’t seem like something that will be easy to hide from everyone.  There will be no surprise.   I feel like during the two-week wait I am going to be stared at day after day, everyone will be waiting to see if it worked.  Then we will sit in a doctor’s office and they will tell us if it did work.  If it didn’t work, what do I say? What do I do?  If it did work, it would change everything for us.  More than likely, it will work and all will go well.  I’m trying to stay out of the world of “what ifs”, that world is terrifying and a waste of my time, but sometimes we all visit that evil world.

I know this will get easier to understand and deal with over time.  I’m so thankful that we decided to look into this now; so we have plenty of time to get comfortable and knowledgeable before the actual IVF procedure starts.  It is just hard right now.  Sitting in the doctor’s appointment, hearing things I did not understand, and thinking how I am going to get all of this straight is very overwhelming.  I’ll be okay, we will be okay, and our future children will be okay; I just need to work through the confusion.

I’m excited to start thinking about the real possibility of Kevin and I having a family.  I know he will make an amazing Dad.  I cannot wait to look at them and hopefully see his smile, eyes, and overall love for life in them.  I don’t mean to sound “woe is me” about this subject, nor do I want pity.  I know thousands of people go through this all of the time.  Just right now, in this moment, I am tired, confused, frustrated, excited, and scared.  Most of all, I am thankful, so incredibly thankful, for doctors, nurses, science, and God for giving us the opportunity to raise a family of our own.  Kevin and I are strong, we fought through everything that was supposed to bring us down.  I know we will get through this too.  I just cannot wait for the day when I can spill off all the information about this process without being confused or mixing up terms, or trying to figure out when I am supposed to take what test and where.  It is a whole new world to us, I’m embracing it with open arms, and with a side of anxiety.

Every season brings new beginnings and new life.

Every season brings new beginnings and new life.