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!

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.

What would I say to you?

My post, 1,2,3,go, has received quite a bit of feedback which makes me so incredibly happy!  If I can share my story to help someone else not make the same mistakes, it makes what happened to me, worth it .  So here is my letter to someone living with emotional abuse.  It could be anyone:  your friend, sister, brother or even you,  This happens to people of all classes, education levels, ages, and genders.  The letter I have written below is not to anyone specifically.  It is just to someone who is being emotionally abused, whether they realize it or not.  Hopefully, if you don’t know it, this letter will open your eyes.  Many of us have been in situations where we watch a loved one in an abusive relationship but we are terrified to say anything.   I’ve written down everything that I would say, if I could, in that situation. Maybe if there is a person you are concerned about you can share this.  Hopefully, that person will read it and recognize themselves.

Dear You,

         I know you don’t think this is true but, you deserve better. You don’t think this is true because who are you to stay who deserves your love and who doesn’t?  Who would want to make that call?  After all, they need you.  They have said it a thousand times, they couldn’t imagine life with you.  You don’t want them to be sad or hurt, right? I understand.

      I have to ask you though… WHAT ABOUT YOU?  Aren’t you sad and hurt?  Don’t you deserve to be loved? Can’t you imagine your life feeling loved and relaxed?  Oh wait! You think you change him right?  If he loves you enough, he will change his ways.  That’s what you want to believe.  And that’s what he needs you to believe.

        Have you ever tried changing yourself?  Even changing something as simple as your diet, stop biting your nails, no cussing, etc?  IT IS REALLY HARD right?  Therefore, you must realize it is a million times harder to change another person.  It is actually impossible. Bottom line is, you cannot control their thoughts, actions, and you definitely cannot make decisions for them.  You cannot change this person.  They must want to change themselves.  Even if they want to change themselves, it takes time.  Just because they were nice to you for a day, week, or month, it does not mean that they changed.  What will happen when the finances are tight, or the baby cries late at night and you are both exhausted  Or what will happen when they just get tired of being nice?  Do you really want to live like this? Don’t fall for the tricks.  Sometimes they pretend to be nice to you, buy you things, and do other things to make you feel loved.  It won’t last long.  They are just doing these things to keep you hanging on.  Once they know they have you back, the abuse typically comes back. It is an endless cycle.  You don’t have to put up with this.  You can choose something better for yourself.

      I hate to tell you this because it hurts: this person cannot love you.  They may think they do, but they can’t.  They cannot love you because they do not treat you with respect.  You cannot love someone and not respect them. Love is not controlling someone.  Love is not being jealous.  None of these things are love.  Sure, you might think that if he is jealous it might mean that he just wants you to himself because he loves you.  But, the overwhelming odds are that he wants to control you.  You are considered property and he is protecting his property.  Jealously is not attractive or healthy. Have you heard the song, “Jealous” by Nick Jonas?  It has a catchy beat, it brings you in and gets stuck in your head.  When you listen to the lyrics you realize it is about control. No one should enjoy being jealous or want their partner to be jealous. I know exactly what it feels like when you worry about someone looking at you because your significant other might go after them or accuse you of something, it is not fun, exciting, or loving.   That song is the exact opposite of what a healthy relationship consists of.  Don’t choose that life for yourself, choose a life filled with love. 

     So, if that is not love, what is?  Love is accepting an imperfect person, perfectly.  No one is perfect, people make mistakes on a daily basis.  Those mistakes should not hurt you day after day.  Of course, your spouse might say something that will hurt your feelings; unfortunately we do treat the people we love the worst at times.  However, your significant other should never directly attack you for things that are beyond your control.  You shouldn’t live in fear of upsetting them by living your life.   No one should walk on egg shells and never be allowed to express themselves.  Love is letting someone be themselves.  If you are like me, you might think, well, he isn’t perfect but I am supposed to love him anyway, right? You are supposed to love an imperfect person,  Not true.  These things are beyond just an imperfect person: belittling someone, isolating them, screaming at them, lying, controlling, physical aggression, drug use, stealing, and abandoning them emotionally or physically. Someone who does these things to someone is not loving them.  If you are having an argument with your spouse about the finances and you both say something that maybe you shouldn’t have, that doesn’t mean that you should run and leave.  You both care about the finances because you want your family to be stable, you are arguing about it out of love.  Couples disagree; that is completely normal.  The line is when it starts making the other person feel unsafe, unwanted, and unloved. 

     Maybe you have thought about leaving but the ultimate line was thrown at you, “I will kill myself if you leave me.”  This is the cruelest line that someone who says they love you could possibly throw at you.  It unfair.  They know that they will get you to stay because you fear that they will actually do it.  Then if they did kill themselves, how would you live with that?  The overwhelming odds are that they will not injury themselves in the least bit.  All you have to do is type in “signs of emotional abuse” in Google and you will find list after list of signs.  Pretty much every list has “threats to kill themselves” on the list.  Abusers do this because it is the ultimate control.  You have to remember that someone who says they love you and means would NEVER do this to you.  Why would someone who truly loves you ever want you to feel the pain of their death?  That is just cruel.  The likelihood of the person actually killing themselves is basically zero.  They are just using it as a method of control, they value their own life far too much to end it.  However, they do not care how you feel.  They do not care that you are dying inside.  They just want that control.  You deserve better, so leave.  Let the pleas and threats come.  Call the police, if it would make you feel better and let them know that the person has threatened to kill themselves.  They will do visits to see if the person is mentally stable.  More than likely, they will be just fine.  You will see on Facebook in a week or so that they have moved on.  It will hurt seeing that.  You will be confused as to how they could move on so quickly if they loved you.  The painful truth is, they didn’t love you because they are not capable.  It isn’t your fault.  You couldn’t have seen it coming. It was just one of those “wrong place at the wrong time” situations.  But you can get out of it.  You can live the life you deserve.  

  If you think you are being emotionally abused, try Googling  signs of abuse.  Use it as a check-list.  If you are checking off multiple points you are in a situation that probably is not healthy.  A healthy relationship has its ups and downs.  However, the signs of abuse on most of these lists are beyond what most people experience in a healthy relationship. Write down how you are feeling at times.  Go back and look at your writings a week or so later.  Pretend what you are reading is someone else writing about their life. Are you happy for that person?  Is this the life you would want for your son or daughter?  If the answer is no, then well… you know what you should do.

    So, if you find that you are in fact being emotionally abused and you’ve had enough… and you’re ready to leave but you are just not sure how, listen up.  This will be the hardest day of your life but you are going to have to 1,2,3, GO it.  This is how I got through it.  I made it almost like a game.  I gave my ex a warning, that if I left, I would not be coming back.  He continued screaming at me.  I said in my head, 1,2,3, GO.  On the three, I literally forced myself to leave.  I almost had to make it like when you count to your kid and they don’t want to know what is going to happen after three.  I didn’t want to know what was going to happen after 3, so I escaped.  So do it.  Drive to a friend or family member’s house.  If you do not have anyone near by to count on, call CASA.  They will help you.  Just get out of there!  One thing I had to do when I left was to make sure I never saw his face again.  I knew he would still have some control of me.  I knew that if I saw his face, I would want to go back to him because I genuinely loved him.  I would highly recommend doing the same.  If you see them, you will feel things towards them and you would be more likely to go back whether you really want to or not.  You’ll find an excuse for them and a reason to give them another chance. They don’t deserve it. 

    Once you get out, you are going to be saying 1,2,3 go, A LOT. If you were married to him, you will deal with similar things to me since you have to file for divorce.  It’ll look like this… Get out of bed: 1,2,3 GO. Work: 1,2,3,GO.  Lawyers office: 1,2,3,GO.  Calling CASA for support: 1,2,3, GO.  Setting up counseling appointments: 1,2,3,GO, canceling life insurance and health insurance: 1,2,3,GO. Changing beneficiaries: 1,2,3,GO.  Telling friends and co-workers: 1,2,3,GO. Finding a home or going back to your home once they leave: 1,2,3, GO. Starting over: 1,2,3 GO. 

     You feel like you will be living off 1,2,3 Go’s for a long time.  But it is worth it.  You’ll survive and you will be better off. Take your time and enjoy your found freedom.  You can do whatever you want and answer to no one.  It is an amazing feeling.  No more worries, no more stress, no more feeling like nothing.  You are in control of your life from the day you left. You get to choose happiness.  You’ll find true love eventually and you will appreciate it so much more because of what you have been through.  For now, rely on your family and friends for support.  You might think you are but you’re not a burden to them.  They are not going to get tired of you talking about things as you work them out in your head.  It is harder than you could ever imagine for them to watch in you a bad situation.  They love and care about you more than you know.  They love you so much that they don’t say anything to you because sometimes that can cause an argument which causes people to not talk. They want you to have someone to be there for you if you do leave.  They are scared and sad for you, they know you deserve better. So rely on them to help you if you leave, they will be your biggest support system.  If you do not have local friends and family. I highly recommend contacting CASA, they will get you a support system and you will not feel alone! 

     Choose a life you would be proud of.

 I know 15-year-old me, would have hated the person I was when I was married.  I would have been so disappointed in myself for letting someone control me.  I know that my heart would have been broken if my daughter or son was living the life I lived.  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Please choose the life that you deserve, would be proud of, and would want for your own children one day. 1,2,3 GO!

 With all my love and support,

ME 

How did I determine that I was being emotionally abused?  This didn’t just come to me one day.  It took counseling, talking with friends and family to realize what I was really dealing with.  It didn’t seem like abuse while I was living it, until I looked at it from the outside.

  • Going out with friends without him was not an option.
  • I was very nervous when I noticed I missed his call.
  • I freaked out when my phone was on silent and I didn’t realize it, I could have missed his call.
  • I was yelled at for things that were beyond my control.
  • I felt isolated.
  • I felt guilty all of the time and I didn’t even know why.
  • He threatened to kill himself if I left.
  • He started arguments with my family, ensuring that I stayed away from them, so it would keep the peace.
  • He checked my Facebook and questioned me about people.
  • He checked my text messages and questioned everything.
  • I could never mention another man whether it be a co-worker, friend, etc.
  • I was nervous when a man commented on my Facebook page.
  • I had to leave work right on time.  If I wasn’t home, when he expected, I was always questioned.
  • He would drive recklessly when he was mad at me, no care in the world for our safety.
  • I was left places when he was angry.
  • I felt nervous.ALL.THE.TIME!
  • Fear that the police would show up because the screaming was so loud (if the police are ever called, please take that as your sign to leave.  This doesn’t happen in healthy relationships).
  • I could never let him know that I was mad at him or that he hurt me.  Otherwise I was yelled at more.
  • He knew everything I was doing, throughout the day.  I couldn’t stop at a store on the way home from somewhere without him knowing.  I was always rushed to get home.
  • If we went out to dinner, bar, etc, I had to watch how dressed up I got, even if we were going together.  He always made me feel bad if I dressed up to go out.  I wasn’t able to dress up to make myself feel good.  Instead he always made me feel like I had other reasons for dressing up.
  • He followed me around the house.  I couldn’t even go upstairs without him asking what I was doing.  If I didn’t answer (because I got tired of always having to), he would follow me.
  • He hid his phone, if I came near, it he instantly took it.
Choose a life filled with happiness and love!

Choose a life filled with happiness and love!