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!

The Story of Us

Ten years ago, in 2005, I met a man named Kevin.  We met when we were going to Community College. I was going to school for teaching and he was going for computers. We had a chance to be together at that time but we were always just friends.  It wasn’t because we didn’t enjoy being around each other or a lack of compatibility.  It was simply just what worked for us at the time.  We enjoyed being friends and we talked all the time through AIM or text , although I had to limit those since we had to pay for each one back then! Our conversations were always interesting and were compiled of the most random topics.  He really understood my sense of humor.  I could be myself from the beginning of our friendship. I was always considered the “quiet” (which I absolutely HATE being called, whether it is true or not) girl.  With Kevin it was different, I could say or do anything and he just rolled with it, no judgement, ever.  Although, I am sure some days he would love to see my quiet side!

One of the last times I remember seeing Kevin, was when he met me for dinner after work one night.  Kevin was working in Fairfax, so I did not see him much after he moved.  We stayed in touch through social media and text messages but those became far and few between as time went by.  Eventually, we both started dating other people.  Kevin and I checked in once in a while to see how the other was doing.

Kevin joined the Army after his job in Fairfax and I became a Teacher.  He was engaged to someone and I was getting ready to get married in a few months.  In 2012, Kevin deployed to Afghanistan.  On June 24, 2012 Kevin an IED forever impacted his life and all those who love him.  Kevin lost his right leg below the knee, pinky, and among other injuries, he suffered tremendous damage to his left leg..  On June 30, 2012 I got married.

After returning to the states and only a couple of days after my wedding, Kevin sent me a message on Facebook congradulating me on my marriage.  I remember thinking, he is absolutely insane for even caring that I got married after what he is going through! We stayed in touch once in a while through Facebook because he was posting regular updates about his recovery.  I was proud to know such a courageous person after watching the beginning of his recovery through his Facebook post.  He stood true to be the man I had met many years ago.

After just a few short months of marriage, I left my husband on November 10, 2012.  I suffered through months of emotional abuse and determined that the marriage was not able to be saved (more on that on a later blog).  I didn’t post much about it on Facebook so Kevin didn’t find out until Christmas when I wished him a Happy Birthday/Merry Christmas and checked in on his recovery. Yes, he is a Christmas baby!

We stayed in touch through Facebook and text messages for a while after Christmas. It was like no time had passed since the last time we talked.  We were always able to find something new to talk about.  At the end of January, I went to visit Kevin at Walter Reed.  I’ll never forget the first time I saw him again.  I was lost on the base (they way the number buildings does not make sense and I’m sticking to it!) and he was trying to help me find my way through the phone.  Eventually I made it into the correct building. As I was walking down a long hallway I came across an intersection.  As soon as I turned into the next hallway he was standing there.  The same Kevin I knew from many years ago.  Yeah sure, he was missing some body parts but he was the same fun loving guy who could give you the strongest hug in the world.  While I was visiting, Kevin was determined to get me hooked on the Walking Dead. We spent most of the time catching up and watching Walking Dead.  Needless to say, I got hooked..  I went home and binge watched the Walking Dead until I got caught up!  I also got my sister addicted to the show!

On March 23, 2013 I went to visit Kevin at Walter Reed again.  This time we went shopping for upcoming family birthday’s, lunch at Chili’s and then a movie. I still cannot remember of the name of the movie to this day!  Actually, let me tell you what I remember about the movies that day… there appeared to be a lack of oxygen in the theater and the heat was cranked up because my palms were sweaty!  Okay, maybe it was because I was so incredibly nervous that I couldn’t breathe!  Do you know that feeling you get when you just know something is about to happen and it is going to change your life? You know that one in the bottom of your gut that is just screaming for you to please listen? That was the feeling and it was overwhelming in the most beautiful way.  From the moment we sat down in the theater something was different.  I remember Kevin was messing around and kept grabbing at my hand (it was the best move he had… have to give him credit though, it worked).  Then one time he grabbed my hand and he didn’t let go.  I sat for the rest of the movie trying to breath quietly!  All I could hear was my own breathing and I thought for sure he could hear me breathing like a cow. After the movie was over, he kissed me.

Everything changed.

When I got into my car to leave Walter Reed the song “Begin Again” by Taylor Swift was on the radio.  This song could not possibly describe my situation more.  It was like I needed to hear it to confirm that I am where I need to be.  As soon as I could I sent a text to a few of my closest friends.  Their reply was… they knew this was going to happen!

I started visiting Kevin at Walter Reed as much as I could.  Over the summer he had surgeries so I was able to stay some of the time since I was off school.  Kevin was at Walter Reed for the first year and a half of dating.  Eventually he was able to come home to visit more. When he couldn’t I went down almost every weekend.  On January 27, 2015 he officially medically retired from the Army.  Now we live in a home that I had purchased before we were dating.  It is a two-story home that is not easily accessible for Kevin.  It is a nightmare of steps! We recently received amazing news from Homes For Our Troops.  They will be building us a home that will be modified to meet Kevin’s needs!  We are so excited to have that extra stress taken off our plate!  Kevin will have the amazing opportunity to live more independently again!

Kevin and I both hit some rough patches from the time we met until the time we reconnected.  Without a doubt we were brought back together for a reason.  I can honestly say I am marrying my best friend.  He knows me at my worst and at my best.  Kevin does not hold my flaws against me, instead he loves me through them all (and when I say “all” I mean millions!).  He knows my past and accepts it all, he just focuses on our future, that is what really matters. We are looking forward to new adventures with getting married (August 1, 2015), having a home built by Homes For Our Troops, and starting our own family.

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