A Year Later…

A year later…

Today is one year from us finding out our fresh cycle failed.  It is such a unique pain that it causes.  There is no real word for it other than “failed implantation”.  There is no real support for it either.  Infertility and it’s treatments often leave you feeling a lone.  While infertility is common, it doesn’t mean you have close people who also have been through the treatments and honestly it is sometime you pray to be alone with as you’d never want to see someone go through this. 

I have a picture of our embryo that we transferred.  I talked to it, I prayed for it and I dreamdt day after day about who he or she will be.  The excitement I felt on transfer day was beyond compare.  I was finally going to be pregnant.  I’ve been around so many other peoples kids and watched so many other pregnancies for so long it was finally going to be my turn.  I know without a doubt I did everything I could to make sure I took care of myself and to stay hopeful during the two week wait.  Everyday got harder and the emotional roller coaster was hard to bare at times.  By the day of testing, a year ago today, my heart was in pieces, completely shattered on the floor.   I knew I lost but I still had to finish it out and get the blood work.  I was so embarrassed to even be getting the blood work, like I didn’t deserve anyone’s time for it because I had somehow failed.  It was one of my darkest days.  I am so thankful for the kindness that I was shown at our doctors office, l will never forget them for that. 

 I survived it.  Even though a year ago today I felt complete hopelessness, I somehow found the strength to keep this as a memory but to try again.  I will never forget how I felt today.  I will never forget the image of the embryo we transferred or the hopes and dreams I had.  It still causes me heartache knowing that I will never know who I lost.  I will always wonder. Now that I have Claire I know the depths of what was lost a year ago today when I look at its picture .  I am thankful I had another chance and another embryo who eventually became the love of my life, my daughter.  

It is amazing what can change in a year… someone’s entire world can be flipped either positively or negatively.  I’m thankful for the positive.  This will always be a part of my story.  Having a baby doesn’t cure infertility.  For every child we want to have we face this heartache and stress over and over.  But my God is it worth it!  I never knew a love as a strong as the one I feel for Claire.  I continue to promise her the best of me, everyday and in every way I can.  I will fail her some days, I know, but I hope she will always know how hard I tried and just how deep my love is for her. 

Hope is what got me through our FET and led us to Claire.

What is Best

Simply put…breast feeding broke my heart.

During my pregnancy I researched, went to classes, and bought all the”must haves” for breast feeding.  I had big plans that this was going to work out, because why wouldn’t it. While in the hospital I was making colostrum for a few days.  However, by day 4 my daughter stopped making wet and dirty diapers.  A big clue that she was not getting milk from me.  Her weight started to drop a lot too.  She lost a little over a pound.  I knew something was wrong and tried to pump to see if I could get anything out.  I got a drop. As much as it hurt I knew I had to admit she wasn’t getting what she needed and I needed formula.  I started supplementing to ensure she was getting the proper nourishment.  This time of my life was hell on my head and heart.

I couldn’t get my baby out and now I could not feed her.  Talk about feeling unequipped to be a Mother.

My heart was broken.  I planned for this, I wanted to make this work for my daughter.  My love for her is unbelievable and I knew giving her breast milk was doing “what was best for her.”

When I started supplementing I would first start by nursing her.  Then I would feed her a bottle and then pump.  I was spending so much time trying to give her food and make food for her.  It was exhausting physically and emotionally.  As I was nursing her I would bawl because after a little bit she would scream because she was not getting anything. Then I would have to feed her a bottle and I would continue to cry because I felt like such a failure.  And then there was pumping… ugh is all I can say.

I cried a lot!  Sometimes I was crying so hard that I would start to panic.  My husband would take Claire from me as I tried to get myself together.  He had no idea what to say to me, and I had no idea how to stop myself.  On one particular bad day I called my sister bawling telling her , “I can’t feed my baby” and in a pure panic.  I am so lucky to have her as she came over right away to help me figure it out.  Between her and my husband, I survived that incredibly difficult day.  I’ve had more days like it after that, but I made it through. I’m thankful for people to talk to that I can be brutally honest with and not feel judgement. My brain told me terrible things that I was not a good Mom and that maybe Kevin and Claire deserved someone much better than me.  I even had thoughts that because we needed IVF maybe I forced something I wasn’t supposed to be blessed with and that was why my body could not do its job.  As my sister told me, she could not imagine a God that did not want me to be a Mother and I am starting to believe that too. I’m starting to believe that all of this is completely unrelated and we just have a different story. I always wanted to live, I just wanted someone else to take care of them because I felt like I could not give them the best. One night I wanted to run, run anywhere, so badly to just get the sheer panic and adrenaline out of my body.  I didn’t because running surely equals instant heart attack! Instead,  I cried and cried while trying to feed my baby.  My body has failed me in so many ways I felt.. as I forget that my body gave me the most amazing gift…my daughter.

This isn’t a way for anyone to live.  I want to enjoy this time with my baby.  I want my daughter to see a smile on my face as I feed her.  I don’t want my stress to make her life feel stressful.  I want to be be physically and emotionally present.

So I quit breastfeeding and I held my baby.

I fed her formula and she was okay and still is.  I looked at her and smiled as she was eating, I talked to her, I held her close and kissed her head.  I enjoyed my time with her.  I didn’t worry if she was getting enough because I could see that she was.  I didn’t spend time after nursing her and bottle feeding, with a pump attached me just so I could get half an ounce after 20 minutes of it.  Instead, I held my baby longer.  I smiled longer and  felt like a Mom who had it somewhat together.

I still feel so much pain that this did not go the way I had planned.  I wanted to give her the absolute best.  I know she will be fine with formula but I wanted better than that for her.  I was willing to give breastfeeding everything it takes but my body did not let me.  I took every supplement, power pumped, nursed, used an SNS, met with lactation, etc and it still did not work out. I never really felt my milk come in.  The only reason I knew I had some was because I was pumping but I only ever get about half an ounce total.  Even now that I haven’t nursed or pumped in two days, I feel nothing. The only thing I was not willing to do was take prescription medication because the side effects include extreme depression, something I was already slightly suffering from.  My baby needs me present emotionally more than she needs breast milk.

I gave breastfeeding 4 full weeks before deciding this was not something that was going to happen for us.  During those 4 weeks I never saw a change in my milk production no matter what I tried.  Some say it could have been because the extreme amount of fluid my body had taken on, the c-section, a long induction, etc.  In other words…no one knows why it did not work out.  I guess it does not really matter.  I gave it everything I had, I worked really hard at it and now it is time for that to be in my past.  Hopefully the sadness will continue to become less and less and I will spend more time holding and smiling with my baby.  I know that I am not failing her, I am giving her everything I possibly can.  It has been a difficult journey trying to adjust to motherhood, the loss of career (at least for now), and that nothing went even remotely as planned.  My lactation lady said they really should have a support group for people who have unplanned c-sections because that in itself is difficult to deal with when you’ve planned something different.  Someday I will fully accept that the things that went “wrong” were just not supposed to be apart of our journey.  Until then I will keep trying and keep smiling because the greatest thing I’ve ever done has name and it is Claire.

I’m not sharing this sob story for sympathy or because I need advice… I am sharing to get it off my chest and so that if someone else feels this way they know they are not alone and you will survive it.  In the end all that matters is you were there…a healthy and happy Mom who feeds her baby is what is best. 065_Claire.jpg

A bad case of bad luck

If you’ve known me for long you probably are well aware that I have the strangest luck, at times no luck at all.  I take the hard road for things, no matter how hard I try to make life easy.  I am thankful that while my luck somewhat stinks sometimes, that it is down right awful.  I have the type of the luck that sometimes makes me laugh.  I saw a joke once that said, “I have as much luck as a bald man winning a comb.”  I laughed probably way too long at that because the reliability of it was out of this world!   I am the type of person who will go into basket BINGO and win 10 baskets that I have no care for and then walk out of the building to a flat tire.

The unfortunate part of this luck is that I often believe that good things cannot happen to me.  If I want something too much, I feel like it is going to be out of reach for me.  Thankfully, life has proven me wrong a million times.  While I’ve experienced a failed marriage, I now have one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  While I’ve experienced infertility, I now have a beautiful baby girl in my arms.  I am so thankful that life proves me wrong sometimes.

I still get hit with just unfortunate bad luck repeatedly.  My husband and I took a birthing class that lasted 12 weeks.  The program was called the Bradley Method.  The purpose of the program is to help prepare you for a natural child birth.  I was open to the idea that I may not have a fully natural child birth but I wanted a “tool box” so that I could make the most informed decisions and tolerate the pain the best that I can.  Part of the program is monitoring what you are eating to ensure your body and baby are healthy.  I followed the program.  I ate healthy food and I stayed more active than I probably should have most days.  The result… feeling like absolute crap about myself at each doctor appointment because I was gaining too much weight.  By my doctors standards I should have gained 15-20 pounds.  By the end of my pregnancy I gained 40 pounds.  I tried everything to make it so that I would not gain the weight.  Yet, at every appointment I had gained large amounts of weight.  I tried to tell them I was loaded with fluid but they still insisted that I was not eating healthy.  Sometimes I would gain 9 pounds in 2 weeks.  I would have had to eat cake for every meal to do that weight gain… which I obviously didn’t.  I started to cry going to every appointment because I could not stand feeling like I was not doing everything I should have to keep my daughter healthy.  I fought so hard to have her, I was determined that I was going to give her the very best if I could just have her.  Yet, at every appointment I was told I wasn’t do my best.   I felt awful and nothing I did was helping.

Then it came time to have Claire, and if you read my previous post about her birth story, you know that it did not go as planned at all.  I spent 3 days in the hospital being induced before we determined a c-section was my only option.  The very thing I did everything I could to avoid, was now my only option.  I remember thinking, I did not get my natural child birth but at least I will breast feed so I can have one experience I really wanted (aside from having my daughter).

Shouldn’t have said that…

Breast feeding has completely broken my heart.  I was making colostrum when I was in the hospital. Everything appeared fine.  Claire was latching perfectly.  Then she stopped producing any output.  After about a day of that, I realized that I must not be giving her the nourishment she needed.  I lost my mind!  I remember just holding her and bawling.  I couldn’t have her on my own and now I cannot even feed her. I felt completely unequipped to be a mother and that she deserved so much more.  I introduced formula to supplement because I could not bare the idea of pushing breast feeding while knowing she was not getting enough.  After my meltdown, I learned that a mother’s milk may take longer to come in if you have a c-section and that may be all that was happening.  So  I would just need to supplement until my milk came in.  By day 8, I was starting to produce milk when I pumped.  Claire still screamed after I nursed her and I knew she was not getting enough food.  She lost a little over a pound and more and more formula was needed.  The irony of it all was I spent the entire pregnancy worried I was gaining too much and now the worry is Claire was not. I met with lactation several times and worked with the pediatrician.  Nothing was working to make me make enough food for her.  I tried supplements, power pumping, support groups, multiple consults with lactation, everything I could possibly think to try-I’m simply not producing. If you are reading this, know I cannot handle more suggestions because I’ve likely tried it, I’ve worked harder on this than most people ever do and I am doing the very best I can at it.   It appears to have come down to a case of bad luck.  Bad luck that broke my heart once again.  Everything that I had dreamed would happen wasn’t going as planned at all.  It feels selfish now that I say it because all that really matters is that Claire is healthy but my heart still breaks for all the parts of this story that went drastically differently than I thought they would. Sometimes they make me feel like a failure…even though I know deep down it is not true.  I am still working on breast feeding.  I’ve given myself a time limit before I decide that I’ve given it absolutely everything I can.  That time limit is coming up and my luck isn’t proving any significant break through. I am sadden and frustrated by it.  Eventually I will write more on this once I know which way this journey is going to go for us.  Either way I know Claire will be okay and I am glad I’ve given myself the time to make decision for myself.

I have no idea why things just do not go as planned or follow the “norm” for me most of the time.  My only hope with it is that someone else struggling won’t feel alone because I share my struggles.  I do have good news… I’ve dropped 35 pounds already so only 5 more pounds are left!  And the very best news… Claire is gaining plenty of weight and has surpassed her birth weight now.  I have a happy, healthy, beautiful daughter and I know deep down that nothing else matters.  I am still determined that I will give her the very best of everything I can…which she already has… my unconditional love.

claire and mom hand

Claire’s Birth Story

This is the story of how my beautiful daughter joined our world. A better title for this post might be…”Well that did not go as planned.”  November 24,2015 an embryo was placed back into its home and that started our two week wait to see if I was pregnant.  Two weeks later we found out that I was pregnant.  The best feelings in the world started then, our hearts were so full knowing soon we would be parents. Nine months went by and we fell more in love with our daughter through each movement we felt and every time we saw her face on the sonograms.  Soon we would meet our baby girl and we were beyond excited!

The week before Claire was born I was sent to the hospital from our appointment for monitoring due to high blood pressure.  It was more routine than anything and we were sent home.  I had another appointment a few days later on Monday to check my blood pressure.  This time my blood pressure was still high and I had a lot more protein in my urine.  We got sent back to the hospital for monitoring and we fully expected to be sent home.  After tests and monitoring were completed a midwife met with us to go over the results.  The results were the beginnings of pre-eclampsia and it was time to start trying to have a baby.  The risks associated with staying pregnant were higher than actually just having her at this point.  I was really quite in shock because I knew they were packed with laboring mothers and I really thought they would send me home!

They moved me into a room and Kevin and I contacted our parents to let them know what was going on.  Little did we know how long this was actually going to take! Our midwife was very nice and let me have dinner before we started the induction (a decision I regretted a few hours later).  At 7pm I was given medication to help my cervix get ready to work! Within thirty minutes I was having a reaction to the medication and having intense contractions. I was incredibly sick from it.  They started and IV to re-hydrate me and help calm my body down.  Luckily within a few hours that settled down.  In the morning they checked to see if the medication worked. I was 3cm and about 50-60% effaced.  This was progress from the 1cm I was the night before.  My doctor let me have breakfast and shower before the next round of medications.  After the night before I was terrified to eat, so I stuck with toast! Once I was ready they started the medications to continue to induce labor.

I started with small contractions.  I was stuck mostly in my bed because of blood pressure.  So all of the awesome techniques I learned to help progress labor couldn’t really be used.  The doctor checked on me every couple of hours.  Progress was small and Claire’s head was still sitting up high.  They continued to pump me with medication to try and push more contractions.  Eventually contractions became stronger and slow progress was being made.  The doctor came in to break my water which really set the contractions into full force.  I went for several hours rolling through contractions.  At times I lost control of them but my nurse and husband helped bring me back.  After two days of laboring and pure exhaustion I opted for the epidural.  I was sad, and felt like a failure, to give up my natural child birth plan, but an exhausted body couldn’t do the job it needed anymore and I knew that.

They came to give me the epidural and that was hell in itself.  My back was loaded with fluid making it difficult to find the best spot to place it.  I had to be stuck four times.  Many of the sticks resulted in what I could only explain as what it must feel to be electrocuted as it hit a nerve. I was terrified that damage was going to be done and my inability to tolerate the pain anymore was going to ruin my life.  Thankfully it finally worked and I was perfectly fine.  It was not the best epidural but it did take the edge off so I could relax more for the long road I had ahead of me.

Labor continued and progress was small still.  Claire’s head just was not dropping like they would have liked. My legs were hard and shiny from all of the fluid I was taking on. I could feel it in my face, my scalp, literally everywhere.  Wednesday afternoon my doctor determined it was no longer safe to continue to push fluids and I needed a c section. There went everything I had hoped for with bringing my daughter into this world.  I tried to prepare myself for every scenario because I am well aware that things do not always go as planned.  I stayed as positive as I could about it because I really had no choice at this point.  My options were gone and if I wanted my daughter here safely I needed to accept this.

We waited until an OR opened, which took a couple of hours.  I went back and forth between being okay with it and from sheer panic.  I was so afraid I would die in surgery and that the daughter I had longed for would grow up without me.  Dramatic I know…but it is where my head always likes to go. Then my probably more realistic fear was that I would feel them cutting me open and that I would panic during surgery and then what?  Thankfully the Bradley Birthing Method class I took for a natural childbirth was still useful.  I practiced the relaxation techniques I used to help me to go to the OR and through the surgery itself.

Once it was time to go to the OR, they had Kevin get in scrubs and then wheeled me up to the doors.  Kevin had to wait in the waiting room until they were prepped for surgery.   I was put onto the table and the prep work began.  There is nothing quite like lying awake on an operating table while they talk their lingo to prep you and you just lay there waiting for it, feeling alone.  Thankfully the doctors and nurses were beyond amazing.  They reassured me and helped to keep me calm until Kevin could join me again.  Once he came in he was able to sit by my head and I could start to feel the pressure of things happening to me in my stomach.  I remember just saying to him, “I’m so scared.”  He grabbed my hand harder and we talked through the surgery to try to keep us both calm.  I tried to imagine that I wasn’t cut open, that this was natural childbirth and I just was not able to see it.  As they pushed and rocked my body around I tried to keep convincing myself of that.   I was shocked by how much I actually felt (not pain, just pressure and movement) and how much force it felt like was needed to get her out.  My epidural was not one of the best because my back was so swollen.  They had to give me a high dose of medicine to ensure I was numbed.  The absolute worst part for me what I felt like I could not breath since I was numb to my neck.  Luckily as that sensation started to hit me, the nurse somehow knew and warned me it might happen.  I was thankful for the warning, but was still terrified the entire time.

There was lots of rock and shaking my body and then suddenly… a cry, a very loud squeal like cry.

Time really did stand still. 

Kevin and I looked at each other in absolute amazement and disbelief.  That cry was our daughter.  She was okay, she was alive and here with us!  I will never be able to put into words how that felt.  After trying so hard just to have her, injecting myself with medicines, facing losses, doctors appointments, anxiety, and literal blood, sweat and tears , she was here.  The little girl we dreamed about is actually here!

They took her to clean her off and check her out.  Then that little bundle of joy was brought to us.  They held her by my face so I could say hi and give her a kiss.  The neonatologist came over and let us know that she was absolutely perfect.  So much fear was gone at that point.  We were so in love from that very moment.  The nurses took pictures for us and then it was time for Claire and Kevin to go.  I was alone again as they worked to put me back together.  Once they were finished they took me to recovery where I started to get some feeling back.  Then they brought Claire to me to try to breastfeed for a bit.  After that attempt Kevin and Claire went back to our room and I followed behind not long after.

Our Claire is finally here!

We spent three days in the hospital after her birth.  I was incredibly swollen even when we left the hospital.  Thankfully by now most of the swelling is finally gone!  I had a really difficult time accepting the c section but when I see the pictures of us together in that OR, my heart feels so full and I feel like my body still did something amazing… it created life and then in the end I laid awake on a table as my body was cut open just to bring her into this world.  I’m proud of that, even though sometimes I am still saddened by it too.  Claire is thriving and doing well.  We are working on breastfeeding but facing a bit of losing battle with it…but that post is for another day.  For now, our family of three is healthy and happy – what else could matter?


A Day of Dreams

At one point I could not wait for this day to come.  I was so excited, I put it in my phone, added it to the pregnancy apps, I hoped and I dreamed.  Today is the day our first embryo, had it made it, would have been due.  I was naive, even though I should not have been because I am well aware of what can go very wrong, but I was so full of hope.  I was hopeful that we would get lucky and out first transfer would survive and in mid-June we would have our baby.  I was hoping for the due date to be just a few days earlier in June 24th because I thought it would be amazing for our baby to enter this world on Kevin’s Alive Day.  If you don’t already know, an Alive Day is what we call the day that Kevin was injured in Afghanistan.  It is a day many people refer to when they nearly escaped death, a day of second chances.

When I had my embryo Transfer on October 3rd, we were so excited.  For the first time in my life I was considered “pregnant”.  When you leave you are told you treat yourself just like you know you’re pregnant and to take it easy.  You leave with a picture of the most beautiful embryo.  We went home and all I could do was smile because I knew what was going on inside of me and hopefully that our baby was taking shape.

After the transfer you have two weeks of what I like to call hell.  After the two weeks are over, you go to the office for a pregnancy test.  I cheated and tested beforehand.  Day after day was I getting negatives.  I remember feeling like my world was upside down.  The one thing I wanted more than anything I felt like was slowly getting further out of my grasp.  It was painful.

Then on October 16th… the test.  I did not have a lot of hope left in me by that day.  I cried as the nurse took my blood.  It was so embarrassing but my heart and soul knew that I had lost something.   We went home and we waited for the call.  My poor nurse had to call me with the devastating news.  I was numb and in more pain than I thought a body to could experience emotionally.  Our “embaby” as we called it, did not make it.  That due date that I was dreaming of would come with empty arms.  The pregnancy apps had to be deleted, whiteout had to be taken to my calendar, and I had to go on with life like I felt fine.

I will always wonder, if that embaby would have made it would it have been a boy or girl.  Would they be a lot like what Claire will be like or completely different?  The wondering hurts but sometimes you cannot stop your mind from doing it.

I know others have been through significantly more catastrophic pain than I have experienced.  I don’t mean to share my pain to put a shadow over theirs. I am a firm believer that just because one person experiences more pain from another, does not make the others less painful. I only share it because it is my pain.  It is my pain that has made this pregnancy with Claire terrifying.  I struggled the whole way through it with anxiety and sadness as I fear that for some reason she would be taken from me.  Thoughts run through my head because of my experiences and because of the deep wounds infertility has left on my heart. Although it is terrible advice for anyone, trying again right after a loss is even harder with infertility.  It involves shots, procedures, doctors, and extensive amounts of money that we may not always have and really no sex.  I remember after our first one failing thinking how in the world am I going to do this again, especially the two week wait.

Thankfully we did try again.  I am incredibly thankful that we got another chance and that our Claire will be with us shortly.  A part of me will just always ache and wonder for the first one but I know how blessed we are to have Claire. I promise her the happiest and healthiest life I can provide her and that she will always know love.

Baby Jaye Transfer Day

Empathy… where is it?

Recent news has made me question often, is empathy lost?  We’ve all heard about the little boy who lost his life at Disney World because an Alligator swept him away while his Dad fought with everything he had to free his son.  Can you imagine the terror they all must have been feeling.  But since a “no swimming” sign was posted, we do not appear to even try to imagine their pain.  Instead we say things like, “they must be idiots” or “how do they do something so stupid?”.  We go on and on about how wrong they were like we’ve never once made a mistake that could have been terrible.  How many times has the line came out of your mouth, “I just turned my back for a second and _________.”  I’m sure everyone could fill the blank with something their child has done that made their heart stop for a second. You might fill that blank with , “they were not where I left them,” or “they were eating something that wasn’t food”, the list could go on and on.  Or how about the things we know we should not do but we just think it will be okay because it is “only or a second”.  Like unbuckling your child to adjust or feed them while driving down the road, leaving any thing that could be used as a weapon unlocked around your home (better lock up those butter knives), leaving those Tide Pods that apparently kids they are candy laying around, letting them pet a strangers dogs,  taking their helmet off while riding a bike or skating, buying your kid an energy drink, letting your child drive before they are of age, letting your child have beer, the list could go forever.  All these things we know we should not do.  They seem like little things, but at some point for someone they were big things. Yet we do them anyways because somehow we are exempt from dealing with that this family in Florida is facing.  It also does not make you a bad person if you did do one of those, it was a lapse of judgement, we all have it or maybe because 99% of the time everything is okay if you do one of those things. For a Nebraska family, no swimming may just mean there is no lifeguard or the water is kind of gross.  I’m sure many of us has done the same thing.  The child was just a the water’s edge and his parents were there.  No swimming and alligators might be present are two totally different things.  Disney didn’t even know alligators were there, they typically remove them from inside the park whenever they are found.  Your chances of meeting an alligator face to face is incredibly slim, even in a heavily populated area such as Florida.  Deadly attacks are even less likely.  I recently read that there’s been about 23 deadly attacks since the 70’s in the United States.   So probably a lot more deaths have occurred from the things I listed above that we pass off as okay.

My biggest point here is that, when as a society did we stop caring.  A family who planned an amazing vacation for their children will be boarding a plane at some point without their son.  The Mom and Dad probably were just as excited as the kids for the vacation because they were going to get to watch the magic through their child’s eyes.  They probably picked out the cute outfits with the crazy mouse ears for them to wear in anticipation for a great time.  In no way, did they expect this.  None of us do.  At any moment our own lives could be flipped upside down for whatever reason.  One of us could be a grieving parent and the very last thing you need is society telling you that they are better parents than you and that you deserved this.  Because they don’t.  None of us do.  Parents all over the world are literally winging it.  You could read every parenting book in the world and still not be parent of the year.  We all make mistake, we hurt our kids feelings by accident, we don’t always put safety first (even if you think you do, you don’t), we are not perfect 100% of the time.  So instead of trying to make ourselves feel better about our own mistake by attacking others, how about we fill the world with love and support for other parents.  This family will never be the same, it is tragic and it absolutely heartbreaking.  That is what Facebook should have been filled with instead of wasting our time trying to figure out who to blame.  At any moment this could be you, in a freak accident, begging for your life to be the same but it never will be.   So have a little empathy, if we even know what that word means anymore.

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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