the veterans bill cleared the senate committee!

great news!  the women veterans and other health care improvement act, one of the bills we were speaking about for at resolve’s advocacy day, has cleared committee and will be going for a vote on the full senate floor!  this bill would help servicemembers made infertile during combat build their families.  currently, military families do not have coverage for IVF through tricare.

could you take a few minutes to contact your senators and ask for their support for the bill?  pretty please?  i’ve included the basic parts of the letters i sent this morning below, feel free to steal!

I was very excited to hear yesterday  that The Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act (S 131) was cleared through the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and will be voted on by the full Senate.  The Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act is a tremendously important piece of legislation to help our wounded veterans build their families.
From 2003 to 2012, Department of Defense data shows that almost 2,000 servicemembers suffered urinary tract and reproductive trauma.  In addition, spinal cord injuries can often require highly specialized medical treatments like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to conceive.  These injuries have been increasing in recent years as both the use of improvised explosive devices and foot patrols have increased in combat zones.
Currently, the VA excludes coverage for IIVF for infertile military families through TriCare, even for those couples where the servicemember is rendered infertile because of injuries sustained during combat.  Couples who require IVF to build their families due to their combat injuries must go outside the TriCare system and pay tens of thousands of dollars out of their own pockets for a chance to have a child.
The Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act would remedy this injustice and provide the opportunity for servicemembers and their spouses to utilize assisted reproductive technologies to build their families.  In addition, it would provide families with limited financial assistance and others resources if they should chose to build their families through adoption after their combat injuries.
I hope that I can rely on your support to help our servicemembers and their families recover after the sacrifices they have made for our country.   Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me or feel free to contact Barbara Collura, President/CEO of RESOLVE, at bcollura@resolve.org.  You may also visit the RESOLVE website at www.resolve.org/infertilityissues.  Thank you again for your consideration of this bill.
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the big three-oh

so, um, hi there.  long time no see.  sorry for the radio silence for the past month.  the end of the school year + our first big vacation with a baby + figuring out how to to the stay-at-home-mom thing again + a six month old (holy crap!) = craziness.

on top of (despite?) all of that, i’ve been feeling really content lately, especially last night as we were cleaning up after a great day with friends.

i’m happy.  really, truly, honestly happy.  i don’t know if other people ever realize this about themselves and feel like it’s a big deal, but after bouncing around from therapist to therapist over the last third-ish of my life, this realization kind of shocked the hell out of me.

just over a decade ago, i was falling apart: i was failing classes and struggling to make friends at college.  trying to find the right dosage of meds to let me crawl out of bed in the morning.  my parents had split for the final time.  my relationship with my dad deteriorated.  i was watching everyone around me grow up and figure themselves out, and i just felt like i had missed out on a set of vital directions telling me how to do it.

fast forward a few years, and even though i had been lucky enough to meet the love of my life, we were just treading water.  we had moved 200 miles, and were waiting to have enough money/experience to be able to move back home, find good jobs, and start our lives.  we were spending too much time travelling back north instead of making friends here.  i managed to get myself fired from my first real job, and was spiraling back into my depression.

just two years ago, we were just starting our battle with infertility.  we didn’t know what that meant for us yet, just that we were heartbroken watching our friends and families start their families while we sat here with empty arms.  while we had accepted that new jersey was our home, found amazing jobs, and met some wonderful friends, there was still a large gaping hole we couldn’t fill.

but yesterday?  yesterday i spent my birthday with my amazing boys, watching Pignut get loved on by his “aunties” and other friends that have become family.  stuffed myself on yummy food that Ralph made while laughing

a bit clearer today

first off, thank you to everyone who commented here, texted, or saw me in person today to check in about the work thing.  it means a lot to me.  for what it’s worth, i spoke to an administrator about the situation today.  i don’t know if it did any good really, but i feel better clearing up my role in the whole mess and expressing my concerns about the whole thing.  and i managed to remain pretty unemotional during the conversation, which is always a fear of mine when i try to advocate for myself.

——

i had started my very long-winded post yesterday talking about feeling like this same “issue” was popping up again and again in all parts of my life, but never really got around to clarifying what i meant.  (what, i started rambling and lost track of what i wanted to say?  i don’t believe it!) i have noticed, over the past few weeks, that i keep finding myself having conversations where i make some comment about my need to grow a spine (and yes, i recognize – even in the moment – how negative i am being about myself.  what can i say, old habits die hard).

like i said, i feel so very uncomfortable standing up for myself, and think i generally suck at it.  except for when it comes to infertility.  and i don’t quite get that, but man oh man do i love it.  i have no qualms advocating for this community and for our family.  in the beginning, i had a hard time keeping it to myself.  but since we’ve “come out,” i really enjoy educating other people about infertility, IVF, and how legislation impacts our families.  i can go on (and often do) for hours about it.

but i have such a hard time reconciling this passionate, outspoken part of life with the rest of it.  it feels almost like a split personality.  but, rationally, i know it’s not.  it’s all me, and even if i can only recognize it where infertility is concerned, i know that if i can (and do) advocate for myself then and there, i can (and do) do it in other parts of my life.

i was talking to a trusted co-worker about the work-email-kerfuffle the other day, and gone into her room planning to apologize for dragging her into the mess when i needed guidance (and actually, thinking what i wanted to say in the conversation was the seed of these posts).  but before i could really get into what i wanted to say, she cut me off, and it was like she read my mind:

she told me that she knows how good i am at standing up for myself.

and without knowing it, she had made the perfect statement.  made me know that all that stupid bull shit i was upset about would be ok.  seriously, i am tearing up a bit thinking of it right now.

that little comment – that one that she probably didn’t even realize the importance of, the one that some of you have texted/emailed/told me in the past 24 hours – i need to remember it more often.  i can’t thank you all enough, for seeing me even when i can’t sometimes.  but the view may just be getting a little bit clearer today.

thank you.

my endless cycle

you know how every now and then, you’ll get this idea in your head and it seems like everything connects back to it?  almost like your life develops this theme that it decides to highlight everywhere for it.  it’s been that kind of week around here, and i’m still trying to wrap my head around it all.Read More »

calm in the storm

my sweet boy
my sweet boy

it’s been a rough couple of day’s in the pignut household: baby with head cold + still teething + not always pooping when he wants to = pissed off kid who doesn’t want to nap for more than 20 minutes + insists on being held whenever he’s awake.

and poor Ralph is dealing with it all. day. long.

last night i was trying to get him to go down for bed, rocking him and feeding him in his nursery.  and he was having done of it, and making sure i was aware of his displeasure.  none of the usual tricks for calming him down were working, and it was clear that he was sooooo tired that he would instantly pass out if he would just stop screaming for more than a minute.

i had sent Ralph an SOS text asking him to come take over if he was still screaming in ten minutes.  i could feel my patience running out, and started singing a lullaby i learned as a kid at 4H camp – more to keep myself calm than thinking it would have any impact.

but it did.

a few words into the song, he just stopped screaming like nothing had been wrong, and stared straight in my eyes.  and he sat there, staring right at me, with a slight smirk on his face and let me sing to him for a good seven or eight minutes.

i sat there singing and telling myself this is one of those moments i would want to always remember.  it was so wonderful.

…until he started screaming again 🙂

hey new yorkers!

hey all you new york people: i have a mission for you! do me a quick favor, and contact your state senators and assemblypeople and ask them to support the Child-Parent Security Act!

the bill was introduced today by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Senator Brad Hoylman, and would help NY couples who need to use a gestational carrier to build their families. a gestational carrier is not biologically related to the child she carries; the child is conceived using the intended mother’s egg or a donor egg, and the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm (as opposed to a traditional surrogate, who uses her own egg to help the family conceive). surrogacy laws vary greatly from state to state. currently, in NY, surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and ban any compensation for the gestational carrier. in addition, after the child is born, the gestational carrier (and her husband, if she has one) must relinquish their parental rights to the child (that they are not related to), the intended parents must go to court to be declared the parents, and a new birth certificate must be issued.

under the Child-Parent Security Act, parents can provide compensation to their carrier, enter into a binding contract (that protects all parties involved), and be declared the legal parents of the child from birth, rather than jumping through a ton of legal hopes.

please, please, please take a few seconds to fill in your info and let Resolve send a quick email on your behalf? our representatives won’t know that this is an important issue unless we tell them!

oh, and while you’re at it, let your representatives in DC know that you care about the Family Act and the Women Veterans and Other Health Improvements Act! you know you want to!

i think it’s finally real

i was surprised when pignut was born that it just didn’t feel real.  i kept waiting for that moment when it would all sink in , and i would stop waiting for someone to show up and take him back.

i thought it would be the first time i held him. but it still felt link a dream.

maybe when we came home for the first time?  no, still weird.

the first smile? nope.

it was today, when i emailed the ivf nurse coordinator with the details of his birth so they can include it in their statistics they report.

i think it may have finally sunk in.