Monthly Archives: March 2013

Infertility: Abortion, Morality, and Personhood Laws

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The great state of Nebraska is moving forward with a Personhood Bill. Personhood Acts are mostly created to give rights to human beings at the earliest time possible, oftentimes this is considered to be conception. It is generally considered and anti-abortion bill. I do not want to argue for or against in any way shape or form abortion. I think that is a battle where people do not hear opposing views because they are too entrenched in their own opinion to hear ANY opposing opinion. Ascension Health defines Personhood below:

“A socially constructed moral category that denotes the inclusion criteria and salient characteristics that distinguish human beings from other forms of life, thus specifying the individuals to whom we owe particular moral obligations, i.e., those obligations we have to others due to their status as persons. In general, there are two ways of defining personhood. Philosophically, personhood is generally defined by some list of essential properties by which we recognize a human being as a person. Though these lists vary, they often include such characteristics as consciousness, the ability to reason, self-movement, self-awareness and a capacity to communicate. The second way of defining personhood is more theologically oriented and entails some relational interpretation of what it means to be a person. In this sense, personhood is often conceived of in terms of one’s ability to have relationships with other human beings and the special relationship human beings have with God.”

It is important to have a commonly accepted definition of Personhood because these laws could have a profound affect on infertile couples ability to move forward with medically assisted conception. If Doctors feel threatened with being arrested for trying to create life because of Personhood laws then many couples will be left without any options in the dream to have children. Since 1979 there have been a couple million children born, including my own, with the assistance of fertility treatments.

I am not a lawyer but from being a police officer for many years I do know that one of the keys components of a law against a person is the word “intent”. I have argued intent in court many times and it can be a slippery slope proving it. If you turn around too quickly and accidentally push your neighbor to the ground it is not assault but if in a heated moment with that same neighbor you willfully shove them to the ground you have displayed intent and therefore assaulted them. Personhood Acts will refer to any medical treatment where there is intent to cause harm to a living being. Keep in mind the law may say the moment of conception. So is it possible that in the course of an IVF treatment if a life, as defined by the law, is lost that there could be a liability for the doctor? It is an unfortunate fact that it is common to lose embryos in the process of medically assisted conception and if those embryos are defined as “life with Personhood rights” will the doctor need to defend his or her intent? Lawsuits are kryptonite to medical practices. If the medical field is forced to defend the practice of assisted conception then the likelihood is that the practice will be as extinct as a Triceratops. These laws may tell us that the word intent protects Medical Procedures for the purpose to create life but I am certain someone would soon challenge the practices on a moral basis.

I can understand the moral issues behind abortion due to the fact that it revolves around the sanctity of life. Again I will not state my opinion but since abortion stirs such strong feelings with faith-based moralist I am concerned that in a political battle politicians will use fear based tactics to move their base to pass a Ballot that could have horrible collateral damage to the infertile community. I plea with everyone to fully understand Personhood Bills and Ballots so that good people do not lose the chance to be be parents.

If you have fertility issues or know someone who does I strongly suggest you stay abreast of what your states stance is on Personhood and speak out if the need comes. Resolve.ORG has a page that better explains the concerns of Personhood Laws. The link is listed below. As always I wish you the best on your journey and because I remember how my wife and I felt I will always support the community that I am still part of.

http://www.resolve.org/about/personhood-legislation.html

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Infertility: He and She: WE

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When she met him she knew

She knew he was the one

From time to time before she wed

she dreamed of the family they would share

She could see birthday parties and Disney trips

The wedding day came and passed

Passionately she tried for months

With every test came a miss

Something is wrong

You doubt yourself  and feel less than a woman

He deserves so much more

One month it happens

Maybe all will be well

She was jubilant and proud

But the joy is short lived

…loss…

She is so alone, frustrated

He is a man of few words

When he saw her for the first time he knew

He was nervous when he proposed but she never knew

He could not wait to make her his wife

When she came down the aisle he thought

I hope our children have her passion for life

her eyes and her smile

But she never knew these thoughts

Passionately he tried for months

What is wrong with me he thought

She deserves so much more

What kind of man am I

He is a man of few words

One day good news arrives

He proudly brags about his wife to his friends

He dreams of baseball trips and birthday parties

Then the other shoe drops

…dream turns to nightmare…

He hurts but worse than that

He feels helpless to protect you

from this invisible enemy

An angel steps into their life

She finds the problem

Hope is not lost

Together she and he follow the angels lead

The path is clear

but the destination is not guaranteed

The journey is long

but there is hope because love finds a way…..

I hope you all reach your desired destination!!!

Infertility: Love Thy Neighbor Virtually

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As the Beyonce beat to “Single Ladies” chimes in with these replacement lyrics “All the infertile couples, all the infertile couples..put yer hands up”……I am a social network guy. I will sometimes moan over the thought that Social Media has taken away the art of a face to face conversation. I frown when I see my family or any family at a restaraunt table staring hypnotically into I Pads or I Phones not speaking to each other. Okay maybe sometimes they are Facebooking each other as they sit next to each other (GUILTY!!!) but that does not count as conversation. I bemoan these things but I applaud social networks for one thing, emotional support. My wife and I were not on Facebook when we took our assisted conception journey. My wife was on nearly eight months bedrest and could have used Attain Fertility or Resolve or one of the intimately personal infertility blogs like:

Where The *Bleep* Is Our Stork
Scrambled Eggs
Infertility Awakening

Social network sites like Facebook opened a deluge of pages and support sites for those looking to hear that they are not the only person feeling the way they do during their war with their reproductive systems. Once I stumbled upon these sites I swore I would do all I could to share my family story and to lend a listening ear to the tens of thousands of people hoping for answers on these sites. I was on one of the pages just before I began writing this blog and read a womans comment , “It’s not my time to shine like a diamond. As I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks..” Just the beginning crushed me. No one should ever have to feel this way, especially about themself. This is typical on the support sites. People, mostly women, are emptying their hearts out hoping to be heard, just letting it out, hoping for answers or for any and many other reasons. What warms me up is that there are always responses to the posts from people that are knee deep in the battle. They are trying to support each other. People are having painful battles of their own but they are quick to come to the aid of a stranger in the same wheelhouse self doubt.

My wife and I won our battle and could have easily walk off into the sunset but my wife spends hours on these sites trying try to cheer people up lending her pharmacutical knowledge and personal experience to people that need it. She works twelve hour days and comes home to talk to strangers that are walking steps today that she wept on years ago. It means something to her. She constantly talks about things she would like to do to help people. I am so lucky to have her in my life.

You have to bring a clear mind to these sites. If you ask a medical question remember only your doctor can give the best answer. When others share their experience keep in mind that their situation is very likely different from yours. It is a good idea to bookmark their advice and maybe run it by you doctor. Go to the “LIKES” portion of your favorite site and see what else is out there. There are sites for people of faith, there are sites that specify race (not that they only want one race on their page), their are medical sites, and humorous sites…the list goes on. The one thing that ties these sites together other than the condition we all share is the openess that people share. It is inspiring what people share of themself.

I personally love the blogs. When a person shares their journey, especially in live time, that just pulls me in. It takes courage to open yourself up that way. Fertility Blogs are exceptionally good at letting you know that it is normal to sometimes hate the pregnant 20 year old neighbor or to want to sock someone in the eye when they say, “It’s God’s will.” I am certain that some of the authrs families or friends question their openness at times. I wrote a book about our journey and have often been questioned. It comes with the territorry when you write but you also get the release. I strongly encourage people to frequent the blogs and hopefully find something in them that helps you.

As the tagline to Alien went….”When you scream in space no one hears you”….the tagline for Infertility Blogs and support sites could read “when you scream here we scream WITH you!!!” I hope you find what you need and I only wish we could be as supportive to strangers in our real lives as were are on line. Best of luck and I love you all.

You are all shining diamonds, it is the clouds that are dark. The clouds will pass and bright days will abound.

Infertility: Is It Time To Quit?

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     We have all been there. We reached the point during our journey down Infertility Road when we started to look for the exit ramp. We wanted off the ride. We could do no more. For me  it was around December 2007. My wife had done all she could. She had done more than she needed to do. She had proven the point that she was tough and had a resolve that was impossible to break. We had been through the usual run of misery. We had been through several failed cycles. We had been down Miscarriage Lane. My wife is a pharmacist and had a miscarriage at work. She could not leave work until another pharmacist could get to her pharmacy and she had to sit on the floor devastated and in tears knowing that there was nothing she could do as we lost another child, another opportunity at parenthood.  That night I left her in her bed because she wanted to be left alone. I went to work and was roaming around like a zombie. On the long drive home a good friend talked me down. I coached Little League Baseball at the time. It seemed odd to coach when I had no children and was fighting to have one. We had practice the day of that loss and it was too late to cancel the practice so I went to the field and met with each parent to call practice off. One of the parents knew something was wrong and she did what she could to console me.  Many nights I gave my wife shots through bruised skin. I was constantly asked how things were going and had to repeat stories often. Relive hard thoughts and memories. I had dried my wife’s tears and suppressed my own. I hated couples that hd kids that seemed to take it for granted. I hated myself but most of all I pained for my wife. She was the hero of the journey. She was the one that was constantly confronted with obstacles and never feared as she broke through them. In December of 2007 after that last loss she was done and I was all too ready to support the decision. It was not that I no longer wanted a child it was that I was tired of watching this invisible bitch kick my wife’s ass as I sat by helpless to protect her.

Her choice to throw the towel in did not last long. After only a few weeks she called me from an airport and said she had called our fertility doctor and was doing one last IVF. I did not want to do. I had lost hope and was in protect my wife mode but she did not need my protection. She was far stronger than I had given her credit for. We went through the cycle. At every single step were statistically out numbered. Everything that could go wrong short of a total loss had occurred. A couple of weeks after the IVF transfer my wife showed signs of a miscarriage. The doctor told us to go home and come back the next day. The next day at the doctor’s office my wife and I could not look at each other. I could not handle seeing her hopes crushed and she likely could not look at me thinking she had let me down (she was wrong). The doctor pointed at the screen and showed us a blinking light, our baby’s heartbeat. Our baby was fine. My wife would go on bed rest for nearly eight months but our daughter would be born and to think I wanted to quit.

My wife is a fighter and will ignore being told something is impossible. Sometimes fate blinks and a miracle slips though. I tell you this story not to make you feel bad at our success story but to illustrate that anything is possible. As long as you can emotionally deal with it and financially handle it never say no. Do not be like me. If you are the man you may be like me and not realize how strong your wife is. Women are ten times stronger than the “I pick things up and put them down man” (you may need to You Tube that reference). I hope you find your rainbow and more importantly I hope your love for your partner gets stronger during the journey. Do not look at the difficulty look at the never say quit attitude your partner has and marvel at it. I hope the below video link gives reminds you of how amazing you are. The video is on my personal blog. You are more than welcome to read other blogs on that page but I warn you that many are about my daughter and I do not want to hurt or offend anyone with those videos. I hope you will go to the link because that video is specifically for you and anyone who is on their journey. Sunshine Dreams and Hopes does not support video but my Tao of Pig Pen does. I love you all. 

 http://abbeyscathouse.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/infertility-is-it-time-to-quit/