Thursday, May 9, 2013

Survivors Guilt

How can I even blog about RESOLVE Advocacy Day?

120+ brave as hell women and men fly-into DC.

Share stories of miscarriages.  Failed procedures.  Tens of Thousands of dollars spent.

Jobs lost when FMLA runs out while cycling.

Dreams of homeownership on hold when down payments are spent on injections.

And FETs.

And Donor Eggs.

And Embryonic Adoption.

And Domestic and International Adoption.

And still loss.  So much loss.

And so much courage and bravery.

We are so lucky.

We didn't have to spend ourselves into bankruptcy to build a family. 

But you know what?  We would have.

We didn't go through 8-10 plus IVFs over 5 years to build a family. 

But you know what? We would have.

We didn't have our spouse's fertility rendered unusable after a blast injury defending our country overseas and have to spend out of pocket to fulfill our dream to build a family. 

But you know what? We would have.

I was gifted with new friends yesterday.  With women and men who, without waivering, without a lump in their throat said to 25 year old Hill staffers trying desperately to prevent pregnancy nightly.  "I've had four miscarriages, 3 IUIs, 4 IVFs and 8 donor egg cycles and I'm here to build my family."

I was gifted with a resolve to speak out about this issue that affects my family at such a shallow level.  So shallow that I'm guilty.

I was gifted with five women from Ohio who became insta-family and told their stories and lobbied their bills like they had been doing it their whole lives.

I was gifted with  a military spouse from NC who has exhausted her savings, is in mid-cycle, and flies to DC to speak out.

I was gifted with with bloggers and Twitterers and Floridians and Los Angelosians and adoptive moms and foster moms and families who have chosen to live child-free.

We're in the one in eight families that faced infertility.

I'm an infertility survivor.

May we all be.

Call your Member of Congress and Senators.  Ask them to support the Family Act and the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act.

Do it for the Palmetto Babies.

For those of you who get here on the 2014 update... here's what I said:

I have a mission for you, you family builders, family thinkers, and family havers. It has been easy for a few... it has been difficult for many many many more. You all know by now that we have been able to build our family through the gifts of modern medicine.

I'm now an advocate for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association . I serve on their public policy board and give advice on how to increase access to fertility treatments for our servicemembers, with particula...r attention to Wounded Warriors.

I'll be attending RESOLVE Advocacy Days once again this May and leading a group of infertility advocates around Capitol Hill .

We are looking for stories of families making financial sacrifices to build a family.

Have you had repeat losses and are grateful for your health insurance? Have you investigated adoption? Have fertility treatments been a part of your life? Would you considering writing a letter about it to your Congressman and Senators that we can deliver during Advocacy Day? I'm sharing my link on last year's Advocacy Day outside my typical audience. This is a sharable mission... share it with others... inbox me if you would like to put a letter in the pile... I have a template that you can use to insert your story.   

If you are open, please email it to me at susannindc at gmail dot com so I can bundle it with so many others.

  [FOR 2014 Advocacy Day]

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

RE: Please Support Legislation to Help Build Families

Dear Senator/Representative LAST NAME:

Infertility is a disease and in the U.S. 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Because medical treatments for infertility are rarely covered by health insurance, couples are faced with extreme financial burdens to treat infertility, and are sometimes unable to pursue the treatments they need to build their families. Please support legislation that will help people build their families.
- The Family Act, S 881/HR 1851. The Family Act creates a tax credit for the out-of-pocket costs associated with infertility medical treatment including in vitro fertilization (IVF), and for fertility preservation treatment for young men and women diagnosed with cancer.
- The Women Veterans and Other Healthcare Improvements Act, S 131/HR 958. This bill would provide increased benefits, specifically including IVF, to veterans who experience a loss of fertility directly related to their service to our country.
- The Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act, S 1056/HR 2144. While the Adoption Tax Credit was made permanent, the Credit is not refundable. This bill puts back the refundable provision so that the families who need the credit the most to adopt children receive it.

[Please insert information about your personal story and the impact that cost has had on your ability to create your family.]

Thank you for your support of this legislation. And thank you for helping millions of Americans build their families.