Sunday, November 29, 2015

Starting a Family with CF

Those Tough Topics :

Andrew and I have always been very open and honest about what we want out of life. Whether it is a certain career, lifestyle, location of home, family, etc. We both pretty much want the same future. Live close (within a couple hours) to our families, have careers we love and do well at, and most importantly have a family.

A Simple Life. Well, you would think so.

I mean we work during the day, then enjoy making dinner & eating together..  On our days off, we do our errands or doctor's appointments, but also take walks at the park, and enjoy attractions near my doctors. We have careers we love and still spend lots of  time together.

We lead a pretty nice life. I may complain about my Cystic Fibrosis (lately about or our $6,000 deductible). BUT, there are plenty of CFers that don't even have 100% coverage post deductible. I'm thankful we do! Plus, we can prepare for the deductible (which I pay off in January of every year), then no more surprise bills for me for the year. So we are very VERY lucky.

I love Real Estate and honestly, have wanted this career since I was a child.I just have to get creative about fitting my meds in during the day, like doing them in the car. Andrew always thought he wanted to teach, but realized after a few of the internships that it wasn't for him. At the same time he was loving his current job, working with people, but in a management position he still gets to teach & train others. He did well in the past in restaurant management. So he decided to continue up the ladder at his current store. Which he has done very well at. So yes, we are VERY thankful and blessed.

The only thing we'd like to eventually add is the "family" part.

 We want kids.  Andrew always knew he would be a dad someday. But it was trickier for me.

I used to be scared to be a mother, but knew I wanted to be one at some point.

Becoming a mother and having CF is scary. I mean you have tons of questions race through your head.

What will my kid think when I do all these nebs?
Will they be upset mommy can't always play or run around?
What happens when I go into the hospital?
What if I'm not feeling well (on IVs at home) and still have my kids to care of?
How will they deal with my CF?

I always wanted to be a mother, but I didn't know whether or not I would be able to handle it.  However, for a couple years I had the opportunity to Nanny/babysit 4 terrific kids. I had 2 girls, ages 9 & 10, from 5:30am until 4pm. In the school year I took them to & from school. I also babysat a little boy since he was a newborn. I had him off & on (my mom & I alternated watching him). 1 year had a little girl that was 8 years old after school until 5pm and all day in the summer. These kids were amazing.  They all understood I had CF, had to take meds, etc. I could do my treatments in front of them. They'd just watch movies with me or play board games. If I was tired one day, we'd have Harry Potter Marathons, or they'd just go play barbies in the playroom. The little boy by the time he was 4 knew I was supposed to keep my nebs in my mouth, because they helped me breathe better. So if I was talking and wasting the neb, he'd scold me "Sheesh put that back your mouth!" Talk about supportive kids. They were simply adorable and sweet. To this day, that is and forever will be the BEST job I ever had!

I grew to love those kids and THEY made me realize I COULD be a mom! I never would of known if I could do it, if it wasn't for their love & understanding.

So now, even though I know I can handle being a mother & managing my CF. It's still tricky.

 Most CFers are infertile. I'm not really sure if I am or not. But, it wouldn't matter either way. If I can get pregnant, I still can't go through a pregnancy. I have been told with my lung function level (50%), arthritis, stomach issues, liver problems, weight issues, and other problems It would be very risky. Plus, I've had a half dozen hernias and the surgeon pretty much said I have a piece of mesh clear across my abdomen, top to bottom to sides. So needless to say, I have way too many obstacles and I'd be putting my life & my baby's life at risk.

Another reason, is how fast my lung function can drop when sick and how long it takes to come back. I'm allergic to 4 major antibiotic families. Which is another obstacle I will face in the future with Transplant. The last time on IVs for 3 weeks I didn't respond to them. So bottom line, I have to super duper careful to take care of my body. I'm not about to risk it to have a child. What's the point? Maybe be lucky enough to live long enough to give my biological child life and  then they grow up without a mother?

So our first challenge is the fact I'm not sure if I can get pregnant.  I do know I can't take birth control. I've tried various forms and it reacts weird with my meds & my body. So even though we are careful, its scary. What if I did get pregnant? I, personally, could never get an abortion. (btw I don't judge others. I just couldn't). So we are talking about permanent solutions, even though we are both young (which is a little scary). Andrew and I are little over 5 years apart in age, the unfortunate part is I'm the older one.

I don't mind being older than my husband. But CF ages me to a whole different level. My body is not a 30 year old body. CF bodies have more "wear and tear." CF life expectancy is 40 right now. I plan to surpass that, but I don't want to just live long enough to see them grow up. I want to run and play with them when I they are young, heck I want to be able to hold grandchildren someday. I already have trouble with stairs and walking far distances. So if I want to run and play with my kids, Andrew and I can't wait too much longer.

Our options:

Surrogacy, Adoption, Foster Care. I've been looking into Surrogacy and  it is expensive. Ten of thousands of dollars...Too much money. The fertility meds, procedures, hospital costs, plus paying the surrogate carrier a monthly stipend.  So that probably isn't the best option. Plus, having an infant to care for is harder for me physically, then a toddler. Adoption is something we both have known we wanted to do (even before meeting each other). When I was in my 20s, I always thought I'd adopt one child and have another. So we are definitely going to look into adoption. However, we are both really leaning towards foster care too. We have been doing a lot of research/reading about it and think it would be the perfect fit for us.

So right now, our plan is to save up for a little while. Then hopefully, become foster parents. There are several classes about it in the area where we live. So, hopefully my Cystic Fibrosis doesn't get in the way.
However, I know other CFers that are foster parents, so we are very hopeful. We have the hope of adopting down the road too.

But for now that is where we are. Looking into starting a Family. Not yet ready to start one, but looking into it and planning for it.

I've seen a lot of posts on facebook saying " Please don't ask when I'm going to have a baby or tell my husband to put a baby in me" and I can relate and agree. Just because we are married, doesn't mean we have to have a baby now. We do want a family and are making plans.  But that's not the point. Not everyone has the same plans and priorities. On the other hand:  I've had a good friend ask "Are you guys planning on starting a family". This doesn't imply anything and is just curious question. And I can reply "Yes, and then explain we plan to foster & adopt." I'm fine with being open and discussing every aspect of us starting a family.

So if you have any questions, comments, or advice, feel free to share it.



6 comments:

  1. I love that you are being so open about this topic and I am going to love learning about it. :)

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    1. Thanks Colleen! I hope my openness helps others struggling with similar options. I will be doing a 2nd one about this topic in early spring :-)

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  2. Are you crazy ?! Stop thinking of yourself and think of the kid with one parent struggling to raise the kid with no mother and barely surviving. Just so you can say you've had a kid ?! Its crazy. Adoption is far safer but still, the kid will only have a single parent when you pass, struggling to put food on the table and pay for life's bills. I came from a double parent family and my father walked away as a teen. I saw my poor mother work 3 jobs just to keep us clothed, fed, and in school for 3 girls. Ok you can't take birth control pills, have you looked into 1. The mirena I.u.d, ? Or 2. Having your tubes tied. Clearly a need for more investigation.

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    1. Hi Sonia, I see you have post on more than one of my blog posts. Why will my child only have one parent? I'm not phyiscally having any children. Our plan is to foster to adopt. My health is stable, hasn't really decreased (without increasing) since high school. I'm already 32 years old. I NEVER said I wanted to HAVE a kid, just to say I've had a kid. I said I didn't plan to use surrogacy. We plan to foster, meaning we will take care of children with nowhere to go (and hopefully will adopt them in the future). I do not need birth control, I'm not getting pregnant, not sure why responded about that. Also, if I did pass away (more likely from a Car crash than CF, but if I did). My husband can fully support our family. We have planned accordingly. I'm sorry that happened to you in the past, nobody should deal with that, but it is not the same situation. Thank you for the concern, but it has nothing to do with our choice to adopt foster children. Have a good day!

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  3. You should explore list of career choices for all kinds of students of all the specializations.

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    1. Hi Brandy, not sure what you posted this at all. I have a flexible career that allows me to work mostly from home. I don't really need any career advice, but thanks for reading. Have a good day.

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