Family Planning? — The Bump
Military Families

Family Planning?

Hi ladies! I haven't posted here in a while, but need some advice and a sympathetic ear. I used to be active duty Army with my husband and after we had our son in Oct 2007 in Korea, I got out in Oct 2009 when we PCSd back to the US.  My husband deployed in the fall of 2010 and came back fall 2011.  We have been trying since then to get pregnant, but have been unsuccessful.  Doctors laugh at me when I go in for any sort of "preconception" appointment or help.  My son is 4.5 and the gap between him and a would be sibling continues to grow every month that passes by.  This week, my husband was told he had to go to Korea for 1 year unaccompanied, leaving THIS September.  That is the one year mark for when he returned from deployment and it will be the one year mark for us trying to have a baby.  The doctors won't see me for fertility issues until its been a year of trying.  Some good that will do if my other half is here to help procreate.  I'm so angry and disappointed.  My husband and I don't want to keep trying for much longer since the age gap between the two kids will be so huge that they won't have a relationship like my sister and I who are three years apart in age, but more like my husband and his brother who are 8 years apart in age.  We don't want that.  If we don't get pregnant in the next 4 months, I guess we are only going to have one kid.  I wanted three.  My heart is broken that my family is not what I had always planned on and dreamed of.  It hurts even more when my son walks up to me and says, "I wish I had someone to play with me." He is partly asking me to play when he says this, but part of me wonders if he is lonely and wishes for a sibling that he most likely will never have.  I am very close to my sister and it breaks my heart that my son may never know that love and joy.When my husband and I pass, he will be all alone with only a couple of cousins who live states away so they haven't met to date and probably will only meet a handful of times in their lives.  They won't be close like a sibling.  

I went to Tricare last week and changed my doctor in hopes of seeing a different one who will be more compassionate.  My appointment is next week and I'm part hopeful that they will have compassion on me and help with conceiving and part of me is so dreading this because I don't want another doctor to tell me that there is nothing they can do.  I don't care if my husband is gone during the pregnancy or birth.  We can manage.  We're a military family and strong enough to handle this.  What I can't handle is how doctors can't make exceptions for military families who's lives don't fit the normal cookie cutter and timeline of how things should work.  My husband and I can't afford to pay out of pocket to store his semen somewhere while he is gone and go through IVF.  We don't have thousands of extra dollars laying around for that.  We made the decision that we will pay for IUI, but if it comes to IVF or anything, we are going to take that as a sign to stop. 

Has anyone dealt with this sort of thing? 

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Re: Family Planning?

  • We're trying for #2 also. DH will probably be leaving in the fall for about 18 months. Even if we don't get pregnant before he leaves, we will still continue trying when he gets back.

    I get what you're saying about the age gap, but it may not matter. My sister and I are four years apart and have nothing in common. On the other hand, DH and his brother are 5.5 years apart and have been best friends from day 1. I think it depends more on the personalities than the age gap.

    I can't fault the doctors for not breaking protocol for you. It's there for a reason. In all likelihood, both of you are just fine and will get pregnant on your own eventually. It's completely normal for it to take up to a year. Running a ton of tests that will probably be negative, or could even come up with a false positive, isn't really going to help. I'm assuming that you conceived LO1 without ART, so there's not reason to think you need help this time around.

    If you really want to go through fertility testing at this point you can always see a non-military doctor and try to get them to go along with your plan, but the standard of reproductive care is the same everywhere.  

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  • It takes the typical couple up to one year before success.  Does the timing of the unaccompanied tour suck?  Of course, but that's life.  You shouldn't go waste time, money, and resources when you haven't met the eligibility requirements yet to be seen.  You are jumping the gun. Like I said, his tour to Korea is unfortunate, but that's what happens when you are married to the military. I think storing his sperm is a good compromise.  You don't have to go through IVF until/unless you know you have issues.

     With that said, I thought the same way after I had DS.  We wanted our children to be 2 year apart.  When DS was 9.5 months, DH left for the first time.  Until just before DS's 3rd birthday, DH was gone on and off, making TTC damn near impossible.  I was disappointed, but I got over it.  I used to say, "I don't want kids 4+ year apart."  I found out I was pregnant the day after DS's third birthday.  I miscarried shortly thereafter.  Two more miscarriages followed.  After my last miscarriage, it took about 13 months to conceive again. 

    My children are 5.5 years apart.  It was never what I planned, nor is it what I thought I wanted.  However, I am so thankful everyday for the age gap.  DS has been tremendously helpful.  During the day, it is like having an only child because DS is at school.  I can focus all of my time and attention to DD.  She gets to experience just us just like DS did.  That is a true blessing.

     Will my children ever have a playmate relationship?  No, but that doesn't mean they will not be close.  DS adores DD.  I believe that he will always look after her and be protective of her.  I believe the relationship they will have in the future will be better than if they were closer in age.  It might not, but I sure hope it does.

    If you want 3 children, why not have the last two close in age?  If the age gap is truly a make it or break it, then I think you are having children for the wrong reasons.

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  • NSLNSL member

    Do you have any idea how many couples can't have "cookie cutter timeline" pregnancy spacing?  Bottom line: no, doctors shouldn't be making exceptions for military families.  Do you have any idea how long it takes to get an appointment with your average RE?  The ones I visited when we were trying to conceive our first had at least a month-long waiting list to schedule a first appointment.  Any appointment a couple who doesn't meet the IF guidelines gets takes that same appointment away from a couple who HAVE been trying for over a year.  

     Besides which, sometimes--frequently--there really isn't anything doctors can do.  They can run tests, even perform procedures, but NOTHING will guarantee you a faster pregnancy with any degree of certainty.   

    Ultimately, only you can decide how many children  you want to have.  But to decide to stop at one even though you don't want to because your kids will be a bit further apart than you'd like is just stupid.  Anecdotally, my mother is far closer to her brother who's ten years her junior than she is to the sister who's only 18 months older than she is.  I'm not at all close to my sister (three years apart) but H is very close to his (seven years apart).  Etc...  Proximity in age is no guarantee of emotional connection or common interest.   

  • I have been off of the bcp since October 2010, but I was only recently allowed to see a doctor for fertility testing because of deployments.  My H has only been home for 12 cycles since Oct. 2010 and he is actually deployed right now too.  It really stinks that they have that rule (12 months of trying before doing any testing), especially with the crazy life schedules the military puts us on.  By the time we can begin trying again, it will be close to 2 years since we started trying.  It is beyond frustrating dealing with deployments/unaccompanied tours!  


    As far as the age gap goes, I wouldn't let that bother you.  I have an older sister by 2 years, and we rarely speak.  I also have 2 younger siblings, a brother 6 years my junior and a sister 14 years younger than I, and we couldn't be closer!   If you want more children, don't let the age gap between kids stop you from adding to your family.  


    Good luck with the Korea tour, and building your family!   

    TTC since Oct. 2010 2/12 fertility testing, Diagnosed with Sporadic Ovulation Aug./Sep. 2012 Clomid Cycle #1- BFP! at 14DPO Missed m/c at 6w4d, discovered in U/S at 10w2d on 11/06/12. Natural Miscarriage on 11/12/12 Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers
  • FTR, my kids are 13, 11, 5 and 4.  My older kids are extremely close to my younger kids.  My 4 yr old would tell you the 13 yr old is his best friend.  How close your kids are completely depends on your and your family dynamics, not on the age difference. 
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  • Thank you all so much for being the voice of reason.  Sometimes I just need that tough love and logic to snap me back to reality.  I appreciate all of the feedback so much! (My pity party is over, I promise.)  
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  • jb2rnjb2rn member

    May I ask why you think you would even need fertility treatment?

    You have been trying for five cycles? If it takes the average, healthy couple a year of perfectly timed sex to conceive, then there is nothing to suggest you can't get pregnant.

    I am sorry about your husbands orders to Korea. I would be upset as well, I get that.

    I don't get you worrying about fertility treatment. Are you over 35? Maybe if so, then I can see your concern. I am almost 36 and I planned to have my first sooner than five months ago, but that was the way life worked out.

    Best of luck.

    b/w=FSH 15.6, AMH 0.4 surprise natural BFP on 3/12/11
    DS born via unplanned C-section at 40w6d


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