vhl alliance

by Wheatley D.

“When are you going to have kids?” To me, this question was painful and used to be hard to answer. The truth is, I always thought I would be a mom. I love kids. I am great with babies, toddlers, even teens. My husband, Lamar, also adores kids. Friends call him “The Baby Whisperer”. At a glance, we are ideal parenthood candidates. Yet, we don’t have any children.

Lamar and I tried everything. Starting with the natural way. I had two miscarriages. One was tubal, required painful chemo shots, and permanently damaged my fallopian tube. Shortly after those traumas, I needed brain surgery for a cerebellar hemangioblastoma. At age 32, it was my first VHL-related surgery. We worried about how poorly my body and mind handled pregnancy, as well as my increasing age and the possibility of passing VHL on to a child.

Then, a friend offered to serve as a surrogate(!), so we researched. In addition to a steep price tag (pre-implantation testing to screen for VHL, in vitro fertilization, medical care), the health risks were high. The hormones might complicate my health, the IVF might not take, and extra tries would mean additional payments and repeated risks. We did not want to drain our bank accounts, nor did we want to submit my friend, or myself, to so many procedures and risks with no guarantee of a baby.

Next up was adoption. This was a solid possibility. We know many people with happy adoption stories. However, the first agency we tried was disorganized and discouraging. Then we found a private agency. A birth mother would look through our family scrapbook and decide if she wanted to meet. If the connection was positive, we would fund some of her living costs until the baby was born, then take the baby home with us. The catch? She would have two weeks after birth to change her mind, no refunds, and we would start all over again. Different costs, risks, and chances of heartache there. We ended up canceling with that agency, too. It just didn’t feel right.

So, when are we going to have kids? The answer is that we aren’t. Years of research, talking, heartbreak, and prayers led us here. We have two sweet dogs that fill our home and hearts. We get to love and help nurture precious nephews and godsons. These children will carry on our genetics and family legacies, which is wonderful. We tried to have kids, oh God how we tried, but we were meant to be “just us” and that is finally, completely okay.


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