Family Building Fridays: The Bell Family, IVF

My wife, Megan, and I always knew we wanted kids. We also knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We knew there was going to have to be medical intervention—and we were OK with that. We’d known for quite some time that IVF was going to be our route. That’s the beauty of science. It gives people opportunities that whey wouldn’t normally have—and we are beyond grateful for that. The IVF process itself was challenging—physically on my wife and emotionally for both of us. But after about a year of genetic testing, making sure our insurance was in order, and trying to get pregnant, we finally did. It’s hard to put words to the emotions when you first learn your wife is pregnant. At the time, I didn’t think I could ever feel that way. But then nine months later our son Landon was born, and our lives changed forever.

As you can imagine it was a huge adjustment. The three most important things to keeping healthy with CF, in my opinion, are (1) consistency of routine, (2) avoiding germs, and (3) sleep/exercise/treatments. All of these were thrown for a big loop when Landon was born. But we expected that. I don’t have an endless amount of energy. I don’t have the ability to function on 5 hours of sleep. We knew that I was going to have to change some things in order to remain healthy. We knew that we were going to have to rely on our parents, extended family, and friends for help (we still do). Just like everything else in life, it was a learning opportunity. It took some time, and to this day there are curveballs, but we were able to establish a routine that works for our family. A routine that attempts to balance work, life, managing CF, being a parent, being a couple, and everything else that’s important to us.

And to be quite honest, how we view CF hasn’t changed. I still must do my treatments. I still get sick. And as Landon gets older, he certainly starts to take notice. He knows I must do my nebulizers and vest in the morning and before I go to bed. He knows I must take pills before I eat. He thinks that when I have a PICC line in my arm that I just have a big booboo. And right now, he tries to mimic me. We have extra nebulizer cups for him, he puts a sleeve on his arm to cover his booboo (like I do when I have an
IV), and he sometimes takes a marker or a stick and tries to inject insulin into his stomach like me. I’m sure we’ll have to explain more and more as he gets older. I don’t plan on hiding it. I never have. He deserves to know, and we’ll find a way to make sure does. But for now, it’s a bit of an afterthought.

For now, we are just enjoying being parents—CF or no CF. Maybe we appreciate the little things a bit more—a quiet night at home watching Frozen for the 117 th time, a Saturday morning trip to bouncy house and to get a donut, or a big vacation across the country to hike some National Parks—who knows. There are many nights where I look across the couch and am just thankful for the family I have. Thankful that they’re part of my life. Thankful that medicine and science has advanced to a place where I’m 35. Thankful that I can call myself someone’s father. That will never get old. And it’s true what they. Once you have kids you cannot imagine life before them. And I can’t—except for sleeping on weekends! But that doesn’t matter—being a father is the greatest gift. It gives you more as a person than anything I’ve ever experienced. And for that, my family, I’m forever grateful.