The Clinkscales Story

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The Clinkscales Story

My then girlfriend, Janet and I had heard of procedure being pioneered for CF patients in early 1994 through the social worker at the CF Clinic in San Diego. Through the social worker we made contact with a Dr. Patrizio to learn about the process and to determine if Janet was a CF carrier. At that point we determined she was not a carrier and that I definitely was not going to have children without some ‘help’. After getting married in 1995, we went back to Dr. Patrizio in 1996, but because of problems at the clinic he was practicing at he had moved from Southern California to Pennsylvania. But he was working with a local gynecologist and he arranged to fly into So Cal to do an operation on me. The purpose of the operation was to extract sperm from me. That was August 1996. During that same time period Janet was taking fertility drugs and as a result had 11 eggs removed and from that 11 embryos were concieved. In August 1996, 4 of the embroys were implanted in Janet and after 2 weeks, NOTHING. Srike 1. This was a very difficult 2 weeks, because Janet suffers (and I mean suffers) from Migraines. She could not take her medication and it was really hard. In October I had some medical difficulties, so we did not try again until January 1997. Again we tried 4 embroys and after 2 weeks, PREGNANT. It was a fairly difficult pregnancy because of a number of factors. Janet’s migraines sent us to the Emergency room every other week for 12 weeks, at that time the progestrone was given daily by injection (a really horrible shot) (I think we counted that during the process Janet was given over 70 shots) and she developed placentia previa that required her to go on disability 2 months before Maria was born. But, after 38 hours of labor and a C-section, we had the most wonderful gift in the world, Maria and NONE of the pain, financial requirements, etc mattered anymore.

If you did the math, you’ll know that after Maria we had 3 embroys left. In July of this year we tried again, but no pregnancy.

This is a very difficult emotional process and can be very difficult financially as most insurance companies do not cover these treatments. Although some of the procedures are now easier than they were in ’96, this is still a challenging procedure for the female partner. It was much more difficult for Janet than it was for me. She was and is very strong. We were lucky that we had a couple of friends that were going through similar procedures and through discussions with them we were better prepared.

We are so very blessed to have Maria and I could never have imagined how wonderful it is to have a child. But it has changed my outlook on life. I was always serious about taking care of myself, but now I REALLY CARE about staying healthy. I want to stay alive for as long as possible to see her grow up and I worry (a fairly new thing for me) about my health much more than I ever have in the past. Another thing for people with CF to consider is taking care of an infant and now a toddler takes a lot of energy. A baby does not care if you don’t feel good that day, you need to do an IV or a treatment they want attention NOW!!! So, it requires a balancing act of maintaining your health and your responsibilities as a parent. I am lucky in that I have a wonderful wife and some help from family members.

My last comment is that I could never imagine my life without Maria. She has made my life complete.

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