Saturday, February 28, 2015

Getting Personal: Answering Your Questions {UPDATED}

So we intend on making this Q & A post a recurring post for whenever we get reader questions...but this is the first edition.
Thank you for reading and while you're here, let's conceive hope together!

UPDATED: Fundraising is now complete! Thank you to everyone who read and shared this post while we were under a tight timeline to raise funds for this training. This FAQ post will remain on the blog, but the donation button has been removed. 

We've been doing some fundraising for the past week for my FCP training at the St. Gianna Center (it starts in just a little over 2 WEEKS!! (....gulp!). Lots of questions* have been flying in on the contact form, via email, and in facebook PMs. We're going to do our best to attempt to answer them here. If we receive any additional questions in the comments (here on the blog or on facebook), we'll update this post to include them here. And in case you missed it, read the blog post that inspired this Q&A.

*If you want to know the answer to the popular *why* question (i.e. why I'm doing FCP training!), you can skip to #9 for the roughest story I've had to tell on this blog yet...


1) How can I make a donation to your FCP training fund?

UPDATED: We have removed the "Donate" button from this page as promised because fundraising is now complete. Thank you to everyone who so generously contributed.

2) How much is the average donation?

The donations have mostly been small amounts from a lot of different people. The amounts we're seeing the most are: $20, $25, and $50. Some people have emailed us to say they donated a specific amount for every miscarriage they've had. When I have done the math and compared it with their donation, it has brought tears to my eyes. I'm humbled to know how many little ones are lifting me up from above on this journey.

We appreciate all support and all donations large and small. Each person that has included us in their Lenten almsgiving has touched us in a profound way. We're normally the kind of contributors that do it quietly and anonymously, so it's humbling to watch people do that for us and to find ourselves on the other side of it.

3) How much money do you have left to raise?
The education program is divided into two parts: EP1 and EP2. I am fundraising *only* for EP1 right now. The program costs, without travel expenses or lodging or meals, just for EP1 training itself total $4,000. Here's the breakdown of that against what we've received in grants/donations so far:

 $4,000.00 EP1 training costs
-$1,000.00 Scholarship from OSV
-$3,000.00 private donations (UPDATED)
$ nothing left to raise (UPDATED)

UPDATED: These costs do NOT include lodging, transportation, or meals. We're working hard to find resources for those separate from the donations that we have humbly asked for here. We're hoping the divide and conquer approach will help the two ends meet.

4) What is CrMS, what is an FCP, and what are you training for?

You have lots of questions about the C.reighton Model and I love them!

Here's the "what" question answered.
Here's a great introduction on the history of the method.
Here's a great outline of the education program, what it entails, and the timeline involved for training.

5) Why aren't you using a GoFundMe page to fundraise?

We researched all the methods for collecting donations and the button above takes the smallest percentage of YOUR donation. If you make a $20 donation to us for example, we get $19.94 of it using this method. Places like gofundme and carebridge and all the other "crowdsourcing" platforms take MUCH bigger chunks of each donation before they deliver the funds. Some of them will take a full 10-20% cut off the donation before they deliver the remainder to the recipient days later. I won't begrudge a business their need to make money on a transaction for providing a service and processing a credit card....but there is no reason for your hard-earned money to be lost to exorbitant merchant fees.

Yes, gofundme might be prettier than what we opted for here...but let's keep the money you intend to be spent on this CrMS education be available for this training and not just a means to support a crowdsourcing platform. 

6) How will donations be spent?

100% of all donations will be spent on EP1 tuition, which must be paid up before March 20th. Y'all - I don't mess around with money. I was an accountant for years and years before I became a programmer. I run a tight budget and I demand accountability for every dollar spent. We will continue publishing the total donation amount as it grows (please, God). I will also make sure to publish a careful accounting of how every dollar is utilized. I'll be taking pictures and blogging about the training experience itself, so you will have complete transparency on this journey with me!

7) What will you do if you receive extra money?

UPDATED: The "unlikely" I mention below of needing to remove the "Donate" button happened. We caught the donations at $5 under our total funding need. Y'all, I've got that last $5 in pennies, nickels, and dimes - so we're good to go! We LOVE your optimism!! Praise God, but I think we're in greater danger of not being able to raise enough funds over the next 20 days than the opposite! I remain 50% hopeful we'll get there, and 50% petrified of not having enough and having to cancel at the last minute. With all that said, in the unlikely event that we receive more donations than needed, I will immediately remove the PayPal button from the blog and be in touch with contributors. We are following the donations carefully and will do everything in our power to prevent anything extra from being collected. That's our promise to you. God bless and thank you for your prayerful generosity.

8) What will you do if you don't raise enough?

UPDATED: No need to answer this question anymore, we raised everything we needed!! We are going to get there one way or the other. I'm dog-sitting and house-sitting and babysitting and open to sitting on anything else you need me to sit on in this attempt to raise money. While you are busy prayerfully discerning your contribution - we're doing our part to try and raise as much as we can through any means available. We are literally selling our belongings to make way for this. Kitchen equipment, the bed, the armoire, a computer, it's all out the door to raise more funds for this. Who needs material belongings anyway? :)

9) What made you want to become an FCP?

OK, so things are about to get SUPER personal for me here. Bear with me, I'm answering this question with tissues in hand. Last year (February 2014), I was working as a programmer for a marketing company. I had enjoyed 3 years' tenure in the position and enjoyed that challenge each day brought with it. I was up for a raise and a promotion, so I knew it was going to be a good month. Reviews had just been completed, so it was just a matter of time before I saw the good news in my paycheck that I had already been promised.

And just like that... one Saturday morning I got a +HPT. We were overjoyed and all seemed to be going well in our world. After a sea of medical interventions though (I have low progesterone) amount of shots or pills was enough to save our baby. We lost her not even halfway through the first trimester, despite every effort to save her.

As you can imagine, it was a rough time for us. I was in pieces. I asked for a few days off work for bereavement leave (and was so grateful my company allowed for that!). Not only did I feel incapable of sitting in an ultra-modern office building in a WHITE LEATHER OFFICE CHAIR while I was bleeding and physically living through the loss....but I just knew I wouldn't be any use to anyone and I'd be a messy spectacle of tears. It was a sorely needed break. I was quickly granted written permission from my supervisor, took my three days, and that was that.

Fast forward to that good professional news I was expecting. 
When I was back at work the next week, I was called into a meeting - with HR, my supervisor, and her director. Instead of being offered the raise and promotion I had been promised, I was told that I had improperly used bereavement leave. My miscarriage was not an "appropriate use of company bereavement leave because it didn't involve the death of an immediate family member". No one cared about my written permission from my supervisor and no one wanted to discuss anything. I was caught completely flat-footed with my jaw hanging open, as you can well imagine. I was told that I was being terminated effective immediately, that my desk would be cleared out for me, that I would not be allowed to say goodbye to my colleagues, and I would be escorted to my vehicle to leave the premises immediately.

My brain was spinning. I was being treated like a criminal in a place I had devoted the past 3 years of my professional life to! It was surreal and profoundly painful all at once. I'll never know how (Holy Spirit, ya'll!!) I found the grace to tell them all that I forgave them and that I would be praying for them in that moment. When I look back, it seems an impossible way to react. I was angry, hurt, red-faced, and completely crushed...and yet the love of Christ came out of my mouth. Maybe there is hope for me...

And that's how I became unemployed and a new journey began. As you can imagine, I was wrecked for weeks...months?...and that wound left a deep scar. I began this blog as a way to process some of the intense emotions I felt regarding infertility, our losses, charting, and all the medical interventions and treatments we underwent. The seed for becoming an FCP was planted along the way as I realized how much God had used that terrible work situation to powerfully form my heart and my conscience on the topic of personhood, the dignity of marriage and family, and the innate value of ALL life from conception. And God has continued to use that tiny seed with fertilizer and water and the warmest sunshine He can muster.

No one deserves to live through what I've had to with my last miscarriage, but it was that situation that helped me recognize that there is a larger calling in my life to support the pro-life movement now. The best way I know  how to honor my family - and the lives of the children that we have lost - is to put myself to work in a profession where the kind of thing I just described can never, ever happen again. I want to be a part of the solution. If this testimony (which was hard to write) speaks to you in any way - please let us know you are supporting us in prayer. And if you are able, please (UPDATED: fundraising is not complete!) prayerfully consider a donation for my education that can be made at the top right of this page.

I hope that answers the big "why" question everyone is asking us. It's a painful "YES" we're giving on this one...and we are indebted to everyone supporting us in answering God's calling in our life on this very personal topic. And yes, y'all have been nagging me for MONTHS to do this... so you've definitely carried me on your shoulders through the tough parts of this journey to get where I am today!

10) I have other questions... 

We will answer them the best we know how - just leave us a message in the comments section or drop us a line on the contact form at the top of the page and we'll be in touch ASAP. If it's a private and specific question - we'll answer you directly in private. If it is an FAQ kind of question, we'll post it here for everyone's benefit.

***In case you missed the post that inspired this Q&A, you can read about My Big Fat Tuesday here.***


  1. Wow. To think we have reached a place in life where the loss of a child does not merit 3 whole days of bereavement leave and in fact becomes grounds for termination. I think what's most sad to me is that your employers were not likely just trying to be jerks, they really saw it that way. In a broader culture that supports contraception and abortion, how could they see it otherwise. Two of the saddest miscarriages that I have ever known about are two of my secular friends that just tried to shrug it off and thought their sadness was too much for "losing a pregnancy". They didn't get to fully understand and appreciate the lives of their children because of this mentality. Praying that God continues to use you and Sadhbh to help people to truly understand the full worth and dignity of each person.

    1. I agree with you 100% - it is a very sad commentary on our culture when the death of a child is not grounds for bereavement. And I agree with you that they just "saw it that way". Even sadder, but like you said - how else can you see it when contraception and abortion are ordered up like happy meals at McDonald's?

      Whenever I'm at my *worst*...I still find myself looking back to the moment when I was standing in that workplace parking lot next to my vehicle with the box of my stuff from my desk...staring blankly at the sky. I think God has big plans for Sadhbh...and that was just the start.

      It has taken a long time to find my thoughts on this topic. Thank you so much for reading them so thoughtfully! <3

  2. I'm so sad that this is how society acts. I was afraid on my first miscarriage to ask for any leave, I suffered thru his loss, sitting in my cube; and enduring all this silently, while "trying" to do my job. Praying for your FCP journey.

    1. I agree that it's so sad. I was afraid to ask for leave on my first miscarriage too! And that was before our office renovation when they gave everyone those horrendous white leather chairs. There is nothing quite like sitting through it physically happening at work. I wish we couldn't bond at that level....but alas, we can.

      Thank you so much for the prayers and your support. It means so much to both of us. <3

  3. We made crockpot freezer meals during EP1. There is SO MUCH studying each night that you almost do not have time to go get dinner and then go home to study. So we kept dinner in crockpot til we got home --we ate leftovers from night before as well. Studied through dinner and didn't have to worry about prep! We studied from 5-midnight every night! ha! But it was a lot of fun!

    I'm finding that during the SP1 there is only enough money to be made to pay for EP2.....With my sliding scale clients, no shows, etc....I'm making just enough to be able to put away for EP2 and that is fine by me.

    1. Ohh....that's a BRILLIANT idea! They mentioned at the beginning (before I was accepted) that they would house the long-distance students. I'm hoping whoever they put me with will understand the schedule. My diet is so ridiculous at this point, I pretty much figured I would have to bring most of my food. I'm not sure anyone could be equipped to manage gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, nightshade free!!

      I'm actually really looking forward to studying (it's been so long since I was "school-minded", I have definitely have wondered how I'll manage). Appreciate the tips, details, and support so much, Sew!

      Also, good to hear you are making a little money through SP1 to fund EP2. That's a relief to hear that it might be enough. How many clients have you taken on? How is it going so far?

  4. I am so excited for you to be doing this, and I can not get over your story! During my last loss I took vacation/sick time, but my office manager told me there was funeral leave if I wanted. It was so good to hear! Not expected at my liberal university!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing in my excitement! And yeah, the story is not fun. I'm almost positive my company supported your liberal university too....go figure. If being told by a lesbian HR director that your miscarried child isn't an immediate family member for policy purposes doesn't stir the pro-life movement in you...I'm not sure what will.

      Funny how life turns out sometimes. I always imagined being fired from a job would fill me with shame, but it has been just the opposite. That said, I'm *so* glad to hear that you had options in your work place and sorry you needed any to begin with! <3

  5. So sorry to hear this! My jaw was hanging open as I read your story. I cannot believe how a company can be so cold. I am shocked that they don't consider the loss of a baby an "immediate family member". I am angry for you but will try to follow your example and pray for them too. And donating as well, I want you to kick some butt in this new endeavor!

    1. Becky, thank you so much for the enthusiastic support. My husband and I are so appreciative. We (read: I) really struggled to share our story publicly, but we knew we had to because the climate in the US workplace is changing so fast and people need to know these aren't just stories - this is happening to people now!

      I would never have imagined that the same company that made allowances to a mother who gave birth to a pre-term baby and allowed her to work flexibly and remotely for months from her baby's hospital bedside....would be the same company that told me 3 days bereavement leave was inappropriate on those grounds after quickly approving it. What I didn't add above was that they intended on cutting my medical insurance immediately (while I was still receiving medical care) because it was just a few days before the end of the month when I was fired. I had to get up the courage to call the CEO personally and describe the miscarriage to him in gruesome detail and then they extended me one more month's health insurance. They definitely need prayers.

      I'm looking forward to kicking butt in this new endeavor too! Feeling supported and encouraged in doing this really is the first thing that has felt *right* in the past year. Thank you again for sharing in my excitement and supporting us! <3