02 February 2017
When people ask Andi Cumbo-Floyd, 42, if she has children, she can list the names of her beloved pets, Mosey and Meander, and readily awaits a surprised look. It’s easier to clarify that she has “fur babies” than to admit she and her husband, Philip Floyd, 39, have experienced difficulty while trying to start a family.
However, she may soon be able to add a child to that list thanks to friends like Jodi LeFebvre Jackson who want to see it happen. Jackson, who graduated from Fluvanna County High School with Cumbo-Floyd in 1993, brought the couple an idea.“She asked us in the fall if we would be willing to let her start a GoFundMe campaign for fertility treatments for us,” Cumbo-Floyd said. The $3,000 monthly cost for treatments were a big deterrent for the couple who have very seriously wanted a child for years.
Treatment consists of GONAL-F, a hormone injection that stimulates the ovaries to produce more follicles than they would on their own. Since the eggs come out of the follicles, the hormone “basically kicks my ovaries into overdrive to release more than one egg and give my body more chances to have a viable egg and get pregnant,” she said.
Cumbo-Floyd, who now lives with her husband in Madison County, travels to and from the Martha Jefferson Reproductive Medicine Center of Virginia for ultrasounds every three days for the first two weeks of the month.
“It’s physically tiring and painful to go through treatment,” she said. “Some women get ovary pain before they ovulate – I’ve always gotten that. It can be constant. It can be confused for appendicitis.”
Is fertility treatment worth the pain and fatigue, plus the call for donations?
“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t have some hope,” Cumbo-Floyd said. “We’re pretty dedicated to this right now. We might even up the treatment and go the most extreme level with in vitro fertilization.”
In vitro requires a $17,000 financial commitment. “People do ask us a lot why we aren’t adopting or fostering. We feel that this is what God has called us to do....we’re trying to be obedient to that,” she said.
Being childless is difficult, Cumbo-Floyd admitted. “It feels like we’ve failed somehow if we can’t do this naturally,” she said.
Being around children can be really hard for couples like them. “I’m not on Facebook nearly as much as I used to be for that reason. It’s not that we don’t love other people’s children...being around a cute baby when you want one in your own house can be really painful,” she said.
When it happens that she is around little ones, Cumbo-Floyd said, “I cry a lot. I just own it. I try to be really aware of the fact that I’m operating from a different place of pain so I try to be mindful that what I’m feeling is pain and just manage that myself, or with my closest friends, and not bring that out in public.”
Fertility treatments for the couple started in October. “We did treatments November to December, then I had a cyst on my ovary and had to sit out a month. We just restarted,” she said.
The couple has hunkered down since then. “We spend a lot more time on our farm and a lot more time together,” she said. “I am doing a lot more resting than I would normally do because I need to be healthy…and we are trying to use this time as a chance to be closer as a couple.”
Cumbo-Floyd has remained active in Fluvanna since she moved away. An author who coaches writers and edits manuscripts, she wrote The Slaves Have Names based on her life on a plantation in Bremo. She also volunteered as the Fluvanna Relay for Life coordinator.
Asking the community to rally behind them is something Cumbo-Floyd and her husband don’t take lightly. “If we could do it on our own, of course we would,” she said.
“We have sold everything we don’t need: car parts, an old camper for a truck, our old phones, an old computer. We have battened down the hatches on all of our finances and I make things for Etsy and sell handmade stuff.”
In addition, the couple has decent insurance from Floyd’s employer, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “which covered the diagnostic part to figure out why we were infertile,” Cumbo-Floyd said.
The GoFundMe campaign helps to absorb the overwhelming costs the couple cannot supply themselves. “We are committed to use the [donated] funds only for treatment. Whatever we don’t use will either get returned to our financial backers or donated to an orphanage in Haiti where a friend of ours adopted from,” she said.
The fundraiser has another function that is just as important as funding their fertility treatments: raising awareness about infertility and the struggles people go through to be able to raise children.
They want those who suffer in silence to know they’re not alone, especially since the World Health Organization, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all recognize that infertility affects one in eight couples in the United States.
Jackson’s compassion for her friends continues to help them receive treatments. “Just the encouragement from her and former students, neighbors and friends we’ve made through Relay for Life in Fluvanna,” she said.” People have been amazing, sending us notes, sending us checks for thousands of dollars just to help us. We are only $300 short of being able to pay for our treatment for this month.”
The campaign continues for the Fluvanna County High School graduate and her husband, who regularly share updates of what is going on both physically and emotionally through a blog called God’s Whisper Farm.
To visit the blog, go to https://godswhisperfarm.com/. To rally around the Cumbo-Floyds as part of the greater Fluvanna community, go to https://www.gofundme.com/fertility-tx-for-andi-phillip.