I am loved!

One of my favorite songs right now is Lauren Daigle’s “You Say”. If you haven’t listened, I urge you to look it up! It touches right where my heart and insecurities have been my whole life, but mostly over the last few months/years.

Life is hard. Being a military wife is hard. Being a mom is hard. Having no “tribe” that everyone seemingly is ecstatic about is hard. Dealing with diseases/medical ailments is hard. Add it all together… We all have our mountains to climb, but God never promised this life would be easy.

It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives and to wonder why family and others don’t want you in their lives, but I have been depressed about it for far too long. Maybe sometimes God allows people to be removed from our lives for a reason. Maybe the old cliche is true: “things fall apart for better things to come together”. If people let you go that easily, then maybe they’re not your people.

You don’t have to dim your shine for anyone!

It is definitely possible to be “too much” for some people and that’s okay! You don’t have to dim your shine for anyone! You don’t need to change who you are to make others like you or want to be in your life. God made you just the way you are not to be a photocopy of someone else or to fit in their mold. God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made and He’s never wrong!

Perfectly imperfect Melissa Grim

Flight School ~ PCS ORDERS ~

The other big, important day while in flight school is the day you receive your orders for your follow-on duty station!  The aviators are allowed to maintain a list of the Top 3 places that they would like to go, and the Army (most of the time) attempts to grant it to you and your family.  As with anything in the Army, nothing is guaranteed, and it’s both exciting and nerve-wracking waiting for these to come through!

“They say” can often get you into trouble and for us it did.  We were told an average of 4-6 weeks from selection he’d receive the draft of his orders telling him where we’d be sent next.  4-6 weeks turned into 7, then 8….then the rest of his class (all but Ryan and 1 other) received their orders.  I’ll admit, I didn’t handle this frustration in the most graceful way!  I’ve moved around my entire life as an Army Brat turned federal contractor, turned Army wife.  Literally my first passport had my hospital birth picture.  However, we’ve been trying to get back up North for 7 years.  Ryan’s first duty station was supposed to be Alaska…then those were pulled for Ft. Bragg.  Ugh!  Our family is in Maine and New England will always be HOME, so we were so anxious to find out if our hopes would come true!

FINALLY, 9 weeks from selection and halfway through his advanced airframe training his orders came through!!

And our next duty station is….

FT DRUM, NEW YORK!!!!!!!!

Ft. Drum was our #1 choice and we were praying so hard that Ryan would get selected to go!!!!!  We are beyond excited for the next chapter of our story and to FINALLY be back closer to home.  It’s about 7 hours back to our home town in Maine which is the closest we can get.  We are so thankful for snow…and 4 seasons!

FLY TO GLORY!!!!!

img_7473

Flight School ~ SELECTION ~

img_6680

Life in an active duty Army family comes with many tear-jerking and monumental moments for your soldier and your family.  Some are sad and oh so difficult…while others can be some of the most memorable moments of your life.

Ryan (and TeamGrim) has had many of those!  Flight School on the Warrant Officer side (there are Commissioned Officers as well) goes through several phases which are best broken down as follows:

  1. WOCS: Warrant Officer Candidate School.  About 5 weeks of training that is worse than basic (according to Ryan haha) that breaks down the enlisted soldier to turn them into an officer.  At the end is a very special graduation where your loved one(s) can pin your new rank on you.  Logan & Emma (and I) had the privilege 🙂
  2. WOBC (A) Follow-on Training for their rank that lasts for about 3 weeks.
  3. SERE/Dunker: Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape.  POW training that is called the best worst school you can attend in the army.  Ryan already had this training so he able to bypass it.  Dunker/HOST teaches them how to survive a water landing and techniques for water survival.
  4. Finally, FLIGHT SCHOOL BEGINS: This is being revamped by the Army, but Ryan’s was broken into a few different sections of training where he had “check rides” showing his proficiency in each before he was able to proceed.

At the end of this first portion of training a very special and much anticipated day arrives that determines the course for the rest of their careers: ADVANCED AIR FRAME SELECTION DAY!!!!!!!

Up until Selection Day the active duty flight school students have no idea what air frames will be available when they walk into that room!  The board will be revealed (dramatically!) and each student is able to pick their bird from the ones that are available based on the OML (Order of Merit List: ranking by their grades in school, check ride grades, PT Test, etc.).  The OML is so competitive that the top people are usually only separated by .001 of a point!!!  These people are truly the best of the best in the army!

Since Ryan spent the first 7+ years of his career as a Chinook maintainer his heart belongs to the big girl.  We prayed so much over the course of our time here that he’d be able to have his number 1 pick.  Of course, he would have loved any rotary wing, but to get your #1 is incredibly special.  To add to the intensity, there are well under 200 slots a year so it’s the hardest airframe to choose!  Most classes have 1-2, if any, and Ryan’s class had 8 slots available for Warrant Officers!!!!

“You guys, God is an on-time God and His timing is ALWAYS perfect.”

This was totally a God thing!  When Ryan’s packet took a while to get a waiver and a few pieces of the puzzle to come together I told him it was all God’s timing.  I said “I’m claiming it and God’s trying to put you in a class flooded with Chinooks!!!  You guys, God is an on time God and His timing is ALWAYS perfect.  He’s taught us over and over again to lean on Him and one of these days maybe it will stop blowing me away.

From here Ryan will move on to his Chinook training that will last approximately 16 weeks.  After that he’ll got another short training to pick up his CW2 rank and he’ll be able to pin on those wings at his graduation!!

She laughs without fear of the future.

Life sure can throw a lot of storms your way.  We’ve been thrown some crazy curve balls in our marriage (as everyone does in different ways), but God has never let us down.  I could list example after example after example where God has taken care of us in ways that we never could have imagined.  Stress about money?  Bonus comes through for work or re-enlistment covers our entire $10k+ IVF cycle for our babies.  Stressing about finally getting to apply to flight school?  Picked up first round go and one of the first classes to EVER have the availability number of his dream aircraft (the hardest helicopter to get in the Army).  Terrified of not being able to have kids after 3 failed rounds of infertility treatments?  First round success of IVF with strong, healthy miracle twins!

So why do I have moments where the fear seems to overwhelm and swallow me whole?  Why do I stress about things that are beyond my control, but are the deepest desires of my heart?

I try not to be terrified that I won’t get to bring my 4 waiting embabies home.  What if my Graves’ disease keeps me from being able to conceive again or carry to term?  What if I can’t get pregnant before we PCS and we are sent OCONUS and I can’t get back for another transfer?  Will we finally have a duty station of our dreams and get back up North or OCONUS?  This verse hung in my bathroom in Savannah and I prayed it and believed it every day of our fertility treatments.  I’m believing it once again!

“He gives the barren woman a home, He makes her the joyous mother of children.  Praise the Lord!” Psalm 113:9

We wrestle not against flesh and blood and the devil sure knows my weaknesses.  The most important thing in the world to me has always been family.  That’s no secret and I can’t even turn my back and pretend that it’s not true.  So where does he attack me?  Loneliness in waiting for my dream husband to come along.  Infertility, Secondary Infertility, distant family abandonment.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5: 6-8

I refuse to let him win.  I’m still human, but I believe that my God is bigger than all of this.  I have to pray and have faith that He can turn situations around for His benefit.  If hearts will not allow that, then I pray He heals me, my husband, and my kids’ hearts and fills that void with His love.

“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.”  Psalm 27:10

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“When you’ve done everything you can do, that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

I know that I NEVER tire of my kids wanting me and needing me.  I want to give them all of the desires of their hearts, so how much more does God desire to help us through all that we’re up against?  He’s already performed so many miracles in our lives.  He has been so faithful to us in everything, so who am I to ever doubt Him?  My flesh is weak, but I know He’s in control!  Praying His words over our lives!

~Melissa G.

Praying for baby(ies) Grim…again

When you experience infertility (or miscarriages), it never leaves you.  Even after you have babies those thoughts and feelings can still resurface and sometimes continuing to complete your family is just as difficult the second time around.  We believed once we beat it and had 4 embabies waiting for us, that we might get blessed for this next round to be a bit easier.  Unfortunately, we’ve hit some new roadblocks.  Throw in a life in the military and it becomes a tad more complicated.

With Ryan in flight school and unable to take any leave (he has over a month saved up at this point), the scheduling to have another baby (or two) has been interesting, to say the least.  We should be PCS-ing again (we won’t find out where until August/September time frame) sometime after the new year pending him not hitting any “bubbles” in his training schedule.  I couldn’t be too far along or just had a baby.  However, we do have to travel to Savannah, GA where our embabies are frozen, so I have to be pregnant prior to us leaving Fort Rucker. If the first transfer doesn’t work and we lose the babies, we’ll have to transfer our last embabies and travel from wherever we’re stationed after here.

We were able to get everything planned and scheduled and all of my drugs had arrived!  I went to my OB/GYN on post for some preliminary testing to make sure that my body was set for the transfer, but we discovered a few abnormalities on my lab work.  My RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) from Savannah ran some of his own labs and my PCM doctor here ran some as well.  We discovered that I have Graves’ disease causing Hyperthyroidism.  Graves is an autoimmune disease attacking your thyroid making it go into overdrive. After speaking to my RE and doing some of my own research, I was devastated to learn that this can make it impossible to get pregnant and carry to term without the proper treatment.  I let myself grieve for another day once our transfer was put on hold once more.

I received a referral for a local endocrinologist and, after speaking to them, discovered that they couldn’t get me in until September!  I may have cried again. 😦  My RE sent over a special request with his series of lab tests and through much prayer I received a call that they could get me in at the beginning of June.

My endo spent an hour going over my 3 options moving forward. And This past week I went for a Radioactive Iodine Uptake Scan to confirm the diagnosis of Graves. The options going forward are:

1) Radioactive Iodine to kill my thyroid. This would keep me quarantined for about a week away from my babies (Just NO!). Plus I couldn’t get pregnant for 6-12 months after undergoing this treatment.

2) Anti-thyroid meds. These cross the placenta and can be very dangerous during pregnancy. There is some research stating this can be rare, but they can cause birth defects and thyroid problems for the baby. My RE has said he won’t allow me to do an Embryo Transfer on the meds or within months of taking them.

3) Thyroidectomy. 97% of the time goes smoothly, but I’ll need hormone replacement for life. 1-3% of the time it can damage your larynx and/or your parathyroid depending upon my anatomy and how invasive the surgery ends up. After that I’ll instantly become hypothyroid and will need to have my hormones regulated before we can do the transfer. However, hopefully we can pregnant possibly within 2-3 months.

Finally, on a smaller note: He thinks the reason I haven’t been able to lose weight is also due to sleep apnea. So I have to do a sleep study. Not a big deal, but I HATE being away from my babies!

I now have an appt with a surgeon to schedule a Thyroidectomy, which Ryan and I feel like is the best option going forward. I’m a little nervous to literally have my life depend on a little pill forever and for the surgery itself. However, I’m confident that we’ve made the correct decision and I’m ready to finally feel normal again and to hopefully get pregnant as soon as possible to be healthy for all of us.

Please keep me and the family in your prayers. We desperately want to bring home more of our embabies and this has all been a little overwhelming!

Truth behind the lies…

Allow me to tell you a story. I only wish that it wasn’t true…more-so I wish that it wasn’t ours. I have wrestled with airing our dirty laundry, but I feel that people need to hear our side of the stories rather than simply the lies being spread about us. We’ve remained silent for 7 years, but now that my children are being dragged into this and my family turned against us, I can’t stay silent any longer.

I’ve never understood why, but Ryan’s birth father did not want him to marry me. He went from being my biggest fan to hating me seemingly overnight. No matter how much we worked to get him to like me nothing worked. He told everyone that I was “stealing his best friend” and they began spreading lies about me, Ryan and our relationship. There were some things that I found “off” about them. They would walk around half dressed (and some not dressed at all), and his father/stepmom made inappropriate comments about their daughters. They’d curl up in his lap in just a thong and bra on and He even took pictures of them for them to send to their boyfriends at the time. Then his wife would make comments making fun of my family saying I’d never do that with my father…umm no, I wouldn’t. He didn’t see a problem with half naked models being pinned all over their garage around their teenage daughters and young adult sons. He and my oldest sister make jokes about having an affair together…in front of their spouses. Things became progressively worse up and through our wedding. Our engagement weekend his father sent him a series of inappropriate texts and pictures for anyone, much less their newly engaged SON. He and his wife (Ryan’s stepmom) refused to participate in anything for our engagement/wedding unless Ryan begged them or it was something to make themselves look good. At our Rehearsal Dinner his father gave a speech about “come what may” in our marriage and his family always being there for them “after” our marriage would be over. They did not speak to me at our wedding. Never brought us a wedding present or even so much as a card. They spread lies about my parents hating me and “apologizing for their son having to be married to me” and even deeply upset my mom. Why would someone make that comment about their own daughter on her wedding day? He sent his newly married son an email telling him he was a horrible son who was being controlled by his wife. He repeatedly told him that his family of origin should have come first over his wife and future kids. (Yes, we still have the emails.)

We did not speak to them for almost 2 years after our wedding. They continued to spread lies about our family, what type of mother Ryan’s mom was (who raised him) my father, his company and trying to hurt his business, my marriage, Ryan and what type of man he was, lies about our finances and convincing people we weren’t paying our bills. They even lied to the government and tried to claim Ryan on their taxes through 2013 when we were married. (Illegal considering he hadn’t lived at home or been supported by them since 2010 and was in the Army!). They ended up filing bankruptcy shortly after. Ryan cried to my father and had many conversations with him about how to heal this relationship.

One day they finally “apologized” to us for how they were treating us and we thought it was the answer to our prayers. My sister told me she had informed them that we were trying to get pregnant. Whatever the reason we were so hopeful to have our family whole again. They came to visit and his father even started to be almost nice to me. There were still problems and comments made, but we were desperately trying to have them in our lives since we were going through infertility and wanted our kids to have grandparents. Apparently, my parents and family took this as everything was okay. My Dad hired Ryan’s stepmother to run his HR department (after she quit before being fired several years prior). I didn’t find this out until the following morning and was never given a heads up. Ryan and I were deeply hurt by this, but we were told it was none of our business. Things progressively became worse. I caught his stepmom lying to my father, committing illegal actions on behalf of the company, and trying to get myself and another member of my family fired (even though I was originally a consultant). I reported all of this to my father and my boss did as well…including email evidence to back us up. Emotionally I couldn’t take it anymore. Shortly after, I was pushed out of my father’s company and a replacement hired for me. They and other members of RYan’s family made fun of our kids being test tube babies and us needing IVF to get pregnant. They told people I was a horrible mother and couldn’t even take care of my own children. Of course they say just the opposite around my family so that we look like the crazy ones.

The last time we saw them was the week of Ryan’s graduation from WOCS in November. I suggested Ryan have his Dad help me hold the kids to “pin” him to help heal their relationship. We asked them to come but told them all we had for them to sleep on was an air mattress since we’d just PCS’d and didn’t have a bedroom set up. his stepmom laughed and said they didn’t want to stay there anyway because our babies might wake them up and they wanted to stay with a friend of theirs and his girlfriend. Imagine my surprise when my sisters started texting me one day and my parents informed me that we “didn’t make Ryan’s parents comfortable” and were so mean to them when they were driving all the way down here. His father avoided us the entire time they were here unless my parents were around to keep face. It was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Again, he made a few inappropriate comments about my kids while we were changing their diapers so we started refraining from changing them in the same room.

For 7 years they had bad mouthed my family and said there was a reason all of us from Maine are called “Damn Yankees”. They hated northerners and we were a bunch of “racists” and making up stories about his one trip up there with the Golden Knights. He stated he’d never step foot up there again and wouldn’t feel comfortable. We got into a fight about it when I was pregnant and they had me in tears. During the WOCS trip, When Emma brought them books to read about New England, he made hateful comments about the North, our sports teams and downright refused to read the books to my one year old daughter. (Later, they would say he was just “joking”). Imagine our surprise when they brought up the subject of Maine and my parents inviting them to our annual 4th of July picnic with my entire family. They promised us they would not attend without us because it would be inappropriate and we told them we wouldn’t be able to go this year since Ryan was in flight school. We told my parents how hurt we were and were told it was none of our business because they were “friends” and they didn’t have to have our permission to invite MY in-laws to our one escape place with my family without us when all they’ve done is be hateful about the North and my family. We assumed the situation was resolved. My parents came to visit a few weeks ago and we tried to let them know that we weren’t speaking to Ryan’s parents and that we were still having issues. They just kept changing the subject and weren’t listening.

Other than an occasional “Have a nice flight” text from Ryan’s father to him and when I worked for my Dad and with his stepmom, we have not had any communication with them since Christmas. It’s repeatedly gotten back to us that they were still spreading lies about us. After much prayer and many tears we decided that we couldn’t have them in our lives anymore and we didn’t want our children exposed to any of this.

On Monday, Ryan received a text from his father stating that they were going to Maine next week with my family after promising us they wouldn’t. I confronted my family about this and told them how hurt we were. They proceeded to tell us how excited they were and how they were taking them to a Red Sox game and everything (Mind you, none of them have yet to attend a game with us while we’re home…even for our children’s first time). I felt like I was having a panic attack and was so betrayed. How could they turn their backs on us and do something that they knew would hurt us so much.

I finally urged them to see how important this was to us by telling them that they could be friends with these people or they could be in ours and our kids lives. They confirmed twice that they didn’t care if we chose to walk away from them because they couldn’t please us and they had a right to their friends…even if it hurts us or our children.

We’ve been left with no other choice but to walk away. We don’t want our kids exposed to all of this toxicity and abuse. And anyone who picks random in laws who aren’t even in our lives over their own family? I don’t even have the words to process all of this. My heart hurts…mostly for my babies that they’ve lost most of their family. Now that I’m a mom NOTHING is more important than my husband and children. I would NEVER choose anyone over them. I know the lies will continue and I’m trying to make my peace with the fact that some will hear and believe false accusations about us. However, we have to do what’s best for our family. This isn’t even the half of it, but I thought people should know at least part of our side of the story to make up their own minds.

Above the Best

In April, I had the privilege of participating in USAACE’s Spouses’ Aviation Day (SAD) here at Fort Rucker!  The day gave some of us wives (spouses) a glimpse into what our husbands endure while here for flight school.

TRAINING SCHEDULE:

LRC (Leadership Reaction Course): We completed 2 “obstacles” or challenges that we had to navigate as a team and get through.

img_2625
LRC Completion Pic

EST: Electronic Skills Trainer or weapons simulator.  First we had to “qualify” on the range with our M4s.  Then came the fun part. 🙂  Melissa got to break out the big guns.  I jumped on the MK-19 quick, fast, and in a hurry!  Haha, the second room was definitely the most fun and we were “downrange” shooting up bad guys on a life size video game.  This was a fun portion, but I definitely like shooting outside on a real gun better.

img_2645
Shooting Range

Dunker/HOST: Helicopter Overwater Survival Training.  We didn’t get to do the actual dunker…BOO.  (I mean, hey, we all signed the release, big Army!)  We did “suit up” though and had to swim under water through a door and back up.  I have a newfound respect for the pilots/spec ops soldiers that navigate this course every few years for the rest of their careers.

img_2626
Green Team: She Hulks!

Helicopter Simulators: We saved the best for last!  Finally I was given the chance to “fly” a helicopter!  We started out with our Pre-Flight Briefing (where I had to educate them that there ARE, in fact, black helicopters in the Army) and proceeded to our simulators.  I chose a Black Hawk (Chinooks weren’t available…lame) in the simulator and even landed on the back of an aircraft carrier down off the coast of Destin!  (We won’t mention the fact that I also “crashed” or red screened it to play around!  We’ll leave the flying to Ryan.

Finally the day concluded with our very own graduation over at the Aviation Museum!  We all walked across the stage to receive our completion certificates and “Flight” Wings!

img_2604.jpg
Family Graduation Pic

Overall, I had an absolute blast and i’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend such a fun event.  I can imagine how much work it was to put an event of this size on for the spouses and i’m so thankful to Fort Rucker and USAACE for giving us a day of fun (I mean, good – hard training!

Go Green Team – SHE HULKS!  “SMASH IT!!!!!”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.