FOREST CITY | Ever since Jessica Hahn was a little girl, she dreamed about having a family.
Her, her husband and her children living in Forest City.
“That was very important to me,” she said.
But months, even years, of trying to get pregnant after her and her husband, Mitch, married in August 2015 yielded no child — a painful realization for a woman who wanted to have children as much as she did.
Hahn has blocked fallopian tubes, which made it difficult — if not impossible — for her and Mitch to conceive a child naturally.
“It was very painful,” she said.
Attending birthday parties and baby showers and getting baby-related questions from people unknowing of her situation hurt badly.
“You’re happy for other people, but you’re sad for yourself because you feel a piece missing and you want that happiness, too,” she said.
After trying several fertility options, Hahn and Mitch turned to in vitro fertilization, or IVF, at Mid-Iowa Fertility in Clive, more than two hours away.
IVF is the process of extracting eggs, retrieving sperm, and manually combining the two in a Petri dish in hopes an embryo will be created and can be transferred to the uterus where it'd be carried to term.
The couple tried three times over the course of about a year to get pregnant through IVF, making several trips a week to Clive. The first and second rounds failed, but the second was by far the hardest because it was an ectopic pregnancy that ultimately had to be terminated.
“That was really, really hard on us because we got our hopes up,” she said, adding the IVF process is physically, emotionally and financially draining. “We almost didn’t do it again.”
But having met their out-of-pocket maximum, they tried one more time.
On June 20, 2017, Zoey Hahn was born at Mercy Medical Center--North Iowa in Mason City at 7 pounds 3 ounces and 19 inches long.
“I was just overwhelmed with happiness,” she said. “It just felt like we were complete. She’s our miracle baby.”
After Zoey was born, Hahn asked her sister Jamie Kite, who is a hobby photographer, to take newborn photos of her daughter, some of which included the dozens of needles used during the IVF process to acknowledge the journey and commemorate its success.
In one of the photos, Zoey wearing a “Worth the Wait” onesie is laying in the middle of a heart created using the needles.
“She’s the greatest gift ever,” Hahn said. “We want her to grow up knowing how much we wanted her and how much we loved her before she was born.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has accepted an offer of a summit from the North Korean leader and will meet with Kim Jong Un by May, a top South Korean official said Thursday, in a remarkable turnaround in relations between two historic adversaries.
The South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, told reporters of the planned meeting outside the White House, after briefing Trump and other top U.S. officials about a rare meeting with Kim in the North Korean capital on Monday.
No serving American president has ever met with a North Korean leader. The U.S. and North Korea do not even have formal diplomatic relations. The two nations remain in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.
Seoul had already publicized that North Korea had offered talks with the United States on denuclearization and normalizing ties, providing a diplomatic opening after a year of escalating tensions over the North's nuclear and missile tests. The rival Koreas also agreed to hold a leadership summit in late April.
"He (Kim) expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible," Chung said. "President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization."
Chung did not say where Trump would meet with Kim. The White House said Trump's meeting with Kim would take place "at a place and time to be determined."
Trump took office vowing to stop North Korea from attaining a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the U.S. mainland. He's oscillated between threats and insults directed at Kim, and more conciliatory rhetoric. His more bellicose talk, and Kim's nuclear and missile tests, have fueled fears of war.
Trump, who has ramped up economic sanctions on North Korea to force it to negotiate on giving up its nukes, has threatened the pariah nation with "fire and fury" if its threats against the U.S. and its allies continued. He has derided Kim by referring to him as "Little Rocket Man."
After Kim repeated threats against the U.S. in a New Year's address and mentioned the "nuclear button" on his office desk, Trump responded by tweeting that he has a nuclear button, too, "but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"
MASON CITY | Garner's current city administrator and Mason City officials confirmed Thursday that Mason City council members have decided not to choose any of five finalists to fill the Mason City administrator vacancy.
Garner City Administrator Randy Lansing told the Globe Gazette he received a call from Mason City Personnel Director Perry Buffington Wednesday morning, stating he and the four other finalists would not be selected.
"I didn’t have any sense that such a decision was coming," Lansing said about the call. "I commend them (city council members) and respect them for wanting to make a good selection."
Buffington declined comment Thursday afternoon, deferring comment to a news release.
"We thank the finalists for their interest and believe they have outstanding qualifications, but are not a right fit for Mason City at this time,” Mayor Bill Schickel said in a statement.
“Fortunately we have an outstanding Interim City Administrator and staff so we are in a good position,” Schickel added.
In a brief interview Thursday, Schickel said he could not specifically discuss why none of the five candidates were picked, citing the closed meetings council members had to discuss the decision.
"There was no consensus around one candidate and so that’s why we’re no longer pursuing any of the five candidates," he said.
He declined to comment on whether he or certain council members were leaning toward a specific candidate.
Schickel added city officials will look into what type of search should occur to produce another field of finalists — estimating this decision could be made by the next city council meeting.
When asked about the negative response some Mason City residents may have about $6,000 being used in the current search, Schickel said the city council is trying to find the best fit for city administrator.
The council hired Mark Jackson and Brent Hinson, both of whom have city administrator experience, to lead the search. Their fee was $6,000.
"What the city council tries to do is in the best interest in Mason City," he said. "I think the council has been very deliberate about it … I think people I've talked to, people will appreciate that."
Cole O'Donnell, another one of the five finalists, also said he recieved a call Wednesday from Buffington, informing him he was not picked.
"It’s a disappointment. I think that it would have been a great opportunity for myself," O'Donnell said. "It’s too bad things didn’t work out."
Joseph Helfenberger, another finalist, said he suspected he might not be picked.
"I kind of throught that since it took a while that might be a possibility," he said about Mason City's decision. "I've been doing city management for 32 years … I think one of the things that affects it is when there’s less experience on the council, they need more time."
The five finalists for the job were:
• Helfenberger, who most recently worked as city administrator in St. Cloud, Florida, from 2015-17.
• Lansing, who has been Garner's city administrator since 2011.
• O'Donnell, who worked as city administrator in Dixon, Illinois, from 2016-17.
• Jeffrey Pederson, who was city administrator in Paducah, Kentucky, from 2010-18.
• Al Roder, who has been city administrator in Independence, Iowa, since 2014.
Schickel and the city council had been discussing the five candidates during the past few months.