Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Archive for the category “Fertility”

The long, winding path to our family

The December series on fertility issues is, of course, over now.  However, we received this guest-post the other day and felt that it was important to include as well.  Many ODM readers may find this story touching, relevant and hopeful.

Many thanks to guest-poster, JD, for the submission!

We knew we were going to start a family after a year of being married.  We decided to travel to St. Lucia for our one year anniversary and for our two year anniversary we would have our first child.  Next thing we knew, two more years passed, many more destinations were traveled and still we hadn’t gotten pregnant.

We had been trying to get pregnant on our own for about a year when a friend of mine suggested my husband and I should see a fertility specialist and stop wasting time.  I hesitated on seeing a specialist because it’s admitting that there is something wrong and we will end up being that percentage of people that can’t plan when they want to conceive, or better yet, get pregnant when they aren’t even trying and don’t even want the baby (but we’ll get into that later).

At first it was exciting to being getting all the tests and appointments.  Every time they would tell me what test I had to get done, I would think that this was the one that would finally work.  The first was the test where they blow your tubes out with air to make sure they are opened.  I was told it would be uncomfortable with mild cramping, so I was prepared with my two Advil.  That was a crock of shit because I almost passed out when they were done and everything was already cleared! We tried on our own after that hoping it had worked, but after all the temperature-taking and pissing on sticks, still– nothing.  After two months of Clomid along with IUI with no results, we finally opted for the laparoscopic surgery to see if there is anything inside that is not seen.  There was only a little bit of endometriosis that was found and scraped out.  Even though the doctor told me there wasn’t enough to make a difference with fertility, I was still hopeful that it was enough.  But unfortunately, my hopes were shot down once again.

Besides not knowing if you will ever be able to have kids, the worst part is the emotional roller coaster each month.  I began to wonder what I did wrong and why this is happening to me.  You hear of this stuff happening to others and you always feel bad for them and talk about how hard of a situation it must be for them to deal with, but never do you think it’ll be you.  We didn’t want to tell our family what we were going through as they would want to keep asking for updates.  Others that haven’t gone through this don’t realize how insensitive and hurtful it can be to constantly ask.

Our next step was to continue IUI for 4 months but this time we had to begin hormone injections instead of Clomid.  Of course, insurance covers none of these treatments, so we started having to pull out the plastic and start watching our spending. This brings up a good topic: why insurance won’t cover something that will help someone who would be a good parent and can afford to raise children when it’s outside of my ability.  It’s not my fault that I can’t get pregnant, but others that receive welfare for their children do have the ability to not have kids could keep their fucking legs closed! I hate to get political, but why should I give money from my paycheck to help those that aren’t good parents and keep having kids “by accident” to receive more federal money when there is no one there helping me pay for my fertility treatments?  Why am I penalized for making too much money and having a uterus that is the black widow?  It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s life I guess….

After giving myself shots in the stomach each night for about 13 days, my husband would come to the office at 7 am to watch his porn and do his business in a cup. I would then come in a few hours later to have his washed sperm shot into my uterus hoping it would find those few mature eggs.  But of course, after 4 months of this, no baby!!  Our doctor then advised us to start looking into IVF with this being an unexplained infertility.  We set our consult appointment for a clinic in Maryland and compiled our list of questions with cost being at the top of the list.  We decided to pay more money for their Shared Risk plan which gives you 100% of the money you paid back if you don’t have a baby after six tries.

So I began doing 2-3 shots in my stomach each night for about two weeks in hopes our first shot at IVF would work.  The shots are painful but I kept telling myself it was temporary.  After constant ultrasounds, the last thing I want to do is have sex!  What’s the point?  You have doctors doing this for you.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if we didn’t have to drive to Maryland 5 times during this cycle, but again, just kept hoping it would work and we wouldn’t have to do this anymore.  They ended up taking 15 mature eggs and out of that only two were of the quality we needed.  We implanted one embryo and were able to freeze the other for a later time.

Luckily, I found out that our one embryo took and I’m pregnant!!  I formed OHSS due to all the medications I was taking which has been miserable.  My ovaries are enormous and my stomach got so big after only 4 weeks of being pregnant that I looked like I was 5 months pregnant!  It’s been painful, but now that I’m eight weeks pregnant the pain has subsided a little.  I still have to take Estrace and Endometrin which isn’t fun, but I have only two more weeks and then I can start enjoying the journey of pregnancy.

From all of this, I have realized that you have to have faith that there is a master plan and everything will work itself out.  You may not realize it now but someday you will look back and realize whatever is meant to be, will be (with a little help and a lot of money!)  At times you feel alone and like it’ll never end but it eventually does.  At the end of the day, it’s not the worst thing that could happen to you.  Give it time (and again, lots of money) and your dreams will eventually come true!

The best unlaid plans

GUEST POST by

“Mom of Twins”

You are told, “if you kiss a boy, you will get pregnant.” You go through life doing the right things and following the right path: graduate high school, graduate college, get a real job, find a worthy man, marry that worthy man, and then want to start a family.

Well that is pretty much how it happened for us. I always talked about having kids and my husband made me promise to give him a year before we started a family in order to be able to do what we want: spontaneous weekends, dinner parties with friends, and sleeping in! Well, that year went by and (actually it was three years) then my husband came to me and said he was ready.

Hmmmm. I wasn’t sure I was ready.

I liked the life we had built. So we let another year or so go by. So now we were finally on the same page and we ready to go. Here comes the fun part of having a baby. Ready, set, go……..

We tried and tried and tried. Was there something wrong? This started my emotional roller coaster with the standard first step: a magic little pill called Clomid. A few months of this magic pill and still nothing. I think I may have gotten the pills without the magic.

Then the next step was to have a hysterosalpingogram.

A what????

It is a procedure where they shoot dye up your vagina to evaluate if your female parts are open. Yup, mine are all open.

While you are popping drugs and undergoing procedures, people are suggesting you relax, don’t think about it, and it will happen. How could I do that when most mornings I got to pee on a stick to monitor if I was ovulating? It is not as easy as one may think. There is always that morning where the stick starts to change colors, but it doesn’t change all the way. Then you have to make a decision: sex or no sex? Am I ovulating or not? I am indecisive by nature and now I have to make a decision whether or not the color has changed on my stick. What if I make the wrong choice and waste grade A sperm (that has been saved up the last couple of days) and make the wrong decision?

The pills and the magic sticks were the first steps toward our sex lives becoming a job, and this was only the beginning. Of course every time we had to have sex was when I really had no desire or we were exhausted. It became more of a chore and not a spontaneous act between two people who loved each other. That is when we coined the term “quick poke” which was also known as a “QP.” I will admit there were times when after our “QP” I often found myself going to sleep with pillows under my pelvis to help those poor little sperm swim toward my very wanting uterus.

After about two years of scheduled sex, pill popping, and peeing on sticks, I made a conscious decision to switch fertility doctors. This was hard because I really liked my doctor and her staff, but there was something I disagreed with her about. I had a feeling that I had endometriosis and that was a possibility for us not getting pregnant. My doctor felt that it was possible; however she did not believe that if I had endometriosis it would lessen my chances of getting pregnant. I had this “gut” feeling which started the thought of maybe I should switch doctors.

Shortly after meeting with a new fertility specialist, I had laparoscopic surgery for my endometriosis. It turned out that I had a moderately high percent of it. Well OK then….now those little swimmers will be able to finally stick to my uterus. I am all cleaned out and I felt like this could be a new beginning. I bought a new box of sticks and my husband and I got back on the scheduled sex train.

After another three or four months of not getting pregnant with just the usual sex and ovulation sticks, we decided to advance on the “you are not pregnant yet” schematic. Next were the injectables and IUIs. My mind was spinning between what drugs to take, how much of that drug to take, when my appointments were, and of course when we should and should not have sex. But we thought that of course this is going to work now that we are taking my husband’s sperm and “cleaning it up” and turkey basting it into me.

After months and months and a large sum of money (I can’t even think about it) we had our last consult with our doctor. We had a decision whether or not to take our last step on the infertility schematic or go toward a different option and adopt.

When I would get my period, I had a “heads up.” I wouldn’t feel good: I was crampy, and I was eating everything in sight. The hard thing was not getting my period; it was having to tell my husband I got it. Even though I knew it was not my fault, some how I could not help but to feel like I did something wrong, again. At this point I was physically and mentally tapped out. I could not do this any more.

We took a few months off and revised our plan to have a family. We decided we were going to adopt. We felt refreshed because even though this may be a long process, there was going to be a baby at the end. We wanted to do our homework to become more educated. So we went to some open houses at three different adoption agencies. We talked with people and listened to their adoption stories. We were becoming more and more educated about the process and more excited about this different adventure.

Until we were at our last meeting with an adoption counselor and she asked if we ever considered adopting an embryo.

Adopting an embryo? What’s that?

And that is when the spark to get pregnant started all over again. Through this entire process, I always wished that I could go through the process of being pregnant. We figured there is no reason I should have never gotten pregnant. We were always told we both had good “stuff” (sperm and eggs).

We decided to try the one last thing that was recommended. So after months of being off fertility drugs and having an emotional vacation from all the drugs we decided to try IVF. We packed our bags and took a trip to The Cleveland Clinic for our procedure. It was the best experience. They extracted seven viable eggs. The embryologist placed my husband’s grade A sperm and BAM, we had seven embryos. For three days the embryologists would call us and let us know how “they” were progressing and how many cells had divided. Could this possibly work? After those three days, the doctor placed two embryos in my uterus. We had to wait one and half weeks and I went to the doctor for a pregnancy test. My husband surprised me and took the day off from work. I got the phone call from the clinic the next day. We were pregnant.

After all the emotions, the money, and the heartache we have an instant family. We now have beautiful, healthy boy/girl twins. We could not have planned that better.

Happy nearly New Year

We have one last scheduled post in the December fertility series!

Please stop by tomorrow to read the final installment of the group. It is a story you shouldn’t miss.

Then, we return to snark, sarcasm, offensive language and cracking ourselves up. We soon shall return to posts that really made ODM what it is. We ain’t forgettin’ our bread-n-butter, yo.

And, it looks like February will be all about sex, everyone. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we will be offering a Sex-After-Kids mini-series. If any of you is interested in Guest Posting, please let us know through Facebook.

Happy holidays!

The road to Babyville

GUEST POST BY

“MY WAY”

 

My husband and I thought a whole lot about the problems we would have should we decide to start a family.  I am a carrier for a serious genetic disorder and I was told that there would be a 50/50 chance that my offspring would either carry or be afflicted with the disease.  I was terrified.

I don’t have any really serious medical issues, but my husband had been told that he had a low sperm count.  And, here I am with genetic garbage that I am carrying around.  Our dreams of having children to share our life with seemed grim.  We didn’t know what to do.

One day, a friend told me about a medical facility in our city (a place known for being medically advanced) that specialized in unusual or unique fertility issues.  We decided that it couldn’t hurt to have a consultation.

I had things done to my body that I don’t really care to remember.  It was all pretty invasive.  The testing process relating to fertility issues really makes you lose all sense of shame.  At one point, I remember I sat naked from the waist down, spread-eagle on a table with my feet in stirrups and at least 9 people were in the room either inspecting my nether region or looking with furrowed brows at charts, graphs and other stacks of papers.  At this point it was no longer humiliating.  I was hoping it would be helpful.

A doctor who seemed to be young enough to be my child himself ended up meeting with my husband and me just before the New Year a few years back.  It was cold in our town that day.  I remember it being so icy that we almost crashed our car on the way to the appointment.  We laughed later at the irony of nearly losing two lives on the day we were trying to create at least one new one.

The doctor suggested “harvesting” my husband’s sperm and using donor eggs to completely rule out the possibility that I would pass on my genetic disorder.  I was crushed by the idea of carrying a child that wouldn’t be “mine.”

We thought, though, for a very long time about what makes a child one’s own.  And to make a very, very long story short, we decided to go for it.

The process from the day we decided to start a family until our first son came in to the world was 8 years.  It seemed like an eternity.

But, he is beautiful.  And, with the frozen embryos we created, we were even able to have a second son, born just a few months ago.  They are exact genetic brothers and both are biologically my husband’s children.  I have no blood ties to these amazing boys, but I did carry them in my own womb and I don’t know how I could make them any more “mine.”

This was the perfect decision for us, though I understand that it might seem unusual or unthinkable for some others.  We are happy with our results, though, and our children are very healthy and happy little boys.

These issues are so important for us to talk about and it is great that Off Duty Mom is helping to bring more awareness.  I am a follower of this blog, but am not usually a blogger myself.  I hope more people will consider following to learn and laugh along with the writing produced here in the future.

The Surprise

Guest Post By

“MARINA”

I remember the day I had my fourth miscarriage.  It was the most painful experience of my life.  I mean that it was honestly the most physically painful experience ever.  Of course, I was in emotional pain, too.  It was traumatizing.  But, unlike the first three miscarriages, this one was truly gut-wrenching.  I threw up.  I sobbed.  I stayed in bed for days.  I was depressed.  I was exhausted.  I was angry.

I know that this blog comes out of the United States where laws are different than they are where I live.  In my country, my partner and I are legally married, though I know of many parts of the world where women are still not permitted such rights.  So, I cannot imagine how I would have made it through this without the needed health care and support that was provided for me in this time of need.  I know that I am lucky in that regard.

My partner, “Magdalena,” was wonderful through all of this.  We had decided long ago that I would carry our child.  She had some health concerns that would make it pretty unsafe for her to carry a child for nine months, so I happily agreed to bear this responsibility.

There appeared to be no medical reason why this was happening, though.  Doctors could not explain why I couldn’t stay pregnant.  They kept telling me what great news it was that I could GET pregnant.  That didn’t matter much if I never carried a baby to term, though, did it?  I had grown sick and tired of the rhetoric and started to become despondent.  I became a terrible employee.  I snapped at the people around me who I loved.  I was crumbling as a person.  This process was destroying me.

After that last miscarriage, “Magdalena” and I decided that enough had been enough.  Actually, she decided this.  I was too tired from all of this to fight with her.  She loved me and I was in no position to be making decisions at that point.

I took some time to heal.  The wounds I had at this point were more emotional than physical.  We took about a year off and tried to live happy lives as a couple.  It was idyllic, even.  We traveled.  We bought a new home near the water.  I launched a business and became pretty successful at it.  We rediscovered our happiness.

Years prior, we had investigated adoption.  We went through all of the awful paperwork and interviewing, but were told that adoption isn’t as simple as perhaps it ought to be, so we should not hang our hats on this option alone.  We, of course, didn’t and we secured a donor (a dear friend) and tried to carry a child to term on our own.  And, obviously, that didn’t work.

So, imagine our surprise when we found out that there was a child who was waiting for us in Guatemala.  If we were still interested (so many years later now!) we could meet our new family member soon.  Did we want to continue with the process?

We had rebuilt our lives at this point.  We were also both nearly 40 years old and pretty set in our ways.  We had finally come to terms with the idea that we’d never be parents.

But, we felt as though this child were a part of us somehow.  We named him Frederick.  He’s amazing.

Things don’t always turn out the way you plan.  Sometimes, they’re better than you could have imagined.

Heartbroken

GUEST POST BY

INFERTILITY CHICK

from Infertility Journal

My husband and I have been trying for 5 years.

The journey started with what we thought was going to be an accidental pregnancy.   All the symptoms were there. Everyone looked at me and said you must be pregnant…

On Christmas eve when my period was late by about 7 days, I took a test and almost like a time clock I started bleeding. I was in great physical pain, (not that unusual for me as I have PCOS) but the emotional pain was unbearable. That moment when I started bleeding I remember sinking onto the tile of the bathroom floor and crying until I couldn’t breathe.

My husband and I then realized that we were ready.  We wanted to start trying to have a family. We made plans; we came up with names for the children we prayed for. We even created a timeline. We agreed that if my husband turned 30 we would stop trying to have children as we did not want to be old parents.

Well, that came and went and here we are.

After the first false alarm the symptoms of pregnancy seemed to toy with me and my emotions. I have gone through so many wasted tests and painful doctor’s appointments I have lost count. The worst part is our journal is rounding year 5 and the pain has only gotten worse with every minute, hour, day, week and year. I cannot begin to describe the pain that I personally feel. We have talked to our family doctor about the options and sadly we do not have many. We are not in the financial position to pay for IVF or any other experimental treatment and, well, now that my husband has lost his eyesight and is on disability we do not have insurance for anything else.

I know there is more to say but I just cannot bring myself to think about all of the details. No one can ever truly understand the feeling like you’re dying from the inside out because you are heartbroken every second of the day.

Fertility Series – #2

Good evening, everyone!

Thank you so much for your wonderful interest in our December fertility series here at Off Duty Mom!

The second installment of this series is a post already published at another WordPress.Com site.  But, check it out.  It may speak to many of you out there.

Click here to read more.

And, please check back in a few days for more posts on this very important topic!

Thank you to all of you who have read and showed support during the creation of this series.  So many people out there are impacted by this issue and it is critical that we talk about it, share our stories and share our strength.

If you have a related story you’d like to share, we may be able to consider guest posts for the end of December.  You need to get them in, like, now, though.  But, I encourage you to share if you have something you can, indeed, share with other women and couples who may need to draw from your experiences.

Thanks!

Alternative Infertility

GUEST POST BY

MEREDITH BLAND

from PILE OF BABIES

I have never been into alternative medicine: I like vaccines, ibuprofen, and surgical options. When I hear people talk about the benefits of using Chia seeds in their food, I think that they are wasting what could be a perfectly good Chia pet. I believe that colonic enemas are NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH, rather than “cleansing.” So it is super odd that when my husband and I were being treated by a reproductive endocrinologist for our infertility, I tried some alternative medicine treatments as well.

We had been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” which is the medical community’s way of saying, “Uh…the fuck if we know.” We started out with the usual medical treatments: three IUIs with Femara, which didn’t work. Then we moved on to an IUI with injectible drugs, and I ended up with somewhere in the range of 5000 mature follicles, so that got cancelled. At that point, our doctor recommended moving on to IVF. So we did. And then that didn’t work, either.

My husband and I were exhausted by then. All of the money, all of the time, all of the shots in my ass…we had enough. We decided to take a break for a few months. You know the saying, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop?” Well, so is an idle uterus when you are dealing with infertility. Instead of using the time off to relax, refocus, and recharge, I got re-crazy. I started looking into all of my options, and researching anything that might help. I wanted to try it all. I didn’t want to miss the chance to be the person who later said, “You won’t believe it, but Mongolian Throat Singing is what did it for us!” I could be the one for whom that last ditch effort, that one silly thing, was what made all the difference.

And so, I took the Cuckoo Express to Crazy Town.

Here are the stations I visited along the way.

1. Acupuncture

Okay, so acupuncture isn’t full-blown crazy. Lots of people do it and have great results. But…sticking needles in my head to open up my uterus? I just don’t know that I can travel that road with you, my friend. I did at the time, though! I was all, “yes, the needle in my big toe will open up my blockages, and improve my blood flow, and stimulate my chakras,” or whatever the fuck. I can’t say I loved it – I have never been a huge fan of needles, and I always had these nightmares that I was going to roll off the table face down with a face full of needles. How do you think Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies got that way? The man had poor motility and sperm production. And his wife talked him into acupuncture. And then he fell and got a face full of needles. I’d be pissed, too.

There is a lot of research out there supporting the use of acupuncture during IVF. I will also say that I enjoyed my sessions – there’s something about being stuck full of needles in a dark room with soft music playing that is very relaxing…relaxing in a “well, I guess this is how I die” kind of way. And it didn’t work for me, but I might do it again. But probably not.

2. Uterine Massage

Uh-huh. NOW we’re starting to sound a little nuts, right? Right.

The place where I got my fertility acupuncture also had a massage therapist. I love me a massage, so when the acupuncture team recommended I get some sessions with her, I said, “Here’s my wallet! Sign me up!” Turns out, this massage therapist focused on the uterus – in particular, freeing your uterus from fear.

I could not possibly be shitting you about this.

I would lie down on the table, and she would go to work, kneading my stomach like a happy cat. Then she would start to go deeper, and I would start to cry. She told me it was alright to cry, because I was probably releasing some deep feelings about my previous miscarriages. I agreed that it was alright to cry, but that I would probably stop if she removed her thumb from my fallopian tube. That shit HURT, y’all! I mean, holy hell! After 3 or 4 sessions, I started to “forget” to reschedule with her. I was terrified that my poor, mangled uterus was going to have a fight-or-flight response the next time her hands got near me and would either try to crawl out through my belly button, or send out both fallopian tubes to deliver a one-two punch to her well-meaning face.

So, that didn’t go well. The employees there recommended I try one more thing to clean me out and prepare me for me frozen IVF cycle. And that was…

3. Vaginal Steam Bath

I know.

I’ll give you a minute to re-arrange your face, which I am sure is twisted in disgust right now.

Ok. Let’s talk this through.

I don’t know how to defend myself on this one, you guys. I have to plead “temporary insanity.” Towards the end of my treatments with the acupuncturist, they recommended I try to cleanse myself with a vaginal steam bath. At first, I was deeply offended.Then I remembered that they had not been putting any needles in my business area – thank christ – so I probably shouldn’t take it personally.

I was instructed to sit in a chair that had some kind of weaving in the seat – like a steamer basket for my cootch – and to boil this bag of stuff and then stick a pot of it under me and lay a towel over my lap to keep in the steam. I don’t know what kind of hippie nonsense was in the bag, but it looked like either tea from the clearance rack at the supermarket (you know, the stuff that they put in a grocery cart at the back of the store, next to the toilets), or dirty gerbil bedding. It definitely smelled like the latter.

Since I am an idiot with a highly tuned sense of self-preservation, I decided to wait to steam my vagina for a time when my husband wasn’t going to be home. One night, he called to say he was going to be working late, and I pounced on the chance. I immediately ran into a problem – I had no chairs with holes in the seats. How was I going to get the steam into my beaver pond?! I did some quick problem-solving, and decided to put the pot in the bathtub and then squat over it with a towel over my lower body.

And I did it. God help me, I did it. And what was the result? A swampy crotch, and a house that smelled like no smell I had heretofore encountered. I dumped the stuff down the sink and opened the windows, trying to air the place out before my husband came home. It didn’t work. When he got home, he said hi to me, walked about five feet into the house, and asked, “What smells like death?”

“Oh,” I said, “I tried a new recipe and it did NOT work out.”

“What was in it?! Whiskey and roadkill?!”

“Something like that…”

So, the vaginal steam bath didn’t work, but our frozen IVF cycle did! We ended up pregnant with our awesome, exhausting twins. It was worth every minute of stress, sadness, needles, and uterine manhandling to get them. I don’t regret trying alternative medicine – I would have wondered about it if I hadn’t gotten pregnant and never tried it. And while it didn’t work for me, I am not discounting the whole field. Worst case scenario, you get a relaxing acupuncture treatment and a fearless uterus. If someone asks you to steam-clean your vagina, however, make sure you ask if they have any lavender-scented gerbil bedding. The “classic” scent is no good.

Meredith Bland blogs at Pile of Babies and writes humor essays for other websites. Read all of her nonsense at http://www.pileofbabies.com.

Sentimental and introspective (just for now)

I kind of want to learn conversational Spanish.  And Sign Language.  Just because I feel as though these things might make me more interesting.

I’d also like to say that I’ve been skydiving, though I am not sure I actually want to go skydiving.  And, I would really like to get my PhD. and learn how to drive stick.

Someday, I want to visit Greece.  And, I would like to have an idea of mine patented.

I want to learn to tap dance.

Tell 'em, Red.

Tell ’em, Red.

Some days I am afraid that I am living a bit of a hollow existence.  Now, being a wife, mother, teacher, friend, daughter, neighbor, doggy mamma and spectacular driver are all really great and all.  But, if I were on my death bed right at this moment, I don’t know if I’d feel satisfied that I’d led a life well-lived.  I don’t know if my life is interesting.

Now, people with attitude problems all over the place might get all pissy and leave comments about how a real mom would be satisfied simply with her role as a mother.  It is the most important job in the world.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.

It is important.  I am thankful every day for the gifts I have been given.  My children are amazing.  And probably awesomer than your kids, anyway.

But, every once in a while I wonder which of my dreams I am letting die because I am watching America’s Next Top Model instead of learning expert knife skills at the local culinary institute.  I have a bucket list.  That bucket list itself is dying.  I am getting too old to learn how to surf now.  And, I think every so often about how many more things will simply never get crossed off of that list because I can’t leave my house since my kids are sleeping upstairs.  And, toddlers aren’t welcome at Knife Class.

I know that the simple answer to all of this is just to get off my ass and start crossing things off of that list.  But, as any responsible parent and working adult will tell you, doing things that are just for YOU isn’t something that happens too often for many of us.  I am certainly not deprived.  And, I have a good life, but I still haven’t ever tried a ridiculously expensive glass of wine or run a 5K.  No.  Really.  RUN.  The whole way.  And, that makes me just a little sad.

You Shaw it here first, people.

You Shaw it here first, people.

I wish I could go back and tell the younger me to live it up a little more.  Everyone tells you to be so responsible, save your money, get a good job, buy a home, settle down.  But, not enough people tell you to have fun, get drunk, laugh, make a memory, take a funny picture of a friend at the base of the Eiffel Tower at 3 AM, sleep in, and own your stupid 2-seater dream car before you have to become an exhausted, minivan-driving, in-bed-at-10:00 grown-up.

As I sit today on the eve of the beginning of Off Duty Mom’s series on fertility issues we’re featuring via Guest Bloggers this month, I realize the seeming hypocrisy of it all.  I blog and crab and complain about how tough it is to be a parent.  Yet, I sat in doctor’s offices for YEARS where I cried and blamed God and cursed and puked because I was incapable of carrying a baby to term.  And now, I have brought two amazing young angels into the world.  And I still cry and whine and curse.  And I blubber about how I wish someone would give me the time to travel to Scotland or learn how to skateboard.

Nevertheless, I realize that we all feel as though we’re missing something sometimes.  We all wonder if life would just be better IF

And, at the end of the day we all have something that we take for granted, but that someone else is wishing and hoping to have.

Starting tomorrow, we will publish our first in the series of guest posts about issues of pregnancy, adoption, fertility and miscarriage.  Some of the posts are funny.  Some are heartbreaking.  Some are touching.  Some are uplifting.  I encourage you to check back often throughout December to read all of the posts.

Then, in January, I will stop being introspective, sappy, thoughtful and melancholy.  Off Duty Mom will return to tackle important issues such as the classical philosophy of Handy Manny, bathtub turds,  toddler beauty pageants, gray hairs, and public drunkenness.

Tune in tomorrow, though, for our very first (and very funny) installment in our December series from Pile of Babies author, Meredith Bland.

The journey begins…

The December series relating to infertility stories submitted by numerous writers from all over the world is set to begin next week.

Please check back often to read all kinds of stories from very different folks with very different experiences.  Some will make you laugh and others may make you cry.  Some stories are unfinished yet — the journey for some of our writers continues.

The month of December is a time to celebrate, but it is also a very difficult time for the couples who are facing yet another holiday without little ones to help celebrate it.  Our goal here is to share our spirits and share our strength.  So many of us have been through this battle.  No one going through struggles with fertility needs to feel alone.

We are still interested in anyone who may want to share a story, specifically about adoption or nontraditional routes to family planning or family growth.  If you’d like to join our series, please visit the Guest Posting page here for information.

Thank you all for your ongoing interest in this subject.

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