Infertility: It Sucks! No Argument There. How I Found Some Humor Just To Get By

My ex-husband and I had decided to wait five years before we started our family. After one full year of trying to conceive our first child, we were faced with the reality that we had an infertility problem. The closer that I crept to the “Big 30”, the more I began to panic.

My OBGY did the blood work and ran all of the necessary tests. I felt like a human pin cushion and went from passing out when having blood drawn, (And coming to, underneath the chair I had been sitting in) to taking every needle like a champ. I was so proud of myself even though I secretly cringed over every baby shower invitation that I got, as I fought to hold back my tears.

If you’ve been there, you know exactly what I’m taking about.

Then it came time to check if ex-husband’s reproductive system was functioning properly. The doctor explained that not only did my ex-husband’s sperm sample have to be driven and dropped off a lab 30 minutes away, but it also had to be kept warm.

At this point I wanted a baby so desperately, I would have done basically anything asked of me to make motherhood a reality.

What I didn’t consider, was that my ex-husband would have to go from the doctor’s office straight to work… and that would mean that I would be the one transporting the container of sperm.

“Okay, give me the address and I’ll bring it.” I said to the doctor.

She quickly scribbled down the address, handed me some paperwork and said, “Keep the container against your body, it has to stay warm. Go straight there and get there as soon as possible.”

I was as nervous carrying this thick, lidded plastic container as I would have been holding my fragile offspring for the first time… and actually, I somehow felt like I was  responsible for transporting half of my unborn child.

What to do? I was wearing a short, tight T-shirt and a pair of size 3 jeans. I pulled out the front waistband and tucked, what could be my future child, snuggly into the front of my pants.

The container was rather large in circumference and was totally visible, protruding from my jeans.

Oh, well. I thought, I’ll just have to get it there as fast as I can. No detours. No stops. Straight to the lab.

My heart was racing as I buckled my seatbelt and began to drive.

At every red light I looked down to make sure that the container was secure and intact. A half an hour ride seemed torturous under the circumstances. I was a third of the way to my destination when I realized that I was lost. (These were pre-GPS and cell phone days and I was on edge every minute of the long ride.)

Breathe. Focus. Drive. Hurry. Get there. You’re doing great I told myself.

Until… I saw the flashing red lights in my rear-view mirror.

“Oh, God. Please tell me I am NOT getting pulled over!

Image result for images of police sirens during the day

Sigh. Yes, I am.

I pulled at my shirt.

Why did I wear this short, tight shirt today, of all days, I thought, as I moved my car to the side of the road and put it into park.

The officer approached the car as I slowly lowered the window.

“License and registration.” A deep voice ordered.

Just my luck. Why couldn’t it have been a female cop?

My hands were shaking as I passed my identification and registration through the window. Oh, God. I’m loosing precious time, I thought, as I rubbed both of my hands across my forehead.

I knew that the cop was just doing his job and running my license and registration, yet it seemed like an eternity.

I nervously re-adjusted my pants.

There was a tap on the window.

“You do know that you were going 35 in a 25 mile zone?” He stated and questioned at the same time.

“I’m not sure.” I stuttered, feeling like I was going to throw up.

“Ma’am, what is that you’re concealing in your pants?” He asked.

I froze and I could feel my face turning both hot and red. I didn’t reply.

“I asked you a question.” He said before adding, “Please step out of the vehicle.”

I complied as my heart rate accelerated and I felt my insides twist.

Is he going to arrest me? I thought. Oh, my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. How am I going to explain this to the cop, or worse yet, to my parents?

I slowly opened the passenger door.

“Stand against the car and remove the concealed container.” He ordered.

“I can’t.” I stated, while I refrained from saying, over my dead body!

“Ma’am, I pulled you over for speeding and I don’t think that you also want to be charged with refusal to cooperate with an officer.” He stated.

“Look. I know this sounds crazy… but I’m just trying to have a baby and… well, we’re having some infertility problems. My doctor asked me to drive my husband’s sperm specimen to the lab and get it there quickly. I am refusing to take it out of my jeans because I have to keep it warm. If you want to arrest me, then arrest me… but please do it after I get my husband’s sperm to the lab.” I pleaded.

An expression crossed over the officer face like my story trumped the ticket he was going to give me. I’m sure that back at the police station, the officers love to exchange stories to see who can top all of the rest for the most outrageous or original situation of the day. I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that my ordinary traffic stop propelled him into first place.

“What’s the address that you’re going to?” He asked with a new demeanor.

I retrieve the crinkled paper from my car and handed it to the officer.

“Follow me. ” He said with a smile.

I may be the first or only woman to have a police escort to deliver her husband’s sperm to a lab, but I honestly don’t know for sure.

But I do know this… it was all worth it and I would do it a hundred times over to have my son, Kevin.

There is no greater joy on this earth than being a mom!

This post is dedicated to a very dear friend and her husband, that I love deeply. They are struggling with infertility and enduring much more than a possible speeding ticket. I won’t divulge either of their names, but I ask that you take a moment and say a prayer that God blesses them with a healthy, beautiful baby in their near feature.

Much love,

Erin Cooper Read

My Life, I Swear

Breastfeeding Is NO joke! Or Is It?

When I was pregnant with my first child I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is a personal decision. Still, friends, family and co-workers often express their opinions for or against your pronouncement. Research shows breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition, giving your baby the perfect amount of vitamins, fat and protein needed to grow.

Breast milk contains antibodies, helping your baby fight off bacteria and viruses, as well as, lowers your baby’s risk of developing allergies and asthma. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively have fewer respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and digestive problems including diarrhea. They also experience fewer trips to the doctor and hospitalizations. Being able to give all of these benefits to my child sounded great to me, and I was eager to get started breastfeeding after Kevin was born.

Thankfully, Kevin took to breastfeeding like a Champion.

Daily, my ex-husband would return from work to find me nursing Kevin. He would kiss each of us on the head and ask, “How was your day?”

“Fine.” I’d reply, “And yours?”

“Great!” My ex would excitedly state. “I stopped at Bob’s after work and ate dinner there.” (Bob was a coworker. My ex and Bob commuted daily, taking one vehicle, to save on gas.)

I asked, “What did you have?”

“Chicken Marsala.” He replied, “It was AMAZING! Candice is such a great cook… why can’t you cook like that?”

“Oh, I don’t know… because I spend most of my time nursing, pumping, changing diapers, cleaning, doing laundry and throwing together a quick meal,” I replied. “All on very little sleep. I’m exhausted.”

The following day was more of the same. My ex came home bragging about Candice’s lasagna.

The next day, her home-made mac & cheese.

The day after that her delectable country fried steak with white gravy and mashed potatoes.

And of course, her secret recipe, spaghetti sauce.

A week passed, as the list of Candice’s fabulous meals grew.

Like most new nursing mothers, I spent my time worrying if I was producing enough milk, storing enough and if my son was getting enough to eat. I had questions.

My ex made the suggestion that I have Candice over to give me some insight, after all, she was a mother of three children.

After some convincing, I reluctantly agreed. I’ll admit, I was a bit intimidated by “Candice the breastfeeding wonder and professional chef.”

Candice agreed to come over and give me a few breastfeeding tips.

The next day, I prepared a nice lunch and awaited Candice’s arrival.

Candice did give me some great breastfeeding tips.

  1. It’s normal for breastfeeding to hurt a bit in the beginning.
  2. Your nipples may crack.
  3. Lanolin cream is a great moisturizer for your nipples.
  4. Your breasts maybe be sore. A cabbage leaf in each side of your bra works wonders.
  5. Breastfeeding takes patience and a lot of practice.

I was appreciative for all of Candice’s help but I was about to find out her biggest breastfeeding tip of all!

As I cleared the kitchen table, Candice said, “I use my breast milk in all of my cooking.”

“Really?” I inquired. “What kind of meals do you cook using your own breast milk?”

Candice replied, “You know, all of my sauces, gravies, mashed potatoes, even my macaroni & cheese.”

I tried to hide the grin on my face and the fact that I couldn’t wait until my ex got home from work.

That night over dinner, my ex asked how my lunch with Candice had gone.

“It was great!” I replied, “I learned a lot about breastfeeding.”

“Like what?’ He asked.

“Well, mostly it’s normal to experience all of the things that I’m going through.” I said.

“Did you happen to get any cooking tips from her?” He asked with excitement in his voice.

I replied, “Actually, I did. In fact, Candice said that she uses her own breast milk in ALL of her recipes.”

My ex almost spit his dinner out on his plate.

“You’re kidding, right?” He asked.

“I’m being totally serious,” I stated. “All of her sauces, gravies, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese…”

My ex didn’t finish his dinner that night.

He also never complained about my cooking again.

I can still picture the look on his face when I think about that day and it always makes me laugh out loud.

Do you have any funny breastfeeding stories? Share them in the comments below.

On the Eve of St. Patrick’s Day

On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m not feeling very festive even given my Irish descent. Fifteen years ago, St. Patrick’s Day 2002, I came very close to losing my youngest son, Marc. I think about it often, but this year for some reason, I’m feeling emotional enough that maybe it would help for me to “blog it out.”

Kevin was almost 6 years old at the time and he had been fighting a week-long bout with the flu. I brought Kevin to the pediatrician three times and was awake more of that week then I slept…taking care of Kevin, Eric (aka Rocky, then 2 1/2) and 6 week old, Marc.

Finally, at around 2:00 AM Kevin’s fever broke, as I poured warm water over his shoulder’s while he sat in a steamy bathtub. I thanked God, got Kevin dried, dressed and put him comfortably to bed. I checked on Eric, peacefully asleep in his lower bunk and pulled Marc’s bassinet closer to my bed as I fell, exhausted, into my own.

The morning of St.Patrick’s Day, Marc seemed fine and the day progressed in the normal chaotic fashion that I had become accustomed to. It wasn’t until Marc was fast asleep during his afternoon nap that I became concerned about his breathing…It didn’t sound right, so I called my pediatrician. The doctor asked me to hold the phone close to Marc in the bassinet so he could hear the baby breathing. When I moved the phone back to my ear, the doctor asked “Is his color good?”

“Yes.” I said

The doctor calmly replied “Take Marc to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital right away.”

Although the doctor was calm and gave me no indication of what might be wrong with my baby, I could taste the panic in my throat. I called my parents and my mother-in-law, who were all immediately on their way. Hospital…someone has to watch the boys…grab the car seat…keys, keys…where the hell are the keys…everything started to whirl.

My ex-husband was strapping the base of the car seat into our vehicle as Marc sat smiling in the car seat carrier. Then, Marc began to turn blue. I quickly unstrapped him and ran into the house, my ex-husband followed, as I screamed to my mother-in-law to call 911.

I began performing CPR. Breath into his mouth…not working. Turn him over and hit him on the back. Turn him back over and press on his stomach, center under his ribs. Nothing was working. Marc went from blue, to purple, to black. I froze. I went into complete shock.  I remember glancing towards Kevin and Eric standing in the family room, observing all of it. I am sure that the fear on their faces mimicked the fear on mine.

My ex-husband flew out the front door and returned with our neighbor, Patrick Hayden, Captain of the Milford Fire Department. I met Pat at the door and handed him my baby. Pat immediately put his mouth over Marc’s, sucked in as hard as he could and spat on the hardwood floors. Marc still wasn’t breathing. Pat began performing CPR and it seemed hopeless as the time passed and Marc wasn’t revived. I jumped when the CPR momentarily stopped and the silence was broken as Pat yelled, “Call 911 back and tell them Pat Hayden said to step it up!” Marc suddenly gasped a small breath.

If I never understood the word surreal up to this point in my life, I did at that moment. The time was moving fast…moving slow…was it moving at all? Finally, a fire truck arrived with a rescue unit in the back, we climbed in and were on our way to the hospital.

Marc was admitted to the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit). He was diagnosed with RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which is actually a form of the common cold but can be very dangerous in babies under six weeks old.

Within twenty minutes of getting Marc stabilized in the NICU, I got a call from my mother-in-law from the children’s wing of the same hospital. Kevin was admitted for pneumonia in one lung.

I guess this is the My Life I Swear Part…and an example of my ability to crack a joke at an inappropriate time…I can’t pick the winning lotto numbers but I can end up with two out of three children in the same hospital for five days.

Thank God both of my boys recovered. Thank God for my ex-husband’s presence of mind and for Pat Hayden. I am forever grateful.

I won’t ever let my mind go to the what could have happened, what could have been or the what ifs. I remind myself everyday how blessed I am…but especially on St. Patrick’s Day, I take some time to celebrate all of my beautiful sons and what they mean to me.

My apologizes to all of my Irish relatives and ancestors, I won’t be drinking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day…but if you get a chance, raise your Guinness for me and say a toast for Pat Hayden and all of the amazing firefighters that save lives everyday yet think nothing of risking their own.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Erin Cooper Reed

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Ridiculously Relatable Real Motherhood Moments

I’ve caved and succumbed to the latest popular blog craze…the top ten list. Apparently life is so busy, and the majority of people have so little time, that any kind of numerical list is preferable to having to read an entire article. I can certainly deliver…just expect that even my list will carry the same humor and perspective that makes my blogs worth reading.

Ready?

Top 10 Ridiculously Relatable Real Motherhood Moments:

  1. The Diapering Challenge – Any mom worth her weight will tell you that she has managed to diaper her child in a gas station bathroom, on a trip, while balancing her baby on the top of her thigh. This takes skill. Not to mention, an experienced mom could fasten a diaper on a standing, moving child any day of the week.
  2. Inappropriate Baby Talk – Your first night out postpartum may entail you’re telling the waitress that your drink tastes “Yucky.”  As soon as the words leave your mouth you no longer feel like an adult that should be out in the real world…no worries, it’s par for the course.
  3. Safety First – Eight years of car seats lined up across the back seat of a mini van. Finally your youngest is ready for a booster seat and you are almost home free. Then your youngest receives a Toys r Us  gift card for his birthday and he can buy whatever he wants. Unfortunately, what he wants is a baby doll that he names George. George comes well equipped with a mini stroller and a car seat. Is there no end to this madness?
  4. Where Did This Come From? Three kids running around the grocery store while you’re checking your list and shuffling through your coupons can only lead to disaster. Keep the faith while you hold up the checkout line removing all of the items that your kids threw in the carriage while you weren’t looking. Who knew a three-year old could lift a metal gallon of extra virgin olive oil into a cart?
  5. For the Love of Independence! So sweet to let your child save all of his change in a zip lock bag and learn how to purchase a toy on his own. Such a proud consumer moment, except for the annoyed cashier and the woman behind you that’s on her lunch hour.  Cringe. Sorry…but not really.
  6. Oh My God! He was Just Right Here! – Most mom’s hate to admit it but we have all lost our children in a store, a mall or at an amusement park. You can taste the fear in your throat while you argue with your significant other about whose fault it is, only to find your child happily playing a video game in the arcade.
  7. Did He Really Just Say That? – While in public, your child growls at a woman in a thick, black fur coat while curling his fingers into claws, or he decides to point and loudly refer to the feminine looking man next to you as “That Lady…” Either way you have to smile and suck it up.  Yeah, motherhood!
  8. It’s In Here Somewhere –  You’re at the bank when the teller asks for your ID. After removing four action figures, a few matchbox cars, two happy meal toys and a half eaten cookie, you’re still looking. Ignore the eye-roll. You’re a good mom.
  9. For the Love of Laundry –  Okay, admit it. You have washed everything. When I say everything, I mean everything…rocks, chewing gum, crayons, markers, action figures, cell phones and birth certificates. If you laughed and shook your head yes while reading this list, yet still have more to add, you are definitely a seasoned mom!
  10. Just Smile & Ignore Them –  Let’s face it, our kids come first. So what if your son is at the grocery store in full Santa attire ( Santa Suit, boots, gloves & Santa hat) in July when it’s 90 degrees. People may stare but at least they don’t have to wash costumes year round, like you do. Let them think what they want.

Being a mom isn’t for that faint of heart…in fact it’s for the women with the biggest hearts of all! Carry on. You’re doing GREAT!!