My IVF Journey: The Road Less Traveled

The two week wait was agonizing. How could I continue to act like nothing was going on? I was possibly creating life in my womb. I was scared yet hopeful that God would be in all that was happening.

I went about my daily life trying to occupy my time and thoughts. Luckily, I was gearing up for my busy season at work, but my marriage took a hit. I thought I was losing my damn mind. Nothing could prepare me for the hell that I found myself in.

I spent so much time crying out to God. I wanted to know why o’ why had He forsaken me? Why did he allow me to be in so much pain? I put my mask back on. The mask of pretending that I was okay when I was in an unfathomable amount of pain.

I was losing control. Nothing in life seemed to be going as it should. I couldn’t let the world see.

The world couldn’t see that I was dying and trying to hold on to my sanity. I am a survivor. I had survived worse, but how much more was I expected to bear?

I prayed that God could hear my cries. I was alone. Trapped in the pain of my mind. The weight of my wedding ring was burning my skin. The  two week wait passed with more tears and numbness than I thought possible.

I got up and went to the fertility clinic. I had survived the two week wait. I had to get my blood drawn. I was used to needles by then. Hated them, but I was becoming indifferent to pain. They told me that my nurse would call me later with the results.

I sighed. I knew the drill. It was probably another negative. I mean how could I be pregnant at this point? I couldn’t think about it. I had to get to work.

Waiting for the call from my fertility nurse was agonizing. I busied myself with meetings and work. I still had a job to do. A job that I needed with so much uncertainty surrounding me.

I was traveling a road that was new to me. Foreign. Was I pregnant? Did I want to stay in my marriage? Am I strong enough?

I checked my voicemail. The nurse had called. I called her back. She was unavailable. I had to wait for her to call me back.

Damn it!

Keep moving. Keep working. Occupy your mind and thoughts.

She called 30 minutes later. She said that my test was positive.

I was pregnant.

Tears rolled down my eyes.

I was pregnant.

I closed my eyes. “Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yes, your test came back positive” she said.

I was now a mommy. I was standing at the crossroads in my marriage and I was finally pregnant. God has a strange sense of humor. I didn’t sign up for this. What’s happening to me?

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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The Truth About Co-Parenting

I’m in a lot of groups on co-parenting, taking co-parenting classes and reading everything under the sun to learn how to co-parent. Is it working? Umm, not yet. But, that is not to say that I’ve given up. I’m prayerful that God is working it out.

I understand that most co-parenting situations take 5 to 7 years to work out and that will put Munch between 13 to 15. Okay, whatever! It takes a village and I’m okay with that. However, one of the things that I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot lately is the concern that step moms have that the birth mom’s hate them.

Let me pause and offer my two cents on this belief. This is not true in all cases. If you broke up a home through infidelity, then the birth mother may hate you. But, you should know that. If you didn’t and you both just moved on with your lives and met and married new people then I’m sure that the birth mother doesn’t hate you.

Neither do the kids. They just need to get to know you. The thing is that you fall in love with the man not knowing the history of what he did to that woman or vice versa.  As much as everyone would like to place the foolishness on the birth mom’s shoulder I invite you to take a step back and look at it from another point of view.

As a birth mom to only one child, I only want the best for my child. I believe that his dad wants the best for him. If I don’t know you then how can I know what you want with our son? Does that make you a bad person? Nope, not at all. But, that doesn’t meant that I like you or hate you. I don’t know you.

Does that mean that I’m jealous of you? Not at all. Again, I don’t know you. I don’t trust people I don’t know. Do you trust people that you don’t know? Probably not. It means that we are starting at a point of figuring each other out. We are not sitting here creating voodoo dolls of you and wishing bad things on you. We have a life. We have a child or children. We may have careers.

Every relationship whether friend or intimate has boundaries. When you are getting to know someone intimately they are learning your boundaries and you are learning theirs. When do you learn the birth mother’s boundaries? Do you believe there are boundaries? Do you care?

If not, then think about the relationship that you are creating with those boundaries. When we don’t respect boundaries from the birth parents and do what they heck we want in the name of love, then you will be met with resistance and anger. Probably both. Issues from the marriage or relationship carry over into co-parenting when boundaries aren’t respected. Both men and women are guilty of this.  This doesn’t mean that the woman is bitter or jealous of you. You just crossed her boundary.

Let me give you an example, maybe the ex gave her a sexually transmitted disease (STD), was violent to her, stole from her, etc. Maybe the man didn’t want the child to begin with and now wants to be father of the year with you on his arms. Who knows? You only know his side of the story.  The one that your new partner told you. Maybe the issues are deeper than you want to admit. There are many reasons relationships fail.

And when they do fail, what remains is that there are two parents that have a child to care for. Two. Mom and dad. The parents who created the child, carried the child and the mother who birthed the child left to figure out how to raise this little human being without emotionally stunting him/her. Their children will be raised in two homes, with two different parenting styles and two people who love them immensely. Does that mean that you can’t be a partner in the child’s life with your new man or woman? Not at all.

It just means that you have to recognize that their are other participants in this co-parenting relationship. The parents. Both parents. They need to work together for their child. It may be a lot of residual issues, but your job is not get involved in the BS. To respect the boundaries and love and be a supporting partner to your significant other and a supporter of the child.

Children need the love and support of their parents. If more parents are added to the mix, that’s more love to go around. Their village will expand. Birth mothers don’t go around hating their exe’s new partner. If you’re feeling hated, ask yourself whether or not you did anything to overstep your boundaries. Talk it out.

This is not a birth mother vs. step mother reality. Women have to stop being pitted against each other. We are our sister keeper’s. We are all part of the village.

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Random Thoughts – 09.14.17

I’m sorry that I’ve been inconsistent in posting lately. Life has gotten the best of me. In between vacation, school starting, work and my sorority, I’m burning the candle at both ends. Things will slow down soon. I promise to try and catch up on what I can. Here’s an update on where things are with me.

New Followers – Oh Yeah!

Thank you to my new followers. I have almost 2,000 WordPress followers and I am overwhelmingly blessed by that. I’m truly astonished. I can’t believe that you’ve chosen to follow me on this journey in this thing called life. I mean I’ve seriously grown by leaps and bounds these last few months and I’m happy to have you a part of this walk. I can’t thank you enough. Please check out my Who Am I? page to learn all about me.

Busy, Busy, Busy

This week has been hectic. I had so many meetings and court on Monday. My son’s father and I finalized the parenting agreement in mediation and the court accepted it and now it’s part of our file. We had 5 outstanding items that they refused to handle and I’ve accepted that at the moment, I can move on with my life and rebuild my leave balance because I have only been an employee a little over a year.

My Munch

Munch had Back-to-School Night on Tuesday and this was my second time meeting his teacher (I met him on the first day of school). He seems like a really nice guy and I’m wishing Munch and all the little kiddos a happy and productive school year. I have also decided that I will be enrolling Munch into a Math tutoring program this school year to help strengthen his math skills. I realize that I was stressing him out last year and he was stressing me out. But, I don’t play with academics so whatever we can do to help – will be done.

Munch must also take band this year. Apparently, it is mandatory in the fourth grade here in Maryland. I went to school in Texas so I don’t know. Munch decided he wants to play the trumpet as his first choice and the flute as his second. I just received an email from the band teacher asking would some of the parents be willing to switch their children to the clarinet. Umm, nope. He didn’t pick the clarinet. The clarinet sucks.  Can’t the teachers do what they can?

But, it’s a good year. I like his teachers and Munch wanted me to meet his PE teacher at Back-to-School Night. He likes PE. Did you know that she said she sees the kids for 35 minutes once a week and sometimes twice a week? I remember taking PE every day when I was in elementary school.

Finally, I’m feeling better about his school this year. This is a big change from where I stood last year feeling like an outsider. I joined the PTA and volunteered at Munch’s school. I made it work. I got to know the parents and fund raise for the school. Munch’s new school was made smaller by my efforts to fit in. I’m happy to say that my anxiety has diminished and we’re ready to tackle the fourth grade. Together.

My Love

Mr. C is great. He and I are progressing in our relationship and just loving our happy black a** lives. It’s an adjustment with all that we’ve both had going on, but we’re looking forward to stability and celebrations in the coming weeks. His birthday is later this month and then our anniversary is next month. Woohoo! We’ve been dating for almost two years and in a committed relationship almost a year.

We love where we are and we continue to learn and grow our relationship. I’m in a lot of groups on FaceBook and one of the things that I’m learning is that we as couples don’t know how to talk to each other. We want this picture perfect relationship without doing the work. Mr. C and I work at our relationship. Constantly. Daily. Heck, hourly sometimes.

He gets me. He gets when I need him to just protect me and love me through all the bulls*hit that I’m experiencing. It is in those moments that I sigh and thank God for this man. This man that makes me feel as though I can do anything, but reminds me all the same that he’s willing to help me because I’m not alone. Do you know how special that makes me feel?  Whew! I’m blessed ya’ll.

My Sorority Year

Has started back. We take the summers off and we’re now back. I’m on a couple of committees and working to make a difference in my chapter, organization and of course community. First up is a Mother/Daughter Tea that we have this weekend, which is part of our fundraising efforts for scholarships. I am so excited because we’ve sold out the place. I will be the mistress of ceremony for the event and my mommy, sister and niece will be attending. I’ve also volunteered to chair the Veteran’s committee and work on some programs this year including our Wreaths Across America. Munch loved that program so I’m happy to help in any way possible.

That’s a brief synopsis of what’s going on with me. You are all missed and thank you for being an invaluable piece in my life. Your reading, sharing or commenting truly make my day. I’ve been slow to respond, but trust me that I will catch-up. Please continue to love and take care of each other. We’re hurting in this country and we have to remember that we are all loved, valued and appreciated.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Parenting: First Day of School

Yesterday was Munch’s first day back at school. It was an exhausting day because our flight was delayed by 3 hours and we didn’t get in the house until 12:15 a.m. the next morning. Ugh! But, we took it in stride and were thankful that we arrived even after all those hours.

I felt so unprepared. I didn’t get a chance to pack his backpack with all the school supplies before heading out of town. That was a bummer. I grabbed some notebook paper and pencils and shoved them in his bag and thought we’ll do it this evening.

Munch woke up in a bad mood. Can you blame him? He was explaining to me that he didn’t want to go back to the same school because the kids were mean to him. I stopped. I breathed and replied “Munch, we are in a new school year with a new teacher and new classmates. No one can make you feel less than you are. Only you have the power to do so. I want you to have an amazing day because you are blessed. We woke up this morning. You have new clothes and shoes and supplies. You are ready to learn.” He sighed.

We drove to school and he said to me “Mommy, I’m sorry about earlier. I was in a bad mood. I’m going to have a good day.” I smiled and replied “Yep, you are and I can’t wait to hear all about it.” We walked into the building.

He saw a couple of children from his old school. Remember that I told you that there are only two French Immersion schools in the county? That was comforting. They spoke in the hallways. His smile was huge.

We met his teacher who is another male (Yay!) this year. I introduced myself and Munch and told him that I will see him at back to school night next week. I left.

This year there was no huge good-bye and lingering around. I felt better. I felt comforted. We weren’t in a foreign territory anymore. I know some parents, the principal and administrators. I made the school smaller by volunteering and I’ll do the same this year.

Here’s to my awesome and amazingly talented fourth grader. He’s ornery, brilliant and changing every day to look like his mommy. He will have a wonderful time in the 4th grade this year and I’ll be right there to make sure that he does.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Child Support: My Story

The issue of child support is a touchy one. This will be a three part issue. The first part will be my story, the second will be a man’s story and the third will be a woman’s story. I’m going to explore multiple sides about the importance of child support and give you truth here. This may be a trigger post for some of you. So, if it is, please stay off my page with your drama. I am all about trying to equalize the argument for the benefits for financially supporting your children.

Many people see child support as a bad thing. It’s deemed the devil because many states require a man to pay 1/3 or more of his salary supporting a “lazy momma” while being denied visitation or being forced to work multiple jobs to even live.  Others see it as the only way to make a man financially responsible for his child while checking out emotionally. It is a vicious cycle and in reality there are some truths to both sides. Let’s discuss the reality.

In reality, children require more than just love to grow into healthy adults. It takes money. Can your child live without clothes, medical, dental, food or shelter? Nope.

Okay, good. Now, before you start saying that I’m pro the destruction of the man, stop it. I’m not. Women who don’t raise their children should also pay child support. I believe that everyone has a financial responsibility for their children.

For the record, I don’t get nor have I ever filed child support against my ex-husband. He doesn’t get it either. In fact, we agreed that we would equally split expenses for our son. So, I have no “skin” in the game to protect any financial support you think I may be getting.

Now, the difference between me and some other women is that I can afford to take care of my son without his father’s help. It’s not a bad thing. It’s reality. I’ve been blessed to have a great career that allows me both the financial and emotional means to be present for my son. However, I recognize that not everyone can say that they are as fortunate. Some women and men actually need the financial support of the other parent.

 

When I was growing up, my dad was ordered to pay $200 a month in child support for three kids. Yes, I said that right – three kids. Ask me how many checks we received?

Zero.

Not one.

My dad lived his life getting paid under the table. He avoided paying child support like it was a contagious disease. He refused to catch it.

Did he feel bad? In my opinion no. Anyone that avoids the financial support of their child doesn’t have a conscious. Therefore, they can’t feel bad for not doing for their child. Combine that with the fact that he lived in another state and didn’t see us and you have the trifecta of a poor example as a father.

He was not present. Financially, emotionally, spiritually or any form or fashion. We were a non-factor in his life. The life he lived in avoidance.

So, I watched my mother struggle. Struggle to put clothes on our back and food on our table. Struggle to work multiple jobs and go to school so she could provide a better life for us.

I imagined that the better life she was working on would provide better clothes, better shoes and more of an opportunity to have her present. See, when a person doesn’t take care of their children, it leaves the other parent to take care of the slack. But, it took two people to create that child. How come one person gets to slack on their responsibility?

 

Because of that hard life of learning to survive in spite of my circumstances, I worked hard. I didn’t want children. I wouldn’t bring a child into this world without being able to support them on my own. I would never give anyone that power to determine the fate of my child/children.

I would be better than that.

And I did. I worked hard to get my career off the ground. Even when my marriage ended and I had to re-shift my focus, it became about the most important asset in my life. My Munch. He was more important than any job or my career. I needed him to know that.

So, I spoke up. I told my employers during the interview stage that I am a mom first. That it is just me and that I will always be there for my son. I won’t miss school plays, programs or games. I will be present on the first day of school and every day thereafter. I only have him for a short time before he is released into the world, hopefully making it a better place.

My responsibilities were to my son first.  My employers understood. They respected my decision. So, I continued to rise in my career without sacrificing because I was a mother. I have been very fortunate to have that.

Even this summer when I had to adjust my schedule to get my son to and from camp. I called on my village and they helped out. My supervisor understood that I had camp that started at 9 am and there was no before care. I didn’t get to work until 9:45 am. My mother went in early and took off to pick up Munch from camp at 3pm.

I take off to take him to doctor’s appointments, to volunteer in his school, attend his programs (like the art camp) or if he’s sick. My supervisor allows flexibility because it’s just me. I need it. My mother didn’t have that. She had me.

I missed school if my siblings were sick. She had to work. We had to take care of each other.

I’m not ignorant to the fact that Munch has the best of both worlds…a mother that can afford to provide and a mother that is present. This is in direct contrast with what I experienced, but experience taught me. I chose to be a mother and I chose to have a career and thankfully I am able to have them both.

The lack of child support or financial means pushed me to work harder and become more determined to not be another statistic. We needed the financial support from my dad, but we lived and thrived in spite of. No one should ever have to be in that position.

-Part 2: His View On Child Support is Next-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Parenting: Munch’s Art

Munch just finished two weeks at Art Camp last Friday and I couldn’t be more proud. He asked to attend and he learned so much. He learned about different textures, mediums and artists. He had a blast.

I think the best part of the camp experience for me was listening to my son explain his art work. The camp had an art show for the finale and the kids were super excited to showcase their work.

These last two weeks were memorable for him. He was excited and learned a lot. It was definitely worth the investment.

Since he transferred to his new school last September he actually got straight A’s in art all four quarters. This was a change from his last art teacher who I firmly believed pulled grades out her butt. When I questioned his grades changing from a B to A, she had no answer and couldn’t produce graded work that showed a B.

I explained that my son loves to draw and will often spend hours drawing out these great characters. He’s talented. He loves art. She didn’t listen.

Oh well.

Change happened and he’s excelling in his new school so we are blessed. It is as it should be. Art camp was awesome and he was winding down summer on a positive note. Here are some photos of his work.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY MOMENT – 08.28.17

Happy Monday Loves!

It’s the last Monday in August and I was looking for words to inspire you today. To motivate you. To put you in a good mood. Sigh.

I didn’t have any. My life and my words are all jumbled together. I am working like crazy and preparing Munch for school. He’ll be in the 4th grade. I’m excited. He’s not. He doesn’t like change.

Then it hit me.

The inspiration…

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Change.

I love the above quote. Change is inevitable. Progression is a choice. Change is a process. It means to transform or convert. Munch is transforming from a third grader to a fourth grader. He’s scared. His mind isn’t ready.

But, haven’t we all been there at one time or another in our lives? Afraid of change? Scared of the outcome of some things?

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Change is hard. We like the comfort of the normal way things are progressing. We like to take comfort in the things that we know. But, we have to move forward. Change happens whether or not we’re ready for it.

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I never expected to get married, have a son and then be divorced. I never imagined that would be my life when I said that I never wanted to be a single parent. But, here I am. Change happened. I am good. I survived. And so will you.

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We have to accept that things change. We grow older, we lose jobs, families and the things that we took comfort in will sometimes look foreign. That’s where the opportunity to build again lies. In the newness.

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A transformation occurs. In our attitude. In our ability to see beyond the horrific or tragic situations we may find ourselves in. We begin to let the dust clear and find comfort in knowing that we are still here. No matter what.

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That old saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” begins to make sense. You survived. The situation you found yourself facing didn’t kill you. You survived the change. You are a survivor.

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So, my Motivational Monday Moment is about accepting the change. Anticipate and then accept the change. We’re never ready for it, but look at each day and situation as a new opportunity to grow. To learn something new.

Just like Munch is not ready for changing grades, I will help prepare his mind. I will remind him of the new adventures that await him. I will comfort and console and lead and guide him in this new transition. It’s part of life. He’s growing. I’m growing and change is the the only part of life that is inevitable.

Be blessed my loves!

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.