My Breast Feeding Nightmares

Clearly I need some down time. I mean the list of things I worry about is ridiculous. To top it off, I pulled my lower back out last night putting away laundry. I was proud of myself for actually putting it AWAY and this is what I get? And it couldn’t have come at a worse time. The agency I work for held its annual 5K Walk this morning and I had to be up at the crack of dawn to help set up. Fortunately Boo Husband came to the rescue and pitched in where needed; a back massage at 12 a.m. and sympathy groans on the hour as I made my way to the bathroom for pee breaks.

It’s hard enough peeing four times a night. Add excruciating back pain and a kicking baby to the mix and it’s downright cruel. Having survived the event we made it home to take fitful nap. Eric is now headed to Subway for sandwiches and I’m nursing this back until I can get to the chiropractor tomorrow.

Overall it’s been an interesting week. My doctor’s appointment on Wednesday revealed increased swelling of the feet and ankles which I’m to enjoy for the next eight weeks at varying levels of acuity as well as a five-pound weight gain. (My last appointment was two weeks prior.) I’m blaming it on the water retention along with Baby Djordjevic’s need to prove he’s above average.  It can’t possibly be the two pieces of key lime pie along with numerous helpings of random cookies and the like over the last two weeks. Please don’t judge me…I hit mile marker 39 and I’m preggers for the first time. Forty is going to rock!

I wonder if this back issue is my body’s way of side tracking my mind from things like breastfeeding nightmares in which my dog ‘stands in’ for the baby, thoughts about leaving my kid in a hot car to die, packing my bag for the hospital and being mired in debt for the rest of our lives. I’m pretty sure the first two are NEVER going to happen. I mean, if I start breastfeeding Louie then all hell will have broken loose and I should be committed to a place where I’ll never be let out.

The whole kid in the car thing has me freaked out. An article in the last issue of Parent magazine recapped two accounts of children dying after being left in a hot car for hours. The kicker? These were parents who loved their children. They were not deranged. Neither of them suffered from Munchausen by Proxy. They fully intended to pick up their beautiful children at the end of their workday. Except they forgot to drop them off at the caregiver in the first place. As incredibly sad as it was to read, I now know that anything can happen when we are distracted. I’m posting the link to the article “You’d Never Leave Your Child in the Car, Right?” because it’s that important.

For seasoned parents – what did you worry about that really didn’t matter in the long run?

For parents to be – what haunts you in the middle of the night, on weekends and generally every free moment you have time to think about how life will change when baby arrives?

 

 

Being Chosen Feels Good

Remember way back when I wrote about Birdies for Babies? Well it turned out to be a pretty big thing. I submitted an application on behalf of Eric and I in the hopes we would get chosen as the next couple to be selected as beneficiaries of the golf event.  In the meantime, a wonderful, amazing, beautiful and supportive family member approached us and said she would help us make it happen.  I cried (I do a lot of that by the way.) and we talked about how we could work it out. In the back of my mind though, I kept thinking about Birdies for Babies. Eric asked me about the application and wondered out loud if it would be enough. Maybe we could make that work instead – if we just got lucky and were chosen then we wouldn’t have to burden anyone.

Do you know where this is going? If you did, you’d be right! We were chosen! We received an e-mail just after the first of the year to let us know the fantastic news. I called Eric and cried. I called Mom and cried even more. I called my sister and she screamed, “Are you serious?” And that made me cry too. The tears that came after the news were joyful ones. A tornado of emotions followed as I drove home from work following the calls I’d made. I sobbed in gratitude at God who surely sat in the passenger seat as I drove home. I was a wreck and needed all the help I could get to get home! I asked Him if we deserved this and argued (who DOES that when God gives such a gift?) that maybe we didn’t. Other people were more worthy of the receiving such a wonderful opportunity. Why were we special?

You know what? We don’t need an answer for that. It is what it is. I am grateful. Eric is grateful. We are moved by the graciousness and support of others around us and we couldn’t be happier. Despite the questions, Eric and I gave ourselves permission to accept that something so wonderful could and did happen to us. Sometimes in the dark, just before bed, we whisper about what our babies might look like and how we hope they’ll be good people. We hope they will live long lives and be kind to others. I hope they have Eric’s heart shaped lips and he wants them to have my eyes. No matter what, they will be beautiful.

Before Birdies for Babies the hope for a family wilted. Every month that passed, particularly over the summer and fall of 2012, brought us closer to the realization we may never have the chance to have our own family. This hope, much like the return of Spring after a long, harsh winter, is coming back. A positive aura is coming back and we are holding onto every moment.

Along with the outrageous excitement we feel about the upcoming event and working with the Birdies for Babies team, we are also counting our blessings for our health. The past few weeks have been tough. Eric has been struggling with a health issue that has made us all take stock of what life means and how unimportant the little things are. Now that he is on the mend, we hug each other every day and we look forward to a bright future.  Something we should have been doing all along anyway. It’s an important lesson that I’m so glad to have learned.

Thank you for listening! More details to come as Birdies for Babies 2013 gets underway! Make sure to mark your calendar for September 28, 2013. Also, Birdies for Babies is trying to help another couple as well. On March 2, 2013 Nevin’s Pub in Plainfield, along with Birdies, will host a Gala for the second couple. Tickets are $75. Visit the website to learn more information.

Prayers Welcome

It has been a crazy few months! The Arizona trip I mentioned in my last email was fabulous. Dad and I had the most amazing time, driving all over the place taking photos and generally enjoying each others company. I don’t think I’ve ever had a chance to do that in my adult life and it is something I will always remember.

I’d never been to Arizona for any length of time (unless I count the time Grandma and Grandpa Gregory took us to the spot where you could stand on the corners of four states at once, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.) We didn’t hit The Four Corners Monument this time around but we did noodle around in Sedona and Tuscon, both equidistant from Dad’s place in Apache Junction. Sedona was nothing short of breathtaking. Seeing the “red rock” up close and personal is a true gift. It confirms for me (as do many other things) that there is a God somewhere.

I was a little nervous to go and see my dad knowing that we’d be on our own. Mary, my stepmom, was unable to make the trip down as she was taking care of her mom in Seattle. Her mom has been struggling with cancer for many years and it has taken its toll. Mary was where she needed to be, but I missed her tremendously – my wine drinking partner!

Dad and I did just fine together. As soon as we embraced at the airport I was transported back to our last visit as if we’d never said goodbye. We grabbed lunch, talked about the flight – which was amazing by the way (go American Airlines!) – and settled into the mobile home unit in Apache Junction. Dad and Mary’s golf cart was the perfect vehicle to take in the sites of the community they live in. Like the ipad, everyone there has one!

Cookie cutter in their layout, each unit emulates the homeowners unique personality. Colorful whirlygigs and cacti, reflective of the Arizona landscape, dot grass barren spaces and bay windows. Cactus is everywhere! I’ve never seen so many varieties, all beautiful in their own way. And the storage! I was in awe of how efficiently laid out these units were. They offered more storage than many of the full size homes I’ve been in. Common areas, where the residents can get their creative groove on, were at the ready for returning snow birds. Art studios, a lapidary studio, woodworking shop, quilting and sewing room, game room complete with several new pool tables, a library and puzzle/card game room; you name it, they got it. It’s the first time I ever wished I was 55 or older. I could easily seem myself retiring in a place like this.

The pool area, with its crystal clear water set at about 75 degrees no less, was a welcome sight on a cool morning. The waters needed to be warm. According to Dad, the ladies who did their morning water aerobics are not impressed with a cool pool. A few of the mornings I enjoyed the hot tub before getting into the showers. Such a great way to start the day. Eric meantime was managing the dog, cats and himself. I must say, I’m quite proud!

I didn’t talk very much about our infertility issues. I didn’t want to make Dad feel uncomfortable either. Frankly, this vacation was a nice way to forget all of it, at least for the week I was there. I imagine Eric had a nice break away from me as well. We are just in it too much, living and breathing infertility everyday. We are reminded, seemingly on a constant basis, of our “issue”. Pregnant women in the grocery store, baby-on-the-way announcements, stories in the news. Google. Yahoo. Comcast. It’s everywhere.

Update on the Alkaline Phosphatase test results! My GP decided to test me again. The results came back the same. Very low compared to other people who have low results. She ordered more tests to check my liver and bone function to see if there are any issues there. Apparently AP is an enzyme that is generated by the liver and the bone and other organs. It has something to do with the body’s PH balance and the acid levels in the body. High levels in the blood can indicate several issues with liver disease and bone disease. Low levels are much less common. Causes may be due to things like excessive intake of Vitamin D, Celiac’s Disease, malnutrition, etc. I have a feeling it may be the cause of my achy joints and bone issues. The doctor asked me if I had ever had bone issues or had lost my teeth at an early age. Nope. Nothing like that from what Mom has told me.

Dr. Bang is also checking my Vitamin D levels, magnesium and my thyroid again. It’s amazing to me how our bodies work, and at such a microscopic level. I’m not sure what the results will be this time around. It’s been about a week since the last blood draw. In the meantime, as a good friend always says when times get rough, one foot in front of the other. It’s the only way to move forward.

We’ve tossed around financing ideas as well. Bottom line our out-of-pocket expenses will most likely settle in around $22,000 when all is said and done. It’s a big nut to crack but we have help out there – I just know it. And we are grateful! I am confident we’ll figure it all out.

On a completely separate note, I ran across a post from a man who suffers from infertility and his experience with it. I will look for the post and link it to my next entry if I can find it. Thought it might bring a new perspective. Another recipe is coming your way too! I just made it tonight – a Brussels Sprouts Lemony Slaw made with greek yogurt, lemon, roasted sunflower seeds, etc.. It’s delish!

As always, prayers are welcome!

Birdies For Babies

We have sweltered in the heat long enough. These 100 degree temps have got to go. And I mean now. To catch you up, I am on CD12. I will pull out the LH test packs and start monitoring this week. I wonder if those tiny little test strips work. Trillions are made so they better be accurate! I will wait patiently for the double line and hope we time everything right. Pray!

I mentioned Birdies for Babies last time I posted. Started by Melissa and Todd Trader of Naperville, this event raises money for couples who are struggling financially to pay for IVF. They have a daunting story of infertility. The couple married in 2000 and struggled to get pregnant. Their daughter Jordan was conceived after several attempts with IVF. Todd and Melissa spent close to $150,000 in out-of-pocket expenses to achieve their dream of having a child. Their son Breckin was conceived a few years later with out the help of IVF. (There is always hope!)

They understand the struggle. Both in the golf industry, Melissa and Todd decided to host a golf event (enter Birdies for Babies) to raise money for couples, much like themselves, who have tried unsuccessfully to start a family. Each year, the Trader’s review grant essays from couples who wish to start a family but need financial help. If selected, the couple has the opportunity to receive up to $20,000 to pay for IVF. What I like about the process is that Melissa and Todd ask that the chosen couple become involved in planning the event. Couples can help get sponsors, donations, raffle prizes, and secure participation. The joint effort brings everyone together for a common cause.

I first ran across Birdies for Babies early this year. I was interested in applying but hesitated because Eric and I had not yet done our first IUI. I felt there might be other couples who had tried much harder than us and they deserved the chance.

I let the application deadline come and go but I kept abreast of what Birdies for Babies was doing. Interested in volunteering for the 2012 event, I reached out to Todd. Much to my delight he e-mailed back and said he’d be glad to have extra help. I won’t be able to participate in the committee meetings but I will help the day of the event. I can also promote the cause prior to the event through my blog, Facebook and other avenues. Mom is also on board to help at the event. She has been quietly rooting for Eric and I to get pregnant and I’m glad she’ll be doing this with me!

Last  year’s recipients have twins on the way! Katie and Patrick Davis are expecting the birth of their girls any time now. I hope to meet them at the outing on September 29th. Katie’s blog Our IVF Journey (http://katieandpatsivfjourney.blogspot.com/) is thrilling to read because it gives the rest of us hope. Take a look if you get a chance.

To learn more about Birdies for Babies visit their Facebook page – http://tinyurl.com/cfry4bo. Come out and join us or send in a donation if you can afford to help. Every little bit counts!

Making Decisions About Infertility

It has been a busy weekend! First, a couple of housekeeping updates.

1. My cycle day is 3 – just started on Monday. Felt a bit of nausea on Sunday morning after breakfast and I rushed upstairs to take a pregnancy test. What a waste of perfectly good test. 😦 A total bummer but not unexpected. I am trying to be the person that just “doesn’t think about it,” but it’s really hard to do that.

2. On Tuesday I had a consultation with Dr. Horowitz; a fertility specialist with Shers Institute of Reproductive Medicine. His office is in Peoria which is why we did this over the phone. More on this later.

3. I did some grocery shopping on Saturday and spent around $200. I basically let the cupboards go bare so I could stock them back up with healthier foods. Not that we are unhealthy eaters (aside from the occasional dinner out and the few and far between McDonald’s run.) I trashed the white flour, sugar and boxes of panko bread crumbs that I know I’ll never use. I tried pawning an unopened box of Bisquick onto a family member but they had none of it.

4. My dog Louie has been sick the last two days. At first I thought he had too much action over the weekend. Our six-year-old nephew, Zack slept over and you can imagine how crazy that got. At least as crazy as it can get for people who don’t actually have children. Whoohoo! Anyway, I took Louie to the vet this morning for a once over and learned he has a small viral infection which probably caused the shits and vomit that ended up on my bedroom floor. $142 later I have an antibiotic and a small bag of “low residue” dog food to give Louie until I get the thumbs up to resume his regiment. Poor little guy is pooped! (Pardon the pun.)

And now for the information gleaned from yesterday’s consultation. . .

Pregnancy is a complicated thing. Sure, you have the folks who merely bump into each other in passing who become pregnant. Those people are not normal. Not normal! From what I’ve been told, a healthy woman in her 20’s only has a 20% chance each month of conceiving naturally. The rate drops dramatically as we age. At 37 I have a 2% chance each month. (Insert a generous amount of swear words here.)

Before our experience with the IUI procedures I really didn’t know a whole lot about the complexities of getting pregnant and maintaining a pregnancy.  Man meets woman, sperm meets egg, whola! Yea. Not so much.

Dr. Horowitz from Peoria told me that I basically have four options.

1. Do Nothing and keep hoping we get pregnant – Been there, done that. It hasn’t worked.

2. Clomid – We’ve also tried this several times. Again, hasn’t worked.

3. Gonadotropins with timed intercourse – these magical little injections rev up the right hormones to produce a generous amount of mature eggs in the hopes we can get pregnant.

4. IVF

Having these conversations is really difficult because of the costs involved. If the medications and procedures were more modestly priced I can say we would go full steam ahead. Instead, we’re looking at $2,500 to $3,000 for a timed cycle with “stronger” meds and at least $11,000 if we did IVF. Keep in mind, the $11,000 does not include medications or anesthesia, etc. It’s a small fortune that we don’t have lying around.

Over the last few days Eric and I have talked about trying the Gonadotropin cycle with timed intercourse. Gonadotropins are protein hormones that play a critical role in reproduction. Wikipedia describes Menotropins as “consisting of gonadotropins that are extracted from the urine of postmenopausal women,[1] usually luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).[2][3]

I am not quite clear on the difference between Gonadotropins and Clomid but I think Clomid is more limited in that it is a medication that specifically blocks estrogen in order to stimulate the ovaries to produce mature follicles. Menotropins on the other hand, affect the production of luteinizing hormones, follicle stimulating hormones and human chorionic gonadotropin (or hCG). hCG is extremely important in supporting the temporary structure that produces progesterone – a hormone required during pregnancy which lines the uterus and prepares it for the length of the pregnancy.

The terminology and how everything works is enough to make my head spin! The further we delve into this experience the more amazed I am at how everything works. But the question still comes down to cost. Do we throw $2,500 at the problem and hope that it works or do we go right for the IVF and hope that it works? Either way it’s a crap shoot.

In a previous post I had talked about a new technique called Micro or Mini IVF. I thought that we might be a candidate but it turns out that I am too old. Yikes! Basically it’s the same as traditional IVF but without the strong medications. This is used in cases where a woman has the potential to be overstimulated. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome can cause a lot of problems including the production of too many follicles. If you want to know more about OHSS you can read it here. Considering that I produced 6 mature follicles on Clomid and hCG alone there is a risk for me in taking stronger meds.

I feel like I am jumping on the roller coaster again with all of this new information. I don’t want to give up hope of having a baby but sometimes it hurts to hope so much. It takes a lot of energy. I know other people are in a similar boat and I don’t mean to complain. It’s just how I’m feeling at the moment.

In the next post I’ll be talking about a local event called Birdies For Babies that was founded by a couple who had trouble conceiving several years ago. This golf outing event now raises up to $20,000 for a chosen couple to use towards IVF costs. It’s a very cool thing! I’ve signed up to volunteer in whatever way I can. I think it will be neat to see all of the families that have been helped by this event. Stay tuned!

Barb’s Story – Part 2

I can so relate to Barb’s post! The roller coaster that people go through when dealing with infertility is palpable. Barb’s writing paints a painful yet poignant picture of what it is like when the thing you want so badly is just out of reach. I especially appreciated the section where she talks about her desire to be a part of the “Mommy Club”. Thank you Barb for sharing your story! Again, if you are interested in learning more about Barb click here. Barb is also a gifted designer – please visit her on her Home Chameleon’s facebook page.

 After being on Clomid for three months, and having a period every single month, I became somewhat depressed wondering if my efforts would result in my ever getting pregnant. I finally made an appointment with my doctor to talk about the failure of the Clomid to help with my fertility issues and to ask what the next step was.

I got an appointment a couple of weeks later. I checked in at the front desk, confirmed my insurance information and took a seat among several women in the waiting room, four of whom were pregnant. One woman continually stroked her belly and there was a moment when I caught her smiling, as if she’d just felt her baby move. Another woman had propped her swollen feet up on the chair opposite her to relieve the pressure, I presumed. When she caught me looking at her, she said, “I’m only five months along and my feet look like this at the end of every day. Wonder what I’ll do in the next four months!”

She then leaned her head back against the wall, closed her eyes, and seemingly fell asleep. 

I tried not to look at the other two women while I sat in my chair waiting to be seen. I held my purse on my lap to actually hide my stomach so no one could tell if I was or wasn’t pregnant. I longed to join that exclusive “Mommy Club,” the one where women rubbed their tummies, had outrageous cravings, and picked out baby names. I wanted to decorate a baby’s room—not specifically in blue or pink, but in a color and a style that the baby could grow into. I knew he or she wouldn’t be an infant for long. I wanted to kvetch with my mom about how she felt when she was pregnant with my five siblings and me. But so far, my invitation to the club had not arrived.

When I finally saw my physician, she could see that I was a little down about not becoming pregnant on the Clomid. “It doesn’t always work but we’re still early in the process so let’s not give up hope just yet.” I was skeptical but wanted her hope to be contagious. 

My doctor suggested another test, a Laparoscopy, in which a small incision is made near the navel and gas—carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide—is put through a needle to inflate the belly so the doctor can look for evidence of cysts, fibroids or endometriosis which contribute to infertility. Since it was an outpatient procedure and didn’t require general anesthetic, I took a day off from school and scheduled the appointment, telling my husband I just needed a follow-up with my doctor. 

I got the results from the procedure a few days later, although at the time, the doctor said she didn’t see anything that would compromise my fertility. When I received the results, I realized it was time to speak with my husband. Fortunately, the kids were spending the weekend with their biological mother, so we had time by ourselves.

I explained to him my need to at least find out if I could become pregnant, telling him that living with his children, caring for them every day, and loving them as my own only made want a child of my own. I was concerned that he would get angry because I was on this journey without his knowledge. He did get a bit disgruntled and asked what I thought would happen if I did get pregnant. I told him that besides being over the moon with happiness at having a child, his child, I figured he’d deal with it. That
actually seemed to appeal to his ego and he agreed to participate in the next step of the process—checking his sperm. He did make the argument that he’d already fathered three children and knew he could produce but I told him what my doctor had told me—over time, a man’s testosterone levels decrease and there could be a change in sperm motility. 

I don’t want you to think that having that conversation with my spouse was easy because it wasn’t. Having a child is a serious decision and not to include one’s husband may be a serious breach of marital responsibility; however, at this particular time, things were finally settling down in our home. The trials that my stepchildren had been through, and the concurrent counseling that we all participated in, helped to bring a certain semblance of order and normalcy to our home. In addition, the kids’ relationship with their biological mother had reached a regularity in that she finally took visitation on a bi-weekly basis, rather than sporadically. That helped settle things down as well, for all of us. The “conversation” wasn’t resolved in one sitting. We had the weekend, without interruption, to discuss all the possibilities. At times we got loud and angry but by the time the kids returned home, we’d made the decision to proceed.

The next step was sperm collection for the lab, a subject I’ll address in segment three. . .

Barb’s Story – Part 1

I am so fortunate to have a number of fantastic women friends. Barb and I first became acquaintances when we attended National Louis University together. We were aspiring writers passionate about the written word (We still are by the way.) In 2006 we became friends when a small group, including Barb and I, banded together to create the University’s first literary anthology titled Mosaic.

Over the years, we’ve learned more about each other. Little did I know that Barb had her own infertility story to tell. I only began to realize it when I revealed my own inability to conceive. I asked Barb to share her story with us. Included here is the first part of her journey. Thanks Barb!

I was 33 before I really thought about becoming a mother. I’d been married for a year and had been helping care for my three stepchildren. I suppose that, more than anything else, prompted the thought of having my own children. 

I’d had a number of gynecological issues in the past, starting with a pregnancy “scare” when I was 19, that was in reality, an ovarian cyst. The doctor put me on birth control pills that eventually shrunk the cyst. When I was 29, I had what at first defied diagnosis, then was considered a probable appendicitis. However, after exploratory surgery, it turned out I had a ruptured ovarian cyst.

My husband already had three kids from his first marriage–ages thirteen, eight, and six. By the time we had “the conversation” he’d already decided he didn’t want any more children. I was hurt and angry, feeling he had misled me since he didn’t verbalize not wanting kids, but then again, neither had I verbalized wanting to have kids. We decided not to decide for the time being.

Three years later, unfortunate circumstances led to all three of his kids moving in with us for a period of five years. I was finishing my bachelor’s degree, working part-time, and taking care of the kids and the house. My husband was teaching full-time and working a part-time night school teaching job to earn extra money so, in actuality, I was a full-time mom to my three stepchildren. Having my own kids didn’t even figure into the equation.

After a couple of years, when circumstances for the children changed, I’d begun teaching full-time and each child was older and enrolled in a number of extracurricular activities. Their time away from home gave me time to reflect again on having my own child. By this time I was 39 and wanted to find out if I was even able to conceive a child. I hadn’t been on birth control for four years since my OB/GYN had told me it was inadvisable after age 35 and in all that time I hadn’t even come close to getting pregnant.

I made an appointment with my doctor and the first thing she did was order a Follicle-Stimulating Hormone test (FSH) to check my ovarian reserve. I’d had increasingly heavy periods and she thought I might be perimenopausal. The word “menopause” threw me into a tizzy as I jumped from it to infertility, a word most women wanting to have a child, never want to hear. The findings on the FSH did confirm that I was perimenopausal but there was still hope, my doctor said.

She also did a physical exam and determined I had a tilted uterus, also known as a retroflexed uterus. Some of the symptoms of a tipped uterus are pain with sex, incontinence, and dysmenorrhea or pain during menstruation. I didn’t have the first two symptoms but I did have dysmenorrhea. Sometimes my periods sent me to bed and the older I got the worse those symptoms got. For the tipped uterus, the doctor suggested knee-chest exercises as a temporary solution.

As a result of the handicapping periods, I eventually I had two D & Cs—dilation and curettage, which is a surgical procedure that scrapes the uterine lining. It can also help diagnose conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis, and uterine cancer.

Since my purpose was finding out if I could get pregnant, I questioned the doctor about the chances of that happening considering my tilted uterus and perimenopausal status. She was optimistic, nevertheless. The doctor said I was in good health and had neither fibroids nor endometriosis. She said that there were other tests she could do but she suggested I try a fertility drug, Clomid, first before we went to extreme measures. I had to take the drug once a day for five days, around day five of the menstrual cycle. I took the drug for three months, without my husband’s knowledge. I figured that if I didn’t have a period and became pregnant, then I would just tell him he was going to be a father again. As it turned out, Clomid did not help me to get pregnant. I was disappointed and feared the worst—never having a child.

Barbara Yohnka

moved from Illinois to the Southwest and graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a Bachelor’s in Education, launching her teaching career in Las Vegas and until recently, Chicago. However, it was the desert climate that nurtured Barbara’s writing creativity, prompting her to earn her Masters in Written Communications from National-Louis when she returned to the Midwest. Barbara published and edited NLU’s anthology, Mosaic, followed by the publication of her first novel, Fulfillment. She is currently shopping its sequel, Legacy, and writing a variety of short stories while working on other projects. In addition, Barbara has opened a design business called Home Chameleons so if you’re in the market for a little redo from a resourceful designer, email Barb for more info at homechameleons@comcast.net.

Part 2 will be posted soon.