Friday, July 26, 2013

Random Thoughts

1. I am sad. There, I said it. No amount of cooking and decorating posts are going to make up for the fact that I am sad.

2. I've been furiously researching adoption since our miscarriage and I gotta say it made me angry. I couldn't believe the amount of money we would have to come up with if we went that route. I felt so bad for all those wonderful children who need loving homes but wouldn't get one because someone like me couldn't come up with $15,000-$40,000...

3. I need help. I was walking around the city yesterday because I find that being out of the house usually makes me feel better but as I was walking I kept thinking, "three years, three lost babies. What am I supposed to be learning from this?" It was kind of scary because it kept repeating in my head over and over again like a mantra.

4. I haven't slept well, or at all, this week. El Hubster was away for his school orientation and I've been going to sleep alone and getting up alone. I finally caved in and took a dose of Nyquil last night and finally slept through the night only to be interrupted by a phone call from the RE's office letting me know that they needed to push my consultation appt. back. I guess figuring out why my baby died isn't particularly high on the agenda.

5. EH has been telling me that I need to see someone. I KNOW I need to see someone. I'm a social worker, for goodness sake! So I started researching support groups we could go to and sent emails asking if said groups were still open and got absolutely no response. Still looking. I want to see a therapist but I don't want to spend the money, and also, I've already been to four therapists starting in college. If only I could counsel myself! Ha!

6. I realize that I've never really grieved the other losses and now it's all coming down on me like a ton of bricks. I looked up a bunch of books on miscarriage on amazon in an attempt to better understand what I'm feeling and I'm working my way through the list.  Starting with Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility. I'm realizing that this whole process is a trauma that I have to deal with as I go along.

7. I'm feeling real reckless with my thoughts. I feel like stopping strangers on the street and telling them my babies died. I feel like calling all our immediate and extended family members and telling them my babies died. I feel like putting up a Facebook status that reads: I've Lost Three Babies and I'm In Mourning, Don't Bother Me! I know it probably won't help me feel better but I just want people to acknowledge it. It's so hard keeping this secret. Maybe I'll get to that place one day soon where I can be honest.

8. It feels like my good friend ,whose baby is due in a few months, is avoiding me. That made me sad. I keep reaching out though because I feel like I have to prove I'm not envious and/or bitter.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Do You Know What Today Is?....It's Our Anni-ver-sa-ry

I was 16 years old and crying over some stupid neighborhood boy when Jessie commanded my attention and told me, "One day you will meet the one that is meant for you; and when you do it will be as if God himself stretched out His hand and he came walking out of it."

It was one of the few pieces of motherly advice I'd gotten and she wasn't even my mother but I was grateful for her words and her comfort. I thought about what she said all night that night and many odd nights after that in my 20s. I badly wanted that to be the case but I knew not much about this God she spoke of. I hadn't even met Him yet! How was He supposed to lead me to my husband?

I went to college, fell in and out of puppy love with the wrong guys, stopped perming my hair, got a nose ring and existed. Today, I am celebrating three years of marriage with the one that was meant for me. We've had magnificent ups and terrible downs. And I can say with absolute certainty that it was as if God stretched out His hand and El Hubster came walking out of it.

El Hubster made reservations for us at a fancy schmancy restaurant, called Triomphe, in one of the ritzier hotels in New York. When he told me, the conversation went a little like this.

EH: So, I made a reservation for Saturday at a restaurant for our Anniversary...
Me: Oh, wow! that's great, honey! What kind of place is this?
EH: Nice try. You know I'm not gonna tell you.
Me: Do I have to pluck my face and comb my hair!!??
EH: Yeah, you definitely wanna do that...

Yep, that's how I knew it was really a fancy schmancy place! It was so fancy that I felt weird taking pictures but luckily I found some pics online. It's the place with the orange awning.
We started with these amazing scallops that were buttery and wonderful...I was determined to be classy so I didn't pick up the plate and lick up all the sauce when I was done..even though I really wanted to.

And then we had some delicious lamb chops...
And topped it all off with a good glass of wine and some dessert. It was an awesome night and one that we cherish every year because we don't get to live quite so large in our regular lives.

I gotta say, it was nice to go do something semi-normal to celebrate us.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ocean Water Is a Balm

Last weekend, my good friend and I went to the beach!

I've always loved the beach. I was born and lived in Jamaica, West Indies until I was about 4 years old. I treasure the happy memories I have of swimming and frolicking in the sand at that age.

We trekked it on the A train to Rockaway Beach in Queens, NY. I'd never been there so it was an adventure. 

What a great experience it was. I got to give my friend some much needed support and a listening ear and I was blessed in the process. Can't get any better than that. I've been struggling with feeling free lately. It feels like there are so many constraints on my life right now...mental and emotional and mostly self-imposed. 

Submersing myself in that water felt freeing and like a new baptism to me. I dove under the waves over and over again and the silence alone was healing.

So, I implore you, if you have any free time at all. Get somewhere where there is sand, water and salt air. 

You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What's Cooking: Red Lentil Soup

When I lived in Brooklyn, I used to go to an awesome Middle Eastern restaurant in Fort Greene called Black Iris. They had the best lentil soup I ever tasted and every single time I went, that's what I ate.

Every. Single. Time. It was that good!

This past shopping trip I decided to get myself some red lentils to try to see if I could make one of my favorite soups. This is great paired with warmed pita bread. We ended up using tortillas because that's what we had in the fridge. You should definitely get the pita bread!

Here are the ingredients:

Leftover sweet potato strips!
A handful of cut fresh carrots and celery that were frozen
Onions and garlic
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes
2 Low sodium chicken bouillon packets
Salt (not pictured because I forgot to put it in the picture)
1 Lime
Lucky for me there was a recipe right on the red lentil bag so I didn't have to think too much about it. I just tweaked it a little and made it into soup instead of served over rice.

Before you even start cooking, measure out 1 cup of red lentils and soak it in just enough water to cover the lentils. Soak for 1 hour and pick through to get rid of any broken pieces or debris. I didn't find any.

Drain the lentils. Don't they look healthy!?

I cut up my garlic and onion and added them to my soup pot along with about a tablespoon of olive oil, cumin and ginger.
I diced up a few of my sweet potato strips. Didn't end up using the whole thing so back into the freezer it went!
Next I added my sweet potatoes, lentils, celery, carrots and chicken bouillon to the pot with about five cups of water. You can get fancy by replacing one cup of water with about a half a cup of coconut milk. All the black bits are burned onion pieces...not to worry..they disappear. Cook covered for 20-30 minutes over low heat.

To make the soup fancy and creamy...remove about 2 cups of the soup and transfer it to a blender and blend smooth. Add the soup back to the pot.

Note: Wait until the soup cools before blending! I did this while the soup was still hot and the top flew off and splashed soup EVERYWHERE and burned the crap out of my hands and chest. Or better yet, get yourself an immersion blender so you can blend the soup in the pot. I dunno...maybe I just have a really powerful blender...

And then you get really awesome, professional looking soup!

Ladle into bowls, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon or lime into your bowls and Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

HCG, TTC and a Pity Party

El Hubster and I finally went to get my HCG levels checked last week. We'd been putting it off because it's just another reminder of losing Little P. We got our butts up early last Saturday and drove to one of WestMed's gazillion locations in Ridge Hill, Yonkers.

The office was in one of the ritziest walking malls we've ever seen. There was music being piped in from Bose speakers hidden in the plants. There was a Whole Foods and Target and Marshalls and everything my little consumerist heart would have loved six months ago. Then we came upon L.L.Bean and proceeded to geek out.
El Hubster and I fancy ourselves to be great adventurers and we've always talked about going to L.L. Bean but we never got around to it. We spent at least an hour in the store after my blood draw oohing and ahhing and picturing ourselves hiking great trails. I was having a great time until the cute cargo shorts and flower print blouses began to remind me of what I might wear if I were a mom. I pictured all the camping trips El Hubster and I wanted to take with our children and we had to scram.

 I just couldn't deal. That happens sometimes. I'll be hopping along living my life, putting one foot in front of the other and then I'll be waylaid by cargo shorts and flower print blouses.

We found out this week that my HCG levels are at 7, which is practically negligible, so Aunt Flo should be coming along any day now. I was at a restaurant having lunch when I got the call and ordered a pina colada to celebrate. I don't know if the bartender put an abnormal amount of rum in it or if my tolerance is just crap because I haven't been drinking for months now...but I was just wasted, slurring, eyes blurry...the whole deal. I was outside of myself and I liked it. This is pretty dangerous territory for me given my family history so I'll be abstaining while we're on this TTC hiatus. Oh, and I also ate a full portion of black beans, yellow rice and ropa vieja with a side of sweet plantains. Seriously, this portion could have fed two people but I was determined to inhale it and I did. I'm savvy enough to know I was just feeding my emotions. I had been trying to not think about the loss and getting this phone call brought all the pain, anger and sadness back.

I texted a good friend of mine, who happens to be pregnant, to give her the news that we would be able to TTC again soon and she replied with, "Are you sure you're ready for that?"  I can't put into words how angry that made me. Am I sure?? I've only been trying to start a family for three years. Yes, I'm gonna take six months off to get right in the head and then we're gonna try again. 

I responded honestly: If I stop, I'm going to stop indefinitely.

No woman in their right mind willingly sets themselves up for this kind of pain.

You have to be a strong woman to endure the pills, the invasive doctor's visits, having someone tell you when to have sex with your husband, dealing with baby shower invites, being a support to pregnant friends and family members as you lose three children, smiling when you feel like dying and most of all....keeping it all secret from those you love because they either dismiss that you have a problem (Oh, it'll happen. You just need to relax..why are you on Clomid? You don't need that.) or don't know how to deal with it..(I heard so and so had the same problem. Why don't you go talk to them about it?). Sensitivity is a lost art form folks. I shudder to think of the things I may have said that were insensitive before we started going through this trial.

I had myself a pity party this morning. Listened to all my sad songs on you tube and had a good cry. I do that from time to time because I am a bottler. Sometimes you have to feel the pain to be able to keep moving forward. El Hubster and I try to find joy when and where we can, whether it's a late night trip to McDonalds to get an iced strawberry-lemonade drink or a Game of Thrones marathon or speaking positively about the future.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Apartment Search Begins...and Ends!

El Hubster and I only officially started the apartment search a week ago only to have the process stopped altogether when we realized there was no way we were gonna be able to come up with the money we needed without digging ourselves deeper into the debt hole.

El Hubster actually dropped this bomb on me when we were in the realty office! He turned to me and was all like, "We should probably rethink this whole thing." Needless to say, I was not pleased. I recall having a conversation with him several  months ago where I repeatedly asked him if we had the funds to make the move and he assured me that all was well and we would be able to do it.

Why do men do that? It must be pride.There's no other explanation. Don't they know that we can handle hearing the truth?

My annoyance at El Hubster eventually cooled down and I was able to see the bigger picture. So now we're resigning our lease for one more year and we might even be able to get a two bedroom when we're ready to get out of here. More than anything I was looking forward to the escapism that distraction provides. I'm physically and mentally unable to sit still most of the time and I was looking to fill myself up with doing. I realized that I was planning this move based on the life we imagined for ourselves with a baby but staying in place one more year may not make much of a difference. Only God knows the outcome.

In an effort to soften the blow, I'm looking at inexpensive ways to spruce up our current place. So far I've changed the knobs on our entertainment center. It came with the basic metal pulls and I changed them to a white knob a la:

We also hung some plants in the window a la:
Right now our living room window faces onto the other side of the building, aka a brick wall, so I hung two pothos plants that will trail down over time and add some greenery.
This is a cute living room set up that I like. Our walls  and sofa are the same colors as this pic. Unfortunately, we don't have nearly the amount of light that's depicted here. My depression can get a little crazy when things are dark so light is very important to me. We replaced a regular bulb with a daylight bulb and my mood has already improved.
We never painted our bedroom so I'm looking forward to tackling that soon. I'm really digging this shade of blue (Quiet Moments by Benjamin Moore). It seems peaceful and calming...two things that we definitely need.

Despite all this chaos, I wouldn't trade apartment living for the world. Maybe it's because it's what I'm most used to but I find it freeing to sign a lease for a year and then pack up and have a new experience. El Hubster and I always thought we wanted a house but we're reconsidering that goal. My new love of simplicity is making me reconsider a lot of things that I thought I needed. We need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of owning a piece of the American dream.

Owning a home will require us to move out of state so it's not even on the radar right now. When we do buy, we hope to stay under $100,000 with a small footprint. The idea of cleaning a three bedroom house with dining room and family room scares me! To each its own, I guess. These days my dream home is looking more and more like this...

Friday, July 12, 2013


This is one of those random posts so bear with me...

I ran 8 minutes without stopping today...twice!

::HBCU marching band plays:: ::throws confetti::

I spent a semester at Spelman College while I was in college at NYU and it was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I learned more in that one semester surrounded by Black women with goals and focus than I ever did at NYU.  Also, you have not lived until you've been to homecoming at an HBCU. period.

I'm back running again since the miscarriage. It gets me out of my head and into my heart like nothing else does. I'm using the Couch to 5k app by It's pretty cool. It gives you your choice of 4 trainers who cheer you on and give you time cues throughout the workout. I chose the drill sergeant and I'm loving him so far. I also listen to any one of my Pandora stations while I run so 80s music and love songs abound and it's truly me time.

Anywho, this is a big deal for me. When I was younger I always had a singular envy for runners. They seemed so carefree yet in control at the same time. They had mastered their bodies somehow and I wanted to be like them. I also wanted to wear cute running clothes and compete in races. I am determined to complete a 5K sometime soon and I'm dedicating it to my babies and all the other women in this struggle with me.

So, during my cool down this wonderful song came on and I don't know what it is about getting closer to God but suddenly every love song you hear has to do with Him. I've got a thing for changing my perspective when I listen to secular songs and seeing if it can be applied to my relationship with Him. It's my little way of following  1Thessolanians' 5:17-18 command to 

"Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Not Easily Broken?

I met with a friend of mine from our old church yesterday and the meeting was not what I expected. This friend helped me get ready on my wedding day and she and I and our husbands used to spend a lot of time together. I mean A LOT. We all even went on vacation to Cancun together a few years ago. Not to mention countless dinners and game nights and church functions.

Since we left the church she's been a lot more distant and not as supportive as I would have liked her to be while my husband and I are going through our fertility issues. To be fair, though, I haven't been very talkative about our issues after I sensed that it was too much for her. Which, let's be honest, for someone who isn't dealing with infertility hearing about it can be traumatizing and a bit much. No one ever really knows what to say. I think folks fear that infertility is something you can catch so over the past three years I've been very vague about our struggle. Part of the reason I started this blog was to have a place to say all the things I couldn't say to others.

So when she texted two weeks ago and wanted to talk, I took my own health into consideration and told her we would need to reschedule. El Hubster and I were dealing with the fresh loss of Little P and I really didn't trust myself to be around other human beings. Finally, our schedules synced up and we were able to meet.

I sat at the cafe table, happy to be out and about since the miscarriage, perusing the menu. I noticed right away that she was thinner, in fact, she was a little gaunt. We exchanged pleasantries and then she dropped a bomb on me..she revealed that she had discovered her husband was having an affair for over a year and a half and that they were now separated.

My mind spun. An affair?? What!? How the hell did that happen?!

Now, to understand my shock you have to know a little about her husband. They're an interracial couple, she White, he Black. It's never been an issue for us but it has caused some strife for them with their families on his side. They're both creative types so we know when we got involved with them there would be some dramatics. But her husband was also one of the pastors and worship leader of our old church,a prolific musician, an educated man with a great job, someone my husband and I considered a friend, who we took into our home and our confidence and someone we trusted. To hear that he had been living a whole 'nother life floored us. I had to remind myself that before he became all these things he was a human being, liable to fall short of grace just like you and me.

Now, my friend is living alone in an apartment she can't afford and her marriage is in shambles. She admitted that there were signs. His defensiveness whenever she would ask to see or borrow his phone, his long absences from events and laser like focus on his career, which took him away from home often and for long hours. Our friend is very into music. He even put out a gospel album not too long ago and had a concert. El Hubster had wondered aloud to me several times that he couldn't understand why our friend was so ambitious. That statement sounds strange but El Hubster has always maintained that any kind of crazy ambition should end once you get married. His favorite phrase is: "You ain't 'gon be no star. That ship has sailed. All I want is degrees and a baby."

I sat with her for a few hours and just listened because it was clear that she needed to get it all out. At that point I went into crisis mode and all my previous upset at her went out the window. El Hubster and I knew they were having issues but they had been going to therapy for years to fix them and we assumed that eventually they would get on the same page and work it out...because that's what you do when you're a work it out. Throwing in the towel is not an option. But what if your husband blatantly disregards your marriage vows? The ones you said before God and friends and family? What then?

This was a cautionary tale for me. El Hubster and I had a good long talk last night about what happened between them and he assured me that that would never happen with us. The messed up thing is that I'm sure she thought that as well. I know that what happened to her may not ever happen to me but what if it does? El Hubster and I have our issues but I take comfort in the fact that we've always been able to talk about them no matter how hard the conversations were to have.

The whole situation placed doubts and fears in my mind that hadn't been there before. Was I certain that I knew what El Hubster was doing when I wasn't with him? What would happen to me if we split? After all, I've been sitting here at home for a year waiting for a miracle to happen. I have forsaken my career for the cause. I have no money of my own. No way of getting a new place if I suddenly needed one.

I'm really trying to rely on the vows we said to each other and our shared history to get us through. I know that whenever I feel the need to use his phone, or scroll through it,  he allows it. I know that I can usually text him during the day when he's away and get a quick response. Whenever we feel an attraction to someone else, we express it to each other (although usually that person is a celebrity and not a real life person). El Hubster has gotten an insurance policy to make sure I'm taken care of should anything happen to him.

And what of the struggles we've already overcome? Research shows that couples who deal with infertility have high divorce rates. I admit that I've worried myself over how we would survive if we couldn't have the family we wanted but we've already been through three losses in three years and are still going strong and hopefully getting stronger by the day by faith.

El Hubster and I don't have the perfect marriage; Even though our fertility issues have pushed it to the background, our sex life still needs work. Our finances are nowhere near where we need them to be to be comfortable. There are things about him that annoy the crap out of me and vice versa but we're committed to working through any and every issue that merits it.

I think that's the key. You have to be willing to take the bull that threatens your marriage by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. Tell each other the truth. Make your time together more important than the time you spend with anyone else. Make time. period. Make time to listen to him complain about his work for the 300th time. Deal with his abnormal obsession for the Grateful Dead and he'll deal with the hours you spend on Pinterest. Pull out that old dusty wedding album from time to time and look through it together. Reminisce about how your wedding wasn't how you imagined it would be but the honeymoon was da bomb. Talk about the goals you have as individuals and the goals you have as a family.

Speak positivity into your marriage and pray for it to endure the powers and principalities of this world.

I don't know what will happen with my friend's marriage. Maybe they'll work it out, maybe not. She is a woman of faith with family and friends who love and care about her. I pray for her strength and I pray compassion for him as he deals with whatever mental demons drove him to forsake his vows. I have to believe that she will weather this storm, this horrible season, and trust that the Lord will bring her a rainbow.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Operation Simplification: Closet

Today, I'm tackling my closet. It's a very small closet and it really has no right to hold so many clothes.
See how awful the floor of this closet looks? My closet is like my junk drawer. Things I don't know what to do with go there...You see that white bag on the top? That's my $600 wedding dress smushed in a corner!

I need to get rid of the dress still has pit, sweat and food stains from the wedding. I think I may just have to throw it out because I'm never gonna wear it again. Whenever El Hubster looks at our wedding pictures he's always like, "That's you're doppelganger because it sure as hell wasn't you!"  That's what I get for trying to look glamorous on my wedding day..... I'll save my veil though because I loved it!
You can see that the closet doesn't extend very far. I discovered that I am the queen of cardigans. I LOVE CARDIGANS. I couldn't bring myself to get rid of them because they are so versatile.
Here's some of what I ended up getting rid of. I don't know why I have so many black and white clothes....El Hubster calls them moo in Cow....I wore that sparkly top once to a New Year's Eve party 2 or 3 years ago and haven't worn it since. I will never buy a sparkly top again. I'm embarassed that I even bought it. That moo looking thing is what I wore to a fancy date when El Hubster and I first started 2006! Haven't worn it since....Mooooooooooooooo.
Here are my shoes. I own very little shoes in the first place but there were still a few casualties...
Every one of these shoes was super uncomfortable to wear but I couldn't let them go...until now.

I wish I could say my closet looked a whole lot different since the clean out but the closet was so small to begin with that the only progress is that the hangers slide a little easier on the rod..Ha!  

Also I cleaned up most of the junky floor. The pink bag holds my winter clothes, the white bag is knitting yarn, the blue bag are leftover wedding supplies from the last and only wedding I coordinated, the iron is...the iron.
Trust me....this is a HUGE improvement!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Country Music and Disaster Movies

You know in the Bible when people tore their clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes?? I always thought that was a little extreme. I mean....ashes!? I couldn't wrap my head around the kind of pain/shame that required you to rend your clothing and cover yourself in ashes. But now I can. I am having a sackcloth and ashes moment and it is someTHING.

You know that phrase in 2 Timothy: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. When I read my Bible through the first time, I was surprised by how true that was. I mean literally every situation a human can go through is in there...even infertility. Knowing that even women in the days of the Bible dealt with this scourge...and at much higher a great comfort to me. It helps to know I'm not alone. I'm in a long line of strong women of faith and the Lord has accounted for everything in his Word.

These past few days have been a blur of numbness and activity. I feel like a wind up toy. I get wound up in the morning and I go and go until midnight and then I refuse to go to bed. I'm like a small child throwing a tantrum. The clock hits midnight and I refuse to go to bed until I'm falling over with exhaustion. I don't want to lie there alone with my thoughts for any amount of time, staring up at our popcorn bedroom ceiling, wondering why this happened to us....again.

I've been cleaning and purging my house of things in preparation for our move at the end of August. I'm grateful for the apartment search. It gives my mind something else to be occupied with. Thank the Lord for small mercies.

Yesterday, we went to our follow up ultrasound at Ob/Gyn Inc. The doctor that saw us was very sympathetic and put us at ease. We learned that indeed Little P was no more so we wouldn't be needing a D & C. I never had one with either of my losses and, even though I wanted to see if we could do chromosomal testing on the baby, I'm secretly glad I don't have to. We also learned that my fibroids were back but they were all tiny (at about 1cm each) and all outside of the uterus, which means we won't have any issues with a future pregnancy.

Now I'm just waiting for my HCG levels to go down so we can get back on the horse and try again. I'm kinda scared to try again. El Hubster says our quest to have a family seems like a war; we just need to keep sending soldiers to the front lines and hope they make it through. I agree with him but leave it to El Hubster to make our struggle analogous to war....but what can I expect...he's a guy. Whatever it takes to get him through is allowed.

I got up yesterday morning and watched a full block of country music videos on CMT. I love me some country music. There's something about the yearning in those songs that resonate with me right now.  The lyrics aren't too complicated and I can sing along. The videos are so carefree and happy...they make me wanna "shake my sugar shaker." That there is a line from a real country song. true story.

In the afternoon, a disaster movie called Poseidon came on and I was glued to it. I've got a thing for disaster flicks (El Hubster and I were watching that disaster classic 2012 during Hurricane Sandy....just for kicks). I love the idea of people triumphing over what surely must be the end for them.

Is climate change causing the end of the world with only a crack group of scientists and civilians to save it?? I'm there.

Did a rogue wave capsize a cruise ship and only a smart but varied group of people escape?? I'm so there!

I cry and cheer with them on their journey, knowing in the end they ultimately succeed. No matter what.

Despite the fact that there was a life boat conveniently outside the boat for them to jump into...who put it there? Surely no one had time to put one out while the ship was sinking...who cares?! The point is they get out.

Despite the fact that they figure out how to set the climate back on course in only two hours....who cares?! We're saved!!

Despite the fact that they avoid catastrophic danger just in time...who cares?! The point is they survive against all odds.

And I want to be one of them.