Monday Movement

This weekend was a weekend for family and luncheons. 
My mom is a member of The Links, Inc. 
Every year in Baltimore they have a luncheon that supports several scholarship efforts for high school and college students. 
My mother couldn’t come but she made sure that her whole family would be there to represent. 
Myself and Amos, My cousin Qiana (pictured below) and her husband, My Cousin Blair (also pictured below) and my Uncle Carl and his fiance as well as two of my good friends all came to support my mom’s luncheon. 
Although we are really close, we don’t get the chance to see each other often so it was so good to get to see my family. The last time I was able to see Q was at her wedding that I wrote about here. 
By the way, the newlyweds are going to Brazil in two weeks — I can’t wait to see pictures from her trip. 
We definitely didn’t plan to be in the same color but it was funny that we showed up in purple and red alike anyways. 
Here’s my handsome cousin Blair. 
He lives in NYC close to my sister with his wife and children and is thinking about moving back to my area, so I am happy about that. He is definitely more like a big brother than my older cousin. 

So we left that luncheon in Baltimore and immediately drove towards to D.C. to attend yet another luncheon. We literally went from eating to eating just to show our support. 
I am sure Amos would hate this picture but I love it – candid and random and he looks so cute dressed in his suit and sweater for this semi-formal affair. Mind you that dress code was followed very loosely. Unfortunately I kid you not – I saw a person there with a Nautica t-shirt and Adidas jogging pants.

This weekend was filled not only with family but with Church and other gatherings. 
This weekend was my church’s 13th Year Anniversary. 
Our Youth were so excited that they did a Flash Mob in the middle of Pastor’s announcements and did the New Harlem Shake with their mascot and all. 
I only wish that I had a video to show you guys but I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t get my phone out in time to tape it. 
It was too funny and my Pastor had no idea what was going on. 
But it wouldn’t be a weekend in the DMV if crabs weren’t involved. 
This particular weekend, I decided to add Louisiana Crawfish to the mix. 
Boy was it GOOD!
And in other news: 
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week
  • Infertility is the inability to conceive within one year of unprotected sex during childbearing years and six months if you are 35 years or older. 
  • Infertility affects 7.3 million people in the United States, which breaks down to 1 in 8 couples.

That means more than likely one of your married couple friends, or friends who are trying to conceive are unable to do so without the help of fertility treatment. (and may not know it). 

If you don’t already know, I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility in April of 2012. Unexplained infertility means that despite several tests, dye shoved through my uterus and fallopian tubes, my husband taking tests that proved that there was nothing wrong with him, my doctor stamped my chart as “unexplained” – he can’t figure out why at this point we are not able to conceive. Its something that we have not been able to do in 2 1/2 years.

I had no idea that I would have a hard time conceiving children until we tried to conceive children.
Then as I started talking to my friends, found out that they too hard trouble conceiving children. 
It was not as easy as we had been told all our lives. You know those constant threats of “it just takes one time!” did not prove to be true at all. I kid you not, MOST of my friends are having hard time conceiving due to common issues with women like : Endometriosis, Fibroids (in African American women), irregular cycles and God knows what the effects of the hormones in non-organic foods and other contributing factors. And quite honestly, some men are just shooting blanks and don’t know it.
  • A couple ages 29-33 with normal reproductive systems only have a 20%-25% chance of conceiving each month. 
  • After 6 months, only 60% of couples would have conceived, the other 40% would be considered infertile if they have not conceived within another 6 months following depending on age.
  • 85% to 90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy and surgical procedures. Less than 3% need more advanced surgical procedures like IVF. 

Fertility treatments are not always covered by insurance companies and can cost at minimum $1000 to $10,000-$20,000 depending on how much monitoring and subsequent medications are also not covered. So drug therapy is a considerable investment and neither is guaranteed to actually work.

And only Fifteen states have passed laws requiring that insurance policies cover some level of infertility treatment: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia.
One of my favorite bloggers on the subject, Keiko Zoll who blogs at The Infertility Voice, created this video that kind of explains the whole emotional aspect and impact that it can have on a family when you realize in your twenties that this may be your fate for life.

Also know, Infertility can just be a temporary diagnosis. After for struggling for several years with infertility, Keiko Zoll and her husband are actually expecting their first child due this summer. She is blogging about that experience here.

It depends on the circumstances that surround why you are not pregnant: timing, other diagnosis that affects infertility, etc. 

The cure is pregnancy at times and often times people are diagnosed with secondary infertility, which is not being able to conceive easily after you have already had a child. 
Just wanted to make sure that people are more aware of where we really are a nation with infertility. If more insurance companies would cover it, it would definitely cut back on a lot financial restraints and concerns of a family who just wants to expand or start a family. 
To be in situations where you have to chose between a fertility treatment and major bills because they can cost as much as a mortgage is wrong when it effects 1 in 8 couples in our country. 
My prayer has ALWAYS been, when I realized that infertility had affected our house as well, was that God would give me the strength to kick unexplained infertility’s butt! I’ll never give up because I believe all things happen in his timing. So whether it be with treatments or natural, unexplained infertility will not be our status for life: I have faith. 
Share your personal experiences this week or maybe of someone you know – 
know that you are not alone 
and Join the Movement!

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Well…

I guess its time for an update or a reality check with self again.
Grant it, all things happen in God’s timing –
with all the jetsetting and stressful jobs and new ventures, honestly having children is kind of the least of my worries during my day to day. However, I am a dreamer – like a big picture thinker at all times and then become really Type A when it comes to planning those big picture items out.
I swear when we built our home, I haggled the most out of our builder then any of my neighbors, as all of their homes look like the model and ours has things they didn’t even think about.
I’m a “think about the function first, practical” type of person blended so perfectly with the take a leap of faith and jump personality.
And so… here we are again – an update for unexplained infertility.
Now grant it, the unexplained part about it is that we don’t know God’s timing.
But Faith without works is completely dead.
So, I am switching specialists…
I did the big practice that advertised every where and had the fancy schmancy office near the nice hospital and what not. Been a patient of theirs going on a year in April and yet – here I am right where I started a year ago.
Upon referral of two friends, I am switching specialists for a second opinion and perhaps get in return more understanding and a second type of plan versus going straight for my pockets for the high priced fertility treatments.
Let’s see how this goes.
In the meantime, I am going to be working on 6 shows over this weekend doing production make up. Another reason why this is a perfect time to be doing whatever and going wherever the wind blows me sans children.
C’mon now there is always a silver lining.

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Our TTC Journey: Yes there is Hope

This is a post that I have been debating writing for a LONG while. One because its one that is more personal.. one that I can’t really find a joke at the moment to laugh it away and it makes me feel just a bit vulnerable. But, this blog has become like a journal for me and today is just one of those days that its kind of prevalent on my mind.
Searching for some hope via other blogs showed me that 1. I am not alone in wanting to be pregnant – and that is no secret, even here. After all, it’s one of my New Years Resolutions. But I mentioned it last December and kept it moving here… Now, I think perhaps if I share, it may help others like me who when they are having a bad, emotional, hormonal or down day and looking for someone to relate – they can find that Hope here.
Well, where do I even begin?
I guess I should start by saying that despite what my plans are or my husbands thoughts on it all – I TRULY believe that God is the ultimate decision maker in my life and I have no resentment about that. Oh how I do wish that his timing was mines, but I already know that He knows best and its been proven time and time again in my life already. 
So what do you do in while you wait on God? You Blog.
When we got married, we had discussed our desires to have children but never wanted to “TRY” to conceive. Simply, if it happened- it happened. Completely happy with that!
At this point, my husband was really adamant about not even thinking about children until 18 months into our marriage and we weren’t preventing so I felt like that was a safe compromise.
Life moved on and then eventually I noticed that umm.. nothing happened. 
Those 18 months easily passed and that was fine because we were getting used to being married, living together, saving to buy our house and really had WAY too much going to have a child. The focus changed to just “getting our lives together” and perhaps that would free up some mind space and eliminate stress.
Hindsight, he was perfectly right in setting that timeline because it took 18 months to the day for us to purchase and move into our newly built home.

NOW IS A SAFE TIME TO STOP READING IF YOU DO NOT WANT TOO MANY DETAILS!
So, we moved in March… Now, April I wanted to make sure that now that we have empty rooms to fill I wanted to make sure that now that we are “open” to trying that we would have no trouble in doing so. So, having recently moved, I needed a new OB/GYN that wasn’t an hour away. Being the avid researcher that I am, I thought that seeing as though its been 18 months, it may be time to seek out a specialist instead.

By this time, I was already using a BBT (a basal body thermometer) and an ovulation prediction kit pretty regularly. So I took all that information to our specialist and had full extensive testing done. We found out that at this point we fit into the “unexplained infertility” group. Which basically means, aside from God the specialist can not figure out just yet what in the past caused us to not conceive on our own. Immediately, he looked at us and said “Why wait!… if you are ready to have a baby there are two ways you can go about doing so – IUI and IVF.” (Intra-Uterine Insemination and In-Vitro Fertilization).

WHOA WHOA WHOA! Doc. Talk about scaring both my husband and I. I don’t think we were ready for all of that. But, he drew out diagrams and explained it all to us expressing that of course he would like us to do IVF (even though we are just unexplained and that nothing is wrong with either one of us) because it was more controlled…

We put baby making on hold with our specialist for a few months more.

August we were hitting the 2 year mark and we decided we could finally afford to try IUI so lets see what happens. I went into the doctors and picked up my medication. The specialist determined that he wanted to do Clomid 100mg (pills) plus Bravelle 150miu (a self injected shot) and Ovidrel (yet, ANOTHER self injected shot) to induce ovulation. My husband of course would have to produce a sample so that the IUI can be completed. I went from perfectly healthy, ovulating on-time just can’t get this timed thing right woman to now having a sharps container, mixing medications in vials at home, replacing the needles on syringes, and injecting things I have never heard of into my abdomen type of woman. Needless to say – we were both a little shell shocked by the whole ordeal. Not to mention side effects. I don’t think either one of us were prepared for the fact that it may take all of this to have a baby.

The morning of our 2 year wedding anniversary, we woke up and hubby took care of business. We prayed together and off I went to the doctors for the procedure holding our future children in a brown bag. All went well and extremely fast. I was EXTREMELY nervous! I left with only some cramping that was too be expected and headed back to work where I sat at my desk with my feet propped up on the computer tower. I was scheduled for a follow up appointment 14 days after so that I could have blood work drawn and my HCG Beta levels tested to see if we were indeed pregnant.

14 days came: and I sat at my office waiting to hear back from my nurse. She sounded quite cheerful as she let me down easy that we were not pregnant afterall and that I could now stop the progesterone and call if we want to try again.

TRY AGAIN?! I thought to myself! Who in the world after hearing news that pretty much disappoints the mess out of them that they should immediately try again! excuse me while I just feel lost and confused for a bit because I spent HARD EARNED money and we are talking over a thousand dollars to have fertility treatments done, in order to conceive a child that we both wanted and felt like we were ready for with bodies our specialist told us were perfectly capable of producing and yet… nope nada. no baby.

So, with that we moved on.

Until October.. the usual clue that tells you that you are not pregnant failed to appear and went missing for two weeks. Scheduled an appointment with my specialist for an ultrasound and bloodwork because “this can’t be normal?” not for me?! the one who for the last two years has kind of embraced the fact that its just not time and honestly have tried to truly not think about too much because I don’t want the constant disappointment to handicap and blind me from all the wonderful things that I can do in my life at this point…
So, again I wait in my office for the nurse to call …

“you can go ahead and take the provera” is all she said when she calls.
Basically, its a prescription that allows your monthly to come when its stopped unexpectedly – translation : not pregnant.

It may not be a happy ending to the story just yet, but I am willing to see it to the end. Yeah I can get down about it, but I am learning to find other things to consume my time. These days its only prevalent in my head when something reminds me of the unpleasant things that I had to just accept..
So what prompted this post? We had a baby shower at work and my coworker unknowingly says to me “we will be having one of these for you soon!”
Really?!

She had no idea how ill timed that was as I STILL sit here waiting for this provera to WORK! I am in the frustrating land of limbo!

Now, don’t get me wrong – I am resilient and genuinely happy for everyone who shares with me the good news of them being pregnant. After all, I work in youth ministry! so nothing will stop my love of babies and children. So invite me away to the Baby Showers and the like. Truly, its all good. Like I said, you just have good days and bad days. Good days are days where it doesn’t cross your mind at all and you don’t let yourself go into the land of what our life would be like with a baby, but the romanticized version and bad days are simply the opposite.

I would love to turn a blind eye to the whole subject but that’s not realistic for me nor is it healthy so instead, I don’t dwell, I spread hope and remain faithful. Even if that faith truly is the size of a mustard seed.
But I get it “Relax. It will happen” this I know.. but I am a planner by nature and even to this day get excited to see wrapped presents under a Christmas tree but dying inside to see whats in them. So imagine how I feel now! BURSTING! yet never have I once run through the house on Christmas Eve to tear at the christmas paper like an untrained puppy while the family sleeps to alleviate that desire.. so I’m good.

The one thing I do have. Hope.

Hope that God hears my prayer
Hope that He will answer soon
Hope that he will will indeed answer when the time is right
Hope that he gives me peace and patience until that day

My medical folder may have unexplained female factor infertility labeled on it, but I do know that God will turn it around in due season.

One thing that I did find in looking for TTC blogs that related to my story is Hope: because most people who pop up in the TTC Blog search have now since conceived.

Until next time.

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Life begins a Thirty Indeed!

I am not EVEN 30 yet… but clearly at this point, life (in my belly) is not going to be birthed out until then…
or later
Being a woman is SO hard at times.
One of the hardest things for a woman is making sure that you can even HAVE a baby. It requires so much bloodwork, testing and probing then one can imagine.
These are the things that they didn’t tell you:
1. Everyone does not get pregnant on the first try, its clearly something they tell you when they are trying to scare you… however, there are some lucky few that this indeed does happen to.. so basically what I am really saying is that everyone is different. Some have to wait a few months, years even to be able to get pregnant.
1. No matter how much they say it takes two to tango, you will definitely feel like it must take one.. since you are the one going to all the doctors visits and what not.
1. You apparently have to give blood at most visits these days. I have three different doctors and they are appointments to give blood – whats that about?
1. At some point its all worth it.. if this is what you really desire. So when you get frustrated with the needles, the probing and what not, always remember the end result.
1. Whats our diagnosis:? That we have mediocre health care despite the fact that I work for the Federal Government and babies cost money, so make sure you did like I did and look into if you even have some type of maternity care even if you are just considering having children (or sleeping with people unprotected.)
1. Seriously, we don’t know yet… its too early to tell– and honestly we are just in the stage of making sure I can carry and produce children. Until then… THIS (see picture above- from my iphone) is what I have to go through.
and P.S. I know I used 1. for each one.. some reason they all seemed equally important at the time.
Have a great baby making day!

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Look to the Ron Burgandy Onesie for Guidance

Anybody who knows my husband, knows that he would be ecstatic if our future son was wearing this when we leave the hospital..

This is Will Ferrell playing Ron Burgandy in Anchorman: 
All this weekend before I even found this picture, my husband kept bugging me because I say that Anchorman is not one of my favorite movies by Will Ferrell. I just don’t get the randomness of the jokes. I mean its funny but its not haha funny- the movie is more, that is so stupid that I should laugh funny..
So either who, I saw this and said, if I ever needed to put a smile on my face when this whole process can give you the blues.. Look to the Ron Burgandy Onesie for guidance.. 

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