36 while 36: A New Opportunity

I have to be honest. I’m not quite pleased with how I did with my 35 while 35 bucket list. Yes, there were some pretty nice accomplishments like exploring a new city and attending a black tie affair. However, I didn’t get half of the stuff I should have and I felt my list was slightly superficial. It just didn’t make an impact. No, I didn’t make an impact. So, I’m going to try it again. I’m hoping that I can knock some things out this year that open me to a lot of new experiences, and help me to grow as an individual. (Some of these beautiful suggestions came from a variety of bucket lists around the world including getoffthecouch.com).  Like last year's list, I'll add links and dates where applicable.  I also invite you to return to last year's list.  I'd like to see if I can complete some of those items, too.

1. Establish a strong social media presence for YGI and OF&S

2. Establish a stronger physical presence at my son’s school events for the upcoming school year

3. Do one thing every two weeks that will take me out of my comfort zone but open me to new experiences and opportunities

4. Volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association

5. Awake NLT 6:30A M-F and NLT 8:00A on Saturdays and Sundays

6. Complete 2 30-day challenges

7. Attend the 2017 Honda Battle of the Bands

8. Try a new dish

9. Have a monthly date night with my husband (Almost)

10. Attend a poetry slam

11. Achieve my ideal weight (126-130 pounds)

12. Attend a spa day

13. Watch every movie on the IMDb Top 250 Movie List

14. Do 36 random acts of kindness

15. Get a professional massage

16. Hike at Government Island

17. Write letters to 5 people who have positively influenced me

18. Host a dinner party

19. Learn to swim

20. Attend an Ugly Christmas party

21. Visit a new city

22. See a play

23. Host a Game Night

24. Attend a Sip n’ Paint or Dine n’ Paint event

25. Have dinner with FatherWinter at Potomac Winery

26. Buy something for a stranger off their wish list/registry

27. Attend a jazz festival

28. Attend a Mother Daughter weekend with just my mother and I

29. Go to an orchard and pick fruit

30. Make preserves

31. Regularly get my hair done

32. Take the kids to an amusement park or the state fair

33. Take a self-defense class

34. Have a professional family photo shoot done

35. Landscape

36. Bake my own bread

CD40 and no Aunt Flo in sight

This is downright frustrating.  My fertility apps like to remind me that there are only three reasons a cycle is late--pregnancy, late ovulation, or no ovulation.  I'm fairly certain I ovulated this month.  The high sex drive, the egg white cervical mucus, the ovulation pain.  Yep, I pretty sure that occurred.  But my cycle is still not here.  So, I'm sitting here trying to figure out what next.

I have taken no less than 8 pregnancy tests within the last eight days.  They have all been negative with the exception of one that was definitely an extremely faint positive and another that showed what could have been the beginnings of a pink line.  Today, on CD40 of a typical 32-day cycle, I received two negatives.

My mood swing kicked in this morning.  I snapped at my nine year old because he went out of the house without lotion on and his legs looked like he swam in flour.  I felt so bad as soon as I did it. His response, "Mom, it's okay.  Is it almost time for your cycle?".  I promise I am not that bad.  He just knows that I can sometimes get cranky around that time of the month.  I felt so awful about it.

I just wish it would come on now.  If I'm not pregnant, there is no need for me to be without a cycle. Let it come on and we can start again or not.

Hopefully, it will be here soon.  BFP or Aunt Flo.  In the meantime, baby dust to all who are ttc.

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my 36th birthday.  Yep, 36 years old.  I'm okay with the round number.  It feels...good.  I've learned a lot in 36 years and one thing that remains is that I can never stop learning.  I have to keep going, keep growing, keep learning.  So, I'm excited about being 36 years old and still trying to conceive.

A recent conversation with my gynocologist has me declared as advanced maternal age.  Really?  I didn't think that was the case at all.  But apparently, once I got off that 35 year old mark, I became the Old Maid of conception.  Lol.  Good to know as I walk through this season.

Today, I have taken two pregnancy tests as I am now 4 days late.  I made the mistake of grabbing a blue dye test (accidentally) and saw a faint line, but I cannot tell if it is an evap.  So, remembering the fiasco of last month where we (now with confirmation) had a chemical pregnancy, I ran back out and got pink dye...but I haven't taken it.  My nipples are still sore.  I'm still cramping.  I still have a bit of nausea.  These are still symptoms of PMS.  So, we'll see.

In the meantime, I'm having fun enjoying my birthday in peace and quiet.  I pray your day has been perfect and blessed as well.

I'll keep you updated on the tests!


Still no Aunt Flo...

So, on the 17th of July, I posted on my Instagram feed last night that my cycle had not arrived per schedule. I was cramping alerting me to her presence, but nothing was there. I didn’t test at first (I was proud of myself for that one too). I just figured Aunt Flo would arrive the next day. 

When I woke on the 18th of July, my nipples were so sore I could barely touch them (TMI). Not a big deal as they do this every single cycle. So, I just knew I would see Aunt Flo.  Well…she didn't show. So, I did take a test. I took an 88-cent cheapie from Walmart. #BFN.  

 I thought the possibility of a line could have been there and then shook my head recognizing the shadow of indent. So, there I was two days late, cramping, and still waiting for Aunt Flo, hoping that maybe she wouldn't arrive.  Fast forward to yesterday morning and I woke up with the same sore nipples, and a pinch in my lower right side.  No worries I thought.  Aunt Flo is probably here.  I went to the bathroom and nothing.

I had an all day meeting yesterday and decided, during break, that I would get a HPT since it was now approaching the completion of day 3 without Aunt Flo.  Took the first test as soon as I came back to the office and........#BFN :(  Nothing.  

I was driving home last night and the pinching cramp returned along with back pain.  I am familiar with that during times of #PMS, so I chalked it up to a late arrival for some reason.  However, I had another digital test last evening and decided to take it.  It took forever to count down, but eventually it revealed that once again, I have a #BFN.

So, I've given my body permission (sound goofy but sometimes I think my mind and body want this so badly that it subconsciously holds the release just so I don't go through my stages of grief again.  But seriously, if I'm out, I'm ready to be out and to try something different next month.

We know IVF is still going to be our best bet, but we are limited on when and what we can do with funds being tight.  Still, God is able and I believe that if it is His will, we'll conceive--one way or another.

I'll keep you updated. Keep us in your prayers.


7 days post ovulation: I already think I’m out

Well, if you are a follower on my Instagram page, this announcement should come as no shock to you. I think I’m out. Of course, I don’t want to think I’m out, but most assuredly, I do. I have been faithfully charting my basal temperature every morning. I know my control line number now, which is really awesome because I had no idea when I first started this thing. The day before yesterday I got dangerously close to it, but hope my temp would do one of it’s weird little quirks and rise instead. Nope. It dropped again. This morning, it finally went below. The consecutive three day drop in temperature before the arrival of Aunt Flo and five days before I am advised (by apps) to test for my cycle has pretty much let me know NOT to expect a #BFP this month.

Combine that with no symptoms at all. Not a blue veined breast, a nausea spell (beyond the regular one that comes behind my daily prenatal), not a tingly breast. Nope, nothing. I had back pain yesterday radiating from my hip to my back. I couldn’t even pump myself to grasp at straws. It is probably because of some rough housing my family and I did this past weekend. I’m not as flexible (read young) as I used to be lol.

I’m still hopeful. I’m still very hopeful, but I get it as well. Do you know what I’ve been doing lately? The same thing I do every #TWW—medicated or otherwise. I look up faint lines and help other women see if they have one, a #BFP. I always feel happy for them. I am always so excited for them. I always hope that one day, when it’s my turn, someone will feel the same way about me.

So, I’m going to continue the waiting game. I don’t think I’ll test early this month. I just don’t feel there is a need. I’ll just wait for #CD1 and try it again.

Oh! Here’s a tidbit of information of you. My mother in law just reminded me that it took her and my father in law seven years to conceive their first one and now they have seven. I really hope I don’t have to wait seven years. I don’t think I would like to be newborn mom that late. But we will see.

Have a fantastic evening and baby dust to all of my #ttcsisters.


I'm going to vent now...and if I lose followers, then it must be so...#NonTTCrelated

This past week has been one of the most stressful and anxiety-causing weeks I have ever experienced in my life. The last time my level of anxiety was this prevalent was September 11, 2001.

This week, I watched on video the gunning down of two black men by police officers. In video one, the assailant was pinned on the ground. BOTH of his hands and arms were pinned on the ground. He had NO weapon. A police officer was on top of him. Another beside him.  He struggled, but to me, it looked more like the struggle to breathe when someone is sitting on your chest. And then…gunshots. The police, sitting atop this unarmed (as in no weapon in hand) black man, killed him. They shot him dead. The officer who killed him has been involved in several police inquiries of his behavior in the three or five (depending on the media outlet) he has been on the force. He even received a “letter of caution” after failing to obey orders and cause a preventable crash. Yet, he remains on the force. After the man was shot and killed, a gun was recovered from his pocket. He never reached for it. He never brandished it, but there it was. And there he was…dead. Immediately…I mean immediately after it hit the news, so too did a mug shot of this man from 2009. He had one incident that he never should have done, paid his societal dues, and was living life with his wife and five children, and the photo chosen to identify the victim to the world was a mug shot. Never mind that his wife's then public social media page had more than enough shots of this man and most were with his family.  What media chose to show of an unarmed black man shot dead was a mugshot.  And tears welled.

The next day, there was another video. This one was live streamed on FB after the shooting. The victim had done nothing wrong. He was pulled for a broken tail light. The guy tells the officer that he had a legally registered weapon in the car and that he was licensed to conceal carry. The officer asked the man to produce license and registration. When he reaches toward his back pocket to pull the wallet that houses this information, he is shot 4 or 5 times, close range with his fiancée’(though media has reported girlfriend) and 4 year old daughter IN THE CAR. Then, the cop says “I told him not to reach for it” and the fiancée calmly says on video “he was reaching for his wallet to get his license just like you asked him to”. She is asked to walk backwards from the car and her phone is thrown to the ground but still records and she is heard wailing as the father of her daughter lies dying, no already dead nearby. Her four year old daughter is the one who comforts her. Guess what happens then…the media can’t find a mug shot. He doesn’t have one. He was a productive citizen doing nothing wrong. He worked at a school as a Nutrition Supervisor.  So media demotes him to a “kitchen worker”. The head of the school, a Caucasian man, gives the most beautiful and touching tribute to this man and his simple statement marks his hurt and disbelief that "gentle Phil" died at the hands of police. That was Thursday. And I emailed my husband at work pouring out a letter of love and protection and fear and the assurances of Christ and felt the lump in my throat when he answered with the same.

Then yesterday morning, I woke up to reports of a killing in Dallas, TX. Minutes later, the reports stated five were dead and there were twelve injured. They were all cops. And I felt the pit of my stomach rebel. Twelve brothers and sisters in blue shot because some jack wipe decided that they wanted to prove a point of violence begetting violence. He was right. It does. These innocent officers were shot and killed providing coverage for a peaceful protest and were ambushed by someone of a different agenda (who despite social opinion was no affiliated with movement or organization protesting).  And suddenly with this single act of violence, the whole country is staring at each other differently. No kidding, people who speak to me everyday wouldn't speak to me at all yesterday.

Perhaps it was because of an ignorant assumption that because I am a woman of color, I must be secretly accepting of the ambush against Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs).  So instead these persons have defriended or stopped talking to me.  They don't know that two of my brothers are LEOs, that my godmother is retired LEO, and so is my uncle. They don't know that my son's birth father IS LEO. They don't know that I have lost LEO family members killed IN the line of duty, one just 24 years old.  I am the last person who is accepting of this tragedy.  

That being said, I AM a woman a color and I am troubled by this week's events and the events that have occurred for weeks, months, and years before.  I am a woman of color who has been spit at and cursed out by other races because of my skin color when all I was doing was walking down the street. I am a woman of color who has been asked to explain my very presence in places deemed "Non-black".  I've been asked to explain why and how I'm a fan of classical music and theater, why I love to read with such voracity.  I have been asked to serve as some kind of pseudo ambassador answering "why black people do" this and that as if I am a poster child for the race.  I am a woman of color who doesn't understand why compliments have been given to me on my education and my grammar, as if I am an anomaly.  Education and experiences are not the exception in my family, they are the rule.

Yes,  I am a woman of color--a wife.  I am a black wife with a black husband whom I love with all that is within me.  That man makes my heart flip and he is the most sincere man I have ever met.  His love for God is amazing and his compassion for others is breathtaking. This amazing man is a productive, contributing member of society with a wonderful job, and a beautiful soul.  But I readily admit that even before this week's events I have worried about what would happen if he were stopped by an LEO who is a bit jumpy and has an accelerated adrenaline rush because they are afraid of what could happen.  

It's a fear that is palpable at time.  It grows when I see my children, especially my son.  My beautiful, intelligent, God-fearing, love-filled son.  This same beautiful baby has already experienced some of the world's nastiness.  Three weeks after moving into a beautiful diverse neighborhood filled with professionals like myself and my husband, a neighbor's son told my (at the time) 7 year old son that he couldn't participate in neighborhood play because he was brown.  My son came in hurt and confused.  I had to comfort him and explain then that there were people in the world who would not like him for no other reason than the tint of his skin.  I had to teach him to hold his head up and keep moving forward anyway.  When no other occurrences were mentioned, S. and I hoped it was an isolated incident (knowing quite well it could be more than that).

It wasn't too long after that news of  Trayvon Martin broke and I felt that familiar worry every time my son asked to walk down to the park to play.  The week after Trayvon was killed, I was cursed out while grocery shopping by  a Caucasian teen because my son was wearing a hoodie, as if the clothing worn for the rain outside was a political statement.  As if it would have been his right to curse me if it had.  I had to go Mama Bear on some ignorant man-child coming after my child and I for ignorant reasons.

And there are so many other examples, way too many to cite in detail.  But they all seemed to culminate in this week.  Sigh...With all of the turmoil going on this week, I am tired.  Just emotionally exhausted.  So, when my son asked if he could go outside and play, I hesitated before saying yes.  I didn't want him to go too far from my sight.  I wanted to hold him and protect him and cover him.  When he came in this evening with tears in his eyes because the kids in the neighborhood literally ran away from him when he approached and wouldn't play with him, my heart ached again and I knew I wanted to ask the question of whose children and what responses, but I couldn't.  I can't be that mom.  I just had to build him up and encourage him to go outside and try again somewhere else.  I have to trust that he will be covered by God's grace and protection.  I have to trust that the lessons his fathers and I teach him are going to resonate and prayerfully keep him safe--even when his new world may be withdrawal, apprehension, and solitude.

The same goes for when S. walks out the door every afternoon preparing to go to work or to shore up something for the family.  I want him home safely.  I want to know he's here.  I want him breathing.  I know someone reading this will say they want the same for their family, that it isn't a race thing.

Here's the thing about that.  How many times this week have you tensed up every time you pass a police car even when you know you're not speeding and are doing nothing wrong?  How many times have you walked into your office and walked by certain cubicles and offices just to make sure the roll call still is unbroken? hTat is my truth, my life, and my experience.  This week just put all of it on brutal display for the entire world.

So, I'm sorry for those who I've offended.  Sorry for those who are upset that this isn't a TTC-related issue, but if you dig deep enough, you'll see it is.  I respect your right to discontinue following this blog.  I just ask that you respect my right to want to live, to have my children and my husband live, and for us to do so peacefully and harmoniously--not because we're black, but because we're human and it's what you want for yourselves.

I wish you all the best in the future.

Have a restful evening.


Imperfect Timing, but Blessed All The Same

It has been quite some time since I've written. So many things have happened since that date to this. As I sit here typing,  I am in the middle of another fertile week.  The familiar cramps and cervical mucus have returned.  My basal temperature is continuing to rise.  [And] I am aware that once again fertility is on the horizon.  There is, however, a difference in this month. S. is not exactly available.

No, there is no trouble in paradise.  My dear, sweet, and wonderful husband is working.  Several months ago my husband was one of a large number of employees who were laid off after the acquisition of his company by another company who wished to employ their own staff.  The timing for these things is never great, but this event couldn't have come at a worst time.   It was smack in the middle of the holiday season and then right came right before a terminal diagnosis for my mother in love. But these work for our good even now.  God has the final say in all matters and my mother in love is still with us.

After several months of bad timing and interviews, S. was recently hired in a new position.  It's a wonderful blessing for him and our family.  But it puts us both on separate schedules.  Most days he doesn't come in until very, very early in the morning.  He's understandably tired and needs his rest. Only a few hours after he comes in, I go out to begin my work day.  So our opportunity to meet in the middle is pretty non existent.  It's okay though.  We've been trying for four years to conceive a child. We can work a crazy schedule a little while longer.

In the meantime, I'm still charting and still tracking.  Even if we don't get the opportunity to baby dance this week, I'll have some more information for the next cycle. We will certainly figure it out.

Here's hoping things align sooner than later.