Saturday, May 30, 2009

All the Single Ladies...

I always had trouble meeting the right guys in my early twenties. It was really frustrating. If I liked someone, it was almost guaranteed they'd turn out to be an a**hole. Then I met my husband when I was 26, and everyone said he was an a**hole, but he turned out to be the most amazing boyfriend/fiancee/husband I could ever hope for.

I have a lot of great girlfriends my age who all seem to be having the problems I had in my early twenties. They're all great women who are having trouble finding great men. It amazes me that so many cool, amazing women in their early to mid thirties are single--at least most of the ones I know. They've all tried almost everything from the bar scene to online dating, and no luck. I have no idea what advice to give because I don't know what I'd be doing if I were still single today. Times have changed. Even in the past seven years that I've been with my husband. We didn't have Twitter or Facebook. And online dating was still considered a little risque.

In your thirties the stakes of dating totally change, especially if you want to have kids. The biological clock feels like less of a time piece and more like a ticking time bomb. And what do you do? Freeze your eggs (which is what I would probably try to do with my family history of early menopause) or just hope for the best? I actually had a conversation about this with my hair stylist (who is 25). She was complaining that casual dating is starting to feel more serious. She said she's now wondering with every guy she goes out with if he could be "the one." And she hadn't really done that before. Don't focus on that so much and focus on having a good time, I told her. "But I can't get it out of my mind. Even when I try to," she complained. Of course, I assured her that she has plenty of time. "Imagine if you were my age and single like some of my friends," I said. "Oh my God, I would die!" she exclaimed. "Or just married the first guy that I got into a serious relationship with." Really?!

I wonder if anyone has done a study to see if first time marriages last longer when you do it in your thirties or in your twenties? Are we wiser after thirty and therefore make better choices? Or are we more inclined to marry someone sooner than we would have 5-10 years earlier because of that ticking in the back of most of our heads?

Where can an attractive, accomplished woman in her thirties can find a good guy these days? One girlfriend has dated a few guys from work to no avail. Another tried online dating several times, has now given up on it and is going to take golf lessons in hopes of finding someone. Another has a very active social life and has been meeting guys at bars, but none have turned into anything serious. And yet another has done online dating, plays golf, has a slew of other hobbies, is super social and not bad looking in her late thirties, and no luck. So what do you do?

My husband says that you'll never find anyone if you're looking that hard, and that's why they're still single. I don't know what advice to give my single girlfriends. I mostly say a variation of what my hubbie says--the right guy will come along when you're not looking. That's what happened to me, and I've heard other people say it too. It's not that comforting, though. People told me that when I was looking in my early twenties, and I'd roll my eyes. Then it happened...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Loss

My husband and I dated for six years before we tied the knot. I was 32 when we got married, and though I was never in a rush to have kids, the clock was ticking loudly in the back of my head. My mom went through menopause in her late thirties. My sister has been trying to get pregnant for the past couple of years or so (she's 40), and no luck. So I was thinking, if I want kids, I can't put it off much longer.

We decided to go off the pill on Christmas day 2008. It was our present to ourselves, but we weren't planning on trying right away. We wanted to wait a 3-4 months. But in February, we decided to just let things happen naturally and if I got pregnant, I got pregnant and if I didn't, I didn't.

Well on our first try--literally first try!--we were preggers. I was shocked. I honestly expected it to take a couple of months at least. We were surprised, but so excited. We told our immediate family right away, but decided to wait to tell anyone else because of the miscarriage statistics. The pregnancy seemed too good to be true from the moment I saw the second line on the pee stick. And I didn't want to "jinx" things by telling everyone right away. (I'm slightly superstitious)

I had two brief episodes of nausea before I took the pregnancy test. Once while driving with my husband, and the other was at work. I found it odd because unless I overindulged with alcohol, I've never been nauseous. But the episodes were so brief, I didn't think much of it. After confirming I was pregnant, it made sense. But then that was it. Other than being a lot more bloated than usual, I felt perfectly normal. No nausea, no food aversions, nothing. Both my mother and sister were the polar opposite. My mom had terrible morning sickness with all three of us, and my sister had it with her one child.

I knew that some women just don't have morning sickness, but something just didn't feel right. Deep down, I knew things weren't going the way they should be, but I didn't know what to do. I never thought, "My baby may not survive." But I felt very uneasy and nervous about the pregnancy. I kept thinking, "shouldn't I feel something?" I got reassurances everywhere from my husband, to books, to friends to blogs. Everything was telling me, it's okay that you don't feel nauseous. Be thankful you're in the small percentage of people who don't. But I wasn't thankful. I actually prayed for morning sickness or any sign that would tell me my baby was okay.

My first ultrasound was scheduled for March 24th. I remember counting the days for that date. I thought, once I hear the heartbeat, I can relax. I woke up early and really excited. The appointment was around 830, so I skipped breakfast and my husband and I decided to go out for breakfast after the appointment. I met my OB for the first time. He was a nice, middle aged guy. He asked me how things were going and I told him fine. He asked about morning sickness, and I told him I hadn't really had any. Then he asked about my mom and sister's experiences with morning sickness--they were textbook, I told him. He nodded and proceded to start the vaginal ultrasound, which I wasn't expecting. I thought for sure it'd be the traditional belly one. But I guess the vaginal ones are better early on.

As soon as the image popped up on the screen, I knew it wasn't good. I had seen a video of a friend's ultrasound at nine weeks. The baby was moving around and you could see the heart beating. I was 8 weeks and 3 days, and all I saw was something sitting in the middle of the screen, not moving, not doing anything. I looked at the doctor's face and I could tell he was thinking of a way to say something my husband and I did not want to hear.

I never articulated the word "miscarriage" in my mind. I saw the image, I knew it was bad. I cried myself to sleep a couple of nights out of sheer worry for my baby; but I never thought it could be a miscarriage. We waited a couple of weeks to tell friends. I was waiting for the end of the first trimester to tell my boss and colleagues at work. All because of the statistics, but I never thought it would actually happen. Then it did.

My doctor never said the word either. He just told us what he looks for when he sees an ultrasound. And the one thing mine didn't have was a heartbeat. The embryo also measured too small for how far along I was supposed to be. He left so that I could get dressed and we were to meet in his office down the hall. My husband went to hold me and I pushed him away. I don't remember what I said. I just wanted to get dressed and see what the doctor had to say. I hadn't cried yet.

When we got to his office, he got a call he had to take. We waited for maybe a full five mintues. As we sat in his office, decorated with pictures of his family, of babies he had delivered, it finally hit me. Tears started falling uncontrollably. He made it back to the office, and talked about a lot of things. I was only half listening. I actually said nothing and let my husband do all the talking. One thing he did say that was comforting was that my anatomy looked very normal. I did bring up my mom and sister's reproductive histories and he said not to worry and that the fact that I got pregnant so quickly was a good sign.

For the next week, we waited for nature to take it's course and for the baby to pass naturally. That didn't happen. Ideally, I wanted to wait for him/her to come out when they were ready. However, even though the doctor said that was fine to wait and there was no risk, I was still a little worried about infection. My child had been gone for 2 weeks prior to the ultrasound; and it was going on the 3rd week. Also, my mother in law was going to be visiting from Canada in a couple of weeks, and I didn't want it to happen with her around. So we decided to use a medication called Cytotec. It causes uterine contractions, and therefore helps the baby to pass.

A couple of days before I called for the medication, I had some very light spotting. It wasn't progressing, so we called. Taking it was no problem. I took it around 4pm. I read a lot of other women's experiences online, and a lot of them said, they had cramping and bleeding within an hour of taking it. I laid in bed for an hour, and nothing happened. So my husband and I started watching TV.

Emotionally for that week, I was okay. I felt down, and I cried everyday, but I was able to go to work (I only work 3 days a week). Working actually helped me focus on other things, though it was never far from my mind.

Around midnight, I got really upset. I started crying hysterically for no apparent reason. I had been doing all right until that moment. Then all of a sudden, I ran to the bathroom. That's when the heavy bleeding and cramping started. For the rest of the night, I had strong cramps. I even took a couple of Vicodin to help with the physical pain. But after a few hours, there was no more heavy cramping, just heavy bleeding and passing of large clots.

Long story a bit shorter, for a week I had an idea of what a clinically depressed person must feel like. All I could do was go from bed to couch and back again. Taking a shower every day took a lot of effort. I'd cry intermittently. I just didn't want to leave the apartment or see anyone. What was funny, was sometimes, I was okay. I was able to joke and laugh. Then I'd be very not okay. One night, I cried for about 4 hours straight. I literally could not stop. My husband was at a loss for what to do, and just watched me helplessly, stroking my back. The next day, we decided to go away. I had not left the apartment since we took the medication.

We drove to a town called Ojai, about 30 miles SE of Santa Barbara. We stayed at an awesome resort. It was exactly what I needed--a reason to get dressed and leave the house! The weather was warm and sunny. Even though it was just a 5 hour drive, it felt like we were a million miles away.

Even though I understand, physiologically why the miscarriage happened (something was chromosomally off, it was nature's way, the baby wouldn't have survived long past birth if it grew to term, etc.); it still sucks. I'm ready to be pregnant right now. Other than losing the baby, the worst is the fear that it may happen again. My odds of it happening are no different than a woman who hasn't had a miscarriage, but it's still anxiety provoking.

It sounds melodramatic, but this miscarriage is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I've never lost anyone that I loved before. I loved that baby so much; even though I never saw or touched him/her, the second I found out I was pregnant, a love and protectiveness I've never felt before opened up. And to have it taken away was absolutely devastating.

Overall, I feel optimistic about trying again. I just hope that I get pregnant as easily as the first time, but that everything go perfectly normally. I'm trying to focus on what I can control. And that's taking my prenatal vitamin every day, trying to eat healthfully, trying to exercise (I'm still working on that!), and staying positive.

I wanted to get this story out because as we come closer to trying to conceive again, I want to put this behind us and move forward, but at the same time not forget our first pregnancy. Even though it didn't work out, we still lost a life that we loved dearly. And we're praying that we never have to go through it again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Where my buppies at??

The official definition of the word "buppie" from the Urban Dictionary is: "a highly sophisticated and upper class black person. Usually a black city or suburban resident with a well paid professional job and affluent lifestyle." It's what my best friend and I started calling ourselves after we couldn't think of a term to describe our little niche in our community. I don't think I'd call my lifestyle "affluent." And the term "upper class" rubs me a bit the wrong way, but you get the idea. The other definition they list is: Black Urban Professional. Black professionals and executives in their late twenties and early thirties. I think that fits.

But there's this stereotype of what a black person should be, how they should act, etc. Even in the black community. I could blog forever about the stereotypes inside and outside of the community. What I will say for now is that I've never really fit any one's stereotype. Growing up I was always called "proper" because of the way I talked. I grew up in a predominantly black community in Chicago, with a few latinos and a sprinkle of whites mixed in. In college and after moving to the West Coast, I made friends of all different races.

I've always cafes, lattes, drinking martinis, cute boutiques, trendy neighborhoods...That's where the yuppie part comes in. These things didn't make me un-black, but they kind of put my "blackness" into question with some of the people I knew. It was easier to make friends with nonblacks. And trust me, I didn't seek it out, it just happened. I've longed for more black female friends like me. They're just hard to find. Or I'm not looking hard enough. Probably a bit of both.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Do I Look Fat?

I used to be one of those girls that everyone hated because I could eat whatever I wanted, and not gain an ounce. I'd get supersized Big Mac meals from McDonald's with a large chocolate shake several times a week and not think twice about it. Mexican food drenched in lard and cheese, mmm...bring it on!

Then I met my wonderful husband. After being together 18months, I gained ten pounds. I couldn't even tell I gained the weight. I rarely weighed myself then. And all my clothes still fit. I didn't even believe the scale at first. I remember thinking, "Impossible! I haven't weighed this much in my life. This scale is off." Whatever, off to Burger King...

Then I turned 30. All of a sudden, I wasn't liking the way I looked in a bikini. Before I could throw on anything and the only worry I had was if it made my boobs look small. Suddenly, I had a bit of cellulite on my thighs, I needed to suck in my belly to make it look flat. The only positive thing was I finally had real breasts. At that point, I was almost ten pounds lighter than I am now.

Since then, I've exercised off and on. Lost and gained and lost and gained again. Before, if I exercised regularly for a couple of weeks, extra weight would fall off. Not the case anymore. Finally last year, I decided I needed to do something drastic--go on a diet. I did the South Beach diet, and to be honest, it was great! I lost 8 lbs in 2 weeks (just like the book said), and my belly looked flatter (like the book said). It was awesome. And I was never hungry. I did have to eat frequently. But I missed carbs. I love bread, pasta, sugar and alcohol, I'm sorry!

So I slowly gained the weight back, plus 4 lbs. Which is where I sit today. Heavier than ever. Ugh! I don't look terrible. My husband doesn't have a problem with it. He says he loves my body. And by others' standards, I'm not "fat." My BMI is normal. I think the term for me is "skinny fat." I'm definitely not rail thin anymore, that's for sure. And to be honest, I miss it.

And I'm at a crossroads because I want to start trying to get pregnant in a month. We were pregnant 3 months ago, but I miscarried. I think that pregnancy gave me the extra 4 lbs. So if we try to get preggers again in 4 weeks, is it worth dieting to lose ten lbs if my diet will completely change once we are (hopefully) pregnant? I obviously would not do low carb if I were pregnant.

So I think I may just start exercising again, (I stopped completely with the miscarriage and haven't started again) and just start eating healthfully. Complex carbs, and (this is a hard one for me) no sweets...okay, maybe just once a week...small portions:) But I really miss the good old days.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Heading for The Hills


I am a reality TV junkie. I admit it. The more mindless, silly and absurd the show is, the more I tend to love it. I rationalize it as I have a crazy, stressful job and it's how I unwind. I can watch an episode of the Real World while I do my taxes or talk on the phone or clean my house. It's just mindless entertainment. And usually, I don't judge the "reality" of reality television. It's just fun to watch.

That being said, I'm getting really sick of the Hills. Everyone knows that it's "fake," but it's becoming more and more transparent. Spencer and Heidi's relationship is a joke. Lauren has a man, but can't talk about it on her show...it's just getting annoying at this point. Speidi getting married just in time for the Hills season finale....yeah, I'm sure that was just a coincidence. And the bartender that he was supposedly "cheating" on Heidi with? She was at the wedding! Explain that!

Anyway, I just had to vent because the last episode I saw was so annoying I decided not to watch it anymore...at least until I'm really bored, nothing else is on and MTV is playing one of it's many reruns, then we'll see...