Chronicles of the Broke-Down Bronx

Husband and I have been in New York for about four weeks now. We’ve been staying in the Bronx with my grandma, and boy has it been a whirlwind already! It really doesn’t feel like it’s been JUST three weeks, and it feels more unreal that we’re actually here…

The Bronx really isn’t all that pretty, (our opinion) but our trips in and out of the city have definitely made this move FEEL all the more worth while! We have a little over an hour commute (1 bus, 1 train) to NYU, where I take two classes once a week. I arranged them both on Tuesday, so Husband and I get to walk around and discover the village in between them. While I’m in class, he spends his time wandering around just gazing at our new scenery! Just last week he told me he stumbled upon Georgetown Cupcakes SOHO! So far, he seems to be loving New York.

Vanilla & Chocolate. Red Velvet. The most amazing cupcakes we've ever had in our lives.

Vanilla & Chocolate. Red Velvet. The most amazing cupcakes we’ve ever had in our lives.

Central Park

Central Park

As for me, I’m loving NYU. I’ve got two really awesome professors. One who has the most amazing sense of humor and the other is a defense attorney, and is as sharp as a whistle. I was lucky enough to be transferred over in to the extended program, so even though I don’t get to spend much time on campus, it’s really worked out in my favor. For one, the Baby Brain myth is real! I can’t seem to focus outside of the classroom at all! I find myself struggling with the readings, and while I’m sure the fact that I’ve been out of school for so long doesn’t help, I’m pretty sure it’s the baby. Especially now that I can feel him kicking!

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HBSE-1. Social Policy. NY Times. Ugh.

HBSE-1. Social Policy. NY Times. Ugh.

Baby's 20 weeks!

Baby’s 20 weeks!

Everything is so different here; I think we’re (more Husband than I) experiencing quite the culture shock. Look, I was born in New York and both sides of my family have lived in the Bronx all of their lives… but we’re just not about this Bronx life. The poverty rates are astronomical. The crime, the deficiencies in education, and the quality of life here very different than what we’re used to. We are living right now in a fairly decent neighborhood, but I don’t want to raise our son here. We’re just not that interested. The Bronx is also very far removed from EVERYTHING. We have over an hour commute to NYU, and just the other day we went to a Housewarming party in Brooklyn, for a girlfriend of mine from Seattle to also moved here for grad school and lives in Windsor Terrace, and it took us almost 2 hours both ways to get there. There are no Trader Joe’s, no Whole Foods, no nice stores or boutiques, no quaint coffee shops or café’s here in the Bronx, and that’s what we’re looking for.

Look... Between the trash and the cigarette smoke... Not about it.

Look… Between the trash and the cigarette smoke… Not about it.

The only real positive we’re getting out of being here, is being around some of my family member that I haven’t seen in YEARS. My paternal grandparents live just a few blocks away from my maternal grandmother (who we live with currently) and it’s been wonderful to be able to finally spend some quality time with them. While it sucks that I can’t share my pregnancy with my parents, who I “left behind” in Georgia, I do get to share this experience with my grandparents. Oh, and boy do they LOVE Husband! Things are working out fairly well here. The weather is starting to change, which puts a little pressure on the apartment hunt. THAT in and of itself is a nightmare, but within the next few weeks, we’ll be starting that adventure. Ideally we want a place before the dead of winter hits and obviously before the baby comes. There’s just no space here at grandma’s house for an additional person, little as they may be. Husband is sleeping on a daybed, and I’m sleeping on an air mattress as it is!

Husband with my little cousin.

Husband with my little cousin.

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I Made It Through The Wilderness….

I’m back!!! I am alive. I have brushed my hair. I can stand upright. I’ve got some coloring back in my skin. I am no longer a raving, barfing bitch! Please, please, no applause!

But no seriously, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve last blogged and there’s really no explanation for it, other than I have had the WORST first trimester experience ever. My last post was at about 8 weeks and I thought I was in bad shape then, but these last 5 weeks have been unbearably miserable!

I started throwing up after every meal, every single day regardless of what or how much I ate. Oh, and every time the toothbrush just happened to touch my tongue, I was hurling over the toilet. My gag reflex is ridiculous. God, and let’s not talk about the heartburn I was having. Nonstop, every day, all day and all night. I’ve got acid reflux so I’m used to heartburn, but there were levels to this shit! After a few weeks, my glands were swollen, my throat and chest were sore; it hurt to swallow food or drink with extreme temperatures because my insides were so raw. I was eating Tums just about every hour. I went through a large container every week.

Because I was in between physicians for so long, I had to wait until I was about 12 weeks to get some medical intervention. I was given a prescription for the heartburn and for the nausea, which are godsends! For about two weeks now I have been heartburn and stomach ache free!!!

At my first ultrasound at week 6, Baby was just a little M&M with a heartbeat. It was exciting, but nothing compared to what things were like at my second ultrasound at week 12. It was a vaginal ultrasound, which is really fucking awkward and painful, but once that screen shot across a real life, moving, jumping, squirming little, actually real baby… I could have melted right off the table. THERE’S A HUMAN PERSON IN MY BODY!!!!!!! With legs, and feet, and toes, and fingers, and hands, and a face!!! I was there with my mom, which was bittersweet. It was cool she got to see the baby, but she sucked because she wasn’t my husband!

After the ultrasound, the doctor explained to me about some screening we could do to test the baby for Cystic Fibrosis (I think) and Down Syndrome. I was a little apprehensive because from what I’d known about this test through google, is that they test the amniotic fluid. First of all, there is a risk of miscarriage as the sac is basically “tampered with,” and second of all, there’s a really long needle involved and AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!

She went on to explain the new test is done by a second ultrasound to measure the baby’s neck and a blood test done by finger prick and that’s it. We had that testing done yesterday! Two amazing outcomes of the testing was that finally, for once, I had an ultrasound that didn’t involve shoving anything up my crotch and this time Husband was there!!

His face… was incredible.

Oh, and apparently, we have a super smart, really gifted, talented ultrasound tech, because at just 13 weeks and 4 days, she’s “90% sure we’re having a boy.”

She showed us his little baby boy bits, and they did look like little baby boy bits, but I’m holding on strong to that 10%, because I want a girl, dammit.

Here’s some really cool ass ultrasound pictures for you guys!

Isn't this just the cutest.

Isn’t this just the cutest.

Shy Baby

Shy Baby

I keep hearing how LONG the baby's legs are... Husband and 6'4. Pray for my uterus.

I keep hearing how LONG the baby’s legs are… Husband and 6’4. Pray for my uterus.

8 Weeks and A Ways To Go

OMG I’m dying. Dying I tell you!!

I feel like absolute shit, and I look just as bad as I feel!! I haven’t washed my hair in days, I haven’t been out much, and I don’t want company. I throw up after each meal now and so quickly that I’m sure I’m not obtaining any essential vitamins from my meals. My prenatals are quite a bitch to keep down too. They smell like rotten fish, no thanks to the fish oils and omega-3’s.

I’m headed into my 3rd consecutive week of all day Extreme Nausea and the vomiting started last week. My throat and my chest are always on fire, and my stomach muscles are very sore. I can hardly stand up for 5 full minutes before feeling very weak and queasy. I tired very easily too. I’ve taken a nap almost every day and if I don’t get a nap in, I can certainly tell a difference in my mood. My energy drops dramatically, and I’m really rather cranky.

I’ve been able to pinpoint some of my latest food aversions: almond milk, salsa and tomato sauces for example. Those, however, couldn’t hold a candle to TOOTHPASTE! Dear God, as soon as I get a whiff of toothpaste, or as soon as the toothpaste touches my tongue, my stomach is officially on E! I barf by the bucketload, guaranteed at least twice a day. I’m going to brush my teeth dammit.

So far, I’m not really enjoying this pregnancy. I don’t care what size it is, what sort of sea creature it may look like this week… I just want to eat a meal and keep it down. My skin is breaking out like crazy, I can’t stay awake, I can’t focus, I can’t stand up for too long, and I am having the worst sleep ever! My lower abdomen feels so tender, I’m sore all across my core, and my lady parts hurt. I’m a total stomach sleeper, which is now shitfest. God, someone get me the FUCK out of this first trimester. I can’t fathom five more weeks of this Barf-a-thon.

Someone please help me!

Seven Weeks and Counting

I feel terrible. Absolutely terrible. I feel like I’ve had a level 5 hangover for a week straight. I keep hearing that it’s normal and that it could potentially get a bit worse from here, but goodness… this is torture! I wake up insanely nauseous and it doesn’t let up until I pass out for the night. Oh, and I can’t seem to stop eating. Oddly enough, the only time I DON’T feel nauseous is when I’m stuffing my face. I’ve been taking my prenatal vitamins at night as well, to offset some of the nausea. They taste like fish-oil and ass! Yuck. In addition to my nausea (not vomiting so far), I’ve been quite the narcoleptic. I am constantly operating below 50% charge all day, everyday. I think I fell asleep in the middle of a conversation with my mom today. How embarrassing!

Mom sent me a photo of what our baby looks like at 7 weeks…

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He/she looks like a little manatee, but it is supposedly measuring the size of a blueberry! Now I’ve dubbed him/her our “Little Manatee.” It’s becoming more and more real everyday that this pregnancy is legit and NOT a sick joke from the cosmos. Husband is definitely getting more excited. To say he was a bit shell-shocked would be the understatement of the year!! It’s totally understandable too. I mean, we’ve barely figured out what’s going on with us in regards to NYU and the Peace Corps, and now this.

Perhaps this is why things were just seemingly much more difficult than they all should’ve been. I hear they say, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Ha! How appropriate. We’re just trying to figure out now, what’s the best option for our Little Manatee.

Tomorrow is our first ultrasound. I’m not sure what to expect… lots of medical history questions and perhaps getting to see how many little manatees are in the depths of my uterus. Mom keeps joking around that my GYN put my ovaries into hyper speed and sort of revved up the engines of my lady parts and that I shouldn’t be surprised if my ovaries released an egg or TWO. I say, stop it! Husband and I are just fine with one little Invader of the Uterus!

Apollo doesn't seemed to thrilled at the idea of being a "Big Brother."

Apollo doesn’t seemed to thrilled at the idea of being a “Big Brother.”

This Changes Everything: The Confirmation. Part Two

* Disclaimer: If you follow our story through this blog, please be a friend and keep the following story here. We will transfer this news across the social media boards on our own, at the right time. Don’t beat us to the punch, FB friends, Twitter tweeters, and Instagramers! If you fail this mission, Jenn will be really mad and Husband will smash your house and eat your young. *

I cannot believe this. I’m pregnant. Six weeks pregnant. Like, with a baby. A real baby. Not a food baby, a human one. That Husband and I made.

How could this have happened? (I don’t mean that in a when-a-man-and-a-woman-love-each-other sort of way)

Doctor after doctor, test after test, result after result have all confirmed my infertility and have made it very clear that Husband and I wouldn’t be able to conceive without medical intervention….

… Yet here we are, with a bun in the oven.

I’m so overwhelmed with emotions: happiness, gratitude, fear, concern, worry…

I’m a bit shell-shocked actually.

I sort of put the idea of children out of my mind, because infertility treatments are so expensive and emotionally taxing.

The more I think about it, I believe it’s a matter of nothing but Divine Intervention. Here’s the thing:
1. I’ve been seeing my GYN every two weeks for the longest to try every treatment, supplement, and option she can think of to stabilize my very hostile insides. I mean I’ve been on pills, on liquids, on suppositories, on shots…. The works…
2. In the course of 6+ months, I’ve really altered my diet as best I can, eliminating gluten, soy, dairy, processed meats, preservatives and additives, and I’ve even shed about 10+ pounds.
3. I’ve become very familiar with essential oils and natural organic products, in order to eliminate some of the xenoestrogens from the environment that may be setting of my internal chemistry to worsen my Endo and PCOS.

But here’s the craziest part, because of the painful sex situation, Husband and I have had sex TWICE in the entire month of May.

So you mean to tell me, that 10 pills a day of natural supplements, and estrogen blockers encouraged my ovaries to produce an actual egg this time, that just so happened to be fertilized on one of the TWO days that Husband and I had sex, and that my body was stable just enough to actually support the embryo….

Divine Intervention.

Husband and I are so crazy excited! I just can’t believe it’s even real. I’m so afraid of sharing my news, because my body’s been so fragile up to this point, I feel like I really have to protect this blessing.

I know you should wait until after 8 weeks to say anything, because that’s when you’re relatively in the clear for avoiding miscarriage, but I just had to post. If anything were to happen, I would hate myself for not allowing me to be fully present in this moment, now.

We’re having a baby.

OMG!

This Changes Everything: The Test. Part One.

* Disclaimer: If you follow our story through this blog, please be a friend and keep the following story here. We will transfer this news across the social media boards on our own, at the right time. Don’t beat us to the punch, FB friends, Twitter tweeters, and Instagramers! If you fail this mission, Jenn will be really mad and Husband will smash your house and eat your young. *

Something told me that this late period was going to be much different from any other late period I’d ever had. I haven’t even craved chocolate for God’s sake! Typically when my cycle is near, late or not, I’m a crying, bloated, killer for chocolate, hormonal, attitudinal ass mess! This month, something was off.

My period has, since my surgeries last August, become pretty regular. I can expect it to start at least between the 3rd and the 6th of each month, but as the 11th rolled around… I got a little worried. No spotting, no pink, no nothing.

I’ve been taking a handful of natural, holistic, of-the-earth supplements every day aimed at fixing my hormonal imbalance; reducing my excess estrogen, lowering my insulin, restoring the vitamin and nutrient deficiency, and replenishing my ecosystem of good bacteria via probiotics. I’ve even shed 10 pounds, and have modified my diet. No gluten, soy, or dairy; at least 75% of the time.

…But my period hasn’t come. My suspicion: My endometriosis has regrown and taken over my ovaries again and my PCOS has caused cysts to reform that are triggering irregular periods. It’s been almost a year since my laparoscopy, and I can’t believe I’m in the same physical condition already!

I went to see an endocrinologist on Monday the 10th and he gave me some amazing information about PCOS and thoroughly explained what Metformin is and how it would help me out. What I liked about him, versus my GYN, is that he aims to target my hormonal imbalance and it’s affect on my entire body, whereas the GYN wants to target the hormones keeping me from getting pregnant. I want to fix my whole body, not just pieces of it. I returned the following morning to have EIGHT viles of blood extracted for many tests. The nurses say he’s thorough.

June 11, I sat downstairs watching The Braxton Family Values, my guiltiest pleasure ever! Tamar is my absolute favorite next to Toni! The season’s been following her throughout her pregnancy, and I don’t know what came over me or what about my mini-marathon triggered my reaction, but I ran upstairs, dug through a box, found a pregnancy test and peed on it…

Two pink lines: one dark, one faint.

Later on when Husband got home, I took the second one I had stashed away.

…Two pink lines: one dark, one faint.

Immediately, we knew it had to be a reaction to the all-natural, holistic, medicine man, juju pills that I’ve been taking. There’s no way, one little month of natural supplements could find or create a loophole in my infertility to get us pregnant. It just doesn’t work like that.

On the 12th, Husband and I went to Walmart to get an electronic pregnancy test. At this point for shits and giggles. We aren’t convinced at all we’re pregnant. It’s not possible, but where is my period? Why aren’t my boobs sore? Why haven’t I gone batshit crazy for some chocolate?

Husband is really scared that something is wrong. We’ve worked so hard to stabilize my body so far, hell I’ve been DRINKING LIQUID SILVER, and now we could possibly be back to square one.

But that’s the thing with the pregnancy tests with the lines, no matter what it reads, you can always convince yourself of a faulty outcome.

As soon as we got home, I peed on the electronic pregnancy test in the bathroom downstairs. It showed me a blinking timer, which gave me enough time to run upstairs to Husband. Of course I find that he is in the bathroom himself, so I slide the pregnancy test under the door to him. A few moments later, I hear a roar of laughter, and I sort of slump down, is an overwhelming cloud of emotions…

…The test reads “Pregnant.”

The Baby Fever’s Back

Husband and I went to church with my mom for Mother’s Day. It was quite the chaotic affair, as we showed up just before service started. The choir women were arguing about who was the better singer and why said better singer should have the solos. The mother’s were all dressed in white suites adorned with a red carnation, presented to them by the Pastor. Even that good gesture when unnoticed as one of the mother’s decided to gripe about why hers should have been a significant color to represent the death of her mother. Husband and I sat huddled together beside my mother trying our best to avoid any eye contact with any of the drama queens!

The service finally began, much later than it was supposed to, and the choir opened with their horrible covers of the loudest praise and worship songs possible. It wasn’t long before we noticed they were competing in noise level with the church upstairs. I think the drama before service threw everyone out of whack, because I couldn’t even begin to explain the sermon. I just didn’t get it.

Luckily for me, there was the most adorable baby seated right in front of me to occupy all of my attention. She couldn’t have been more than six weeks old, with a head full of hair, wearing the cutest white frilly dress. She rested in her mother’s arms just chewing away on her little fist. She was so alert: looking all over the place, often making eye contact with me.

It was during those moments, that I felt that pang deep in my heart. I want to have a baby so badly. Husband kept looking at me with the strangest gaze, like he understood that want because he feels it too, but sort of feels a little bit helpless because he knows that that want is torturing me. And it is. I want to have a baby so badly and I’m so afraid that I won’t ever get the chance to. I feel like I’m living right in the middle of an unwavering war between my two biggest desires. I want to have children, and to do so would require a lot of medical attention, preparation, planning, time, money, and effort. But, I want to serve in the Peace Corps too. I want to serve, in the trenches, abroad. That’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl.

I’m so afraid of not making the right choice. So afraid that this situation is a “you can’t have your cake, and eat it too,” sort of situation; that I won’t be able to have both.

Husband and I want to lead a life of service, we just weren’t built for your average 9-5 jobs; we weren’t built for unfulfilling jobs and a monotone lifestyle. Sure we could start our fertility treatment journey after our two years of service in the Peace Corps, but what if we wanted to stay longer than two years? What if the Peace Corps lead us to something else that would require more time abroad in the trenches? Or what if we decide to just start a family now, and later on down the line, we resent our lives, or god forbid resent our children, for turning us into soccer parents and keeping us from things like the Peace Corps. It’s too much to handle.

A million scenarios, a million emotions, a million fears and concerns are racing through my mind as I’m looking at this little girl. And this happens all of the time, with each baby and each belly I see. As if it’s a silent reminder of a choice that needs making, that’s just lingering in the universe…

You Can’t Take a Baby to the Peace Corps Jenn!!!

With our Peace Corps interviews just 10 days away… I should be spending this time going over questions with Husband, and tweaking our answers to make sure we sound intelligent by limiting the “uhm’s” in case a question catches us off guard. I don’t want us to be ill prepared, but let’s face it, I’ve wanted to join the Peace Corps since HIGH SCHOOL, and Husband’s only recently learned of the Peace Corps, thanks to yours truly.

We should be spending this time shooting off any range of questions we can think of at each other and brushing up on our international affairs; the “goings-on’s” of the world… yet and still, with our Peace Corps interviews just 10 days away, there is only one thing on my mind….

…I want to have a baby…

Yea, talk about a wrench in the plans, huh!

I am not sure if it’s the hormonal surge because of my cycle this week, or if it’s because of the baby fever I cannot seem to shake. Whatever it is, the want, the desire, is so strong and so real, it’s almost annoying.

The Peace Corps is a two-year commitment, and for a normal woman, that’s not a big deal. For me, for someone with Endo & PCOS, it’s a very long, very big gamble.
What also sucks, is that most days, I can’t decide which want outweighs the other. The pros/cons are equal. Of course on a super emotional day, babies win. But on those days where I’m fed up with my parents or America, for that matter, Peace Corps takes the cake.

Husband is so lovingly unhelpful. “Whatever you want to do babe, I’m right with you.” “I want a baby too, but I would also love to do the Peace Corps, it’s so noble.” “I don’t know babe, it’s your decision.”

Thanks.

One of my sorority sisters is having a baby and although I am OVERJOYED for her, I’m a little jealous. She’s shopping for baby furniture and posting them on Instagram, and every time I run across a photo, it’s like a jab in the heart. I’m not saying she’s purposely doing this to me, I’ve never even shared my infertility troubles with her, but I want a baby! Well, maybe even more than wanting a baby, in the flesh, right now… I want TO BE ABLE to have a baby. Whenever that time comes, I want to be able to give my husband a child.

Perhaps that’s why this upcoming interview is freaking me out a bit. I am just worried that two years after service, my body isn’t going to cooperate. Hell, it isn’t cooperating now.

Then again, I’ve been reading and following so many Peace Corps blogs and with each post, I get more excited to go! I am just so excited to be interviewing with the man of my dreams. Can you imagine it? Living out one of my childhood “Save The World” dreams with my main man, Husband?! I can’t wait. Living in a mud hut, shitting in a hole, teaching students, being immersed in culture and language… what a magnificently, life-changing opportunity.

Yea, see. I want each one just as bad as the other.

How would you choose?

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