please be kind to me, 34

I turned 34 yesterday.

Starting about a month ago, I couldn’t think about my birthday without crying. My feelings of failure around my lack of a baby got punctuated and emphasized by my impending birthday. Turning 34 meant I officially failed to reproduce at 33. And turning 34 meant there were no more birthdays between me and 35.

So I spent last week in misery. I dwelled in every negative thought, I gave in to every self-indulgent bitter emotion. I didn’t feel like smiling or laughing. I let myself feel agitated and unhappy. I had a hard time relating to everyone around me, including my husband. And I gave up even trying to pull myself out of it.

But I actually needed a week like that. I needed to let go of my constant pep-talk-positive-cheerleading that keeps me going day after day for a short while. I needed to get out as much negativity as I could.

Because better to leave it all with 33.

Because then I was ready to have a fabulous weekend turning 34.

My brother and his wife hosted a beautiful birthday for me on Friday night. My cousin and his wife came, and they created a fabulous spread of hors d’oeuvres, with bacon-wrapped pears, sausages, fancy cheeses, and caprese skewers.  For dinner we ordered from a trendy Venice restaurant, and ate salad with Tuscan kale, shaved fennel, radish, and ricotta, and feasted on braised pork meatballs and pizzas with chorizo and lamb sausage.


beautiful table setting and beautiful food!

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guess what i wished for?!

On Saturday, my mom flew in from Austin and we went straight to Disneyland! My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew joined us along with my good friend, my godmother and her boyfriend. We spent a crazy day trying to navigate the park with half the group only wanting to go on mellow rides, and the other half (myself included!) wanting to do only fast ones. All in all it was a beautiful day, full of silliness and fun.

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never too old for a mickey cake!

On Sunday morning, my husband and I got up early and drove to Long Beach to do the Walk of Hope, hosted by RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. We were able to raise over $1100 and were the third highest fundraising team. I received a special thank you from the Director for our fund-raising efforts. It was a beautiful morning, and I felt overwhelmed with emotions to be in this group of people who understood this pain so well. It felt fitting to be a part of this event on the last day of my 33rd year, a year so wrought with struggle, and I hope symbolically it breathes positivity and a new outlook to 34.

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representing my blog and my angels.


the beautiful 1 mile walk through the beach.

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they gave out free pregnancy tests!

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On Monday, my actual birthday, my mom and I spent the day together. We did a little window shopping and then indulged in a long, leisurely lunch at a gorgeous West Hollywood restuarant. The lunch was one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve ever had, and the day was one of the more special days I’ve had in a while.


loving the time spent with my mom.

And then of course when my husband got home from work he spoiled me with gifts and took me out to dinner. We drank a bottle of wine, took our time, ate a ton of food, and talked about every fun thing we could think of.

My birthday this year was one of more perfect birthdays I’ve had. I know my family put extra effort into it, knowing the year I just faced. I needed the fun and the distraction to remember how lucky I am in life. I needed such a busy whirlwind weekend to snap me out of a deep funk that I had slipped into. I needed a fun birthday weekend to make myself feel like everything is going to be ok.

But I still will plead….please be kind to me, 34.

fertility-friendly recipes

Despite my deep love affair with sweets, cheese, and pasta, I have always loved healthy food. And now, in my ongoing quest to be in optimal baby-making condition, I’ve given more focus to my diet than I ever have before. I’ve tried to cut back on sugar, gluten, processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol (except for the binge that happens every month following a confirmed BFN, of course). I’ve also tried to pay more attention to how my body feels after I eat certain foods. Am I tired? Sluggish? Irritable? Energetic? I’ve found that when I’m able to sustain a tip-top diet for a period of time everything changes – I feel happier, less anxious, more energized. So I decided to share a few of the healthy dishes I’ve created over the last few years. I hope to continue adding to this list and sharing more recipes as time goes on.

These recipes all focus on foods that help fertility, such as avocado, walnuts, black beans, lentils, kale, and berries. The recipes are pretty simple, but I’ve never done anything like this before, so please let me know if any of the instructions are unclear. Click on the images below to be directed to the full recipe. Enjoy!

 Lentil and Avocado Salad

click here for full recipe

Lentil and avocado salad - fertility-friendly recipes

  Turkey Taco Bowls with Avocado, Black Beans and Brown Rice

click here for full recipe

turkey taco bowls with avocado, black beans and brown rice

  Full-fat Yogurt Parfait with Berries and Flax Seed

click here for full recipe

Full-fat Yogurt Parfait with Berries and Flax Seed - fertility friendly recipes

  Tortilla, Black Bean, Tomato & Egg Scramble

click here for full recipe

Tortilla, Black Bean, Tomato & Egg Scramble - fertility-friendly recipe


Steel-Cut Oatmeal topped with Walnuts, Almonds, Berries, & Chia Seeds

click here for full recipe

Steel-Cut Oatmeal topped with Walnuts, Almonds, Berries, & Chia Seeds - fertility-friendly recipe

Lentil, Kale & Potato Soup 

click here for full recipe

Lentil, Kale & Potato Soup - fertility-friendly recipe

Quinoa Salad

click here for full recipe

Quinoa Salad with chickpeas and walnuts and lemon garlic dressing - fertility friendly recipe

one lovely blog award nomination

blog award

I’ve been nominated by My Perfect BreakdownElectric Mystery, and Drunk Storks for the One Lovely Blog Award. These are lovely bloggers themselves; they have provided me with endless support, words of wisdom, encouragement, and empathy, even in the midst of their own struggles. I respect and admire them and think of them as strong women who are handling what life has thrown at them with grace and courage.  I’m so touched they would pass on this nomination my way. Thank you! (Since writing this post I’ve also been nominated by While We Wait, The Chronicles of the Unfruitfulness, The Cat Bed, and Scrambled Eggs and Sundry – all incredible blogs, all incredible women!)

The criteria for accepting a One Lovely Blog Award are:

1. Thank the person who has nominated you. Provide a link to his/her blog.
2. List the rules.
3. Include 7 facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated.
5. Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven facts about me:

1. I have a 15 pound chihuahua, which is huge by chihuahua standards. She’s not necessarily fat exactly, just more big-boned 🙂 I got her when I was a 25 year old single girl living in NYC, and she’s been the sweetest, most quirky little companion ever.

2. Since moving to Southern California, my favorite weekend activity hands down has become hiking. The hikes are beautiful here, and I’ve found them to be so healing and centering during tough times.

3. I love international travel, and I have spent time studying in Madrid, Florence, and central Mexico.

4. In my last job, I worked closely with members of the United Nations to help connect the LA creative community to the UN, in an effort to spread awareness of global issues through creative content.

5. My husband and I honeymooned in Cambodia and Thailand for three weeks after we got married.

6. I come from a very creative family which includes a film maker, blues musician, actresses, theatre directors and writers. I love the arts, and like to dabble in lots of little creative projects here and there.

7. My husband and I both worked in book publishing and our house is overflowing with all the books that we’ve collected over the years!

My Nominees for A Lovely Blog Award:

When I started blogging, I never anticipated the amount of true loveliness I would encounter within this new community. Every single blogger I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my journey with has shown total kind-heartedness, understanding, compassion, and somehow always has the right words to say to give me comfort when I’m struggling. I’m excited to highlight the following blogs as some true stand-outs, whether it’s through the grace they’ve shown through incredibly tough times, the humor they find in light of hardship, the wisdom in which they write about their experiences and perceptions, or the generosity in the kind support they’ve shown me. Thank you all!

A Calm Persistence

My Hope Jar

Laughs n’ Love

F*%k Infertility

Wishing For Positive

The Boy Who Never Lived

Lady Love and Baby Dust

Hope Anchors the Soul

The Cat Bed

Blooming Spiders

With Grace and Faith We Make a Family

Infertility, Why Me?

The Bruised Banana

Waiting for Baby Bird

Look for Rainbows

my baby will decide

I’ve always been a girl with a plan. I like lists and schedules and thinking things through and knowing what will happen ahead of time. And even though we know it’s futile, I approached baby-making the same way.

I got married when I was 31. We moved to Los Angeles after the wedding, and shortly after, I turned 32. I insisted I find a job before we started trying to get pregnant, which I did a few months later. I stopped birth control, and waited 3 cycles to load up on prenatals and folic acid, and to make sure I would receive full maternity benefits from work. And then we started trying.

I was determined to become pregnant by 33. Which I did. But I lost the baby 6 weeks before my 33rd birthday.

I then became determined to have a baby before turning 34. I became pregnant again, with a due date 6 weeks before my 34th birthday.

But I lost that baby too.

I then thought, ok well at least I’ll be pregnant again before I turn 34.

I turn 34 in eleven days and that’s not happening. So now I keep thinking, as long as I’m pregnant by the end of 2014, as long as I have a baby before 35….

These are self-imposed arbitrary deadlines, and they cause me so much stress and heartache.

I had a meltdown in therapy last week. About how I’m dreading my 34th birthday. About how I never wanted to get this old before having kids. About how my fertile years are slipping away. About how sad I’ll be if I’m not pregnant by Christmas. About how much I’m trying to make this happen for us.

She looked at me and pretty directly and said, “Alexis, you have no control over when you will have a baby.”

How could she be so mean? How could she say something so hurtful?

And even though the tears that followed were an involuntary reaction to those words, I knew she was right.

I fantasize all the time about letting go. Could I just trash my ovulation sticks, my basal body thermometer, never pay attention to what cycle day it is, or when my period is due? Could I ever just not care about when this actually happens? I know my therapist is nudging me in that direction. She wants me to acknowledge that this is out of my control, and to let go a little. She wants me to stop putting all my hope and desperation into each current cycle, and have faith that eventually, it will happen.

But how do you climb out when you’re in so deep? Every little bit of this is so loaded. I would just be pretending to not know the cycle day, or that I wasn’t anxiously awaiting the verdict at the end of the two week wait. Because I’m too scared to let go. Too scared that if I don’t try to control it in some way, it will never happen.

“The greatest suffering I see from people,” she told me, “are those that cannot accept the reality of their situation.”

I know that despite however much heartache it causes me, I’ve accepted that we’re fighting this battle. I pushed and advocated for our care every step of the way, even when doctors have written me off or rolled their eyes. I’ve accepted that we’ve needed help and that we had medical issues that needed to be fixed. And after the second loss, even though I was told over and over to “just try again,” and I wanted so badly to do exactly that, I accepted that it wasn’t the solution.

But what I still have trouble accepting, now that we’re fixed and primed and ready, is that I still have no control over when this baby will come. That every plan, every bit of effort, obsession, and desire, makes no difference.

And so I tried to think of it another way.

My baby will decide.

My baby is waiting for that perfect time to emerge. Waiting for the right time for its journey from zygote to the little human in my arms.

My baby is forcing me to get strong, to learn about perseverance, and patience, and faith. My baby is forcing me to learn when to exert control and when to let go. When to be assertive and when to be passive. When to perfect the art of equanimity and when it’s ok to meltdown.

My baby is waiting so that the joy of his or her arrival will be that much more overwhelming. Waiting so after all these tough lessons, I will be that much better of a mom.