women's health

Infertiles Have No Friends During the Holidays... Fine By Me

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When I was dealing with infertility, IUI, IVF, FET, M.D.s, R.N.s and R.E.s, I felt like I had no friends during the holidays. And frankly, that's the way I wanted it. Call it self-preservation. Why subject myself to being around people at a time when all they talk about, even more than the rest of the year, is… the kids? “I don’t know what to get for… the kids.” “We’re going to my mother’s with… the kids.” “We’re going to see Santa with… the kids.” (The only thing worse they can say in my opinion is “kiddos”. How annoying is that word?) I never felt bad about avoiding certain people around the holidays. Why should I? They probably didn’t want to be around me any more than I wanted to be around them. My friends knew what I was going through trying to get pregnant. So having me around them during the holidays, I’m sure a lot of them said to themselves: “Oh great. Here comes childless Lori. Maybe I should ixnay talking about the idkays” and then they’d get so caught up in their own holiday crappola that they would forget all about being sensitive and watching what they said and go full throttle into asking me to help them pick out toys and onesies. But that’s okay. Like I said, it was a two-way street. I think people dealing with infertility make a big mistake in believing that this is the time of year you really need your friends the most. Your infertility-friends, sure. But the rest of them? Are you kidding? For one thing, our friends are boring as hell at this time of year.

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For example: Infertile or not, does anyone want to stand next to their friend for 20 minutes while they scroll through their phone to show you all of their kids’ holiday pictures? First, you’re just standing there like a jerk waiting for her to find them on her phone. Then you’ve got to look at every combination. Joey and Stella. Joey, Stella, and Lily. Joey and Lily. Stella and Lily. Just Lily. Just Lily in her Santa pajamas. Just Lily in her teddy bear pajamas. Just Joey in his Santa pajamas. Joey in his Santa pajamas and Stella in her elf pajamas. And you have to have a ready reaction for every stinking photo while trying not to reuse any: “Cute!” “Sweet!” “Awww.” By the 9 minute mark, you’re thinking about giving up on the whole IVF thing. Who wants kids anyway if this is what it’s going to be like? After 14 minutes, you’re thinking about getting your tubes tied. 16 minute point, you’re picturing yourself as a nun whether or not you’re Catholic. As you excitedly realize that she has finally, at long last, reached the final photo, your mind has regained its proper focus and you just want to take the scissors away from the wrapping paper and plunge them into her neck.

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At least if they have the old-fashioned camera print photos, they typically just hand the massive stack over to you. So even if they’re looking over your shoulder so they can narrate every photo, you usually can get away with looking at only every third one by “inadvertently” moving a few that “stuck together” to the bottom of the pile at the same time.

And anyway, have you seen the shape of your friends lately? They’re not a pretty sight at this time of year. They’re running around, clothes disheveled, hair a mess, yesterday’s Target popcorn out of their pocketbooks, frantically mumbling to themselves: “One more store! Just one more store! I know I can get it cheaper! Or maybe online! I shouldn’t have bought that stupid thing for Stella. Now she has 6 things and Joey and Lily only have 5. What was that toy called? I know it must still be available somewhere!”

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Geez look at her. I don't even want to go near her. So, right, my friends didn’t want to be around me during the holiday season. Well, as luck would have it, I didn't want to be around them either. I didn’t go within a hundred yards of any friends. (I'd say fifty yards, but my normal speaking voice tends to carry without me really trying.) Who really wants to be near all of that stress, exhaustion, frustration and financial freak-outs? Wow. I never realized how much infertility and holiday shopping had in common.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. This holiday season, give the gift of laughter to someone going through infertility, or yourself, or someone in your life who really doesn’t “get it” which would also be a gift to yourself. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

 Laughing I S  Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

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Being Thankful for Knowing How to Handle the Relatives

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To me, it’s not really quite the holiday season yet. But since Halloween wasn’t over for an hour when stores started having their Pre-Pre-Black Friday sales and the Hallmark Channel already started replacing my beloved Murder She Wrote with their heartwarming holiday “classics” (which already put my husband in a thankful mood… He’s thankful for anything that cancels Murder She Wrote. He doesn’t care whether it’s a holiday movie or a power failure.) Anyhoo…

People prepare for holidays in many ways. Some people buy decorations the year before when they’re heavily discounted and put them away in the closet. Some people buy presents at the last minute. A lot of us have to emotionally prepare for the holidays. Especially if you’ve been trying to have a baby for a while.

So this year, whatever holidays you’re celebrating, whatever gatherings you’ll be attending with family, friends, or co-workers… the turkey, ham or whatever may be roasted but you won't be. I simply refuse to let it happen.

You won't be roasted (or grilled or fried) by the relatives on whether or not you're finally pregnant, if you're really trying to get pregnant, if you've taken a vacation recently to unwind because that’s probably all you need to get pregnant, or “have you seen a doctor?” or “tried adopting?” because women always get pregnant once they decide to adopt…

Or have you spoken to cousin Kathy who has six kids because she must be doing something right...

Or if maybe you're husband isn't doing "it" right...

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Or do you want me to move over so you can sit next to pregnant cousin Marianna because maybe you'll catch it "stupidity, stupidity, don't know what else to say to you so I'll say some more unimaginative, stupidity, stupidity, and... more stupidity" 

No, you will not be grilled, roasted, or fried by the end of this holiday season. I will not permit it.

So over the next month or so, as everyone starts to get ready for the holiday season frenzy, this blog will help everyone to get mentally and emotionally prepared.

You will not be alone. Together, as a group, we will tackle the holiday season and your relatives right here at Laughing IS Conceivable.

(Yes, I said "tackle". At this time of year, I feel compelled to use football terms... and truthfully, aren't there at least one or two of your relatives whom you'd love to see a barrage of angry infertile women throw to the ground and hold down on the front lawn until someone blows a whistle?)

From dealing with whether or not we should even attend these heinous holiday shindigs to--if we go: Who to hang out with, which rooms to avoid, who not to sit next to, and how to divert the conversation without blatantly cursing people out, although…

"Do you guys still want children?" 

"Screw off".

Yeah, that could work.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’re already feeling just a little less anxious about the upcoming holidays. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please consider subscribing to my infrequent newsletter or checking out my little book. It’s been read by 1000s like you who have looked to laughter to de-stress from infertility / IVF and is recommended by renowned fertility professionals nationwide. http://laughingisconceivable.com

  Laughing  IS  Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

Insanity in its Infancy

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This week, I wanted to give you an excerpt of my new book that’s just out (currently in eBook). It’s all about what it’s REALLY like to get pregnant with, stay pregnant with, give birth to, and take care of more than one baby day after day. Even though the book is a sequel of sorts to my infertility book, this first chapter is all about my infertility experience so readers would be up-to-speed and fully appreciate how I got myself into this whole “multiple babies” situation in the first place. In fact, as you can see, that’s what I called the first chapter. Hope you buy it! (I mean “like” it. Did I say “buy” it? Wow. That was awkward.)

Laughing IS Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy

Chapter One: Getting Pregnant with More than One Baby aka How I Got Myself Into This

Even if you haven’t read my first book, Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility, you just read my summary-length title which I’m thinking is enough of a hint as to how I got myself into this whole “multiple babies” situation. And this is how I got myself into the situation that got me into that situation.

A.    Waiting for Mr. Right... and Waiting... and Waiting... So what’s the holdup? Is he stuck in traffic or what?

My wedding, actually the engagement, actually the actual dating is when the lunacy began. If my husband-to-be and I had been younger, that common remark: “Let’s get married and start a family” might have been a two-part undertaking. We’ll get married and then, at some later date, down the road apiece, over yonder, start a family like a normal couple. But since we were both in our extremely late thirties when we met and neither of us had ever been married or had kids, we went from speed dating to speed mating. It was about as romantic as it sounds.

“Hi I’m Lori.”

“Hi I’m Lloyd.”

“Our names sound cute together and you smell nice. We should get married. If you don’t mind me asking: How old are you?”

“I’ll be thirty-nine in two months.”

I’ll be thirty-nine in two months!”

“Wow, that’s another cute thing to tell our kids!”

“Do you want kids?”

“I do!”

“Congratulations! I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

“Speaking of kids...uh oh look at the time on my biological clock... Half past thirty-nine. We’d better go. The rest of you can stay. The band is booked for another hour.”

After having waited so long to find the right person, I would have liked to have been a fiancee for more than twenty minutes. The only problem is that when you’re older, so tend to be everyone and everything around you. Families, both the ones we already had and the one we hoped to create, played a large part in the decision to set our plans on warp speed. Had we waited even another year or two to get married, who knows how many elderly relatives-- or potential children-- we would have had left? We weighed the pros and cons of waiting.

“On the negative side, we might not have some of our family at the wedding. On the positive side, we might not have some…of...  Hmm. It sure would un-complicate the seating chart. And we could probably save a few bucks by lopping a tier off the cake.”

But waiting was too much of a crapshoot. Who really knew how many good eggs I had left or how long our relatives would linger?   

Our plan was simple: We were going to get married and start a family all in the same day. After all, everyone gets pregnant on their wedding night, right? 

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Boy was I going to be productive that day. I was going to dance with all four of my new sisters-in-law and create their future niece or nephew all in a three hour span. Following the reception and conception, Lloyd and I would celebrate in the bridal suite / baby moon Jacuzzi (after I cleared it with my OB/GYN, of course) from which I would order everything non-alcoholic on the room service menu because, after all, I was eating for two, right? Maybe I could even speed up the pregnancy process and have a water birth since I would already be in the tub and check-out wasn’t until noon.  

Well I didn’t get pregnant on my wedding night or the night after that or the night of our first anniversary.

A.    Who Needs Medical Intervention When You Have Divine Intervention?  

During our brief engagement, Lloyd and I met a monsignor at a barbecue who blessed us, finishing with:

“Usually when I bless couples they end up having twins.”

Wait, what? I don’t know much about Catholic prayers but isn’t “Amen” Latin for “The End”? What’s with this “Oh by the way” he just tossed in there? You’re allowed to add asterisks to prayers? My first thought was:

“Oh geez, how do you undo a blessing? Isn’t that like trying to squeeze eye drops out of your pupils?”

If I’d known then how excruciatingly complicated, exhausting, and expensive the next year of my life would be, I might have taken the monsignor’s generous no-hassle twin set offer more seriously instead of gambling on what was behind Door #3. That’s the last time I ever try to undo a blessing.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! Both of my books are available on Amazon.

 Laughing  IS  Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ (also on Nook & Kobo)

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ (also on Nook & Kobo)

 NEW! Laughing  IS  Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy https://www.amazon.com//dp/B07J2QSDL9/

NEW! Laughing IS Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy https://www.amazon.com//dp/B07J2QSDL9/

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Infertility Horror Stories (Not Really... Humor Blog Here)

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I thought it would be nice to welcome in Halloween with a few Infertility Horror Stories... spooky, spooky, stories. (Not real infertility horror stories... I mean, come on. Who needs more of those? I mean, this is a… you know… humor blog.)

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So now, everyone gather in a circle, turn off the lights, get those smoke machines going that make you choke, and those flashlights under your chins...(Flashlights, not buttercups...nobody cares who likes butter right now.) ...And let the infertility horror stories begin.

Read on... if you daaaaare.

Infertility Horror Stories Exhibit A: "The Vanishing Fertility Patient"

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"Ooooooooooh there was this woman who lived alone with her husband in the house at the end of a dead end street. It was the one with the broken street light with the jagged edges that nobody ever replaced. The house was always drafty and the boards on the porch creaked when it rained.

Well this woman, legend has it, couldn't afford her fertility treatments. So one cold and stormy night, about 3 AM, under the cloak of darkness, she and her husband packed up and moved to a place in Canada where the treatments were covered...and they were never heard from again.

But they say that every Halloween, to this day, when it's a full moon and the wind is blowing from the North, the sound of a woman's fingernails scraping on the door of the very same fertility clinic that woman used to go to in the U.S. can be heard...along with the faint cries of a woman's voice:

'I don't get paid until the 15th! I promise I'm good for it. What the hell's wrong with you people?!'"

Infertility Horror Stories Exhibit B: "The Tale of the Odd Triplet"

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"Oooooooooooh years ago, in the old country, there was a woman whose sister went through fertility treatments. Suddenly she got pregnant and had triplets...

And as the children grew, everybody said there was something not quite right about them.

One of them...as the story goes... was ambidextrous...

One was... a red head...

And the other one...nobody ever saw...

People say she never went out. And when she did... she didn't speak... And she never looked anyone in the eye. Some say she had those eyes that look right through you. Some say she had no eyeballs.

They say she might have been deranged...or possessed... or from another world...

Last anyone heard, she'd married, moved to the suburbs, and joined a reality show on Bravo... No one will ever know the real story of who she is, where she came from, whatever happened to her original nose, or why people find her the least bit entertaining.

Infertility Horror Stories Exhibit C: "The Old Yenta & Her Sink Full of Knives"

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"Ooooooooooh there was this couple who went to his mother's house for every birthday, every anniversary, and every holiday-major and minor alike. And every time they were there his mother asked them:

'When are you going to have a baby?' 'When am I going to be a grandma?'

Month after month, holiday after holiday, the old woman badgered and bothered and tormented them:

'Why isn't she pregnant yet?' 'Why don't you want me to have grandchildren like all of my friends have?'

Finally the couple could take no more. They had had enough. That Halloween was the last holiday they would ever spend with that kvetchy old lady.

That evening, it was late...after midnight. Technically not Halloween anymore but that didn't matter to the couple. They were still filled with all of the evil that the spirit of Halloween seems to bring. That evening, they were in the kitchen watching the old broad clean up.

One by one, she washed the plates, and the forks... and the knives. There she was, washing...at the sink...those knives...with her back to the couple as she continued to torment them:

"You know, my sister-your Aunt Tilly- has four grandchildren...and her daughter got married after you did."

That was all the couple had to hear. All of those days, weeks, months, and years of torture at the mouth of this old bitty came rushing back...all of those words...mounting up, building up over time... They were awash with her words.

While she stood at her sink, her back to them, washing those knives, the couple snuck out of the kitchen and out the front door into the frigid, Halloween night, mumbling to each other: "Who needs this s%&t?"... and never returned.

Let’s face it: The scariest part of Halloween usually takes place the day after Halloween. When you go to the store and find that the $19.98 bag of chocolates has been discounted 10% and if you really want it anyway, you’ll have to maneuver around the employee on the ladder who’s putting up the candy cane display.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you feel just a little bit better than you did when you got here. Please consider signing on to my infrequent newsletter at the bottom of my home page & checking out my book (on the book page. Really?) It’s been read by 1000s, many of whom wanted some laughter during infertility, IVF etc. It’s been recommended by renowned infertility professionals around the U.S. It’s not only my book— it’s my true story.

http://laughingisconceivable.com

 Laughing  IS  Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

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Infertility Hayride

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Let me start by apologizing profusely for the deluge of autumn-related posts that I have already begun and will continue to thrust upon you. I’ve always loved this season although I never realized it until my early 20’s, when the beautiful feelings of crisp air and impending Halloween and Thanksgiving excitement were no longer blocked by the knot in the pit of my stomach that signaled back-to-school doom.

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Every year at this time I fall into the autumn marketing conspiracy trap. I run to purchase (and eat) every seasonal pancake and pie and I’m a total sucker for everything on the shelf— things I never buy until they have “spooky” or “pumpkin spice” in front of their name. And then there are the autumn activities: The State Fair, The Scarecrow Festival… and won’t you join me for a roll in the hay or at least climb aboard my infertility hayride?

Did you know you might have trouble getting pregnant? I didn’t. (Maybe I should have because I was in my late late late 30’s but I didn’t.) A lot of us don’t. We just decide we want to have a baby. We figure it's just going to take a few simple rolls in the hay and then we'll get pregnant. After all, we've heard the song our whole lives: "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes me driving an embarrassingly sensible minivan."

So then week after week, month after month, you two roll in that hay and all you have to show for it is a lot of sweaty hay lodged in various parts of your person. So you get yourself up, dust yourself off... and climb aboard the infertility hayride.

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"Move all the way to the front and scooch together."

You guys aren't alone anymore. The hayride is crowded. Dozens, hundreds, thousands are on the ride with you. Some wear scrubs or white lab coats - an odd fashion choice for a bumpy jaunt through the woods. But most of them look just like you, like they shop where you do: At the “Overwhelmed and Exhausted Mess” boutique.

There will be no rolls in this hay. Oh no, we can't have that. All of this hay is neatly packaged. The lab coats will tell you where to sit, when to sit-- when to touch the hay-- when not to touch the hay.

"And while you're sitting there enjoying the ride, we'll go into the hen house and collect some eggs and... no no, shoo rooster shoo... we're not quite ready for you yet. Just hold your horses... and your plastic cup."

The ride will go up hills, into ditches, scrape bottom on a rock or two, smell like manure, and pass your car that's been patiently waiting for you in the parking lot, several times. You'll get rocked from side to side, you'll lean on each other so you don't fall overboard backwards, and all the while a bunch of the lab coats will be steady on their feet, calmly walking up and down the ride. Unlike the polite folks at the food court, they will be taking samples... from every ready, willing, and able female arm crease and ovary they can get their little latex hands on.

And while they seemingly are spending all of their time talking to you about needles: The needles that go into your arm, the needles that go into your stomach and the needles that go into your butt cheek, what they‘re mostly doing is giving you hope so you won’t think that the chances of you ever having a baby are about the same as you finding the one in the haystack.


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 eBook Now Available!

eBook Now Available!

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Hey, I really appreciate you taking a hayride with me through my buffoonery. Come have more laughs at infertility’s expense (and others) by signing on to my newsletter at the bottom of my homepage and checkin’ out my books: http://laughingisconceivable.com.

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Fertility Autumn: What the Hell Kind of Season is That?

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When I was doing stand-up comedy in NYC years ago, I went for color analysis to figure out what shades of make-up and clothes would be best for me to wear onstage. Back then, when it came to “right” colors and “wrong” colors, every person on the planet was divided into the four seasons. I was declared to be an autumn as was my fellow-comedian friend, Jane Stroll. In fact, Jane had a bit in her act: “I’m an autumn: A short season where things wither and die.” Autumn has always been my favorite season but back when I first tried to get pregnant, I was indeed in the autumn of my fertility and it felt exactly like Jane had described in her act..

I had no indications that I would ever have trouble getting pregnant. Sure I knew that older women have a harder time but nobody ever thinks that’s going to be them. And celebrities do it all the time: “Hey, Kelly Preston had a baby at 48! And Janet Jackson was 50!: If they can do it so can I! After all, what have they got that I don’t except maybe great health insurance and extreme wealth to cover their co-pays giving them access to medical options that I’ve never even heard of!!”

It was four months before my 39th birthday when I got married and therefore started trying to get pregnant. (Call me old-fashioned.) For over a year, I tried on my own to get pregnant. (well, not totally on my own. I'm not a complete idiot.) That’s when it first hit me that there really might be something to this whole “fertility autumn” thing. Jane’s whole “wither and die” scenario. What the hell kind of autumn was this? Autumn to me meant pumpkins, hayrides, candy apples, and the state fair not blood tests, hormone shots, egg retrievals, and nightly butt injections. The emotional roller coaster of infertility was about as close as this crap ever came to the state fair. “Your egg retrieval went great! We got 112 eggs out of you! (Yay!) But only 10 of them became embryos. (Aww) But they all made it to day 5 for transfer! (Yay!) But you didn’t get pregnant. (Aww) But we froze other embryos that we can try! (Yay!)

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To be honest, it’s amazing to me how women so openly discuss every step of their infertility / IVF adventure in online groups. They’re incredible. They ask questions. They seek advice. They give comfort and encouragement. I sure didn’t. When something comes into my life that’s so overwhelming, so all-consuming as infertility, I kind of tune out. I went through the motions okay. I went to the fertility clinic. I went to all of my appointments. I did what I was told and not anything more. I never did special diets or ovulation kits or took my temperature,or even took home pregnancy tests. On the positive side of my denial: I never read any statistics on what a long shot it was to get pregnant at 41.

"When you're 28,  the chance of getting pregnant in the first three months of trying is 1 in 2. At 32, it's 1 in 12. At 38, it's 1 in 1200. At your age, it's 1 in 54 million... better odds than winning the Power Ball lottery… but only slightly."

Every autumn, my family and I do a corn maze. We're notoriously terrible at it. It can be the same exact maze every year and it still takes us two hours to find our way out. I’m sure we make the exact same wrong turns every year. One year, there had been a storm that ripped through the maze the week before we went leaving half of it gone altogether and the other half cut down to about four feet high. Didn’t matter. Just because we could see the exit the entire time doesn’t mean we could figure out how to get to it any faster. They give you a flag so if you get lost and give up you can wave it and the staff will come rescue you. Throughout the fun-filled afternoon you can hear the sweet sound of wives yelling at their husbands: "We've been in here forever! Everybody’s hungry and exhausted. Will you wave the damn flag already?!!"

All things considered, I'd rather be hopelessly lost in a corn maze than an infertility maze.... and I've been hopelessly lost in both... a few times.

***

Thanks a lot for stopping by! Two ways to get out more of my shenanigans: 1) Subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of the home page 2) Check out my books under: “Books” (no kidding) http://laughingisconceivable.com

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Coming Soon! Laughing IS Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy. (That green book right there.)

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Sisterhood of the Traveling Hormones

women laughing 1There are all types of sisterhoods. Infertility certainly has a huge one. When I was doing stand-up comedy, I was part of a great sisterhood. Back then, female comics rarely worked together. In the NYC clubs, yes. But on the road...never. We were considered a novelty act. Ventriloquists, Magicians, Women. Nobody would book more than one novelty act in a show.

"We can't have her on that night, we already have a juggler."

So every time you'd run into a fellow female comic it was like a grand reunion.

Every sisterhood joins women together in what they have in common. For comedians it's: "Hey, will you give us a break? We're just trying to make people laugh and maybe eek out a living here." With infertility it's:

"Hey, will you give us a break? We all have this sucky hell-hole of a disease/ condition/ major fricken annoyance.  We're just trying to get through it and maybe eek out a baby here."

We all involuntarily joined this infertility sisterhood. What you do with your membership card is totally up to you.

I'll be honest, I didn't appreciate the sisterhood of the traveling hormones during my infertility days.

When I was going through infertility, I never went to any support groups. I never logged onto any online support forums. I never socialized with any other infertility patients...for several reasons--All of which I'm sure any good psychologist worth her $125 for 45 minutes would find troubling:

1) Denial

I think I'll simply go to my doctor appointments in the early mornings and do my belly shots at night and just go on with my life the rest of the day and pretend neither ever happened. Yeah, that's what I'll do. If I don't ever talk about infertility, then I must not be infertile. Doesn't that make total sense?

See, that's why I couldn't join any support groups-- online or otherwise. if you're talking to me about your infertility: Your blood tests, drugs, and procedures, and I know exactly what you're talking about, I must either be a Reproductive Endocrinologist or, like you, I'm a patient.

Let's see, I think I'd remember if I'd gone to medical school... No, I don't remember doing that.

It's the same sound theory that kept me from dating short guys--back when I was single, of course. Even though I'm short by any reasonable person's standards... how could I ever date a teeny man? If he's standing next to me and we're the same height...and people start saying: "Awww... They're so cute." My ego-denial just couldn't compute.

(I really need to move to a country where the average height is five feet tall. For once in my life, I want to tower over someone over ten... and maybe even duck through a few doorways.)

2) My Unhealthy Competitive Nature

During my bout with infertility, I'd momentarily forget I was trying to get pregnant and just try to make strangers in the waiting room jealous.

"So I have thirty good size follicles. One is 60 mm's. All of the nurses, doctors... everyone joked that maybe there was an ostrich egg in there. Isn't that hilarious?! Nobody had ever seen one that size before. They had to invent a special test just for me." Or:

"Oh, they transferred three embryos back into you? Well, I'm going to have my doctor put in nine." (I stopped just short of sticking out my tongue and saying: "Naaaa!")

3) "Self-Absorption"

Now, I think I have a little more compassion for women on the infertility chat forums. Back then, I would have been like: "Oh, yeah, yeah, that's terrible too...not to interrupt, but, anyway, like I was saying..."

I think that nowadays, I'm much better equipped to be part of the sisterhood from my current perspective: As someone who's gone through infertility and treatments and made it out alive. I think back then, I would have been one of those sisters you actually create a family reunion around: You plan it for a date when you know she can't make it.

(Want more laughs at infertility's expense? Please do click my eBook icon- reviews, chapter previews-- to the left over there. This eBook has been downloaded by thousands of infertility sufferers, their partners, families, & medical teams. http://amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A -also on Nook & Kobo.)

That First Waiting Room is the Most Special

IM000281.JPG Most of us know that there are a myriad of reasons a woman could need to see a fertility doctor: Things wrong with her parts. Things wrong with his parts. Things wrong with both their parts. Things wrong with nobody knows whose parts. Since I was 38 3/4 years old when I met my husband, 39 1/2 when I got married, and 39 1/2 and 4 hours when I first tried to get pregnant, everybody assumed my age was what sent me kicking and screaming into a fertility clinic at the over ripe old age of 41. Nobody ever came right out and said that that was the diagnosis but the writing was on the wall (not to mention on the outside of my chart when I finally did get pregnant. Since I'm not a physician, I could only assume that "AMA" in bright red letters (so much for Hippa) meant: "Advanced Maternal Age" not "American Medical Association".)

I remember that first day at the fertility clinic well. Particularly the waiting room. Every woman in the room appeared to be young-- extremely young. For a second I thought it was a Girl Scout troop. Apparently panic attacks can cause hallucinations. I blinked hard like I was Jeannie. (I just gave my age away again, didn’t I? Come on, Nick-at-Nite, reruns, yeah, yeah, that’s where I’ve seen it.)

I surveyed the room again. I felt like I was a contestant among other contestants in a Miss America pageant and someone was about to mistake me for Miss South Dakota’s aunt. I tried to engross myself in a magazine. There was Madonna on the cover. Great. Had her first child at sixty. Still looking fab at seventy-two. I turned it over in disgust leaving it for the next old infertile masochist.

I turned my attention to the forms I was given to fill out with a pen that was chained to my clipboard. I looked at the women around me and their pens and clipboards. Mine seemed to have an unusually short chain.

It was a conspiracy. Clearly the staff didn’t want me there. And as for the other women…Here was a group of ladies, all of whom were like me- Potentially suffering some reproductive malfunctions- and I still hated their guts. I think the true definition of low self-esteem is when you can look at a group of people who have the same afflictions as you, and envy them….

Why couldn’t I have had fertility problems at twenty-eight like that girl over there? If I have to have fertility problems why couldn’t I at least have perfect skin like that girl? Or that girl’s bracelet? Or that girl’s husband? He has nicer hair than mine does. Or that girl’s cell phone?

Then my hallucinations started again. This time they were of the mean, nasty, catty and, oddly enough, therapeutic, variety. I decided that the “twenty-eight” year old, was named Staceeé (spelled with three “e”’s and an accent aigu. I figured she may as well be cutesy, pretentious, and idiotic). Upon further analysis, I determined that she was not quite so young after all. In fact her fertility issues, according to my diagnosis, were caused by complications from her Alzheimer’s medications. I had never heard of that happening before but there you are.

The girl with the hairy husband was evidently not so young either. It seems Penelope had been married for thirty years, divorced when her husband discovered she had gone back to being a sixties cover band groupie and was now trying to have a baby with her eighteen year old second husband, Gustav, who may or may not have a secret family in Sweden. I haven't made up my mind yet. I put my hallucinational arm around Penelope. We bonded immediately.

By the time my husband came back from answering a call on his cell phone in the hallway, not only did I have everyone in the waiting area neatly named and demoralized, I had the median age of the room set at sixty-three. It would have been higher had I not figured myself into the math.

The loving fantasy support group came to an abrupt end when the nurse called my name... and then asked my husband if he needed help bringing me into the office eight feet away.

(Please check-out my eBook, Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility by clicking the book cover icon to the left or by visiting Amazon:  http://amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A. Also available on Kobo and Nook.)

If Only Men Had Kvetch Forums

guy on computer- funnyFor the past two weeks, my goal for this here Laughing IS Conceivable blog has been to get us to help take the sting out of this impending Father's Day thing for the loving husbands/partners/spouses involuntarily turned antiseptic sperm donors in our lives. I'm not implying that they were forced into doing fertility treatments but let's face it: None of us got involved with treatments because we thought it would be a fun adventure. What kind of a lunatic would have IVF on their bucket list between "see the pyramids" and "climb Mount Everest"?

But, to be honest, I sometimes feel men are a little neglected emotionally in this process. Maybe not by us in our own homes... but on blogs and social media. It's nobody's fault. Men, whether they're the support person or the patient, don't blog about it nearly as much as women and they certainly don't go on Facebook or elsewhere to engage in ongoing kvetch and helpfests. And the main reason they don't, is because nobody in their wildest nightmares can picture this ever happening:

Hi I'm Dave. I'm new to the group. Thanks for letting me join. I really appreciate it. So, thanks. I hope it's okay if I post here. Would someone please let me know if it's not okay??? I've been so upset this whole morning. I just had to tell someone. I hope it's okay if I post here. My DW has been great but she really doesn't understand. We've been trying to have a baby for 4  years. I was diagnosed with LSC and PM (low sperm count and poor motility.) This weekend, we're invited to a neighborhood pool party. It's not really a Father's Day party but it is on Father's Day weekend (even though it's the day before) so you know everyone is going to be talking about how they'll be celebrating Father's Day and then you know there are going to be people who look at me and wink and elbow me and smirk and say: "So, what about you?" And to make matters worse, the pool is heated and the doctor said I shouldn't be in hot water. Should I not go to the party and tell my DW to go without me? How will she explain why I'm not there? Should neither of us go? I can't tell them we're going away this weekend. They'll see the car in the driveway. Should we make plans and really go away? Can anyone suggest a place to go where nobody will be celebrating Father's Day? Or should I go to the party and just not swim? Should I tell my DW not to go in the pool either so I won't be sitting out all by myself? I feel like that would be selfish because she loves to swim. And what if the neighbors ask why we're not going in the water? I don't want the neighbors to think we hate their pool. Should I take the husband aside before the party and ask him to lower the water temperature?  If I just dive in the water and get right out, will I be okay? Does anyone know if there's anything I can wear inside my bathing trunks to keep the water temperature from affecting my testicles? Should I wear my waterproof watch so I can time exactly how long I'm in the pool? What if I'm in the middle of a conversation with a neighbor when the alarm goes off? What excuse will I make for suddenly jumping out? Has this ever happened to anyone?.... I feel so much better!!! I love you guys!! Thanks!!!

So, let's give the guys a little extra love and support this coming weekend because, well... Can anyone  imagine that ever happening on an infertility support forum? Yeah...me neither.

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. http://amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A (amazon/kobo/nook)

The "Other" Memorial Day

If you're not in the U.S., you may not know about Memorial Day that we just celebrated yesterday. I hate to say "celebrated". It's really a day of remembrance for all of the soldiers who lost their lives while serving in our military over the centuries. There are typically moving events in most regions of the Country to commemorate the day. Then there's the "other" Memorial Day: A three day weekend of this: Soldiers died... so people could add "started drinking at 10 am" to their normal "texting and driving" repertoire.

Soldiers died... so people could eat their body weight in grilled meat.

Soldiers died... so thousands of people could all decide that Friday at 4 pm was the perfect time to take the five hour drive to the beach that's 45 minutes away.

Soldiers died... so beer guzzlers could become fireworks experts.

Soldiers died... so thousands of people could all decide that Monday at 4 pm was the perfect time to take the five hour drive home from the beach that's 45 minutes away.

Soldiers died... so thousands of others could do a three day walk-a-thon, schlepping their luggage through rope lines at the airport.

And last but very least:

Soldiers died... so I could get my bras "buy one get one free." And when they're on back order, the bra company graciously sends me a postcard...a postcard... stating: "Your 34D bra is on its way!"

Very last but even more least...

Soldiers died... so my mailman could know my bra size. It may have been Memorial Day weekend, but there you go, buddy. There's your Christmas tip.

Dedicated to all of you in the military or with spouses or other family members in the military or who have been lost while serving... Thanks...   Microblog_Mondays

Did they Really Mean: "Start Asking"?

Microblog_MondaysA little while ago, for National Infertility Awareness Week, infertility bloggers were asked to write a post. This year's theme: "Start Asking". So all of us who write and post about infertility got to work and wracked our collective brains to come up with our own unique takes on the topic: "Start Asking". Now that a few weeks have gone by and I've had time to let that really settle in, I'm starting to wonder: Was that theme a misprint? No, I'm serious. Hear me out. I mean, Resolve (http://resolve.org) the excellent national infertility association, probably knows infertile people better than anyone. And yet... they... were... asking... us... to... ask... more questions? I'm sure in their time, they've seen a few posts on infertility support groups... heard directly from a few fertility patients... spoken to some medical professionals who deal with fertility patients every day... and yet... they still wanted us to ask... more questions? I don't get it. Were they implying that in the course of our average, run of the mill, daily repartee we aren't posing enough questions?: "Why aren't I pregnant yet? When will I get pregnant? Will I ever get pregnant? Am I too old to get pregnant? Are my ovaries okay? Are my tubes okay? Are my hormones okay? Is my husband okay? He doesn't look okay. Do I have enough eggs? Are my eggs okay? Should I stop eating eggs or eat more of them? The white part and the yellow part? Does it matter which part I eat first? Should I go to a specialist? What kind of a specialist? A fertility specialist or an infertility specialist? Can you recommend one? How are her success rates? I'm only 5'1". How are her success rates with short women? Has anyone ever tried acupuncture? Should I try acupuncture? I'm afraid of needles. Should I try IVF instead? Should I try fertility yoga? I'm afraid of yoga. Should I try yogurt instead? Do I eat it or insert it? Should it be low fat or high fat? Should I try herbs? Do you pronounce the 'h' in 'herbs'? I've been drinking a lot of water and now I have to go to the bathroom. Has this ever happened to anyone? Does anyone know if this is normal? My mother-in-law wants a grandchild ASAP. Should I tell her to F off? Will my insurance cover anything? Will it cover anything if I cross the border and have treatments in St. Louis? How about Peru? Should I fly or take a boat?"

I'm not kidding. Obviously, the theme was a misprint. And by the time someone realized it, we'd all written our posts and it was too late. Oh, I hope nobody at Resolve lost their job for the blunder. Clearly what they meant to say was not:

"Start Asking".

What they meant to say was a theme heavily supported by our partners, coworkers, family, friends, medical professionals and, truth be told, the remaining sane part of our own subconscious minds: 'Stop Asking... Please... Just Stop Asking!!'"

Am I the Only One Stressed Out By Coupons?

option-2 (1)Maybe it's a reaction to something in my past life. I don't mean when I might have been a peasant in 18th century Ireland. I mean when I was sixteen and worked as a supermarket cashier and somebody would come on my line with fifty items and fifty-three coupons: A third of which were legit, a third of which were expired, a third of which were for products not sold in that state, let alone the store. Whatever the cause... I'm just not a coupon person. I know... A lot of you must be thinking: "How lucky that you never needed to use coupons." No, no... Don't get me wrong. (Or like they say on Maury: "Don't get me twisted"): I never said I didn't need to use coupons. In fact, that's how I knew I really hated coupons. When you're flat broke and the free local paper is laying there on your driveway and you pick it up and see it's packed with coupons and you still say:

"Na, I can't be bothered."

That's how you really know you hate coupons. Whenever I've ever taken one to the store, I can't think of anything else. As I'm parking the car, getting out of the car, walking into the store, getting the shopping cart, I keep repeating my angst-filled mantra:

"Don't forget to use the coupon. Don't forget to use the coupon. Don't forget to use the coupon."

When I finally get to the aisle where the item is, I'm already sweating and breathing heavily like I'm having a totally unnatural reaction to the stubbly guy with the dolly and the fuzzy butt crack who's stocking the shelf.

Then I have to take out the coupon to read it. Then I look at the item. Read the coupon again and look at the item in my hand again: "Nabisco" "Nabisco" "12 ounces" "12 ounces" "Any Fruit Variety" "Mixed Fruit". I'm still so paranoid I'm taking the wrong item, I need validation:

"Excuse me Sir, 'Mixed Fruit' counts as 'Any Fruit Variety' doesn't it? I mean: 'Mixed Fruit isn't technically a fruit, but it's a mix of fruits that are all fruits. Right? Or maybe I should just take 'Strawberry' to be sure, even though I'd really rather have 'Mixed Fruit.'"

He doesn't work for the store. He doesn't even work for Nabisco. So he ignores me and keeps stocking bread on the bottom shelf and now I'm not only stressed out over the coupon but I'm dying to yell: "And pull up your Gd damn pants!" And run out of the aisle.

So at about 63% sure that I took the correct item, I continue along my merry way to finish my shopping, checking the coupon another three or four times to re-confirm and re-re-confirm that: 1) It didn't expire 2) It wasn't void in my state 3) I didn't have to buy two to use the coupon 4) I didn't drop it somewhere in the store as a result of taking it in and out of my purse so many times. (Once or twice I actually have had to retrace my steps to retrieve it from the floor of an earlier aisle.)

Finally, I'm at the check out and almost home free. (If you're familiar with the Brady Bunch, at this point I'm feeling like the boys did when they were trying to get rid of the bad luck idol in Hawaii)...

And here comes the biggest challenge of all for me: I have to remember to give the cashier the coupon. Having cleared that hurdle, I hold my breath while they scrutinize it. Whew. It seems to have passed inspection. So, I saw the cashier pick it up at the beginning of my check-out experience, now I exhale and then hold my breath again, hoping they remember to pick it up again and actually take it off my bill at the end of my check-out experience. And what if it doesn't scan because there's too much of my hand sweat on the bar code? And what if they can't manually enter in the numbers? And what if the manager finally comes over and they can't do it either and what if... oh, it scanned on the first try... okay, good.

Once I forgot to hand it to the cashier until she was done with the order and she said cheerily: "That's okay. Use it next time." I looked at her like she'd lost her mind.

"Next time?! I can't go through all this again! I just...... can't."

I will say, not to pat myself on the back, but I have come a long way in the coupon world: I no longer freak out when people pronounce "coupon" wrong. I won't even boast by telling you which way is wrong. It must be a sign of maturity.

Please check-out my New l'il Humor eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School @ http://amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19Aoption-2 (1)Microblog_Mondays

 

I Proclaim Today as: "Give Yourself a Cookie" Day

So how'd your mother's day go? Guess what? No matter how it went, you survived. It's over. And damn am I proud of you. If you cried. If you hid under the table. If you never got out of bed. If you blew off family festivities because you were too depressed. For you, I hereby proclaim today as: "Give Yourself a Cookie Day!"

For you who sat through your mother-in-law telling you how proud she is of all of her grandchildren (even the imbeciles among them) and wishes she had more... Give yourself a cookie!

For you who spent time at a family gathering watching your nieces and nephews run around as you secretly hoped they would throw up on one of their parents just to bring a little joy into your day... Give yourself a cookie!

For you who bit the bullet while your mother cornered you in the kitchen and reminded you of how much younger you're not getting...

Give yourself a cookie!

For you who endured cousins showing pictures of their kids on their iphone, while the damn kids were right in front of you... Give yourself a cookie!

For you who listened to your siblings complain to each other about how hard it is being a parent and how they never have enough time for themselves... And if you only knew how lucky you were...

Give yourself a cookie!

For you who went out with the extended family to some family-style BS restaurant and had to stand there while everyone counted six times how many high chairs and how many booster seats were needed... Give yourself a cookie!

For you who just couldn't deal with the holiday at all and stayed home and bitched to your spouse... Give yourself a cookie! (Even you who yesterday gave yourself a case of cookies and washed it down with a gallon of ice cream.)

And for you who got so fed up, you told a relative who gave unsolicited advice, or made a thoughtless remark to "Screw-Off"... Give yourself one of those giant bakery cookies. (Preferably one with a huge smiley face looking up at you.)

And for you who did nothing, avoided everyone, went nowhere, turned off the lights and pulled the blankets over your head...You survived the day...and that's plenty... So..."Give yourself a cookie!"

Microblog_Mondays

Are 1/2 Anniversaries 1/2 the Fun or Just Dumb?

So tomorrow marks my 12 1/2 year wedding anniversary. I know it's corny and stupid. Even my husband thinks so. So it's not like we're one of those adorably nauseating couples that are so fricken cutesy you can't stand to be around them. It's just me. I celebrate the day we met. I celebrate the day we got engaged. I celebrate our 1/2 anniversary. I celebrate our actual anniversary. You'd think I was an alcoholic just looking for any excuse to celebrate. We met on the 7th so every month on the 7th, I'd bring it up: "We've been together for four months today!"

Then when we got engaged on the 5th, I switched everything over to the 5th.

"We've been engaged two months today!"

Then, we got married on the 26th and that's where we stand. So tomorrow, as I'm sure my husband is fully aware, I'll turn to him in bed first thing in the morning and say:

"Good morning Honey, do you know what today is?" And he'll reply as lovingly as always:

"Oh geez, are you still doing that?"

Microblog_Mondays

Why Do People Insist on Interviewing ME?

This week marks a special anniversary of sorts for me. This week, for the 1200th time in my life, my big mouth has gotten me into huge trouble. A couple of months ago, a woman had posted about a guest she was having on her blog radio talk radio blog show radio (I never remember what the hell they're really called). Her weekly show is about love and laughter. So the guest that week was going to be talking about how humor is therapeutic, so I tuned in. I was going along fine listening until the interviewee said something that arrived in my ear canal as: "And when I'm talking about humor, I don't mean 'jokes'. Jokes don't mean much. You just hear them and then a minute or two later you just forget about them." Well, needless to say: To a humor writer and former stand-up comic, thems are some fightin' words.

So I said to myself: "Lori, it's a live show. You're going to get yourself up, go up to that studio and give that interviewee a piece of your mind!" And if the studio hadn't been a thousand miles away in a different country and the show had been 24 hours long instead of an hour long, I might have. Instead I sent a hate-infused email.

Dear Maia Aziz,

How DARE YOU... I repeat: How DAAAARE YOOOU have on this person who mocks jokes?! Jokes are my life!! Jokes keep people from being angry!!! Jokes are funny!!! FUNNY I Say!! We would all be a society of nut jobs if it wasn't for JOKES!!

with love

Lori Shandle-Fox, Proud Humor Writer

Well, this Maia person answered me back. She sure did.

Dear Lori,

"Thank you for listening to my radio blog talk blog radio talk show talk. I think you would make an excellent guest. Would you like to be on my show?"

What? What just happened? Is she responding to the wrong email? Lori who? I just cyber got out of my car and squeezed my face into this woman's cracked open cyber window so I could curse her out for taking my cyber parking spot and she just asked me out for tea?

It could be a trap. It could be an ambush. She could have a dozen of her humor therapist friends lying in wait to group mock me live on the air. But publicity's publicity so I bit.

And if you'd like to hear me yammer on about Humor & Infertility with Maia Aziz on her weekly show: "Morning Moments with Maia: Conversations of Love and Laughter", please click on. I promise I occasionally let her get in a word edgewise. blogtalkradio.com/maiaaziz

Microblog_Mondaysmaia aziz's blog talk logo

All Roads (& Dark Alleys) Lead to Infertility

Do you know what the problem with infertility is? I mean besides the stress, the anxiety, the depression, the frustration, the roller coaster ride, the social stigma, the tests, the doctors' appointments, the drugs, the hormones, the needles, (big breath) the anger, the finger-pointing, hating yourself, hating your spouse, hating your spouse's family (nothing to do with infertility- just thought I'd throw it in), disrupting your work schedule, the financial devastation... Well this is the problem with infertility: It monopolizes your entire life. You can barely have one solid thought, idea or conversation that doesn't lead your mind back to the dreaded infertility problem. Every conversation, thought or idea we ever have ends up in a game of Word Association gone terribly wrong down a dark, lonely, alley... All roads (and dark alleys) lead to infertility. Tree: "Look at that beautiful tree. It's a pine tree." Do we think of Christmas trees? Don't be absurd.

"Pine tree. Pine trees have needles... Oh right. Time for another hormone injection."

Ballet: "Ballet... Dance. It's like yesterday when that woman I work with asked me why I came to work late and I danced around the issue. I couldn't possibly tell her that I had an appointment at my reproductive endocrinologist's."

Potato: "Potato...Idaho. I wonder if there are good fertility doctors there... No no, I was thinking about potatoes... Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. They were married for years without children but now they have kids on a potato chip commercial. I wonder if Mr. or Mrs. had the fertility issue... and if those spuds are biologically theirs."

Table: "I guess that one over there would look good in the dining room. As long as I don't have to lie on it with my feet in the air, I really don't care."

Oranges: "Are those Navel? I hate when my gynecologist presses down on mine while she's 'exploring'. Or are they Bloods? That reminds me: I have to get mine drawn in the morning."

Pancakes: "Pancakes...Oh, have you ever had them with chocolate chips? I have a poly-cystic ovary. It kind of looks like that."

Toothpaste: "Toothpaste... Comes in a tube... Yeah, one of mine is blocked."

Whore: "Whore... I don't sleep around. So why is she allowed to have eight kids and I have none? Anyway, I'd rather call her a trollop. 'Whore' sounds like 'hormones'.

Jenga: "Jenga...Milton Bradley... MB...embies...embryos"

Grass: "Grass...grass grows. Apparently I can't grow anything. I'm infertile."

Job: "Job...Steve Jobs had kids. No fair."

Tourist: "Tourist...Tour bus... Sounds like 'Uterus' (obviously)."

Taco Bell: "Taco Bell... Incompetent, dumb kids working at the drive-thru. My cervix is incompetent. That's why I can't have dumb kids of my own working at Taco Bell."

Gold Fish: "Gold Fish... Fish...Sperm... My husband's are lazy.

Basketball: "Basketball...Nice shot!...Oh crap, time for the Follistim again."

Door Knob: "Door Knob... The door to my fertility doctor's office has one."

(If you can stand me a minute longer, take a look at my l'il humor ebook over there to the left... & consider subscribing to this here humor blog also.)

Author Anne-Marie Scully Talks to Me of All People

When I was going through fertility treatments, I'll be honest: I read nothing. I joined nowhere. I didn't want the melodic sound of my own whining drowned out by the chaotic whining from a crowd of strangers. 
So this month, karma came and kicked me in my heavily IVF injected ass when I personally hand-picked Anne-Marie Scully's 2013 book: Motherhoodwinked: An Infertility Memoir for the IVF Journey Support Group Book Club on FaceBook. motherhoodwinked coverhttp://www.amazon.com//dp/B00BCLCYGO (https://www.facebook.com/groups/theivfjourney) Every agony, every heartache, every frustration Anne-Marie's gone through while trying to get pregnant, she puts out there so that others will not only see and feel but know that it's not "just them". And, thankfully, Anne-Marie was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.  
 
ed89166a2f439c05d52ea39738b4f7f5 (2)LSF:  You leave nothing much out of Motherhoodwinked. We're all of us, I would say, at our worst emotionally during our infertility struggle and you didn't hold back on any of it: The ridiculous expectations we have, the crazy things we try, the depressing rituals. It's the stuff diaries are made of.  Why put all of the raw, very personal insanity out there?
anne-marie scullyAnne-Marie: I found the journey so incredibly lonely, isolating and at times very very frightening. I shared my story simply because I didn't want anyone else to feel that depth of loneliness and pain. I wanted to connect with other women going through it and let them know how they were feeling was actually normal for someone in their situation. I had found great comfort in reading similar stories myself.
ed89166a2f439c05d52ea39738b4f7f5 (2)LSF: Having been older when I first tried to get pregnant, after trying the old-fashioned way for a while, I never even considered doing anything but going straight to a fertility specialist, but you tried everything... And I mean... everything...from the common sense to the bizarre and a lot in between. The short list: A nutritionist, Reiki, acupuncture, Vitamin D, Food Allergist, stopped eating egg whites, brewer's yeast & cow's milk, B6, Folic Acid, Omega 3, Royal Jelly, Evening Primrose, Chlorella, Spirulina, sweet potatoes and drank... Billy Goat Plum, Bottle Brush, & Old Man Banksia (which sound like pieces in a board game to me)... and a fortune teller which even in the book you admit probably wasn't such a great idea. Do you look back at this massive list now and think: "What in the world was I thinking?" and If somebody could magically promise you now that the answer to your infertility was in that list somewhere... would you try them all, all over again?
anne-marie scullyAMS: I guess because I was younger I felt it made sense to try as many of the non-interventionist methods as possible before moving to fertility treatment, but "yes" looking back I do feel ridiculous over some of them and I think I probably knew deep down they were pointless. I was just so desperate, I was willing to try anything and I had this need to constantly be trying something. I found it hard to be patient and just do nothing. The second part of your question is harder for me to answer as I feel I did in the end get to the root of why I wasn't getting pregnant and the solution isn't in that list. 
ed89166a2f439c05d52ea39738b4f7f5 (2)LSF: The whole first half of the book, you were running around a mile a minute trying everything to get pregnant, working twice as hard at your job (you're thinking you want to get the career work done before you leave to have a baby and they just think you're a fantastic employee and keep throwing promotions at you)... Then you decide to prove that baby showers don't bother you so you volunteer to organize everybody else's baby showers... And this crazy schedule went on for a long time! To be honest, I kept thinking you were going to have a heart attack or nervous breakdown. I felt stressed out just reading about it. Do you remember what it felt like living through it?
anne-marie scullyAMS: Yes it's very vivid still. I remember how frantic it all was and how utterly confusing. I also remember feeling like I was grieving. I felt a huge sense of loss and sadness for a life that I had imagined, that I didn't know was ever going to happen. That feeling which I guess can best be compared to grief was just so overwhelming. I didn't know how I was going to ever escape it. Being busy helped I guess even though it was probably contributing. 
 
ed89166a2f439c05d52ea39738b4f7f5 (2)LSF: There was a lot of frustration and despair in this book, but to me, there was a partial happy ending: I realized when I read in those last pages about you and your husband getting closer and more loving toward each other that throughout the whole book not only was I rooting for you to have a healthy baby, but that your relationship would survive. You two took on so much so early in the marriage, did you ever think during those first few years that he might say one day: "I just can't take this anymore. This wasn't what I signed up for. Bye."? .    
anne-marie scullyAMS: Yes I worried about it and it affected our marriage hugely. I guess we were both so incredibly open with each other even about the darkest emotions we had. There were no secrets, everything was laid bare. I think that level of communication even though at times it was hard for each of us to hear helped us to survive it. Hiding anything I feel causes issues in a marriage so the best advice I can give is to communicate even if you feel like a sad broken record. 
ed89166a2f439c05d52ea39738b4f7f5 (2)LSF: Motherhoodwinked was published in 2013, soon I think after your miscarriage, after having done IVF for the second time, and you were going to take time to let your body heal and consider your next move. We'd love an update if you're okay with it. 
anne-marie scullyAMS:  Later that year we did a 3rd round of IVF and I did get pregnant again. We had a daughter born in Feb 2014. When our daughter was 10 months old I fell pregnant again naturally. We had a son born in Oct 2015. I had heard stories like this but I never ever imagined it would happen to me. I'm still finding it hard to believe that after everything, we conceived naturally in the end. Before I did that 3rd round of IVF I had another laparoscopy and immediately went on the pill while waiting for treatment. The doctors at my new clinic advised this protocol so that the endometriosis would not have an opportunity to grow again after the lap. During pregnancy, endometriosis doesn't grow as the hormones that cause it to are not present. Then when my daughter was born, I was breastfeeding for 8 months and didn't have a period so again those hormones were not present. So that was a total of about 18 months where my system had a chance to heal. I believe it was the endometriosis that was causing me not to get pregnant initially but I guess I will never know for sure and that is the frustrating thing about all of this. I do believe we would never have conceived at all though without having done IVF first.
I hope you enjoyed our interview and apologize for Anne-Marie being so damn pretty. I try to interview women who are less physically beautiful than I, but ran out of potentials about three years ago. We can only hope that Anne-Marie doesn't really look like that and that she bought a stock photo somewhere or like mine, her photo's 20 years old... but she's only in her thirties now... so I doubt it.

 

Her book can be purchased on Amazon at the address above. Mine can be purchased to the left over there... Just saying.

 

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Infertility is Like a Trail... & the State Fair

If you're embarking on the infertility trail, (don't worry, you'll know it when you're on it: Dirt road, bumpy, rocky, big holes you can't see before you tumble head-first into them, quick sand, no street signs telling you which way to go... ) one thing you will find: It's a crowded son-of-a trail. You may not know what you're doing, where you're headed, or how long this stinking trail goes on for... but you're never alone on it. At any given moment, there are literally millions of others around your town, your state, your Country and many other places on planet Earth plodding along the same miserable miles. Or if you don't like my "dusty trail" image, think of infertility like the State Fair: Millions of people waiting willingly but anxiously, voluntarily but reluctantly, to take the same roller coaster ride. The adrenaline's pumping: Are they scared or excited? It's hard to tell. Probably a lot of both.

Although there are some big differences:

  1. Fertility treatment weight gain can't possibly compete with State Fair weight gain. Somehow the math never works out at the Fair where we convince ourselves that we've walked off the 12,000 calories we ate in the first half hour.
  2. Going through infertility with millions of others, my husband never once said: "That's why I never wanted to do this. You know I hate being around people!" or (in his best stage whisper):
  3. "These people in front of us are walking so slowly I've almost tripped over them five times. Go around them already!"  Both of which he says at the State Fair every fifteen minutes like clockwork. Some people set their watch by the sun. If I wore one, I'd set mine by my husband's complaints.
  4. The other millions of people probably won't be in the same waiting room of the same fertility doctor at the same time as you... Unlike the State Fair, where everybody who lives within a 200 mile radius and their first, second and third cousins decides that Saturday afternoon would be the best time to go... especially if they all plan to saunter next to each other in one long impassable horizontal row that looks more like a protest march than a day at the fair.

The point is this: You can join online infertility support groups or not... You can join local infertility support groups or not... You can tell your family & friends your infertility business... or not. But whatever you choose...no matter what: In those dark, exhaustion & hormone-induced teary-eyed moments in the middle of the night, no matter how much you may want to be alone or think you're alone... you're not alone. Out there, at that very same moment, if you listen closely, you can hear a symphony of sniffling, mucous-filled, whining, rambling messes all playing the same tune at the same moment.

(Please click my humor book icon over there to the left for reviews from fertility patients & top fertility professionals & while you're over there, please consider subscribing to this blog)  Microblog_Mondays

Oh Yeah, We're Good with Change

I don't get my fellow U.S. citizens. Everything during this election year is yelling: "We want change!" and then here we are, our lives turned completely upside down this weekend when we turned the clocks ahead one hour... Sixty measly minutes. It will take some of us weeks to recover. We'll be in a state of utter mental and emotional turmoil. And, therefore, we won't stop kvetching about the disruption to our lives to anyone who will listen and feel (or at least feign that they feel) our pain. This could go on clear until Fall when we change the clocks back... when the uproar will start all over counter clockwise.

"I'm so tired. Now I'll be groggy all week."

"I always take this week off from work. I just feel so out of it."

"I always get screwed up. Is it six o'clock or seven o'clock? Is it fall forward and spring back or fall back and spring board? Wait. Did I just get that from that article on the Olympics?"

"It's so dark when I get up now. It's like I'm brushing my teeth in the middle of the night."

"I'm so rattled. I try to live in the moment, but now I don't know which moment this is: A moment before seven o'clock or a moment before eight o'clock."

"Now I can't call my sister in Arizona. They don't change their clocks. Is she two hours behind us or three hours? She'll kill me if I call her during one of her shows."

"So are we on EST now or EDT?"

On top of the emotional angst of the whole "clock changing" idea, people also get overwhelmed about the literal "clock changing" chore.

"I never remember how to change the clock in the car. Great. Now I have to get the manual out of the glove compartment."

Like it's such a big inconvenience:

"It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have nine clocks! I have one on my phone, and one on the cable box, and one on the computer, and one on the tablet, and one on the laptop, and one on my security system, and one by the bed, and one on the stove and one in the car... Of course the first six change themselves automatically..."

There is definitely a bright side to all this madness: That Monday after we change the clocks in March is the one-day pass for every single person living or working in a participating location to be late to work and school. "Sorry, I'm late." (All together now) "I forgot to change my clock."

I look at it as a rite of Spring: The early stages of slack-offishness which typically accompany the blooming flowers, romance, and warmer weather.

Of course people still try to stretch Monday's "clock changing" excuse use straight through Thursday:

"I overslept. My body hasn't caught up yet to the time change." Or:

"I forgot to change my alarm" which of course makes no sense whatsoever.

I had a roommate years ago who was a flight attendant. (The ideal roommate if you have to have one.) Not only did she fly through different time zones all day every day, but when her mother got sick, she commuted back and forth for months between New York and Austria.

So, keeping my old roommate Herta in mind, all I can say about daylight savings is: It's one, single, solitary, lousy hour. Now that we've all physically changed our clocks, what do you say we just look at the time, accept it as the truth, and move on with our lives?Microblog_Mondays

The "Self-Service" Check-Out isn't Really

Personally, I love the "self-service" check-out at the supermarkets. It's great if you don't have any produce, or coupons, or alcohol, or your own bags, or anywhere to go in the next half hour. I worked in many a supermarket way before they were "super"markets. I even worked in one pre-scanners. We had to memorize codes for everything. (Scallions: 2410-- Sure but ask me what pants I'm wearing while my eyes are looking straight ahead at the computer screen.)

In my estimation, the day supermarket employees started working twice as hard coincides exactly with the day self-service registers were installed.

Every time my husband buys beer, the employee has to get out of her seat, walk around his graying, balding head and past his middle age belly to officially confirm to the register that he's over 21. At least this affords me the opportunity of saying, each and every time without fail:

"Aren't you going to check his ID?" Or even better: "He's over 21... 2 1/2 times."

Then, as the cashier heads back to her seat at the podium, I call again:

"Wait, I have a coupon."

This register has trust issues. Not only doesn't it believe my husband's over 21 (which is absurd in itself. He looks great for his age but nobody who's graduated high school in 2012 is going to come up to him at the mall and say: "Hey, weren't you in my English class?")

The register apparently also has absolutely no faith in me depositing my coupons into the slot as promised. It politely asks me if I have any coupons and if I answer in the affirmative, it turns on me. It starts yelling songs from The Preacher's Wife: "Hold on! Help is on the Way!" Things start beeping and the cashier has to come over with a card, a key, and six codes. You know somewhere way back at the beginning of these self-service machines, some supermarket somewhere got burned big time. Someone must have scanned thousands of dollars in coupons, pocketed them and put a tissue in the slot.

Then, I panic because sometimes I can't find the codes to scan and have to turn the package over six times like a Rubik's Cube.

Then, I panic when I buy fruits and vegetables. Do I scan the little label? Is it this label or this label? Do I weigh this? Do I use the code? Is this the code? Where exactly is the scale?

Then I panic because I never know where to look. The receipt comes out on the top, but I have to swipe over there, but the change comes out on the bottom, but the store coupons come out on the top but not the same top as the receipt.

Then I panic because the automated cashier accuses me of not putting the item in the bag when I did.

Then I panic because I can hear the impatience in the automated cashier's automated voice when I'm not getting the item in the bag fast enough.

"Please put item in the bag."

"Put scanned item in the bag."

"Bitch, put it in the bag before I cut you." (My supermarket's in a bad neighborhood.)

I'm sure my days of playing supermarket checker are numbered anyway. I saw it in an employee's eyes a few weeks ago when I was having produce issues. She came over and smiled and said: "Here, let me help you" but I could see deep in her pupils that by the time I'd turned that avocado over on the scanner for the fourth time, she wanted to yank it from my grasp: "Oh, just let me do it already!"

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the next time I approach the self check-out, a flash mob bullfight breaks out. Cashiers suddenly cut their breaks short, race to their registers, flick on their number lights and beckon me, urge me, cajole me to come over in an attempt to distract me from their fellow employees who are frantically scurrying around, chaining off all the self-service lanes.

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