Infertility

When You're Dealing with Infertility, It's Always Grilling Season

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This past weekend in the U.S. marks the unofficial end of outdoor barbecues aka “Grilling Season”. Unfortunately, when we’re trying mightily to get pregnant, grilling season goes on all year long. No matter what month it is, our friends, relatives, coworkers & neighbors have no problem stopping us at family functions, houses of worship, Wallgreen’s or our mailbox to grill us:

"So, are you still trying to have a baby?"

"Why are you waiting so long to have kids?"

“Did you take the supplements I recommended? My cousin’s sister’s neighbor couldn’t get pregnant either and they worked great for her.”

“Did you write to Dr. Oz? Or Dr. Phil? Or ‘The Doctors’?”

"I can't believe you still haven't gotten pregnant. I was only married a month before...  

Etc, etc..whatever, whatever, blah-blah blah,

Well, a few times a year, I like to post about turning the patio tables as it were. And here we are again: Time to shove a spatula under their collective asses, toss those busybodies onto the barbie and grill them for a change on some things that are totally, unbelievably none of OUR business.

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Fire-up the barbecue and let the grilling begin!

"Hi Barbara! I see you came out to get your morning newspaper. Speaking of news...

What's that blue truck doing in your driveway every afternoon about twenty minutes after your husband leaves? At first I thought that Don traded in his precious red Honda for a manly blue pick-up. But then there was that twenty minute thing. I never saw anybody leave to trade in a car and come back twenty minutes later with a truck, have you?  So what exactly is going on there?” 

*************** 

"Hi Marietta! You don’t mind if I just come up on your porch to sit with you for a few minutes do you? Something I’ve been meaning to ask you: I noticed the other day that you had your boobs done. I mean, they look nice and everything but they don't really go with your body. I mean your body moves in all directions and your boobs only look forward. Like, look right now. You're sitting down and your boobs are still standing up. And I’m just curious, you didn't have a boob job to keep people from looking at your butt did you?I mean if you're going to have plastic surgery, you probably shouldn't leave your ass behind. I mean, just look... there's like a twenty year age difference between your boobs and your butt.”

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“Hey Cindy! Have you ever noticed that every Monday morning when we see each other at the office, the first thing I always ask you is: ‘How was your weekend?’ and the first thing you always ask me is: ‘How are your fertility treatments going?’ I’m happy you’re so interested in that but you know infertile people have weekends too. I mean we go to the mall and the movies and restaurants just like regular people. Oh, while I’ve got you, I’ve been meaning to ask: ‘What exactly do you do at our company?’ Everybody else starts working at 8 but you come in at 8:20 every morning, have breakfast at your desk until 9:20, then you talk on your cell phone about what you did last weekend and what you’re going to do next weekend while you make coffee in the kitchen and then you go back to your desk, watch videos on YouTube, go to lunch and go home. I’m just not sure what position at the company has that job description. What’s your title supposed to be again? Do you know by chance if that department is hiring?”

I really appreciate you stopping by and sincerely hope you all get the wonderful outcome you seek. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please check out my books at the link below. The blue one down there is my bout with infertility, IUI, IVF & FET. The green one starts with my IVF & FET and is a sequel of sorts. They are both recommended by top medical professionals & infertility patients / survivors. 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

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

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

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Infertile Woman Having Labor (Day) Pains

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Labor Day is almost upon us again in the US. Okay, so I'm not saying I'm paranoid, but while I was going through infertility and treatments, I always took the name "Labor" Day as a personal affront to me and my kind. Just another conspiracy to screw with those of us trying to conceive. To all of those who live somewhere where there is a Labor Day, only those trying to conceive could take the name of the holiday personally. Most holidays offend us, or at least hurt our feelings. If it’s not the name of the holiday, it’s the traditions that take place during it. Everything seems to revolve around family… especially kids. Believe me, Labor Day is just the beginning:

Halloween: Grabby, greedy kids looking for candy.

Thanksgiving: Grabby, greedy kids wanting my turkey leg.

Hanukkah: Grabby, greedy kids wanting gifts.

Christmas: The birth of... Oh come on!

Only to hormone-infested raw nerves does Labor Day immediately conjure up thoughts of pushing a person through their love channel. (The Love Channel: Found on Spectrum Cable nestled between Lifetime and  OWN.) For everyone else it means:

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"Damn-- Why is this the last day the town pool's open when it's still 96 degrees outside?"

"Damn-- Why is this the last day the neighborhood pool's open when I'm paying $1800 a year in HOA dues?"

(If you’re over 45) "RIP Jerry Lewis and the MDA telethon."

"Oh no, school's starting. I have that pain in the pit of my stomach. I think I'm going to have to miss the first day."

"Football! Baseball playoffs! U.S. Open Tennis!"

"Clothing sales! Shoe sales! Tape sales! Ironing Board Cover Sales!"

"Last day to wear white" (unless of course it's January and the last clean crumpled item laying at the bottom of your closet happens to be white.)

"Barbecue!" Yeah, It's my last chance to take the cover off the grill so I can post pictures of us in our aprons with the caption: 'We barbecue every summer!'

"Time to curse out my cousin again." Why oh why must every family have a relative who kills every joyously restful three-day weekend by clogging them up with parties, weddings, christenings, or bar-mitzvahs, conveniently located to nobody?

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"Heading to the beach!" Last chance to get a tan or, in my case, a third degree burn.

And last but not least, for those drivers living in my beloved New York City:

"Yeah! A holiday! I don't have to move my car to the other side of the street until Wednesday!"

I hope everybody does enjoy Labor Day this year if you celebrate it where you are. You really deserve it whether you work or not because, let’s face it: Infertility all by itself is a full-time job... maybe two.

Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please take a gander at my little books below. They’re recommended by infertility patients & survivors, & renowned medical professionals. 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

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

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

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We Are the Many, The Proud, The Infertile Insane

When we enter into the landmine of infertility and its treatments, most of us are relatively sane, emotionally stable, mentally competent people. But sometime shortly thereafter, we start to go bonkers. It could be the stress of our situation, the medications, the hormones, the attack of fluorescent lights, the constant flow of blood siphoned out of our arms, the probings…

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I remember being at the clinic for my egg retrieval and looking at myself up and down as best I could from head to toe. (The clinic dressing room didn’t have a mirror. All dressing rooms should be this merciful.) There I stood wearing a hospital gown accessorized with a paper hat and paper booties. All I could think of at that all-important moment was: “I’ll bet this is how they’ll dress me at the asylum.”

When you read the posts on online infertility support groups, people are crying, hugging, on their very last nerve, beating the daylights out of each other with baby dust, venting about an insensitive partner, mother-in-law, coworker, or BFF, tossing out emojis like Frisbees, and forever on the verge of a total nervous breakdown. What a pretty group we are.

Sometimes I think we should be required to wear bumper stickers on our backs like new drivers have on their cars. to give everyone who comes near us fair warning. Instead of it saying "Student Driver" it could say: "IVF Patient". They would send the same vital messages as friends, family, and unsuspecting strangers approach: "Stay back. Stay way way back. This person is not responsible for her actions. This person could lose all control at any moment."

When you see that "Student Driver" bumper sticker what do you do? Stay away. Stay far far away.

The same could apply to the "IVF Patient" in the supermarket. People would run out of the aisle like they had just seen a Walmart personal shopper with their freakishly big carts. (I call them “Tray Trolls”) Shopping cart wheels would squeal and leave skid marks as people switched check-out lines.

"No, that's okay. I think I’ll just take the bar of soap I’m buying and get on that line over there behind the woman with the six screaming kids, two jam packed shopping carts, overflowing accordion coupon file, three gift cards and a checkbook.

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Yeah, the one with the cashier with the 'Trainee' name tag, (I think that's French). Yes, her: The one who can't seem to master the art of finding the end on a roll of receipt tape, has switched on her blinking number light and is nonchalantly calling for 'the key' and asking if she can go on break. Don't worry. Yeah, yeah, I'll be fine."  

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I look at infertility treatments as a door. We're pushing, with all of our might, on that door: The door perhaps to our future. But for now our screws are loose and we've become unhinged.

I really appreciate you stopping by. I hope you feel just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please do check out my books below. 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

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

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

Friends, Family & Random People Who Are Infertility "Experts"

People and their infertility advice. Is it just me or does the vast majority of infertility advice you get come from people who have absolutely no personal or professional knowledge whatsoever about infertility? But that doesn’t stop them. Sometimes people are so into giving infertility advice, you don't know whether to be touched by their concern or wonder if they have stock in whatever jerky idea they're peddling. And let the infomercial begin.

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contraption

"Have you heard about the 'Ovulator'? Here's the ad in this magazine. Just 19.99"

First the disclaimer: She has to let you know that unlike yours, there's nothing wrong with her reproductive system.

"The Ovulator is an amazing product. Of course I never tried it myself. You know I never have any trouble getting pregnant. All my husband has to do is look at me and I get pregnant. (Hm. I don't… think…that’s…the way it works. I wonder if she really does?.)

Now for the infomercial:

"I used to work with a girl whose cousin had the exact same problem as you... until she tried the Ovulator"

Who is this co-worker? Who is her cousin? Bring them to me. I don't believe either exists. This woman just pulled them out of thin air (or somewhere else) to add credibility to her ridiculous infertility advice. Notice it's always a former co-worker’s cousin. Nobody you know. Nobody she sees every day. This way if you want to ask the lady personally how she liked the Ovulator she is totally untraceable. Nobody's heard from her. Nobody knows where she lives. The day your “friend” left the job, the coworker and her cousin both moved, changed their cell phone numbers and closed all of their social media accounts.

And if going along with the charade you ask this person who dishes out supermarket check-out tabloid infertility advice—no doubt she’s found the Ovulator breakthrough story next to the photo of Khloe Kardashian and Prince Harry’s love child—-what problem the ex-coworker’s cousin had she’ll say: “Same as you… She couldn’t get pregnant.” There, you go. It's amazing how simple it was. I wonder why your team of fertility specialists hasn’t figured out that that was your issue all along: You can’t get pregnant.

(Does she offer her same common sense infertility advice to lesbian couples?: "Hey, I think I just figured out why you’ve been together for 8 years and neither of you has gotten pregnant...")

And as your eyes are glazing over and she senses her sales pitch has been a flop, she has to make one last valiant effort:

"I just thought, before you wasted any more time or money with those doctors... The Ovulator...It might be worth a try because... (Here it comes. Wait for it.) Hey, you never know..."

And it makes sense. Whenever I have any health concerns, on my way to the pharmacy at the back of the store, I always peruse the "As Seen on TV" shelf first. Doesn't everyone? Because... hey, you never know.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you're feeling even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please take a gander at my books: The blue one is about my own personal experiences with infertility / IUI / IVF / FET and the green one is a sequel of sorts beginning with IVF. They are both recommended by IVF patients & renowned medical professionals. 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

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

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

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What Teens Can Teach Infertile Women (Apparently)

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Teen pregnancy in the U.S. has been going down in the past several years and yet, when you hear about a 15 year old having a baby, don’t you want to hurt somebody? People not dealing with infertility might be angry at the girl, her parents, society. But women struggling to get pregnant have a whole other bag of resentment: “Why should she be pregnant? She hasn’t been trying for 6 years like I have. She hasn’t been in a stable relationship for more than a decade.” . I think the reason why the likes of us have trouble getting pregnant is: We know too damn much.  We have to think more like a schmucky teenager. You know, think back. Remember when you knew nothing but thought you knew everything?

Let's see if we can key in on how so many teenagers are getting pregnant and so many of us are having issues. Here are some tips I've come up with from what I've observed from teens:

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1) Be a horny seventeen year old.

So here we all are wasting our time looking at calendars and ovulation kits and telling our spouses that it's not that we mind  doing it now, but why bother when it's not the optimal day, hour, minute to get pregnant? Instead, we should just be doing it constantly--Any time of day. During lunch period. Standing up in a locker. So forget your comfy queen size in your master bedroom...that doesn't seem to be working. How about your parent's bedroom? (ew) Or on a high school cafeteria table? (worse things have been on it) Or under the bleachers during a football game? Or sex on a beach? It doesn't have to be just a drink you know.

2) Listen to what a teenage boy tells you: They are so wise.

Stop taking advice on getting pregnant from doctors, nutritionists and other people with advanced degrees. Where has it gotten you?? Start listening to the brilliant reverse psychology used by a teenage boy. To guarantee you DO get pregnant, follow these sage words on when you CAN’T get pregnant:

1) When you’re drunk

2) When you do it standing up.

3) Or in a car.

4) Or standing up in a car.

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3) Use a teenage girl's calendar

Sure, our ovulation calendars are fine for getting pregnant... the one that has blinking lights during your most fertile days...the one that counts down every hour after your period starts like the clock in Times Square on New Year's Eve... The one that plays Rod Stewart's "Tonight's The Night." But nothing beats a teenage girl's calendar.

31% of the young ladies in the study who got pregnant, thought that it wasn't possible to get pregnant "during that time".  I think the issue is what exactly "during that time" means:

a) When The Voice is on?

b) When I’m not that into him?

c) When I didn’t even like it?

d) After eating Taco Bell?

So maybe we should all shred our calendars and burn our ovulation kits and learn something from those who clearly know more than we do about getting pregnant.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please take a look at my books recommended by top medical professionals around the U.S. & infertility patients & survivors alike. http://laughingisconceivable.com

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility— (My infertility / IUI / IVF / FET “adventure”)

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility— (My infertility / IUI / IVF / FET “adventure”)

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Laughing IS Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy (From my IVF adventure thru the “Aftermath”)

Laughing IS Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy (From my IVF adventure thru the “Aftermath”)

Infertility Season: The Girls of Summer

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Baseball is a pretty big thing this time of year in the U.S. Of course infertility goes on all year everywhere. Joy. So while the “boys of summer” as baseball players are referred to is totally a misnomer because baseball season starts in February and lasts at until October, the infertility season keeps going and going and going without a day off.

During both seasons, there are:

Delays in the game: “I thought we would have you back into the office Tuesday but take one more dose and we’ll see you on Wednesday,”

Rain-outs:“Sorry, you’re hormone levels are too high, we’ll have to cancel your retrieval.”

Changes to your team's roster:“Dr. Jenkins hasn’t returned from vacation. Oh wait. Maybe he wasn’t on vacation. Maybe he said he was retiring.”

Medical issues that have to be dealt with during the season: “What do you say we just see if we can unblock whatever that blockage is that’s blocking it first?”

In baseball as in infertility, you want the season to be shorter when things aren't going well so you can put it behind you as quickly as possible and look with hope toward next season. But if things are going as you had hoped, you want them to  go on as long as they can—to the World Series or a full-term pregnancy.

You enter Fertility Clinic Stadium. There are a lot of people. There's a lot going on. It's overwhelming. Your first time up at bat, your ovaries don't respond well to the treatment, you strike out swinging. Your second time up, they respond better, but not well enough. You grounded out. Your third time up, your ovaries respond better, the egg retrieval is done but none of the embryos make it to day 3. You slid headfirst and got tagged out. So, okay, you're physically in pain, angry, exhausted and covered in dirt, but still you gotta believe that the next time you’ll make it to 3rd base, and after waiting there for 2 weeks, your IVF coach will finally wave you around to score.

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It's vital to remember through all of this, how quickly- sometimes seemingly in an instant- events can  completely turn around: In life, in infertility, & in baseball. Things can seem dismal- hopeless even- for weeks, months, years. Then all of a sudden life looks so much brighter, you have a healthy newborn, and the Mets are in first place.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please take a gander at my 2 books, both recommended by IVF patients and renowned medical professionals: 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

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

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

Receptionist: Queen of the Fertility Clinic

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Am I the only one with revolving receptionists at their fertility clinic? Even though my clinic had you sign in on a computer and the receptionist mainly just sat there every visit while I sweated out the insurance questions on the screen: “What version of this insurance do I have? ‘Select’? ‘Advanced’? ‘Prime’? ‘Platinum’? No, it’s definitely not ‘Platinum’.” No matter. I wanted a good, permanent receptionist at that desk. I deserved a good, permanent receptionist at that desk! It's nice to have doctors at a fertility clinic. But, let's be honest. Just like the rest of us, they're at the mercy of the receptionist. I don't care who signs whose checks. Receptionists aren't in it for the money. They're there for the power. And we as patients have to understand this. We have to make nice with the receptionist or fertility game over.

If she doesn't set up your next appointment: Game over. If she doesn't tell the doctor you're waiting and he goes home for the day: Game over. If she doesn't give the nurse your message: Game over. If she doesn't record your visit and you don't get charged...Well that would be okay.

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When I started going to my fertility clinic, there were two receptionists, Jessica and Jamie. They complemented each other beautifully. Jessica was lovely but as smart as a tuna fish sandwich.

Jamie was speedy, intelligent, and as nasty as a summer rash in the crack of your sweaty… knee. (I do have some class you know.)

The pair sparked childhood memories for me.

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My sister and I had identical twin babysitters who switched off watching us. Wendy would let you juggle knives while she fell asleep at 7:30 watching TV. Cindy followed us everywhere including into the bathroom. (Even at eight, I knew that was creepy and had enough presence of mind to politely close the door in her face.)

We longed to morph the identical twins into one solid babysitter who would be awake while we were awake and not stalk us throughout the house.

And that’s what the fertility clinic needed: Not these two half-assed receptionists but one good one capable of multi-tasking: Being pleasant and competent at the same time.

Of course the pleasant one got canned first. I've never figured out why doctors’ offices hang on to intolerable receptionists for decades. If business falls off, doesn’t anyone ever look at the surly, passive aggressive troll who greets the patients and answers the phones and say: “Maybe it’s her”?

Anyway, after the pleasant one went, there was always a new receptionist at the desk.

They were all named Giselle, Jessica, or Jenna… It got way too complicated. I just called them all Becky.

Becky One went to lunch and apparently kept on going. Becky Two gossiped on her cell phone about her coworkers while you waited at her desk for her to look up. Becky three was "in training" for a year and a half. Any time I had to approach the reception desk for any reason, I would repeat my mantra in my head: "It's okay. She doesn’t touch your prescriptions or needles. She doesn’t touch your prescriptions or needles."

I try not to complain too much to the higher-ups about crummy receptionists. 1) I don't want to be responsible for someone losing their job. 2) You don't know who she is.

Once my chiropractor ushered me into his office and closed the door. As I lay face down on his bench, I said through the face hole:

"That lady at the desk is always so rude." To which, of course he responded:

"That's my wife."

"Ow! My spine!"

Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. Please consider subscribing to my newsletter and if you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please check out my books . ( The blue cover is about my daily struggles with infertility / IVF.. The green starts with IVF and , well, the cover says it all. Both are recommended by top fertility & Maternal / Fetal professionals around the U.S.) 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

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

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

Please Remember this Father's Day & Beyond: You Picked Him!

homer simpson

homer simpson

I love whenever Judge Judy has a case where a woman is suing an ex and the woman goes on and on about how irresponsible and useless he is. Judge Judy's response is always the same: "So what do you want from me? You picked him!"

The vast majority of infertility blog readers are women, likely because the vast majority of infertility blog writers are women. I'm sure that comes as a huge surprise to not one person. Infertile women generally have a short agenda when we blog or post on social networks:

1) Kvetch to other infertile women (Kvetch= Complain + Whine)

2) Help other infertile women

Kvetch and help...Help and kvetch. Sometimes we kvetch and hope it helps. Sometimes we help and it comes off as kvetching. Other times, we kvetch knowing that it helps nobody at all, (least of all ourselves), but we keep on kvetching nonetheless.

So this time each year, I like to pay a little more attention to the men in our lives. We all know that Mother's Day when you're trying to conceive is no picnic. I imagine Father's Day is the same for them. Of course, most of them will never tell you that.

The last time I wrote about how men feel during the madcap infertility adventure was when I was going through fertility treatments myself. I grilled my husband like a burger on the Fourth of July so I could get the deepest insight into the innermost thoughts and feelings of the male half of a couple. I put on my best Barbara Walters face and aimed my most probing questions right at him while he checked his email on his phone:

"How do you really feel about Father's Day?" "How does all this make you feel as a man?" "How do you feel as a husband watching your life partner go through treatments month after month?" "How do you feel at family functions when there are kids running around everywhere?" "How do you feel when people ask you why we don't have kids yet?"

I could have put his entire response on a Post-it note:

"I don't know what to tell you. I never really thought about it."

So I'm sure this whole infertility thing weighs heavily on men...Even more so, I'm certain, if modern medical science declares that they're the culprit. But most of them, from my experience anyway, won't actually tell you they're sad or depressed or frustrated about the whole damn thing. They're usually not part of the "kvetch and help" brigade like we are.

So today, and maybe from now on, I think every woman should ditch the notion of getting into his head to find out what he really feels about all this infertility crappola...and just show extra love and appreciation for the guy you picked.

Think back...Think way, way, way back... to when he was not your balding business partner in this fricken baby making project, but a cute guy at the party, a first date, a serious boyfriend...or, if you'd prefer: Think back to just a week before you went to your first fertility appointment when he was an unshaven, gas-filled, beer gut taking up 2/3 of the couch. Either way, he's yours and, like Judge Judy says: "You picked him."

And when you consider why you picked him, if your answer is: "I've never really thought about it." Please...we're women...Of course you have.

The posts that follow are all designed to help men and women alike get thru Father’s Day and the whole month of June in fact. There’s my usual nonsense but also a posts from a renowned expert and a guy currently going thru all of it. And if you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please subscribe to my newsletter and check out my books@ 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

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

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

Let Me Shut Up for Once: Philip Cottraux: A Guy Goin' Thru It All

I’ll introduce you to Philip in a sec. I just wanted to say: Women dealing with infertility publicly torment themselves and each other with the torture that is Mother's Day. But what about the men and Father's Day? Do we think that just because they're not publicly announcing their anguish they don't feel it? Or is this just a woman's view of what a man is feeling? Are they all like my husband whom I begged and pleaded to "let out all of his bottled up emotions" to which he replied following my ten minute-long tirade: "What are you even talking about"? Here’s Philip. He’s a guy. He’s going through it all. Let him tell you what he’s feeling. What do you need me for?

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The Horror-Comedy of Infertility

By Philip Cottraux

I met Lori on Twitter when her book on infertility randomly showed up in my feed.  She’s asked me to contribute some thoughts for her Father’s Day blog.  Because as you may know, women talk all about this stuff but we men are notorious for staying hush-hush about it.  Or as she said in her blog dedicated to me, “acting like it doesn’t bother us.”

So trying to break my usual act, here’s our story, such as it is.

My wife (Beth) and I met online.  She was a young widow.  Well, sort of.  Her fiancé had died tragically a few months before their wedding.  It was four years before she was ready to date again.  I’m originally from Atlanta, and she is a North Carolina native.

We were both 26 when we got married.  We were so excited about having kids, we already had four baby names picked out!  Two boys, two girls.  I’m an only child, so I couldn’t wait to have a big family to make up for my lonely childhood.  I’m also the last Cottraux.  So if I never have kids, my family name is going extinct forever.  Maybe I should be placed on the endangered species list?

Beth is the youngest of four, but she was still as enthusiastic as I was!  We didn’t wait too long, maybe less than a year.  People had already started asking if we were trying.  Back then, we would answer by looking at each other and giggling like idiots.

When talking about infertility, I usually start by asking “You know what the worst part is?”  Then after explaining the worst part, I’ll follow up with “But you know what the worst worst part is?”  Before long, I’ve described everything we’ve gone through for the past eight years, and all of it is the “worst part.”

I had a common condition among men called a varicocele, an enlarged vein in my…nether-regions…that can cause low sperm count.  The doctor told us to keep trying for a year, and if we still hadn’t conceived, I might need to think about surgery.

The following year got very awkward as people started asking why we didn’t have kids yet.  We were still trying to keep hush-hush about my condition, so we would just give a generic shrug and say “Who knows?  Maybe soon!”

A funny thing I observed was that people automatically assume that the husband doesn’t want kids.  As time kept passing, my mom would tell me that women from our church gossip circle were wondering “I wonder why Philip doesn’t want any kids?  Poor Beth.  She’s probably begging!”  As if I’m Daffy Duck trying to shoot the approaching stork out of the sky with a shotgun and rigging the house with booby traps.

Despicable!

The doctor determined I needed surgery.  I found out that my grandfather had had the same condition and had the operation before my mother was born.  Over the phone, he told me to prepare for my balls to swell up as big as golf balls.  I thought, nah.  He had his surgery back in the olden days, when they bopped people on the head with a mallet for anesthetic and used rusty bone saws.  Turns out he was right.

I tend to be curious by nature, which did me no favors.  The night before the operation, I was glued to YouTube watching videos of “varicole-ectomies” that involved a “laparoscopic ligations along the spermatic chord.”  Or something.  Not exactly what I needed to see, since I’m a bit squeamish.

“They’re going to do that to me?  No!  Don’t cut it!  Don’t…ack, he cut it!  I can feel it already!”

Early the following afternoon, I was wheeled into the OR.  They put the mask on me, I looked up at the anesthetic dripping through the IV bag…and then next thing I know, I was waking up in an upright position, feeling like I’d been hit by a truck.  Beth was worried to death since I hadn’t eaten all day.  As I opened my eyes, groaning “Wha…happened…?” the first thing I saw was an apple being shoved into my face to my wife’s voice saying “Eat this apple!  Hurry!”  I thought I’d died during surgery and gone to apple heaven.  It didn’t matter, because they had forgotten to administer the proper amount of anti-nausea medication, so as soon as my mangled body was wheeled to the car I barfed it all back up.

But, at least it was over.  A week-long recovery, and a follow-up sperm count, and I was good.  Ready for action.  Locked and loaded.  Look out, Beth, cause I’m about to put a baby in you!  After about two years of trying, we’re going to make it now!  The first time we tried was like playing with a loaded gun.

And…it still didn’t happen.  Weeks passed.  They turned into months, which turned into more years.

About 3-4 years into our marriage, the people (most of whom still didn’t know about my surgery) asking about when we were having kids reached a fever pitch.  Then it sort of waned.  Obviously, my parents know.  But all the family/friends/coworkers/church members started asking less and less.  Now, they act weird around us, like walking on eggshells.  Do we have an incurable disease now, or something?

Doctors have determined that since my surgery, Beth must be the reason we can’t get pregnant.  But unfortunately, that’s as far as we’ve gotten.  We were very fortunate that the insurance covered my operation; but they refuse to touch testing, artificial insemination, or IVF.  These things can cost a fortune (and I’ve contacted my company’s benefits department begging on bended knee for help), so we’re stuck for now

As a result, Beth has sought natural treatments.  Over the years, this has gotten ridiculous.  Everything from slathering castor oil on her stomach, to acupuncture and getting her tailbone cracked by the chiropractor, to doing weird nightly belly massage rituals, to a medicine cabinet filled with dandelion extract and whatever else miracle cure for infertility she can find on the internet.  You can’t make this stuff up.  And as of yet, none of it has worked.

The only people who ask anymore are random acquaintances.  For example, the dental hygienist when I’m getting my teeth cleaned.  Or a fired coworker I run into that I haven’t seen since the wedding.  I call it the “dreaded question” now.  It’s almost like they’re flirting with you.  Their eyes get big, they bat their eyelashes, then give you a sneaky smile.  It’s like they’re prodding for some kind of major secret.  Then, in a low voice so no one will hear, they whisper, “So?  Have you guys…talked about…maybe…just maybe…starting a family???”

Instead of beating around the bush, now I just croak “Infertile.”  It’s amazing how fast their demeanor changes to wide-eyed horror.  “Oh!  I’m so sorry!  I shouldn’t have asked!  Oh, I’m such a horrible person!  Please forgive me!”  I have to reassure them that it’s okay while they beat themselves up.  Then it’s time for an awkward subject-change!

Anyway, as you can imagine, it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly is the “worst part” of all this.  It could be how I feel like we’ve let so many people down that were excited about us having kids.  It could be the horrible combination of guilt-jealousy-trying-to-be-happy-for other couples that announce they’re expecting.  It could be how fast time is flying by, and how hopeless it makes you feel as the years sift through your fingers, like grains of sand.  Or how you picture what your kids are going to look like, and fantasize about pushing them in backyard tire swings and holding their hands while they ride a bike for the first time or take them to their first day of school and read them bedtime stories. The fantasies that are ripped away from you every day by cold hard reality.

Or the fear that you might be slowly turning into your crazy aunt who never had kids.  You know the who I’m talking about; we all have one.  The one who sends out Christmas cards every year with pictures of her bichon-frises sitting in Santa’s lap.

But instead of focusing on what hurts the most, let me describe what helps the most; meeting other people such as Lori who have been through this and knows exactly how we feel.  Especially if they can put a humorous spin on what has otherwise been life’s most crushing disappointment. 

Philip Cottraux is a Pentecostal Christian Blogger, Bible Teacher, Writer for Jesus and Husband. http://www.depthsofpentecost.com/

**Update: A new doctor recently diagnosed Philip’s wife, Beth, with a thyroid issue and they are optimistic. .

**Please continue reading for more Father’s Day / Male-oriented posts… And if you’d like to get more laughs at infertility’s expense, please subscribe to my newsletter and check-out my books @ 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

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

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

Expert Advice from a Therapist: For Men & The Women Who... Oh Whatever

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Helen Adrienne is a well-respected therapist in NYC who specializes in individuals and couples dealing with infertility.So what you'll be getting from her today will be tried and true sound advice unlike the smart-ass remarks you typically get from me. She talks about both men who have their own fertility issues as well as men dealing with an infertile wife who's turned into a nutjob. (I don't think Helen actually uses the word "nutjob", but, as many of us know from personal experience, that's exactly what you turn into.)

NEWS MEN CAN USE

by Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD

Making your way through an infertility struggle is an ordeal in so many ways.  The emotional component of the journey tops the list.

Men – there are two little factoids to consider:

First, it’s no secret that women are generally freer to feel and express their emotions than men.  You may be at the mercy of the cultural scuttlebutt that emotions in men are looked upon as   weakness.  But, Father’s Day is a reminder that you are not a parent yet either.  On top of that, if the difficulty in conception is due to male factor, you may be in a tangle based upon a failure to separate fertility from masculinity.

Despite what you may be feeling yourself, you still may feel obliged to take a posture of strength for the sake of your partner.  Every crisis is an opportunity and you now have an opportunity to free yourself from what might be an emotional prison so you can be there for yourself as well as your wife.

Second, whether you can claim your right to experience your upset or not, news you can certainly use has to do with how to feel more at ease with the emotions of your spouse if you are feeling unqualified in this realm. This may be especially true if she seems inconsolable and wants you to “fix” not only the conception issue, but also perhaps a financial issue, a who-to-tell- or-not-tell issue, and so much more.

How can you find relief from the many demands?  Let’s take a peek at what might be your history.  See if this resonates:  As a small child, did you have a mother who was often frantic or tearful about situations?  Did you intuitively sense that your mother specifically demanded that you “fix” her upset?  If so, you would have been tossed into a place of panic and helplessness. A small child cannot make mommy’s life better.

If this was your history and you have not “worked it through,” then as an adult, you would be vulnerable to and maybe avoidant of anyone who is overwrought emotionally.  It would become an unconscious reflex for you to want to remove yourself from those early imprinted feelings of panic and helplessness.

Now, if your wife, like any wife in a quest for a baby, is thrashing around with her emotional reaction to all-things-infertility, you may unwittingly be tossed into this ancient place, without either of you realizing what’s happening, creating distance when what you need is closeness.

When I explain this to men, women or couples, I watch the tension release like air from a balloon.  Why wouldn’t you feel triggered, wanting to literally or figuratively run away, get annoyed, judge or scold?  Here you are again, feeling the pressure to fix a problem as if you are back in that untenable place of your childhood.

Compassion needs to go in both directions.  You each have every right to expect understanding from each other and you both have an opportunity to develop coping strategies that take the needs and emotions of each of you into consideration.

Words are unsatisfactory when seeking to fix this issue – now!  Simple words can matter, if you say, for instance, “I know how hard this is. It’s hard for me, too. We’ll get through this.  Let me just hold you.”  For now, living with uncertainty is a bane.

What is called for—feeling and showing a strong connection, determination to make it through, and love, may not seem sufficient, but it is.  The only real and satisfactory fix is coming home with your baby.

The infertility journey has its own timetable.  It gets resolved as it can.  Meanwhile, you both need to keep your love for each other at the center of this story.  Love thrives best in truth – the   truth of both of you.

Helen Adrienne

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Helen Adrienne has been the go-to professional for over three decades for women who are struggling with infertility.

As a seasoned psychotherapist, trained in mind/body therapy and clinical hypnotherapy, Helen is uniquely qualified to teach field-tested, effective techniques for managing stress, rediscovering inner strength and resources and reclaiming control on this journey. Her best-selling book: On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility. https://www.amazon.com//dp/1452853754

And while you're on Amazon anyway, you may as well check out my book: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It’s the meek, unassuming one down below that Helen’s book is towering over trying to intimidate.. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/,

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June is: "Thank You for Not Being a Schmuck" Month

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Every time I visited my 84 year old father in Florida, I couldn't help noticing that he spent much more time talking with women in his community than men. Finally I decided to ask him why that was: "Well, the wives are all very nice." He said. "But their husbands are a bunch of schmucks."

So while many reading this may not be in a position to, or at all interested in, celebrating Father's Day this year, I propose an alternate holiday:

"Thank You for Not Being a Schmuck" Month.

Sometimes we’re so busy crying, kvetching and freaking out about this whole infertility crappola that we don’t realize how upset, angry, & frustrated our spouse/ partner/ husband/ willing participant really is. Or that he might dread Father’s Day as much as you dreaded Mother’s Day. That’s why this Laughing IS Conceivable blog here is going to be filled with posts about him and for him all month.

Your spouse/partner/husband/willing participant/ happy ejaculator --whatever he is-- probably does some things that irritate you. That's normal, of course. And yet, even with those small annoyances, minor aggravations and colossal pet peeves that drive you up a fkn wall... He's the one, the only one, you've hand-picked to have romantic calendar-induced copulation with and to father your future children. You know you wouldn't have your eggs in a freezer, snuggling together for warmth with anyone else's sperm.

So he's not perfect...

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I would have to say that all of the stereotypical bad habits that we accuse most men of having... well, that's pretty much me: 

1) I watch every ballgame I can. If I can’t get it on TV, I’ll stream it on my phone…and I’ll yell at the players, managers, umpires and announcers.

2) I have road rage.

3) I easily fit curse words in as nouns, verbs or adjectives in any sentence.

4) I scratch whatever itches no matter where I am or who is looking.

And I'm not the neatest person. Some couples have problems in the bedroom. We have problems in the kitchen. He doesn't like the way I rinse stuff off. I rinse it off so it looks fine to me... but not to him. Then if I rinse it off adequately, I shouldn't have left it in the sink. Also, if the dishwasher has clean dishes in it, apparently that's my cue to empty it out. I'm aware that we usually have clean dishes in the cabinets. I just never knew (or cared) how they got there. And then we have a peanut butter issue.

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A common breakfast for me includes sticking a teaspoon into the peanut butter and eating it...and repeating this action... three times... every morning. A serving size is a tablespoon. Sure I could dip one tablespoon once instead of one teaspoon three times, but my way just feels like a bigger breakfast. After watching my husband for months stand there saying: “Ugh”, “Nasty” and putting his hand in front of his eyes, I finally took the hint and got my own private jar of peanut butter to slobber into every morning. Incredible. Of all the things my husband's seen me put into my mouth in the past 15 years, he thinks my peanut butter spoon is the most disgusting. Go figure.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. Please stay tuned all this month for more humor posts, articles etc specifically about him and for him. And if you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please subscribe to my newsletter and check out my literature (okay— books). 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

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

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

The Infertility Tennis Match

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This is tennis season. It’s also infertility season. Okay, when is it NOT infertility season? But as I spend my days dazed in front of the TV watching the Grand Slam events, I can’t help noticing how much infertility and tennis truly have in common. Right now it’s French Open time. I don’t like to watch stale sports. What I mean is, I don’t like watching sports a day later. And being that I’m in the U.S. and the tennis is live in France, I have to get up at 5 am to watch tennis while they’re actually playing tennis. And here is where the similarities with infertility begin.

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THE HOURS YOU KEEP

When I was going through all of it: IUI, IVF, FET, I always took the very first doctor’s appointment of the day because:

1) I wanted to get it over with and go on with my day as though the whole ugly episode never happened.

2) I wanted to sneak out of my apartment under the cloak of darkness so I wouldn’t have to explain anything to my nosy neighbors. (If anyone did see me leaving in the wee hours, hopefully they just assumed I was a drug dealer or a prostitute. It may not be a perfect scenario, but preferable to standing in the street going: “Well, I was older when I met my husband and my hormone levels were fine and his sperm were fine but blah blah blah blah blah.” I had no interest in discussing my internal organs or bodily secretions with my neighbors.)

3) As a rule, I always like early morning doctor’s appointments so if they keep me waiting, I can go up to the desk and say: “What’s the hold up? I know you can’t be backed up with appointments. I was the only one here when you unlocked the door and turned on the lights..”

4) The doctor’s office liked to get me in and out early so I would stop going up to the desk and saying: “What’s the hold up? I know you can’t be backed up with appointments. I was the only one here when you unlocked the door and turned on the lights.”

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THE PRICES

Forget how much the tickets cost to attend a major sporting event. Have you ever bought food at the concessions? Oh let’s see: I have a burger, fries, and a soda. $62. That seems fair. I think IVF uses the same price list. Blood test: $200; Cotton ball to stop the rest of your blood from seeping out of the needle hole in your arm: $140; Tape to hold cotton ball on said arm on said hole: $110. Once I said to the billing person: “Don’t you people do anything here that costs fewer than 3 digits?” I really didn’t expect her to be amused. Her desk was strategically situated by the exit. I always suspected that if anybody ever tried to leave without paying, they would get tased in the back on their way out the door.

So if you live somewhere where all of your infertility-related expenses are covered, keep your address to yourself or some jealous uninsured infertile woman might come to your house and stick a syringe in your neck because it’s the only thing we can get for free. (And those are free only because they don’t want infertility patients and other drug users to share needles. Not that any of us really wants to use a needle that’s just been in some other woman’s ass.)

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THE BACK AND FORTH

You watch a tennis match. She hits the ball and then the other woman hits the ball on the other side. Back and forth. Back and forth. You go to a fertility specialist’s office to get your blood drawn and maybe your uterine lining checked then you go home and wait for the nurse to call with instructions. A few days later you go in to get your blood drawn and maybe your uterine lining checked then you go home and wait for the nurse to call with instructions. Back and forth. Back and forth. And even through months and months of blood, sweat, tears and heartbreaking losses, we stay focused on that one moment when we’ll be able to finally, one day, raise our arms in victory… and somebody will put a baby in them instead of a fricken trophy.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, come back every week to my blog, join my newsletter mailing list, check out my books…. 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

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

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

3 Day Weekend- Infertiles: Grill or Be Grilled!

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Dedicated to the men and women who risk their lives every day protecting the countries they serve. **************************************************************

For those of you not in the U.S., our Memorial Day weekend is a time to commemorate all of those who have lost their lives serving our Country.

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Then there's the "other" Memorial Day weekend. The lovely 3 day weekend that commemorates the unofficial start of summer with people who start drinking at sun-up so they can be ready to shoot off fireworks and possibly a body part at sundown, people who join the highway traffic line to take a 5 hour ride to a beach 40 minutes away, and people who flock to stores to get 1/2 priced bathing suits if there are any left. And, like virtually every other holiday in every country and culture, food is a focal point. On this particular weekend, it’s customary to eat your body weight in potato salad. But the main event is barbecuing. Grilling. Grilling everything: Shrimp, hamburgers, chicken, steak, hot dogs… and often each other. Infertiles: Don’t let that last one happen to you!

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Are You Stuck in Someone’s “Infertility Niche”?

We all have people in our lives who put us into a go-to niche. They focus on one thing about us and that’s the subject of their small talk every single time you see them. When they see you coming down the street, that niche label is on your forehead. You’re “The 2nd Grade Teacher”, “Don’s Wife”, “The Catholic”and every conversation they start with you will revolve around that. “Are you still teaching 2nd grade? “How’s Don? I haven’t seen him in a while” “Did you see the Pope was in Brazil?” (Because apparently if you’re Catholic you keep constant tabs on the Pope.) So if you’re “The Infertile One”… get ready.

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"So, are you trying to have a baby?"

"You've been married for a while, don't you want kids?"

"Maybe you just need to go away and relax. My cousin's a travel agent. I can call her and tell her your situation."

"Don't you like kids?"

"You probably shouldn't be waiting this long to have a baby. I mean, you are nearing 35."

"You're not going for those treatments are you? I mean if it's not meant to be..."

So, I thought, when better than Memorial Day weekend to return the favor? Invite a few of your most annoying neighbors, relatives, and friends up to your back deck and sear their asses to the barbecue...then wedge a spatula under them, flip 'em over... and do their other side:

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"Hi Martha. So glad you could come. I love your hair. You can barely tell where it leaves off and the weave begins."

"Hi Marcus. Do you still have that girlfriend? I haven't seen her car in the driveway in the afternoon lately.... Whoops. I'm sorry… I just assumed Marilyn knew."

"Hi Denise. Glad you could make it! I wasn't sure what the exact rules of house arrest were.”

"Hi Tracy. Don't worry. I bought lots of water and ginger ale for Mike so you won't have to throw his lifeless body over your shoulder to get him to the car like last year."

"Hey Dana and Ed! Wow. You guys are still in that sham marriage?"

Please remember this weekend: He who grills you in your “infertility” niche is likely stuck in their own sucky one.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel at least a little bit better than you did when you first got here.

If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please sign on to my newsletter and / or check out my books. They’re recommended by renowned OB / GYN & IVF professionals and patients alike. 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

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

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

It's "Give Yourself a Cookie" Week

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 this week: "Give Yourself a Cookie” Week. (Look, they have a national day for everything: Corn, hedgehogs, Spandex, so let us have our “Give Yourself a Cookie” Week!)

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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!

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

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

Give yourself a cookie!

For you who went out with the extended family to some crowded family restaurant and had to stand there while everyone counted six times how many high chairs and booster seats your party 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. Give yourself a cookie!)

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… See how pleased he is with you? That’s one happy cookie.)

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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!"

***I really appreciate you stopping by and hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense (& at life in general) please subscribe to my newsletter and take a look at my books- all on my home page. 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

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

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

Microblog_Mondays

Microblog_Mondays

Mother's Day Living in The Land of What Ifs

The Land of Infertility is sometimes referred to as: The Land of If. (As in Melissa Ford's Book: http://www.melissafordauthor.com/navigating-the-land-of-if/) In the weeks approaching Mother's Day, we modify it further to: "The Land of 'What Ifs'. "

Those who are going through infertility are typically pretty spectacular at conjuring up "What Ifs" at record speed. But hey, the blasted holiday known as Mother's Day is set to take place in four days. How many "What Ifs" can one woman with an infertile body but incredibly fertile mind possibly create in her head in a mere four days?

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Some quick calculations here: 270 per minute, x 60 minutes in an hour x 24 hours in a day, carry the 6, divide by my BMI... Got it. The average woman going through infertility can create 8,626,509 "what if" thoughts in four days. And how many are positive thoughts? Quick calculations here... Carry the 4. Subtract my zip code. Divide by my BMI again. Okay, the answer is "zero". I took a poll (just don't look for it online) and compiled our top Mother's Day infertility what ifs in the list below followed by my dollar store advice.

What IF:

...I run into someone I know on Mother's Day and they say: "Happy Mother's Day"?

If they don't know you don't have kids, you can't be that kind of close to them. So who gives a…..? Say "You too!"... even if it's a guy... and keep on walkin'. The last thing you want to do is have an actual conversation with this person.

What IF:

...I don’t feel up to going to my mother’s for Mother’s Day but I feel pressured by my family?

Drink herbal tea and hear Deepak Chopra's voice in your head until the feeling passes. Later, you can call your mother from the spa, the gym or the inside of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s to wish her a happy day.

What IF:

. ...I actually go out with my family for Mother's Day like every other year and everyone starts asking me when I'm going to become a mother already?

All of the following are acceptable answers: "I don't think now's the right time to discuss it." "I'd rather not talk about it." "I'll tell you later" and then just don't, or my favorite::…………………… (That space represents the bit where you just walk away and leave them standing there..)

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What IF:

...I feel depressed the whole day?

See "Ben & Jerry’s" comment above.

The point is: Just like there's no wrong way to eat a Reese's peanut butter cup (and I truly believe that with all my heart and soul- like how Oprah always asks: "What do you know for sure?" That's what I know for sure.), there's no wrong way to spend Mother's Day. The only obligation is to yourself. If you want to go out and feed your body and soul at the beach or hiking in the woods or at a spa, great. If you want to hide from the world and be depressed... uh...am I wrong or isn't that what guilty pleasures were invented for?: Reading your back issues of US magazine, bubble baths, manicures, watching a Real Housewives of Everywhere marathon or using only curse words for 12 straight hours... This weekend... it's up to you... it's all about you.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better (about Mother’s Day especially) than you did when you got here. If you would like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please consider signing up for my newsletter and taking a look at my books. (Both books are recommended by renowned infertility doctors and OB / GYNs): The first is all about my bout with infertility & IVF. The 2nd deals with IVF & the “aftermath” (namely high-risk pregnancy & caring for many newborns simultaneously.) 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:

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

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

mother's day- And the point of it is?

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What is Mother's Day really about and what does it want from our lives? It was bound to happen. My anger was bound to break loose sooner or later over this. Usually I reserve my ire for those driving in front of me at 43 m.p.h. in a 45 m.p.h. zone. (You can't do the whole 45? Would it kill you to put a little extra pressure on your big toe?) So this is the state that mother's day has put me in.

Here are these millions of wonderful women around the world more than worthy of motherhood, more than up to the task, who are struggling to get pregnant. I know. I was one of them… One of you. Like many of you, all mother's day did for me was send me screaming head first into a pint of Haagen Dazs. (And did you know that just as 50 is the new 40, 14 ounces is the new pint?) Women trying to conceive who have yet to become moms, are angry, sad, depressed and anxious. Certainly mother's day isn't doing them any favors.

Then over here, you have women who are mothers. Most of us have had one of those in our lives. That woman who cooked, cleaned, and yelled at us through gritted teeth in the supermarket aisle. So, in return, once a year, we honored her for all of her love and tireless devotion by making her something out of tinfoil, macaroni, and a paper plate.

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Nowadays, mother's day has become more meaningful. We've expanded our displays of love and devotion for our mothers by taking them to the pancake house or Cracker Barrel. The celebration to that wonderful woman who has given us life is culminated by waiting / rocking outside for an hour until they call your name for the privilege of sitting all 8 of you at a table for 5.

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So let's sum this up shall we? Women who don't have kids but are trying are devastated by this day. Women who have kids are treated to a chain restaurant that's going for the world record for the number of adult children with the same lame mother's day plan that can be jammed into a room with 15 tables.

So, who is this damn day for again? I'm fed up. I've had it up to here! (I have my hand three inches above my head, making me a whopping 5'5")

Note: I’ll be mocking mother’s day all month, so be sure to check back!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please check out my books / subscribe to my newsletter. http://laughingisconceivable.com

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility    (This is all about my bout with infertility & IVF)

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

(This is all about my bout with infertility & IVF)

Laughing IS Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy    (This is my IVF & it’s “aftermath”- high-risk pregnancy, multiple newborns)

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

(This is my IVF & it’s “aftermath”- high-risk pregnancy, multiple newborns)





Infertility Awareness Week: Trust Me, We're All Aware

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Next week is National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s an annual event exactly like the Rose parade except that the first words that come to mind when you think of “infertility” are “hell”, ”hormones” and “sucks” instead of  flowers, sunshine, and football. When I first learned about National Infertility Awareness Week, I’ll be honest: I wasn’t at all sure that I liked the idea. I’m thinking that a woman still stuck in the infertility mire didn’t come up with this tribute of sorts. Can you picture it?

“I’m always emotionally and mentally drained. I’ve stuck so many needles into myself, I’m considering renting a corner in a crack house. I don’t let my husband touch me without consulting a calendar first, because ‘why waste my time?’ Even if I got pregnant today, I’d still be freaking out, because I spent the baby’s four year college tuition plus book money on treatments." OR:

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"Hey, I wish I could share this wonderful time in my life with more people. It’s really not enough that my grandparents, my cousin, his frat brothers, and the woman at work who reads my emails over my shoulder know. I wish I could shout it from the rooftops so the whole world would know!”

No, if infertility sufferers banded together to declare a week, it probably wouldn’t be “National Infertility Awareness Week”. It might be, however,:

 “National 'Free IVF in the U.S.' Week"

“National 'Give Me Good News For A Change So I Can Finally Go On With My Life' Week"

“National 'Nurses Returning My Phone Calls' Week"

 “National 'Turn the Two Week Wait into a Two Minute Wait' Week"

“National 'Mind Your Own Business' Week”

“National 'Please Let Me Crawl Into A Hole And Be Left Alone' Week"

“National 'Ask Me Again Why I Don’t Have Kids And I’ll Kick You In The Neck' Week"

 Yes, I feel confident that any one of the above would pass easily through the committee.  

 As sensitive, caring, and unselfish as most of us are, we might even suggest the spotlight be taken off of us altogether and put on equally challenging afflictions that have been, far too long, taboo in our society:  By a show of hands, how many for “National Jock Itch” month? I feel that even with an entire month dedicated to this underappreciated condition, sufferers would barely be able to (dare I say it?) scratch the surface.

But no, all I could think of during my first “National Infertility Awareness” week was: “Do I really want people to be aware?”

Hey, thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please check out my books and subscribe to my “not-overly-frequent newsletter on my home page- http://laughingisconceivable.com and subscribe to my new YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3tj7Bk9QkqarCevJL9j3eQ?view_as=subscriber

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

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

Infertility Awareness Week: Shhh! Not So Loud.

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Most of us already know that National Infertility Awareness Week is almost upon us.  The thing is:  When I was going through infertility, I didn't want anyone to know I was going through it.

So here I am trying to blend, trying to pass as a fertile person, and then along comes National Infertility Awareness Week: I was like:

"Shhhhhhhh! Will you people lower your voice?!"

I'm hiding in my little foxhole of shame and they've rallied the other 7.3 million infertile troops to stand up and yell: "Hey! We found her! Over here everybody!"

I didn't know from chat rooms or support groups. I didn't want to share with anybody online.

Maybe that's why I always made my NYC doctors' appointments in the wee hours of the early AM. I wanted to sneak in and out of there under the cloak of darkness before the "City that Never Sleeps" woke up. 

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I was okay to go for the treatments but once I was flung out of the fertility clinic and back into society, I wanted to just pretend it didn't exist. So this organization comes along and tries to blow my cover with their week-long tribute. I thought: "Great, what next?"

We'll be "out" and that's it I guess.

My husband and I will have to start wearing tight black leather pants and hanging out at “Infertile Only” clubs. (No music. But oooh the drugs: Follistim, Gonal-F, Clomid, Lupron.)

We might even have wild threesomes in the back room: My husband, me, and a calendar. 

Maybe we’ll start going to a gym where ninety percent of the clientele are infertile... Just to check them out:

"Oh look at her prancing around in her leotard. She thinks she's something special because they took twenty eggs out of her at her retrieval."

There would be jealousy in our community: "Aw, her butt is so much nicer than mine. I bet her husband doesn't whine about injecting THAT every night." 

We'd naturally have our own parade on Fifth Avenue during National Infertility Awareness Week.

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Our parade colors would be gray and black.

We'd have our very own chant: "Free IVF in the US!" "Free IVF in the US!" (Of course we'd probably have to stop along the parade route several times to explain that "IVF" is a treatment and not a political prisoner.) 

And naturally I would be the Queen of the parade...Or at the very least: "The Baroness of Barrenness".

Hey, thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please check out my books and subscribe to my “not-overly-frequent newsletter on my home page- http://laughingisconceivable.com and subscribe to my new YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3tj7Bk9QkqarCevJL9j3eQ?view_as=subscriber

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

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

Chained to the IVF Calendar

I’m usually in bed by 9:30. Last night I decided to stay up until midnight to see the great lunar eclipse of 2019. If you missed it, it was the new moon, the first full moon of the year, the Moon, Sun, and Earth all lined up perfectly, Jupiter aligned with Mars, peace guided the planet, love steered the stars and it was the dawning of the age of Aquarius. (And apparently astrophysics collided with the musical, Hair.)

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Call it “all in your head” or “being neurotic” or finding a great excuse to shirk my responsibilities and be totally unreasonable (I’m okay with all of the above) but the full moon affects me. I’ve luckily never really felt too bothered by PMS, but the last few years, I totally get it. A few days before the full moon, I get really tired and am even more of a pain in the butt cheek’s upper outer quadrant to be around than normal. But hey, if you’re trying diligently to get pregnant—especially if you’re doing fertility treatments— you’re a slave to the almighty calendar.

First I figured out my ovulation dates, which by the way, after I traded that in for IUI, IVF and FET, I realized: “Hey, you know what? I may have been calculating my ovulation date / window of conception opportunity wrong all that time. Now wouldn’t that be a kick in the head if I really didn’t need any medical assistance at all and put myself through: 2 clinics, 6 doctors, 16 nurses, 5 receptionists, and 3 billing people all because I couldn’t add?”

Then I started seeing a fertility specialist—a Reproductive Endocrinologist. (I skipped the whole “should-I-stick-with my OB/GYN-and-see-what-they-know-or-head-to-a-specialist?” step. I was two months away from turning 40 when I decided I might need conception help. My OB/GYN saw me coming, locked the door, turned off the lights, pulled down the shades, and put up the “For Rent” sign.)

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It was time to take out the calendar again to mark down the first day of my period. So that’s easy enough. Except that I was never quite sure what the first day was. I mean, if I got it at night… was that the first day? Or if I thought I saw something but it wasn’t much… was that the first day? Or if it started in the morning but slowed down to nothing and didn’t really get going until the next day… was that the first day? I understand your point of view completely. And those are totally reasonable questions you’re asking yourself: “Why was this 40 year old woman with almost average intelligence asking herself this? Didn’t she think to ask anybody in her past 28 years of menstrual cycles? Why was she waiting until 6 months before the onset of menopause to find out?” So, I finally did inquire and just in case there are any other grown women reading this who should, like me, have asked someone when they were 11 and who are sitting at the edge of their seat hoping I’ll give the answer: A nurse told me that you start counting from the first full day of your normal flow. Good to know… better late than never… I guess.

Then, you have to mark your calendar for when you’re going to be tested. They have to make sure all of your parts are present and accounted for, located where they should be, and open for business. And then he has to be tested to make sure his contributions to the process are ready, willing, and able instead of few and far between, lost, or lazy.

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Then you have to mark your calendar for the appointment to get your blood drawn and your uterine lining checked. And then in a few days to get your blood drawn and your uterine lining checked. And then in another few days to get your blood drawn and your uterine lining checked. (Cut and paste. Cut and paste. Cut and paste. Too bad I still use an old-fashioned wall calendar instead of an electronic one.)

Then there’s the scheduled date of the insemination, and if needed, egg retrieval and embryo transfer— “Do I mark day 3 or day 5?” Better do it in pencil. Then you mark down the date of the pregnancy test 2 weeks later. Like anybody has to remind us of that date… We all remember precisely when that official pregnancy test date is… it immediately follows the 8 unofficial ones we’ve taken that we were told not to. Somehow, those never make it to the calendar.

Lots of people have planned pregnancies but nobody can plan a pregnancy like we can..

**********

I really appreciate you stopping by. I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here a few minutes ago. I’ve got a lot of things brewing- YouTube, podcasts, new books… so please subscribe to my newsletter to stay updated. (I promise not to annoy your inbox with constant emails. How irritating.) Also, if you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense or infertility & its “aftermath” , check out my books: Everything’s on my homepage: 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

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

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

La La Land: Good Movie, Lousy New Year’s Resolution

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So last week we discussed how “This Year I Will…Get Pregnant” is maybe not a great New Year’s resolution. This is sort of a follow-up to that. (Suddenly I feel like my sister who calls two weeks later and starts the conversation with “As I was saying…” instead of “Hello”.)

I think one of the biggest problems with making New Year's resolutions is that we don't know ourselves at all. So we take our goals way overboard to La La Land. Like when we want to lose weight in the new year. Why can’t we just start by trading soda for water or not parking in the fire lane because the actual parking lot isn’t close enough, instead of vowing to go to the gym four times a week to replace our habit of going to the drive-thru four times a week? Is that really going to happen? So every week, we’ll start strong: Sunday- the gym. Monday- the gym. Tuesday- McDonald’s, then the gym. Wednesday-Wendy’s, then the gym. Thursday- the gym, then KFC as a reward. (At least we could attempt a valiant compromise: Make Sunday our Chick-Fil-A day since they're closed.)

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And, if we’re truthful, sometimes in trying to have a baby we take our goals to La La land too. And like I mentioned last post, I'm all for optimism and positive thinking... but not La La land. La La land is for those quiet moments when you're driving and hear Jake Gyllenhaal whisper into your ear how fabulous you look over there driving with no make-up, a ponytail you haven't taken out for two days and your husband's sweats, (Now back to our originally scheduled post.)

A few women whom I know through infertility circles have told me that their goal for 2019 is "have a baby". Great! Throw it onto your vision boards and into your visualizations, prayers, mirror exercises and whatever else you do. That's exactly where "have a baby" belongs. It's a goal, but sometimes I think women make the mistake of putting it on their "to do" list instead. And that's what has kept so many with this 2019 goal so stressed out for all of 2018 and maybe 2017 and 2016. Let "have a baby" be the prize you keep your eyes on and then be open to how all of the details unfold. I know. Infertility makes us feel like we have no control over anything—especially once we start treatments. (Geez, they tell you when you can ovulate, when you can touch your honey bun… I always particularly enjoyed peeing during IVF. Peeing was all up to me. And since they did the pregnancy test at the clinic, not only could I pee any time I wanted, I didn’t have to do it on a stick… or on my hand.)

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So let's say first on the "2019 "To-Do" list is: "Find an egg donor".  There you go: Homework. Now, you may get into your egg donor research and by January 26th decide it's not for you. But during those two weeks you may have talked to someone or gotten back a test result that sparked a new path. The stress and hormones turn us all into nut-jobs but trusting our guts will keep us from doing any of the following:

"My husband has lazy sperm. This year I'll get his half-brother drunk &.... I hope the slow sperm thing runs on his mother's side."

"My doctor told me I'm having trouble conceiving because of my age. I think I'll find a different doctor and tell him I'm 28. Or... I did see something on the Discovery Channel about a time machine. Oh wait. That was on the Big Bang Theory... or the Flintstones."

"I think my problem getting pregnant is that we're just too tired to have enough sex. This year we'll both quit our jobs, buy a convertible, buy a condo in Maui on the beach... wait... What were we talking about?"

"This year, I'm going to find resourceful ways to generate more income so we can finally afford IVF. Hey, I hear egg donors get paid well. Wait, that doesn't make sense. Or does it?"

The idea is to find those teeny steps- those real tasks to keep you from feeling helpless and without direction while remembering: Every infertility success story you've ever heard is different than the one before. No two women seem to get there in exactly the same way. So forget comparing yourself or your situation and let your own story unfold.

I like yoga. (You probably already assumed I did because of my serene blogging demeanor.) Like an instructor I had, I like to eat right and exercise and strive to live a very happy, peaceful, long life. But she does frequent cleanses, is a strict vegan, and never eats junk food which in her world, includes anything cooked. It works for her. But if I started to eat that way I would live a very happy, peaceful, cleansed, two weeks. Then I'd shoot myself. I know me.

***********Thanks for stopping by! If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please subscribe to this blog / check out my book: It’s my own infertility / IVF / FET story. It’s recommended by renowned infertility professionals (reviews in “Look Inside” at Amazon link below) and has been read by 1000s of people like you, who are looking for a way to de-stress from infertility. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ / 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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