Father's Day

Let's Hear it for the Boys... & their "boys"... & Lab Director Carole Wegner

So as most of you know, I'm a humor writer. This means that I'm a professional highly-trained in making smart-ass remarks. Look how good I am at it, even my job description to you contained a smart-ass remark. My entire life, I've never been able to help myself from doing it so I finally gave in and made a career of it. That's why I'm no good on Facebook. People beg you for sympathy and support. Look, my friend Shannon whom I adore posted that she lost 133 pounds. Only she accidentally wrote "ponds"instead of "pounds" so of course everyone else wrote: "Good job!" and "Way to Go!" and I had to write: "Was that water weight, Shannon?" instead of letting it go like a normal person. (I've probably been un-friended by more people on FB than anyone else.) So in honor of "Let's Hear it for the Boys... and their 'boys'" month, when it comes to male infertility, I thought it best if I just shut-up and let a medical professional tell you some important stuff with some great links to more important stuff... instead of a smart-ass professional telling you why it's funny... which of course it isn't.

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d tell the story of a little known but highly significant male reproductive organ- the epididymis. It is pronounced Eppie-Diddy-Mus which may sound like an urban rapper but I assure you, it is not.  The epididymis which is attached to and  lies just above the testicle, is responsible for the “detailing” or “fine-tuning” of freshly made sperm just released from the testicle.  Yes, the testicle produces the sperm but without the polishing and detailing in the epididymis, sperm wouldn’t swim and wouldn’t be able to fertilize an egg. So pretty important,  no?

It is important for a male to be able to tell when there are changes in the size or feel of his testicles or epididymides because these may be signs of cancer or inflammation associated with infection. This link, Get to Know Your Testis, explains how to find the epididymis ( which lies to the top and back of each testicle). You should also be able to also feel the tubes leaving from the epididymis called the vas deferens. If a vasectomy is performed, these tubes which normally carry sperm from the epididymis to the penis are clipped inside the scrotum to render the male sterile. Reconnecting the tubes surgically via a vasectomy-reversal procedure can restore fertility if not too much time has elapsed between the two surgeries.  There are two kinds of vasectomy reversal procedures as described in this article from the NY TImes Health Guide. It’s worth reading for those who want to know more about vasectomy and it’s reversal.

  • Vasovasostomy . The severed ends of the vas deferens are sewn back together.
  • Vasoepididymostomy . The vas deferens is surgically reattached directly to the epididymis. This procedure is more difficult to perform and is used when vasovasostomy cannot be performed or does not work.

But this post is about the epididymis, which despite years of research over many decades is still shrouded in mystery. The epididymis has three functionally distinct regions , the caput (or head), the corpus (or body) and the cauda (or tail). What is clear is that by the time the sperm transits these three regions and is stored in the final region, the cauda, prior to ejaculation, it is a fully mature sperm, capable of strong forward progressive motility and has acquired the molecular ability to fertilize the egg. But in spite of decades of research in both animals and humans, we still don’t fully understand all the molecular changes that occur in the sperm membrane within this organ.

The review article New Insights into Epididymal Biology and Function is a highly detailed review for those who want to understand the nitty-gritty scientific efforts to understand the molecular mechanisms responsible for the epididymides’ unique ability to grant life-giving properties to sperm. For the andrologist or reproductive scientist, it has lots of references for further study.

Up to 40% of infertility is due to male-specific causes. Some of these causes are not obvious and may well be due to molecular sperm defects we are incapable of detecting–and may be due to faulty “fine-tuning” of sperm cells in the epididymis.  Much of male-specific infertility can be addressed by the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI, which bypasses some deficiencies in sperm functionality acquired in the epididymis, like the inability to swim. However, ICSI is not without risks and sometimes fertilization fails even with ICSI so ICSI is not the solution for every cause of male infertility.

The original sperm cell produced by the testis looks like a sperm cell, but it is non-functional and can not swim. That is why testicular sperm can only be used with ICSI, not for conventional IVF or insemination, because it can not yet swim, nor fertilize an egg. The lipid (fat molecules) and proteins that are inserted into the plasma membrane of the sperm cell also change while in transit through the epididymis.  Some molecules are shedded and others are added to the sperm membrane to ultimately produce a functional sperm cell which can swim to, attach to, penetrate and fertilize an egg.

Researchers looking for male contraceptives are also interested in understanding which proteins are involved with functional maturation of sperm so that a reversible non-hormonal method to block sperm maturation can be designed. Likewise, if the molecular maturation mechanisms were understood, it might be possible to mature sperm in vitro and be able to use conventional in vitro fertilization, instead of ICSI, to gain the benefit of some natural selection. Therefore, a better understanding of the epididymis may lead to new therapies for infertility as well as new methods for contraception.

Each segment of the epididymis appears to have distinct gene profiles, producing a highly regulated cellular micro-environment, capable of responding to signalling pathways in a highly orchestrated way. Each segment is physiologically separated from the adjacent segment by connective tissue, permitting compartmentalization of the organ and segment-specific regulation . Not surprisingly, the various cells of the epididymis respond to androgens, the male hormone. Studies suggest that sperm and the cells lining the epididymis also exchange cell to cell  signals as part of the in transit maturation process and probably further regulate that process. The epididymis may have the most complex fluid composition of any exocrine gland and this composition varies with each region of  epididymis. The caput produces 70-80% of the proteins secreted into the epididymal lumen. By the time the sperm get to the cauda end, most of the fluid has been reabsorbed, fundamentally increasing the concentration of proteins bathing the sperm in the tubes.

Take good care of your epididymis and it will take good care of you.  Check your epididymis (and testicles) every month for changes in size, areas of hardening or changes in sensitivity or pain. Let your physician know about any unusual changes which could indicate epididymal (or testicular) inflammation, infection, presence of cysts or nodules,  or even cancer, all of which can impair your fertility and overall health. Here’s a link to more information on how to do a self-exam.

Carole Wegner is currently the VP of Grants Administration at the V Foundation for Cancer Research in Cary, NC. Prior to that, Carole was Lab Director of a Fertility clinic for more than a decade.  Her book: Fertility Lab Insider can be purchased on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B004QOB7Z8

 

Hi there. This is Lori, the smartass. Looking to have laughs at infertility's expense? Sign up for my newsletter / check out my little eBook:

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's my infertility story that's been downloaded by 1000s of infertility sufferers & professionals looking to de-stress from infertility with laughs. (comments by top infertility experts in "look inside".)

http://laughingisconceivable.com (newsletter sign up at top of page)

https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ (avail on all Amazons, Nook & Kobo)

 

 

Let's Hear it for the Boys... & James Doherty

To continue with the "Let's Hear it for the Boys... and their 'boys'" June theme, I'm bringing you a post from my cyber friend, James Doherty, an Irishman living with his wife in Germany. As you'll see, he considers infertility to be the best thing that's ever happened to him. I don't know him that well, so now, I'm thinking maybe he's not quite "right". I mean how sane can you be if you think infertility is the best thing that ever happened to you? What kind of a life have you had? Where have you lived? What kind of people raised you? Infertility is the best thing that's ever happened to you??! Haven't you ever had a birthday party or gone on a trip or gotten a job you really wanted or made some nice new friends or won a raffle??... what about getting married? INFERTILITY is the best thing that's ever happened to you?! What I mean is: "What's wrong with you?!!"... Maybe I should just let him tell it.  I'm going to have some herbal tea and lie down.

(warning: children mentioned.)

Why infertility is the best thing that ever happened to me.

One man’s journey(with his wife) from infertility to having twins

Infertility is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It is also the worst thing that I have ever experienced. My story started at an infertility clinic in West Berlin, in Autumn 2014. The news was administered by a fertility doctor that had about as much emotion as an inanimate carbon rod. To make matters worse she had a face like a well-slapped arse and this is how she delivered the devastating news “You might as well not have sex anymore. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting pregnant naturally”. What an absolute weapon, I thought. I was still able to have sex, it was just the quality of my sperm that was the issue. It was the morphology and motility to be exact. Sex was, and still is pleasurable for me, it is just that I would be better off doing the Euromillions every week.

The majority of people that I met in the field of fertility, from the doctors, and nurses, to the midwives, were some of the nicest people that I have encountered. Create and protecting lives comes with a responsibility of being caring. We managed to meet the one fertility doctor that would have been more at home on Hitler’s board of advisors than in a fertility clinic. Despite the poor start and harrowing fertility journey, we now feel like we have won the lottery ten times over. After two failed and one successful IVF treatment we are now blessed with two little miracles, Max and Mathilda.

The end result was better than we ever could have expected. I am probably biased, but in my opinion, we have the most beautiful twins that I have ever seen. The road to this point was paved with depression, disappointment and disastrous failed IVF treatments. Our first two fertility treatments failed miserably and 2015 was the most horrendous year of your lives. Anyone that has been through failed fertility treatment will understand just how hard it is. I find it hard to believe that I will go through anything harder in my life.

Each IVF treatment begins with so much hope and expectation. When it fails it is like you have lost a loved one. Both my wife and I mourned what felt like a miscarriage. The fertility drugs that come with the treatment are so harsh and the side effects are nothing short of crazy. To go through this hardship and come out with the negative result was traumatic.

It is always darkest before the dawn and the second failed IVF treatment was like the wake-up call that my life needed. For our third IVF treatment things needed to change. I go into it deeper in a series of blog posts that you can see on my blog. (See Below)

I got fitter, changed my diet, lost weight, and became a better husband. All of these things were lacking and need to change. They say that a leopard never changes his spots, but I disagree. As a result of poor sperm quality, I overcompensated and became a better person and now have my two miracles, a happier healthier life and a blossoming relationship. That is why infertility is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Scantily Dad is James Doherty. Born in Dublin, Ireland and lives in Berlin, Germany with his beautiful wife Olivia and twins Max and Mathilda. His blog http://scantilydad.com/ is the World's most popular Dad blog. He writes about how we went from surviving of multiple IVF treatments to becoming a father of Twins. The blog also features contributions from other parenting bloggers.

http://www.twinmummyanddaddy.com/

http://scantilydad.com/category/change-successful-ivf-treatment-series/

Contact: james.doherty@scantilydad.com

Hi this is Lori. The tea and nap really helped. Looking to have laughs at infertility's expense? Sign up for my newsletter / check out my little eBook:

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's my infertility story that's been downloaded by 1000s of infertility sufferers & professionals looking to de-stress from infertility with laughs. (comments by top infertility experts in "look inside".)

http://laughingisconceivable.com (newsletter sign up at top of page)

https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ (avail on all Amazons, Nook & Kobo)

Let's Hear it for the Boys: & Helen Adrienne

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" though, but I 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

mind-body-unity.com

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

Helen Adrienne's book, On Fertile Ground 

And while you're on Amazon anyway: https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

Let's Hear it for the Boys... & Philip Cottraux

Yes-- This month-- Let's Hear it for the Boys.... and this week- Philip Cottraux. (I'll tell you who he is in a minute. Everyone's so impatient nowadays.) 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 you think like I think that just because they're not publicly announcing their anguish doesn't mean 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"?

So for the next couple of weeks, this here Laughing IS Conceivable blog is going to be all about the boys... and their "boys". From first-hand accounts from a man with fertility issues who is also the support person for his wife with fertility issues, to a man and adoption, to a therapist talking about the emotional and psychological aspects for a guy dealing with this, to a fertility lab director giving some great technical male fertility info, to an essay where I compare my relationship to my husband to my relationship with my Dad. How could that go wrong? So let me shut up for once, and get you right over to my new cyber friend, Philip Cottraux. So let's hear it for the boys! I love his story-- and this is it:

Philip Cottraux

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 six 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.  I can’t wait to read her book!

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

And I swear I didn't tell him to plug my eBook but, well, what can I do now that the damage has been done but give you the link?: https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ available on all Amazons, Nook, & Kindle

 

"Thank You for Not Being a Schmuck" Month

Although my 84 year old father lived among a lot of couples in his retirement community in Florida, I couldn't help noticing every time I visited that he spent much more time talking with the women than the 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 we 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.

Your spouse/partner/husband--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 calendar-induced copulation with and to sire 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...

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. I watch every ballgame I can and argue every play with the TV. I have road rage. I easily fit curse words in as nouns, verbs or adjectives in any sentence. 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. Clearly, it should have been transferred into the dishwasher. But if I'm the dish washer, why do I have a dishwasher? And apparently after I rinse off the food and gunk into the sink, I'm supposed to clean the sink. I don't skeeve many things, but kitchen sink drains is one of them.

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 how they got there.

And then there's the peanut butter issue. A common breakfast for me includes sticking a teaspoon into the peanut butter and eating it...and repeating this action... three times... every morning. It's not my fault: A serving size is a tablespoon. Three teaspoons equal a tablespoon. Sure I could dip one tablespoon once instead of one teaspoon three times, but my way just feels like a bigger breakfast. I finally did the only sensible thing and got my own private jar of peanut butter to slobber into. Still, I don't get it. Of all the things my husband's seen me put into my mouth in the past fourteen years, he thinks my peanut butter spoon is the most disgusting?

So maybe "Thank You for Not Being a Schmuck" isn't quite right. I mean, we're all schmucks sometimes. Maybe: "Thank You for not Being a Total Schmuck" is better.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you smiled a few times during your stay. Please sign on for my newsletter at the top of my home page. http://laughingisconceivable.com

...and take a look at my eBook. As a then-stand-up comic and (still) humor writer, I wrote it during my own bout with infertility and treatments to help me make sense of it all. It's been downloaded by 1000s of people looking to de-stress from their infertility hell. (Comments by top fertility professionals inside.) 4.5 stars/ 66 reviews. Available on Amazon/Kobo/Nook. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

Laughing IS Conceivable

 

A Father's Day Tribute to Your Future Baby-Daddy

These blog posts leading up to Father's Day are dedicated to all of the guys trapped in this infertility adventure with us and especially to Philip Cottraux whom I've never met in person but I'm pretty sure bears no resemblance whatsoever to Homer Simpson.  

homer simpson

I love when Judge Judy has a case where a woman is suing her ex and going 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. There are a lot of daddy bloggers now, but not nearly as many writing about infertility. I guess there a lot more guys proud of their kids than their low-sperm count. Go figure.

Infertile women generally have a short agenda when we blog or post on social networks:

 

1) Kvetch (complain) to other infertile women

2) Help other infertile women

Kvetch and help...Help and kvetch. Sometimes we think we're helping, but we're really kvetching. Other times, we know we're not helping and just want to kvetch.

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 is no picnic when you're trying to conceive. I imagine Father's Day is the same for them. Of course, most of them will never publicize 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 did some investigative reporting on my husband in an attempt to get the deepest insight into the innermost thoughts and feelings of the male half of a couple. I put on my best Barbara Walters /Oprah Winfrey face (is there such a 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 wife-the most wonderful person you've ever had the pleasure of knowing- 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 taped the whole session, took copious notes, stacked them all up in one big pile, got my calculator, and then entered the data I had amassed which really wasn't that massive and actually was a complete waste of time considering that his answer to every single question was:

"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 medicine declares that their body is 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 in these weeks leading up to Father's Day, 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 unless he volunteers to discuss... and just show extra love and appreciation for the guy you picked and remember why you picked him. And if your answer is: "I've never really thought about it." Please...we're women...Of course you have.

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Remember this Father's Day: You Picked Him

homer simpsonI 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

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, they'll 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 taped the whole session, took copious notes, stacked them all up in one big pile, got my calculator, and then entered the data I had amassed which really wasn't that massive and actually was a complete waste of time considering that his answer to every single question was:

"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 in these weeks leading up to Father's Day, 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."

So for the next week or so even as the infertility battle rages on, remember why you picked him. And if your answer is: "I've never really thought about it." Please...we're women...Of course you have.

My eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility (Amazon: http://amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A to read about it, customer reviews etc or click book cover over there to the left for Nook & Kobo.)