cryobank

Rest Assured: You've Got (Infertility) Insurance (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I mentioned Denmark yesterday. Any country whose people are named after a gooey breakfast treat is okay by me.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How the good infertile people of Denmark are on the eve of losing their access to free fertility treatments.

Once people have to pay for the expensive treatments,  I wonder what will happen to their number of children born via assisted reproductive technologies. Right now, the numbers are high: 8-10 percent of all total births in Denmark. That makes it almost, sort of, commonplace. I wonder if it's just a normal part of conversation over there.

"Wow, I can't believe you were conceived at the Haagen Dazs lab! I spent the first two weeks of my life in that lab! Who was your embryologist? Small world!"

"Did you buy the yearbook? I'm 21;  Class of '89."

"I went to the ten year reunion. All of the moms had to drive us. I mean, you know, we were only ten...We all had to wear pictures of what we looked like back then. It was pretty embarrassing. I didn't recognize many people. It's amazing how much people change in ten years. At least we didn't have to wear name tags--except the multiples. Baby A  I knew from second grade but Baby B was in a different class."   

"You don't mind needles? I hate needles. Oh right, you didn't have ICSI. Man, did that hurt like a son of a .... A little pinch, yeah right. They got me right in the ear lobe. It's still sore when I wear earrings."  

"Do you find that extremely cold weather doesn't bother you? If it's like -196 degrees Celsius outside, I don't even need a sweater."

I'm afraid that we in the U.S. still have a long way to go before we'll be able to discuss our infertility issues and outcomes so openly.  And maybe money is a part of it. But it makes no sense. We run to let everyone know we spent $60,000 on a shiny new car, but would be ashamed to tell you we spent that much trying for a shiny new baby.  

Of course we're also living in the Country where fifty-six year old celebrities have twins "naturally"... only in the U.S.... and People magazine.

Listen, I gotta go. All this week I'm working on my open enrollment insurance at work. I have to decide whether my husband should have health insurance next year or power steering in his car and tires with tread on them.  I'd better check if the insurance covers skidding off the road and into a ditch. I probably should also renew our AAA while I'm at it.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Men Men Men Men Manly Men Men Men (Monday)

Okay so if you're not familiar with the theme song from the show "Two and a Half Men" you're now thinking I have either a speech impediment or a severe short-term memory disorder. ("Did I just type the word 'men'? I can't remember. I'd better do it again to be safe." Then half a second later: "Did I just type the word 'men'? I can't remember. I'd better do it again to be safe."  It's a time-consuming affliction. I could spend all week writing and never make it out of the title.) And that's what this week's posts are going to be about- No, not me developing Turrets syndrome late in life: The manly men in our lives who are joined at the hip with us during our infertility stresses and messes.

And for all of you guys who are kind enough to log on, stop rolling your eyes and don't worry... I don't anticipate doing any male bashing.**

**Writer not responsible on Monday for what she might say later in the week or even in the next paragraph. But she'll try her best.

I also think there's sometimes a lot of female bonding going on here but it's not really female bonding. It's more those-of-us-dealing-with,-or-who-have dealt-with-infertility bonding. Whether we are male, female. partner or patient, good friend or relative of an infertile or empathizing health professional.

If you are a regular reader of Laughing IS Conceivable, you know that I don't often let the fact that I know nothing about a subject stand in the way of me writing about it passionately and extensively.    

I don't know a whole lot about male infertility (but give me a sec and I'll introduce you to someone who does.) So I'll mostly be talking about the guys as they relate to their infertile wives, girlfriends, and hot mamas. 

This week in "The Health Experts" we're lucky enough to have a great article by Ireland's Ian Claxton, a natural fertility specialist. (I don't think "natural" implies that it came easy to him as in "You wouldn't know she just started taking piano lessons, she's a natural", but maybe it did. Anyway... ) Ian will be discussing, in this article, male infertility and offering some very specific professional advice on boosting male fertility naturally.

I thought you'd prefer to hear from him than to hear me say something dumb and obviously completely made up like: "Take swimming lessons. Studies have shown if you swim better so will your sperm."

Listen I gotta go. My sister-in-law  just quit her job and I have to find her a new one before she gets any bright ideas and comes to live with us for an indefinite period of time. Finding a job for another adult, - a  forty-seven year old in another state where the unemployment rate is ten percent. How hard could it be? 

If you have a moment, take a look at Ian's article, "Ways to Boost Male Fertility" at   http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642 or visit Ian at http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=1230

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Things That Go Bump in the Night of an Infertile (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can... if you dare...whoooooooooooooo and if you like what you read, consider subscribing. It's easy and you'll get some weekly blog behind-the-scenes...If you dare.... whoooooooooo0oooo.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The one-in-a-zillion mishap when a qualified fertility doctor slips the wrong sperm into the right uterus.  Or, you might say, the sperm is in the wrong place at the right time.

Perhaps even more frightening (but definitely rarer) is when a woman goes to an infertility clinic, gets inseminated, and nine months later has a baby who's the spitting image of her..... fertility doctor.

There was a doctor named Cecil Jacobson who, in the 1980's apparently inseminated some of his patients with his own sperm.

(Is that so bad? I mean for the $1500 a pop for IUI, they should throw in more than a stork refrigerator magnet with their phone number dangling from his beak. Obviously this doctor was just looking to give his patients more bang for their buck (I didn't just say that did I? I didn't think so.)  

In a bunch of the cases, he claimed that these women were scheduled to be inseminated with anonymous donor sperm and the guys never showed up. 

That's horrible. In that crucial moment in your life you get a sperm donor who's such a total jerk-off (I didn't just say that either did I? I didn't think so.)

So, anyhoo.... the good doctor decided to step in and fill the guys' shoes... so to speak.

This doctor Jacobson must have been a real dynamo around the office. I mean if the temp receptionist didn't show up was he answering the phones all day between inseminations? If the cleaning crew didn't show up, was he vacuuming the office between inseminations and phone calls? 

He must have been quite the control freak. "Do I have to do everything around here myself? If I don't do it, it just doesn't get done! The phones don't get answered, the rugs don't get cleaned, the patients don't get pregnant."

Turns out he didn't have a sperm donor program at all... or if he did, he was the only donor.  I wonder if the staff found it odd that, after every sperm donor insemination, he went outside to smoke a cigarette or curled up on his couch for a nap.

What kind of an ego do you have to have to do such a thing? I'm curious to know if he had a belt at home with seventy notches on it. Or maybe this was just one of those innocent little naughty things you do at work that just gets away from you.

Like one day you slipped a handful of rubber bands into your purse. Nobody noticed, nobody cared. A few weeks later, a box of paper clips. Nobody noticed, nobody cared. A few weeks after that, a laser printer. Somebody noticed. Everybody cared. 

So maybe that's what happened with Dr. Jacobson.  A distraught woman came into his office. He offered her a tissue.  She was grateful. A few weeks later, a distraught woman came into his office. He offered her a magazine.  She was grateful. A few weeks later, a distraught woman came into his office, he offered to father her children. Like the printer incident... it just kind of got away from him.  

Thought you'd like to know that former Dr. Jacobson is now in Utah working in agricultural research. So if you buy a head of lettuce grown in Provo that resembles ex-Dr. Jacobson, you'll know he's up to his old tricks. 

(Yes, I'm fully aware that made no sense and that lettuce isn't a major crop of Utah. Leave me alone will ya?)

Listen, I gotta go. I'm working on a research paper of my own entitled: "Crappy Halloween candy: Why does it rear its ugly head only on October 31st and where is it hiding the rest of the year?"

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Infertility Support Forum (Tuesday)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The good, the bad, and the ugly of infertility support forums. At the heart of these forums are our posts. And when we post, we all sound nuts. There's a great comraderie among the insane... at least among the stressed-out, hormoned to the max, all-you-can-ride $20,000-a-ticket emotional roller coaster temporarily insane insane.

One of the common chants on these forums is: "Nobody understands what I'm going through!" Right. That's why these forums were invented: Because there are 7.3 million infertile people out there. And nobody understands what any one of them is going through.

So you can try telling your sister with her three kids,  for the umteenth time: "The holidays are just impossible for me. Why can't you be more sensitive and hide your kids in the closet behind the broken Christmas ornaments until they're over?!"   

Or you can pick one of a thousand forums and have dozens of instant friends from all over the world tell you you're 100% right, send you a big juicy cyberspace hug, and offer to punch your sister in the face.

So choice number 1 is: In the middle of your supermarket shopping, start bawling out the Swiss Miss on the hot chocolate package: "What the hell are you smiling at?! You don't know what it's like! I bet you've never had irregular periods! I bet you've never even heard of Clomid!"

(You get to that point. Where just looking at a package of a caffeinated drink puts you over the already shaky edge.)  

Then security is called. And there he comes. All five foot six, 103 pounds of him. He spends ten minutes peeling you finger by finger off of the Swiss Miss's bony throat.  Then he gets on the loud speaker:  "I need a clean up. There's a total mess in aisle 9... And it ain't the cocoa!"

So then, after a brief detainment in the supermarket break room that ironically, smells of rotten eggs which of course you can't let go and accuse the whole supermarket chain of mocking you, you do the smart thing and go home,  and opt for choice #2: Go online and be among your peoples.

I smile when a woman prefaces her support room rant with: "I'm sorry to sound so angry" or "I don't mean to vent but..."

Please. Have you by chance read the other 30 posts before yours?

Each one of us sounds a little more nuts than the one before. Almost every comment sounds like it was written from a ledge. Every one who answers a post should start with: "Come back in here. I want to talk to you."

Listen, I gotta go. I must read this new British tabloid I bought. The "Father of IVF", Professor Robert Edwards just won the Nobel Prize for medicine and it seems the first "test-tube" baby, Louise Brown, is suing him for half of his Nobel Prize money for 32 years back child support.  

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Infertility News: Story at 11 (Friday)

(Start with Monday if you can. If you do, I promise not to make you read another word of mine all week end.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. A woman, in an online article was explaining IVF to the uninitiated. It was a very interesting article I thought... Until she started viciously attacking me where I live.The article from yesterday's post went like this:    

"Many of today's couples trying to conceive may not have been born when the first successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) produced a healthy baby."

Okay, so when Louise Brown, the first "test tube baby", was born in England in 1978, I was in junior high. So, what can I say to the author woman to woman, writer to writer? Obviously: "Thanks a lot. Screw you." 

My age gets a further kick in the dentures later on in the piece:

"Couples using in vitro fertilization should be healthy, and under the age of 35 years"

I agree. They should be. We, however, couldn't even see 35 in our rear view mirror when we began IVF. And as for healthy...Yeah, we were pretty healthy... for elderly people. (You know in the mall or the park when you see a cute old couple holding hands? And you think how sweet they look? That's us.) 

Okay, so that article gave me one day of agita and a few moments of trauma and then being the mature sort I am, I forgave it and moved on. 

Only to check out the next doozy of a headline to come down the pike. This one from healthland.time.com.

"Why Its Harder for Older Women to Have Healthy Babies"

Talk about coming right to the point. Kick a cougar when she's down why don't ya? 

"As women reach their mid- to late-30s and hit 40, they are at greater risk of having chromosomal problems in their eggs — known in scientific terms as maternal age–associated aneuploidy."

Oh wow. It has this hefty medical term. Why not call it what it is?: "Old Fartess Syndrome" . I guess doctors would be reluctant to put that specialty on their website.  

Okay so according to this article, by the time I went through IVF at age 41, if I ever managed somehow to get pregnant, thanks to my endlessly deteriorating chromosomes, there were pretty good odds that I'd give birth to an 8 pound ten ounce elbow.

Great. I'd get to know the joy of bouncing my baby elbow on my knee. 

My life would forever be a series of awkward conversations. Graduating from: "So, why are you waiting so long to have a baby?" and straight into  "I love your child's sleeve. Wherever did you find it?"

A bending elbow.  What can he hope to be when he grows up? An alcoholic I suppose.  

The masochistic in me decided to read on:

"No one likes being labeled, but celebrate your 35th birthday and get pregnant and you're out of luck: Like it or not, the letters “AMA” (Advanced Maternal Age) get slapped across your chart."

Of all of the three letter combinations in the English language, they had to put those together in the exact same sequence as the American Medical Association? I could see where it might cause some confusion.

"We've been so busy lately and still the clinic is losing money. It's all of those professional courtesy discounts we're giving to our AMA patients. For some reason a slew of doctors have been coming in for treatments lately. What dumb luck!"     

I feel quite confident that, no matter how old I was, "AMA" was not written in bold letters across my chart. There was no room for it what with: "TROUBLE" "PAIN IN THE A.." "WHINER" "HMP (High Maintenance Patient), and PELGHPSWCFGROH! ("Please everyone, let's get her pregnant so we can finally get rid of her!")  running across my file like the stock market ticker on CNN.

Listen, I gotta go. I can't wait to get started on my new anti-aging program. I'm going to get on a plane and fly west for the rest of my life.

Even if I ditch the project when I get to California, I'll still be three hours younger... I think.

Check out the featured article in Health Experts this week: Counselor Tracy Birkinbine discusses how men and women handle infertility differently. They do? I never even thought to ask my husband. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

Infertility News: Story at 11 (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Okay I can't come up with one good reason why you should. Just throw me a bone will ya?)

So what were we talking about? Oh right. This week in "Infertility News":  A publication that flourishes once every couple of months on my blog and then evaporates into oblivion itching to be resurrected. 

One article this week I found particularly interesting: Instead of taking a look ahead into infertility and IVF, it took a look back.

Have you ever read anything on Empowher.com? Neither have I. Nothing against the site itself, I just tend to steer clear of expressions like "empower" and "deal-breaker".

Any word or phrase that makes people sound like their channeling Oprah and Dr. Phil makes me hyperventilate. Love 'em both but their mini me's make me nervous.     

Anyway (apparently I've led us all astray again)  there is an article this week on this site written by Jody Smith: "In-Vitro Fertilization: From First "Test-Tube Baby" to Accepted ART". 

Ms. Smith wrote a very informative article for those who don't know much about IVF.

Then there are those of us who know TOO much about IVF. Let's focus, shall we on OUR point of view:

The article goes something like this:

"In vitro" is a Latin term meaning 'in the glass'".

That's correct. The glass it refers to, of course, is the jar in which we all used to keep our spare change before we began treatments and had to pluck out every last nickel.

Then the article gets into the nitty-gritty of the procedure itself:

"Step one is hormonal stimulation via injection over about 10 days".    

Oh no no no. That is not step one.  Step one is:

Freak out. "Why can't I have a baby?! I'm a woman. I'm supposed to be able to have a baby?! Why are all of my low-life friends and relatives having babies?!"  

Then there are the steps that follow: Figuring out what, if anything, to tell your family. Deciding what doctor to go to. How is this going to be paid for? The whole hormone treatment thing: That's like step 212.

Further down in the article: 

"... embryos then are implanted in a uterus of either the woman who owns the egg, or a previously agreed-to recipient."

I especially like that last part: "Previously agreed-to recipient." Is that like when your neighbor agrees to sign for your sweater in case UPS delivers it while you're at work? 

"Unlike artificial insemination, in IVF the union of a woman's egg and a man's sperm occurs in a laboratory dish, rather than in the woman's body."

Wow. This is upsetting. So, you mean my husband lied to me when he said we had to get naked on the clinic floor?

"Over a period of about three weeks, a few outpatient procedures are performed."

I'm sensing a little understatement here. Getting up at 5 every other morning so I could get my blood taken before work is one thing... Sticking myself in my subcutaneous gut every night and my husband getting me in the tush with a long needle... yeah those are a few outpatient procedures I could've done without.  

Then the article explains follicles and the egg retrieval and then this:

"The sperm is put in an environmentally controlled chamber with the best eggs." 

It figures doesn't it? We're sweating it out for weeks doing shots (and not the good kind), giving blood and doping ourselves up on hormones and his sperm are sitting in  a luxury lab suite with their feet up just waiting to have his pick of the ladies.

Then I became especially interested in some post embryo transfer info:

"After this procedure, the woman should stay in bed several hours, being discharged from the hospital a few hours later".

"Several hours? I was there for like 20 minutes. The nurse shook me awake from the anesthesia and said "When you can sit up without vomiting you can leave."

And hospital? What hospital? I think my room in the clinic was the staff cafeteria. That's why they did my retrieval in the morning. I had to be off the table in time for the noon crowd, and,hopefully, before someone starting microwaving.    

Listen I gotta go. I've got to poll some of my IVF survivor friends. I'm dying to know: Is IVF supposed to be the way it was for me? Or did my lousy insurance do me in?

Take a look at this week's article by Health Expert Counselor Tracy Birkinbine. She deals with how men and women deal differently with infertility (like everything else) http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow 

Those Who Assist Us With Our Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Thurs)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I think, as the week progresses and I get more and more exhausted, it's fascinating to witness my mental unraveling first hand. Come. Watch me deteriorate.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. What each medical professional's role is at the fertility clinic. I like anesthesiologists myself. Just by their title you know immediately what they do there.

My anesthesiologist was a lovely Italian gentleman. (Now that I think about it, I wonder if that might have been my under-anesthesia hallucination fantasy. Maybe things got distorted in my head during the countdown. Somewhere between 98, and 97.

Maybe my anesthesiologist wasn't a lovely gentleman from Italy at all. Maybe she was just a woman wearing boots.) 

Anyway, so this handsome Italian Stallion anesthesiologist dude was at my egg retrieval. This is an ideal job for a shy person: Someone of few words. "You're going to count back from 100. 100, 99, 98............................................................"

He may as well have said: "You're going to count back from "1"...

You've got to respect a guy who can lull you into unconsciousness. Of course he has the benefit of having drugs and a needle to help the process along. I had a college professor who did it with nothing but the monotone of his voice. Now that's magic.   

Reproductive Endocrinologists interest me a lot also. I mean, they're the head honchos of these joints, aren't they? I think we patients look at them as the ones who really orchestrate our entire conception course of action and, rightly so or not, are somewhat responsible for our successes and failures.

So what are their qualifications? For me, I have a few vital criteria when choosing an RE:  

1) Have warm hands 2) Don't mention either my abdominal roll nor the odd-looking mole on my leg.

I've always lived in dread of getting that one doctor who feels compelled to say:

"You have to have that mole removed before I can treat you. No, the mole won't hurt your chances of getting pregnant. It's just really ugly and I refuse to go near it."  And then, he or she wouldn't stop there.

"It makes me so mad when patients assume we're immune to gross things just because we're specialists. You people just think 'we've seen it all', don't you? Well, I've never seen anything like that mole before and I refuse to have anything to do with it! So get rid of it, young lady, or find yourself a different doctor!"

Of course I would focus on the fact that he or she referred to me as "young lady" and know this was the doctor for me. 

So according to sharedjourney.com, this is the background an RE has:

"Reproductive endocrinologists are highly qualified professionals. They have all completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. In addition to this, reproductive endocrinogists have completed two to three years of training in reproductive endocrinology.

In order to become a qualified reproductive endocrinologist, an oral and written exam must also be completed."

I feel much better knowing all that don't you? I've always had this deep-seated fear that I was going to find out my Reproductive Endocrinologist graduated from Apex Tech.

He figured: "I think I'll be one of those Repro doctors. I mean, I'm good with my hands and my certificate is in 'plumbing'." Then one day he'd quit it all when he found out he could make more money fixing toilets.

Listen, I gotta go. I have to fast starting tomorrow night, and I don't want to wait until the last minute to stuff myself  silly. I'll talk with ya again tomorrow. Don't forget to check out Embryologist Carole Wegner's article "Quality Assurance in the Fertility Lab" on The Health Experts page: http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

 

Anger: It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Anger is like a good friendship: It builds over time.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. My friend who believes that anger is a great motivator. I'm sure, even as we speak, she's somewhere motivating herself into a fit. Maybe one day all of her hard work will pay off, and she will have motivated herself into a stroke.

There are many things to anger you when you're going through infertiity. Big ones for me: Misinformation and Missing Information.

Like many people who ride the IUI/IVF well, it's not a wave...let's call it a cyclone on a good month and a tsunami on a bad one- I was told that my pregnancy test was a "low positive". I was like:

"What the hell is a low-positive? A pregnancy test with self-esteem issues?" 

My hormone level was a six. Apparently if I had truly been pregnant it would have been around fifty.

The next time I went in, the nurse came running into the waiting room: "Good news. Your numbers are going up!"

Turns out they had gone all the way up to eleven. So, that was good news? It meant, as the doctor explained twenty emotional whirlwind minutes later, that this was not a viable pregnancy and we'd have to begin again from square one.

So, clearly, a "low-positive" was a "high negative" with some good PR people.

I felt like saying to the nurse on the way out: "I have good news for you! You have a job! Even though you're an idiot!"

Missing information can also be anger-producing: Stuff that nobody bothered to mention.

Before my egg retrieval, I felt like I was getting a fever. Nobody told me that an elevated temperature before an egg retrieval was normal.

All I could think of was all of the money, emotions, and physical and mental energy that had been invested in my impending procedure. And now, because I maybe had the flu, it was all going to be canceled? Not over my dead from hyperpyrexia body! (SAT word!)   

So here I am, the night before, trying to figure out ways to fake out a thermometer.

"I'll think cold thoughts. I'll picture myself in the tundra like I'm doing a York peppermint patty commercial. I'll think about 'Frosty the Snowman' at least until he gets to the greenhouse and becomes 'Frosty the Puddle'. I'll think of the movie 'Fargo' . I'll suck on ice before they take my temperature."

I felt like the low-lifes who spend half of their lives commiting crimes and the other half plotting to psych-out lie detector tests.

If only someone medical had mentioned that I could expect to have a temperature before the egg retrieval.      

My husband knows a guy who applied for a job and then set out to out-wit their mandatory drug urine test.

He drank some stuff that was guaranteed to remove all traces of certain drugs. He didn't get the job. He was perplexed. Apparently it also erased all traces of urine.

Listen I gotta go. I've got to figure out what to wear to Chelsea Clinton's wedding next weekend. What do you mean? You're joking, right?

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

Anger: It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore (Monday)

I have a friend who truly believes that anger is a great motivator. Okay. I've heard of it motivating people to lose weight or to get out of a bad relationship. I've also heard of anger motivating people to bypass  the parking lot and drive their SUV straight into the mall, or bring a machine gun to work in their lunch box instead of a tuna fish sandwich.

This same friend once told me that her anger got her up and out of bed in the morning. Apparently, upon waking, she has several mantras that run spontaneously through her head: "I am so mad at my job, my boss, my sister, the non-smoking law, the republican party, the democratic party, women in general, men in specific, my electric bill, my landlord, the dry skin on my toe... "and before she knows it, the adrenaline comes raging through her veins and she's  up and ready for the day.

I'm like, "Couldn't you just open your eyes and say: 'It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day and I'm healthy enough to enjoy it'?

It would probably do the same thing without creating a side of panic attack to go with your shredded mini wheats."   

I even suggested that she ease herself into this whole crazy "being positive" notion of mine and put her own negative spin on it:

"Wake up and proclaim:  'Yeah! I didn't die in my sleep!  Whoo hoo! So what can I go do now that I made it through the night without having a brain hemorrhage?!'"

She doesn't do it intentionally. She's just po'd all the time. Sounds like a waste of life to me...but... whatever. As long as I'm not the one waking up next to her. In fact, as far as I know, she has nobody waking up next to her...imagine that.

Oh what a restful night's sleep it would be not knowing if you're going to wake up to a pillow over your face or to a hearty "Good morning Jerk!" followed by a love-tap with a swift hard cover book to the back of the head.   

So, those going through infertility are not like this friend of mine. We're po'd a lot of the time because of the infertility, but that's not who we really are. It's kind of what we've become. So, what are we so mad about? Let's discuss.

Listen I gotta go. I accidentally threw away my bank card and I hear the garbage truck coming. (You have no idea how much I wish that were a joke.) I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Infertility News: I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up (Friday)

So what were we talking about? Oh right. The study done to see if teens who had been conceived via IVF were any different than those who had been conceived the "normal" way: With a little alcohol and the promise of forever. PS. Yes, they're equally obnoxious. End of study. In other infertility news: You may have heard that the Octo-mom and her doctor are planning to take over reality TV:  She with her own show and he on the eleven o'clock news.

You remember the original issues we all had with this doctor. Yeah, yeah, he took this single lady who appears to be nuts and implanted her about a million times. She had six kids, then she had eight more, now she has a reality show...

I mean this is Beverly Hills. I've heard of people addicted to plastic surgery; but in vitro fertilization? All in all, after the first slew of children, she probably should have just had a tummy-tuck and called it a day... Whatever whatever...Old news.

But now there are apparently a few other minor incidents revolving around her doctor which have come to light: Notably, a forty-eight year old woman in whom he implanted seven embryos.

I don't know how unhealthy that itself is, but can you imagine a sixty year old with seven pre-teens? The price of her IVF should include a lifetime standing reservation at the local asylum. (If only to drown out the chorus of hourly chants of "Why do I always have to go seventh?!")

So the medical community is outraged. The public is outraged...Could this man ask for better publicity?

There are literally millions of people searching desperately to make their conception dreams come true and here's this guy who can't stop getting  women pregnant...very pregnant. 

And you don't get any news bulletins running across the bottom of your TV screen when they don't get pregnant, so it seems like his success rate is 100%.

I wouldn't be surprised if he leaked these stories himself--like Madonna. If, when this seven embryo story dies down, you hear he's dating A-Rod, you'll know I'm right.

And he still has his license. And he still has his website. Which, oddly enough, still lists The American Society for Reproductive Medicine under "Resources" even though he's been expelled from it. He could at least have the decency to put an asterik, like this: ASRM*.

*Although you might not want to use my name.

I actually think that's damned magnanimous of him. I think of places I've been fired from. I wouldn't recommend any of them on my website.

Even on my resume, next to the name of the company, where the "Dates of Employment" ordinarily go, I've written: ("Yeah, I used to work for those MF's.")

Listen, I gotta go. We're having a neighborhood sock wash this weekend and I have to start sniffing to see what's clean and what's too dirty to be washed in public. I live in a very exciting town.

Infertility News: I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up (Monday)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Before the weekend rudely interrupted us, we were discussing how baby showers alone could suck all the positive energy out of our lives, and: Which would be easier?: If all of our pregnant girlfriends left the country or if they stayed and we went. Because, right now, clearly the nation isn't big enough for us and them.

At some point I'm sure I'll go off the deep end and exploit all of the celebs who are fifty and had their twins "naturally".  Yeah, we know. Their noses are natural. Their boobs are natural. Their tans are natural. Their hair is natural.

Of course if you ever saw a  picture of them from high school, (somewhere between five and thirty years ago-depending on which set of dates you believe), you'll compare it to present day photos and wonder if somewhere over those five to thirty years she went through the witness protection program.

Nowadays she looks younger, thinner, blonder, taller, and perkier (all over). But it's all natural as are her twins who happen to be of a completely different race than her or her husband.

She herself, and her family, are what scientists call "Genetically Impossible"

No, we'll save the tabloidy stuff. This week we're going to be chatting about real life infertility news:

"Infertility tourism" (Seeing the infertility sights, I guess) Or

The female prisoner in Australia who petitioned the court to continue her IVF treatments in jail (You won't believe what she's "in" for)

Or the IVF teens who were part of a study to see if they're like "normal" teens. (The frozen embryoed teens probably like the cold more than  "normal" teens.)

Listen, I gotta go. I write my posts the night before and now I have to do my usual pre-Monday morning rituals: 1) Get my work clothes ready for the morning.  2) Prepare my lunch to bring to work tomorrow. 3) Cry myself to sleep because it's almost Monday again.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

When You Don't Fit Into The Baby Club, Be Your Own Hero (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I promise that my blog week will go a lot faster than your work week.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. How to fill our time now that we won't be wasting it with the pregnant cousin, next door neighbor, and coworker.

Any activity where the chances are slim to remote that you'll run into anybody in baby-making mode will do. And there are a lot to choose from.

There's no need to beg AARP to bend their minimum age requirement rule for you. (Besides, the only thing more irritating right now than  expectant parents would be expectant grandparents.)

Here are a few suggestions:

1) Get off your birthin-to-be hips and do some exercise. And if it's with others, find some vain women: They wouldn't dare get pregnant. What are you kidding? After all the time and money (and surgery) they put into that body?

But only exercise around vain women. Part of being a vain man is proving that he can fertilize his female. 

Two weeks into your exercise routine, while he's prancing and flexing between the free weights, he'll have to report in his best deep, Ted Baxter, testosterone-infused voice that his woman is pregnant or quit the gym in disgrace. 

2) Book clubs- Conversation will mostly revolve around the book, (Gee, Lori, is that why they call it a "Book Club"?) and What To  Expect When You're Expecting is rarely on the agenda. 

3) Yoga. Everybody's trying so hard to not pass out or tumble over, there's little time for chit-chat. 

4) Learn a foreign language. Just don't learn how to say: Assisted Reproductive Technology, Reproductive Endocrinologist or In Vitro Fertilization. Not that any one of them is likely to be included in the beginners' class. 

And if you somehow get cornered by another student who's dying to mention pregnancy or children or another verboden topic, toss them one of these:  

"No quiero hablar de eso."

"Je ne veux pas en parler."

"I don't want to talk about it"...in Spanish and French.

5) Animal lovers groups: These people are repulsed at the very mention of human babies.

But of course the risk here is:  The doggy's "mom" will tell you everything: From when she stopped breast-feeding him to how they both cried at his first day at Dachsund Daycare.

And at the meeting, it's possible you'll look down and realize: "Oh, crap. Her 'son' and my ankle are apparently dating. And it must be serious. I can't imagine my ankle putting out on a first date."  

I recommend all of the above to take our minds off that subject from which our minds rarely wander these days.

But of course, some of the above can help with our weight and general health, and all of the above can help with our stress levels by keeping our minds and bodies a little lighter and freer:

Which could help with...you know... that subject we're not dicussing today.  As my Dad used to say: Anyway, "It couldn't hoit."

Listen I gotta go. I have to go to the hardware store and buy some duct tape. My windshield cracked and that's all my car insurance will cover.

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

When You Don't Fit Into The "Baby Club", Be Your Own Hero (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. It'll take you back to a simpler time (three days ago) before news of Bristol Palin's engagement had thrown your life into a tailspin.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. The "Baby Club" or more precisely: How to completely shut out the most important women in our lives for the entire duration of their pregnancies.

Of course, if my ideas yesterday of hiding, ducking, avoiding and running away from your pregnant cousin, next door neighbor, and coworker seemed too extreme for you, you can always go the childish route:

Every time they try to talk to you about anything baby-related, stick your fingers in your ears and hum. "What? MMMM Sorry, I can't hear you. MMMM"

Or play a game of "Hide" with them. It goes like this: They hide.  That's it.

You never "Go Seek" until either your infertility issue clears up or they're child is in high school.

I think the most important thing to learn about this whole "Baby Club" BS is that there are a lot of other clubs to join.

I know you desperately want to be a part of this club. You want to be a cheerleader and I'm telling you to join the stamp collectors.

I'm just suggesting that while we're all so busy running away from our pregnant cousins, next door neighbors and coworkers, shouldn't we be running towards something fun and interesting? 

And I'm not talking about  infertility-related groups.  They definitely have an important place in all of this, but would those clubs remedy this situation? And ask yourself: Are those clubs interesting? They're sure not fun.

"Oh, you didn't make cheerleader either? There are a bunch of us: That girl with the broken leg; the one who can't do a cartwheel to save her life; her sister who's hair isn't long enough to put in a ponytail; the girl with small pom poms. Yeah, we all got rejected too. Ho hum. Wanna join our club? It'll be fun, I suppose."

My husband and I decided to take a break from bemoaning the fact that I wasn't pregnant yet, by grabbing every opportunity to do things we might not be able to if we had a newborn to care for... never knowing if that time could be almost upon us. 

We ran away for cheapy little day trips. We saw lots of movies, read lots of books, (nothing even remotely reproduction-related) and went to every concert in the park no matter the music (okay, we drew the line at the New Kids on the Block cover band. I knew I had two choices here:

1) Not go at all or... 2) Listen to my husband say, thirty or forty times: "You're kidding me right? This is a joke. You're really not going to make me sit through this. Right?)    

It's totally understandable why this pregnancy is ruling the lives of our cousin, next door neighbor, and coworker, but should it be allowed to rule ours too?

Listen I gotta go. I'm riveted to the developing Bristol Palin story. I have to go turn on the TV in case there's a breaking news bulletin. I fear a tweet simply couldn't do it justice.

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

When You Don’t Fit Into The “Baby Club”, Be Your Own Hero (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Unless you're on vacation. Then get away from the computer as fast as is humanly possible.) So what were we talking about? Oh, right. Keeping yourself from being sucked into the pregnancy merriment vortex of those around you: Your pregnant cousin, coworker, next door neighbor.

Avoid these women at all costs. It's easier than explaining why you're not in any mood to be part of all of their giddy rituals and festivities.

The next door neighbor is the easiest to ditch. For me, it would be extremely easy to not talk to my neighbor for nine months. We've lived here for three years. I couldn't pick out my next door neighbor in a three-person line-up.

Like right now for instance. I just saw some teens running down the block and into the house across the street. I have no idea if they live there or are robbing it. I'll watch the news later and see if there's any mention. 

So just plan your newspaper retrieval, moving of garbage cans and picking up of mail when the neighbor is not in view.  And if you see her coming during one of these duties, just remember, you can out-run her.

One preggo down.

The cousin is also easily dismissed. All you need to do is avoid all family functions for nine months. Sounds impossible.

More impossible than spending the holidays ducking behind poinsettia or a menorah so that nobody will talk to you about how good your cousin looks or pry into what's going on in your ovaries? 

Of course if you don't attend the holiday festivities this year, those who do attend will spend all night talking about you and why you didn't attend. I'd be good with that.

You know how people always say: "If you have something to say, say it to my face."? What for?

Personally, I'd just as soon have them talk behind my back. Why waste my time with their stupidity? Like Billy Joel says: "You can speak your mind. Just not on my time." 

Of course some do-gooder like your mom or your sister who was at the bash (a bash in every sense of the word) will be hitting your number on speed dial as she's backing out of the party house driveway to give you the nitty-gritties.

And, that, my dears is what call waiting is for: To pretend you have another call so you can politely hang up on somebody. Or, even better: Caller ID. So you don't have to answer it in the first place.

Two preggos down.

The third chick on the list is the hardest to ignore: The coworker.

She sits just one thin-walled cubicle away. Not only does she spend all day searching for cute maternity crap online, she keeps calling other coworkers over to ask their opinion on it. And you have to hear all of it.

You hear her being excited about everything and the parade of coworkers being bored out of their skulls.  

Destroy something. Yeah, if something were broken in your cubicle, perhaps you could  just pick up your plant and your photos and sashay over to that one...way over there...next to the unbelievably noisy copier, on the other side of the twelve foot sound-proof wall.

Or, ear buds. Shove some nearly invisible ear phones into your ears and listen to music if you can. My mother's eighty year old cousin slips his hearing aid into his pocket whenever his sister starts talking.

Right now you're doing the infertility hokey-pokey... And "self-preservation"--That's what it's all about.

Three preggos down.

Listen, I gotta go. I'm going to put on the eleven o'clock news. I've piqued my own curiosity about that house across the street. I wonder if anybody does live there.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

When You Don't Fit Into The "Baby Club", Be Your Own Hero (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. No, you won't be lost if you don't. I don't pretend to be Tom Stoppard...I wonder if he has a blog.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. What to do when you're suffering through all of your infertility woes...

And your best friend from college, your next door neighbor, your coworker, (just one measly cubicle over) and your overachieving cousin who won the second grade art contest by drawing a perfect map of Bolivia complete with a special blue-green Crayola shade that she patented herself to replicate the rainforest, all came up pregnant last Tuesday. 

I know it's hard. It's more than hard. It's excruciating. Right now, at this very moment only, (I can't speak for tomorrow and neither can you) you're not part of that club. And whatever you do:

Don't accept a guest pass from these people!

What I mean is:  Don't let them sucker you into feeling guilty for not being thrilled for them or make you feel obligated to celebrate with them.

I was recently at a meeting at work where the guy in charge of Security spoke about how we shouldn't hold doors for anyone entering the building. I opened my big mouth and said: "A lot of us here are from NYC. We're not interested in being polite."

Not to say we're rude. We're just not worried about hurting feelings when our security might be at risk. And when we're around pregnant women, our emotional security is at risk. 

My two cents to you: Volunteer for nothing.

Don't go on cutesie girls day out baby clothes shopping sprees.

Don't offer to help pick out wallpaper for the baby's room.

And for Gd's sake: Don't make any baby showers.

Don't help decorate any baby showers. Don't attend any baby showers. Don't shop for any gifts for baby showers. If you can,  don't even use the term "baby shower".

Just call it:  "Balloons, streamers, a sheet cake, and a woman in no condition to be sitting in a wicker chair for two hours." (At the end of the two hours, three partygoers will be summoned to hoist her out of it.)  

Stick some money in an envelope and slip it to the woman who would be the next best candidate to do the wretched event and tell your next door neighbor, college roommate, cousin: "Sorry, this is a very tough time for me. I gave Anita money for the shower. It's the best I can do right now. Hope you have a great time."

End of story. Goodbye and good luck.  

Then treat yourself to a movie, a trip to the beach, a cuddle on the couch with your honey, (preferably all of the above) the day of the big gala.

If you can manage to coincidentally be doing all of the above in another county, state or time zone, even better.

And for heaven's sake. Don't check any emails or social networks. Some loser (usually my sister)(I apologize)...

So anyway, some loser (usually my sister) (Geez I did it again) will plaster the giddy photos of the shindig while the horrid shindig is still going on.

Here's a photo of Lisa, the guest of honor, eating cake. She's laughing. She's having a good time. This one is of Kate, her sister-in-law. She's laughing and eating cake. She's having a good time too. This is Kate with Lisa. They're both laughing and eating cake.

This is Lisa's husband Rick. He's laughing and drinking in this photo. A baby shower with an open bar. Classy.

Here he is laughing to excess and drinking his third drink beyond excess. He'll be a good daddy.

Oh now, these must go at the front of the baby book: Mommy being greased and pried out of a wicker chair with a spatula and daddy being rolled off the cake table and onto a stretcher by EMS workers.

Listen I gotta go. I have a feeling I'd better give my sister a head's up. Can I plead sudden turrets syndrome? Anybody know?

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

When You Don't Fit Into The Baby Club, Be Your Own Hero (Monday)

As any infertility vet can tell you: If you dabble in infertility treatments long enough, eventually you're going to run into a slew of friends and colleagues who are pregnant/recently had a baby. You can't even protect yourself against it anymore.

It used to be, if you wanted to stay away from potentially pregnant people you would just avoid young married couples.  That was then.

Now, there's nowhere to hide.

I have single friends with kids. Friends who have never had a date... with kids. Lesbian friends with kids. Friends over forty-five with... new kids. Gay male friends with kids. Friends who swore they would never have kids... with kids. Friends who swore they could never have kids... with kids.

You start saying to yourself: "I know they're all just doing it to spite me!" 

And they're probably not... Okay, they're definitely not. But, knowing that  doesn't make the going any less tough for you.  

You're counting down days to your next cycle of whatever assisted reproductive therapy you're doing at the moment, 

and they're counting down days until they give birth or celebrate their baby's first birthday, baptism, tooth, vomit, public humiliation, zit, whatever. 

I aim this week to get you to appreciate all of the "haves" in your life and to take the focus away, for at least a split sec, from your current "have-not".

And maybe we'll scratch the surface of your "just-had-a-baby" friend  and see what lurks under that new mom smell... as beautiful as the whole experience is, some of it might stink just a little.  

As for this week's title: "When You Don't Fit Into The Baby Club, Be Your Own Hero"

I had been toying with the idea of writing this week about the social isolation that comes along with infertility when I stumbled upon Connie Shapiro's blog post on that very subject: Of not fitting into "The Club"  http://connieshapiro13.blogspot.com/ and knew it was meant to be, kismet, or bashert as they say in my neck of the woods...or at least in my original neck.

Daytime talk shows, especially, love to talk about heroes and being your own hero.

It would be great, if after reading this week's posts you feel inspired like that, but if you just appreciate the sandwich pun, I'm good with that too.  

Listen, I gotta go. If I'm at the computer for too long, my husband assumes I'm checking out young male co-eds on My Space again.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

The Fertile Riff Raff (What? What Did I Say?) (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. It's good to get blogged as much as you can on a Friday, in case you have to go blogless on the weekend.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Women who get pregnant easily. Yesterday we discussed "The Irritating Irresponsibles": Women who just get pregnant for no apparent reason other than... well, for no apparent reason.

The most harmless of the annoying chicks who get pregnant easily are the imaginary ones. (Bear with me if you can.)

There are two types of imaginary pregnant women:

1) Mom's like to brag about their kids. This is tough when there may not be a lot to brag about. 

So, these Mom's work with what they've got: To everyone who will listen, they brag about their daughters' one crowning achievement: Getting pregnant easily.   

"My daughter was going to be a psychololologist, but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter (for my 34th birthday)."

"Then she was going to be an anthropololologist, but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter."

"Then she was going to build homes in South America with CoHabitation for the Homeless, yeah them...but she got pregnant and gave me  a beautiful grandson."

"Then she was about to become a general in the Air Force, but just as she was scheduled for her first flying lesson...she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter." 

"Then she was going to be crowned Miss USA....but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful (I think that one was a) grandson."

"Then  she was going to become the first lady of Monaco, but she got pregnant and gave me a beautiful granddaughter."

I like to think these white lies are just a mom protecting her young and trying to put a positive spin on things.

I'm sure she'd rather use the above answers when asked: "So what's your daughter been up to?" rather than: 

"Nothing much. She got thrown out of two online GED programs and three rehab facilities and has been knocked up six times."  

So, this daughter isn't 100% a figment of  mom's imagination. She does indeed have a daughter: Just not the one she's been telling you about.

2) The second imaginary pregnant woman is (oxymoron alert) really imaginary: Invented by someone who feels the uncontrollable need to top your story every time: Even if this means creating a great work of fiction.  

If you just bought a house that's twenty-seven million square feet, her imaginary niece just built one that's thirty million square feet.

If you just got a job as CEO of Microsoft, her nephew's faux step-son is your boss's boss's supervisor.

But, as luck would have it, he's in charge of the Guatemala office, so you'll probably never meet him. Unless you go to a conference in Guatemala, at which time he will have just been notified of his emergency transfer to Kuala Lumpur or maybe Cincinnati. 

So if you can't get pregnant, her first cousin can't stop getting pregnant, even though her only first cousin, you're pretty sure, is about sixty-eight.  

Her poor cousin, according to Madame La Raconteur, has tried everything not to get pregnant:

Separate bedrooms, green tea, taking a hatful of birth control pills after every meal, having a hysterectomy, gender reassignment surgery, becoming a nun... Nothing works!  

Listen I gotta go. I like to swim naked and the neighbors all signed a petiton requesting I do it before daybreak. I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

The Fertile Riff Raff (What? What Did I Say?) (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Anything with the word "riff-raff" in the title is worth reading from the beginning, don't ya think?) So what were we talking about? Oh right. Clueless women: Women who don't know anything.

They don't know how they got pregnant, when they got pregnant, why they keep getting pregnant and sometimes, occasionally-- They don't even know that they are pregnant.

One day she's trying on shoes at the shoe store and just happens to look down and see a little round face in the little rectangular shoe mirror.

And she exits the store in search of a whole different kind of pump than what she had intended when she entered.

But clueless women who get pregnant easily only make my eyes roll.

Irresponsible women who get pregnant easily make me wretch repeatedly. Two words:

"Maury" anyone?

Somewhere down the line I'll have an entire week's worth of blogs dedicated to Maury Povich's show. Maybe even a "Maury" month. You just can't do his guests the injustice they deserve in one measly post.

For those of you who haven't seen it: A show staple: Women (mostly women) get DNA tests done on an ex-husband, an ex-boyfriend, a boyfriend's son, a mother-in-law's husband, a husband's twin, an ex-boyfriend's boyfriend,  the guy who sat next to her at church --to confirm her child's paternity. 

Here's a direct transcript from the show, or something I'm making up as I go... You be the judge.

Miss A is seventeen, has four kids with four baby-daddy. All of them have their respective daddy name  with an "A" at the end: Marcusa, Jamesa, Joshuaa, Anthonya.

I'm not sure which is the most irresponsible part: Having all of those kids at such an immature age, having four different baby-daddy, or saddling those innocent tots with names that are absurd...and then calling them all "jr" anyway.

********

Miss B is twenty-four and has a husband. He is even a possible contender to be the baby-daddy. Hoo haa.

So are eight others guys: A few of his cousins and a few of their friends who happened to stop by at the family barbecue on that fateful late summer afternoon...

Leaving them all to rethink the true meaning of the "labor day weekend"... and to ponder if, perhaps, the grill should be the only thing turned on and getting hot during it.       

********

Miss C has been stalking poor David for two years trying to get him to pay up for his child. There she is on TV calling him a bastard and belittling his little body parts.

Where does a young lady learn such behavior? Oh, wait, there's her mother sitting next to her calling David a c*** sucker into the camera.

And naturally, when the DNA finally gets a word in edgewise, David is officially declared to be not the baby-daddy. 

So, irresponsible Miss C has been barking up the wrong guy's little tree for two years, while her child has gotten two years older and the real baby-daddy, with a two year head start, has probably made his way over the border into Mexico, or Canada, or Indiana.   

So these women got pregnant irresponsibly and now are doing something that may also be irresponsible: Bringing their child on TV to parade him and their "mashugas" (let's say "dirty laundry") for the nation to see.

If only they weren't so damn entertaining.

Listen I gotta go. I'm doing a triathalon next week and I have to learn how to swim. I hear it's like riding a bike. Which I can't do either...Maybe I'll just stand along the running route and hand out water.  I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

The Fertile Riff Raff (What? What Did I Say?) (Wednesday)

(Start with "Tuesday" if you can. It's a short post, I promise. Short week, short post, short woman. Apparently I'm shrinking. But nevermind about that.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. The low-life broads who have the audacity to get pregnant before us.

The Clueless 

We're smart women. Many of us eat right and exercise. Don't smoke. Take vitamins. A lot of us are educated. It's a shame none of those things apparently affect your fertility. In fact, they may work against you. Has anyone done a study on pregnancy rates among the clueless? I'll bet they're out of the stratosphere.

Part of this phenomenon, I think, can be explained. Clueless people have a lot of sex.

While we're busy at the library or a museum or the ballet, they're making nice nice. Or if they are at a library, museum or ballet, they're probably having sex in the stacks or in the parking lot with the valet during intermission.

They may know nothing about anything, but even they've figured out that "that goes there". 

Maybe fertility is their gift from Gd  instead of  a brain. Everybody's got something. Nasty people can be physically attractive (if you believe the tabloids about Naomi Campbell) and homely people can be rich. (Look at the British royal family pre-Diana). 

My "favorite" is the clueless girl who keeps getting pregnant over and over. The first child is ten months older than the second and then they start coming closer together. I don't think she has figured out how it all works. She hasn't seemed to make the connection between the beer part and the birth part.

She hasn't realized that every time she and her beau cuddle on the couch with beer and nachos, nine months later she has a baby. Do we really want her to analyze this? "Hm. I keep having these babies. It must be the nachos."

So she does away with the only innocent party in this: The nachos, instead of what she should really be getting rid of:  The couch. And the beer. And definitely, the beau. 

Then there are those who don't even know they're pregnant. She was out roller blading one day, had a twinge in her side, went to the emergency room, and had a twelve pound person yanked from her loins.

I totally understand that some women don't have regular periods to start with so they don't notice missed ones.

I also completely see how the first couple of months you may not catch on if you don't feel queasy. Or notice a little weight gain later on. (Could be baby fat or just Burger King fat?)

But somewhere down the line, you'd think you'd know if you were harboring another whole human being inside your body!  Unless of course....You're Clueless......

Listen, I gotta go. My husband and I just took pictures of ourselves at the photo booth at the mall and I have to get mine retouched. I'll talk to ya tomorrow.

Who's To Blame For The Infertile Insane? (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Preferably with a frosty beverage in one hand and a sparkler in the other.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How people, like your spouse, and society, and the medical staff, have conspired with hormones to make you go bonkers during your fertility treatments...

(Ever see the movie "Gaslight" with Ingrid Bergman? It's like that.)

And, of course, there are the bills...

Bad enough you have to go to all of those appointments and be subjected to proby things put up you and blood siphoned out of you.  Stuff injected, swallowed, inserted or shot into you.

Now, on top of all of that: The damn treatments expect to be paid for.

I thought about getting a second job, maybe babysitting. Okay, so, nowadays a babysitter makes, what?  At least, forty dollars a night. 

So, okay. Let's say I worked at my regular job every day and worked overtime every night. And then, afterwards, I babysat. Seven days a week.

I'm sure there are lots of couples headed out to have a date night at eleven on a Tuesday evening. 

So that would be at least  two hundred and eighty dollars a week just from babysitting. At that rate, I could have one round of IVF signed, sealed, and delivered in about ten years. Just from babysitting. Not bad. I could start treatments about three weeks before I turn fifty-two.

Or maybe my husband could set up a lemonade stand outside his office on his lunch break.

Why not? On a NYC corner, he could charge eight dollars a cup and nobody would blink. Nobody would buy, but nobody would blink. Well, tourists might buy. He's cute enough.

And maybe he could wear a thong speedo to bolster business. I suppose that would mean we'd have to do the treatments in the summer. We've gotten this far. No sense taking a chance on frostbiting his boys.

Or maybe we could do a 50/50 raffle. You know. You sell tickets to raise money. You keep half and the winner takes half.

Could get a little hairy if you have twins, though. Even worse with triplets, being that they're not divisible by two.  What in the world am I talking about?

Or we could borrow money from family...Wait, where'd they all just go?

Or we could max out our credit cards...if our credit limits hadn't been dropped from $35,000 to $12.95.

Or we could do a bake sale. How many chocolate chips do you need to make $200,ooo worth of cookies? I'll probably need to buy a bigger bowl.

Or we could sell stuff on e-bay. If I can find a way to market old crap as nostalgia.

Or we could barter. I have a degree in Foreign Languages. Do you know any Reproductive Endocrinologists who could use $20,000 worth of Spanish lessons? (I think I might have to throw in a Senorita.)

So, the moral for this week: If you're dealing with infertility- The diagnosis, and/or treatments, and you're worried that you're losing your mind. Don't worry. You are.  We all are. Abnormality is the norm.

Listen, I gotta go. I smell steak barbecuing somewhere within a six mile radius. I've gotta grab a bottle of A1 and hunt it down. If you could see my nose, you'd know I wasn't kidding. I'll talk with ya on Tuesday.