health

Mother's Day Living in The Land of What Ifs

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

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

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

What IF:

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

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

What IF:

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

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

What IF:

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

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

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What IF:

...I feel depressed the whole day?

See "Ben & Jerry’s" comment above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expect to have Holiday Expectations

So you think you dread the holidays this year because you're dealing with infertility? How about before you were dealing with infertility? I truly believe that many many people- those with normally functioning reproductive systems included- either dread or at least would rather not go to these family soirees and there's one main reason: Expectations: Either we fear that our holiday gatherings won't live up to what we expect. Or, even worse: They will.

Approaching holidays fill us with expectation: Expectations to be happy, to celebrate, to be around family, to skip down memory lane, all of us together, hand in hand.

So here we have on perfumed stationery our dainty, holiday expectation list, engraved in gold calligraphy. And on the other side, scribbled in leaky pen with a mayonnaise stain on it, is our real expectation list.

We expect that everyone will get together. We expect that most don't want to be there. We expect that most are for one of four very good reasons or a combination thereof: 1) They couldn't get out of it. 2) Free food 3) Free alcohol 4) They don't want to be the person who's talked about behind their back.

We expect that at least one person will say something about himself that he shouldn't have and at least two people will say something about someone else that they shouldn't have.

We expect some cousin to tell you how well he's doing in his business even though everyone present, even the kids, know it's bullshit.

We expect your aunt to continue the charade of how well her kid is doing and everyone else to be thinking: "Does she really not know he's a loser?"

We expect some to over-drink and all to over-eat. And we expect that some of the ones who over-drink, will somehow find a way to over-drink even if there's no alcohol served.

We expect all the food will be great while we're sitting within earshot of the person who made it and most of the food will stink when we all talk about it on the drive home in between popping Tums.

And we expect at least one person in each vehicle to put in the request:

"Remind me not to do this again next year."

But those with infertility issues also expect scrutiny and being judged and being made to feel uncomfortable:

Personal questions, embarrassing questions, extremely "not-anybody's-business" questions.

And I'm here to remind you that, while all of their baby plumbing may be functioning correctly, (although you might not be so sure when you see what they were capable of producing), your dear relatives have plenty they don't want to talk about either:

So, remember:

Don't ask  your cousin Brian why he's 42 and still living in his bedroom at home with the New Kids on the Block posters on his wall.

Don't ask your uncle Steve why he was on the news hiding his face.

Don't ask your sister-in-law Brenda why she lives in a mansion and drives a BMW to the food stamp office.

Don't ask your brother-in-law Sam how he failed his driving test four times and his GED three times.

Don't ask your mother-in-law why every time she makes her "special-family recipe" stuffing, there's always an empty Stove Top box in the garbage.

Don't ask your second cousin Bill why he spends his days collecting disability and training for an Ironman triathlon.

And the ultimate goal for the family festivities: After the whole debacle is over, be that person in the car who says:

"Remind me not to do this again next year".......

And then put it down as #1 on your New Year Resolutions' list.

Thanks a lot for taking time during this busy season to stop by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than when you first got here.  My eBook is now available in paperback too. So if you want to have a copy for when you could use a laugh during your infertility travels, or you're tired of the waiting room magazines.. (That's Chapter 6, by the way) Or want to give as a gift to someone in your life who just doesn't get what you're going through.  https://www.amazon.com//0692950117/  

 

 

Down the F'n Tubes: Interview with the Authors

Quick Note: My eBook is now (finally, mercifully) in paperback.  Regular price- $9.99 USD. New launch price through November- $8.49

The eBook is also on sale this month. Usually $4.99/now $3.99. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692950117

(Contact me directly for orders of 5 books or more-I'll hook ya up.) Now back to our regularly scheduled blog.

So I started chatting with someone online who had written a new book called: Down the F'n Tubes: An Ode to Fertility Futility.  I'm really big on titles. I love a good play on words and phrases and can't think of one that would better sum up the feelings of anxiety and frustration of infertility than that one. (Is it too late to change my book title?) Unlike most infertility books, this one isn't written by a medical professional or "the woman" but "the couple". I cyber sat down with "the couple", Tom and Virginia Hanada for an interview.

Down the F'n Tubes: an ode to fertility futility by [Hanada, Virginia and Tom]

Available in eBook & Paperback on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com//dp/B076YXQ2TV

LSF (That's me): A lot of people find it helpful to write out their thoughts when they're dealing with infertility but most of them just go under their covers with a syringe and scratch their angst into notepads they stole from the doctor's office. Why a book?

VH - In general, we’re private people, but we also try to be honest and open. A few years ago, we went out for lunch with some friends. Someone asked if we had any travel plans and we responded that we couldn’t really plan anything because the infertility treatments made things so unpredictable. As soon as we said that, one of our friends completely dropped out of the conversation and didn’t say more than two words for the rest of the afternoon. We found out later that she and her husband were about to start their first round of IVF. Apparently she really wanted to talk to us about it, but she didn’t feel comfortable. And that’s unfortunate. We could have supported each other. At that moment, we knew we wanted to start a conversation.

LSF: How long have you been dealing with infertility? So, what made you pick this time to write about it?

 VH- Four years. It seems like forever to us, but we know people who have struggled with infertility for much longer. I felt the need to CREATE something to make up for the fact I couldn’t procreate. Writing creatively gave me a sense of control and purpose. I got to control the narrative, and it felt great to define infertility—instead of being defined by infertility.

LSF: Tom, the vast majority of non-medical infertility books are written by women. Did you get roped into this or was this all your idea? 

TH: I was more than glad to be a partner in all of it. Virginia was enduring 98% of the awfulness of the experience (my 2% was having to masturbate into a cup at 7 am in a sterile hospital room without lubricant or porn; and for that I shall always be a martyr!).

LSF: Yeah, yeah, we all know what your 2% was. Boy, you people have to spell out everything.

TH: Just because of biological realities I wasn’t able to be the equal partner during infertility that I strive to be in all other areas of our lives. The least I could do was be an equal partner in a project that brought us both joy and expression.

LSF: "The least I could do"?... Virginia, are you telling him what to say? My husband has never put those 5 words together... Moving on... How did this collaboration work? Did you write the book together or did each of you come up with material independently and then compared notes?

TH- We’d walk the dog at night and decompress about the day, how we were feeling and what we wanted to say in the book.

(LSF: This is actually Tom and Virginia walking the dog.)

 

TH: ...And then we’d both write different sections of the story and come together and compare our work. Virginia is a college professor, and she approaches all problems with a scientific mind. So when we started composing the rhymes in anapestic tetrameter (aka the “Dr. Seuss meter”), the only way she could wrap her head around it was to create an Excel spreadsheet where she broke down each line by syllable and stress. I’m sure Dr. Seuss is rolling in his grave at the thought of us composing poetry in Excel spreadsheets, but we’re very happy with how the rhymes turned out!

LSF: Really? Those fricken little boxes drive me nuts.... Yeah, where did that Seuss-like rhyme pseudo children's book idea come from? I mean it's not like a normal game of word association: Syringe, nurse, blood, Seuss! I mean, what the hell?

TH - We came up with the rough idea together while driving back from an IUI appointment. But the thing was, we didn’t actually get the IUI because the doctor didn’t like the looks of the ultrasound – it looked like there might be polyps in the uterine lining, but could only be confirmed with a different kind of ultrasound, which couldn’t be done that day (and would be another couple hundred bucks). Virginia was really frustrated on that drive home. I commented that I envisioned the polyp as some mean old lady who lived on the uterine lining and was shouting at all the kids passing by to “Stay off my lawn!!!” Virginia laughed at that. And it was good to hear Virginia laugh. We decided at that moment that we were going to find some fun, imaginative way to tell the infertility story. Our good friend, Amanda is a talented artist. She really added a lot with her illustrations.

LSF: There's a lot of raw emotion in this little book. A lot of yelling and some cursing and even a few sexual positions mentioned. (One I had to ask my husband what it was. He said: "You know when I want some and you want to watch a TV show and we compromise? That's what that is.") Anyhow... Did you set out to give a good, honest, form of venting that we can all relate to or did it just evolve into that?

TH - I don’t think we would have ever finished it if it weren’t an honest expression of how we felt. We were angry. We were frustrated. We were annoyed. We were ashamed. I’m not sure we could write an infertility book that didn’t contain those emotions.  We wanted to do it in a way that was both relatable to those who are familiar with the experience, and accessible to those who aren’t. Something that you can hand to your best friend, or your mother-in-law, or a young couple who just hit their first road block in the process. Hand it to them and say “Read this. And then let’s talk.”

LSF: Wait... Whoa... Your mother-in-law? I mean, you've got that sexual position that I didn't know had a name and you said the "M" word just a few minutes ago, and the "F" word's in the title...

TH - EVERYONE we know has been invited to read this! In fact, the book’s cover is going to be the image on our Christmas cards this year. Many of our elderly aunts will now know that we have a book about infertility on Amazon… even if they don’t know that “Amazon” is more than a jungle in South America.

LSF: Or a very large warrior woman.

TH: Right. One of our intentions in writing this book was to “come out” to our family and friends. We wanted to express our frustration to them, but to do it in a fun, entertaining way. It’s a narrow target to hit (serious yet whimsical), but the response from everyone we love has been amazing.

VH: The most amazing thing has been how many friends have seen our book and then reached out to personally share their own infertility struggles with us! These are friends whose Facebook pages are plastered with photos of their beautiful children. I never knew the anguish they went through to have those children. Everyone seems to fight infertility alone, and it’s not right that something so emotionally and physically draining is also so lonely and isolating.

TH: I think it’s been great. The more we can get other people to accept infertility without stigma, the easier it’s been for us to accept it too.

LSF: Thanks a lot you guys for taking time to chat... And for you know, only saying "masturbate" once.

Down the F'n Tubes: an ode to fertility futility by Tom and Virginia Hanada. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B076YXQ2TV -

 

 

If Walmart had a Fertility Clinic

 

"If Walmart had a fertility clinic" I admit. There are several disturbing elements in that title.  I will calm some of your fears right here by saying this post won't have much to do with the ongoing fashion show at Walmart. You don't need me. You have your own eyes and YouTube for that. Although, I do think the mentality when we're getting dressed to go to a fertility clinic is similar as to when we're going to Walmart:

"Who cares what I wear to Walmart? At least half of the shoppers will look worse."

"Who cares what I wear to the fertility clinic? Ten minutes into the visit, I'll be in a backless couture hospital gown with my ass hanging out."

So, dressing for infertility or Walmart success notwithstanding-- Walmart has eye centers. So why not fertility centers? The best part would be that they could run them just like they run their seasonal items. In and out. No delays. Fast and furious. Bathing suits are gone in June. School supplies are done in July and on to the  Halloween candy because you know everyone wants to get a jump on their Halloween candy buying. I'm sure that August bag of candy is just laying around the house unopened waiting for October. (I wonder how many people actually finish the candy on the way home and turn around and head back to the store. I mean, it's August. You can't take a chance on it melting in the trunk.)

Well, why not a fertility clinic at Walmart? In and out. No delays. Fast and furious. No waiting ten days for your first consultation. No waiting until next month to try the next procedure. No two week wait to find out if you're pregnant. Here's the schedule at Walmart's Minute Fertility Clinic:

Monday 8am: First and only appointment. You say "hi" to Dr. Total Stranger and tell her everything you can think of about your menstrual cycle and your sex life, editing out only the parts about the whipped cream and the crack in the windshield. While you're chatting, a nurse takes blood out of your arm and sperm out of your spouse and then tosses away her latex gloves and goes to lunch. You then proceed onto the examination table behind the curtain. The doctor directs you to open up and say "aaah". You ask how everything looks. You probe her mind. She probes everything on that diagram in sixth grade Health class. You swallow a handful of fertility drugs that your spouse picked up at the pharmacy while you're on the table as the doctor stares at your ovaries to see if the pills have taken effect. She decides you need IUI. She uses something from Housewares to shoot your spouse's sperm up north. You leave the Minute Fertility Clinic, go to Subway next door and have a sandwich then return to the clinic. If you're still not pregnant, the doctor does an egg retrieval, sprinkles in some of the spouse's sperm for IVF and then sends the combo into your uterus. Now is the hard part: The 2hw: The two hour wait. You get a flu shot. You go into the pharmacy area, kick off your shoes and stand on Dr. Scholl's machine. You peruse the trial size aisle. You could take your blood pressure if Walmart hadn't replaced the machine with a garbage can last year. (A simple matter of priorities.) You buy some non-perishable comfort food and return to the clinic. Success! You're pregnant! You'll return next week to buy maternity clothes, pick up your "It's a boy/girl!" cake at the bakery, and stop in at the Walmart Ob/Gyn to deliver the baby on your way out.

Hey...Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you had a few laughs while  you were here. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please sign on to my newsletter http://laughingisconceivable.com (top) and check out my little book: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. (It's been downloaded by 1000s & is recommended by top fertility professionals around the U.S.) Available on all Amazons, Nook, & Kobo & in Spanish as La Risa ES Concebible.   https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

 

 

Corn Maze of Infertility

   

Corn mazes: They're one of my favorite parts of Fall. Even though most of them feel a tad gyppy rip-offish and my husband Lloyd and I are notoriously horrible at them. It's our annual tradition. The sweet smell of corn. The sweet sound of wives yelling at the back of their husbands' heads: "Will you wave the damn flag already and get us out of here?!" Every year we go to the same corn maze. It's carved out the same way. We get lost in all the same places. Last year, there had been a lot of storms. The maze was so depleted, I was towering over the stalks. And as you can imagine, at 5'2 1/4", I don't get that many towering opportunities. Regardless, it still took us a good hour and a half to navigate our way out. Sure, we could see the exit clearly. We just couldn't figure out how to get there without intervention- divine or otherwise... Hm... Sounds familiar...

I wish the first day I set foot into a fertility clinic, somebody had said: "Welcome! Have you ever been in a corn maze? Oh good. Well, going through infertility is just like that."

And then I could have said: "Do you mean that I'm going to pay you a ton of money to feel frustrated, disoriented, totally lost, and like my husband is of no help at all?"

"Great! You understand!"

When you first get into the corn maze we go to, you notice the entrance is right next to the exit. Just like when you're trying to get pregnant (get your mind out of the gutter).. what I mean is-- we all think "Hey, it's September. We'll have a June baby!" "It's so simple. I see the end. It's right there. I can practically touch it."

But what we don't see coming with either the corn maze or trying to get pregnant, is that for many of us there are all kinds of twists and turns and running into a lot of dead ends en route to that exit. (You'd think we would have had a hint of the difficulties ahead at least at the corn maze. I mean, the fkn thing has "maze" in its name.)

So we head into the trying to conceive maze innocently enough, skipping merrily hand in hand, eagerly following the pink and blue ribbons straight ahead. Then we take a pregnancy test. That can't be right. Then we take another pregnancy test. That can't be right either. We hit a detour in the road. There is no more straight ahead. We head right into ovulation tests, fertility diet books, and unsolicited advice that nobody asked for or solicited. Then we take another pregnancy test or two or six. Negative. We realize that we've gone in a circle: We're back where we were before we hit the detour.

So we head left this time. The ribbons are green. Our friendly neighborhood OB/GYN gives us some fertility drugs to try. Dead end. Turn around. Follow the green ribbons in that direction. Reproductive Endocrinologist tries IUI. Following the green ribbons. Following the green ribbons. It's the exit! I see the exit! Ah, fk, it's not the exit. It's the entrance again. I knew it looked familiar. We're starting all over again. Another go at IUI. Following the green ribbons. Follow follow follow follow... Follow the green ribbons and we're about to arrive... it's... it's...  the damn entrance again! Well, just for the heck of it, let's try this same exact dead end path twice more... just to be sure it's not the right way. The ribbons are red now. We're not even in the green zone anymore. Then we somehow end up at IVF. Nope. Still red. Should we just wave the damn flag and give up already? Wait, what's this little path? Have we tried it before? Maybe. I don't know. I'm so turned around.  FET (frozen embryo transfer)? Let's just go there. I'm exhausted. I'm irritable. I'm desperate to get the hell out of this maze already. The exit! Unbelievably, miraculously it really is the way out!

In both the corn maze and the conception maze, patience and perseverance do pay off. And, at least for one of them... it doesn't hurt to smuggle in a pair of hedge clippers.

**************

Want more laughs at infertility's expense?

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My eBook: Available on all Amazons, Kobo, & Nook. Soon in paperback!  https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

 

 

Autumn of my Fertility- The Suckiest Season

Autumn of my fertility. I admit, it's not quite as exciting as autumn itself. Waking up this morning, I didn't even need to experience the 64 degree temperature first-hand. Just seeing it in the lower left corner of my local TV news was good enough to get me pumped up. Then there was the autumn of my fertility: Getting married at 38 1/2+ and, for an entire year trying to get pregnant naturally by myself (well, not totally by myself. I'm not a complete idiot.)

In both cases, the real autumn and the autumn of my fertility, my heart pounded with anticipation but let's face it: The prospect of pumpkins, hayrides, candy apples, and the state fair is more thrilling than the prospect of emotional, physical, social, and financial devastation. And truth be told, when you're trying to get pregnant on your own (not totally "on your own"-- why do I keep doing that?), you only half think about fertility treatments and you never think what that might entail. Before I ever even considered going to a fertility clinic, I definitely saw images of those elevator doors closing on my motherhood opportunities and me wedging my foot in there to hold them open as long as I could.

But I never really entertained the thought of a never-ending parade of blood tests or constant probes or sticking this in there, or insurance or what to tell my coworkers about why I was switching my schedule... In fact, I think I was kind of in denial about how difficult it was all going to be. Even though I knew conception got a lot harder as you got older, I still just figured I would cuddle with my husband, get pregnant, and then watch the news. I never did ovulation kits, or temperature taking, or special diets. And I never read any of those debilitating statistics about exactly how difficult it could be.  "When you're 28,  the chance of you getting pregnant in the first three months of trying is 1 in 2. At 32, it's 1 in 12. At 38, it's 1 in 1200. At your age, it's 1 in 54 million... Well, that's still better odds than winning Power ball." (Please do not be either encouraged or discouraged by my numbers. Clearly I pulled them out of a spot six inches to the left of where the Progesterone shots went.)

Every fall, we go do a corn maze. We're notoriously terrible at it. They give you a flag if you get lost so you can wave it and the staff will come rescue you.  Throughout the fun-filled afternoon you can hear the sweet sound of wives yelling at their husbands: "We've been in here for 2 hours. Wave the damn flag already!!"

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

***

Thanks a lot for stopping by! Please sign on to my monthly Laughing IS Conceivable newsletter: http://laughingisconceivable.com (top) and take a look at my eBook:

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's been downloaded of 1000s looking to de-stress from everything from feeling like you're losing your mind to nightly injections to inept after hours answering services to the magazines in the waiting room. (Comments by top fertility professionals in "Look Inside") Available on all Amazons, Nook, & Kobo.  https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

 

The Time My Big Mouth Got Me into Trouble: Volume 9

Like a good mechanic, a good doctor is hard to find. But fertility doctors seems to be a little bit different. The vast majority I've dealt with have been amazing: Very caring. Very dedicated. A few were arrogant asses. They still seemed to be excellent doctors. Just arrogant asses. Unfortunately, I'm not good with arrogant asses... and neither is my big mouth. You'd think by now we'd both be mature enough to just ignore them, but no.

It's not just fertility doctors either. To date it's happened to me four times. Once with a podiatrist. Once with a chiropractor and twice with fertility doctors.

The podiatrist was arrogant and a crook. As he worked on the callus I'd come in for, he told me about all of the other things my feet desperately needed if they were going to last until next Tuesday including creams he just so happened to sell and a surgery he just so happened to perform. As he finished off the callus, he asked how it felt to which I responded and I quote: "What? I'm sorry. I couldn't hear you over the cash register."

The chiropractor was arrogant and condescending, a dynamic duo for me. When he came to fetch me out of the waiting room, he looked at my husband and me and asked: "Who's going first?" Lloyd and I shrugged and the chiropractor motioned to me and said to Lloyd with a wink: "I'll take the boss first." Lloyd, knowing me as he does... I'm surprised he didn't dial 911 the second I left the waiting room. I figured he'd just as soon leave breaking up a brawl to the professionals. The doc was chatting as he worked on my back.

"I'm sure you must have so much stress cooking and cleaning all day..."

"My husband cooks and cleans... I work full-time." (Here it comes.) "...and you don't have to talk to me like I'm an idiot. I speak three languages. One of them is English ."

As my head was turned to the side during the adjustment, I looked at the photo of his six kids and thought to myself: "Ugh. Some poor unfortunate woman did this man six times?" It's amazing I didn't say it out loud. Maybe I did. He only adjusted my lumbar not my attitude. (Not the people above. I have a big mouth not a cold heart.)

The fertility doctor(s) was the worst scenario(s). I went to one clinic for months. When I got to the second one, I tried to explain to this doctor that I'd already had 3 IUIs and that my follicles grew fast at the end without a final dose of Follistim. But he was half talking to me and half to a doctor-in-training and went on and on about how he had years of experience... whatever whatever and so I finally said: "If you'll let me get in a word edgewise..."

And the reason that I had to go to a second fertility clinic in the first place...

"Once upon a time, there was a young lady with a big mouth named Lori and while she was on the examination table and her lower half was opened wide, her mouth was opened even wider..."

(which makes it appropriate to have a picture that looks like a dentist's chair.)

As the doctor embarked on his usual scavenger hunt through my loins, I chatted freely about the high cost of fertility treatments. I started with the price of meds and graduated to the three page bill I had just received at the front desk, ending my monologue with...

"Quite a nice business you've got going here."

Or maybe I didn't say "business". Maybe I said "enterprise"............... or "scam"... or "racket". Yeah, that last one sounds about right.

Well, that's all she wrote, Sista. He stood up and flipped out on me for ten minutes. Poor little, infertile, impoverished, emotionally spent, naked-from-the-waist-down-with-my-legs-in-a-"V" big mouth me.

My husband Lloyd, in his most supportive mode just sat there. He wasn't going to throw me under the bus, but he was more than happy to step out of its path as it dragged me into the next county.

Yes, you heard it right. Me, in my infinite wisdom had opened my big mouth and put four men in their places while one held a knife to my foot, one did CPR to my spine, and two fondled my ovaries. You'd think a comedy writer would have better timing.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! Hopefully you added a few laughs to your day. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please sign on to my monthly newsletter / check out my little eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

It's been downloaded by 1000s of infertility sufferers looking to de-stress from all of the anxieties fertility treatments can bring: The hormones, the waiting rooms, the dumb things people say, the doctor's answering service.... ("Look Inside"on Amazon has comments from top fertility experts around the US) Available on all Amazons, Nook & Kobo.

newsletter: http://laughingisconceivable.com (quick signup at top)

eBook: https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

 

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".)

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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)

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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.

Thanks for stopping by! Are you just a little less stressed than when you got here? I hope so. Please join my newsletter at the top of my home page / check out my eBook. It's been downloaded by 1000s of infertility patients & professionals. 4.5 stars/ 66 reviews + remarks by many top fertility experts inside. Available on all Amazons, Nook, & Kobo.

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For Those Who Think the Best Part of Mother's Day is Now

Have you heard of "Give Yourself a Cookie" Day? If the best part of Mother's Day to you, right now, at this very juncture in your life, is the moment it ends...

I apologize if you've seen this theme before in my posts but I think it's necessary... especially for people who don't do well on certain holidays. And if you've been trying to get pregnant, Mother's Day is one of those holidays.  So what I do, a few times a year is proclaim it: "Give yourself a Cookie Day".

So how'd your mother's day go? Guess what? No matter how it went, you survived. It's over. And damn am I proud of you.

If you cried. If you hid under the table. If you never got out of bed. If you blew off family festivities because you were too depressed. For you, I hereby proclaim today as: "Give Yourself a Cookie Day!"

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

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

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

Give yourself a cookie!

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

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

Give yourself a cookie!

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

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

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

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

(Yes, her again!)

I know. There's a rampant obesity epidemic, and we shouldn't reward ourselves with food... So call it: "Give Yourself a Protein Bar" Day or "Give Yourself a Foot Massage" Day. "Give Yourself an Afternoon Off from Work" Day... Whatever you consider a reward for a job well done... That's the day today is!  And if you're not reading this until a week and a half after Mother's Day? So? "Give Yourself a Cookie Day" is what you'd call a floating holiday. It floats into your life anytime after a holiday-- whenever you need it.

If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense:

Please consider signing on to my newsletter / downloading my eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. (It's been downloaded by 1000s of infertility patients & professionals- some nice enough to review it online or on the inside pages. Available on Amazon/Nook/Kobo.)

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Microblog_Mondays

Mother's Day in The Land of What Ifs

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

Those who are going through infertility are typically pretty spectacular at conjuring up "What Ifs" at record speed and this year, seeing as the blasted holiday known as Mother's Day doesn't occur until the 14th, we've had 2 whole weeks to create "What Ifs" specific to Mother's Day. Well, it's not such a big deal. After all, how many "What Ifs" can one woman with an infertile body but incredibly fertile mind create in her head in 2 weeks?

woman-with-question-marks-around-her.jpg

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

What IF:

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

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

2.  ...I feel pressured by my family to go to my mother's for Mother's Day?

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

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

All of the following are acceptable answers: "I don't think now's the right time to discuss it." "I'd rather not talk about it." And if they still persist: "I'll tell you later" and then just don't, or my favorite: "None of your fucking business. Will you people let it go already?"

woman-angry-yelling.png

4. ...I feel depressed the whole day?

See "Edy's" comment above.

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

3 things before  you head out-- (links below)

Check out the bonus Mother's Day infertility humor post from guest blogger, James Doherty aka Scantily Dad.

"Mother's Day Post from an Infertile Dad": http://laughingisconceivable.com/dadsviewofmothersday

Please consider signing on to my newsletter at the top of my home page:  http://laughingisconceivable.com

Please consider downloading my eBook: It's been downloaded by 1000s who have needed some laughs during infertility. There are comments from top fertility experts around the US inside.

https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ Available on Amazon, Nook, & Kobo. (cover below)

https://www.amazon.co.uk//dp/B007G9X19A/ (Amazon UK)

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Mother's Day Post from an Infertile Dad

Hi everybody! In honor of Mother's Day,  please help me welcome Guest Blogger, James Doherty. He has a great blog called: Scantily Dad. (Just use the link below if you'd like to check it out. I tried googling "scantily" & unspeakable things came up. My home might be raided any minute.) He and his wife have been through IVF and here's his unique & quite humorous take on it, & Mother's Day.... Enjoy! (Alert: children mentioned)

Mother’s Day - An acronym for my infertility journey

To celebrate my wife and I beating the crap out of infertility, I have kindly been given the honour of guest posting for Laughing IS Conceivable. Humour is important for me and I had to try and find humour in the least funny of situations, infertility. The easiest way for me to do this was by creating an acronym that represents my journey through the IVF mill. This is no reflection on my mother or my wife, I swear, so if you read this Oli or Barb, please don’t beat me up.

The acronym for "Mother’s" describes our horrific journey through infertility and IVF. Those nerve-wracking times are thankfully behind us.

The acronym for "Day" is a little more on the positive side and reflects how we got through IVF treatment

MOTHER'S

M stands for Mortified. I was mortified at the fact that my sperm move about as graciously as a Walrus on land.

O stands for Ossified. Being a proud Irish man getting ossified (plastered drunk) was the only way to numb the pain of stopping my wife from being a Mother on Mother’s day. In hindsight, drinking could have been the cause of, and the solution to my infertility problem. Whoops!

T stands for Testicular Ineptitude. It is a sad state of affairs; my testicles are inept. My sperm is about as abnormal as an immigrant on Donald Trump’s board of advisers.

H is for Handjob. How romantic is it that for us to have babies all that I had to do was have a quick handjob.

E is for Ejaculatory dilapidation. Over a decade of eating crap, drinking like a fish and smoking like a chimney has left my sperm in a state of ejaculatory dilapidation.

R is for Ravaged Relationship. Our relationship had been ravaged by the rancorousness of assisted reproductive therapy. Thankfully, we made it through and came out the other side unscathed.

S is for the Shit times. Oh those shitty shit times. Two failed IVF treatments were the shittiest times of our lives. Anyone who has been through it knows just how shit it actually is. When you think you are having a bad day, compare it to failed IVF, and rarely will your day be worse.

DAY- OH HAPPY DAY

D is for Dedication. That’s what it takes to get through the shit times of IVF. You have to keep your eye on the prize. Seeing the bigger picture and being dedicated to the end goal is key to getting through infertility.

A is Appreciation. When everything is so hard and there seems to be no end in sight, it makes the good times feel even better. If you live each day in appreciation of what you have got, then you will be happy for the rest of your life.

Y is for Yes we fucking can. In the words of Barack Obama, with fucking thrown in as intensifying adjective, “YES WE FUCKING CAN” is the only attitude that will get you through infertility and IVF treatment. That attitude is the reason we did not give up and now have twins.

http://scantilydad.com/

https://twitter.com/scantilydad

https://www.facebook.com/scantilydad/

https://www.instagram.com/scantilydad/?hl=de Proud survivor of three IVF treatments, James was born and bred in Dublin Ireland and lives in Berlin, Germany with his twins Max and Mathilda. He is a dad blogger and an influencer that writes about infertility, twins and all things parenthood. The scantily dad blog is the ultimate parenting resource on the internet.

"Thanks, James!"-- This is Lori speaking now. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense:

Check out my own new bonus Mother's Day post:                   "Mother's Day in the Land of What Ifs"@ http://laughingisconceivable.com/mothersdaywhatifs/

Subscribe to my newsletter at the top of my home page:

http:///laughingisconceivable.com

Peruse my eBook: (Isn't "peruse" an abbreviation for "purchase"):

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

https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

https://www.amazon.co.uk//dp/B007G9X19A/ (Amazon UK)

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Available on Amazon, Kobo, & Nook

 

"M" is for May and... okay... mother's day month

As the calendar turns the page to May, all infertile eyes can't help but jump down to Mother's Day. This year, it comes a little late: Okay, I'm not a total moron (not a total one). I know that it always comes on the second Sunday in May in the U.S. and several other countries. It's just that it seems like it's usually around the 9th, but this year falls on the 14th. All in all, over 40 countries celebrate Mother's Day on one date or another. The Land of Infertility is one place where it is not celebrated. Or celebrated only when coerced into it and even then, usually celebrated half-heartedly if not half-assedly. Everybody in the world who celebrates Mother's Day, celebrates Mother's Day but infertile women: We "celebrate" Mother's Day Month.

I mean, did anyone look at the calendar today and think: "Yeah, this is Mother's Day month!"? Of course not. The majority of women dealing with infertility, if they opened their eyes this morning and their first thought was that it was May 1st, realized it was Mother's Day month and their immediate reaction, was that combo platter of feelings in the pit of their stomach of sadness, anxiety, and dread.

Whether you've never been through infertility, went through it a while ago or are knee-deep in it even as we speak- Everyone can relate to that feeling. It's the exact same feeling you have when you wake up and your very first thought, before even putting your feet on the floor is that:

  1. You have a final exam in your least sturdy subject.
  2. You have jury duty.
  3. It's the first day of school.
  4. You have to tell your best friend that her fiancé hit on you at her engagement party.
  5. You haven't gone to the bathroom in five days.
  6. You have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  7. It's not Sunday but Monday.
  8. You don't recognize the room you're in or the cologne smell on the pillow.
  9. The last day of your wonderful vacation was yesterday.
  10. You and your spouse/partner/husband aren't speaking.
  11. Your dream guy has his own dream guy.
  12. Your alarm clock never went off.
  13. You forgot to buy coffee... and
  14. You single-handedly polished off the logical-alternative-in-a-pinch, the half-gallon of coffee ice cream, the night before.

Please join me back here next week when I discuss the number one source of entertainment for those in the Land of Infertility during Mother's Day month: Traveling to the Land of What Ifs.

In the meantime, if you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please subscribe to my newsletter / consider getting my little eBook: It's fast, fun, reading and if you peek into the first few pages, there are reviews from top fertility experts around the U.S. (and 66 other reviews on Amazon.)

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Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek at the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility.

 

The Infertility Olympics

Most people know I'm a sports nut. So even though my hockey team is in the play-offs and my baseball team has started off well and the tennis Grand Slam events are on the horizon, there's no Olympics this summer and so I'm not completely satisfied. So I've created the only Olympics I'm qualified to create: The Infertility Olympics. In fact, I didn't really have to create anything. Anyone who's going through infertility is already playing them whether they know it or not. No need to register. You're already signed up.

The Infertility Olympics is not quite the same as the regular Olympics or the Paralympics or the Special Olympics.

For one thing, every two or four years really wouldn't cut it for us. Our Olympics starts over every 28 days.

If you're new to the games, here are just a few of the events you can uh...for lack of a better term... look forward to:

The Infertility Olympics: Event #1

Choosing a Host City Javelin Throw

Unlike all of the other Olympics mentioned above, The Infertility Olympics takes place in a thousand cities at once: It could be the location closest to your home or anywhere in the world where the treatments are cheapest at the moment: If it's Rio, it's Rio. If it's Akron, it's Akron. Or you could just throw the javelin into the map on the wall and see where it lands.

The Infertility Olympics: Event #2

The Re-dress Relay

Who can get to their doctor's appointment, get their blood taken and their uterine lining checked, get dressed and back to work the fastest...with none of their clothes inside out when they arrive?

The Infertility Olympics: Event #3

The Financial Boxing Match

Infertile Woman vs Her Insurance Company

This event is not for the faint of heart. The insurance company is fast on its feet. It's got all the right moves. It keeps ahead of the woman with its fancy footwork and sneaks up on her with its one-two punch: 1) We don't cover it... But don't let that delay your attempts to start a family, because 2) We have no intention of EVER covering it.

It looks like it's going to be a knockout for the insurance company, but down on the mat, emotionally beaten to a pulp, never underestimate the power (not to mention insanity) of an infertile woman. This is no run-of-the-mill angry, frustrated, stressed-out broad. There's adrenaline and a half-dozen other mood-altering hormones racin' through them there veins.

The Infertility Olympics: Event #4

Synchronized Sex

He wants to because he wants to. She sees no point because it's not the right week. The doctor is the team coach. She tells the couple when they should and when they shouldn't. The wife listens intently, grabs a calendar in her left hand, a red pen in her right. Holding the cap between her teeth, she works up a sweat crossing out, crossing out, crossing out, while her partner/spouse/husband stands idly by, watching his opportunities slip away one by one, nothing but cold showers in his future, and tells the doctor, under his breath, (or not) to mind her own damn business.

The couple who wins this event is the first one that actually has sex without at least one of them being pissed...or drunk...or pissed drunk.

A few other details which make the Infertility Olympics unlike the regular Olympics:

1) There will be no drug testing. What would be the point? Everyone would come up positive for everything.

2) Some events will go on for days, maybe even weeks. You'll think you're done with an event and then get called back to the starting line to do it all over again.

3) You'll have to wait two weeks to find out who won. Some months everybody will win. Some months nobody will win.

4) At the end of the games, everyone gets a gold medal. Damn...We all deserve a gold medal. In fact, what do you say we all get a gold medal after each event--- and then another box-full at the end?

(Thanks a lot for stopping by! This infertility crap is a trying time in the life of everybody who goes through it. Hopefully this humor blog makes you feel just a little bit better about your trying time. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please consider my own personal infertility story in my little eBook: It has been downloaded by thousands of infertility patients, their partners, family, friends & medical professionals. In the the first pages, there are reviews from several top infertility experts  around the US.)

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

 

Infertility Spring Break: "Doin' Shots on the Beach"

Infertility Spring Break: Spring Break for Infertile Women. Maybe I should pitch the idea to MTV. What's hotter than watching a group of women in thong bikinis doing shots on the beach at sunset? Considering the type of shots infertile women do, both "regular" bikinis and thong bikinis would actually be quite practical.

Infertility Spring Break. MTV would never air it. Clearly women going through fertility treatments desperately need a crazy, wild, college-esque Spring Break. It would just be too disturbing to televise.

I could just picture all of us happy gals getting together for Infertility Spring Break. Couldn't you? All of us...thousands of us...in one big sorority house: The Delta Gamma Gametes.

How far into our Infertility Spring Break do you think we would get before our "House of Fun" became a "House of Horrors"?

I think everything would start out all warm and fuzzy and chummy and supportive. Then, slowly but surely, we would lose that lovin' feeling and quickly turn into "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Hormones." (Okay, still sounding like a viable reality show.)

And let's see what's on the week's agenda, shall we?

Infertility Spring Break Day 1: So Who's Bringing What to the Pity Party? 

"You people just don't understand what I'm going through! Oh wait. Yeah, you're going through it too. I forgot. So then if you do know what I'm going through, why don't you know that I just want all of you to go away and leave me alone?!"

Day 2: Infertility Spring Break Work Out: Let's Get Critical... Critical...

"I know we all hate when people talk about their kids in front of us, so why are we all sitting around talking to each other about how we hate to talk about other people's kids with other people?"

Infertility Spring Break Day 3: "Wet T-shirt" Contests May Be Hormone-induced but They Can't compare to Our Hormone-Induced Competitions

"I know it's horrible that you've been going through this for two years...and I do feel for you...I really do...but I've been going through this for two and a half years!"

"Two and a half years?! OMG. If I have to go through this for another six months I'll kill myself!"

"Thanks a lot! I've been going through this for six years."

And how about a few hands of Progesterone Poker?:  

"Really? Well, I've been going through this for six years AND I've had two surgeries and three IUI's."

"Well, I've had two surgeries, four IUI's, one IVF and an FET!"

Infertility Spring Break Day 4: The Signal that the Fun is Clearly on the Wane? Housekeeping Becomes a Top Priority.

"And if you guys are going to throw Baby Dust at each other, which I think is great...I'm of course all for it...  could you at least clean it up when you're done? I don't mean to complain, it's just like... I'm sure I'm not the only one here who knows how to use a vacuum!"

Back a minute to Doing Shots...

While we women would only have limited technology... A red phone... (A hotline to our fertility doctors for "emergency" questions...)

Our spouses/boyfriends/lovers/partners would be on Spring Break too... in a separate wing of the house. Way over there. Just them, air conditioning, big screen TVs, a 24 hour open bar, pool tables, putting green, stocked refrigerators, two toilets each... and sound-proof walls...

(I really appreciate you stopping by and truly hope that you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here 500+ words ago. If you'd like more humor at infertility's expense, please take a look at my little eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's  Extremely Funny Peek at the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. To see reviews by top fertility experts around the US, click on the book icon at this Amazon link. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/)

Available on Amazon, Nook, & Kobo

Spring Training for Infertility Virgins

Let me be the first to apologize for the title. (Although I can't imagine who else would.) I'm a huge baseball fan and rarely pass up a good sports metaphor. As for: "infertility virgin"-- that oxymoronic or just moronic part of the title-- well the need for that apology is self-explanatory. If you're new, or semi-new to this infertility biz, we vets welcome you with open arms to this wild, wacky, unjust world.

I even hate to say "welcome". I really want to say "sorry". But you aren't anywhere near alone... and please do find some comfort in that. There are scores (would I have said: "dozens" if baseball season wasn't upon us?) There are many many of us who are there and doing that or have been there and have done that. In fact, most of us have done that, that, AND that. (links to find more of your supporters at the end.)

And a lot of it is confusing---especially if you're new to the fertility treatment game... There are some things I think we can clear up right here:

 

Show of hands: Who knows what a Reproductive Endocrinologist is or does? Excellent! Lots of women ask if they should stick with their gynecologist or go to an RE. Go to an RE dammit... An RE is a gynecologist who then specializes in infertility issues of every type. I know, if you have a great GYN whom you love and trust, it's like finding a great dentist, tax preparer or mechanic: It's hard to move on from them, but you really aren't. Some people try fertility drugs with their regular doctor first. That's fine. But just like if you have an internist who happens not to also be a surgeon. She might know your tonsils need to come out but she'll refer you to someone specializing in tonsil yanking to actually take them out. So by all means, keep your gynecologist to deal with your annual probe, itchy things, and questions like: "My left boob was always bigger. When did my right one catch up?" Any anyway, if your GYN is actually an OB/GYN, maybe you'll be back in her office sooner than you think.

You should also know that, even though things like IVF make the news, many women are prescribed medications alone (to induce ovulation) to try to get pregnant and don't ever get anywhere near IVF. Some don't even venture into ART at all.

So what is ART? Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Any method of conceiving that involves a third party. (Let's all try to focus. This is not a porno blog or even the Maury show.)  All the things you've heard about: IUI, IVF,egg donors, sperm donors... all fall under the ART category.

So ART has nothing to do with painting or sculpture and everything to do with a doctor who's a control freak. You're trying to get pregnant by making nice-nice with the person you love most in the world and here's this doctor wedging herself between the two of you and saying: "Excuse me. Better let ME do that."

Some people who go through in vitro  (IVF) need intracytoplasmic sperm injections (ICSI). This is done because once the eggs are removed from the woman and brought into the lab and the sperm is swimming around in circles like a nervous nut going: "What now? Which way do I go?" If they can't find their way into the egg themselves, the lab folks give them a little help by injecting the sperm right into the egg. This doesn't involve you at all. Like I said, this is all done in the lab. They take your eggs out of you in a fairly short and simple procedure and you're home watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills while your potentially future family is being made. ICSI as it is called, is your pushy cousin. You go to a party, you see someone you might be interested in but you're too shy to go over and introduce yourself. So your cousin schleps you over there, starts talking to this stranger, injects you into the conversation and walks away. That's ICSI.

IUI (intrauterine insemination) is not In Vitro. It is basically sex on Speed. As was explained to me when I went through it: There's not much more going on than what happens in the boudoir except the hormones you've been taking make your body riper and readier for conception... and your partner's/husband's body is replaced by a hand with a glove...and "Chopped" isn't on the TV in the background... and the nurse probably won't have to apologize for lying on your hair... and the doctor won't push you out of the way to get to the shower first.

If you'd like to get more laughs during this "adventure", please consider my fast, fun eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. 66 reviews/ 4.5 stars- amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ Available on Amazon, Nook and Kobo.

For a formal infertility website: Support groups in your area, infertility advocacy etc visit: http://resolve.org

For love, friendship and support, one of the most active, positive groups is: "The IVF Journey" on Facebook. Monica Bivas does an amazing job of running this group including getting guest speakers. There's always something happening and lots of love and hugs to share. (Venting allowed.) https://www.facebook.com/groups/theivfjourney/

 

Valentine's Month #3 - Why Even Bother?

There are a few reasons why I've labeled February as "Valentine's Month." (Not to take a thing away from Black History Month or Heart Health Month.) It's just that this month has a lot of meaning for me. My husband is exactly nine days older than I am. So this, right now, is the only period throughout the year when I can say I married an older man... for at least another few days anyway.

Also, Valentine's Day falls within that short period between our two birthdays. I also think it's cool (I'm probably the only one) that even though he is only nine days older than I am, we were born in two different years on the Chinese calendar. We were pretty old when we met each other and even older when we got married. (Hence my infertility issues, I'm sure.) Even though I admit it's somewhat of a dopey cash cow holiday, I went a lot of years having sucky Valentine's Days. A lot of people handle dateless or lousy date or no-show date Valentine's Days perfectly well but not I. For decades not years, I perused the seasonal aisles at Walgreen's just to look at the dozens of Valentine's items I had no intention of getting from anyone. So once I found a Valentine's Day keeper, I made up my mind to suck every living inch out of the holiday that I could. My husband, as the lucky winner of me, must now dedicate the rest of his days making up for the thousands of would-be Valentine's who done me wrong. I'm not talking monetarily here. I'm not looking for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills presents of sports cars and diamonds. But somewhere in that Valentine's/Birthday celebration period I do like personal notes, candy, flowers and lots of hugs and kisses. I'm needy not greedy.

There are plenty of times when we all take our relationships for granted. I'm not sure if that's the right way to describe what many of us do during infertility, so let's just say our relationships can take a beating during infertility. There's the basic issue that somebody's body has failed. So I'm letting you down or you're letting me down. It's somebody's fault. Then, to add to the romance, you get to make an appointment to share your bedroom habits with somebody you met ten minutes ago with cold hands and a lab coat.  Then, to add to the spark, that same person tells you when you must touch each other and when you can't touch each other. Of course the high-priced bills, the mood-altering drugs, and the thrice-weekly doctor appointments that shift the focus of your marriage vows to the "For Better or Worse" emphasis, don't help. And the closest you get to any real intimacy is when your lover love love jams a nightly needle into your ass.

So during infertility especially, but always: Valentine's Month should be like every other month: When focus goes back to why in the world you ever picked the cute, hair-thinning, lovable son-of-a-bitch in the first place.

Thanks for stopping by! If you'd like some laughs at infertility's expense... I was a professional stand-up comic and now I write humor for newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. I wrote this little eBook during my own infertility adventure to sort it all out and to de-stress myself with laughter. Hopefully it can do the same for you. (4.5 stars/66 reviews) https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/Also available on Nook & Kobo.

Valentine's Month part 2

Infertility and its sadistic treatments have a way of gnawing at your relationship like a sewer rat. (Okay, not a pretty  visual... But I miss my NYC so much.) So at this blog, we're doing: "Valentine's Month" to repair all the damage. It's like Botox for your heart.

The key to a decent Valentine's Month, I think, is having a decent Valentine. If you have a loser Valentine who says all the right things, buys all the right gifts, and takes you to all the right places, do the math: Mr/Ms. Loser + Right words + Right gifts + Right restaurant = Mr./Ms. Loser.

However: Mr./Ms. Good Person + Valentine's Date that went awry = Mr./Ms. Good Person + A few hours of your life that went awry... and oh have I had my share of both.

The reason the math turns out this way on my calculator is because sometimes good guys or girls have the best intentions to make your Valentine's Day great and it just doesn't work out through no fault of their own. Sometimes it's through the fault of a lousy restaurateur. And on Valentine's Day lousy restaurateurs often become greedy restaurateurs.

A couple of years ago my husband made reservations for dinner at a local restaurant that we'd been meaning to try. The place was, I'd like to say "dimly lit" or "romantic atmosphere" but the place was frkn dark. I spent half the dinner calling to my husband: "Are you still there?" We held hands the whole time not out of affection as much as sheer necessity. If a waiter had accidentally bumped into the table and knocked one of us under it, the other one would have just kept on eating unaware that their Valentine was on the floor unconscious.

The entire room was filled with teeny tables for two that, in my opinion, were a little too close for comfort to one another for anything with the possible exception of speed dating. And when I say teeny tables: It looked liked they took one normal one and sawed it into sixty doll house ones.

We were the first to arrive. So here the entire room is empty and they sit us just below the service station that was ready to go with plates brimming with olives, garlic, and mounds of feta cheese all perched about six inches from the top of my head. I'm pretty sure this isn't what's meant by "head cheese". Taking the high road, my husband suggested we just slide over to the next table, a mere half a bread-stick away.

Then in came the second couple. In this sea of empty nothingness, I give you one guess where they were seated... Right. At the feta cheese-head table. So here we are, trying to eat appetizers and all I feel is this woman's elbow making nice-nice with my elbow. In the black abyss, I have no idea if this woman is coming on to me or just eating lefty.

Finally, enough is enough. We call the manager over, curious to know if he also was dimly lit. Even in the blackness, I could see from across the room it would be futile. Anytime you see a guy over 40 wearing tight leather pants, it's over. We asked if we couldn't possibly be seated at a different table.

He explained to us and the other couple (I think they were still there. Did I mention it was a mite dark?) that we couldn't sit at any of the other fifty-eight available tables because they were, each and every last one of them, reserved.

Smart...Let's inconvenience the four schmucks who showed up, to accommodate a hundred and sixteen phantom guests who may have decided twenty minutes ago to just stay in and watch a movie.

So up we got and left hand-in-hand.

The point is, I guess...I'm still with my same great Valentine and I don't even remember the name of Leather Boy or his feta hair salon. Obviously infertility is more frustrating and a whole lot more important than a dinner out, but I think the principle is the same: If you've got a great love in your life, you can get through it, one aggravation at a time...Most important, always remember to walk away from each aggravation hand-in-hand.

Thanks for stopping by. Talk with you again soon!

Please think about joining the 1000s who have downloaded my little eBook. It's my skewed view of my own bout with infertility & IVF. Maybe it will help. 4.5 stars/ 66 reviews. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ Also on Kobo & Nook.

 

...What Would You Say to the "Parents"?

Last week I wrote about: If you KNEW you were going to be pregnant tomorrow, what might you say to your doctor. This is Part 2: If you KNEW you were going to be pregnant tomorrow, and everything was going to be fine and you'd never have infertility issues again... What would you say to all of your friends with children?

You know, all of the ones you've either shied away from for so long because you couldn't stand to hear all of their mommy conversation or half-assed the relationship with them because you still wanted to maintain a friendship but couldn't bring yourself to tell them that you wanted to either run off and cry or key their arm every time they brought up the agony of baby showers, breastfeeding, diapers, sleepless nights, birthday parties, field trips, play dates, or back-to-school shopping.

So now your time has finally come. Whether through a hunch, an inkling, a visitation from a dead relative, a fortune teller, or, I can't see how but--- your fertility doctor-- you KNEW that you were so definitely going to be pregnant tomorrow... and all would be well... and everybody lived happily ever after. So now what? Sure you have to get out all of that mirth. You'll dance around the kitchen for a while with your husband/spouse/partner/significant other or neighbor who just happened to be passing by and noticed you were in the kitchen high-fiving a spatula.

Then you'll call everyone you know, post the picture of you holding the blank, new right-out-of-the-box pregnancy test with you pointing and writing the caption: "POSITIVE!!!" because nobody can ever see what they say anyway and people just as soon take your word for it than stare at something you've urinated on. So now that the mirth is out of the way, now what? "Vengeance is mine" saith the former infertile woman. It's your turn. Make it good.

First I think baby showers are in order. Not just one... A string of them. One for each one you've been invited to during your infertility days. And it makes no difference whether you actually attended the event or stayed home and had a tawdry threesome under the covers with Ben & Jerry. And no Target or Bye-Bye Baby. Absolutely not. You'll register at Neiman Marcus. These people have hurt you. Now they must pay.

They also spent a lot of time upsetting you with pictures of their child. So you will return the favor. Show them your pictures... All of them... Starting from the beginning: The very beginning... before conception even. They've always been curious about if you were trying to get pregnant all that time or how you were going about it, so now may be the perfect time to share: Send along photos of you waiting in line at the specialty pharmacy; of you handing over your graduation ring to the cashier as partial payment; photos of your needles in the bathroom as you prepare to shoot-up; photos of you putting ice on your butt; and don't forget photos of your twice, sometimes thrice weekly blood tests and your weekly uterine lining exams... from the doctor's vantage point. (If you didn't think to take photos while going through the process, you can always simulate them now.)

And for the final celebratory coup de gras, give them just a snippet of how annoying they've been talking about their children non-stop while you were in pain. Say the word "baby" at least once in every sentence in every conversation: "So, hey Lisa baby. When I have this baby, I hope I don't baby it too much." Do it every day until the baby is born. Then you can substitute "baby" for their actual name... and continue torturing them.

 

(Thanks a lot for stopping by. Infertility is such a sucky time. I hope you feel just a little bit better than when you got here. Please take a look at my little eBook written during my infertility/IVF experience: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's been downloaded by thousands of infertility sufferers & professionals who are looking to de-stress from the toll infertility takes on all who have been near it. 4.5 stars/66 reviews. http://laughingisconceivable.com or click the Book Cover icon above.)   

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