medical staff

Bedside Manner: All Reproductive Endocrinologists are the Same

All Reproductive Endocrinologists Are the Same Well, in some ways that's absolutely true.

Let's be honest. When you're lying flat on the examination table tanning the bottoms of your feet under the ceiling fluorescents, and the examination begins, I defy any woman to tell one Reproductive Endocrinologist from another.... or for that matter, the fertility doc from the receptionist or the guy who turned the wrong way off the elevator en route to the podiatrist down the hall.

I mean, I think I'm pretty in tune with my body and yet even I know that there's no way mid-poke I could say:  "Oh, Dr. Bernstein. I didn't know you were back from vacation... Hey, is that a new ring?" Hand puppets aren't that clever.

The doctors within my clinic really were very different from each other. Especially in the "Bedside Manner" department. 

Two of them physically were interchangeable. They were both tall, white, graying middle-aged men. In fact, for the longest time I thought they were the same doctor. I thought it weird that one day he was so nice and the next an abrupt jerk. I just figured there was no law to stop the bi-polar from practicing medicine.  

Dr. R. was a sweetheart. I could take my time and ask him all of my questions. And all of my questions were vital:

"Can I comb my hair during treatments?" "Can I do my injections after 'Jeopardy'?"

But Dr. W. was rude and talked over me. Being the shy, retiring New Yorker I am, I once said:

"Could I get a word in edgewise here?"

I called him "Dr. Cyclone". He'd blow into the room and then blow back out. I used to hold onto the cuff of his lab coat until I was done talking so he wouldn't blow away/blow me off... Whichever you prefer.  

So I'm sure he was a total professional and wouldn't take out our mutual dislike on my children-to-be, but nonetheless, I was determined to manipulate my cycle so my egg retrieval would take place at the exact moment when Dr. Cyclone would be on stage speaking at an infertility symposium in Brazil. 

Modern medicine ha! Let him try to yank out my ova from Sao Paolo.

Then there was another Reproductive Endocrinologist. Snow White's "Combo Dwarf": Sleepy Doc.

One day he arrived for my 8am appointment. As he put on gloves to go where no one has gone before (actually, this was my fourth round of IUI, so virtually everyone had gone there before), I noticed that he was yawning...Just the reaction every naked woman hopes for. I may not have had any dignity left but I still had my pride.

"Sorry. I'm not a morning person."  He said. Okay, so now am I supposed to figure out exactly how much of a morning person he's not?

Does he just hit the snooze button a few times? Is he fine after a shower?  After coffee?  Or did he totally just sleep-drive here and he's not even awake now?

Flat on my back, legs (well you know)--I was looking like a lawn chair that blew over when Dr. Cyclone passed by: Not a great vantage point to confirm what Sleepy Doc's status is crouched at the other end of the table.

Maybe he dozed off on his little round stool mid-exam.

Oh geez... I hope he's not dreaming of his computer and using my uterus as the mouse.

Infertility Treatments Overseas: Mixing Misery with Pleasure (Monday)

Over the months I've been blogging, I've heard from a lot of people about Medical Tourism. You know, when people go to other countries to seek medical treatments. I have nothing negative to say about people who do that. No, I'm serious. That's not just me being my usual sarcastic self.   I mean, I'm all for "Made in the USA" and "Buy American" and all that, but if you can get quality alternative treatments that aren't approved here yet or get a top-notch professional for a third of the price over there, I'd be the first one to drive you to the airport and hand you tapes in Korean, Romanian, or Hindi to listen to on the plane so you can tell dirty jokes to the medical staff during the procedure if it would make you more comfortable. 

So, I said I've heard a lot from people regarding Medical Tourism. What I failed to mention is that most of the people I've heard from aren't the tourists. They're the travel agents.

One woman even suggested to me how wonderful it would be to combine a trip for fertility treatments with a vacation: Sort of mixing bullshit with pleasure I guess. Personally, not to mince words, I think the thought is absurd and am dedicating my time the rest of this week to coming up with creative ways to say so. I just can't picture it. Can you?

Let's all go to Hawaii for treatments.

"Welcome to the beautiful island of Oahu. Your first half-hour hula lesson will be starting soon. At the fifteen minute mark, we'll ask all husbands to kindly lift up the back of your wife's grass skirt for her nightly progesterone injection. And, please, make yourselves at home. Help yourself to as many leis as you'd long as your doctor says it's the right time...Sorry, folks. Just a little fertility treatment island humor."

 (And, yes, I do know Hawaii is part of the U.S. What do you think I've never seen a Miss USA pageant? Leave me alone will ya?)

Listen, I gotta go. We just had the neighborhood big blow-out, any-item-for-a-quarter  yard sale this weekend and I have to go call my broker.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.  If you can't wait that long, (yeah, I'm not sure why you wouldn't be able to wait either) take a look at my brand spanking new post over at Fertility Authority.

(Infertility-Related) Hours of My Life That I Want Back (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. We turned the clocks ahead this week. So if you read Monday on Thursday it will actually be Tuesday afternoon when you finish.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How I never really caught on to the whole changing clocks thing and don't get why you Spring ahead when you lose sleep and Fall back when you gain sleep.  And besides that hour of sleep that I'll never get back, we've been pondering all of those wonderfully wasted infertility-related hours of our lives that we'd all like to have back. Yeah one of my many IUI's comes to my mind...A few of my other body parts remember it vividly as well.

So I went in for my first IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). I had expected a doctor to be there. If I go to get my haircut, I expect a hair stylist  to be there. If I go to a check-out line, I expect a cashier to be there. So I guess going to a doctor to get the most important procedure of my life done, I naively thought there'd be a doctor there. But there was a nurse... and she wasn't alone. She had proteges with her. Students...Insemination wannabes.

The nurse asked me if it was okay if they observed. (Good choice of words I think. "Observed" made them sound like students. "Is it okay if they "watched " would have made them sound like perverts.)

I took it as a rhetorical question anyway. I was lying naked from the hospital gown down in the shape of a taco shell, wishing I had put sun screen on the bottoms of my feet as I could feel them getting tanned by the fluorescent lights above. So I wasn't, literally, in any position to object. I also didn't care. Whatever dignity I had left was rolled up in a ball on the chair by the door with my socks and underwear.

So the insemination starts and I admit, it wasn't quite as romantic as the old-fashioned way. Three people: A nurse whom I barely knew and two total strangers (although one looked vaguely familiar. I'm pretty sure a few weeks earlier she was the Temp receptionist), are all crouched down at the foot of the examination table  like it's Spring training and they're all trying to win the job as starting catcher.

As the nurse went ahead with the procedure, they all squinted into my cervix. You know how hard it is for your eyes to adjust going from light to dark. Being from NYC, the only image I could conjure was peering into the tunnel waiting for the subway to come.

All in all, it was one hour of my infertility life that I'd like to have back.

Listen, I gotta go.  It's St Patrick's Day and I've fallen way behind on the festivities. I usually start celebrating around 7 AM. No, I don't drink. I eat all of the green M & M's within a twelve mile radius.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"Sharing the Holidays with Close Friends- Who Needs It?" (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. That's when I'm usually full of energy (or full of something). By mid-week I lose my luster. My posts may not be brilliant, but you might find my daily decline entertaining. And consider becoming a subscriber. I send out weekly emails. You can witness what shape I'm in on the weekend.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How instead of lamenting our infertility situation and being envious of our friends with kids, we should focus on the facts: How incredibly dull our friends become during the holidays.

Never is this more evident than in their greeting cards. Bad enough we have to see the one big happy family all dolled up in their holiday best. Must they also sneak in their annual: "Our Family's Year in Review"?

If you've been fortunate enough never to have received one: It's like the New York Times "Week in Review", except instead of being "All the News That's Fit to Print", it's "All the Boring Sht That's Fit to Flush".


And they never sum up their whole year of tedium in one sentence: 

"2010 was a great year for the Gibsons! Hope it was for your family too!"

No, they have to go month by excruciating month. And of course they have to highlight the dullest details they can dig up. 


Leslie started gymnastics! The teacher says she's a natural! Maybe she'll be in the 2015 Olympics!

(Okay, not only am I already bored, I'm already offended. There are no summer Olympics in 2015.  Is it so hard to "Google"? Geez, how can you be boring and inaccurate in the same sentence?)  


In addition to gymnastics, Leslie started dance class. She takes tap, jazz, and modern. The teacher says she's a natural! Maybe she'll be on "So You Think You Can Dance 2025!"

(Or maybe she'll be on "Cops" getting cuffed for selling crack: Rebelling for being forced into a life of extra-curricular activities at such a tender age.)


Stephen is on the honor roll for the first time!

(I suppose it's easier to just make note of that in March, than mention the dozens of  previous months when he didn't make the honor roll. There also seems to be no mention of him in April, when, sources tell me, he reverted back to being an imbecile.)

If you've got to send us this nonsense (and I don't really see why anyone would), could you at least throw us a bone and include some of the juicy stuff?

January: My husband Frank nearly drove us all into a tree watching a twenty year old in size zero jeans cross the street.

February:  I tried to return an ugly night gown that Frank bought me for Christmas. The manager at JC Penney said I waited too long. I got a little upset and security had to escort me out. It was really no big deal. Made the local papers though. 

March:  Got the phone bill. Our son Stephen apparently racked up $1200 calling 1-900-lick this. 

April: I won the bake-off at the state fair with my chocolate chip cookies! I wonder if I should have mentioned that they were Chips Ahoy. 

May: Frank hired a new guy to cut the grass. A real cutie patootie.  He could mow my lawn anytime. 

But nobody ever gives us anything like that to hold us over until the next year. Every December I walk to the mail box like I'm walking to the electric chair. The driveway is my Green Mile. I open up the mail box and take out the contents, my hands trembling: " A bill, good. Another bill, good. Another bill, good. A greeting card from Lisa.  ( I suck in my breath.)And I see several folded sheets of paper in the envelope. Shoot me."  

Listen I gotta go. I have to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas". My husband taped it for me last night. So if you know how it ends, don't tell me.

Be sure to check out a new article on surviving the holidays by psychologist and social worker

Irene Celcer:

I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Men,Men,Men,Men,Manly Men,Men,Men (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. You've got plenty of time. Either you're off from work today because the office is closed or you just called in sick because you thought it was a gyp that the office was open.... And if you can put up with me for a few extra minutes a week, consider becoming a subscriber. It's simple and quick (and free did I mention it's free?) and you get some fascinating insider info.) 

So what were we talking about? Oh right. How our husbands, partners, boyfriends, naked acquaintances, kissing neighbors, hot papas, really are quite literally, our "right hand men" in this infertility project. Have no fear. I will stop the puns there.

There's another important role that the man plays in our infertility madness. One, which in my opinion, is a humongous scam.I'm speaking of the nightly progesterone butt cheek injection. Scam!

I'm thinking that way back,way, way, back at the beginning of IVF, like in the 1800's (I think Laura Ingalls was conceived through IVF), there was this husband. And this husband went to his friendly corner fertility clinic/candy store/barber shop and took aside his friendly, neighborhood Reproductive Endocrinologist/store clerk/barber and said:

"Look, I can't take it anymore. My wife is angry and depressed. She's irritable and has mood swings. Yesterday, to make her feel better, I offered to whittle her something and she tried to bite me. I know she's going through a lot with these treatments but sometimes I just wish I could take a sharp, pointy, 1 1/2 inch object and jab her in the ass!"

And the wise old Reproductive Endocrinologist/store clerk/barber, took off his latex gloves, covered his Raisinets, put down his razor, and summoned the young man into the back room.

"Come with me son. I think I may have just the thing."   

And the scam has been carried on between husbands and RE's ever since. The husband has that desperate, basset hound, pleading look in his eyes: "Please, please, she's becoming impossible. I can't take it anymore." And the knowing doctor winks and slips him a prescription in a reassuring handshake.

And then to sell the scam convincingly a whole production is staged in the bathroom (originally outhouse) that night.

My husband put on scrubs with face mask, a lab coat, a stethoscope around his neck. We couldn't find surgical gloves so he just put on the yellow rubber dishwashing gloves from the kitchen sink.

So there we were in our teeny bathroom, with the ten pound bag of ice he bought for our own private "tail-gate" party, needle, vial, alcohol, and Costco box of 70,000 cotton balls.

All the while, I'm picturing him taunting me in his head, like a nasty kid at the playground: "I'm going to jab you in the aaaass. I'm going to jab you in the aaaass... and you can't stop me. Na Na Na Na Na."  

I'm wearing a beautiful long-sleeve turquoise cashmere sweater with lovely detail around the neckline, diamond earrings with matching pendant, and nothing else- leaning against the sink on my elbows, butt-side facing out.

And there's my husband, 1 1/2 inch needle in one hand, instructions from the Internet in the other: "Okay, so I think the upper outer quadrant of your butt is right about... or I don't know... maybe it's more to the left... could you look for a minute and tell me which is right... I mean correct."

And I'm mumbling: "Great, the guy who gets lost with GPS is searching for my upper outer quadrant like I'm on Star Trek Deep Space...Very Deep Space OW!"    

Listen, I gotta go. I have to run outside and capture the glorious symphony of bursting fall foliage before it turns into an unsightly unraked mess.   

Check out natural fertility specialist Ian Claxton's article: "Ways to Boost Male Fertility" in Health Experts this week. You may as well. I mean, you blew off work, so it's not like you don't have the time.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Men,Men,Men,Men,Manly Men,Men,Men (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Tomorrow's Veteran's Day and I'm an IVF veteran. Have some respect. Do I get a free meal at Applebee's?) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How impressed everyone at the fertility clinic was with my husband's Olympic swimmer sperm and how underwhelmed they were with his old lady- who, in fertility terms was well--- an old lady. 

We also discussed how you sometimes feel jealous when you're the one diagnosed with the infertility problems. And it's okay to lament (momentarily) that you're the one who has to go through all of this, not him. 

In preparing for this post, I came across an article on FertilityPlus' site. It made some mention of the man's role. The seedier side of his responsibilities. Yes, I think you know to what I'm referring. Oh grow up. You do too. 

I stumbled upon this bit of advice:

"Don't talk to your partner too much about his role. This may cause him extra anxiety during an already stressful time and the extra stress can aggravate the performance anxiety that men suffer on the day of retrieval." 

Now you tell me. So which of these things should I have not said to my husband on that day? Or should I ask: "How many of these things should I have not said?"

1) "Honey, I'll leave you alone now. Do you want me to leave The 'Golden Girls' on? It's the one when Sophia wakes up on the couch naked."

2) "Honey, is this like playing golf for you? When you're aiming, does that cup seem extremely small?"

3) "Don't worry about that picture of your mom next to the bed. I'm sure she's not really watching you."

4) "You'll be thinking of me the whole time, right?"

5) "Don't worry if you can't do it. $15,000 down the drain. It's only money."

6) "I'll be in the car. Come on, come on."

7) "Please focus. You know you never finish anything you start. Remember the deck?"

8) a)"Your sister's on the phone. Should I tell her to hold on?"

      b)"This is such an exciting moment for us. I have to tell somebody. I'll talk to her until you're done."

10) "Try to make extra in case we spill some on the way."

10) "So then, if you're doing this now, I'm off the hook for tonight, right?" 

11) "This is kind of a special occasion. Should I iron your dress pants?"

12) "Let me know the second you're done so I can catch you before you fall asleep."

13) "Don't make yourself too comfortable. We have an appointment to get to you know."

14) "Do you need an extra hand to hold the container lid?"

15) "I hope you're not planning to take a shower afterwards. We don't have that kind of time."    

I can't believe he threw me out of the house and then wasted precious time changing all the locks before he commenced.  

Listen I gotta go. Do you think I'll have to dress in uniform like other vets when I go to Applebee's for my free meal tomorrow? I can wear my paper examination gown. I could use a bib when I eat anyway. 

If you have the chance, take a look at Ian Claxton's article: "Ways to Boost Male Fertility" (naturally)...quite informative I think.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Men,Men,Men,Men,Manly,Men,Men,Men (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can.  This whole week is dedicated to the "Y" chromosome, all grown-up, married to us and keeping us company during the entire infertility debacle.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Men and how they fit into the whole female infertility journey.   

As I'm sure most of you are aware, infertility can be attributed to the female partner about 1/3 of the time, the male partner 1/3 of the time and a combination of the two 1/3 of the time... and of course there's also the endlessly frustrating "anybody's guess" column somewhere in the mix.

No matter who gets diagnosed with what: Forget "fault". Neither of you is at fault. Somebody's body' is not working properly.  No fault. You didn't cause a car accident. If you became infertile because you were texting during sex, then forget what I said: Screw you, you are at fault. Otherwise, let blame,guilt, fault, all of that crap go.   

And let's say right here: If you're the one who's deemed to be the "infertile one" in the relationship... you have the absolute right to be a little jealous of your husband/wife, spouse, lover, best-you-could-do-under-the-circumstances, better-than-being-alone-or-so-I- thought-at-the-time, significant or insignificant other.

I know that 's not a nice thing to say. We're all supposed to support our partners unconditionally. Thick, thin; Sickness, health; Richer, poorer. Death, part. (Our marriage vows were in Hebrew. Gd only knows what we promised. The rabbi could show up anytime and take our car. "Look, during the ceremony, you said I could have it.")

But I think feeling a twinge of jealousy is normal.

When my husband and I first walked into a fertility clinic, as I've mentioned about a million times before, I was a month away from turning forty-one. They may have sent both of us for preliminary tests to be polite but let's face it: They had their suspicions.

I'm sure all the medical professionals saw was this handsome man graying at the temples with his deteriorated wife who had a flashing red light, red neon flags and a siren over her head. I guarantee more than one staff member gazed down the hallway to see who kept opening the emergency exit.  

So they looked in my husband's direction for about a minute and a half and then came up with this determination: "Mr. Fox, your sperm is the best we've seen in 20 years of practicing medicine. May we replace the tropical fish in our waiting room aquarium with your specimen?... As for the elderly lady with the shriveled ovaries you shlepped in here..."   

So why would I be a little jealous?

Okay, so let's make sure I have this straight: I'll be instructed to insert suppositories, take pills and inject nightly hormones into my person for several weeks, months or years and you'll be instructed to watch "The Real House Whores of Bootyville" and take liquid notes.

Wait wait, let me make sure I have this straight once more...

I'll be enduring hormone shots (nothing, I imagine, like Jello shots) and anesthesia, and egg retrievals, and pregnancy tests over the next several weeks, months, or years and you'll be cozying up to a Hooters' calendar on your lunch break.

Listen, I gotta go. I have to brush up on my Hebrew and replay our wedding video. I really need my car.

If you can, take a glance over at this week's Health Experts article by Ian Claxton: "Ways to Boost Male Fertility". It's a real page-turner, I assure you.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Things that Go Bump in the Night of an Infertile (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can.  This week is kind of the infertility version of a Halloween Fright Night movie marathon just without Jason or Freddy...or Jamie Lee Curtis yelling in your ear.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The disturbing goings-on at a few fertility clinics over the years.

Maybe fertility clinics should have framed inspection rating certificates hanging at the reception desk like they do at Wendy's. "Mary, look, this clinic only got a 72, let's get out of here!"

(Although I've seen some restaurants where I've looked at the certificate which boasted  a rating of "99.5%". Then I looked at the restaurant. Then at the certificate. Then at the employees. Then at the certificate again, squinting, to see how cleverly it was altered-- or ponder who was paid off.)   

But if we're all honest, sperm mix-ups and doctors engaging in criminal acts, while important, are nowhere near at the top of our "What scares the daylights out of me the most" list, the first time we open that door to the fertility clinic.On Monday's post, we discussed "The Unknown". That's what scares us to death I think--- in anything: A new job. A new relationship. A new nose.

"Will I get along with my coworkers?" "Will this person be Mr./Ms. Right?" "Will anybody believe it's my original nose?"

Whether it be horror movies or anything in life, "the unknown" calls upon all of our own personal terrors. When we don't know what comes next, our mind conjures up the worst possible scenario. That's why Alfred Hitchcock was so great. He just kind of put the idea out there and we freaked ourselves out.

And with infertility treatments, there is no shortage of "unknowns". The whole freakin' thing is one endless free-falling bungee jump into an abyss. Every minute of every day, you're Wile E. Coyote jumping off the stinking infertility cliff.

Almost every question, it seems, has no answer.

When am I going to be pregnant? Will this procedure work? Will I have to do in-vitro? How much is all this going to cost? How long will I need treatment? Why is the receptionist talking on her cell phone while I'm talking to her?

So, there are answers to these questions. They're just not good answers.

"Can't say. Couldn't tell you. We'll see.  How much ya got? She's been doing that for three years. It's too late to do anything about it now."

We want guarantees. We're used to knowing the beginning, middle, and end of things. How can infertility just leave us hanging? It's cruel I tell you.

I bring my car to the mechanic. He lies. I overpay.

I go to the dentist. His hands disappear into my mouth for twenty minutes. My insurance covers $8.00. I overpay.  

Not much in life works like fertility treatments. Could you imagine handing  your mechanic $20,000 and him saying:

"Well, it might be the brakes. Or it might be the transmission. I'll keep your car here for two years and try to find out. Either way I can't promise you'll ever be able to drive it again. Do you need a receipt?"

Listen, I gotta go. My car needs brakes and I need a root canal. I finally figured out, by the way, why they call it a "root canal": They just keep drilling until they get to the root of your savings.

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

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.

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

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I didn't post last week so you're probably aching to get as much of me as possible this week. Or not.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Fears. Particularly fears shared by those of us with fertility issues. We were discussing a few occasional mishaps at a smattering of fertility clinics where the woman got inseminated with some stranger's sperm instead of the guy she came to the appointment with.

I also recently read a story recently (I read too damn much.. and watch too much news. I should stick to cartoons. Nobody ever gets inseminated in cartoons... well maybe on Family Guy or The Simpsons or American Dad... Okay, cartoons are out too. I'll just stare at the wall.)

Anyway, this news article was about a couple who had twins from a sperm donor. Well, apparently someone had a problem translating English into English. They had requested a caucasian sperm donor. Unfortunately the sperm came from a place in South Africa where "caucasian" means "of mixed race".

I'll be honest, I don't understand anything about this case. The parents were suing the facility because the kids were being taunted in school because of their skin color.

The kids were in school? How old were these kids when they decided to sue?

I admit it. I have a way of procrastinating, of letting things get away from me. Sometimes I don't do laundry for two weeks (a month if I tell the truth- I don't have a lot of clothes. I'm just a slob). I put off going to the dentist for that six month ordeal, and they stopped picking up our garbage because I simply forgot to pay the bill. But, I'm pretty sure even I would get around to that "Hey, I think our twins are the wrong color" issue before they started school.

Or maybe the parents were just living in denial. Sitting around saying to each other: "Let's keep them out of the sun and see what happens. Maybe they'll lighten up in the fall."

The judge basically told them: "You have two healthy kids. Goodbye and good luck."

But I've been thinking. (Always dangerous) About all of these insemination misadventures. I think there's a way it could work in our favor.

Okay, I admit it's a little tricky, but it could be done. Yes, I believe it could. Let's say you're married and have this little cutie boy-toy on the side. And you get pregnant by this shiny new bed buddy.

So you hurry and tell your husband that you have fertility issues, then grab his hand, run full speed into a fertility clinic, and let them inseminate you with his sperm.

Then they do a pregnancy test and tell you that congratulations are in order, you act thrilled and duly surprised. Then the baby is born and looks nothing like your husband. (Hm, wonder what could have caused that.)  So you call the Maury show and bring the fertility clinic on TV and demand they give you and your oblivious husband a DNA test.

Then the baby comes back not his (close-up of you looking duly surprised--again) and you make a lot of money and divorce your husband and live as a happy family with your baby daddy and keep your old (ex)husband on the side as your brand spanking new boy-toy since, now that he's got a lot of cash, he doesn't seem so bad afterall.

Listen, I gotta go. After that tirade I really should stop, shouldn't I? It's the only decent thing to do.

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

Things that Go Bump in the Night of the Infertile (Monday)

Good morning! Did you miss me last week? What do you mean: "What are you talking about?" I didn't post last week. I was busy celebrating my anniversary and on Halloween candy. It wasn't pretty. From what I'm told, I passed out on my neighbor's lawn with a Reese's peanut butter cup hanging out of my mouth and a Milky Way jammed in each of my fists. I woke up this morning in de-tox. joke...I have to go to the dentist this morning. This time when I lie about how much sugar I eat and how much I floss it will be even less believable than usual. How credible can you be when you have a cavity that's been filled with three inches of nougat? And caramel braces across five of your top teeth? Now, back to our show....

So Halloween got me thinking....Fears.... Of course we all have them. Some are rational some aren't. But most, I believe are all rooted (still have that dentist appointment on my mind) in one thing:  The unknown.

And that's why I think most of us spend the majority of our infertility-diagnosis and treatments-holding our breaths and trembling so much it looks like we're forever doing  jazz hands.... Because there are no guarantees.

At no point will anyone say to us: "This will definitely work."  When I hear women, fertility-challenged or not,  say: "Oh, I'll be pregnant by next winter"  I'm dying to ask: "Oh, do you have a crystal uterus? Did a fortune teller look in it and see a baby singing Jingle Bells?"   

Unfortunately most of us don't have organs that divulge their secrets to psychics at the State Fair.... So we have to rely on doctors and tests and procedures... and put our hopes, dreams and trusts in "The unknown"

So this week, let's take a look at what we're most afraid of with all of this infertility business and some infertility nightmares. No, no. Come out from under the table.  Still a humor blog here... I promise it won't be "The Shining" or "Psycho" scary. It will be strictly G-rated. Well... probably not the language... and then there's my naughty little mind.  Sort of G-rated with one eye closed... 

Listen, I gotta go. The appointment looms. Somewhere there's a drill bit, a man with icy digits and a paper chest protector awaiting me.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Nobel Prize Winners: Those Rat Bastards (Monday)

Last week I all but ignored mentioning that the co-pioneer of IVF, Dr. Robert Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize. I figured I'll just stay mum, and wait it out. I figured everybody else was talking about it and what was funny about it anyway? I didn't see anything much to say about the news itself except: Great job Bob! But I had a feeling eventually somebody would somehow say something extremely idiotic about the whole thing and it would burn me up and get my little fingers and especially my middle ones (there's a reason they're the longest) ratt-a-tat-tatting on the keyboard. It didn't take very long.  

One day last week I wrote about an infertility support room moderator who wrote me a "Hate Lori" letter. I tried to join her group and wrote something inflammatory like:

"My blog, Laughing IS Conceivable is designed to de-stress those going through infertility."

The moderator responded by saying she didn't see anything humorous about infertility and I shouldn't be making fun of those going through it. (Did she ever once cut and paste my link into her browser? I wouldn't think so.) Anyway...

As I mentioned this week to those of you who subscribe to this blog:  When I did stand-up comedy years ago, I was doing a benefit. They got all of the performers into a room a week before the show and passed around a hand-out that said: "Nothing in your performance can offend ANYBODY!"

I turned to my friend and said: "That's impossible. One of us could start talking about mowing the lawn and 2 horticulturists and a landscaper would get up and walk out."

So, of course, I naively thought the entire world was elated to hear that the "Father of IVF" (why does that sound redundant to me?) had won the Nobel Prize for his advances in science. Turns out giving this man that award is very, very, controversial.

So I'm thinking...Okay, what did Bob do?

Did he have a broad on the side during his research?

Maybe he was touching his research assistant inappropriately? Working on creating two babies in the lab at the same time: One on the table and one under it?

Maybe he's a skin-head.

Did he  steal the secret IVF formula from a poor intern and pay him 20 pounds to disappear? 

I know. He was a drug addict alternating sniffing glue and shooting up Gonal-F in the lab.

What is it already! What did he do?!

Apparently the horrible deep dark truth about this man who developed IVF is that: (Drum roll please--I feel like I'm on the Jerry Lewis telethon)  He developed IVF. 

And those who think IVF is anti-American, anti-GD, ante-bellum,anti-freeze, antidisestablishmentarianism, Auntie Mame...and who the hell knows what else...want him to give his Heisman trophy or whatever they gave him, back.   

So this week let's sharpen our can openers and lift the lid off that can of worms shall we?

I think you'll be interested in meeting some of these people who are up in arms about the award and to hear what other things that of course have never personally affected any of them in any way...also outrage them.

Listen, I gotta go. Last week I said I would tell you about some good online infertility info and support groups, but being prematurely senile (premature by a week or two) I forgot.  I'll add them to my blog roll this week....Somebody remind me.......

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

"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.

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

Infertility News: Story at 11 (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. "All the infertility news thats fit to print" or shove into a blog anyway.)   So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How there are these guys in England who were making a fortune providing sperm to women who needed it. It's your basic win-win situation: The woman gets the opportunity to try for that baby she has so desperately wanted and the guy gets to grope himself for cash. Everybody's happy. Also in Infertility News: 

When you go through in-vitro you can't help but wonder what the long term effects might be on your future kids.

I mean every minute I was being injected with some kind of hormone or something. I kept thinking: "I wonder what could happen down the line. Will my baby be born with two heads, have a mohawk or speak fluent Romanian?"

A new study came out that compared Iowa kids between 8 and 17 years old. The test scores of 463 IVF-conceived kids were compared to those of kids conceived via the boring old-fashioned, touch and tickle method. And guess what?

The IVF-ers scored higher on all standarized tests. (Go team!) 

Okay, so the study doesn't say why and nobody really knows why. I have my own theories.

1) IVF kids learn how to study independently. Their parents are so worn out from the whole IVF ordeal, even ten years later, they're in no position to help.

2) Poor kids have lower self-esteem and always have to work harder. Nobody is poorer than a twelve year old kid whose parents are still paying off their IVF treatments.

3) The IVF kids began their lives in a calm lab setting where dad gently swam toward mom. They weren't traumatized by the sweaty, physical, Marvin Gaye and wine.-induced bump and grind romp like most kids.  

Cryopreservation--freezing embryos-- didn't affect the scores. It's good to know that their brains don't harden up. I mean look what happens to a Milky Way when you stick it in the freezer (mmmmmmmm).

Also, method of insemination didn't affect scores. So whether a professional impregnated the ladies in a clinic or they had a do-it-yourself kit purchased for $12.99 on an infomercial, I guess their kid still turned out fine.

My concern is: The people doing the study sent out questionnaires to parents to see if they would participate. So, how did they know which kids were born via IVF? I know that at my clinic I checked something on the application that said I'd be open to clinical studies. I'm assuming that how they found these people.

I mean there's probably not segregated classes in the Iowa school systems: IVF kids on one side of the room: "You guys sit by the air-conditioning. I think you'll be more comfortable."

IVF football team: One person on the other team has the ball, twelve million try to tackle him.

IVF debate team: "Your parents went out to dinner, checked into a motel and did what? That's not where babies come from! Who told you that disgusting lie?!"

Chess Club: King's Rook to upper outer quadrant.

Prom Gowns: Open in the front.

Listen, I gotta go. If I don't stop myself now, who knows how far out of control this list might go.

If you have a moment, take a look at Counselor Tracy Birkinbine's article featured this week in Health Experts about how men and women deal with infertility differently. Interesting stuff.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Hail to the Clueless! (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I just had a root canal. If I can stand that pain surely you can deal with a few days of my blogs. True, I'm Vicodin-ed up.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Things I'm clueless about and the lady with four boys who hates all of us poor unfortunate infertiles because we're not in the mood to throw her baby showers and personally christen her kids.

A moment ago, I mentioned Vicodin. Truth be told, speaking of "clueless", I am the most clueless druggie you'll ever meet. I know nothing about drugs. I don't even know if  "druggie" is the accepted spelling among addicts. Is there a more politically correct term: "Snorting consultants" or "High fuel injection experts"? For myself, I prefer "IVF Drug User."

I do unfortunately, know more than I ever wanted to about Follistim, Lupron, HCG, Gonal-F--and you probably could get a lot of cash for them on the street. Can you picture driving into a dark, seedy neighborhood and rolling down your window for some sleeze?: "Hey lady, I got some good sh-t guaranteed to rock your ovaries." I bet he doesn't take my insurance either.

My entire street-drug education has taken place in my livingroom watching "Cops" marathons. I may have mentioned it  before, but I actually wrote an article years ago about my drug cluelessness called: "Or... It Could Be The Cocaine."

There'd I'd be, working at some job or other for a few months and I'd have this coworker who always struck me as boisterous, high-strung, hyper, or high-spirited.

So, somewhere around that three month mark, I would inevitably comment to a fellow co-worker "Yeah, Rick/Steve/Mike/Annette sure has a boisterous/high-strung/hyper/high-spirited personality" to which they would inevitably reply: "Or... it could be the cocaine." Clueless.

So what do our well-meaning fertile friends and family say to us that proves they're just as clueless?

Well, I had a doctor tell me: "Take a vacation. That's how I got pregnant." (Maybe I needed to get a second opinion since she's a veterinarian.)

So first I'm thinking: Okay, she went on vacation and came back pregnant. Was this spring break? I bet a lot of girls get pregnant that way. Then the following winter, every male co-ed who was playing drunken beach blanket bingo in Cancun is on "Maury" taking a DNA test.

And what part of the vacation is actually responsible for this burst of fertility? Can I create a short cut and  just sleep with a travel agent?

Do my husband and I actually have to have sex during this vacation or is the act of being on this miracle vacation good enough?

Does my body know where we're going? Do my ovaries prefer a certain climate? Will they know a luxury hotel from a Motel 6?

Should we go to a Bed and Breakfast? Does my body know if we can only afford the bed and skip the breakfast?

Or should we only do the breakfast and sleep in the car? Will my eggs know if we're getting cozy in our old clunker car at a new location? Or do we have to do it in a rental?

There are two main flaws I find with the "Just Go On Vacation and You'll Get Pregnant" advice:

1) I'm going to the doctor for blood tests every other day. If the procedures work, I'll be pregnant. If they don't work, I'll have to start all over a few days later. I'm an old person. I'm not like the Rolling Stones: I don't have time on my side. (Frankly, neither do they at this point.) So when is this vacation happening?

2) Is the person doling out advice also doling out airline tickets? If not, at $15,000 an IVF pop, our vacation would have to revolve heavily around a drive-thru. Our "concierge" would know how to say "May I take your order?" in three languages.  

Listen, I gotta go I'm kinda liking this Vicodin. I think I'll go back to the dentist and see what else he can drill.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Check out the Health Experts article this week if you have a sec: Social Worker Ellen Glazer discusses how: "Stress Causes Fertility"

Hail to the Clueless! (Monday)

I think I was luckier than most. I never tried to explain my infertility to my close friends and never expected them to understand. By the time I had conception issues, I had had a lot of practice in my life banging my head against the wall trying to explain things about me that nobody understood and was over it.

During the week, I'll elaborate  (assuming I remember my train of thought. I'd better make some notes somewhere and then hope I remember where.)

One major point of contention within the infertile community always seems to be that there are friends and family who simply just don't get it. Either they don't try to understand or they try to understand and they still say something dumb.

I'm writing about this this week because there was some discussion about it in the Washington Post which led to the inevitable comments online.

One woman with four kids was incensed at the thought that if she had an infertile best friend that her friend would not be able to put aside her own infertility issues to be truly happy for this jerk with the four kids (I didn't just call her a jerk did I? Let me reread a minute... "One woman...uh huh...truly happy...uh huh...oh, yeah apparently I did. Oh well, what can you do?) 

So all of these ladies, bless their hearts, who have dealt with infertility, many of whom have had miscarriages, tried mightily to diplomatically explain to this jerk (I did it again didn't I), comment after comment, why it was hard, sometimes nearly impossible, for us to "put aside our infertility" to be happy for each of her, count 'em, four pregnancies. But this lady wouldn't budge.        

Maybe it's because I'm a a writer, or maybe because I lived in NYC for most of my life, but I think I could write a much more succinct post to this lady:  "You're an idiot. Have a nice day!!!!" (smiley smiley, heart heart, LOL!!).

And maybe she's not an idiot or a jerk. Maybe she's just clueless. We're all clueless about something. And that's what we'll be discussing this week: Things we're clueless about and dumb things the clueless people around us say about our infertility issues.

This week's Health Expert post is from a clinical social worker who has dedicated most of her career to infertility and related fields. Ellen Sarasohn Glazer adds a twist to this particular topic in: "Stress Causes Fertility". Take a look!

Listen I gotta go. I have an appointment for a root canal and I want to get a good seat.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow. Hopefully, after the root canal, that won't just be a figure of speech.

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

(Start with "Monday" if you can. You've survived another work week. You deserve to yuk it up.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right.

According to this week's Health Experts' article "Quality Assurance in the IVF Lab", it is extremely important that all of the medical staff members work in some sort of harmony together. If there's no comunication the whole thing, in essence, our treatment, can suffer. 

So I read that bit of the article. And then I went to the dentist...and saw what she the flesh.

So, let me throw a little disclaimer here by stating that I've only been going to my dentist for a short time but I really like him. I say this because I firmly believe that there are two people in your life you should never offend:

Your dentist and your mechanic. If you've found good ones--- slight your mother-in-law, forget your husband's birthday, curse out your sister... Just make sure you hug your dentist and your mechanic whenever you're in the neighborhood. Give 'em a hicky if you feel up to it.

Well, two weeks ago I went to my dentist because of a slight molar ache and to give my whole palate a once over.

So that tooth in question was likely going to be a major problem "down the line" but for now I was just going to go home and Listerine, fluoride, and floss the heck out of it.  

As for it becoming a major problem,  "down the line" came about five days later. Apparently all of the chicken mcnuggets, cookies, and potato chips I Listerined, fluorided, and flossed out of that tooth were all that was holding that tooth together.

As directed by someone (not sure who) who returned my frantic call ("Help! Help! Please call me back at your earliest convenience. Have a great day") , I went to the dentist the next day: 

1) An assistant said she didn't know whyI had an appointment and I shouldn't stay for the appointment because I need a root canal and they don't do root canals.

2) Another assistant told me to stay: They would try to relieve the pressure.   

3) Somebody else sat me in the chair and did the bib and chain thing.

4) Somebody else (not sure if she worked there or was just passing by) told me somebody would be along in a minute to drug me up.

5) The dentist came in and apologized: He said they wouldn't be able to do anything because the day before I was supposed to start taking antibiotics but nobody told me or called in a prescription. 

So, let's pretend this was a fertility clinic:

Okay, so you go in in the morning to give blood. And nobody talks to anybody else at the clinic. So the nurse doesn't call you that evening to tell you what dose you should take.

So you happen to be watching TV while you're waiting for her call. And they do the daily lottery numbers: 2-2-5. Okay, that sounds like a good dosage. It must be meant to be. The nurse is contacting you via the state Lotto.

Then you go into the clinic for your egg retrieval but, lo and behold, in the middle of it all, the crew realizes nobody ever told the anesthesiologist that you were scheduled so they just improvise and give you a rubber glove to chew on.  

Then when you go back to have the embryos transferred back into you, there's a battle between an RE and a couple of nurses. You can't make out exactly what they're saying. Somebody either stole someone's husband or lunch.

Well, either way, they kind of lost count of how many embryos they put in you so they stick in a few more for good measure. Quadruplets? Sextuplets? It's only a difference of two. It's the same as if you just ate 2 Oreos or 4 Oreos: No big deal.

Listen I gotta go.   Tonight is the beginning of a fast for me. I have to run home and eat everything in the refrigerator:  Gotta. By the time the fast is over tomorrow night, it might all be spoiled. And I just won't take that chance.

I'll talk with ya again on Monday. Check out that article I was talking about: "Quality Assurance in the IVF Lab."

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, 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:


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

(Sorry for the late post today..... Start with "Monday" if you can. I have no good reason for telling you to do so, but it would be nice if you did.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How I went through months and months of fertiity treatments and still couldn't tell you who each medical person at the clinic was or exactlywhat they did. If they wore a lab coat, I opened wide and said "aaaaah".

This deficiency to understand what people do for a living  doesn't end with fertility clinics. It runs rampant through all professions for me. My friend Sharon has been one of my best friends for thirty years. Couldn't tell you what she does for a living. Every few months I ask her. Finally, about six months ago she said: "Why are you even asking? You won't remember in five minutes and you don't even care anyway."  

I admit it. Any place I've worked where the job description was the old standby: "Must be 'Detail Oriented'", I've taken under false pretenses.

So I read up on IVF nurses and learned some things. You have to be a registered nurse of course to become one.  But apparently you don't need any special training or anything to secure a job as one.

Okay, that freaked me out just a little, I must say. Mainly because my IUI's (intrauterine inseminations) were done by an IVF nurse. Gee, I hope she was a nurse. I assume she wasn't a receptionist with aspirations.

I'm thinking somebody must have trained her right? Please, somebody reassure me. I mean she didn't learn how to do it with a printout from Mapquest did she?: "Head NW up patient's floo floo (about 3 millimeters). Turn Left 3/10 of an inch into her cervix. Destination will be on your right."

Oh Gd. And Mapquest isn't right most of the time.  

What can be so hard about being an IVF nurse? You take some blood, put a cotton ball on the needle hole, ignore some cranky patients and go home with a hot doctor.

So I read some stuff. One woman commented: "I've been nursing for twelve years now." This is another tribute to my great attention span. I had seconds earlier Googled the question: "What do IVF nurses do?" and still, when I came across that quote:

"I've been nursing for twelve years now" the first thought that entered my mind was:"Geez, your kid's got to be in junior high by now. His immune system must be stellar. Now let him off your chest and go buy yourself  a normal bra!"    

Then I read an article from October 2008 in the NSW Nurses' Association News: "The Highs and Lows of IVF".

At first I was turned off by the title. I thought okay, the highs of IVF is that... there are none. Everything about it, the whole thing sucks. The lows are everything about it. The whole thing sucks.

Then I realized that they meant from a nurse's perspective. Okay, now I get it. This is how the article went:

"A typical day at Sydney IVF begins before 7am, with up to 50 patients arriving for their daily blood tests.

"There are drugs to issue, injections to give and lots of TLC and tissues to dispense. The mornings are filled with assessment interviews, phone calls to-and-from patients and last minute 'drop-ins' to accommodate."

"It can be difficult work but incredibly rewarding. Firstly you need mountains of emotional stamina. You have to be an excellent listener and a very empathetic person."

"'Our patients often arrive here emotionally exhausted and very vulnerable. They bring stories of infertility, miscarriage, grief and loss and nurses need to be very sensitive to that." 

Okay, so yet another career I can cross of my list. I would be like the nurse a friend of mine had in the delivery room during her, count 'em, sixteenth hour of labor: "What are you crying for? You're having a baby. You can't act like a baby!" 

I'd also be a vengeful nurse. I'd keep tabs on the patients who irked me so that the next time they walked in the door for something that involved sticking a needle in their finger or forearm I'd say to my colleagues: "No, by all means...Let me.

Listen, I gotta go. My blog isn't the only thing I'm running behind on. I still haven't watched the Monday night football I taped, read Sunday's paper, or had my Labor Day barbecue.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow. And, if you can, check out this week's featured "Health Experts" article by embryologist Carole Wegner: "Quality Assurance in the Fertility Lab."