mind/body

Infertile Woman Having Labor (Day) Pains

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

Halloween: Grabby, greedy kids looking for candy.

Thanksgiving: Grabby, greedy kids wanting my turkey leg.

Hanukkah: Grabby, greedy kids wanting gifts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We Are the Many, The Proud, The Infertile Insane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

contraption

contraption

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

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

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

Now for the infomercial:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What Teens Can Teach Infertile Women (Apparently)

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

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

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1) Be a horny seventeen year old.

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

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

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

1) When you’re drunk

2) When you do it standing up.

3) Or in a car.

4) Or standing up in a car.

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3) Use a teenage girl's calendar

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

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

a) When The Voice is on?

b) When I’m not that into him?

c) When I didn’t even like it?

d) After eating Taco Bell?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Receptionist: Queen of the Fertility Clinic

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

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

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

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

The pair sparked childhood memories for me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"That's my wife."

"Ow! My spine!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

homer simpson

homer simpson

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

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

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

2) Help other infertile women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Horror-Comedy of Infertility

By Philip Cottraux

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Despicable!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Thank You for Not Being a Schmuck" Month.

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

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

So he's not perfect...

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

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

2) I have road rage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Infertility Tennis Match

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

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THE HOURS YOU KEEP

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

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

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

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

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

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THE PRICES

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

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

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THE BACK AND FORTH

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's "Give Yourself a Cookie" Week

So how'd your mother's day go? Guess what? No matter how it went, you survived. It's over. And damn am I proud of you. If you cried. If you hid under the table. If you never got out of bed. If you blew off family festivities because you were too depressed. For you, I hereby proclaim this week: "Give Yourself a Cookie” Week. (Look, they have a national day for everything: Corn, hedgehogs, Spandex, so let us have our “Give Yourself a Cookie” Week!)

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

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

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

Give yourself a cookie!

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

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

Give yourself a cookie!

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

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

And for you who got so fed up, you told a relative who gave unsolicited advice, or made a thoughtless remark to "Screw-Off"... Give yourself one of those giant bakery cookies. (Preferably one with a huge smiley face looking up at you… See how pleased he is with you? That’s one happy cookie.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microblog_Mondays

Microblog_Mondays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microblog_Mondays.png

New Year's Resolution: This Year I Will... Get Pregnant

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For the past couple of years, we’ve been going to a lovely New Year's celebration downtown. It’s the exact same every year. Everything occupies the precise spot as the year before. As this was my fourth year, I could probably be the organizer next year if they needed me to: The juggler goes right there. The band is on that corner. The singing trolley ride picks up over there. And smack dab in the middle of it all is that damned six foot high “This Year I Will…” chalkboard wall looming over the festivities, taunting us, just daring people to walk over and fill in its blanks.

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It’s such a popular activity, I’m always hoping that a bunch of people will put: "This Year I Will... not selfishly hog the whole wall with my freakishly big handwriting."

Before committing to anything myself, as is my tradition, I checked out what others had written for inspiration and to be nosy. As per usual, the entries were pretty noble: "This year I will... be kinder." "... be a better daughter." "...volunteer more." "...be more patient." I wondered: Does this wall bring out the real decency inside all of us? Or just our socially acceptable side tailor-made for public consumption? It was 3 in the afternoon. Hmmm. I wonder what people would write in private… or under the cloak of darkness… or after they had imbibed a vat of New Year’s Eve self-esteem.

"This Year I Will... push my husband’s face into the living room window while he’s watching the neighbor mow the lawn in her bikini top."

"This Year I Will ... run down my neighbor for mowing her lawn in a bikini top.”

“This Year I Will… give my two weeks notice at work both verbally and with hand gestures."

"This year I Will... lose weight and keep it off at least until Valentine’s Day candy hits the shelves.."

So what about this: "This Year I Will... get pregnant"? Is that a valid resolution?

I don't think so. Not being negative here. Are you kidding? I believe in everything- universal energy, positive thoughts, visualization, the mind/body connection . Please: Put notes up everywhere: On your mirror, by your bed, in your wallet: "I'm pregnant!" and visualize every itty bitty detail of a positive pregnancy test over and over again and how you're going to tell your family and friends and everybody congratulating you. Looking at those notes over the next several weeks and months is the part we can control.

I think the mistake a lot of us make is to phrase it like a New Year's Resolution: "This Year I Will... get pregnant." So, what are you saying? Last year and the year before that you weren't really trying? All of the doctors and blood tests and ovulation kits, and temperature taking, and eating crap you would never eat, and the most unromantic romance you’ve ever had in your life was just practice? You’ve really been holding back on your efforts all of this time because you thought 2019 would look better on a birth certificate?

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“This Year I Will…get pregnant”? I don't know. Sounds kind of like a stressful, totally overwhelming resolution to me. Why can't we just set goals that are doable on a daily basis? Ones that actually have a simple action attached to it to get us going on the path?

"This Year I Will... try a new doctor. —Okay, so this afternoon I'll ask a friend I met on the support site if she likes her doctor or call that one in the next county and see how I feel talking to them on the phone."

"This Year I Will... start the adoption process.—Let me read up on it today and find out how to go about it.”

"This Year I Will... look into an egg donor.”

"This Year I Will... raise money for IVF."  

These are all things you can physically set out to accomplish. It just feels a lot more manageable than this mess:  "This Year I Will... get pregnant." Oh okay. Let’s go do that!

“But Lori, you don’t understand! We've been trying for three years. The names I picked out aren’t even in anymore. This has to be the year! We're the only couple in our group of friends who doesn't have a baby. My parents are the only ones who aren't grandparents! I just can't go to another baby shower for someone else. It's my turn to have the baby shower already! After all I’ve been through, I deserve it!"

Believe me, I know it's tempting to make: "This Year I Will... Get Pregnant!" a resolution. But if we make that as a resolution, we should also make another one: "This year I will... move into a mental institution." Whatever happens with the first resolution, we should definitely be able to keep the second one.

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

Thanks a lot for stopping by! I wish all of you a very happy, healthy, & productive new year! And if you’d like more laughs at infertility & IVF’s expense, come read about my personal story: The husband, the needles, the nurses, the waiting rooms, the nosy coworkers, the dumb advice, the money… This book is recommended by top fertility experts and has been read by 1000s like you who are looking to de-stress from all of the crappola. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/



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Infertility Horror Stories (Not Really... Humor Blog Here)

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I thought it would be nice to welcome in Halloween with a few Infertility Horror Stories... spooky, spooky, stories. (Not real infertility horror stories... I mean, come on. Who needs more of those? I mean, this is a… you know… humor blog.)

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So now, everyone gather in a circle, turn off the lights, get those smoke machines going that make you choke, and those flashlights under your chins...(Flashlights, not buttercups...nobody cares who likes butter right now.) ...And let the infertility horror stories begin.

Read on... if you daaaaare.

Infertility Horror Stories Exhibit A: "The Vanishing Fertility Patient"

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"Ooooooooooh there was this woman who lived alone with her husband in the house at the end of a dead end street. It was the one with the broken street light with the jagged edges that nobody ever replaced. The house was always drafty and the boards on the porch creaked when it rained.

Well this woman, legend has it, couldn't afford her fertility treatments. So one cold and stormy night, about 3 AM, under the cloak of darkness, she and her husband packed up and moved to a place in Canada where the treatments were covered...and they were never heard from again.

But they say that every Halloween, to this day, when it's a full moon and the wind is blowing from the North, the sound of a woman's fingernails scraping on the door of the very same fertility clinic that woman used to go to in the U.S. can be heard...along with the faint cries of a woman's voice:

'I don't get paid until the 15th! I promise I'm good for it. What the hell's wrong with you people?!'"

Infertility Horror Stories Exhibit B: "The Tale of the Odd Triplet"

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"Oooooooooooh years ago, in the old country, there was a woman whose sister went through fertility treatments. Suddenly she got pregnant and had triplets...

And as the children grew, everybody said there was something not quite right about them.

One of them...as the story goes... was ambidextrous...

One was... a red head...

And the other one...nobody ever saw...

People say she never went out. And when she did... she didn't speak... And she never looked anyone in the eye. Some say she had those eyes that look right through you. Some say she had no eyeballs.

They say she might have been deranged...or possessed... or from another world...

Last anyone heard, she'd married, moved to the suburbs, and joined a reality show on Bravo... No one will ever know the real story of who she is, where she came from, whatever happened to her original nose, or why people find her the least bit entertaining.

Infertility Horror Stories Exhibit C: "The Old Yenta & Her Sink Full of Knives"

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"Ooooooooooh there was this couple who went to his mother's house for every birthday, every anniversary, and every holiday-major and minor alike. And every time they were there his mother asked them:

'When are you going to have a baby?' 'When am I going to be a grandma?'

Month after month, holiday after holiday, the old woman badgered and bothered and tormented them:

'Why isn't she pregnant yet?' 'Why don't you want me to have grandchildren like all of my friends have?'

Finally the couple could take no more. They had had enough. That Halloween was the last holiday they would ever spend with that kvetchy old lady.

That evening, it was late...after midnight. Technically not Halloween anymore but that didn't matter to the couple. They were still filled with all of the evil that the spirit of Halloween seems to bring. That evening, they were in the kitchen watching the old broad clean up.

One by one, she washed the plates, and the forks... and the knives. There she was, washing...at the sink...those knives...with her back to the couple as she continued to torment them:

"You know, my sister-your Aunt Tilly- has four grandchildren...and her daughter got married after you did."

That was all the couple had to hear. All of those days, weeks, months, and years of torture at the mouth of this old bitty came rushing back...all of those words...mounting up, building up over time... They were awash with her words.

While she stood at her sink, her back to them, washing those knives, the couple snuck out of the kitchen and out the front door into the frigid, Halloween night, mumbling to each other: "Who needs this s%&t?"... and never returned.

Let’s face it: The scariest part of Halloween usually takes place the day after Halloween. When you go to the store and find that the $19.98 bag of chocolates has been discounted 10% and if you really want it anyway, you’ll have to maneuver around the employee on the ladder who’s putting up the candy cane display.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you feel just a little bit better than you did when you got here. Please consider signing on to my infrequent newsletter at the bottom of my home page & checking out my book (on the book page. Really?) It’s been read by 1000s, many of whom wanted some laughter during infertility, IVF etc. It’s been recommended by renowned infertility professionals around the U.S. It’s not only my book— it’s my true story.

http://laughingisconceivable.com

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

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

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Bringing Lousy Customer Service into my Life

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I'm one of those people who is a big believer in universal energy and that we play a major part in who and what we attract into our lives. So, what's so appealing about lousy customer service that I've been attracting it in droves lately?

1) The "stylist" at Great Clips. I know. I know.  But between the time I checked my son in and he had come off their hair-cutting assembly line only about 12 minutes had elapsed. Shouldn't everybody in the world over 17 be able to keep their surliness, disdain, boredom, and eye rolls under raps for 12 minutes? 

2) The sales guy at Eyecare Center. Over a 3 month period, we got severely overcharged, my husband's glasses came back wrong 3 times and all was made worse by his patronizing attitude. He "yes ma'amed" me to death and constantly said things like: "I know it's hard having a husband and kids to take care of." to which I replied: "Not to mention a business." Another time he said something about me having to cook and all the things that come with being a mommy to which I responded:"Yeah, Lori don't play that."

3) The substitute dentist. I adore my dentist. So why oh why did the bastard have to go on vacation? I've only been going there for about 6 months and got the same guy twice. Well this time he was on vacation. I got a different dentist / used car saleswoman. All I wanted was to fill a cavity in a wisdom tooth. She wouldn't hear of it--- Okay, a lot of dentists agree with just pulling them out.... but this is what I got when I pulled onto her lot: "Why don't you fill the one in the front instead? Wouldn't you feel worse if you lost that one? And then pull those 2 wisdom teeth. And I would take out all of those old fillings and replace them. And those 3 are going to need build ups and crowns. But if you can't do the crowns, let's just do the build-ups, and Beth, set her up with Care Credit if her insurance doesn't cover that...." Needless to say, I drove off her lot, drove back a week later when the other dentist returned and had the receptionist add the substitute dentist to my list of allergies. I think they actually put a sticker of her face with a line through it on my chart.       

4) Scooper at the local ice cream place. She gave me the ice cream for 5 of us. I gave her my frequent shopper card that was full. Fine. Then I asked her for a new card to start. She said they had run out of them. I asked if I should just mention the 4 credits next time. She begrudgingly scribbled her initials 4 times on a slip of paper and handed it to me saying: "Well, if you want to keep track..."  

5) Wal-Mart cashier. I know. I know. Our interaction was maybe 7 minutes. I know that Wal-Mart doesn't treat employees well and many of them might hate their job. I know. But can you at least be pleasant? Half of them look like they're slipping in and out of consciousness. This one the other day just started ringing up the next person's order and tossing his items into bags while Lloyd put the credit card back into his wallet and I grabbed the last few of our bags off the carousel. As I looked to be sure that I had gotten all of them, she finally decided to speak: "I gave you all of your bags."... I said: "I'd like to double-check for myself if that's okay with you." So she hates her job. I've hated most of mine too over the years. So what? Apply elsewhere. There must be dozens of places looking for people with your sparkling personality. Can you cut hair?.

On the other hand: Once we found her, The EyeCare debacle was straightened out by a fantastic regional sales director. and the office manager, my dentist, and his assistant all went above and beyond to rectify the situation at the used car dealership.. 

So maybe all of my signals being sent out to the Universe aren't going totally haywire lately..  But really, the Universe has been around a while. It should know better than to accept messages sent via peri-menopausal hormones. 

Thanks a lot for stopping by for my buffoonery! Please consider signing up for my newsletter at the bottom of the home page and taking a gander at one of my books under well, "books". They are designed to de-stress during some of life's most anxiety-producing moments. After all: Laughing IS Conceivable... And Humor Heals.  

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Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!

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The Envelope Please- Awards for my Family, Friends, & Co-Workers

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My kids recently got a bunch of year-end awards at school. I'm proud to say that among the three of them, they amassed a whopping twelve awards. When I was a kid, the awards they gave in school were based mostly on academic achievement. If you did the best on a standardized test or had the highest grades, or were the best athlete, you got an award. If you didn't, screw you. But things are different nowadays. Even the older kids are given awards for being the friendliest or the most helpful or most respectful. Why can't life be like that? We should get a certificate of achievement for everything. And I have a few I'd like to give out myself: 

Co-Workers:

The Practice Makes Imperfect Award- For the coworker who started out okay and as time goes on, actually, somehow, inexplicably, seems to get worse at their job. 

The Consistency Award- For the coworker who made a lot of mistakes at the beginning and five years later, is still making the exact same mistakes. 

The Selfish Bastard Award: For the coworker who regularly shows up late, leaves early, and does nothing in between, totally unconcerned if they're lousing up everyone else's schedule or doubles their workload.

The Selfish, Annoying, Bastard Award: For the coworker who meets all of the requirements of the previous award recipient plus, when they finally do show up to work, they sit there and talk to you the whole time. So not only are they giving you more work because they're not doing their job, they won't leave you alone long enough to do yours,

Friends & Family:

The "I Couldn't Be On Time If My Life Depended On It" Award: Pretty self-explanatory. For that person who makes plans to meet you at 2 pm and while you're still standing on the corner waiting for them like a dumb-ass at 3, finally answers your text: "Sorry I'm running late. I'm just going to jump into the shower."   

The Worst Timing / Pervert Award: For the person who only calls or knocks on your door when you're, for whatever reason, naked.

The "I Can Wear Anything." "No You Can't" Award: For the person who wears clothing whose shape, size, and / or color were never ever intended to be worn by them.   

The Promise But Don't Mean It Award: For that person who will always be there for you, any day, any time to_________ (babysit, help you move, help you pick out your wedding dress, plan a birthday party, return your library book) just not that Thursday, Friday or Tuesday that you________ (need a babysitter, are going to pick out your wedding dress, are planning the birthday party or your library book is due.)    

The "Most Likely" Awards:

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To The Teacher Most Likely to get pregnant and quit before the end of the semester.

To The Family Member Most Likely to hold a grudge for more than a decade.

To The Coworker Most Likely to flip out on a client.

To: The Child Most Likely to interrupt a private urination with a very important story involving a TV episode.   

To: The Cashier Most Likely to go on break and be replaced by the "Trainee" when it's my turn.   

To: The Friend Most Likely to interrupt my story so they can top it with their story. 

To: The Neighbor Most Likely to mow the lawn at 5 a.m.   

To: The Relative Most Likely to say multiple times that they'll come visit next time they have time off but never does. (And with this award comes my heartfelt thanks.)

Thanks a lot for stopping by! If you'd like more laughs at life's expense- please consider heading over to my home page and signing up to my not-overly-frequent newsletter or purchasing one of my little books.   

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Live Chats Will Be the Death of Me

I like to think of myself as a relatively intelligent person. So then tell me: When I need customer service or tech support, why oh why do I fall prey to the "Live Chat" option every single time? 

I think I get lured in because "Live Chat" sounds like the best option, doesn't it? I have a question or an issue and there's a highly trained professional waiting there in the wings like my personal customer service / tech support butler just waiting for me to beckon. No searching for a viable email address to send my question or concern to where I wait with my fingers on the keyboard for 72 hours for an answer. (Where the only immediate answer I get is: "Assisting you is our #1 priority. A representative will get back to you within 3-5 business days.") Personally, I usually prefer a good old-fashioned phone conversation. But hey, "Live Chat"- no waiting on hold listening to the same music, sales pitches and messages-- "I know my call is important to you. You've told me that 40 times in the last 20 minutes." And when there's finally a break in the music, messages, and sales pitches, no getting my hopes up that the silence is an indication that someone's finally about to actually pick up my call.  Plus, a lot of places I've dealt with lately don't even offer phone support anymore. Maybe word about me has gotten around. So "Live Chat" it is. Don't get me wrong. I've had excellent "Live Chats"  a few times. 3 out of 72 isn't bad. Most of the others, no matter how seemingly simple or complicated the issue, this is pretty much how every one of the other 69 "Live Chats" has gone:

I start with the obligatory contact form. Name. Got it!  Email: I'm on a roll. Subject: I can't type it. Oh no. It's got a little arrow. It's the dreaded drop-down menu... The first option: Definitely not. 2nd: Maybe but not really. 3rd: Don't know what that is. 4th: Definitely getting colder. 5th: Colder. 6th: Freezing! Freezing! 7th: Am I even on the right website? I just pick anything and head for the "Message" box. Finally. I can freely express myself. I can pour out all of my details: Everything this company's put me through since I first got involved with them in 1986 and ending with: "Quick question: The promotion that I had with your cable company is about to expire. I see that in the new packages, in order to get the football channels, I would have to sign up for the whole sports package which is mostly soccer channels. Can I just pay separately for only the football channels?" A few minutes later, after promising that a person will be right with me, they really are.

"Hi Lori! I'm Jamie! Hope you're doing great today!"

I always wonder if there really is a "Jamie" or it's just a generic unisex name they give anyone willing to be verbally abused for minimum wage so that when they leave, another batch of "Jamies" can seamlessly take over.  

"How can I help you?"

"Didn't you read my 6 page message with footnotes and a bibliography?"

"Great question! (Yay for me.)... One moment please."

Then nothing. Finally it says: "Jamie is typing" and the little ellipses dots start floating. 

"If I understand you correctly, you're looking to get The Soccer Channel, right?" 

"No. I'm looking to not get The Soccer Channel. I want football only."

"I can help you with that! One moment please..." 

(Jamie is typing.)

"I just checked with my supervisor. Yes! Football is part of the soccer package."

"I don't want the soccer package! What is so difficult?" I cut and pasted photos with arrows pointing to them. "I want this. Not this. Can I..." 

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(Jamie is typing.)

Oh great, now we're typing at the same time. Now I'm getting frustrated. I've gotten pretty good at typing frustration.

"Can... I... get... the FOOTBALL channels without buying the whole soccer package? N-F-L. A-La-Carte. Possible??? Yes or no?"

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"This question will have to be escalated to Customer Service. They will be in touch with you in 2-3 business days. Nice chatting with you!"

"Customer service? Then who the..."

(Jamie has ended the chat.)  

"Jamie?! Jamie?!" Where did he / she go?

The good news is: I've been escalated so many times, the next time I get suckered into a "Live Chat", I won't have far to go to jump off the roof.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! If you'd like Laughing IS Conceivable updates, please subscribe to my not-ridiculously-frequent newsletter at the bottom of my home page. And if you'd like more laughs at life's expense, kindly check out my books at the menu at the top.

 

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The Walmart Minute Infertility Clinic: Could You Imagine?

(This post was originally, well, posted in October. I've jumped on the reboot wagon while I put together my brand spanking new website. Enjoy... & stay tuned!)  

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"The Walmart Minute Infertility 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 for that. You have your own eyes and YouTube. 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 success 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.)

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Well, why not a Walmart Minute Infertility Clinic? 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 the Walmart Minute Infertility 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 Walmart Minute Infertility 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 and and check out my little book in the menu: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. 

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Mother's Day for Women with Infertile Bodies & Fertile Minds

The Land of Infertility is sometimes referred to as: The Land of If. On Mother's Day, we modify it further to: "The Land of 'What Ifs'. "

How did you handle the "Mother's Day What Ifs" this year?

Those who are going through infertility are typically pretty spectacular at conjuring up "What Ifs" at record speed. But really,  how many Mother's Day "What Ifs" can one woman with an infertile body but incredibly fertile mind create in her head?

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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 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".

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 screw '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?"

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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.  And I'm talking as an expert here. Between the time I lost my mom to the time I got finally pregnant, there were count 'em- 19 Mother's Days. So for once I know what I'm talking about here. Hang in there! xo

And if you'd like some more laughs at infertility's expense... -please consider my book: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's recommended by renowned fertility professionals around the U.S. and subscribing to my not-ridiculously-frequent newsletter-- both are on the home page.

 

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Laughing IS Conceivable: Not Just for Infertility Anymore

(The original "Ted Talks")

"It all started at a 5000 watt radio station in Fresno California." Of course this is Ted Baxter's story on The Mary Tyler Moore Show not my story but this is what I feel like I'm about to tell you. Laughing IS Conceivable started while I was struggling to get pregnant as a way for me to get my frenetic ramblings out of my head and onto paper where they luckily evolved into a book instead of one very long, incoherent suicide note. I've known since I was little that I saw things in life at an angle. (This coming from a girl who barely limbo-ed her way under the geometry bar before it crushed her trachea.) Maybe it's just me mentally and emotionally removing myself from situations that I can't handle or understand. Maybe it's self-preservation. Maybe it's denial. All I know is my mind has always gone into joke mode at seemingly the most inappropriate times. (Speaking of The Mary Tyler Moore Show- See the "Chuckles Bites the Dust" episode. That would be me- wisecracking at a funeral.)

Like just yesterday, a friend posted that her ex, her children's father, had died. So I'm scrolling down and everyone's sending their condolences and prayers and then I notice one post from one of her neighbors I guess: "I know this is a bad time, but if you're done with my step ladder, could I please have it back?" Obviously this particular ridiculousness wasn't just in my head. All I could think of was: "We're talking a step ladder here. So he's not looking to save a cat on a roof or anything. He's looking to make himself three feet taller." I felt like replying: "Yeah, now may not be the best time for her. Don't you have a kitchen chair you could stand on?"

So, realizing that everyone's mind doesn't go astray like mine does in times of crisis, I wrote that Laughing IS Conceivable book for others going through infertility who actually just try to deal with their problems without mocking them, hoping that my mocking and sarcasm might help.

From there, I started this Laughing IS Conceivable blog to further help others and to help sell the damn book. So now what? The whole theme of almost everything I've written over the years to me has always been: Laughing IS Conceivable... and Humor Heals.  With that in mind, I'm now looking to branch out into other areas besides infertility. Don't get me wrong (or like they say on the Maury show: "Don't get me twisted!") 12 1/2 years and 3 kids later, infertility is still and will always be a part of my life and my writing. But I'm exploring other topics that interest me and are, in my opinion, as equally worthy of mocking and sarcasm as infertility. What do all of these topics have in common? They're all extremely stressful seasons in a person's life. And they're times that many many people have to deal with in a course of a lifetime--and they're all things I've personally gone through like: Living below the poverty line, losing your parents, raising multiples, having a dead-end job (or several), relocating, anxiety issues, dieting and exercising...  No. No heartrending stories of abuse or neglect. Just stresses that I've been through in the course of my life so far... How about in your life so far? Anything sound familiar? Ring a bell? Anything?

Everything in Laughing IS Conceivable world is being revamped to reflect the shift. In the coming months, I will have a brand new website, a new book, audio-book versions, and a podcast where I can publicly interview renowned professionals and ask them personal questions that nobody ever asks them.

"Would you still be a fertility doctor if it paid $40,000 a year?" (Would that be wrong?--  It's one thing to read my words, but what a treat it will be for you to hear my actual voice. It's soothing  melodic, and uplifting: Like a hybrid of Deepak Chopra,  the Little Mermaid, and Joy Behar.)

I will keep posting here regularly while it's all in the works. I really appreciate all of your support. I hope you will come along with me on this Laughing IS Conceivable adventure... (For updates, please join my list of subscribers: http://laughingisconceivable.com- top of home page)

Current Books in the Laughing IS Conceivable Series on Amazon, B & N, & Kobo:

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

La Risa ES Concebible. (Spanish Version of Infertility Book) 

Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School- I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE my kids.   

Flip the Script: I Will If I Must

Flip the script? What's that all about? If you haven't heard, this week, the last full week in April every year in fact, is NIAW: National Infertility Awareness Week. Resolve.org (a great place for all things infertility & family building-- resources, advocacy etc) comes up with a specific theme every year for NIAW. This year's theme is: "Flip the Script". I can't accept that. Couldn't they call it something else? Anything else? I know it's just me. But see, this is the thing: My guilty pleasure (okay, 1 of 26) is watching Maury.

To sum it up: People want to find out if they're really the baby-daddy or if their boyfriend is cheating so they think it would be a good idea-- I still have no idea why-- to find out on national television. Anyway, I adore Maury the host, but in an attempt to sound hip and current, things come out of his mouth that should not come out of any 80 year old's mouth like: "You accused your man of cheating and now he's flipped the script. You wouldn't do him like that, would you?"

RESOLVE likely didn't expect "Flip the Script" to be as controversial a phrase choice as it's turned out to be. (The controversy beginning and ending with Maury and me of course.) I think their intention is  to inspire everyone dealing with infertility to be out and proud... maybe not proud... just not ashamed about it: A catalyst to get people suffering in silence to at least talk about it, share, help, and inform those around us within and without the infertility community.

Funny thing is: I've always been the biggest in the closet out of the closet infertile person. I mean, I have this blog about my own personal infertility exploits. And I have a book about it. And I'm forever skulking around the support groups talking about it... but with my friends, family, neighbors and coworkers... I really don't discuss it much and never really did... not even while I was going through treatments.

I've never felt shame or embarrassment. It was more: "This is so not at all your business" or "I spend half my day living it, I really don't feel like spending the other half recounting the first half."

I've always felt strongly that infertility is so personal that you have to do what's best for you. If you're honest with yourself and you're honestly suffering because you're not sharing what you're going through with friends, family, the general public., open up, let it out. Expect no particular reaction. They might be supportive. They might be judgmental. They might say a bunch of dumb things. Or a combo platter of all three. Nothing you can do about that. Your only goal should be to share with them what you feel you need to. Screw how they react. That's their issue, not yours.

I've always spoken candidly about my IUI/IVF/FET experiences with others going through it and family of others going through it... but as far as my own family and friends... whatever. I've always been wildly inconsistent with the details, I'd make some vague comment like: "Yeah, I'm going back to the doctor today. I'm trying to get pregnant." Let them think I was sleeping with the doctor. Who cares? Then two days later they'd ask how it went and I'd say: "Fine" and walk away or just act like I didn't even know what they were referring to. When people at work compared notes behind my back, I'm sure it just sounded like I was making stuff up as I went. I figured that was okay because it was right in line with the treatments themselves: The medical staff  sounded like they were making things up too. I remember the first time the nurse told me in her cheery "no big deal" voice:

"So every night you're going to pinch your stomach and give yourself an injection subcutaneously."

I was in a fog: "Wait. Hold up. I'm going to give myself injections? Are you sure? That doesn't sound right."

"It's easy. You dial this pen..."

"I'm sticking myself with a pen? Do you really work here? Don't take this personally, but is there maybe another nurse I can double-check this with?.. Or a doctor? Or the billing person? She always seems to be around."

If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please check out my 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 renowned Reproductive Endocrinologists around the U.S. Available in eBook & paperback. (Amazon / Nook / Kobo) http://laughingisconceivable.com /Amazon: https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117/