nurses

Infertility: When a Roll in the Hay Becomes a Hayride

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My last post was about infertility and corn mazes. This one’s about infertility and hayrides. You’re right. I definitely have an autumn addiction. (Never more obvious than in the supermarket where I snatch up every single snack that’s added orange food coloring to its product and “pumpkin spice” to its name.)

So…Infertility & hayrides: You decide you want to have a baby. You figure it's just going to take a few simple rolls in the hay and then you'll get pregnant. After all, you've heard the song your whole life: "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes you driving an embarrassingly sensible minivan." Week after week, month after month, you two roll in that hay and all you have to show for it is a lot of sweaty straw lodged in various parts of your person. Finally you feel you have no choice. You have to get yourself up, dust yourself off and climb, begrudgingly, aboard the infertility hayride.

"Move all the way to the front and scooch together."

You guys aren't alone anymore. The hayride is crowded. Dozens, hundreds, thousands are on the ride with you. Some wear scrubs or white lab coats - an odd fashion choice for a bumpy jaunt through the woods. But most on this hayride are passengers just like you and look like they shopped where you did: At the “overwhelmed and disheveled mess” boutique.

There will be no rolls in this hay. Oh no, we can't have that. All of this hay is neatly packaged. The lab coats will tell you where to sit, when to sit, when to touch the hay, when not to touch the hay.

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The ride will go up hills, into ditches, scrape bottom on a rock or two, smell like manure, and pass your car that's been patiently waiting for you in the parking lot, several times. You'll get rocked from side to side, you'll lean on each other so you don't fall backwards overboard, then you´ll catch the woman next to you so she doesn't go overboard... and all the while a bunch of the lab coats will be steady on their feet, calmly walking up and down the ride. Unlike the polite folks at the food court who hand out samples, they will be taking samples... from every naked female arm crease they can get their little latex hands on.

And most of all, they'll try to keep you focused on the needles: The needles that go into your arm. The needles that go into your stomach; The needles that going into your tush. Anything to keep you from believing anyone who says getting pregnant will be like finding one in the haystack.

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I really appreciate you stopping by and hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you first got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please take a look at my books below, available on Amazon, B & N, Kobo or at the following link: 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

When a Roll in the Hay, Becomes a Hayride

Infertility: When a roll in the hay becomes a hayride. I hope you're not nearly as sick of my autumn analogies yet as I am. But I can't seem to stop myself. I'll admit I get carried away for some reason at this time of year. I get sucked into every delicious piece of snacky crap on the shelf just because it´s added "pumpkin spice" or "spooky" to its normal name. When most people are overcome by addiction, they see red. I see orange. I'm hoping I'll be able to squelch my latest urge: To trick-or-treat this year dressed as Dorothy. Nobody wants to see a woman my age in gingham unless she's swinging her partner round and round in a barn. Speaking of hay... and infertility...

You decide you want to have a baby. You figure it's just going to take a few simple rolls in the hay and then you'll get pregnant. After all, you've heard the song your whole life: "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes you driving an embarrassingly sensible minivan." So then week after week, month after month, you two roll in that hay and all you have to show for it is a lot of sweaty hay lodged in various parts of your person. So you get yourself up, dust yourself off... and climb aboard the infertility hayride.

"Move all the way to the front and scooch together."

You guys aren't alone anymore. The hayride is crowded. Dozens, hundreds, thousands are on the ride with you. Some wear scrubs or white lab coats - an odd fashion choice for a bumpy jaunt through the woods. But most look like they shopped where you did: At the overwhelmed and disheveled mess boutique at Neiman Marcus.

There will be no rolls in this hay. Oh no, we can't have that. All of this hay is neatly packaged. The lab coats will tell you where to sit, when to sit-- when to touch the hay-- when not to touch the hay.

"And while you're sitting there enjoying the ride, we'll go into the hen house and collect some eggs and... no no, shoo rooster shoo... we're not quite ready for you yet. Just hold your horses... and your plastic cup."

The ride will go up hills, into ditches, scrape bottom on a rock or two, smell like manure, and pass your car that's been patiently waiting for you in the parking lot, several times. You'll get rocked from side to side, you'll lean on each other so you don't fall overboard backwards, then you´ll catch the woman next to you so she doesn't fall overboard backwards ... and all the while a bunch of the lab coats will be steady on their feet, calmly walking up and down the ride. Unlike the polite folks at the food court, they will be taking samples... from every naked female arm crease they can get their little latex hands on.

And most of all, they'll try to keep you focused on the needles that go into your tummy and your tush so you'll stop believing that you're only hope is to get down on your hands and knees and find one in the haystack.

***

I'm exhausted. This is what happens when a city girl tries to speak "farm"... If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense (without a single fall reference), please sign on to my not-overly-frequent newsletter and check out my eBook which will also be available in paperback this month-- On all Amazons, Nook, & Kobo. (En Español: La Risa ES Concebible)  https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/

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

 

Why I Couldn't Wouldn't Shouldn't Be an IVF Nurse

Not only don't I think all nurses are created equal, I don't think all nurses' jobs are created equal. Even if I could pass all of the medical, scientific stuff (which is highly unlikely), I'd fail miserably at the "bedside manner" stuff. Maybe I could slide by as an emergency room nurse where you see the person, then they leave. Or at a doctor's office where you take blood pressure and temperature, ship them off to the doctor, then they leave. But never an IVF nurse. You take their blood and they leave. Then a few days later they come back. Then a few days later, they come back. Then a few days later, they come back. You've surely heard the expression: "Familiarity breeds contempt". I can't think of a place that contempt would breed faster for me than at a fertility clinic. I was a fertility clinic patient for a year. I would have no patience for those patients. It was hard enough to be me, now I'd have to deal with me?

The IVF nurse, in my humble opinion, is the heart and soul of the fertility clinic. I went to two different clinics over my infertility "career/stint/nightmare", and in each of them, the nurses talked me down off of my hysterical ledges, answered my questions that I asked over and over like a savantless idiot, and showed me repeatedly how to give myself the stomach shots because I kept zoning out at the word "subcutaneous". They escorted me from the waiting room every time during the day, and then called me every evening to give me my new instructions. And when I called the doctor and left a message, I can count on zero fingers how many times it was the doctor who called me back.

I really appreciate all the doctors do, but ninety percent of the time, it was the nurses I was dealing with. In fact, sometimes I'd be assuming the position on the table and the doctor would float in and out. Later, the nurse would ask me: "Which doctor did you see today?" To which I'd respond:

"I have no idea. I don't have any eyes where he or she was looking."

(A few times, I felt like a car with the hood up. You don't see the mechanic's face, you just feel their fingers tinkering.)

Dealing with emotionally wrecked, hormonally challenged patients day in and day out? Not for me, Sista. The first time a patient acted like I did, that would be it. I'd search the appointment schedule every day for her name.

"Oh Debbie Johnson is coming in Tuesday at 10:15? Good to know. Can I have Tuesday off? Oh. Then, can I at least take an early lunch?"

After I got to know each patient intimately, as an IVF nurse, I would be highly efficient if not highly compassionate:  "Okay, I'm getting ready to take some blood here. 'Whiner', you're up. 'Irritating Neurotic', you're next and 'Asks-a-question-and-then-talks-over-me-while-I'm-answering', you're after her. When I call your label, come in, sit down, put your arm out and don't say a word. I'm interested if your vein moves, not your mouth."

Yeah, I missed my calling alright.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please join my monthly newsletter & take a look at my little eBook. It's been downloaded by 1000s looking to find laughter during their infertility adventure. (Comments by top fertility professionals around the US in "look inside") Available on all Amazons, Nook, & Kobo.  

Newsletter: http://laughingisconceivable.com (top)

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

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" http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

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 meant..in 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." http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

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."  http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

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

(Start with "Monday" if you can. If you enjoy reading about a 40 something womans's mental decline, you'll devour it.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. How even though I was a regular at fertility clinics around town for a while (depressing but still preferred over singles' bars-although both "VIP lounges" were much the same: Half-naked women "dancing" with their feet mid-air), I was never really quite sure what each member of the medical staff really did.

Am I the only dumb patient?

My dentist's office staff kind of paid for that today. I guess I went in there with this post on my mind. Everyone who approached me I grilled like chicken on the Fourth of July:

"Who are you? What's your title? Did you go to school for that?" One woman I cornered turned out to be their 11:30 appointment. (Well how should I know? Who wears a white jacket to their teeth cleaning?)

Anyway, I think you should be well-acquainted with anyone who might put their hands in your mouth, don't you agree? 

Although, considering where fertility clinic staff members put their hands I shouldn't be so sensitive. I think everyone but the receptionist tickled my tubes. And she might have also, had she a hands-free phone.

So this week's Health Expert article is by an embryologist. When I first read this great article, I finally knew two things: 1)What an embryologist really does, and 2) Why I could never in a million years be one... unless you wanted your lab sued several times over.

First, the embryologist, Carole Wegner, emphasizes how meticulous an embryologist must be: About procedures, about supplies, about equipment.

I don't think my two favorite mottos: "It's probably fine", and "Who's gonna know?" would fly. In fact, forget the lab, they don't work too well with my husband.

Like how I compensate for my shortness: When clothes fall off the hangers in the closet, I just leave them on the floor and eventually, when a nice little heap has accrued, I can stand atop it to reach things on the shelf above.

Doesn't that somehow fall under the life giving you lemons make lemonade axiom?

So translating this habit to the lab, I would likely put unlabeled sperm samples down wherever and say:  "It's probably fine. I'm sure they're all nice people."

And apparently all supplies in the lab haved to be tested to make sure they have no toxic properties. So I guess if I ran a lab and a tool dropped on the floor, there's probably something in some protocol handbook that you get when you're hired that would preclude me from invoking the "eight second rule".    

(Well I'm sorry that rule has a humane purpose. How many delicious last cookies in the box would be needlessly tossed in the garbage, uneaten  just because they, through no fault of their own, fell on the floor?)

Something else Carole will discuss:  That data is kept on each person working in the lab to avoid "Technical Drift": What happens when technicians do the same tasks over and over: Little by little they drift away from the accepted standards and protocols.

I worked in customer service at a call center for many years. It happened there a lot. One day you were saying: "It's always nice to serve you. Have a wonderful day!" And a few months later you were looking at the Caller ID and mumbling to yourself: "Oh man... not this assh again."

Listen, I gotta go. I have to apologize to everyone at my dentist's: Another one of my mottos: Be pleasant to those who either serve you food or clean it out of your teeth with sharp instruments.

Please check out Carole Wegner's article: "Quality Assurance in the IVF Lab"

http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow

Those Who Assist Us with Our Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Monday)

Okay, so that title completely eliminates any chance of me twitting anyone about this week's posts: It's like 1200 characters and says virtually nothing. This is to what I was probably referring (even I can never be sure): You remember when you were eight and you knew only about a handful of professions? Teacher, fireman, police officer... I wasn't even sure what my father did.

It's not that it was illegal or anything.  I remember the words "Business Man" being batted around. I thought that was a profession: Teacher, fireman, police officer, business man.

Okay, so I wasn't terribly bright. The funny thing is: I'm still that way. I think it has to do with being in the Arts (and the ARTS, ar ar ar). Artists don't always understand "real" careers.

This week, we'll discuss some real careers: Medical professionals inside the fertility clinic: What credentials each needs and which actual link they are in our baby making chain. It kind of goes with this week's Health Expert article. More on that in a sec.

Now back to me. For some reason, I like chatting about my senility. It's liberating. It's my twisted version of not dying the gray out of your hair. I'm embracing my decline. 

Writers are known for being extremely observant... Not me.. I'm the most oblivious writer you'll ever meet.

At my (non-writing) job, I can talk with a client for twenty minutes. She can be crying, cursing, threatening me with a stapler. Ten minutes later,  she can come back and still be irate six inches from my face again and not even look the least bit familiar to me.

But I'm aware of my lack of awareness. So, just as a precaution, before I speak to every client I call security.   

So, back to professions. My point is, I'm oblivious to what people really do for a living. Unless your job has a maximum three word title, my mind's software reads: "Does not compute."

Teacher, Writer, Baseball Player, Architect, Police Officer, Restaurant Server, Fire Fighter, Lawyer, Accountant. I get all of those, but if you hve to start explaining, and the first words out of your mouth are: "What our company does"....you may as well not even finish the sentence...

I have a twitter memory. By the time you've gotten out 140 characters I've flatlined. And I can't blame it on age. I can't even blame it on twitter. I've been this way since the eighties.

You know how many guys I dated back then, some for months at a time, and someone would ask me: "So what does he do for a living?"

"Couldn't tell ya. It involves a suit I think. He seems to wear them a lot."

Take a look if you can at the brand spanking new article featured in "The Health Experts" this week: "Quality Assurance in the Fertility Lab." It's written by Carole Wegner, an embryologist, and tells what really goes on behind the scenes at a fertility clinic.

http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

Listen, I've gotta go. I have to get to a dentist. I have a throbbing pain in my mouth. It's okay. Nothing that a $2000 deductible can't cure.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

Don't accept a guest pass from these people!

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

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

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

My two cents to you: Volunteer for nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of story. Goodbye and good luck.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

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

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

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

There are two types of imaginary pregnant women:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Fertile Riff-Raff Among US (What? What Did I Say?) (Tuesday)

Is it wrong to refer to fellow women (love a good oxymoron, don't you?) as Fertile Riff-Raff?  Look, there are some wonderful, amazing couples out there, a few anyway, one or two maybe, who stand on their front steps, hands on their hips, bull horn in hand, and proclaim to adoring crowds: "We are ready to have a baby!"

Then they go back inside, look at each other lovingly while music from Dr. Zhivago plays in the background, or maybe Johnny Mathis as he literally sweeps her off her feet, carries her into the boudoir and closes the door with his foot.  

A month later, they're  back on those front steps, he has his arm around her for support, she has one hand on her stomach, the other over her mouth as she announces:

"I don't feel so good" and spends the rest of the morning and every morning thereafter for the better part of a trimester doing a headstand in the potty.   

We may get that twinge in our stomachs when someone really fantastic like that just blinks her eyes like Jeannie and voila she's having a baby.

But when you're trying to get pregnant and you can't, and weeks turn into months, and months turn into years and it still ain't happening, you suddenly realize it's getting harder and harder to turn your head away from the observation you made so long ago, but tried not to acknowledge: 

There is absolutely no justice in who gets pregnant easily and who doesn't.

Is it jealousy? Sure it is. And just like hormones, the cost of treatments, the monthly disappointments, and moquitoes at a concert in the park in the summertime:  It will eat you alive if you let it. So let's not let it.  

So this week, we're going to chat, discuss, and primal scream about all kinds of women who have no business having babies before us:

The Clueless, The Irresponsible, The Nasty, The Ill-prepared, The Immature,  The Way Too Young,  The Way Too Old, The Selfish, etc

So consider this week here at Laughing IS Conceivable to be Preventative Medicine Week ...Heavy on the "Vent".

Listen I gotta go. I've got to shoot off my firecrackers and put my flag up outside. I know. I'm always late for everything.  I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Hey, ...If you were good enough to show up for work on the Thursday before a holiday weekend, you pretty much can create your own agenda for the day.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. How society is to blame for all ills and evils on the planet including, but not limited to, our infertility issues and subsequent loss of mind.

It's also possible that some of our nuttiness can be attributed to not only people but things as well. "Hormones" comes to mind.

I mean, you know how you don't feel quite like yourself around PMS time?

Maybe you feel a little off-balance, or spacy, or irritable or like you want to choke everyone in your path and punch them in the face until they stop yapping at you?

Well, so here we are: A group who has been diagnosed, tested, and probed to death.

Been prodded and annoyed by friends, neighbors, coworkers, relatives, and your random yenta on the street.

Gone through loss of money, friends, self-esteem and ultimately, our minds.

All we need now are 250 IU's of hormones coursing through our bloodstream at 80 MPH on a nightly basis to finish us off.

And this season's fashion trend will be a straight jacket. All of the upscale infertility patients will be wearing them (over their opening-goes-in-the-front examination gowns I suppose). 

So there I was, about four months into treatments and handling everything as well as could be expected. Translation: My straight jacket was coming apart at the seams. Then it happened. 

I had had three failed go-rounds with IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination). I switched clinics and Dr. Wiseacre at the new facility insisted I take a fourth journey into the IUI unknown.  Cutting to the chase: I was prescribed a few hormones too many.

Then there was "Steven". (I may as well take the quotation marks away because that's his name): My coworker, my friend. Yes, he was a little nit-picky at work about rules and cleanliness. But I adored him.

A Pre-IUI-hormone overdose conversation:

Steven: "Lori, you're really not supposed to eat at your desk."

Lori: "I know."

In the throes of my hormone high: 

Steven: "Lori you're really not supposed to eat at your desk."

Lori: "What's it to you? Why don't you mind your own business?! Who are you? You're nobody. You're just this pain in the ass who always has to be up everybody else's ass.

(He heads to his desk with an urgent gait. I stalk behind.)

What do you even do here anyway? Do you have a job? Do you even work here? You don't ever seem to do anything but irritate people!

So what if I eat at my desk? What's it to you? I'd better never catch you eating at your desk!"     

I waved my granola bar within millimeters of his face, having visions of beating him to death with it and stuffing his body in the trunk of his car.

The poor guy. Even in my damaged mental state, I could see he was mentally debating whether to call security or just pee himself.

Listen I gotta go. I'm going to run down to Mexico to get some fireworks for this weekend. Oh, I can get them at Wal-mart? I didn't know. I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

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Who's To Blame For the Infertile Insane? (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. You're headed for a three day week end. Why wait for the last minute to slack off?) So what were we talking about? Oh right. The fact that we all lose our minds just a little bit during infertility and its treatments. We're sad. We're angry. We're impatient. We're frustrated. We're stressed beyond stressed out. And someone must be to blame. (Not us. Clearly, not us.)

In yesterday's post, I tried to lay blame on my-- husband, partner in life, "So You Think You Can Dance" buddy,  fellow fondler, groping chum...whatever title is politically correct this week. And I failed miserably.

As much as I'd have liked it to be, I realized that it's not his fault that I had to go through millions of tests, thousands of appointments, and endless hours of  anxiety. But now I know whose fault it really is: 

Society

Society is to blame for everything bad: Drugs, child abuse, premarital sex, teenage sex,  sex on the rides at Disneyland, plastic wrap that won't untwist, war, poverty, constipation, pollution, crocs, lousy schools, prostitution, thong underwear, NASCAR, the oil spill in the gulf, chin hair and tsunamis:  So why not our infertility woes? (Stay tuned. If I can't pin it on them, I'll try hiphop music next.)

Look at TV. Look at magazines. Everyone wants us to be 5'10, 110 pounds and have kids. But not too many. I'm not sure what the acceptable societal limit is.

When the Octo-mom had hers, everyone went nuts. When the Duggars had their nineteenth or thirtieth or whatever they went really nuts. 

But you definitely can't have "none". That's not allowed.

"Don't you want a baby? If you don't have one, you'll regret it. Like not going to your senior prom. Or college. Or not finishing college. Or not going back to college.

Or not taking that job. Or taking that other job.

Or not marrying that guy. Or marrying that guy.

Or moving. Or not moving sooner.

Or not becoming a nurse or a dancer or a methodist or a proctologist or a lacto-vegetarian. Mark my words: You'll regret it."

And you definitely aren't allowed to have only one child.

"What's the matter with you? Don't you want to give your child a sibling? You know what happens to only child /childs/children, don't you?" 

"My husband's cousin's mother was an only child. She wasn't potty trained until high school and she ran off with a drummer when she was thirty-six."

And you can't have more than four kids; five only if you absolutely have to. 

But at five, you're stretching it. (A pun of sorts.) People start to lose patience with you:

"Can you afford five children? Do you need five children? You know my taxes are paying for those children. Maybe you should buy a DVD. You really need something else to do in bed."

So, if society isn't responsible for our insanity, it's at least partly to blame for our infertility blahs, blues, and blechs.

Listen I gotta go. I want to have a big barbecue this weekend and I've got to go light a fire under my husband... So he'll get the barbecue ready...What did you think I meant?

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

(Start with "Monday" if you can. You'd better do it. This week is about going nuts. If you don't read every word, people will know it's because you think I mean you.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How the only way to ever improve yourself as a human being is to blame all of your shortcomings on others.

I'm setting out this week to point the finger of blame at those responsible for our infertility insanity. So, here's the question at hand: 

"Who deserves the finger?"

The Partner

Frankly, I never cared for that expression: "Partner". It always reminds me of "Howdy Pardner" which makes me feel like my husband and I should be lassoing something on the Ponderosa.

It also sounds completely un-romantic. I've had bridge partners, tennis partners and business partners. Never slept with any of 'em. Unless you count...nevermind.

I prefer to slightly modify the title and introduce my husband to people as my groping partner.

It gives people a vivid visual into the true nature of our relationship, while allowing me to stare at their throat to see how well they control their gag reflex.

Anyway, whatever you call that person you nibble at night, they're the one to blame for your infertility insanity.  

I'll never question the amount of angst that men feel during infertility...no matter who in the relationship is diagnosed as infertile.

But if the woman has "the problem", he will likely remain sane... while she goes diving head first into Lake La La.

On Day One, my husband and I were both sent for tests. Mine entailed holding my urine for several hours. His entailed visiting the dark room at the way, way, back of the video store.   

Medical professionals encouraged him to let it out with a smile on his face. They encouraged me to hold it in with a painful wince on mine.

I spent the morning with John, the cold-handed tech who ran red dye #2 up my fallopians, through my small intestine, under my lungs, and out my eye sockets. (I think his degree was from the University of Mapquest).

My husband spent his morning with his two new best friends: Booby Brown and her magician pal Davida Coppafeel. (He wouldn't tell me if she really did magic or just tricks.) 

He then returned to the clinic with the fruits of his "labor" and waited while somebody tossed his cupful (or maybe half a cupful) under a microscope.

My diagonosis:  "Your tubes are clear.  Let's schedule another dozen or so tests to see what else could possibly be very wrong with you."

His diagnosis:  "These are the most perfect sperm I've ever seen in my life. They're handsome, virile, athletic."

So I'm whipping out my calendar, and trying to figure out how I'm going to stop my life for several weeks for my next battery of tests.

While all around me my husband's sperm are high-fiving each other, having just been inducted into the clinics's Sperm Hall of Fame.

We had entered the fertility clinic for the first time in our lives on a Monday morning.

By Tuesday afternoon, my husband's internal parts had been cleared of all charges of wrongdoing, thus completing their commitment to the infertility program.

As promised when we initially signed all of the paperwork, he received his sanity back as he passed through the clinic door. 

And all eyes turned back to me.

So maybe it's not actually the partner's fault that we go nuts and they don't. 

And, truth be told, if the infertility treatments are going to land me in a mental institution, I probably should have a designated driver to take me there.  

Listen I gotta go: I've got to get some gel. It's 98 humid degrees here and  my hair's about to take over the neighborhood.

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

Last week I touched upon how we all start infertility treatments as relatively sane people and shortly thereafter go bonkers. I alluded to the fact that the fertility clinics themselves, were to blame for us going nuts. 

Don't get me wrong. I love fertility clinics. I mean,  so many doctors around the Country have been so generous to me and my writing I want to give them all hickeys.

Even though, I've always pictured patients in an insane asylum walking around wearing paper hats and matching booties: Exactly the wardrobe my doctors insisted I wear to attend my egg retrieval.

When you read the posts on online infertility support groups, there are a lot of people crying, hugging, on their very last nerve, beating the hell out of each other with baby dust and forever on the verge of completely flipping out. What a pretty group we are.

Sometimes I think we should be required to wear bumper stickers on our backs like people taking driving lessons. Instead of it saying "Student Driver" it might say: "IVF Patient".

They both provide those in close proximity with the same warning. "Stay back. Stay way way back. This person is not responsible for her actions. This person could lose total control at any moment."

When you see that "Student Driver" bumper sticker what do you do? Switch lanes. Get away as fast as you can.

The same could apply to the "IVF Patient" in the supermarket. People would hurry to switch aisles and check-out lines. You'd see shopping cart skid marks all over the place.

"No, that's okay. I know I'm only buying a bar of soap but I think I'll just go over to line #8 behind the woman with the six screaming kids, two jam packed shopping carts, and an accordion file-ful of coupons.

Yeah, the one with the cashier who's name, according to her name tag is  'Trainee', (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 and who is waiting for 'the key'. Don't worry. Yeah, yeah, I'll be fine."  

But the beautiful thing is that our insanity, our nuttiness, is never our fault. Or, at least, most of our actions have a good explanation behind them.

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.

Well, now our screws are loose and we're becoming unhinged. And somebody is responsible!

This week, let's explore exactly who or what is indeed responsible. I mean it's not us. No, of course it's not us. What a silly notion.

Listen I gotta go. I'm incredibly messy, always late for everything, and can't wrap a present to save my life. While I'm at it, I may as well figure out who's to blame for ALL of my shortcomings.  

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You Have Entered "The Infertility Zone": Doo Doo Doo Doo, Doo Doo Doo Doo (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. You want to be well-prepared before entering "The Infertility Zone".)  So what were we talking about? Oh right. How going for infertility treatments is like stepping into another universe. They all speak your language. But you don't speak theirs.

They know all of the words you do: "chair, hat, dog." But you don't know any of theirs: "Follistim, gonadotropin, hysterosalpingogram, icsi."

And you begin to learn their language. But you lose your mind at the same time.

When I first began treatments, I felt like I had just started a new job. 

You know. That bewildered feeling you have because you don't know what you're doing and you don't know anybody and you're trying to learn everybody's name, and you're not sure yet exactly what your job is, and most importantly:  Where is the nearest:

1) Candy machine?

2) Bathroom?

3) Very private bathroom?

(The fire exits I'll figure out in a few months or so. No rush.)

Then three months along your new career path, you've got it all down. You have your favorite place to park, you know when's a good time to go to lunch, you have the software figured out, and have calculated precisely how much you can get away with before you'll get reamed. 

Three months into the fertility treatments, I was still walking around disorientated. In fact, the further I proceeded into "The Infertility Zone" the more disorientated I got.

Before I underwent treatments, I knew that disorientated wasn't a word. A few weeks into it, I knew nothing. 

The following is a reenactment of me at the reception desk, approximately three months deep into treatments.

"So, I have to come back again this afternoon. Could you give me an appointment card?"

"Does it have the address on it?"

"Who's my doctor?"

"Which way is his office?... Oh, right. I mean 'her' office."

"Do  you give lollipops?"

"Do you have a dentist here?"          

"I'm afraid I won't be able to find my way back later. Can I wait in the waiting room for the next six hours?"

"Do you have any appointments in your other office?"

"I'm trying to get pregnant. Do you guys help with that?"

"Do you have another office or am I thinking of my dermatologist?"

"Can I use your phone to call my husband? I forgot where I parked."

"Yeah, I know he wasn't with me when I parked. But he might have a suggestion."

"Yes that is my cell phone right there but I haven't charged it in a month and now I can't hear anybody I call."

"When they take my blood, can I get a Dora bandaid?"

"Have they called my name yet?"

"What is my name?"

"One more thing. Do you happen to know if I ate anything today?"

Listen I gotta go. I just don't remember where... I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

You Have Entered:"The Infertility Zone" Doo Doo Doo Doo, Doo Doo Doo Doo (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. This week is a take on "The Twilight Zone" and you know how lost you are if you come in twenty minutes into an episode.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. You walk into this fertility clinic. It may be in your own city. It may be in your own neighborhood. But it's like you just stepped onto another planet.

They look like people you know. You think they speak the same language. 

Then the nurse comes in and then the doctor, and before you know it foreign words start flying around the room:

"Reproductive Endocrinologist (Can I just call you Doc?) Gonal-F. Lupron. Follistim. Progesterone (Hey! That one I've heard of. Yeah for me!) subcutaneous, follicles,  retrieval, Medrol, ICSI, Intrauterine Insemination.

About a half hour into the first meeting, I realized that the last thing I had understood was: "Good morning. Have a seat." 

I turned to my husband and asked: "They're just screwing with us to see if we're serious about this right?"

And, truth be told, nobody said: "Good morning. Have a seat." I believe the nurse's precise words were: "Good morning. How are you today?"

Never being one to leave a rhetorical question unanswered, I responded: "Apparently infertile, thank you. And you?"  

So, you see, there's a specific reason why I thought they might be screwing with us: Payback for being a smartass.   

So there you are, a stranger in this strange land asked to come back a few times a week to visit. That's nice. The medical staff likes you so much they keep inviting you back.

In my hormone-induced + in-denial-about-the-whole-infertility-thing- altered-state, I could see me getting all confused and treating it like a job interview:

"Yeah, I think they really liked me! They want to see me again tomorrow!"

Or maybe I thought I was being invited to a glorious beach party with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Yeah, I think I'll wear my pink tankini to my egg retrieval.

You're prescribed all kinds of drugs you've never heard of and instructed to inject some of them into yourself: Making you feel like the love child of a guinea pig and a pin cushion. 

Your husband, spouse, partner, lover- whatever you call him in public- is sent into a room ten steps away from the waiting room and told to fall madly in love with a plastic cup.

Who wouldn't feel like they had just entered: "The Infertility Zone"?

Listen, I gotta go. I have a coupon for a free massage that expires at midnight...or whenever the man who issued it falls asleep on the couch watching the Sci-Fi channel.

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.

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