women

Heads Up: Infertility Sounds Like a Scam to Your Boss

It's tough to be going through fertility treatments under any circumstances. It's extremely tough going through fertility treatments while you have a full-time job. Infertility itself is a full-time job. There are things you have to do in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. There are things you have to do on the weekends. Sometimes you even have to go to the doctor's office on a weekend. You don't call the shots. (Pun?) Your doctors and your ovaries call the shots. (Pun?) Everything during treatments has to be done when it has to be done. Not the day after. Not on Saturday instead of Tuesday. Most employers don't want to hear it. And I'll have to admit: To someone who hasn't been through it, like your boss, infertility sounds like a scam.

 

Infertility Sounds Like a Scam: Exhibit A:

"Okay, so you had to come in late today. But you'll be in on time tomorrow, right?"

"That's a tough one. It depends. You see I have to wait until the nurse calls me to see if I have to go back tomorrow morning...and she won't call me until tonight...when you're already gone for the day."

Even the employers who are trying to be understanding,... we're really trying their patience.

Infertility Sounds Like a Scam: Exhibit B:

"Okay, so you took off Wednesday afternoon. So, Wednesday's are good for you to go to your appointments. That's perfect. I can just get someone to cover your Wednesday afternoons until your treatments are over."

"Well, no. You see they check my blood and my uterine lining and then they'll call me to let me know if I have to alter my shots...let me back up...you see, every night I have to give myself hormone shots in my stomach with a pen and the nurse tells me if I have to dial the pen up or down and whether I have to come back the next day or the day after that."

Luckily, the boss hasn't heard a word you've said since "my uterine lining" otherwise they would probably think your issues aren't about fertility-related illness nearly as much as they're about mentally-related illness.

Or, if we don't give too many details because we're trying to maintain some sort of privacy...forget it. We tease them with this convoluted story that sounds like a pot-induced hallucination of having to be off at this time on this day but next week everything will change, and we can't give any notice because we won't know until the last minute... Now we're going to be all cloak and dagger and leave out the nitty gritties and expect someone we work for to just go along?

Infertility Sounds Like a Scam: Exhibit C:

"So, I have to go to an appointment tomorrow morning."

"You mean a doctor's appointment?"

"Well let's just say it's an appointment."

"What kind of an appointment? It's a job interview isn't it?"

"It's not a job interview."

"If it's not a job interview, what's the big deal? Why can't you just say it's a doctor's appointment if it's a doctor's appointment?"

"It's an appointment. My husband's coming with me. He's taking off also."

"Oh...your husband...It's one of those appointments. I'm sorry, I can't give you time off to have sex with your husband."

"It's a dental appointment. Okay? Let's just say I'm going to the dentist. I have this tooth, you see it? Not that one. The one behind it... Way bach heeah?"

 

(I really appreciate you taking time to stop by! If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense (specifically, my personal infertility journey's expense) I'd love for you to take a look at my eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility.

It's been downloaded by 1000s of infertility patients, partners, emotional support, & medical professionals looking for fun, fast-reading to help make some sense of all of this infertility insanity. 4.5 stars/ 66 reviews on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A  - Also available on Nook and Kobo.)

 

Final Valentine's Day (Month) Post- Really

So this will be my final Valentine's Day /Month post this year. (Who said: "Thank Gd?") And you know why I've done so many. Because life has a way of wedging its way into our romance if we let it and infertility, with its blame, guilt, social stigmas, physical, mental, emotional, and financial tolls, is its own special crowbar all by itself.

These past weeks, I've been discussing how my husband and I have had a few lousy Valentine's dates (which were still exceedingly better than the decades of lousy dateless Valentine's Days and the lousy Valentine's dates I had before I met him.) In one post, I recounted a particular restaurant we went to with a sucky restaurateur. Well, the next year, since we'd liked it so much, we found another one.

I don't know about you, but I take eggplant parmigiana very seriously. I called up this restaurant two weeks before Valentine's Day to make reservations for the special day. We'd been there several times before and thought the food was pretty good. So, here we arrive, with eggplant parmigiana on the mind and we're handed a new, hot off the presses, one page menu that read like this: "Prosciutto something something we don't eat, with something something else we don't want, plus vegetable choice of cabbage or nothing." We called over the server: "We came here for the eggplant parmigiana. So where is it?" She explained that this was a "special" menu for Valentine's Day. It was an Italian restaurant with nothing on the menu with sauce.

It was a quaint restaurant where, if you didn't find the conversation at your table interesting, not to worry- one of the adjacent tables was bound to have something worth listening to. And so they did...

As my husband and I are scoping out the room, waiting for other Valentiners to be rolling their eyes and huffing in disdain upon perusing the menu so we could be among the first to jump onto the mob-mentality bandwagon, we couldn't help notice that our neighbors at table six were offered the grown-up menu: The one we usually get. And there they go rattling off their orders: Garlic knots, minestrone soup, eggplant parmigiana....

So I summon over the server, who, since I summoned her over with a different finger than is typically socially appropriate, summoned over the manager.

The manager stated that we had made reservations for Valentine's Day and what we got was the Valentine's Day menu. But the people who had no reservations could order whatever they wanted. Okay then. Well, we didn't want any of the entrees on the lush three entree menu and how is cabbage the "vegetable of the day?" It's half-assed coleslaw; tasteless at best, a room clearer at worst. So I repeated my mantra: "We came here for the eggplant parmigiana. So where is it??"

The manager went on and on about the chef's wife being pregnant and how they were down one cook so they basically pulled this short menu out of their collective asses because they couldn't handle the number of reservations made.  Okay, so I quickly filed that whole rigmarole into my "W" file for "Who gives a ----?" and stuck with what I knew: "We came here for the eggplant parmigiana. So where is it???"

Finally we got the big people's menu. We spent twenty minutes scrutinizing it. We read everything from "Restaurant Hours" to the warning about under-cooked meat...Then we ordered the eggplant parmigiana.

And my husband and I left the restaurant hand in hand. And as I said in a previous post, that's the only part that ever really matters to me. And that brings us once again back to the reality of why we're here...the ol' infertility thing.

You enter into it hand in hand and together, go through mild annoyances, big nightmares, huge challenges. The trick is: No matter what happens while you're in that dark tunnel, you've got to make sure you're hand in hand when you come out the other side. Which you will. We all do eventually.

Thanks for stopping by. If you're not ready to laugh at your bout with infertility yet, feel free to laugh at mine. 4.5 stars /66 reviews.    https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ Also on Nook & Kobo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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The Dreaded "Our Year-in-Review" Holiday Card

We all know that holidays can be tough for people dealing with infertility. We brace ourselves for getting attacked from all sides: Family, friends, coworkers... Even though it's almost always unintentional, everybody throws their kids in your face with great enthusiasm: They'll tell you what they're buying the kids for Christmas or Hanukkah. They'll ask your opinion on what to buy them. They'll take the adorable items out of the bag and show them to you. They'll tell you what great deals they got on them. They'll ask you to accompany them to the mall to shop for them. They'll invite you to parties where the kids will be running around. They'll tell you what the kids will wear to the holiday party. "This is their first Christmas." "This is the first Christmas that they'll understand what's going on." "This is the first Christmas where they've been able to tell me what they want." "This is the first Christmas they've helped decorate the tree." "This is the first Hanukkah they've played dreidel instead of putting it in their mouth." It's torture. For me, over the many years before and during my bout with IVF, the best way to get over the torture was with more torture. Has anyway ever sent you an "Our Year-in-Review" card?

I love when people mail an actual personalized holiday card. You so seldom get those. Sometimes I only get one from the dentist. Some people integrate the "Our Year-in-Review" right into the card. My friend Lisa cleverly sneaks folded sheets of paper inside the card that turn my holiday smile upside down. If you've never received an "Our Year-in-Review":

The beauty of the "Our Year-in-Review" is that while it still highlights the children, it typically also highlights the most boring, mundane aspects of parenthood. The most entertaining part is that the parents never seem to have a clue how boring and mundane all of this is. So instead of focusing solely on our situation and that every other living soul in the world apparently has kids during the holidays, we can shift our focus to how incredibly dull our friends have become.

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

"Our Year-in-Review": 2016 was a great year for the Gibsons! Hope it was for your family too!"

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

Our Year-in-Review

January:

"Leslie started gymnastics! (How unique of her.) The teacher says she's a natural! Maybe she'll be in the 2018 Olympics!"

(Does everything require an exclamation point? What is this, US magazine? And of course there is only the winter Olympics in 2018. I'm only up to January and already I have a dilemma. Was she serious about the Olympics? Should I casually mention that Leslie can either take it easy because she has an extra two years to practice or learn how to do the balance beam in a parka?)

February

"Gymnastics are still going super super super well for Leslie! She also started dance class! (And?) She takes tap, jazz, and modern! The teacher says she's a natural! (Imagine that.) Maybe she'll be on "So You Think You Can Dance!"

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

March

Stephen is on the honor roll!

(Which of course brings up the elephant in the review: Nary a word about the honor roll anywhere else in the card enclosure. Is mother implying that Stephen was an imbecile the other eleven months?)

If you've got to send us this nonsense, could you at least throw us a bone and include some of the juicy stuff?

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

February:  I tried to return an ugly night gown that Frank bought me for Christmas. The manager at JC Penney said I waited too long. I got a little upset and security escorted me out. It was really no big deal. Made the local paper though. The cover. Continued on A-3.

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

But nobody ever gives us anything like that to hold us over until the next year. Every December I walk to the mail box like I'm walking to the electric chair. The driveway is my green mile. I open up the mailbox and take out the contents, my hands trembling: A bill, good. Another bill, good. Another bill, good. A greeting card from Lisa. I know her handwriting. I suck in my breath. The envelope is unnaturally thick. I'm pretty sure she's enclosed neither a check nor a gift card. I open it up right there on the driveway. Let's rip off that Band-Aid as fast as possible. And I see several folded sheets of paper in the envelope which are about to punish me for all of her boring BS that, for twelve months, I successfully ignored on Facebook. Shoot me.

(Thanks for stopping by! I hope you feel a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you'd like a few laughs while going through infertility during these holidays, I'd be honored if you'd consider my little eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. Downloaded by thousands. Reviewed by a few dozen. Click book cover below or: http://laughingisconceivable.com) 

 

Happy: 'Thank You for not Being a Schmuck' Day

homer simpsonI want to thank Bianca Smith for putting this post of mine on her wonderful "Where's My Stork?" blog.  http://www.wheresmystork.com/?s=Lori#popup   If you missed it there, here it is here. 

My father lived by himself in a retirement community in Florida among a lot of couples. I noticed that just about all of the people he was friends with were women. I asked him about it once: "Well," he said. "...the wives are all very nice... but their husbands are a bunch of schmucks."

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

Happy: 'Thank You for Not Being a Schmuck' Day -and the "day" runs all week. (Feel free to run it all year if you like.)

Your spouse/partner/husband--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 calendar-induced copulation with and to sire 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...

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.

I watch every ballgame I can and argue every play with the TV. I have road rage. I easily fit curse words in as nouns, verbs or adjectives in any sentence. I scratch whatever itches no matter where I am or who is looking.

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 enough, I shouldn't have left it in the sink. Clearly, it should have been transferred into the dishwasher. 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 how they got there.

If I empty a can of tuna, I was instructed a long time ago, that proper etiquette dictates that I wash out the can and leave it in the sink until it's taken out to the recycle bin in the garage by the Recycle Fairy (closely related to the Dishwasher Fairy, I suspect.) Months ago, my husband alerted me that obviously putting water in the empty tuna can was ineffective if there wasn't also dish soap floating in there while it was in the sink waiting to be taken out to the recycle bin in the garage. Then, about a month ago, I was advised that the protocol had yet again been amended without my knowledge or consent as my husband stood over me and the sink and exhaled loudly on the back of my neck: "Why are you even soaking the can in the sink? Can't you just take it outside and throw it into the recycle bin in the garage?"

And we have further issues in the kitchen: There's the peanut butter issue. A common breakfast for me includes sticking a teaspoon into the peanut butter and eating it...and repeating this action... three times. It's not my fault: A serving size is a tablespoon. Three teaspoons equal a tablespoon. Sure I could dip one tablespoon once instead of one teaspoon three times, but I'm trying to fool myself into thinking I'm having a bigger breakfast. I've been doing this for ages. All of a sudden, after twelve years of marriage, he's going to tell me he thinks that's really disgusting? Of all the things of his I've put into my mouth in those twelve years, he thinks peanut butter is the most disgusting?

So maybe "Thank You for Not Being a Schmuck" isn't quite right. I mean, we're all schmucks sometimes. Maybe: "Thank You for not Being a Total Schmuck" is better.

Lori Shandle-Fox is a humor writer, (former stand-up comic) and infertility survivor. Her eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility has been downloaded by thousands of infertility sufferers, their partners,  families & medical teams and reviewed on Bianca Smith's "Where's My Stork?" http://www.wheresmystork.com/?s=Lori#popup

Helpful links:

eBook Amazon.com: http://amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A

eBook Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007G9X19A

Also available on Nook & Kobo  

Should Our Online Friends Stay There?

woman in front of computerOur online friends to me are like our celebrity crushes and idols. They seem so wonderful from waaaay over there. But do we really want to meet them over here? I've had two celebrity idol/crush encounters: To make two interesting but very long story's short: The idol was mine-- singer/songwriter Carly Simon. The crush was my friend Maria's: Actor Jackie Earle Haley. I met them both and they were both amazing.

But when people online say: "If you're ever in ------------ call me. We can meet up." I never know who really means it and who's just using it as an expression like: "How are you doing?" "What's up?" "If you're ever in Des Moines..."

I've become pretty close with a couple of women from the infertility support sites. We've even texted occasionally and talked on the phone once or twice. But to put away the electronics and meet face to face?

Well, we took a trip  to New York two weeks ago and stayed on Long Island, home to many things and many people including one Monica Bivas who tirelessly runs The IVF Journey support group on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/theivfjourney/

I had a poster that I wanted to give her. To demonstrate how well-versed I am in the uncertainties of getting together with people and how frequently plans fall through and how I didn't even know if I was going to have time in this vacation to meet this person or if I even wanted to make time to meet anybody while I was on vacation... I mailed the damn poster to her on Long Island two months ago, which worked out spectacularly because she, it turns out, was in South America at the time. (She did get it upon her return.)

I ultimately decided that this might be a rare chance to meet Monica and that I shouldn't pass it up. Lately, I've gotten a little addicted to watching the show Catfish where people create fictitious identities online to get unwitting strangers interested in them for one reason or another. But since I have no money and Monica never promised that she'd leave her family to be with me, I felt safe enough.

Like I said, I'm always skeptical when I make plans with most people. Something usually goes awry. So Monica and I planned to meet the Saturday before the Tuesday we were due to head home. I confirmed with her. She confirmed with me. I confirmed that I got her confirmation. Then, that Saturday morning, I got a text from her. Her daughter was sick. She wouldn't be able to make it. Typical... We're leaving in three days, I guess that's that. And yet... it sounded legit. But even if it was true, which I was sure it was, it was still a good excuse to bail. But then she texted again: "How about Monday?"

Well, Monica lives about thirty-five minutes from where I was staying. (There's a reason it's called Long Island.) In parts of New York, and the town where I was is one of them, you don't give up your parking spot for anybody because it may be a very long time before you find another one. Also, Tuesday, I'd be driving twelve hours, so that car wasn't going anywhere on Monday. Do you know this Monica person drove the thirty-five minutes to meet me?

My other apprehension about meeting her was that she has so much online energy. I'm rolling out of bed each morning, trying to get my left foot into my right slipper while I look at Facebook on my phone through my one un-pasted blurry eye and see that Monica, two hours ago, posted about the latest foods recommended for fertility and introduced this week's guest speakers: One who is the leading IVF doctor in Asia and the other who did the first artificial insemination on Antarctica, the story of which Steven Spielberg is making into a movie. I thought meeting her in the park was going to be like flying a kite on a blustery day. She was going to be blowing around in a million energetic directions while I made lazy, half-assed attempts to rein her in.

Monica is one of the few people who actually looks like her Facebook photo... even more beautiful...damn it. We just sat on a bench and talked... and talked... and talked... about our lives, religion, writing, our infertility experiences, positive energy... on and on for two hours until we both had to go on with our day... It truly was a highlight of my vacation. She infused light back into my relative-induced emotional black-out.

So, Jackie Earle Haley, Carly Simon, Monica Bivas... I'm three for three. May all of the Mets hitters have my batting average.

(For more laughs at infertility's expense: Please check out my eBook to the left or at Amazon, where it's been downloaded by 1000's of infertility patients & professionals: http://amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A Also available on Nook & Kobo)

Some Jobs Have Perks THEY Don't Even Know About

In last week's post, "Stealing... It's Such a Strong Word", I talked about my family's inclination toward petty pilfering: Just your average, run of the mill pocketing-Sweet-'N'-Lows-at-the-neighborhood-diner type of thing. (I was once in a supermarket with my father when he saw boxes of them on the shelf and said: "People actually buy these?") At a job it's different. I feel no guilt or remorse for anything I've done. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Still, I won't give too many specifics, because, well, you know... statute of limitations and all that.

Naturally, everyone likes a job with good benefits. I mean health and dental coverage are fine. So are 401Ks. But for me, at a job, just like in life: It's the little things that matter. For me, the best work place perks that a company can provide are the unintentional ones: The benefits they have no idea they're providing.

All the "up & up" benefits are published. They're right there for everyone to see. They're in the employee handbook. They're in the handouts at the orientation. They're on your bi-weekly pay stubs. But if you go into the main employee restroom, hold your pay stub up to a mirror, turn it upside down 3 times and take as many steps backwards as you can without falling into an open stall, you'll clearly see your "other" benefits revealed.

It's called the law of inverse reciprocity. (Don't look it up. You'll be sorely disappointed.)  This means that the stingier the company, the more "other" benefits you're entitled to.

For instance, if I get a job and I think I should be paid $50,000 a year for doing what they're asking of me,  and they only offer me $35,000 a year, then it stands to reason, I'm in a $15,000 deficit. So while I appear to be working diligently for them all year, I'm also working for myself figuring out creative ways for them to make up that 15 grand they owe me.

And it doesn't matter where you work. The law of inverse reciprocity still applies. When I worked in a fast food place, according to them, I received minimum wage. According to me, I also won a raffle for a lifetime supply of plasticware- Not to mention salt, pepper, and ketchup packets. Granted, I never put salt or pepper on anything, and it would take 40 of those ketchup packets to fill a tablespoon... It's the principle of the thing. And I'm nothing if not principled.

I've worked for some pretty generous places that gave holiday bonuses, incentives, Thanksgiving turkeys, umbrellas... something. Coincidentally, they were never missing office supplies. But the only thing worse than a company that offers you nothing is a company that offers you nothing and thinks they're doing you a favor. If you think you're going to cater a smorgasbord for a meeting with the big-wig, hoidy-toidy, grand puba, company honchos and then, when they're done mauling at it, you'll toss the plate like a Frisbee onto the break-room table for us commoners to fight over... Watch your back... and anything else not nailed down.

Most jobs are the same to me. They're really just glorified office supply stores. I'm a writer. Writers need lots of paper... and copies. We need to print things: Double-sided things... in color... and collated.  We need those giant staplers, paper cutters, markers, envelopes in all shapes and sizes. (You can keep those ones with the windows. We have no use for those.)

To these companies I ask you: "How else could I possibly afford those things? You know better than anyone how much I earn. You don't want to stand in the way of my dream. Do you? Don't look at it like I'm stealing from you. That just spreads negative energy. Instead, consider yourself an investor in the career of a budding "young" author. Doesn't that feel better?"

Surely you've heard of silent investors. Mine are not only silent, they're totally oblivious.

So if you ever work for a job where they give you a polygraph before you're even hired, and they have cameras every three feet of the building, keep the copy paper, ink cartridges, and paper clips in a locked cabinet that you need a combination to open, and have all the pens and staplers chained to the desks... I am so sorry... I take full responsibility. I probably used to work there.

If Only I Had 2 Cents for Every 2 Cents I've Put In...

There is an art which I have yet to master. No, I don't mean the art of writing. I mean the art of minding my own business. Every year on Yom Kippur, I throw bread into a lake. To Jews everywhere this symbolizes casting away our sins. To others, it symbolizes feeding the ducks. (Occasionally I've been chased by zealous park officials: Apparently tossing away sins is prohibited there.) Every year, for as long as I can remember one of my "sins" that I throw away is "minding my own business". Unfortunately, it usually limps out of the lake and boomerangs back to me about two days later. Don't you hate those people who, when you're having a conversation, just show up out of nowhere and start commenting? That's me. And it could be about anything from gardening to why the husband of the woman talking ran off to Brazil.

I just float in like Tinkerbell to save the day: "You told us months ago that he's been learning Portuguese. Come on Alyssa, the red flags were everywhere! You probably didn't give him enough attention and oh yeah, ditto for your tomatoes. That's why they're not growing. It's all related somehow."

And I'm sure after I put in my two cents and finally leave the room, they look at each other and say: "I'll bet she doesn't even realize she's doing it." That's where they're wrong. I realize it. My problem isn't ignorance, it's arrogance. I just always think I have something vital to contribute to their otherwise humdrum conversation. I know more than they do. There are thousands of topics in this world I'm sure I know nothing about, from UN policy to opera, but that doesn't stop me from playing "Jeopardy!" or from being an authority. As my ex-boyfriend used to say:

"Hi I'm Lori and I'm pretty sure I'm some sort of a genius."

That's not why we broke up. I mean, he had a point. I think this is a trait I inherited from my father. You'd be working on something: Putting a toy together, washing a dish... and he'd nudge you aside and say: "Better let me do it."

And you'd think this would make me more compassionate and understanding toward others with the same affliction and yet it doesn't. Quite the opposite. If I'm having a private discussion and a third party interjects, I'm incensed. How dare they interrupt? I get annoyed and obnoxious: "All who want your opinion raise their hand."

But when I "intercede", I'm a master at it. I don't even have to do it in person. Often I butt in over the cubicle wall. You know when you're sitting at work in those "sound-proof" "offices" with no door or ceiling? I eavesdrop. Everyone eavesdrops. The discreet, professional thing to do of course, is to pretend you don't hear a thing and go on with your work.

I'm a busy woman. I have no time for either discretion nor professionalism. It works well in my work environment. My coworkers have chosen to embrace my true self as a buttinsky, yenta, and general annoyance. People have gotten so used to me listening-in uninvited that they'll just use me as the wealth of information that I am. They know that Big Brother may be watching, but I'm always listening. There will be two women talking in a low voice two cubicles over: "Did they say that meeting is supposed to start at 9 or 10? I can't remember what time they decided on.... Lori?" "9!" See? I may be rude, indiscreet, and unprofessional, but I'm the company's most vital resource. I seriously doubt if they could function without me.

How to Get Relatives Off Your Back & Out of Your Ovaries This Holiday Season

I've been writing the past few weeks about how to best dodge impertinent, indiscreet, and very personal questions from our so-called family and friends during this holiday season. Relatives are a necessary evil at holiday time. There are three categories of kinfolk:

1) Those we can't wait to see. 2) Those who are great to see a few times a year and 3) Those who make you certain that in a past life you stole from a children's charity and their visit is your little holiday gift from Cousin Karma.

Sometimes infertility turns holidays into one big ugly sixth grade dodge ball game for us. You spend family gatherings ducking and side-stepping personal, obnoxious, stupid, and embarrassing questions. And you spend (did I just misspell "waste") weeks before the family powwow anticipating who's going to ask those questions and trying to duck and side-step those people altogether.

Here's the solution: Present them with a nice gift. A book. Wait! I know you probably think this is about me trying to hustle my ebook which I do on a regular basis. You don't have to give them my book. It would be damn well appreciated. But my book might not be the one they need to read. (Did I just type that? My fingers must be possessed. Where's my eraser?)

The point of giving them a book is to minimize your angst and your pain. Sure, it's gift tag has their name on it in your handwriting, but make no mistake, it's a gift you're giving yourself.

It doesn't really matter when you give the gift. You can do it a week before the family brouhaha. Call it preventative medicine. Instead of waiting for the holiday joy to nose-dive: When you're mid-holiday soiree and the yentas corner you in the kitchen and your only response to their barrage of conception questions is to squirm and hyperventilate.

Days before the big family gala, give the book (even better-- send it--what you pay in postage you'll save in hand sanitizer). And make sure you include a note in big bold, neon letters:

"I'm really not comfortable discussing what we're going through, but this pretty much covers it." OR

"I know you've been concerned that I'm not pregnant yet. I think you'll really enjoy this and it will explain it better than I can at the moment."

I recommend you start your statement with something to the effect of: "I'm not ready to get into my personal business..."

By starting off with a statement like that you're swatting the gnat before it starts buzzing in your ear. So if after reading your generous gift, they come back and say:

"I was shocked by chapter 8! You're not really doing what's in that chapter are you?!" Now you can just hit "rewind" and say:

"Remember two weeks ago when I said I wasn't ready to get into my personal business? Yeah...well...ditto this week...Bye"

The point of giving them your present is: You're giving them lots of information about your infertility situation without giving them any information about your infertility situation. For example..just an example..not hustling: If you give them, let's say, my ebook, I'm spilling my infertile guts to them so you don't have to. I don't care if they know my business. I'm not related to them. Screw them. They mean nothing to me. My ebook, I'm told, is fast, fun, humorous reading. Your family and friends will get what it's all about, and what you're going through daily, but it's not profound enough to leave them feeling overwhelmed or freaked out.

But maybe you don't want anyone to yuk it up over infertility. Maybe you want them to better understand your particular issue that's causing your infertility. Then find a book written by a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

Or maybe you want them to understand the emotional toll it's taking on you better and a more serious book by a psychologist is in order.

The point is: No matter what the title of the book you give them, the sub-title is: "How to Get You Off My Back & Out of My Ovaries...(You Nosy B)"

Below are just a few books out there you may want to consider for yourself this holiday season or as a gift which, as we said earlier...is really a gift for you too. You just can't lose with this system. It's fool-proof. Remember that ebooks can also be given as a gift via Amazon if the giftee has an account. These are just ones I know about. Nobody's giving me any cash or sexual favors to tell you about them...except the last one.

1) Dr. Richard Marrs' Fertility Book http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Richard-Marrs-Fertility-Book/dp/0440508037

2) On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility (Helen Adrienne, LCSW) http://www.amazon.com/On-Fertile-Ground-Infertility-ebook/dp/B00529QMOM

3) The Fertile Secret: Guide to Living A Fertile Life (Robert Kiltz MD) http://www.amazon.com/Fertile-Secret-Guide-Living-Life/dp/0983845891/ref=la_B005EIXDWU_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355191947&sr=1-1

4) Conquering Infertility- (Alice Domar Phd) http://www.amazon.com/Conquering-Infertility-Domars-Enhancing-Fertility/dp/0142002011

5) Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility (Yes this IS MY ebook. It's my blog for chrissakes. Throw me a bone will ya?) http://www.amazon.com/Laughing-IS-Conceivable-ebook/dp/B007G9X19A

Holiday Shopping Weekend: What? No "Infertile Friday"?

Skip next paragraph if you've had it up to here reading about my ebook. (If you've wanted to help someone understand what you're going through with infertility but don't want to get into your own personal details with them, consider my ebook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility as a gift. $3.99 on Amazon. Free at Kindle Library- Chapter Previews & Reviews: www.amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A or click icon at the right)

Stores are really revved up for this holiday shopping season. This year, they didn't wait until midnight or 4am to start peddling their wares. On Thursday, Thanksgiving...Somewhere between the time everyone finished getting drunk on turkey and football and had time to sleep it off on the couch, the stores already had busted their doors open and were welcoming every form of payment. I've always prided myself in being too good to be caught up in the melee. I'm just...well...above it all. This year was different. This year I needed a TV.

My husband called me from Wal-mart to see if I needed any parmesan cheese. Apparently that's where they kept the masses waiting to purchase a cheap TV at 10 pm: In the parmesan cheese aisle. So everybody was bucking for our business this Thanksgiving weekend. From the Thursday Turkey Trot at Wal-mart to Black Friday to Cyber Monday... Everybody was fighting to give us the best holiday deals. Everybody except the fertility clinics... Where the hell were they?

Door Busters? No I don't remember my fertility clinic having a door buster. I do remember a few times showing up at 8:30 am for an 8:30 am appointment and staring at a locked door waiting for someone to come with a key. (And yet, when I finally got inside there would somehow magically be an entire medical staff already there. How did they get inside and more important... Why wouldn't they open the door for the crazy hormone-riddled lunatic banging and scratching on their door?...I just answered my own question didn't I?)

Why can't fertility clinics offer free treatment just one day a year? Could you imagine? Once word got out, they'd need every doctor, nurse, phlebotomist, nursing assistant and the entire cast of Twilight to draw blood.

I got a lot of emails this year from places reminding me over and over about their deals on sofas, and mattresses and ipads. Anybody hear from the pharmaceutical companies?

"Infertility Friday! Clomid only 10 cents for the first 50 infertiles!"

I bet women would line up in the parmesan aisle for that one. In fact, it could be a fabulous excuse for infertile women all around the Country.

"Listen Aunt Amelia, I'd love to spend my entire Thanksgiving addressing your list of "108 most obnoxious ways to ask why I don't have a baby yet", but there's this great sale that starts in 20 hours that I can't miss and I saw on the news just now that they're already starting to line up on the sidewalk in front of the pharmacy. Bye."

Obviously a big holiday sale at a fertility pharmacy would be a prescription for disaster. Sometimes people who do the whole Black Friday thing become angry, desperate people. So now you take those people in that shaky state and you change one component: The object of their desire is not a toy or an electronic...It's drugs.

Now you've got angry, desperate, broke people... most of whom are on the brink of hormone therapy withdrawal. The needles would be flying.

Women would start waiting on line November 10th. Canadians would come over the border for our drugs by the bus load. Women would bring stand-ins to wait on the line and pretend they don't know each other to avoid the "Maximum four drugs per customer" rule. Women would pull into the parking lot, open the back of a van and out would pour extraneous cousins, sisters-in-law and the neighbor whose name they never bothered to learn and now that she's been living there for eight years it's kind of too late to ask.

One thing we could feel good about at least. We certainly would be helping the economy. Pharmacies would have to add a lot of holiday employees that day... Sales people and cashiers, of course. But mostly security.

Not skinny, pimply high school kids mind you. Moonlighting S.W.A.T. team members and Army snipers. And maybe zoo employees who know how to handle a tranquilizer gun. A few of us might have to be taken down... even before the doors open.

Holiday Gatherings: Mastering The Art of the Escape

(If you get a chance, consider subscribing to Laughing IS Conceivable for updates and discussions on posts etc. If you get a second chance, look into my ebook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. Available on Amazon for Kindle and all Kindle devices (Ipads, phones etc) Free at the Kindle Library. Reviews on http://licthebook.com. More reviews and chapter previews by clicking the book icon @www.amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A)

When I moved out of NYC for the first time in my life, I took with me, as all NYers do, a healthy dose of paranoia. When I took a job in an office, my first thought as I scoped out my new surroundings was how I didn't have an escape route. (Hm, I'm a writer who was taking an office job. And I freaked out because I had no escape route. I wonder what that means. Anyhoo...)

I mean, here I was working in a huge building where it seemed like anybody could walk in and out as they pleased. Strangers could come to your cubicle, stand two feet away from your face, and you had no exit, no physical way to get away from these people in case of emergency....Much like a holiday gathering. And this is why planning your family gathering escape routes ahead of time is vital.

Let's say it's Thanksgiving and your curious aunt, (feel free to replace "curious" with "nosy") or sister-in-law or second cousin corners you between herself and the stove or her husband and an end table, or her chunky son and the vase with the dusty silk flowers that seem to be growing and starts a conversation which the pit of your stomach tells you is a'goin' down the ol' "So...Why don't you have a baby yet?" path ... This is an emergency. And you need an escape route. Maybe your physical well-being isn't in danger like paranoid NYer me in the office, but certainly your mental and emotional well-being are in jeopardy.

So what are your options at one of those black tie, high end holiday bashes that your family throws every year?

1) The Ol' "There's that person across the room whom I've been dying to talk to since March" standby.

Two choices here. When the person in front of you seems like they're revving up to pose some embarrassing questions about your fertility either:

a) Wave across the room and yell at no one in particular: "Hey! When did YOU get here?" or if you want to emphasize the urgency to ditch this person yell: "Oh, you're leaving already?! Wait! I have to talk to you!" and head in that direction. You may not want to name a specific person because your aunt probably knows the same people in the room that you do...On the other hand:

b) Screwing with her works well too. "Hey Judy! I really have to talk to you right away!" You and your aunt have both been attending these holiday shindigs for the past 17 years. Let her spend the evening wondering who the hell this Judy person is all of a sudden.

2) The "Imaginary vibrating phone" trick--

So you're considerate enough to keep your phone on "vibrate" during the holiday festivities. But wouldn't you know it, just as this aunt/cousin/sister-in-law starts rambling on about her kids and how lucky you are you don't have any, you glance at your phone and it's a call that you must take. Not only must you take it...but you must take it in private (hint hint) and/or you can pick up the call in front of the aunt/cousin/sister-in-law but then quickly dash off to a place where you can hear your fake call better.

Or if you're more daring and want to get rid of the person for not just the duration of the party but weeks to come as well just feel your pocket and say: "Oooh something's vibrating down there. I can't wait to be alone so I can find out what it is."

She'll probably knock over you and a lamp to get out of there first.

This Halloween: Bewaaare of Idiots

(If you haven't seen my ebook yet, please take a look....it's $3.99 here..and free if you're part of the Kindle Library. Reviews when you click on the book icon to the right or at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007g9X19A.. Also, would you like to join my merry band of subscribers? (also to the right)) So last week's post dealt with my own version of Ghost Stories--Infertility Style. But you really do hear a lot of infertility horror stories... almost entirely from, by the way, people who have never dealt with infertility and haven't a clue what they're talking about.

Somehow, you never hear the tragic report directly from the person who's gone through the traumatic experience. They're from her sister's best friend... or her nephew's second cousin...or her neighbor down the block--not the one who lives there now.. or the one who lived there before those people, but the one before that.

A lot of times, this poor unfortunate infertile woman who had some unnatural infertility disaster happen to her, lives all the way over THERE... in that other county... or two states away...or Nova Scotia. Or the tragedy happened in Serbia, but not now...when it was still Yugoslavia. I think one woman's uterus exploded right there on the examination table, or they put the needle in the wrong place during IUI and perforated her ear drum..One or the other...maybe both. Maybe her uterus exploded first, then they went ahead with the IUI anyway and the doctor was so shaken up she perforated her ear drum.

Then there was the one who had a psychotic reaction to Clomidin and started hallucinating and thought the pills were gummy bears and popped 40 of them. I'm sorry but I'm from New York City, the "Show Me" state (okay, I know that Missouri is the "Show Me" state and that NYC isn't even a state at all, but I thought it was politer to say: "Show me" instead of "Put up or Stop talking Sht!")

I'm serious. If you're going to pull some story out of thin air to scare the fudgicles out of us, I want proof. I mean if this lady's uterus exploded during the procedure, it must have been a mess. There must be cleaning people who would remember. What clinic was this in? I don't imagine that happens a lot there. They must all still be talking about it.

You're telling me a friend of your mother's had a baby with her own eggs at age 70? Wow! Where is this "miracle of science" woman? I'd like to invite her to tea. I want to know her secret to eternal ovarian youth. There are several possibilites, of course, of what's REALLY going on: a) She used a 25 year old egg donor and didn't see any reason to tell you about it, because, well, it's none of your business. b) She carried the baby for her daughter who couldn't and she's really the grandmother. c) Her daughter had the baby and she's raising it d) Your mother was just joking when she told you about her "friend" but it went over your head. And, the most likely possibility: e) There is no 70 year old woman and you just pulled the whole story out of your crack to get attention.

So, this Halloween season (and forever after), I beg you: Keep your finger on your "I doubt it!" button. I have yet to figure out why people make up or exaggerate infertility horror stories. I think they somehow just want to fit into the conversation or like to impress us with their vast knowledge of infertility experiences. Maybe it's to deflect the truth: They really know nothing about infertility or the whole idea freaks them out. Regardless....there are enough spooky infertility goblins to scare us without their tales from the darkside. So if somebody starts to tell you a story that seems to be heading down that dark, shadowy path, run! And if you can't run, just get your finger on that button and keep saying the mantra in your head: "I doubt it", "I doubt it", "I doubt it"...that's assuming you're too nice to chant: "Bull Sht" Bull Sht" "Bull Sht"

Infertility and Other Horror Stories

Here we are in the throes of the Halloween season. (Of course if you consult your local supermart, the Halloween season started an hour after Labor Day.) So now everyone gather in a circle, turn off the lights, get those smoke machines going, and get those flashlights lit under those chins...(Not the buttercups...nobody cares who likes butter right now.) ...And let the infertility horror stories begin. (Not that spooky, I promise. But if you're somewhat of a whoos and can't take it, snap out of it by getting my ebook at the right there, and laugh yourself into a stupor)

Read on... if you daaaaare.

"The Vanishing Fertility Patient"

"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 draughty 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 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?!'"

"The Tale of the Odd Triplet"

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

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, or why people find her the least bit entertaining."

"The Old Yenta and Her Sink Full of Knives"

"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 Halloween 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 the 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... and never returned."

The Season of My Infertility--The Joys of Fall

Okay, I wrote the title and already I'm depressed. I love autumn. I think subconsciously it's a self-love thing. I have odd hair that changes from blond to brown to red all by itself. So somehow I think I've always fit into the autumn. (Why people don't pack up the family and head to my house every October to see my hair turn colors, I have no idea.)

Autumn outdoors is beautiful. The autumn of your fertility is a lot less attractive.

Normal fertile people love to discuss their biological clocks. "I'm 34. I'm starting to hear my biological clock ticking. Quiet. Can you hear it? Tick tick, Tick tick. I'd better get pregnant. Oh look I'm pregnant. Whew that was close."

When you're diagnosed with infertility AND you're in your thirties AND you've been doing treatments, AND nothing's happened, AND a few years have gone by, the biological clock turns into a frickin' gong. It's like living with your head stuck in the Liberty Bell, yet ironically, the last thing you feel is liberated.

Well I didn't get married until I was thirty-nine and a half.

(Only two categories of people say their ages in half years: People under eight and women over thirty-five who want to have a baby.

The people under eight do it because they just can't wait until their birthday. The women over thirty-five do it because with each passing moment they picture another one of their eggs turning into saw dust. We would tell you our age in minutes if we thought we could get away with it without getting slapped.)

After trying mightily for a year to have a baby the so-called "normal" way, I realized that my eggs were a year older than they were when they walked down the aisle and that a few were "no longer with us." (Maybe they were captured on the wedding video. I'll check.)

My biggest gripe with infertility in general is the gigantic question mark. You never know what you're getting into or how long you're going to have to be into it. That's the worst part of being an older mother-to-be-one-day-soon-I-hope-when-the-fk-is-it-going-to-happen-already?:

You have no way of knowing how many eggs you have left, or which ones are in good shape and which ones have turned into Pixy Stix powder.

Once you're over say, thirty-seven, you don't need a doctor. You need a psychic:

"I see fifty good eggs left that will remain good for another five years."

"Okay, great! So there's no hurry for treatments. We can just screw around (as it were) for at least another four years. Thanks. Here's your five bucks. You really earned it!"

All of these high tech tests and procedures and treatments. All of the doctors. Isn't there anybody who specializes in just taking a flashlight, looking up your woo-hoo and telling you how many decent eggs you have left?

Isn't there some easy do-it-yourself home device? It doesn't have to be anything complicated. It can be an "As Seen on TV" item.

"Ova-the-Counter": Just 3 Easy Payments of $19.99. And if you order now, we'll throw in a second one free!" (Why would anyone need two? One for each ovary?---Or have they had a rash of women whose hands were shaking so violently while trying to read it, they dropped one in the toilet?)

"And that's not all... If you order in the next ten minutes (start clock on screen) you'll get this handy "Ova-the-Counter" carrying case (Where would you be taking the damn thing? To work so you can count your eggs on your lunch break to see if you still have the same number as when you left home that morning?) It can also hold bobby pins or odds and ends, and it drains spaghetti..."

I'll be like any resourceful woman: If I can't find an "Ova-the-Counter", I'll just have to invent it. "Hello? Shark Tank?"

(And, if you haven't yet, please check out my little ebook over there to the right. See what top fertility experts are saying about: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility) $2.99 - Free at Kindle Library

I'm Infertile: Shhh..Pass it On

I think we all go through a phase when we don't want to discuss our baby-making issues with anyone. And sometimes we don't even know whether it's because we're too emotional or just too pissed. We teeter on the fence between: "This is so personal and painful I don't want to talk about it." and

"Screw you. This is none of your business!"

Maybe we think if we tell people we can't get pregnant they're going to think:

"They're probably just not doing it right. I don't know about him, but I know in high school SHE wasn't too swift."

Or maybe we're protecting our loved one.

"I don't want to tell them I can't get pregnant. They already think my husband's gay."

And what does "gay" have to do with being fertile? Nothing to the smart people in our lives, everything to the imbeciles.

I think if it weren't for the intimate nature of what it entails to get pregnant one way or another, we would talk about it more openly. But bad enough we start mentioning our endometriosis, and motility issues, and irregular period issues, and ovaries that don't work...then we REALLY tell them what's going on: You bring up the whole sperm donor or egg donor or surrogacy issue. Oh my gosh! Are you kidding me?

Bad enough we're talking about our delicate body parts- now you're going to bring a stranger's unmentionables into the conversation too? Some other woman's eggs?

"Do you know for a fact where this woman's ovaries have been?"

And a sperm donor?

"What exactly does a man have to do to be a sperm donor? Nevermind! I don't want to know!"

And a surrogate? "Are you kidding me? You're going to let your baby come through somebody else's 'you-know-what'?"

If it weren't for all of these "dirty little infertility secrets" that most of us have had to deal with, like I said, we could talk openly about infertility...just like any of the disgusting and often idiotic afflictions those close to us make us listen to:

"I've had this wart on my toe for like a month. Can you see it? It's not really on my toe. It's between the third and the fourth--the middle and the ring toe or whatever it's called."

How dumb would it be keeping every ailment and injury from everybody like we do with infertility?

"I have a broken leg."

"Oh my gosh, Danielle! I can't believe you're telling total strangers! You're embarrassing me. Just suck it up and drag it along!"

The problem with infertility: It's too easy to keep it a secret. You have the choice to keep it to yourself. If you don't tell anyone, nobody will ever know. They may hint, cajole, and annoy, but the ultimate decision to tell or not to tell is yours.

I mean, infertility is something you can physically hide. You look okay. Nothing's gangrene. Nothing's falling off. Your skin's not a funny color. Maybe you don't want to flaunt being short or obese. But if you ever thought of keeping either a secret... Let's face it: If your profile on Match.com says you're 5'11, 130 lbs and you show up looking 5'2" 320, the jig is up. For better or worse, infertility gives you the option of being a big fat liar.

I mean your fallopian tubes look fine from where I'm standing. You know, when they closed shut, nobody heard a door slam like when one of your friends signs off of AOL. It's almost a test of sorts. You can pass yourself off as a fertile person if you want. Be my guest. I promise, I won't be the one to "out" you.

(If you like to laugh about infertility, feel free to do so at my expense. My ebook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility is $3.99 on Amazon /Free at the Kindle Library. See reviews @http://licthebook.com /More reviews & previews of each chapter) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A Click on book cover)

Familiarity Breeds Contempt While We're Trying to Breed

(If you haven't looked at my ebook yet..http://licthebook.com-- That's all I'll say...) I've never been one of those people who has white coat syndrome. You know: Just the very sight of a doctor or a nurse..just the very act of walking into a medical facility makes you panic. So, hmmm, what happens with those people if they go to a fertility clinic? I mean sometimes you've got to be in the joint every few days. That's a lot of freaking out and heavy breathing (and for not one of the funner reasons).

I think for most of us, we get a certain comfort from going to the same place again and again. After you've been going to the facility for a week or two, you walk off the elevator and saunter over to your favorite chair. It's a nice chair. It's a calming color, it suits your glutes, it's far enough from the main circle of chairs so you don't have to talk to anybody and yet close enough so you can still hear your name being called. And it's turned just enough off-center so you never have to make eye contact with anyone while you're waiting either.

It's also nice to see the same smiling faces at the reception desk...and the ample supply of magazines. It's all so hunky dory. The first few weeks are a Norman Rockwell painting called "infertility". It's a Very Brady Clinic.

Then the honeymoon is over. And while we're trying to breed, familiarity is breeding contempt.

So now, a month or two or six into it:

You're on the elevator...Come on, come on...why does it have to stop on other floors to pick people up? The doors finally open and before you even get off the elevator, you see the unthinkable.

"Are you kidding me? Somebody's in my chair. Everybody knows that's my chair between 9 and 9:30 every Monday and Thursday. And sometimes on Tuesdays after work and Thursdays during my lunch break if I couldn't get in in the morning. What is this chick trying to prove? Somebody get her out of my seat! When's her egg retrieval? I want to do it myself!"

"And there are those 2 receptionists again. I register myself at the computer at the desk. So what are they exactly here for? And I'm not sure I ever register myself correctly. I asked one of them once about which insurance I was supposed to check off because I always forget if I have PPO, C3PO, DNR or whatever it's called. She said: 'Not sure'.

Then last week I asked the other one if the nurse would be calling me in soon. She said 'Not sure'. It's ridiculous. All the money I've paid in this place and I can't even get a full sentence? All I get are the clone twins. Do you really need two of them? You can't just have one to have a blank stare AND order pizza on her cell phone at the same time?

Or maybe they could do away with Mary Kate and Ashley altogether and just get a button you can press that will say: 'Not Sure'.

And look at these magazines! Redbook? Isn't that an old lady's magazine? Who here's over sixty? Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition? How'd this get out here? Doesn't this belong in that 'other' room? The men's room? No, I don't mean the men's room. I mean the room...where they... you know...send men."

There's doctor Harrison... Is that man never going to cut his hair? I started coming here three months ago. He needed a haircut then. If those long locks dare touch my toes during the examination, I'll kick him in the teeth.

Okay, so maybe we're not as in love with our medical facility as much as we used to be. (Even hostile one might say..I mean, kicking the doctor in the mouth?) Personally I think we're more stressed out and frustrated about being in the grand trying-to-conceive waiting room for so damn long than being in the clinic waiting room a few times a week. Ya think?

"Labor" Day? Is that Somebody's Idea of a Joke?

Okay so I'm not saying I'm paranoid, but I take Labor Day as a personal affront to me and my kind. Just another conspiracy to screw with those trying to conceive I think. I mean it's great we all get not only the day off but also a long weekend. (I don't know about you, but those seem to come fewer and farther between each year. Am I hallucinating or didn't I used to have even a smattering of four day weekends throughout the year? Where'd those go?) So I'm glad the employers are throwing us a bone, I just wish they could call it something less offensive to the unfertilized. I admit, "Labor" Day means different things to different people. But let's face it, when you're walking around all day every day like a raw nerve, with your head stuck in a big, puffy gray, looming, storm cloud of hormones and self-pity, everything sounds like an insult to us. I'm willing to bet that to normal people, even though the word "labor" is in the title of the holiday, Labor Day rarely conjures up images of small people being squeezed out of the love channel (You know the love channel. It's channel 36 on Time Warner Cable, right after OWN).

I think to the general fertile public Labor Day probably means:

"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 homeowner's fees?"

"Where's Jerry Lewis and when did the MDA telethon become only 45 minutes long? It seemed a lot longer when I was a kid. Maybe it was because I was so anxious about school starting."

"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! Nascar!" (whoops..This girl from NY went one too far)

"Sales, sales, sales"

"Last day to wear white" (unless it's November or January and it's the only pair of pants not in a crumpled ball in the laundry basket)

"Barbecue! Yeah, It's my last chance to take the cover off the grill so for the rest of the year I can announce to anyone who will listen: 'We barbecue every summer.' (not to mention justifying buying a $2700 barbecue)"

"Time to curse out my cousin again. Why does she always make every wedding, christening, and bar-mitzvah on a holiday? Doesn't she realize her celebrations have killed every 3 day weekend for the entire family for the past 6 years?"

"Heading to the beach! Last chance to get a tan without going to the salon or hiding the spray can in the back of the linen closet and telling everyone I just got back from a Rihanna concert in Barbados."

And last but not least, for anyone familiar with some of the more outlandish aspects of the extreme lifestyle of that which is 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!"

So I do hope everybody does enjoy Labor Day this year if you celebrate it where you are. You really deserve it. You do. I mean, even if you don't work in a traditional sort of way, you know, like where you have to turn off daytime TV occasionally and somehow generate some income, you deserve this holiday. Because let's face it:

Infertility all by itself is a full-time job.

If you have another moment:

1) Please ponder purchasing my ebook over there to the right. It's free @ the Kindle Library and $3.99 otherwise. If you don't have a Kindle...not so fast! It will download at the blink of an eye onto any phone or ipad etc with a free Kindle app. Click the book cover over there to read some reviews/order. More reviews and previews of each chapter at Amazon.com (just put Laughing IS Conceivable into the search field then click the book cover where it says: "Look Inside")

2) Please consider subscribing to this blog--(at the right) to get frequent updates and insights

3) Please consider visiting my other posts @Fertility Authority & The Fertility Blogs (http://fertilityauthority.com/blogger/1013368) (http://thefertilityblogs.com/category/from-our-bloggers/laughing-is-conceivable/)

"Infertility is Hard Enough Without..."(The Sequel)"

Clearly I have a big mouth and I don't edit myself well. Clearly I don't even try to. My newest post over at Fertility Authority is called: "Infertility is Hard Enough Without...". Gee, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, right there, three lines up. http://fertilityauthority.com/blogger/1013368

I decided that one measly post by itself couldn't possibly contain all of the zillions of ways any one of us could finish that sentence. So I thought I would write the sequel here. I mean this could be a prequel. I doubt very much that if you read this one first then pop over there that you're going to be lost. I mean it's a humor post. It ain't Star Wars. Nobody's introduced in the original post and then dead in the sequel.

It's not a soap opera either where somebody's born on Tuesday, has her Sweet Sixteen on Thursday and is married two weeks later.

So let's get right into it shall we? (For me, procrastinating for only two paragraphs is getting "right into it")

In the Fertility Authority post we dealt with annoying people you made the mistake of confiding in, the pesky medical bills, and extraneous folk in our lives who feel somehow that their experience as a cashier at the convenience store has qualified them to offer you "expert" fertility advice...which unless their conception advice somehow involves an Icee, obviously they don't know sht about ... Let's proceed, shall we?

"Infertility is Hard Enough Without..." Living your Whole Life in an Online Fertility Forum

Okay, so I don't feel good about my infertility situation right now. Okay, I don't feel good about my relationship right now. Okay, I don't feel good about myself right now. So clearly the only rational answer is: I'll spend 23 hours a day jockeying for position on the window ledge 400 sad infertility stories up with a bunch of other women, and at the end of the day, we'll all feel better. And...How exactly is that going to happen again?

"Infertility is Hard Enough Without..." Dealing with Unqualified People

So your whole life, maybe since you're five, you've lived under the misconception that answering a phone was not too trying a task. I mean, that was probably the age when you started answering it yourself and by the second or third "hello, hello?" realized you had the damn receiver upside down. So it's mesmerizing when you meet a receptionist who's ill-equipped to multi-task even when multi-tasking at this particular office only entails smiling and looking at you at the same time. Nowadays there's no excuse to have a lousy receptionist. I mean if you see one that totally sucks you think: "This state has the third highest unemployment rate in the Country, and this yutz has a job?"

"Infertility is Hard Enough Without..." There Being No Guarantees

So let me get this straight: You're going to send me through a bunch of tests, I'm going to have ten or twelve strangers' fingerprints on both my internal and external organs, I'm going to pay a fortune for the privilege, I'm going to have to go to psycho and/or aromatherapy to get over my fear of needles...This may go on for weeks, months, or eons during which time I may lose my social life, my love life and my mind... and NOBODY will ever guarantee me that this will ever work? What is this fertility treatment thing anyway? A cult?...Maybe I should just try Kabbalah like Madonna. Or Nutrisystem like Marie Osmond.

*** So if you'd like to subscribe to this blog and/or purchase or preview my ebook, check out the right sidebar over there..not there...up a little...now you got it.

And if you'd like to continue these "Infertility is Hard Enough Without..." shenanigans, please cut and paste your way right over to Fertility Authority for the prequel, sequel...whatever the hell it is. http://fertilityauthority.com/blogger/1013368

Infertility... Oh the Guilt

We've all got something to deal with. With me, it's that I'm pretty old. And most likely that's solely to blame for my fertility issues: My eggs were apparently even older than I was. Even though I got married and started trying to get pregnant at 39 1/2 +, I still felt pretty spry. Come to find out my ova were sitting down there rocking away in my ovaries wearing shawls and bifocals just waiting for the white truck to drive up to the front porch and cart them away to the nursing home for the reproductively shriveled. I'll be honest: I never understood my age. Year after year I see it written on paper at the doctor's office and I still feel like: "Who are they talking about?"

I know there are worse explanations for a diagnosis of infertility than: "Old Fart" but I just couldn't accept it. People always told me I looked younger than I was. I always exercised and kept in fair shape not to mention that I've always prided myself on being immature. I play hopscotch on a regular basis and go to the playground for the twisty slide. (I'm sure my picture's displayed prominently on some parent watch website with red flashing exclamation points around it.) So how dare my eggs wither away into Pixie Stix dust?

Artists, if I may be so bold as to refer to myself as such, just tend to be that way. Our hearts and souls stay young while the rest of us rusts from the inside out. Every time I see on TV,the Rolling Stones in a recent concert, and there's Mick Jagger leaping all around the stage I'm saying to myself, "He's going to wake up tomorrow morning (or afternoon) aching from head to toe and the first thought in his head will be: 'What the f was I thinking?' (If you've now paused to ask yourself who Mick Jagger is, please just log out. I'm already depressed enough.)

Infertility may keep you from breeding but it breeds plenty itself: Plenty of guilt, blame, anger...whether you admit it aloud or just keep it quietly tucked between your third rib and your lung.

"It's his fault I can't get pregnant. If I'd married someone else, I'd have kids I'm sure."

"It's my fault I can't get pregnant. If I wasn't so fat...so old...so skinny... such a ho'...so stressed out... If I didn't have endometriosis, or PCOS...or long cycles...long eye lashes...short cycles or a short temper...if only I'd known sooner that I didn't ovulate... Right...

And as one of my favorite expressions goes: "And if grandma had balls she'd be grandpa."

Of course if I had met my husband a decade earlier, I might have married him a decade earlier. Or maybe I could have married somebody else before my eggs turned into papier mache. Or just did a guy for his sperm. That's romantic. Done the deed, got impregnated, wiped up and went home. Yeah, that would have been better. I could have hooked up with a loser so I wouldn't have to go through IVF. Sounds like a solid plan. I could've named the child Baby Booty Call.

But that's how human nature is sometimes. And that's definitely how woman nature is sometimes. Blame and guilt. Guilt and blame. "Unexplained Infertility" is probably the worst. That's definitely our fault.

"I'm so screwed up, nobody can even explain why I can't get pregnant. Fertility Experts from around the world, doctors who've won the Nobel Prize for Infertility, people who have won Tony Awards for 'Infertility the Musical'... the greatest minds in Reproductive Endocrinology can't figure out what's wrong with me...It MUST be my fault."

And of course the point is: What's the point? How does endless stirring of the self-pity pot help this whole pregnancy trek? Next time you're about to blame yourself or someone else for your infertility issues, just remember what they used to say on TV way back when this old lady was young, when the show you were watching came on with just the picture but no sound, the explanation was: "Due to Technical Difficulties Beyond Our Control..."

And if you'd like to hear more of my ramblings, (look to your right) please consider subscribing to this blog and/or purchasing my new ebook about my infertility travels: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. (More Reviews and excerpts from the book available at Amazon.com- Laughing IS Conceivable)

Oh What to Call This Infertility Mess!

Okay, so I wrote a post last week for a great website: Fertility Authority.com (http://fertilityauthority.com/blogger/1013368) I wrote it very innocently. (Saying you wrote something innocently is always a nice disclaimer in case you end up offending every third person or just simply making a total schmuck of yourself.) In the post, I got all riled up about calling this infertility thing...this cancerous mole in our lives... a "journey". Part of the offense I take to this expression "Infertility Journey" is purely from a writer's point of view (Or POV as they like to say on "Food Network Star" The first twenty times they said it, I was like:

"What does the military have to do with the Food Network?" I'm thinking: MIA, POW... POV: I don't know. Prisoner of the Vatican?)

When we don't know what to say, infertility bloggers particularly (me included), call the damn thing an "Infertility Journey".

"Journey" sort of fits into the category of trendy expressions. And as a writer or maybe just an annoying uptight person, I'm none too fond of trendy expressions. Everybody's on some kind of a journey these days.

"I'd like to thank the academy and the director of the film. It was a great journey." Just like professional athletes at press conferences, if an actor throws it in during his acceptance speech at an awards' show it's undoubtedly one of those irritatingly overused phrases.

Maybe that's another reason this whole "Infertility Journey" thing bothers me. We go through so much. We all have a lot in common. And yet we're each of us unique. Who wants to be dumped onto the pile with a thousand other catch phrases? After it's been used a zillion times it has no meaning. We need something to call our own. We deserve it.

So I've been chatting with some great ladies over at the Creating a Family: Talk About Adoption and Infertility group at Facebook ( (http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/40688106167/) and they've come up with some good thoughts on what to call this sucker.

One said: "Crusade". I think that has potential but I have three minor objections to "Infertility Crusade".

1) It sounds like we're going to have to march somewhere

2) It sounds a mite too noble for people who spend much of their days crying, kvetching, and shooting drugs into their belly fat and

3) For me personally, it carries a negative connotation. My people didn't fair too well during THE Crusades.

On another site, someone, of course rightly so, suggested we refer to this mishmash as an "Infertility Rollercoaster", obviously because of all the ups and downs.

My issue with this: (Naturally I have one.)

Rollercoasters can be fun and exciting. If infertility is a rollercoaster, it's one of those that gets stuck and leaves you eighty feet in the air hanging upside down, waiting for "your savior" -the carny- to finish smoking his joint so he can climb up the hundred rungs on the ladder to rescue you.

I admit, "journey" is a de-sensitizer and maybe we all need one. Nobody, even those of us who have experienced infertility first hand, wants a brutally blunt term of what this is like. Anybody want to go around saying: "I'm going through the 'Infertility Vacuum'? It sucks months and months out of your social, romantic, emotional, and financial life. It sucks and sucks and boy does it suck!"

Even if you trendied it up, "Reproductive Liposuction" doesn't sound much better.

So, I recommend, if that's too harsh an approach, we can just call it, drumroll please: The "Infertility Schlep".

On a "Journey" you're standing proudly erect with a back pack and a walking stick, a sense of purpose in every stride. It's an adventure. This is nothing like that. This is a slow, tired, head hanging down to your knees, bent over shuffle. Some days you're depressed. Some days even defeated. You're 32 but you feel like 109. Can barely move another step. "Infertility Schlep". I like it.

And if you can bear more of me, peek over to your right and please think about subscribing to this blog to receive info & updates and/or getting my ebook. (That's me on the book cover. Okay, it's so totally not.) (Available on Kindle & any device with free Kindle app download (phones/iPads etc).