women's health

Infertile Woman Having Labor (Day) Pains

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

Halloween: Grabby, greedy kids looking for candy.

Thanksgiving: Grabby, greedy kids wanting my turkey leg.

Hanukkah: Grabby, greedy kids wanting gifts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now for the infomercial:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What Teens Can Teach Infertile Women (Apparently)

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

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

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1) Be a horny seventeen year old.

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

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

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

1) When you’re drunk

2) When you do it standing up.

3) Or in a car.

4) Or standing up in a car.

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3) Use a teenage girl's calendar

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

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

a) When The Voice is on?

b) When I’m not that into him?

c) When I didn’t even like it?

d) After eating Taco Bell?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expert Advice from a Therapist: For Men & The Women Who... Oh Whatever

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Helen Adrienne is a well-respected therapist in NYC who specializes in individuals and couples dealing with infertility.So what you'll be getting from her today will be tried and true sound advice unlike the smart-ass remarks you typically get from me. She talks about both men who have their own fertility issues as well as men dealing with an infertile wife who's turned into a nutjob. (I don't think Helen actually uses the word "nutjob", but, as many of us know from personal experience, that's exactly what you turn into.)

NEWS MEN CAN USE

by Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD

Making your way through an infertility struggle is an ordeal in so many ways.  The emotional component of the journey tops the list.

Men – there are two little factoids to consider:

First, it’s no secret that women are generally freer to feel and express their emotions than men.  You may be at the mercy of the cultural scuttlebutt that emotions in men are looked upon as   weakness.  But, Father’s Day is a reminder that you are not a parent yet either.  On top of that, if the difficulty in conception is due to male factor, you may be in a tangle based upon a failure to separate fertility from masculinity.

Despite what you may be feeling yourself, you still may feel obliged to take a posture of strength for the sake of your partner.  Every crisis is an opportunity and you now have an opportunity to free yourself from what might be an emotional prison so you can be there for yourself as well as your wife.

Second, whether you can claim your right to experience your upset or not, news you can certainly use has to do with how to feel more at ease with the emotions of your spouse if you are feeling unqualified in this realm. This may be especially true if she seems inconsolable and wants you to “fix” not only the conception issue, but also perhaps a financial issue, a who-to-tell- or-not-tell issue, and so much more.

How can you find relief from the many demands?  Let’s take a peek at what might be your history.  See if this resonates:  As a small child, did you have a mother who was often frantic or tearful about situations?  Did you intuitively sense that your mother specifically demanded that you “fix” her upset?  If so, you would have been tossed into a place of panic and helplessness. A small child cannot make mommy’s life better.

If this was your history and you have not “worked it through,” then as an adult, you would be vulnerable to and maybe avoidant of anyone who is overwrought emotionally.  It would become an unconscious reflex for you to want to remove yourself from those early imprinted feelings of panic and helplessness.

Now, if your wife, like any wife in a quest for a baby, is thrashing around with her emotional reaction to all-things-infertility, you may unwittingly be tossed into this ancient place, without either of you realizing what’s happening, creating distance when what you need is closeness.

When I explain this to men, women or couples, I watch the tension release like air from a balloon.  Why wouldn’t you feel triggered, wanting to literally or figuratively run away, get annoyed, judge or scold?  Here you are again, feeling the pressure to fix a problem as if you are back in that untenable place of your childhood.

Compassion needs to go in both directions.  You each have every right to expect understanding from each other and you both have an opportunity to develop coping strategies that take the needs and emotions of each of you into consideration.

Words are unsatisfactory when seeking to fix this issue – now!  Simple words can matter, if you say, for instance, “I know how hard this is. It’s hard for me, too. We’ll get through this.  Let me just hold you.”  For now, living with uncertainty is a bane.

What is called for—feeling and showing a strong connection, determination to make it through, and love, may not seem sufficient, but it is.  The only real and satisfactory fix is coming home with your baby.

The infertility journey has its own timetable.  It gets resolved as it can.  Meanwhile, you both need to keep your love for each other at the center of this story.  Love thrives best in truth – the   truth of both of you.

Helen Adrienne

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Helen Adrienne has been the go-to professional for over three decades for women who are struggling with infertility.

As a seasoned psychotherapist, trained in mind/body therapy and clinical hypnotherapy, Helen is uniquely qualified to teach field-tested, effective techniques for managing stress, rediscovering inner strength and resources and reclaiming control on this journey. Her best-selling book: On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility. https://www.amazon.com//dp/1452853754

And while you're on Amazon anyway, you may as well check out my book: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It’s the meek, unassuming one down below that Helen’s book is towering over trying to intimidate.. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/,

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

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

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

"Thank You for Not Being a Schmuck" Month.

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

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

So he's not perfect...

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

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

2) I have road rage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mother's Day Living in The Land of What Ifs

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

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

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

What IF:

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

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

What IF:

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

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

What IF:

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

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

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What IF:

...I feel depressed the whole day?

See "Ben & Jerry’s" comment above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infertility Awareness Week: Shhh! Not So Loud.

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Most of us already know that National Infertility Awareness Week is almost upon us.  The thing is:  When I was going through infertility, I didn't want anyone to know I was going through it.

So here I am trying to blend, trying to pass as a fertile person, and then along comes National Infertility Awareness Week: I was like:

"Shhhhhhhh! Will you people lower your voice?!"

I'm hiding in my little foxhole of shame and they've rallied the other 7.3 million infertile troops to stand up and yell: "Hey! We found her! Over here everybody!"

I didn't know from chat rooms or support groups. I didn't want to share with anybody online.

Maybe that's why I always made my NYC doctors' appointments in the wee hours of the early AM. I wanted to sneak in and out of there under the cloak of darkness before the "City that Never Sleeps" woke up. 

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I was okay to go for the treatments but once I was flung out of the fertility clinic and back into society, I wanted to just pretend it didn't exist. So this organization comes along and tries to blow my cover with their week-long tribute. I thought: "Great, what next?"

We'll be "out" and that's it I guess.

My husband and I will have to start wearing tight black leather pants and hanging out at “Infertile Only” clubs. (No music. But oooh the drugs: Follistim, Gonal-F, Clomid, Lupron.)

We might even have wild threesomes in the back room: My husband, me, and a calendar. 

Maybe we’ll start going to a gym where ninety percent of the clientele are infertile... Just to check them out:

"Oh look at her prancing around in her leotard. She thinks she's something special because they took twenty eggs out of her at her retrieval."

There would be jealousy in our community: "Aw, her butt is so much nicer than mine. I bet her husband doesn't whine about injecting THAT every night." 

We'd naturally have our own parade on Fifth Avenue during National Infertility Awareness Week.

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Our parade colors would be gray and black.

We'd have our very own chant: "Free IVF in the US!" "Free IVF in the US!" (Of course we'd probably have to stop along the parade route several times to explain that "IVF" is a treatment and not a political prisoner.) 

And naturally I would be the Queen of the parade...Or at the very least: "The Baroness of Barrenness".

Hey, thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense, please check out my books and subscribe to my “not-overly-frequent newsletter on my home page- http://laughingisconceivable.com and subscribe to my new YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3tj7Bk9QkqarCevJL9j3eQ?view_as=subscriber

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

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

Chained to the IVF Calendar

I’m usually in bed by 9:30. Last night I decided to stay up until midnight to see the great lunar eclipse of 2019. If you missed it, it was the new moon, the first full moon of the year, the Moon, Sun, and Earth all lined up perfectly, Jupiter aligned with Mars, peace guided the planet, love steered the stars and it was the dawning of the age of Aquarius. (And apparently astrophysics collided with the musical, Hair.)

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Call it “all in your head” or “being neurotic” or finding a great excuse to shirk my responsibilities and be totally unreasonable (I’m okay with all of the above) but the full moon affects me. I’ve luckily never really felt too bothered by PMS, but the last few years, I totally get it. A few days before the full moon, I get really tired and am even more of a pain in the butt cheek’s upper outer quadrant to be around than normal. But hey, if you’re trying diligently to get pregnant—especially if you’re doing fertility treatments— you’re a slave to the almighty calendar.

First I figured out my ovulation dates, which by the way, after I traded that in for IUI, IVF and FET, I realized: “Hey, you know what? I may have been calculating my ovulation date / window of conception opportunity wrong all that time. Now wouldn’t that be a kick in the head if I really didn’t need any medical assistance at all and put myself through: 2 clinics, 6 doctors, 16 nurses, 5 receptionists, and 3 billing people all because I couldn’t add?”

Then I started seeing a fertility specialist—a Reproductive Endocrinologist. (I skipped the whole “should-I-stick-with my OB/GYN-and-see-what-they-know-or-head-to-a-specialist?” step. I was two months away from turning 40 when I decided I might need conception help. My OB/GYN saw me coming, locked the door, turned off the lights, pulled down the shades, and put up the “For Rent” sign.)

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It was time to take out the calendar again to mark down the first day of my period. So that’s easy enough. Except that I was never quite sure what the first day was. I mean, if I got it at night… was that the first day? Or if I thought I saw something but it wasn’t much… was that the first day? Or if it started in the morning but slowed down to nothing and didn’t really get going until the next day… was that the first day? I understand your point of view completely. And those are totally reasonable questions you’re asking yourself: “Why was this 40 year old woman with almost average intelligence asking herself this? Didn’t she think to ask anybody in her past 28 years of menstrual cycles? Why was she waiting until 6 months before the onset of menopause to find out?” So, I finally did inquire and just in case there are any other grown women reading this who should, like me, have asked someone when they were 11 and who are sitting at the edge of their seat hoping I’ll give the answer: A nurse told me that you start counting from the first full day of your normal flow. Good to know… better late than never… I guess.

Then, you have to mark your calendar for when you’re going to be tested. They have to make sure all of your parts are present and accounted for, located where they should be, and open for business. And then he has to be tested to make sure his contributions to the process are ready, willing, and able instead of few and far between, lost, or lazy.

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Then you have to mark your calendar for the appointment to get your blood drawn and your uterine lining checked. And then in a few days to get your blood drawn and your uterine lining checked. And then in another few days to get your blood drawn and your uterine lining checked. (Cut and paste. Cut and paste. Cut and paste. Too bad I still use an old-fashioned wall calendar instead of an electronic one.)

Then there’s the scheduled date of the insemination, and if needed, egg retrieval and embryo transfer— “Do I mark day 3 or day 5?” Better do it in pencil. Then you mark down the date of the pregnancy test 2 weeks later. Like anybody has to remind us of that date… We all remember precisely when that official pregnancy test date is… it immediately follows the 8 unofficial ones we’ve taken that we were told not to. Somehow, those never make it to the calendar.

Lots of people have planned pregnancies but nobody can plan a pregnancy like we can..

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I really appreciate you stopping by. I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here a few minutes ago. I’ve got a lot of things brewing- YouTube, podcasts, new books… so please subscribe to my newsletter to stay updated. (I promise not to annoy your inbox with constant emails. How irritating.) Also, if you’d like more laughs at infertility’s expense or infertility & its “aftermath” , check out my books: Everything’s on my homepage: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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The Walmart Minute Infertility Clinic: Could You Imagine?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey...Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you had a few laughs while  you were here. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please sign on to my newsletter and and check out my little book in the menu: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. 

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

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

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

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

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Some quick calculations here: 270 per minute, x 60 minutes in an hour x 24 hours in a day, carry the 6, divide by my BMI... Got it. The average woman going through infertility can create 8,626,509 "what if" thoughts in two weeks. And how many are positive thoughts? Quick calculations here... Carry the 4. Subtract my zip code. Divide by my BMI again. Okay, the answer is "zero".

What IF:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See "Edy's" comment above.

The point is: Just like there's no wrong way to eat a Reese's peanut butter cup (and I truly believe that with all my heart and soul- like how Oprah always asks: "What do you know for sure?" That's what I know for sure.), there's no wrong way to spend Mother's Day. The only obligation is to yourself. If you want to go out and feed your body and soul at the beach or hiking in the woods or at a spa, great. If you want to hide from the world and be depressed... uh...am I wrong or isn't that what guilty pleasures were invented for?: Reading your back issues of US magazine, bubble baths, manicures, watching a Real Housewives of Anywhere marathon or using only curse words for 12 straight hours... This weekend... it's up to you... it's all about you.  And I'm talking as an expert here. Between the time I lost my mom to the time I got finally pregnant, there were count 'em- 19 Mother's Days. So for once I know what I'm talking about here. Hang in there! xo

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

 

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Laughing IS Conceivable: Not Just for Infertility Anymore

(The original "Ted Talks")

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flip the Script: I Will If I Must

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please check out my book- Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's been downloaded by 1000s & is recommended by renowned Reproductive Endocrinologists around the U.S. Available in eBook & paperback. (Amazon / Nook / Kobo) http://laughingisconceivable.com /Amazon: https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117/

 

Infertile Women on Spring Break

Hmmm... Spring Break for Infertile Women. We all could really use a Spring Break. Maybe I should pitch the idea to MTV. What's hotter than watching a group of women in thong bikinis doing shots on the beach at sunset? True, it would be a group of angry, frustrated, infertile women doing hormone shots...

MTV would never air it. They'd be out of business in hours. Clearly women going through fertility treatments desperately need a crazy, wild, college-esque Spring Break. It would just be too disturbing to televise... All of us...thousands of us...living together... every day... all day...in one big alcohol-free sorority house: The Delta Gamma Gametes. How long do you think it would be before our "House of Fun" became a "Fun House"...like at a carnival? Or do I mean "House of Horrors"?

I think everything would start out all warm and fuzzy and chummy and supportive. Ah, but how long before we would lose that lovin' feeling and devolve into "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Hormones?"

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

Day 1:  So who's bringing what to the pity party? 

"You people just don't understand what I'm going through! I know that you're all going through it too. That's my point! If you know what I'm going through, then why don't you understand that I just want all of you to go away and leave me in peace so I can go through what I'm going through by myself?! All I ask, is that for the time the thousands of us are living together in this house that you respect my personal space. I feel so alone. You people just don't understand."

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

"The only thing I hate more than people going on and on about their kids in front of me, is when a bunch of infertile women go on and on about how much they hate when other people talk about their kids in front of them, in front of me!"

Day 3:  A Little Unhealthy Competition Among Total Strangers aka: Offering Less Support than a Dollar Store Bra.

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

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

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

And how about a few hands of Progesterone Poker?:  

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

"Well, I had an IUD before I had four IUI's, one IVF and an FET. They drained my entire IRA! Did you have your IRA drained?!"

Day 4: You know the fun is on the wane when housekeeping becomes a top priority.

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

While we women would be roughing it with very limited access to technology- namely a single red phone each... A hotline to our fertility doctors for "emergency" questions...

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

Valentine's Day: Finally: The Perfect Holiday.

Valentine's Day is the perfect holiday for people trying to conceive.  I know you think I'm about to go into the importance of rekindling our romance. Yeah yeah... I'll get to that in a minute. But first and foremost:

Most of us have cringed at some time or other during our infertility adventure just at the thought of holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Thanksgiving... whatever you celebrate, wherever you celebrate it, most holidays include children in your face: They are in relatives' phone galleries, old fashioned photographs, albums, or even worse... in person. At some point during the course of the holiday, you know some oblivious-to-your-pain person is going to shove some form of a child in your face. But not on Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day is the one day everyone is trying to abandon their kids... drop them off... leave them somewhere... so they, the parents, can be alone. That's the beauty of the day: If you're trying to conceive and you go out to a romantic  dinner at an elegant restaurant on Valentine's Day and somebody brings a small child... it's the one evening of the year when everybody around you is irritated too. There is camaraderie in the restaurant. We are not alone for once. Everyone in the restaurant exhales an angry huff simultaneously. We give that couple and their plus one dirty looks in unison. Everyone is outraged at their insensitivity... not just us. That is the incredible power of Valentine's Day...

And then, yes, there is that re-kindling aspect of it too. No, we don't have to wait until February 14th to be romantic and proclaim our love. A sexy, sultry, lovey-dovey spontaneous moment can happen any time, anywhere: Like when we are getting a butt shot in the bathroom:

"Hey... I like the way you stuck that needle in there... Same time tomorrow?"

Or at the doctor's office, as he's about to enter the donation room with his  plastic cup:

"You know that see-thru nighty I have hanging in our bedroom closet with the tags still on it?... Just something to think about while you're in there... No no... not the price on the sleeve... think higher up... or lower down."

Or when you have prepared a beautiful candle-light dinner for two at home:

"How about we feed each other flax seeds,  pumpkin seeds, and lean meats? And then we can move over to the couch to have our milk instead of coffee, wine, or beer. You know there's nothing sexier to me than strong bones."

Let's face it: Valentine's Day is a dopey holiday and a perfect excuse to put down the vials and the pens and the calendars and go somewhere together that doesn't smell like antiseptic for a change.

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Thanks for stopping by! I hope you feel just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense- take a look at my own Infertility / IVF /FET "adventure" recommended by top fertility professionals across the U.S. -Available on Amazon / Nook / Kobo  https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117/

https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117/

 

"Year-in-Review"- Why oh Why Must They?

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 scroll through the photos on their phone and narrate every single one: "This is their first Christmas." "This is the first Christmas that they understood what was going on." "This is the first Hanukkah where they didn't put the dreidel in their mouth. It's the first Hanukkah we didn't have to do The Heimlich Maneuver." But for me, over the many years before, during and after my bout with infertility and IVF, the worst torture is the one that comes in the mail.  Has anyway ever sent you an "Our Year-in-Review"  card?

 

Don't get me wrong: I love and really appreciate when people mail an actual personalized holiday card. You so seldom get those. Sometimes I only get one from the dentist. "Happy Holidays! Time for a cleaning!" But an "Our Year-in-Review" card or letter is quite... different.

If you've never received one, they're similar to the friends on Facebook whom I call the "Living the Life!" people. They only post to make people jealous with their "spectacular" life. It's like the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And they add exclamation points to everything like US magazine does to make sure we get properly excited over very little.

"Stephanie turned 12 this year! She spent the summer in Brazil!"

"Doug just opened up his third hardware store! Business is booming!"

"Doug Jr. won the Science Fair! He's sooo smart!"

Why oh why doesn't anybody ever include any details worth waiting the whole year to see? Something we really might be interested in?

"Stephanie turned 12 this year! She spent the summer in Brazil! The judge said it was either the camp for troubled tweens in Sao Paolo or juvenile detention!"

"Doug just opened his third hardware store! Business is booming! So what if he sleeps curled up in a ball on the floor and started sucking his thumb?!"

"Doug Jr. won the Science Fair! He's sooo smart! I knew he could figure a way to convert his meth lab into a water purifier!"

Even worse than the people who give an overview of their year in-review are those who give it month by excruciating month. They make you not even want to live another year. Let me end it now, so I won't have to suffer through this again a year from now.

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 2022 Olympics!"

(And of course there is only the winter Olympics in 2022. So Leslie had better either double up on her classes so she can get in on 2020 or take it easy until 2024.)

February

"Gymnastics are still going super super super well for Leslie! She also started dance class! (And? So?) 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.)

Every day of December I go out to get the mail 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 shaking: A bill, good. Another bill, good. Another bill, whew!  Oh no. I "whewed" too soon.  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 pull off my glove, drop it on the driveway and tear into the envelope right then and there. Let's rip off that Band-Aid as fast as possible (and while I'm still within tossing distance of the garbage can.) I see several folded sheets of paper which are about to punish me for all of her boring bullshit, which, 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 reading my little book: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. Available on Amazon, Nook, and Kobo.  https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117

 

Expect to have Holiday Expectations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, remember:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Infertility at Work- at the Company Holiday Party

"My Co-Workers are like Family" office-of-angry-people

Why do people think that's a good thing? So you're telling me that you get on each other's nerves, push each other's buttons, talk behind each other's backs, and hold eternal grudges?

Mercifully, most of our extended real family, the ones with whom we spend holidays, are people we don't see that often. So whatever idiocies are said at the big family gathering.:

"I really think you should start having children. You're not getting any younger."

Or our response:

"I really think you should stop talking. You're not getting any smarter."

...are said and then we all get into our respective cars, gripe to anyone unfortunate enough to be trapped in the vehicle with us for the long & getting-longer-by-the-minute-ride-home, or a BFF on the other end of the hands-free. Then we rehash the emotional leftovers in our minds and to our spouses for the next 12 months. It's different after the company holiday event.

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Infertility at Work: The Company Holiday Party: (Gd help us all... everyone.)

If someone you've confided in at work about your infertility starts gabbing at the big celebration, maybe after confusing the open bar with the buffet two or twelve times, or maybe you yourself imbibed more than you should have and, mistaking catty coworkers for friends, sailed your own secrets down the River Rum... unlike with your family, you won't have to deal with the backlash until.....Not next Thanksgiving. Not next Christmas..... Monday.

1920_hero_too_drunk_holiday_party

And since a juicy bit of gossip is often the best holiday bonus people can bring home nowadays- Any seeds of "news" employees start spreading at the holiday party 2017 (assuming they even remember the holiday party 2017) will grow and flourish until New Year's Day... 2019. When finally you'll be able to get up off the hot seat because at least one of the following will have taken place:

  1. You'll be pregnant (yeah!) and they'll switch from discussing how infertile you were to how fat you are.
  2. You'll be a parent and they'll switch to discussing how much time you're taking off.
  3. People will finally have grown as tired of your infertility as you have.
  4. A fair number of employees at the December 2017 holiday party won't even be at the December 2018 holiday party because those holiday parties are only for company employees: Something which, for one reason or other, many will no longer be a year later. Of course, the most likely thing to occur to get you off the hot seat:
  5. Something new and way more delicious than your humdrum infertility will emerge at the party as the new reigning scandal:

A good old-fashioned boisterous, public cursing out; The manager feeding appetizers to the assistant manager from her cleavage; The CFO going to get her coat to leave and throwing up in the cloak room window... The possibilities are endless.

(I really appreciate you taking time at this busy time of year to stop by. I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you'd like more laughter at infertility's expense, please check out my book above- now available in eBook & paperback: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. (Recommended by renowned infertility professionals) https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117)

 

Microblog_Mondays

Down the F'n Tubes: Interview with the Authors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LSF: Or a very large warrior woman.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Infertility Writing is as bad as Infertility Living

People love to say that history repeats itself. I don't love to say it, but I'm living proof. (In about 3 minutes, you'll find out why I've lately grown to hate the word "proof"'s guts.) I went through my own infertility adventure a while ago. Suddenly I find myself going through it again... without really going through it.

I dealt with trying to get pregnant naturally for a year after we got married. Call me old fashioned, but it never occurred to me to try a year before we got married. I imagine it would have been a bad idea anyway since I only met my husband ten months before we got married. Anyhoo...

Once I called a fertility clinic and they heard that I was almost 41, they sent an ambulance to my house with sirens blaring to escort me to my first appointment. In fact, because of my elderliness, everything about my treatments was kind of aggressive and at warp speed.. like them tossing in 4 embryos at each transfer. So this is why I started writing it all down- to unclog my brain. Anybody who goes through fertility treatments knows how overwhelming it is to go from your regular life to one that routinely includes blood tests, hormones, injections and a million other weird and scary things... and then mine was also sped up. The belief was that I didn't have years- maybe not even months- to get pregnant, so it was pressure on pressure. I spent most days in a hormone-induced pressure cooker: Every hour or so I would take a break from crying just so I could make time for freaking out. So I started jotting down notes and creating Word documents in an attempt to center myself like how my fellow psychopaths were given basket weaving classes and adult coloring books in prison. (I also made sure my computer screen was always clean so I could see my husband's reflection should he ever come up behind me with a scarf or a knife.)

Okay, now we're years later. I'm in the menopause zone and I've decided to make those notes which became an eBook into a paperback. More hormones and more pressure. Years have gone by and once again, I'm a human hand grenade. This time, instead of needles, doctors, and meds, it's margins, proofs, and fonts. Writing about infertility back then helped my infertility stress but it's not doing a thing for my publishing stress. Once again, you can set your clock by my meltdowns. (This past weekend we set the clocks back one hour leaving me plenty of time to squeeze in an extra meltdown.)

"The spacing isn't right! Why does the cover look like that?! It's too many pages! It's not enough pages! Is it getting hot in here or is it just me? What's a mirror margin?! How do I embed a font?! Hey, did you hear the one about the font that was embed with the margin?"

My poor husband: Oktoberfest ended and Nutfest is still in full (mood) swing.

****

The eBook is on sale ($3.99 USD) for November (Amazon, Nook, & Kobo). The paperback will be available also at a special price on Amazon & Createspace in a week or two- (And, depending on how it goes, the last page will either be a lovely comment by Dr. Spencer Richlin- from RMA Connecticut or my suicide note.)    https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/