PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The War Begins At Home

Today, I went for a walk on my lunch hour with a friend/co-worker of mine named Sharon. Sharon gave birth to twins approximately six years ago through her first in vitro so she’s become a sort of “IVF Sponsor” of mine. Nothing like having a friend you can go to during your work day and ask, “When you were taking progesterone, did you ever feel like punching someone dead in their face?” and having them completely understand.

We were walking through a park in Manhattan when a woman pushing a stroller tried to push past us and basically ran directly into Sharon. Instead of apologizing, she looked at Sharon with exasperation, sighed and said, “No, really… you go ahead.” Sharon moved out of the way and the stroller lady pulled out in front of us.

Now, because I have my period, because I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over two years, because I’m preparing for my third in vitro, because I’m worried about how much all of its going to cost, because I’m not relishing shooting progesterone oil in my ass, because I’m a bitter sourpuss about all of the above and because I truly am protective of my friends, I turned to Sharon and said the following snarky statement: “Just because you have wheels doesn’t mean you automatically have the right of way!” This was intended for Sharon’s ears only and was an attempt at a joke regarding her almost being mowed down but unfortunately, the stroller woman heard it and did not appreciate it.

The stroller woman yelled something at me at first that I didn’t quite make out and then even better, her friend who was also pushing a stroller came up from behind us and must have asked stroller woman #1 what happened. Quickly, the second stroller woman turned and yelled at Sharon, “Do you think it’s easy for us to push a stroller with babies in it? You obviously don’t have any clue!

I immediately stopped the woman and said, “Hey wait! I’m the asshole without kids so go ahead and yell at me.” I motioned to Sharon and said, “She has twins at home so don’t yell at her.” I then turned to the first stroller woman and said, “Look, I’m sorry. Ok? Let’s drop it.

The second stroller woman seemed taken aback for a second that she was yelling at woman with twins. She thought for a moment before yelling at me, “Um, ok but she’s the one laughing!” while pointing angrily at Sharon.

Sharon and I, without discussing it, mutually decided to just walk away from the women. I mean, I had already called myself an asshole and said I was sorry, so other than handing them my currently used maxi pad while explaining that I sincerely DON’T know what it’s like to be pushing a stroller and I might never know what it’s like, there wasn’t much else to say.

As we walked away though, the second stroller woman shouted after us, “Fine! Walk away but you should show mothers more respect!

I wanted to yell back, “And you should show infertiles more respect!” but I kept my mouth shut since it had already gotten me into enough trouble today and let's be honest, I did act like an asshole and didn't have much of a leg to stand on at this point.

Next week is National Infertility Awareness Week®. Well, actually, for me, Infertility week is every f*cking week but for the rest of the fertile world, it’s just from April 24th – April 30th. It has been described as a week to bust myths and clear up misconceptions about the disease of infertility. As I returned to my desk after this altercation though, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “How can I bust myths and create understanding of infertility with the fertile community at large when I can’t even bust myths and understand infertility with myself!

I try and fight the good fight and not play the victim to my situation. During most hours of the day, one could even describe my attitude as realistically positive. I also manage to maintain a sense of humor throughout all the painful procedures, disappointments, friends and families baby announcements and financial losses. Sure, I have my good days and I have my bad days but I do try, not always successfully, to be hopeful and humorous. However, all of my best efforts obviously failed me today when confronted with the “stroller women” (or as Sharon now calls them, “The Stroller Nazi’s”).

The Stroller Nazi’s (TSN’s for short) did not appear to be women who had a job. It was a sunny day that they could enjoy, not on their lunch hour, but all day long if they wanted to. They had their super duper high tech strollers, striking tans, beautiful blonde highlighted hair, top of the line warm up-suits and they were wearing fancy shmancy sunglasses. They also had babies. They represented everything I want but can’t have.

I need to work. I also look fat in warm up suits, my sunglasses are from Walgreens, I burn in the sun easily, blonde highlights would look more like stripes on me and I can’t seem to have a baby let alone a stroller to put them in or run people over with. In moments like that, when I’m confronted with just how very infertile and inadequate I am, I lash out. Why? Because in that instant, everything feels like it’s my fault. I am the failure while they are the successes. I can’t do the simplest thing like get pregnant like a normal person. I suck. Why do I even bother coming down from the bell tower and mingling with common folk? I should hide in the shadows with my hump and bay at the moon.

I swear - if I heard someone saying some of the things I say to myself, I’d be outraged. If I wouldn’t let someone treat a friend that way, why do I allow myself to treat me that way? I am the Ike Turner in the Tina Turner/Ike Turner relationship but with myself.

And really, how many times have we all done that? Said to ourselves that we are failures? That we are losers? That we’re ashamed? That we can’t do anything right? When are we going to forgive ourselves despite the obvious fact that we haven’t actually done anything wrong in the first place?!?!

More importantly, how can we expect others to show us respect when we can’t show ourselves the respect we so deserve?

We are amazing, strong, resilient, supportive women. We subject ourselves to physical and financial strain without any guarantees. We are expected to rejoice for everyone pregnancies without question when so few people go out of their way to support our losses… but we do it. Often. We smile. We buy presents and we hide our pain. We willingly go through hell at the mere promise that we may have a child of our own. We wake up every day, get dressed, function in society no matter what hormones we’re taking, how we’re feeling or what bad news we’ve just been delivered. And yes, we occasionally yell at women pushing strollers but that just means we’re human. We get jealous and resentful but we pick ourselves up over and over and over again and keep going. We are unsung heros who even in our weaker moments show more strength and courage in one cycle than most people do in an entire lifetime.

Whether your friends and family know you struggle or have struggled with infertility, whether you make a scene about it or not, can we all agree that we are worthy of acknowledgement and respect even if it’s just the acknowledgement and respect we should give ourselves?

So, during National Infertility Awareness Week®, there are many different events you can attend if you choose to and are able to. For me though, I think I’m going to make it a week where I finally, for the love of god, let myself off the hook. After all, I may be an asshole but I still believe I'm an asshole with a good heart.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Infertility Greeting Cards & Random Thoughts

As I’m sure many of you know, in the blogging community, they have something called “Wordless Wednesday”. It's when all over the internet, bloggers post a photograph with no words to explain it on their blog. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to participate in this but frankly; it’s rare that I’m ever without words. The last time I was rendered speechless was when my grandmother told me that if she grew up in a different society, she would have never gotten married and just hooked up with as many men as possible. It's years later and I still can’t think of what to say to that. “Too bad Grandma! You would have made a smashing trollop!”

Yeah, I don’t think so.

Since it is Wednesday and nothing major is going on at this moment other than the “trying-to-save-money-still-infertile-getting-ready-for-my-third-mother-f*cking-in-vitro-while-staying-sane” thing, and since I could never be without words, I thought I’d declare today “Wacky Wednesday” and post some random stuff I’ve been wanting to either say or share but couldn’t figure out when or how. So today is a potpourri of sorts. A mix of infertility madness! A collage of uterine humor! A smattering of silly!

First, here are some random thoughts that have popped into my head recently:
* They should make an Infertility Credit Card where instead of earning points towards air travel and buying products, the points can go towards your next fertility treatment.

* Today, I ordered a book on Amazon that had “Unexplained Infertility, Miscarriage & IVF Failure” in the title and Amazon asked me if I wanted to add it to a Baby Registry. Really Amazon? Really?

* Barbie is technically infertile. Aside from the fact that she’s physically not able to carry the weight of her own boobs much less a child, Ken has no penis. Trust me. I’ve checked.

* In light of PETA’s recent insensitive “Give Your Dog a Vasectomy in Honor of National Infertility Week Contest”, I’m starting a group called PETI: People for the Ethical Treatment of Infertiles. Click here for an extended bitch session on this topic: http://www.fertilityauthority.com/blogger/jay-bronte/2011/04/11/peti-people-ethical-treatment-infertiles

* Is it possible to cook with progesterone oil? A pointless question and yet every time I look at a vial, I think about it. Perhaps I’ll make a fertility stir fry…

* Tori Spelling, Natalie Portman and Rachel Zoe: I didn’t realize that I’d get pregnant if I stopped eating and looked like a human version of a lollipop (big head, teeny body).

* I wish my Aunt Flo were more like Betty White.
* I want to create a T-Shirt that says, "I'm Infertile. Don't Ignore Me."
A few months ago, my dear online friend, @MyLazyOvaries (her blog is: http://slackieo.blogspot.com/), suggested we start a line of Infertile Greeting Cards. This led to an hour of me coming up with the below. It not only distracted me from worrying and otherwise obsessing but it cracked me up. Here are just a few. Hopefully, they'll make you smile:



(Just a joke folks...)

 
Roses are red,
Violettes are blue,
I'm sorry you're infertile,
I'm pissed off for you.

 
All of your friends want you to know tonight,
that we're thinking of your cervical mucus
And hoping it's egg white.
 
Hear you're trying to conceive.
I wish you all the luck.
Whether it's through insemination
Or a really good f*ck.


 

Heard Aunt Flo showed up.
That really does suck.
Sorry you spent all that money.
Guess you're sh*t out of luck.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Infertility: The Sitcom!

Yesterday morning, I met with my nurse to go over IVF #3. Have I mentioned that I can’t believe I’m doing this again? The shots, the patches, the money, the stress. Oy. It’s not that I think I’m above it or anything. It’s more that I’m simply over it.

I always think of my life as a sitcom. I have wacky downstairs neighbors, the sarcastic yet adorable husband, a gay best friend and at times, if you listen carefully, you can even hear the faintest laugh track… especially after the failure of my first two IVF’s. Sometimes, even though I’m alone at the time, I’ll even turn to look into the camera and say, “Infertile! I’d rather be out-fertile!” before we cut to a commercial break.

This week’s episode included an incident with the wacky downstairs neighbor’s dog. She’s an adorable puppy who is, to put it nicely, a total pain in the ass. She jumps on everyone, poops in the hallway, and most recently, she’s taken to eating our mail. Despite how incredibly cute this dog is, I hate her. She’s well-intentioned but ultimately, she is a hassle I really don’t need right now.

As you may know, I’ve been on the hunt for some fertility medications in the hopes that it could save us some money. For the past few weeks, a few generous souls have been sending me estrogen patches, Menopur, etc. So, this past Friday, when I came home to find the dog looking guilty surrounded by shreds of a fed ex box with my name on it, I feared the worst; that she had eaten one of my fertility related medications. My first thought was, "If this dog gets pregnant before I do, I may shoot myself." Luckily, it was just a moisturizer I had ordered but for one second, I seriously thought this dog ate my estrogen.

If we do end up having to order some of the medications I need, my insurance company said they will fill the prescription and will even ship it but they made it clear they won’t cover it. That being said, I sincerely don’t think they will respond well if I ever have to tell them, “A dog ate my hormones.

Another amusing part of this week’s episode was my mother calling me at work to inform me that I’m cursed. When she called, thinking it was a client, I answered the phone and said, “This is Jay. How may I help you?” Without even saying hello, she said, “I think you’re cursed.” If it wasn't for her New Jersey accent, I would have thought this client was an asshole.

Apparently, she had Googled what signs there are of someone putting the “evil eye” on you. She advised that the only way I could undo this curse is to forgive the person (my “curser” I suppose) through Jesus Christ.

First, if I don’t know who put a curse on me, how do I forgive them? Should I randomly start asking people, “Hey there, did you happen to put a curse on me recently? If so, I forgive you through Jesus Christ.

Second, for the record, I don’t know if actually would forgive the person who put a curse on me. In fact, I think I would wish that a swarm of angry hornets took up residents in their anus. I'm just saying.

Third, I pretty certain Jesus Christ isn’t going to take my call. If he and I were in touch, I’d be the mother of two kids at this point and I'd be ignorant of what it's like to worry about my uterine lining.

When I told a friend of mine this story expecting her to crack her up, she laughed appropriately but then quickly added, “That IS crazy! The reason you’re not getting pregnant is because your chakras are blocked!” I have blocked chakras? Is that the equivalent of being spiritually constipated?

Then, when I told my acupuncturist this series of events, she also laughed and said, “I hear what she’s saying but really, you're not cursed and you I don't think it's that your chakras are blocked. It’s that your chi is stagnant."

So, to review, someone has put a curse on me that has blocked my chakras creating stagnant chi. This is shocking to me as none of the three reproductive endocrinologist I’ve been to at this point mentioned it! I'm sure at least one of these things would have come up in my sonogram, right?

Like a sitcom, there is a story arc. Characters progress, plot lines develop and at the end of each season, there’s either a cliffhanger that’s resolved next season or a happy ending that will satisfy you for the summer. My sitcom however is stuck in the same f*cking storyline: Funny (and cursed) woman who can’t get pregnant keeps doing IVF’s while trying to keep animals from eating her hormones.

If I were a viewer, I’d have stopped watching by now. It's a good thing I suppose that my cast of characters are so endless entertaining.

Any which way, it looks like mid-May, we'll be doing another IVF. No, it's not a rerun. It is new episodes but with the same story line. Hopefully this time though, we’ll have a happy ending for sweeps week.

Small Side Note: I had written an article for the Fertility Authority this week that I'm particularly proud of. It's called "Infertility Etiquette" and it's an amusing little list of things to send to friends and family of an infertile to help them know what to say and what not to say. And no, the woman in the picture included in the article is not me. She's perfectly lovely, but I'm sure she's more fertile than I am. Anyway, if you'd like to check it out, please go here: http://www.fertilityauthority.com/blogger/jay-bronte/2011/04/04/infertility-etiquette