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, May 11, 2016

The F in IFAdvocacy is for Funny

I’m typing this out while on an Amtrak train back to New York from Washington, D.C.. To be clear: I’m exhausted at the moment so I hope to heavens this makes sense. I’m still so inspired by this year’s Resolve’s Advocacy Day that I had to type something! I do also plan on writing a piece about it on The Huffington Post but there, I tend to be a bit more formal to appeal to the non-infertility related world in the hopes that my message will go beyond “the community”. I’m not sure if it’s working as still, so many in power think, “Meh. Infertility doesn’t affect me. Therefore, it doesn’t exist.”

But I’m still talking, writing, tweeting, etc. 

As some of you know, I’m a diagnosed infertile who went through several years of treatment and IVF’s who now has a four year old son (my lone embryo on my last IVF) and a 10 month old son (who was a complete hail Mary total shock of a conception). I also am the Director of Patient Care at Progyny, who works with both patients and employers who want to pursue building their families in an attainable and educated way (translation: make it possible to afford it and fully be up to speed on all of the latest science and technology). 

Bottom line – I’m all about infertility/fertility all day and all night. No matter that I now have children, I know there are SO MANY still trying to conceive who don’t feel comfortable coming out of the infertility closet and for them, and I continue to be loud and outspoken.

I know I’ve talked about this a lot on my blog but of the many things I was reminded of at this year’s advocacy day is having a sense of humor. When you hear statistics, the lack of coverage, how little regard our government gives to wounded veterans that need fertility assistance, that insurance companies still don’t get that infertility is a medical diagnosis… dear god, if you don’t make a joke on occasion, I think you’ll lose your mind.

I’m not saying to make light of these issues. I’m just saying that an occasional joke can remind you that even though this shit is hard, if you can laugh at it every now and again, it won’t break you.

If you go through my blog or hang out with me, I could tell you a million funny quotes and anecdotes that are all fertility related. The time someone asked if there was a way to put one sperm in her so she wouldn’t have twins (oy), the time a friend said she thought implantation was a field in Georgia, the time my husband did a full review of the porn at various clinics (note: National Geographic Magazine does have boobs but it also has starving children thus killing the mood) but the question really is do you have those moments where you can make it all funny? I can do my level best to make you laugh but can you make yourself laugh even through the hell of Clomid and having a needle in your vagina?

One of my favorite stories is actually one of the worst moments in my life. It was because of something my husband said that made it funny. It was the morning we were waiting to hear our fertility report after our third IVF retrieval. We retrieved the most eggs I have ever had – 13, we spent our entire savings on this cycle and in our mind, it was our last chance. The day before our retrieval, we were given very specific instructions on where to give the HCG shot and more particularly, how my husband should wash his naughty bits to ensure his sperm was clean and arriving shiny and golden. 

When I got that call that despite the amount of eggs we retrieved and all of our money being gone, we only had one embryo to transfer. We were devastated. Yes, all you need is one but we paid for more and this was our last chance. I could barely speak when I told my husband the news. He took it in for a moment and you could feel the gravity of the situation. After a minute or two, he looked at me and said, “Well, at least I have a clean asshole.” Every time I think about that, I bust out laughing.

Luckily, very luckily, that one embryo was my son but at that moment when we knew everything was riding on him; our marriage included quite honestly, stays with me. And although my heart was breaking, that little joke bought me a good moment of sanity.
It may seem odd that THIS is what I would post about after Advocacy Day but after a day of begging Capitol Hill to please acknowledge our existence, I couldn’t help but feel a little post about humor was in order.

One thing I WILL say though is the NY Crew did sort of gently and lovingly tackle Senator Chuck Schumer. His daughter recently got married and he’s already looking forward to being a grandfather. In the past, from what I understand, he hasn’t been the most supportive of fertility issues. Now that he wants his daughter to conceive, one has to wonder if his daughter will have any issues conceiving… because there’s a one in eight chance she might, which would suck. And while I truly hope that doesn’t happen, the reality is it might. I don’t know of a better way than advocating and using humor (and our voices) to get that across to those who can make a real impact.

So that’s my post on the subject. Once I get more sleep, I’ll write my Huffington Post blog where I’ll try to sound intelligent. God willing, I’ll also have the wherewithal to sneak in a pun about my uterus. We’ll see.