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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Please Remind Me

When/if my day ever comes to be pregnant and a mother, please remind me of the following things:

1. You are not the only pregnant woman in the world.  Many, many women have lived through pregnancy before, so don't EVEN think of complaining.

2. You have left others behind.  There are many who want to be in your shoes right now & can't be.  Don't forget that.

3. There is no need to post every single detail about your child on the internet (message boards, blogs, FB, wherever).  You might think it's so damn cute that your kid rolled over/pooped in the potty/threw up today, but pretty much nobody cares but you.

There are more - I promise - but I'm tired and just thought of those three first.  ** Disclaimer: if you are a friend of mine (ahem, Maria & Monica), this isn't directed to you.  No need to be paranoid.  ;)  xox

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Infertility Etiquette

Not sure what to do or say if someone you know is battling IF?  Hopefully this article, borrowed from RESOLVE's Support & Services for Family & Friends, will help.  If you are battling IF yourself, the article will be reassuring that you are not unreasonable in your feelings and thoughts.

Infertility Etiquette

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money.

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:
•They will eventually conceive a baby.
•They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
•They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.

Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don't Tell Them to Relax

Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she "relaxed." Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of "relaxing" are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as "infertile" until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren't infertile but just need to "relax." Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as "just relax" or "try going on a cruise" create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.

These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, "If you just relaxed on a cruise . . ." Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don't Minimize the Problem

Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen

Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen.

People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents

One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, "Maybe God doesn't intend for you to be a mother." How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don't you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn't he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren't religious, the "maybe it's not meant to be" comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man's sperm in a petri dish. This is the method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, "Why don't you just try IVF?" in the same casual tone they would use to ask, "Why don't you try shopping at another store?"

Don't Be Crude

It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don't make crude jokes about your friend's vulnerable position. Crude comments like "I'll donate the sperm" or "Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination" are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.

Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy

This message is for pregnant women - Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don't put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, "I'd gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby." When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, "I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes."

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends' new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend's emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can't bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn't rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant

For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don't follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn't ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let's face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to "dream" about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition

Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband's sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend's privacy, and don't share any information that your friend hasn't authorized.

Don't Push Adoption (Yet)

Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a "stranger's baby," they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy's eyes and Mommy's nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, "Why do you want to adopt a baby?" Instead, the question was, "Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?" Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn't her "own," then adoption isn't the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, "Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.") However, "pushing" the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say "I am giving you this baby," there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn't your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lesson the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care

The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren't going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother's Day

With all of the activity on Mother's Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother's Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother's Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother's Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven't "forgotten" them.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don't encourage them to try again, and don't discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don't try to open that chapter again.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Captain Obvious

Obviously I've jacked up my blog.  Damn.  I'm too tired to try and fix it or do a complete redesign (which I really need to do).  We'll all have to deal with it for a while.  If you use Google Reader, then you don't know what the hell I'm talking about anyway.

Anyone good at design?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

"I Believe"

I have seen this video shared on FB and all over, but I hadn't watched it for fear of a never-ending cryfest.  Well, yesterday I went to a seminar and had no choice but to watch it or run from an auditorium full of fellow IFers.  I'm glad I saw it, and I think you will be too.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You are More than Your Infertility

Love this entry from the 99 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility blog.

You are more than your infertility.

You are a wife, a partner, a friend, a lover.

You are a daughter, sister, an aunt, a cousin.

You are a worker, a fur mommy, a smiler, a laugher.

You are a timed intercourse lover, a basal temperature checker, a pregnancy bump spy.

You are a toilet paper inspector, a Doctor Google searcher, an ovulation charter.

You are a pregnancy strip tester, a PCOS hair plucker, a low-sperm count partner.

You are a fake pregnancy symptomer, a Clomid side effector, a Facebook pregnancy spy.

You are a crier in public places, a hormonal fertility needle injector, a fertility drug addict.

You are hoper, a believer, a person who won’t give up-er.

You are a strong woman.

Infertility does not define you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I AM the Face

I am one of the 2,000 faces affected by pregnancy/infant loss everyday. Please go to to show your support and join the movement.

Yes, I am the face . . . are you?  "Coming out" is not easy, but I did it tonight.  On Facebook.  To almost 700 people, many I'm sure of whom have not seen me in years and do not know my journey.  It is done.  Won't you join me?  It's okay . . . you are not alone & you are not the only out there.
Even you aren't "the face", but you know someone who is, please click on the link and show your support.  There are links and buttons that you (as a supporter) can use.

Two New Quotes

I've added two new quotes to my "Quotes for Strength" collection.  They both apply to me today.


"Courage is fear that has said its prayers." ~ Dorothy Bernard


"You can't just sit around waiting for luck to see you through." President Obama (quoting his mother) 9.14.10

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pray for Maverick

Please pray for Maverick, who is the baby boy of my friends.  I went to college with Maverick's aunt and uncle and have known his Mommy since she was a young girl.  The same week that my friends were burying their sister after she was brutally murdered, it was learned that a mass in the belly of three-week old Maverick was neuroblastoma.  He has been in the hospital since August 30.  He is now fighting for a life that he hasn't yet begun to experience.

No matter what your belief system may be, your prayers/thoughts/good wishes/super vibes or whatever you can offer for the healing of this tiny, precious boy are needed.

More Blog Love

Rachael has awarded me with the "A Blog with Substance" award.  I've somehow snowed Rachael into thinking that this blog has substance. 

As with all awards, there are some things to take care of now.

1. Thank the giver.

Although Rachael and I have never met in person, we "know" one another.  We share the common bond of IF and all that it entails.  Thanks, Rachael, for feeling that this blog is more than just me spouting off at the mouth (which I typically do!).  Our babies WILL come . . . one way or another.

2.  Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation & experience using 5 words.

Open, Honest, Real, Infertility, Loss

3. Pass it on to 10 other blogs that you know have real substance.

Since I'm not known for following rules, I'm just passing this one where I can/want for now.
Waiting for a Baby Bump
The 2 Week Wait
Seeking Stork
No Swimmers
Trying to Get a Bun in My Oven
Hope is Ours
Fertile Hope
Writer Chic

Those of us battling infertility manage the suckdom of it every day along with the many, many other women out there. Some manage it publicly, while some manage it privately. While each person must work through things in their own way, I hope that this blog can help those who need to know that they are NOT alone.  My Fertile Ramblings may be my own, but I hope and pray that it can reach those who need a voice and confirm to others that they are not crazy, alone, broken, or forgotten.  Yes, we are all in this together.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Nursery Wannabe

I'm preparing to clean out the "front" bedroom, aka as the nursery-wannabe.  I've been putting off for several reasons, but the time has come.  I'm going to clean out (excavate), repaint & redecorate our guest room and move some of the front bedroom's stuff into that room.  I'm getting rid of the king-sized bed in the guest room and moving the queen bed and nightstands from the front bedroom in there.  I'll also clean out the closet and begin purging.  It needs to be done, but this poses two issues for me.

Firstly, I want this room to be a NURSERY.  Not just a nursery, but a nursery for a LIVE BABY.  Not a place for us to wish for or hope for or sit in and cry while waiting, but a real live place for our real live little baby/babies.  I refuse to break my heart even more by actually painting and preparing it as such, but I can at least clean it out, right?

This room almost shouts to me asking where its baby is. When will it be painted and decorated and filled with toys and books and blankies and diapers and - most of all - love? Right now it's basically the cat room. It's a safe place for the cat to get away from the dogs and be old and cranky. It also houses my scrapbook armoire, a small desk, an extra bed, and some storage. Even with all of that settled in there, it's still not a complete room.

The second issue is what lies beneath the queen bed in the nursery wannabe.  Baby stuff.  A cute, green baby outfit friends bought us when we found out we were pregnant for the first time.  Books my mom bought us the second time we were pregnant.  A Kate Spade diaper bag my MIL gave me for Christmas before she learned of our miscarriages and IF.  A cute picture frame my friend Maria sent me with her leftover heparin we just "knew" I'd need soon.  (which has since expired)  Bottle bags.  Cans of formula.  Pacifiers.  A nursing cover.  And much more that I've tried to shove in the recesses of my heart and mind, but I still remember.

My mind plays tricks on me and I begin thinking silly things like, "Maybe God wants me to make room for a baby" and "Maybe God is waiting for my cat to die before I get a baby" and "Maybe God simply doesn't want us to have a baby."  Well, no matter what God wants, I'm cleaning out that room.  I just hope He wants it to be filled with a baby or two . . . and very soon.

Do you have a room or space that longs to be filled with a baby?  What does that room say to you?  And what do you say back?  Wanting a baby isn't just about a barren uterus, empty arms, and a broken heart.  It's emotional and physical - in more places than just inside us.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tired of Being Infertile

Just sayin'.  Don't worry, I know I'm not alone.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Slowly Catching On

I learned last week that DH does listen sometimes.  He was wanting to get lucky, and asked, "When do we need to FWP?"  I immediately started cracking up.  It's funny (and sometimes almost cute) when he actually listens & remembers something IF-related.  For the record, he's now asked for me to add "FWP" to our family calendar.  :)

ETA a Note to Self:  The next time you update your IF blog from your work computer, please do not leave your work in progress window open.  When you request services from IT & they remote into your computer, they too will need to figure out what FWP means.  I think it could mean something like FML.  Ugh.

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