Thursday, February 24, 2011

Only infertiles...

Only infertiles...

Are excited that we feel pukey and nauseated post IVF or IUI

Curse toliet paper

Can easily pick out our ovaries and follicles on an ultrasound with no training

Are thrilled when our breasts are engorged and veiny

Can track our cycles with the precision of a military operation

Can give ourselves an injection of horse urine blindfolded

Tear up in Target when we see "My First Christmas" onesies and peanut-sized Halloween costumes

Have our REs on speed dial

Feel a bitter twinge when we hear pregnancy announcements

Call our pets furbabies for lack of the "real" thing

Have sex on doctor's orders

I'm missing a ton of things. What else?

Monday, February 21, 2011

What I have in common with female pandas - revisited

This is a post from over the summer that I thought was pretty appropos because of the birth of a new panda at Zoo Atlanta a few months ago. Jack Black was on Good Morning America last week with the cute little bugger.

This was my last weekend in China, and we were able to go do something that I've wanted to do since I first arrived eight months ago - visit a Giant Panda reserve in the western part of the country.

So, off we flew 1,800 km to Chengdu, the gateway to Tibet and the home of one of the largest panda breeding and research centers in the world.

And, while visiting this amazing place, I discovered that female pandas and infertiles have something in common - difficulty getting pregnant.

Pandas in the wild only number 1,600, which is why there is such an emphasis at this center and others to determine good ways to help them procreate. When there is such a small number in the wild, your number of mates is less than desirable, too.

Not only that, but they only have sex about once a year. And, to make matters worse, a panda's anatomy doesn't help either. According to the Giant Panda Museum, a male panda has a rather small penis and the female has a long vagina. (No, I'm not kidding. This was actually written in English on one of the signs in the museum. Thank goodness there wasn't an accompanying diagram.) So, conception the old-fashioned way is a bit difficult.

Researchers have become expert semen collectors (and no, I don't want to know how) and use artificial insemination to get the females pregnant using a "frozen straw" method, sounds appealing, no?

And, even by using the medical intervention, the chances of conception are relatively low, though when they do, 45% result in twins. Oh, and the researchers use the panda's urine to do a pregnancy test, just like us, (though I doubt that they can take a HPT by themselves and they probably don't obsess looking for a faint light for 30 minutes after the 3 minutes is up, either.)

So, we infertiles can share our misery with the darling black and white gentle bears.

Those babies are worth it, too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You tried what?

Check out this piece that ran on - it's 10 bizarre ways to try to get pregnant, submitted by yours truly.

Ever tried any of these crazy methods? Chime in, please.

1. The gravity method: Putting your rear end up on a pillow, putting your legs over your head, or standing on your head post-coitus.

2. Invoking your fertility god of choice: Lots of options here ranging from St. Gerard, the Catholic Patron Saint of Motherhood (not sure why it’s a man), to Kokopelli, the Native American fertility deity, to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of fertility, to Aditi, the Hindu goddess of fertility.

3. Feng shui: Putting a ceramic elephant on either side of the bedroom door; another suggestion is to place dragon statues in the bedroom next to the man’s side of the bed so that some oomph is added to his sperm.

4. Spoonful of syrup: Downing a teaspoon of cough syrup every day for a week before ovulation thins out cervical mucus and makes it easier for the sperm to swim their way to the egg.

5. Sipping sludge: Drinking one teaspoon of 100 percent Grade B maple syrup (Aunt Jemima’s apparently isn’t good enough) and one teaspoon of 100 percent cocoa powder mixed in a cup of coffee first thing after waking ... for two to three months (at least according to the woman who worked at the health food store. And yes, it tastes like the bottom of the Mississippi River).

6. The use of technology:, which claims it “uses unique algorithms and patent pending technology to shade fertility charts to predict ovulation and indicate fertility.” Other software programs include Cycle Watch and Ovulation-Predict, but there are dozens of them.

7. Counting on crystals: For the earth goddesses among us, placing crystals like rose quartz, moss agate, carnelian, garnet, and smoky quartz on your uterus, ovaries, thighs, and the center of your pubic bone is said to enhance fertility.

8. Hungarian mineral baths: In Budapest, there are healing mineral waters flowing underground. They are said to soothe arthritis and even help fertility. I tried that bad boy out -- just had to stomach a bunch of hairy women (myself included), a rotten-egg sulfuric smell, and lukewarm, yellowish water.

9. Steaming the hooha method: Chai-yok, or a vaginal steam bath. Fourteen different herbs are seeped like tea, and the daring woman sits on a stool with an opening so that the steam can penetrate the gynecologic regions and increase fertility.

10. Traditional Chinese medicine: A TCM specialist swears by taking Wu Ling Zhi, which is the fecal matter of a flying squirrel; yes, popping pills of flying squirrel poo!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Reliving an infertility breakdown

Yesterday, I met one of my dearest friends in the world for lunch at our local historical society; it's also a lovely facility for a wedding reception.

My beautiful friend's soup was too spicy and she ran to the restroom to get a Kleenex. As I sat noshing on my quiche and watching her walk back from the hallway, a flasback of epic proportions washed over me.

Four years ago, we attended a wedding reception of a co-worker of my husband's at the same place. I was going through my first or second ovulation induction, doing two follistim shots a day. I had gained a few pounds, except that I really didn't notice it until I went to put on my dress for the wedding -- less than an hour before we had to leave. It spanned across my rear end with no wiggle room at all and I felt like a sausage in a casing, ready to burst at the seams. I rummaged through my closet and, with the help of one of those slimming, spandex, bike shorts contraptions and a dress that had always been a little loose, managed to make myself somewhat presentable.

We were having a nice time at the wedding and I was only mildly self-conscious about my dress. Darling husband reassured me that I looked great. Enter the bathroom mirror.

I went to the bathroom and when I came out to wash my hands I was horrified at how I looked in the mirror. My gut was sticking out in the dress and it was definitely too tight in the rear. I broke out in tears at the sight (and I'm sure all of those hormones didn't help either). Unfortunately, one of my husband's colleague's wives, came in at the height of my despair. Not wanting her to think that I was a complete freak show (notice I said "complete"), I divulged that I was doing fertility treatments which made me fat and moody. She empathized, gave me a hug, and wiped my tears. Still, I was mortified.

And, rounding out my top three infertility breakdowns:
- a rest stop in Northern Indiana where I also discovered that my rear end had filled out my skirt way too much for public display (and for my personal comfort - I couldn't sit down in it), and that I'd have to find an alternative outfit before meeting friends for dinner in Chicago that evening
- 90 minutes later, the same day, raging out of control in a Bloomingdale's dressing room, not only lamenting over how enormous my backside was, but also the ridiculous price of a skirt that I would probably never wear again (and I haven't); I'm pretty sure that the mother and daughter in the dressing room next to me ran out in their underwear for fear of what I might do next.

Of course, there are too many times to count when I have cried my eyes out in the comfort of my own home or car. Church is another big place for these outbursts.

Where's the worst/most public/unique place that you've had an infertility breakdown?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't waste a snow day

Ice, ice, baby. Snow day!

So, not only does TV viewership increase dramatically during weather- induced home stays, but internet usage rockets and hot chocolate consumption is off the charts.

And, there's one more popular thing to do when snowed in - that's right, sex. There are statistics that show a rise in birth rates following snow days. Makes sense - cuddling in front of the fireplace, trying to stay warm by canoodling in bed -- so I'll be curious to see if a bunch of babies are born in 40 weeks. Remind me in December.

Oh and before I forget, if you would like to give birth on 11-11-11, try to conceive around Valentine's Day - or for my IF peeps, try your IVF transfers, FETs, or IUIs, then, too!

However, for infertiles like me, we can do it til our hearts are content (hehe) and it wouldn't result in a bun in the oven, although it does help stave off the cold.

So, stay in and get busy, whether it results in a baby boom or not.