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Things That Only an Infertile Person Can Do

Scratch what I said yesterday about how I wouldn’t be crotchety today.  The truth is, I’m ovulating AND I’m evolutionarily backward.  I always get bitchy when I ovulate instead of alluring.  I like to think of it as my hormonal chastity belt.  But really, The Stir is partially to blame too.  I knew better than to click on the post titled “8 Things You Can Only Do if You’re a Parent.”  I KNEW BETTER*.  Yet I did it because I truly was curious: what can only parents do that all other people cannot?

I assumed the list would be something like:

1. Say, “I am a parent.” (okay, fair enough)

2. Say, “This is my child.” (okay, you got me)

And then 3 – 8 would be blank, a big in-joke because… guess what!  Non-parents can do everything parents can do!

Except that isn’t how it went.

The list ranged from “Use your spit to clean something off another person’s face” (hi Stir author, you obviously haven’t spent enough time in brothels because water play with saliva especially concerning the face is par for the course) to “Say you’re tired and have people actually believe you” (yes, cancer patients, we never really believed you when you claimed exhaustion from chemotherapy.  So get off your ass and help out parents — you know, the only ones who are really tired).

And then my head exploded and I had to spend a lot of time cleaning it up. (The Stir, I’ve come up with #9 for your list: clean grey matter off of children’s toys: since, you know, non-parents wouldn’t have children’s toys around the house unless they are professional toy testers or simply like toys.)

But then it dawned on me.  This could be the next Shit Girls Say meme.  Name 8 things only people in your position in life can do with extra points if you completely ignore the fact that all other people outside that situation can do it too.

So I had to do one for infertility.  A list that completely ignored the fact that there are a multitudes of ways to resolve infertility and only focus on a tiny sliver of the population (mainly straight, upper middle class women since… you know… only straight, upper middle class women are infertile, right?).  Diversity of experience be damned!  If I didn’t do that, the list might actually be useful, and what fun would that be?

1. Have peanut oil drip slowly out of your vagina onto a pantiliner creating a fluorescent yellow stain: come on girls, you know you love this.

2. Create a baby without a penis coming anywhere near a vagina.  In fact, your partner may not even be in the same building at the same time: talk about major plus sign.

3. Inject yourself with nun urine: actually, I don’t know if this one is true because I didn’t checked the fetish sites.

4. Cancel your long-standing vacation because it falls on CD3: staycations rock!

5. Spend loads of money to build your family: who needs free, right?

I paused here because it seemed unfair for me to claim all 8 slots.  So feel free to leave your own below, and we can crowdsource our list.  And then, it’s a fight to the meme death: may the best meme win!

* I’m not going to link because I’m not going to make it easy for your head to explode.  You can Google the title if you wish to raise your blood pressure.


1 Kate { 01.29.13 at 11:26 am }

How about a slight change to #2 being: without your partner in the same country (you know, for those of us in the throes of baby-making while our partner is deployed to distant lands). I took my mother with me to make that baby…

2 Lacie { 01.29.13 at 11:41 am }

The only ones that keep popping into my head are horrible ones that aren’t really funny. I was prepared to send you some clever little quote. No dice.

“Feel all alone at a crowed party because someone tries to make conversation and asks if you have any kids.”

“Make jokes because you’re high on pre-op drugs. As they get ready to put you under for your D&C you say to the operating room full of strangers, ‘Good thing I’m a reproductive endocrinology patient! I’m used to all of these needles!’ as your RE, the only person you know, sadly locks eyes with you and then the lights go out. The best part? You remember saying it when you come out of the fog! It gives you something to embarrassed about while healing and mourning. Who doesn’t love a nice distraction?”

I’ll stop. Most people have no idea how isolating infertility is and how something as simple as a little meme like that can really alienate someone else. Mom mom and I were walking one day as I pushed my son in the jogging stroller who was only a few months old at the time. She was there for me every step of the way (including for the aforementioned surgery). She read every blog post and really “got it,” or so I thought. We were talking about my struggle to become a mom and it still hurts sometimes. She said something to the effect of, “At some point you’re going to have to just put it behind you Lacie. You’ve got to move on. You have your baby.” I had to swallow back tears and try my best to explain that it’s a little more complicated than that and if I need to get pissed off at yet another pregnancy announcement then I damned sure will.

Truly, we, members of this community, are the only ones who REALLY “get it.”

3 Shelby { 01.29.13 at 12:33 pm }

Decorate your ass with sharpy smiley faces that mark the spot for PIO injections.

Sometimes, if you’re feeling especially saucy, you can spice them up with other details, like devil horns. It makes for an interesting conversation when going to non-RE related appointments, such as massages. But, again, only us infertiles get to do fun things like that! How lucky we are!

4 Ann Z { 01.29.13 at 12:38 pm }

Tell your husband, “wow, I didn’t feel it go in OR out this time, that was great!” with him standing behind you while you’re bent over with your panties around your knees.

5 Michaela { 01.29.13 at 12:38 pm }

““Use your spit to clean something off another person’s face” (hi Stir author, you obviously haven’t spent enough time in brothels because water play with saliva especially concerning the face is par for the course) ”

OMG!! I almost spit myself!! Too funny!

Along those lines:

#6 Know what the top of your doctor’s head looks like!

6 Alexicographer { 01.29.13 at 12:49 pm }

Give yourself IM shots in the rump (in the grotty bathroom of a shady-looking — not in a good way — filling station on the backroads of Virginia)?

Furtively pass along and/or accept vials of injectable prescription medications shortly before or after their expiration date?

Explain the difference between an agonist and an antagonist and discuss the various ways each type of medication can be used (dosed, administered, timed) to prevent uncontrolled ovulation in the context of hyperstimulating the ovaries?

7 a { 01.29.13 at 12:57 pm }

I was going to say – inject yourself on a daily basis without having diabetes!

But really, I think mostly it’s “Be intimately acquainted with every single detail of your reproductive cycle in ways that “normal” people can’t even imagine.”

8 Christa Singleton { 01.29.13 at 1:02 pm }

Gay people can do #2 without having to be infertile. Bazinga 🙂

9 Meghan { 01.29.13 at 1:03 pm }

Have a medically necessary date with a dildo in the pre dawn hours several times a month. Woohoo!!! If that’s not a party I don’t know what is

10 Wishing on a Snowflake { 01.29.13 at 1:39 pm }

Speed through rush-hour traffic with a cup of your husbands sperm tucked into your armpit and practicing what you’d tell a cop if you got pulled over.

But on the bright side in the case of IVF –
…Watch the moment that you actually got pregnant on a TV screen.
and have photos of your child(ren) when they were just embryos.

11 Katie { 01.29.13 at 1:50 pm }

Have a sharps container in your house.

Have a doctor recognize you by looking at your vagina.

Make your mom stick your ass with a needle.

Accidentally get naked with the nurse still in the room and no drape on the table. (I did this once.)

Masturbate in a doctor’s office bathroom. (DH had to do this for all of our IUIs.)


12 Katie { 01.29.13 at 1:51 pm }

Oh, and ditto the driving in rush hour with sperm in a cup. Except for I put the cup between my legs.

13 jak { 01.29.13 at 2:20 pm }

snowflake above, nailed my thoughts exactly:

see your baby when they are just a little bubble of cells.

be able to show your kid what they looked like when they were a blastocyst. how cool is that?!

and, never have your kid wonder if they were an accident (bear with me here – i was conceived by an unmarried couple in a chevy, but somehow it took medical miracles to knock me up!).

14 It Is What It Is { 01.29.13 at 3:00 pm }

Create a life without the use of your or your partner’s gametes (he could be on Mars for all it matters).

Have a man, other than your husband, so familiar with your vagina that wanding you doesn’t even necessitate turning on a light.

Clean impacted gel from up your wazoo that resembles crushed oreos.

Inject yourself in such a way that blood comes spurting out of your behind rendering your bathroom a stand-in location for the next slasher movie.

Obstain from having sex with your husband in order to make a child.

15 It Is What It Is { 01.29.13 at 3:01 pm }

Should be *abstain. Color me sleep deprived!

16 Cristy { 01.29.13 at 3:32 pm }

It always gives me a headache when I see lists like this. Seriously, I get it. Parenthood is work. But to assume that it’s the only reason one would be exhausted at the end of the day?!?!?! Clearly the author of that list leads a shallow, simple and closed life (lucky them??).

Here’s my addition.
1) Actually be able to explain to your child what a blastocyst is while showing them pictures of themselves when they were 5 days old.

2) Showing pictures of your children when they were 5 days old.

3) Being able to pinpoint the exact moment of conception (2 pm Dec 14th for my embryos).

4) Actually be able to teach the science portion of a sex education class . . . with no prep.

17 YeahScience! { 01.29.13 at 3:36 pm }

HAHAHA!! These are hilarious! Best post ever…

Hmm, what about:

– Drift off to sleep while a complete stranger shoves a condom-covered plastic wand up your vagina at 8 a.m.?

– Understand what the phrase “My RE said to POAS after my 2WW post-IUI and it was a BFN”

18 KeAnne { 01.29.13 at 4:29 pm }

1. Drink at your own baby shower without anyone batting an eye since you aren’t actually pregnant.

2. Understand how the father feels when his wife is pregnant

3. Can discuss family case law and reproductive technology with ease.

19 sushigirl { 01.29.13 at 5:20 pm }

Have sex without worrying you’re going to get pregnant.

Have a baby who hasn’t started to crawl yet, but his conception date should make him a toddler.

20 Alexicographer { 01.29.13 at 5:21 pm }

@Snowflake, @Jak, @Cristy … OK. But how many of us can say, “Look! Here is you just days after you were conceived!” versus, “Look! Here is you … oh, and there’s Sib1 who didn’t implant … or maybe that’s you and maybe that’s Sib1 … oh and over there is Sib2 who also didn’t implant but of course we never had much hope for Sib2, I mean, look how fragmented that yucky-looking embryo is! Oh wait, maybe what I was thinking was Sib2 *is* you …”

On the bright side, yes. Never, ever, ever having your child wonder whether you wanted to or were ready to become a parent.

21 Seagull { 01.29.13 at 5:37 pm }

lol! I love the ones you came up with and the comment thread. Yes to all of them!

22 Denver Laura { 01.29.13 at 5:43 pm }

How about being told how to get pregnant? (Like, “try yoga” or “elevate afterwards” or “just adopt, you’ll get pregnant immediately.”)

23 Pepper { 01.29.13 at 8:33 pm }

Cry for seemingly no reason when other people share what should be happy news…

@Snowflake, I LOVE this: “But on the bright side in the case of IVF –
…Watch the moment that you actually got pregnant on a TV screen.
and have photos of your child(ren) when they were just embryos.”

I cherish those embryo photos of my daughter and the babies that weren’t to be. They are the bright, shining beacon of light of infertility.

24 A Passage to Baby { 01.29.13 at 9:03 pm }

Take supplements that give you acne, make hair grow on your face, and send you into rages.

25 Sara { 01.29.13 at 9:55 pm }

After a tough day your post had my husband and I laughing, great post!

26 Leah { 01.29.13 at 10:38 pm }

Forgive me if these are repeats:
had to stop yourself from punching someone in the throat for telling you to “just relax”
carried a vial of your husband’s sperm in your bra
are amazed when meet a doctor who HASN’T seen your vagina
have LOOKED 4 months pregnant numerous times
have your own SHARPs container

27 Persnickety { 01.29.13 at 10:46 pm }

Have the ability to get completely blind drunk he day after conception and never feel a shred of guilt, because the relevant cells were residing in a lab( although, given how one feels after two weeks of drugs plus egg collection, this is unlikely)

The ability to remain calm and collected with the number of people peering at your lady bits in labour, because it is still fewer than the number who saw them in the conception phase. ( haven’t experienced that yet)

The instinctive reaction when seeing an ultrasound chair to whip off the undies ( this happened) even when the tech is actually planning a non invasive ultrasound. And the ability to have a serious conversation about which wand ultrasound techniques are preferred.

28 Battynurse { 01.30.13 at 1:17 am }

Ugg. Maybe that’s why I avoid most news sorts of stuff.
As for being grouchy with ovulation, I frequently was too.

29 Mina { 01.30.13 at 7:02 am }

Thank you, ladies, I haven’t snorted liquid through my nose laughing like this in a long while! My fault for drinking when reading.
I propose we have such a ‘Laugh, It’ll Only Get Worse’ gathering every last Wednesday of the month. I bet we can come up with stupid lists and articles to deconstruct and improve to last us years from now on. 🙂
Remember the list of things one should do in order to determine if they want children or not? The one that comes back like a boomerang every year or so? With ‘try to squeeze an octopus into a bag’ and ‘feed a swinging watermelon’ one? God, I hate that list…
And whoever says they haven’t spitwashed their child, they are lying through their teeth. Or are parenting a watermelon.
Thank you again for the laugh. 🙂

30 Carla { 01.30.13 at 9:01 am }

Mina, I second that for sure—a “Laugh, It’ll Only Get Worse” gathering sounds AWESOME.

31 Finding My New Normal { 01.30.13 at 10:48 am }

Have a conversation with your husband about which fertility clinic has the best “collection room.”

32 Chickenpig { 01.30.13 at 3:54 pm }

Get to see your possible-future babies at almost the moment of conception – with photos!

Learn a totally new language with words like RPL, PCOS, HCG, FHS, MF, HSG, ENDO, and so much more.

Totally get over any discomfort or embarrassment about going to your Gyno crotch doc ever again. The whole world has been up my vajajay…go ahead. Take a swab while your up there. And no, I didn’t shave my legs…what of it?

And the bonus…learn to give yourself or anyone else a shot. I actually used this knowledge to give my neighbor’s diabetic cat it’s insulin injection. Yeah, infertility!

33 Melanie { 01.30.13 at 4:27 pm }

I went to bat with the radiology department for a routine mammogram because I wouldn’t consent for a $150 mandatory pregnancy test since it was 5 weeks from my last period. I kept insisting I hadn’t O’d yet and that I wasn’t stupid. I ended up signing a waiver basically saying that it’s my fault if my non-baby dies from radiation poisoning. I didn’t hesitate….because I had.not.ovulated. Ugh.

34 Rachel { 01.30.13 at 6:55 pm }

Say things like, “Babe, we’ve got to move fast, the cervical mucus is amazing!”

My poor poor husband.

35 Julia { 01.30.13 at 8:52 pm }

Great post and loved all of the comments!

36 Sara { 01.30.13 at 11:23 pm }

Mel–have you spent enough time in brothels? How does one establish enough-ness in this case? I’m all atwitter.

Many previous posters have waxed rhapsodic about embryo pics, but honesty, my daughter was really odd-looking as an embryo. She and her non-twin were by far the worst-looking of the 10 embryos that I transferred during various cycles by far. She’s beautiful now, though 😉

37 gwinne { 01.31.13 at 10:15 am }

Haven’t read all these so perhaps someone said…but like your peanut oil, I’ve also had blue goo leak out my vagina for weeks on end (yay estrace!).

38 deathstar { 01.31.13 at 11:21 am }

Collected two SHARP containers stuffed full of syringes and then taken them to two different pharmacies to dispose of them so you don’t look like junkie and then have one of them reject you and send you sobbing home like the non pregnant loser that you are! But hey you got a nice trophy to remind you!

39 Cherish { 01.31.13 at 2:57 pm }

I laughed so hard at all these comments and then wanted to cry because I understand them.

40 Kate (Bee In The Bonnet) { 02.04.13 at 1:34 pm }

I know it’s already been mentioned, but:
My favorite is still that I have photos of the boys as blastocysts, and that I’m reasonably sure which is which (one was further along than the other, and that jived with what we saw on all early scans). And I also have a photo of the moment that they were transferred to my uterus, which is also pretty cool, and definitely not something that regularly fertile, non-wand-cam-familiar women and men would have.

41 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 02.06.13 at 8:39 am }

I admit – I had to google it. Maybe you prepped me too well, because my head didn’t explode.

I actually read a couple of those very differently to the way I think you read them – like, the being tired one, which I read first here, of course. Because the emphasis is not on being tired but on having people believe you. I read it more as a sarcastic comment against people who won’t believe you’re tired unless it’s because of the kids – which is obviously ridiculous. Ditto “make the schedule” – as if having children suddenly means the whole world should revolve around your timetable, as if. So some of it reads as a pointed “why shouldn’t everyone be equally allowed to do this?” list.

Unfortunately, others did rub me up the wrong way. There are people out there who don’t change a nappy until they have permanent, legal responsibilities over a child. Fine. Understandable. But why would they assume that this is the majority, let alone universal status?

So a bit of a mixed bag. Left me feeling a bit, “Okay… whatever. Not sure what your point is. *Shrug*.” Which is probably not what comedians go for.

42 Alicia { 12.17.13 at 9:22 am }

OMG thank you for the laugh! As I’m trying not to puke and my ovaries feel like exploding from awesome drugs this was needed!

How about #63 Go through months or years of ‘pregnancy’ like symptoms without ever bring pregnant while all your knocked up friends complain about the 3 months of morning sickness they suffered through

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