Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SYCLW: infertility edition

I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of 'my favorite things' lists. I love a good blog that lists the 'top 10 ____  I can't live without.' I don't care if it's face products, workout gear, baby necessities...whatever. I just like knowing what people USE and LIKE and THINK I SHOULD BUY. I read all of the lists, even if they don't apply to me. However, it recently occurred to me that I've never come across a list of infertility 'essentials.' It really seems unfair. Unlike pregnancy (which lasts no longer than 9 months) and infant-hood (which is for like a year or something, right?) and working out (which you'll quit doing in 3 months because no amount of products can make working out FUN)...infertility can last for YEARS!! A LIFETIME, even!!! I mean, if that doesn't cry out for a list of must-have survival essentials, I don't know what does. 

Ever the giver, I decided I would be the one to give you that list. With a little help from my identical twin (triplet?) separated at birth  friend Amanda, I present to you the essential items/products/services/people you absolutely must have in order to survive infertility. Drumroll, please!

Stuff You Can't Live Without: Infertility Edition
Volume 1

1. Cash Money.
  It should go without saying, but infertility is @!!*$@&!($*^^! expensive. Things are definitely going to go more smoothly for you if you are rich. Not just a little bit rich, not just an average 20-something trying to get on their feet, not just a recent Dave Ramsey convert with an emergency need to be a trust-funded, lottery-winning, Bill-Gates-is-your-dad cashmonger. That way, when your doctor suggests you try something, you can base your decision on whether the procedure/drug/surgery is actually the best option, and not on whether you can possibly afford it or not. You can schedule your IVF with a lightness of heart, knowing that even if it fails 10 times, you can keep on affording to try again. Trust me, cash money is going to make your infertility experience a lot smoother. You actually probably wouldn't even need to see the rest of my list if you were really rolling in it the way you should be. On the off chance you're not, though, I'm going to finish my list.

2. A basal thermometer.

Don't even think you're going to make it outta this infertility thing without your trusty BBT at your side. It's just not gonna happen. So the sooner you make the investment (which is a very small one in the world of infertility, so don't hesitate), the better. Here's a head's-up for ya, though. When you're searching for it at your local drugstore, don't think it's going to be located with all the other thermometers. Nope. You get to make a special trip over to the 'family planning/tampons' aisle for this little baby! I know, isn't infertility getting funner by the minute? Don't worry, before long you're going to be spending ALL of your time in that aisle, so you may as well get used to where everything is. As soon as you get home, go ahead and get your...

3. Lifetime membership to

Trust me, you do not want to have to keep up with all the BBT tracking on your own. Because don't forget-- you're not some lucky kid who is only going to track for a month or two and then find herself knocked up! Nope, you'll be doing this for years. Don't tax your brain any more than you have to. Sign up for the year-at-a-time VIP membership. I can't believe I used to do the 3-months-at-a-time memberships. So young! So foolish! So optimistic. Again-- VIP membership is a teeny tiny, drop-in-the-bucket expense, so just spring for it.

4. Digital ovulation predictor kits.

 And go ahead and buy these in bulk. And try to ignore the cute baby on the front, filling your mind with lies about how useful these things are. It's just that Fertility Friend really wants you to use these to confirm your other signs. If you're on a medicated cycle and/or doing IUI or anything like that, your doctors requires that you use them. And I'll be honest here-- I normally just got the cheap-o kinds on the internet that aren't digital and require analyzing and comparing two lines. And trust me when I say: You do NOT want to experience the wrath of your doctor when she's trying to decide if it's time for the IUI and you're saying "um...I think it looks like I surged?? The lines look about maybe equal, I dunno..." and she says "you don't have a DIGITAL one? With a smiley face?" and you have to admit that no, you chose to cheap out on that one tiny little detail...I'm just saying....not that this has ever happened to me...I just wouldn't want it to happen to you. Bottom line: if you're spending $1000 on a cycle, spend $10 more so that you can make sure you do the friggin thing at the right time.

5. A DVR.

 Surviving infertility is at least 80% escapism (note: I totally made this number up, by the way). If you sit around thinking about your situation all the time, you're just not going to survive. If you sit around looking at facebook and blogs and other people's cute pregnant bellies and babies all the time, you're not going to survive. Escaping for a few hours via carefully selected TV programming is advisable. But woe unto you if you make the fatal error of chancing your TV time to whatever happens to be on. As it will turn out, all that's on is Father of the Bride 2 , a Baby Story marathon on TLC, and the 6 o'clock news will be all about the newborn baby they discovered abandoned in a local Dumpster.

Trust me, your heart won't be able to take it. Therefore a DVR is required so that while you're busy working and/or attending doctor's appointments, you're not missing out on essential episodes of infertility-friendly programs like House Hunters International, Real Housewives, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Say Yes to the Dress. These shows will allow you to escape your own miserable reality for a few minutes/hours and laugh and dream your way into happiness again. Just don't make the mistake of thinking too hard and realizing that if it weren't for infertility, you could be spending your cash money (see #1) on a house in Bora Bora, too, instead of on shots.

6. Junk food

(Note: You should by no means limit yourself to the items pictured here. These are just a few examples of recent faves.)

The thing is, you're going to need something to eat while you're watching the entire evening line-up on HGTV. And I promise you that the Clomid does not leave you craving carrot sticks. Your body (thinks it) is preparing for a baby! And babies like junk food. It's just a proven fact. It's either that, or hormonal, baby-deprived women crave junk food. One of those.

You need something to look forward to in life. THAT is a fact. Maybe you like your job. Maybe you like working out. Maybe you like babies. Maybe you like eating Oreos. Well...for what it's worth, I think you should get at least something you like out of life. Junk food just may be the best part of your day. Embrace it! Plus, it gives you a reason to go back to...

7. The gym.

Go ahead and buy a lifetime membership there, too. Between the stress, the junk food, the need to escape, the hormones, and the lack of kids to do stuff'll be needing to go to the gym. While you're sweating it out on the treadmill, you can convince yourself that being in shape will make labor easier someday. And your "pre-baby" body will be something more worthy of striving towards. And at least this is money spent that you might actually see some ROI. (and if you don't, then you can at least blame the infertility and help yourself to another bag of Oreo.)

8. Kleenex.

 Go ahead and stock up on this stuff, too, and don't be cheap. You're going to be crying a lot. Let's not also be scraping the skin off your face with discount tissues. That will only add insult to injury. It's best to keep yourself surrounded by high-quality Kleenex at all times: keep a box in your car, another at your desk at work, and an emergency pack in your purse. Trust me: pregnant people and people with unhelpful advice are everywhere, which means your next cry-fest could be anywhere, too. Don't be caught off guard. Be prepared!

9. Community.

I am so, so, so thankful to be going through infertility now and not 20 years ago. As luck would have it, you probably don't know many fellow IFers in real life. Thank God for the world wide webz: bringing miserable people together for 15 years now! The community of women you will find writing on message boards and blogs will be your lifeline. You will compare protocols. You will whine and bitch. You will pray for one another. You will rejoice with one another and you will cry together, too. You might even get lucky enough to meet in real life.

You might find yourself realizing that infertility really SUCKS...but I never would have found the soul-friends I've found if it weren't for it. And in some way, you'll feel better. You'll feel less alone. You won't have to escape quite as much. You'll find strength in numbers. You'll have someone to text in the middle of the night when you start your period again and that person will understand exactly what you're feeling.

You'll find out that there are other people in the world with burdens worse than yours. You might feel a little less sorry for yourself. You might take 2 seconds to pray for someone other than yourself. You might even become a kinder, more compassionate person for it.


You know it's killing me to only have 9 things on this list. I like the roundness of a good Top 10. But I'm going to leave it here because otherwise I might never STOP thinking of things to add. :) Relationships are the most important weapon in your IF arsenal-- of that I am certain. 

 However, if you can think of anything important I left off, feel free to add it in the comments! 

And in case you're thinking Hey, what happened to Way Back When-sday? I've been looking forward to that all week!...then, thanks!! I just wasn't feeling it today, though. It'll probably be back next week, though, so just hold your horses til then.


  1. It is rare for a post to make me want to laugh and cry at the same time... props to you for making it happen :) And hoping that one day, this post won't be quite so relevant for you anymore!

  2. Awww... I think the internet is a must have too. I looked up all kinds of medical stuff, what "normally" happens, what 53295739275932857932 follicles look like (since I hyperstimmed), success rates of RE.. oh and mapquested to see how far of a drive we'd be making. Then hotwire/priceline for our hotels too. And don't forget looking up med costs from various fertility pharmacies. Oh and I guess we can make it internet/laptop. Since I lived in our recliner with the laptop... after the HSG, after procedures, after hyperstimming. Maybe I should have kept a gym membership. :)

  3. Greatest. blog. post. EVER! Glad my input was somewhat helpful, although I would be even more blog if I didn't know enough to be able to contribute!

    Love you, friend, and can't wait to rob a bank with you so that we can finally knock out #1 on the list!

  4. this is one of your funniest posts!!

  5. Oh. My. Goodness. This is hilarious, a tear-jerker, and educational.

    I cannot wait to read the "I'm Pregnant" post you've been planning btw. I always write blogs in my head- it's funny because it's how I deal with upsetting things nowadays- I start writing a post in my mind :)


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