Infertility & Money: The Day My Uterus became a Money Pit

IVF, well, fertility treatments in general, as most of us know all too well, are costly: Emotionally, physically, and well… monetarily. Ah, infertility & finances. Infertility & money. Bad enough you have to go to all of those appointments and be subjected to proby things put up you and blood siphoned out of you.  Stuff injected, swallowed, inserted or shot into you.

Now, on top of all of that: The damn treatments expect to be paid for.

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Infertility Busy Bodies – You Know, Family, Friends

So last week was sort of an introduction to infertility with a few terms and definitions sprinkled in among my usual smart ass remarks. This week, let’s discuss “Infertility Busy Bodies, You know, Family & Friends etc” in other words– those who deserve smart ass remarks.

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The Dreaded “Our Year-in-Review” Holiday Card

We all know that holidays can be tough for people dealing with infertility. We brace ourselves for getting attacked from all sides: Family, friends, coworkers… Even though it’s almost always unintentional, everybody throws their kids in your face with great enthusiasm: They’ll tell you what they’re buying the kids for Christmas or Hanukkah. They’ll ask your opinion on what to buy them. They’ll take the adorable items out of the bag and show them to you. They’ll tell you what great deals they got on them. They’ll ask you to accompany them to the mall to shop for them. They’ll invite you to parties where the kids will be running around. They’ll tell you what the kids will wear to the holiday party. “This is their first Christmas.” “This is the first Christmas that they’ll understand what’s going on.” “This is the first Christmas where they’ve been able to tell me what they want.” “This is the first Christmas they’ve helped decorate the tree.” “This is the first Hanukkah they’ve played dreidel instead of putting it in their mouth.” It’s torture. For me, over the many years before and during my bout with IVF, the best way to get over the torture was with more torture. Has anyway ever sent you an “Our Year-in-Review” card? Continue reading

Infertility Rules (That’s a noun not a verb)

Infertility Rules. And clearly I’m talking noun not verb. Obviously, “Infertility Rules!” would be both obnoxious and ridiculous. For most of us, infertility feels so unfair and frustrating. One reason is because most of us grew up with a set of rules and stinking infertility doesn’t play by them. Continue reading

All Roads Lead to the Infertility Ditch

The Infertility Ditch. I’ve been in it many times. In fact, for a while, I spent so much time down there, I furnished it. Some people have a beach house. I had my infertility ditch. At some point between the diagnosis of infertility and the final resolution, we all drive ourselves into the infertility ditch. Some of us back out of it faster than others. Some of us drive ourselves in and out of it, in and out of it, in and out of it, over and over again the whole time.

car in a ditch

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Infertility Transparency: Tell them Everything

Infertility Transparency. Tell them everything. No secrets. CEOs and politicians talk about transparency all the time. Let the people know everything that’s going on. I think people struggling to get pregnant should have the same policy: Infertility Transparency. The people in our lives-family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, coworkers think they want to know everything about our infertility. I think we should tell them. We should tell them all. We should tell them everything. And I mean everything.  If that doesn’t get rid of them…

women gossiping -funny old fashioned at work

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Getting Pregnant- What Teens Know

Every time you read statistics on teens getting pregnant, don’t you just want to hurt somebody? The latest data I’ve seen, from 2014, shows that while teens are getting pregnant at an all-time low rate in the U.S., there were still 249,078 babies born to females between 15 and 19 that year. (The “19” makes me a lot less queasy than the “15”.) I think this is why the likes of us have trouble getting pregnant. We know too damn much.  We have to think more like a schmucky teenager. You know, think back. Remember when you knew nothing but thought you knew everything?

teens partying 2

Let’s see if we can key in on how all those teens are getting pregnant. There must be something they’re all doing right. Here are some tips I’ve come up with from what I’ve observed from teens:

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Some Jobs Have Perks THEY Don’t Even Know About

In last week’s post, “Stealing… It’s Such a Strong Word”, I talked about my family’s inclination toward petty pilfering: Just your average, run of the mill pocketing-Sweet-‘N’-Lows-at-the-neighborhood-diner type of thing. (I was once in a supermarket with my father when he saw boxes of them on the shelf and said: “People actually buy these?”)

At a job it’s different. I feel no guilt or remorse for anything I’ve done. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Still, I won’t give too many specifics, because, well, you know… statute of limitations and all that.

Naturally, everyone likes a job with good benefits. I mean health and dental coverage are fine. So are 401Ks. But for me, at a job, just like in life: It’s the little things that matter. For me, the best work place perks that a company can provide are the unintentional ones: The benefits they have no idea they’re providing.

All the “up & up” benefits are published. They’re right there for everyone to see. They’re in the employee handbook. They’re in the handouts at the orientation. They’re on your bi-weekly pay stubs. But if you go into the main employee restroom, hold your pay stub up to a mirror, turn it upside down 3 times and take as many steps backwards as you can without falling into an open stall, you’ll clearly see your “other” benefits revealed.

It’s called the law of inverse reciprocity. (Don’t look it up. You’ll be sorely disappointed.)  This means that the stingier the company, the more “other” benefits you’re entitled to.

For instance, if I get a job and I think I should be paid $50,000 a year for doing what they’re asking of me,  and they only offer me $35,000 a year, then it stands to reason, I’m in a $15,000 deficit. So while I appear to be working diligently for them all year, I’m also working for myself figuring out creative ways for them to make up that 15 grand they owe me.

And it doesn’t matter where you work. The law of inverse reciprocity still applies. When I worked in a fast food place, according to them, I received minimum wage. According to me, I also won a raffle for a lifetime supply of plasticware- Not to mention salt, pepper, and ketchup packets. Granted, I never put salt or pepper on anything, and it would take 40 of those ketchup packets to fill a tablespoon… It’s the principle of the thing. And I’m nothing if not principled.

I’ve worked for some pretty generous places that gave holiday bonuses, incentives, Thanksgiving turkeys, umbrellas… something. Coincidentally, they were never missing office supplies. But the only thing worse than a company that offers you nothing is a company that offers you nothing and thinks they’re doing you a favor. If you think you’re going to cater a smorgasbord for a meeting with the big-wig, hoidy-toidy, grand puba, company honchos and then, when they’re done mauling at it, you’ll toss the plate like a Frisbee onto the break-room table for us commoners to fight over… Watch your back… and anything else not nailed down.

Most jobs are the same to me. They’re really just glorified office supply stores. I’m a writer. Writers need lots of paper… and copies. We need to print things: Double-sided things… in color… and collated.  We need those giant staplers, paper cutters, markers, envelopes in all shapes and sizes. (You can keep those ones with the windows. We have no use for those.)

To these companies I ask you: “How else could I possibly afford those things? You know better than anyone how much I earn. You don’t want to stand in the way of my dream. Do you? Don’t look at it like I’m stealing from you. That just spreads negative energy. Instead, consider yourself an investor in the career of a budding “young” author. Doesn’t that feel better?”

Surely you’ve heard of silent investors. Mine are not only silent, they’re totally oblivious.

So if you ever work for a job where they give you a polygraph before you’re even hired, and they have cameras every three feet of the building, keep the copy paper, ink cartridges, and paper clips in a locked cabinet that you need a combination to open, and have all the pens and staplers chained to the desks… I am so sorry… I take full responsibility. I probably used to work there.

Irritations that No Amount of Gold Bond Will Help

Everyone loves to tell you “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”. Unfortunately many things which I find irksome take place while I’m driving. And since my car doesn’t currently have air conditioning or windows that open, I can’t help literally, sweating the small stuff.

Of course I’m an excellent driver. I inherited this talent from my father who was the self-proclaimed best driver who had ever driven. (My husband might dispute this title as he once was a passenger when my father decided to make a U-turn around four lanes of traffic and an island. This took place 9 years ago. About a month ago, my husband finally stopped waking up in the middle of the night screaming and asking if the “bad man” was gone.)

There are some unacceptable combinations in this world: Things that must never go together- like a size 24 wearing a size 8 or an 84 year old driving 84 miles per hour. My father drove fast and he drove angry. He had road rage way before people “helped” by making phone videos and sending them to the local news. You haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed an elderly person yelling the word: “C—Sucker!” out his car window. (Sorry… Just reporting the facts here.)

I don’t think I’m quite that bad when I’m driving (though I’m sure he didn’t think he was that bad either) and yet I am a Daddy’s Girl. So forgetting for a moment that I’m already irritable when I get into the car because I have no air conditioning and the windows don’t open and that I’m resentful because I should rightfully be driving a brand new convertible (see my hair in photo above. Clearly it was made to cascade in the wind and obstruct the view of drivers behind me).

There are a few pet peeves I have with others on the road.

1) People who drive under the speed limit. It’s only 45 mph. You can’t do the whole 45? Granted, if I have nothing but open road in front of me I might, like Dad, be tempted to do 85. But I’m not asking that of you. The whole 45, not 41. That’s all I ask.

2) Texting, make-up application… I even hate when people drive with a phone especially if it’s up to their left ear because not only does it divide their attention but it takes away their peripheral vision. I saw a poor guy in a pick-up drive off into a drainage ditch the other day because a woman on her phone wanted his spot in the lane badly and had no idea he was already in it.

3) People who have to stop completely before making a turn. Why? Are you under the impression that your car will flip over and burst into flames if you’re doing 15? I assure you. It won’t.

4) People who back into parking spots on a regular basis. I don’t get the benefit. And it louses me up when I park normally in the spot next to them. I go to open my doors and their doors aren’t where they’re supposed to be… Neither’s their rearview mirror. It’s like a weird new sexual position. You end up with extra parts with nowhere comfortable to put them. Everything fits fine when you face the right way… And when people back into parking spots, it usually takes them 5 tries to get it right. (Just like… never mind.)

So maybe there’s a reason greater than us why my windows don’t open. It’s like the universe and Chevrolet have come together to keep peace in our society by preventing me from yelling out hip-hop lyrics or using hand gestures not found in the DMV manual.

Yoga: Could it BE More Stressful?

If you haven’t visited my blog in a while, take a look at the last post regarding a big change in blog topics. (“This Blog Has Taken a Turn… Hopefully not for the Worse.”)

Anyone will tell you that yoga is great for relieving stress. I beg to differ. I’ve never been so stressed out until I started taking it. The first day was a dilly. First of all, every instructor loves to whisper. (I’m guessing there aren’t many New York Jewesses such as myself who teach yoga. I, for one, am not genetically pre-disposed to being a good whisperer. “YOU IN THE BACK! WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO DO THAT POSE? IT’S ALL WRAAAAWNG!”) When I first walked into the yoga room/studio, whatever, it was dark.
“What happened? They canceled the class?”

Apparently it wasn’t darkness afterall but tranquility. Then the instructor spoke… very very softly. It was like she’d started the volume on her inner remote control on a 7 and hit the minus button three times. I couldn’t make out a word she was saying. And it was too dark to try to read her lips. All I kept thinking was: “Crap, I hope she’s not calmly telling us there’s a fire in the building and we have to evacuate immediately.”

I had flashbacks of going to the cheapy movie theater in Florida with my father and he and all of the other 80 year olds would bring their ear phones that were supposed to enhance the sound of the film. All you would hear the whole movie were the rustling of baggies containing smuggled-in snacks, the ear-splitting squeal of sound-enhancement devices when they were turned up too high and the entire audience “whispering” in their New York whispers to the person next to them: “WHAT DID HE SAY? CAN YOU HEAR WHAT THEY’RE SAYING? WHY IS EVERYONE TAWKING SOOO LOW?!”

So getting back to yoga hell. Among this serene environment created by and emanating from the instructor and wafting around the room to the others, there I was wreaking of negative energy mumbling to my neighbor trying not to move my lips: “She’s not really saying anything. She’s just screwing with us, right?”

She responded: “Socks”
I thought that was somehow yoga code for: “Shut the hell up”. I was pretty sure she wasn’t using the acronym: “Serving Our Community with Kindness” Finally, I looked down and realized I was the only one in the room who wasn’t barefoot.

Having spent most of my life in a big northern city, I haven’t had the opportunity to run barefoot much. When we moved, and I mentioned to a woman in the park that her kid was running around without any shoes or socks, she said:

“It’s okay. You’re in the South now.” To which I replied:

“You have no broken glass in the South?”

So anyway, I pulled off my socks wondering whether the class would abruptly change the “barefoot” rule once they’d all gotten an eyeful of my yellow toenail.

A friend of mine who takes yoga elsewhere said they have a rule that you’re not supposed to eat before coming to class. I assumed it was so that you would somehow be cleansed and purified and more connected to your inner spirit before entering the sanctity of the room. She said she’s pretty sure it’s so that nobody lets out gas mid-pose.
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