Today we learned that we have male factor infertility in addition to my PCOS, blood clotting disorder, recurrent miscarriages and autoimmune disease.

Please don’t tell me some stupid shit like it just wasn’t meant to be. I might punch you in the throat.

Don’t Say This

You are so lucky with no kids, you get to sleep in!

Sleeping in is pretty great. I will freely admit that.
I’m not sure it is quite comparable though.
Sleeping in or a lifetime of broken dreams?
Sleeping in or the overwhelming sadness of your husband never being a father?
Sleeping in or celebrating due dates for lost children rather than birthday’s?
Sleeping in or….

Please don’t say this. There is nothing lucky about having this path chosen for you.

Don’t Say This

It took me forever to get pregnant but look at him/her now!
I struggled with infertility but now I have 11 kids!
It took me FIVE MONTHS to get pregnant!
When you have been in the game as long as I have, there is no success story in the world that will make you hopeful.
I love talking to people going through prolonged infertility; we share a bond that is amazing.
People sharing because they think they have gone through the same thing as me though is really, really difficult. Unless you’re at eight years with six losses, you don’t truly know.

I really am happy for those that have found success. I am no longer inspired by them though.

Don’t Say This

I hate being pregnant.

Ugh. This one is hard to explain. It basically comes down to gratefulness and how you display it.

I’m sure that you are happy that you are pregnant. I’m also sure that pregnancy is hard, physically and emotionally. I know that. You know that. We all know that. It hurts, you feel gross and your hormones are going crazy.

I hate being pregnant.

To an infertile person, this statement is like a punch in the gut. It knocks the wind out of you and all you can do is stand there with your mouth open, trying not to cry. Or lash out. The only thing going through your head is, “Do you have any idea how badly I want what you hate?”

Infertile people are everywhere. Men, women, young, old. There is no tell-tale sign of an infertile so assume that we are everywhere. We are behind you in the grocery store check-out, sitting next to you in Starbucks and working on the other side of the cubicle wall. We are everywhere. Just remember that.

We are everywhere.

Don’t Say This

Just pray about it.

Ok, where to start? Let’s start with the assumptions.
Let’s just assume that you and I have the same religious beliefs. Now if you and I have the same beliefs, wouldn’t it also be safe to assume that I have already prayed about it?

If we don’t have the same religious beliefs, it’s kind of like patting me on the head and walking away. The thought of prayer makes you feel better. Weren’t we talking about me though?

Unless you know for sure that I have the same views as you, don’t assume. Just say that you wish me luck.

Don’t Say This

Dear Fertile People,

Have you tried blank supplements? It’s supposed to help you get pregnant.

Argh! Don’t say this!

If there is a supplement out there that did what it promised, I would know about it. The infertility community, especially the online infertility community, is crazy well researched. We can spout off stats, treatment options, test results and opinions like you wouldn’t believe. We are girls who know not only what the doctor is going to say before you see him, but we’ve researched it to high heaven, have created a pro/con list and have pages of questions.

Not only would I know about a miracle supplement if it existed, but mixing supplements and high powered fertility medicine is not a good idea. At the very least, talk to your doctor first.

So don’t say this, there’s nothing to be gained by this question/suggestion.

Don’t Say this: Miscarriage Edition

Dear Fertile People,

I’m just going to flat out say it. Unless you have suffered a miscarriage yourself, the majority of your expressions of condolence are going to be hurtful. It is one of those things that has to be experienced. Most people are so well meaning but in the moment, as the tears are welling up, you just want to scream at them.

Don’t say this after a first miscarriage:

At least you know you can get pregnant.

Is that supposed to make me feel better? Like yay, my baby died! At least I can maybe, possibly, have a replacement baby and everything will be great?
What if I want this baby?
You might have been able to get pregnant but now you have no idea if you can carry a baby to term.

We were elated during our first pregnancy. Almost 9 weeks of bliss. And then the bleeding started. I am forever altered because of that experience. It was a slow, drawn out miscarriage. Our little one’s heart just kept slowing down at each ultrasound until it stopped. But yay, at least I knew that I could get pregnant. And lose a baby. A child.

Would you say it to a person who lost their 5 year old? Well, at least you know that you can have another child. Regardless of how far along you are, your baby is a child. Your child. Who died.

Before offering your condolences to someone who has had a miscarriage, ask yourself this question: Would I say this to a woman who lost her 5 year old?
If the answer is no, don’t say it.

The best thing that someone has ever said to me after a loss? This fucking sucks dude. I’m really sorry.

Don’t Say This

Dear Fertile People,

This happens to me yearly. It is the epitome of don’t say this.

You should volunteer to work over the Christmas holiday because you don’t have kids.
Those of us with kids would like to spend the holidays with them.

This makes my blood boil. Then I cry because it is everything that people don’t understand about being infertile condensed into two sentences.

Let’s ignore the fact that my leave is decided by seniority. Let’s ignore the fact that we almost never have to use the seniority rule because enough people don’t want it off.

The fact we shouldn’t ignore is that I have a family too. My husband and I have created our own version of a family and it is very important to me. While the fertile people are at home celebrating the season with their children, we are hunkering down in one of the most painful times of the year. Everything is merry and bright. For you. Not for us. For us the season brings sadness from lost dreams. From traditions that we always wanted to share with more than just the two of us.

You should volunteer to work over the Christmas holiday because you don’t have kids.
Those of us with kids would like to spend the holidays with them.

In response, I just quietly asked if my six dead babies count. This is a conversation stopper that makes people very uncomfortable and I don’t feel the least bit bad about it.

So don’t say this. Instead, you could just ask are you guys going away over the holidays or staying in town? Regardless, I hope you have a restful holiday.

Don’t Say This

Dear Fertile People,

You are not a doctor. Please don’t play one.

There isn’t much worse than a person pretending that they know what they are talking about when they clearly don’t.

Why don’t you just do IVF?

Don’t say this. It’s ignorant. IVF is not the be all and end all of fertility treatments. IVF doesn’t work in cases of unexplained infertility or in people that just don’t ovulate, even with meds. It’s also dangerous for someone like me who has polycystic ovaries. Even massive amounts of hormone injections do not get my stubborn ovaries to produce any follicles. We run the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) if we just keep dosing up and up. OHSS can be fatal.

Multiples are a very real concern with IVF.

IVF is expensive. The meds alone can be over $5000 per cycle. There’s no way that you can do an IVF cycle for under $10,000.

IVF is rife with difficult decisions. How many follicles are too many? Not enough, should we cancel the cycle? How many embryos should we transfer? What are our beliefs on selective reduction should we conceive high order multiples? What do we do with the left over frozen embryos? Do we store them indefinitely ($$)? Or donate them? Or destroy them?

So yeah, it’s not “just doing IVF. Don’t say that. Instead you could say, I’m sure that these treatment decisions are really hard to make. I’m here if you need to talk. Can I bring you a pie? Or some brownies?

Don’t Say This: an on-going series

Dear Fertile People,

I’m sure you mean well.
I’m sure you have no idea how much pain and anger a few little words can cause. They sting though. A lot.

You just need to relax.
My nephew has a friend whose sister in-law decided to stop trying and she got pregnant right away.
You should take a vacation. I bet you’ll come back pregnant!

Please don’t say this.
A relaxing vacation will not unblock tubes, normalize hormone levels or magically evaporate the cysts covering my ovaries. My infertility is not a result of stress, I promise you. It is a result of a clusterfuck of medical conditions that actually exist.

So please, don’t say this. Instead, you could just say, I’m sorry this is so hard. That’s it.

(Photographic evidence that stress is not the cause of my infertility. Those glaring cysts are).