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Dearest Fertility God & Goddess,

The other day, we drove 238.66 miles to rub your wooden genitalia in the lobby of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. I want to believe, I really do, but, G, I’m tired. Tired of the pills and injections. Tired of reeling in the hope, the want, the love for my future children in my heart because the perpetual loss and uncertainty hurts too much. Tired of watching easy ways pop out children like bowel movements. Tired of hearing people say, “It’ll all be worth it.” How do they know?!?! Tired of being too tired to respond to people’s thoughtless comments. My heart is saturated by infertility’s hard lessons. I’m spent. An emotional zombie, that’s me.

I don’t know if I believe rubbing your wooden egg… penis… belly button… knee… breast… baby… shoulder… will do anything. I don’t know that it won’t. However, in these few moments of frantic lobby rubbing a tiny piece of me electrifies (probably from the friction of my hand and your wood… wink wink). I feel a faint flicker of fight in me to try again, however, this time I need help. I’m much less Buddhist this time around. So… God of Sperm and Goddess of Egg, God of Hope and Goddess of Love, Help. Me. Believe.

Love,

Infertile #3,238,999

We arrive at the hang gliding ranch around eleven o’clock in the morning. We’re greeted by a kind ranch hand who tells us that we may not be able to go up today because of the winds. Our hearts sink a little.

“You will have to talk to the owner, Malcolm” he says. “He’s somewhere around here, let me find him. In the meantime, make yourselves at home… there is a bar over there and we just made some more coffee, help yourselves!” Our eyes follow the direction he is pointing but quickly veer because slightly to the left of said bar with coffee, there is… a trampoline.

Needless to say:

 

The trampoline is exhilarating. Our hearts immediately lift. Even if we don’t have a chance to hang glide this is not a day wasted. No day with a trampoline is wasted (that saying should be on a tshirt somewhere). I forgot how thrilling it is to rebound off of other people’s jumps. Jumping off of Stephanie’s velocity gave me more height and threw in an element of fear because, at times, I felt like I was going to fly off the edge…

We jump for a while before finding out that the glider is indeed going up. We flew over cow pastures and grazed fragrant orange groves. It is always humbling to see the world from above while you are completely exposed to it. On the car ride home we tried to wrap our heads around how just a matter of minutes ago we were mere dots in the sky. We also drove past a Friendly’s.

Needless to say:

For those up north, this Reeces Peanut Butter Cup sundae is no big deal, there are Friendly’s everywhere. But for two northern transplants in the south this is like finding liquid gold.

If anyone is even slightly gloomy about their reproductive status these days we highly recommend the trampoline-hang gliding-reeces peanut butter cup sundae trifecta of fun. We guarantee it will chase the infertility blues away.

Happy National Infertility Awareness Week!

Yes, I said happy.

Happy because this year, in honor of this holiday, we enjoyed a not-pregnant picnic of sushi, cookie dough, lunch meat, soft cheese, wine, tuna salad and caffeinated beverages. You would think we would feel sick after eating such a buffet but we felt… great.

Last year, in celebration of National Infertility Awareness Week, we jumped 13,000 feet form the air with a Bud Light (oh, and a parachute). That was the beginning of a year of many leaps and bounds. Today we decided to try something new – to stay as close to the ground as possible.

It is easy to say that infertility sucks. Our family finding stories are what everyone with fertility challenges fears the most – IVF not working (this happened to me. Twice) or an adoption falling through (cue Stephanie). But this week is not about what we don’t have but rather what we do have. From where we’re sitting, we see now that all of the pain – the ugly, desperate sorrow – prepares our hearts to feel an even deeper joy. This raw joy is a lot like raw chocolate chip cookie dough. It is seen as being risky to eat and bad for you but it tastes like home.

Happy Year of the Tiger!

The Chinese New Year is a time where families purge their homes of ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck.

To celebrate the Year of the Tiger, Stephane and I went out for lunch (Chinese). As we sipped our Jasmine and Lavender tea we reflected on how much luck has evolved for us. A year ago luck meant a positive pregnancy test. This year it isn’t something to attain, it is something infertility presented to us. In all of our unlucky (and between the two of us there is aplenty) we actually feel lucky for the unlucky. It showed us a new way of being, a revived perspective to the world that makes us feel a deeper sense of joy and appreciation for what we do have. Luck isn’t something we look for ahead, rather within.

So, what does the Year of the Tiger mean for infertiles?

Tigers are a sign of bravery. They are also gracious, independent and powerful.

Need I say more?

Wishing you a Year of the Tiger like no other. May your luck be discovered rather than attained. May your bravery carry you through the next cycle. May your innate power help you through the adoption process. May you remember that you are not alone and there there are millions of Tigers just like you out there.

I love Mary J. Blige. I just do. When I heard this song I couldn’t help but think of all of my infertile brothers and sisters out there. I think it should be our theme song.

Here are some of the lyrics that resonate in my heart long after the song is over. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do (over and over again…)

In each tear
there’s a lesson
Makes you wiser than before
Makes you stronger than you know
In each tear
Brings you closer to your dreams
No mistake, no heartbreak
Can take away what you’re meant to be

You’re much more than a struggle that you go through
You’re not defined by your pain, so let it go…
You’re not a victim, you’re more like a winner
And you’re not in defeat, you’re more like a queen

No no we can’t be held down
No no oh noo I I I can’t held down
You you you can’t be held down
We we we can’t be held down

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

1.We promise to never use the words “path”, “journey”, “for the best”, “it’s God’s plan” or “meant to be”.

2. We promise to approach difficult moments with curiosity and compassion. When not so pretty thoughts or feelings come up, rather than beating ourselves up we’ll think, ‘I’m feeling this, what is that about?’ and whatever the answer know that we’re doing the best we can.

3. We promise to view life as an evolving adventure, whether we become mothers or not, we’ll always make time to explore the giant playground that we live in.

4. We promise not to roll our eyes when friends tell us they are pregnant on the first try. As easy as it seems, we wouldn’t trade the perspectives we now have for anything. Even an easy pregnancy.

5. We promise to go ziplining – literally and metaphorically – to look at the world around us with awe and wonder.

6. We promise to trust that our decisions are the best decisions for us and our families. Though other people may not understand, or approve, we promise to remember this is our life, not theirs.

7. We promise, even in the face of waiting and waiting, or changing diapers at 3am and cleaning grape jelly off the couch, to never forget the lessons infertility taught us – to roll with the punches and take life as it comes.

8. We promise to connect more with other women who can’t have kids the easy way. There is no reason for any of us to feel alone in our struggles.

9. We promise to karaoke the blues away. There’s nothing like belting out Pat Benetar in front of a roomful of strangers to salve a failed cycle or adoption that fell through.

10. We promise to celebrate every little victory – good test results or completing a step in the adoption process – to take a pit stop once and a while and treat ourselves to fun day trips or Reeses Peanut Butter Cup sundaes for no reason.

Happy Holidays from the V List!

We carefully sit on Santa’s lap, trying not to put too much weight on his legs. The bell on Stephanie’s embroidered “Jingle” shirt rings. The rhinestones on my snowwoman shirt glisten underneath the mall’s florescent lights. We giggle but Santa thinks nothing of our tacky shirts and 30-something selves sitting on his lap. What do you want for Christmas?” he asks.

“A healthy baby.” I tell him.

“Sounds like a nice present. And what about you?” he looks at Stephanie.

“A healthy baby.”

“Are you also expecting?” He asks.

“No, we’re adopting.”

“That is wonderful, it is something… I hold… very, very close to my heart.”

Santa gets it. His beard is real, his eyes are sparkly blue, and his breath smells like snow so I feel pretty confident that our wishes may actually make it to the person in charge.

We believe that the best gifts don’t come under the Christmas tree so, in that spirit, please enjoy this playlist we made featuring little ditties that we feel represent infertility and the V List in one way or another. Pull up your hookah, tissue box, 80s leg warmers, skydiving parachute and karaoke machine. Click on the “Pop-Out Player” button below… enjoy… and may all your wishes come true.

Standalone player

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We decide to go to the new IKEA in Tampa. In a big yellow Penske truck. While Stephanie practices her sense of entitlement driving this monstrocity in traffic, I enjoy the scenery of anti-choice, mature manure, and gun billboards.

Clearly we are serious shoppers. So, naturally, the first thing we do when we arrive is eat. “Where is the cafeteria?” Steph asks the greeter. “Um, right behind you.”

After we purchase a few chairs, a sofa, and closet system, we arrive at the baby section. Neither of us has ever been there. We usually skip over it with a sneer and a tear but today we take a deep breath and cross under the vibrant arch. You would think that we would be like two kids in a candy store, given how deeply we both want children, but we are more like two city girls on a trip to the country milking their first cow. Between our “what does this do?” and “what do you think this is?” we attempt to figure things out. After she practices lovingly placing her child (purse) in and out of each crib, Steph decides on an adorable little number. A few months ago we were sucking on Bud Lights and falling off mechanical bulls and now look at us – a couple of infertiles shopping in the IKEA baby section. Life is grand.

I wish entitlement while driving a big yellow truck translated into entitlement in the nursery. With all we have been through, we continue to coach each other on building confidence and trust that our bundle of joy will come. When the worst has happened to you it is no longer something that happens to other people. We don’t have the luxury of living with our heads in the clouds. We’ve experienced too much for that to even be an option. Even though the kid thing has been working out for both of us so far, there is a quiet fear that it will all go away. But we work on it one tire tread at a time, we deal with the bumps on the road, we merge with limited vision, hoping that everyone else will just clear the way.

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shellfish

Shellfish & a nice Chianti… need I say more?

Here is the recipe. I used turkey sausage instead of pork and clams instead of mussels.

Happy eating!