The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Finding the Silver Lining

When we were on vacation, I pointed out the obvious benefit of infertility to Josh--we would never need to pay for birth control again. Spontaneous and Pill-free could be our new middle names. Of course, there are all the Secret Hope Stories about infertile women being bitten in the ass by this assumption when they're finished with family building. But we're grabbing silver linings wherever we can find them.

"There must be more things that are good about infertility if we wanted to get all Pollyanna about this," I said.

"You get to have a lot of Starbucks," he said after some thought. "You probably wouldn't stop to get yourself coffee on a normal day, but since the Starbucks is next to the clinic, you end up treating yourself on blood work days. Plus, there's all the waiting we did over white chocolate mochas."

"I like my sharps box. It's a great receptacle for stickers. Like when you go and vote and they give you that "I voted" sticker to wear for the rest of the day? You get home at night and you don't know what to do with that sticker. But the sharps container is a great place to stick it."

We ended up drawing a blank after coming up with these three silver linings (beyond the even more Pollyanna-ish "infertility has taught me to be a better person."). So please add any silver linings you've discovered because I'd like to compile a list of ten. Things always seem more true if you can list them in tens. You may need to do some stretching... In fact, the farther the stretch, the better. Get your thinking caps on this morning. I'll update the list below as silver linings come in through the comments section.

The Silver Linings of Infertility
as compiled by stirrup queens and sperm palace jesters everywhere

1. Never have to worry about birth control.
2. Get to treat myself to special coffee drinks more often.
3. Nifty sharps container becomes a receptacle for leftover stickers at the end of the day.
4. Get to experience a large variety and volume of wine.
5. No problems at a French restaurant (runny cheeses, alcohol, undercooked stuff).
6. Breakfast (and other meals) stay put in your stomach.
7. Built-in excuse for bad days, "oh, it must be the hormones I'm on..."
8. Being able to do what we want when we want - just get up and go.
9. The secret knowledge that you're bad-ass enough to give yourself shots.
10. Lunch out on monitoring days when there isn't enough time to pack lunch.
11. Hone your flexibility.
12. Get to meet people who you never would have met otherwise, and they all understand you on levels that even your best friend cannot.
13. Made me more sensitive to others.
14. I have a lot less tolerance for other people's BS. As a result, I've actually been much better about speaking my mind and standing up for myself.
15. Sushi and Coca-Cola anytime I want since I'm not pregnant.
16. Getting to wear yoga pants to my "professional dress" office because they are the only pants that will fit over my bloated belly.
17. Darkest chocolate we can find during shot phases.
18. Opportunity to stay current on recent trends and artistic motifs in contemporary pornography during visits to sperm palace.
19. Instantly able to top most horrible pregnancy/birth stories.
20. Being put on Metformin for my PCOS-induced blood-sugar issues means I'm less likely to develop Type II diabetes in the future.
21. It has made me much more aware of how other people suffer their own conditions in silence. I try to be compassionate to others when they complain, because pain is pain, no matter what the cause.
22. My clinic is next to Krispy Kreme, so I get lots of donuts!
23. I can go to happy hour once a week and bitch with my friend about this stupid journey and drink my little heart away.
24. Actually knowing what goes on each and every cycle. How many women not dealing with IF understand how the body works and what happens from one day to another when cycling?
25. Sonograms are pretty cool. I dig seeing those follicles grow.
26. Getting to know the people in my clinic. One of my sonogram techs in particular is an amazing woman who has struggled long and hard with IF herself. Without my own struggles, I would never have the pleasure of meeting her.
27. Get to pee on lots of stuff each month.
28. Going to the big city for doc appointments - so that means good restaurants and shops.
29. Strengthening my relationship with my husband.
30. Not having to commit to anything because I "might" have to go to the doctor that day.
31. Knowing that this will make me a better parent with a greater sense of empathy.
32. Knowing that I can rely completely on my husband for emotional support.
33. Finding support in the unlikeliest of places - my MIL for example. I love that I know who my real friends/family members are, the ones who I can rely on when things go to shit.
34. No post-pregnancy tummy tuck!
35. Having something to blame your weight gain on. I'd rather blame it on a baby, but mentioning "my 10 lbs comes from the fertility drugs" always gets met with sympathy.
36. I am put on the "smart pedestal" by everyone I know who is TTC.
37. I'm healthy! I've taken more vitamins than anyone else because I've taken these damned prenatals everyday for years.
38. I can get out of work or a meeting at the drop of a hat if I have to go in for u/s monitoring, IUI, etc.
39. Discovering how much you two can really get through together.
40. Sitting in a work meeting with your husband, knowing that only you two know that he was late because he was sperminating, and I left in the middle because I was taking that sperm.
41. Putting together fun "donation" kits for the hubby, taking pics of donation rooms and accupuncture - getting new stories to tell out of all of that.
42. Learning new things. IUI can be quite fascinating! We're dorks...
43. Conquering fears - I was able to give up my intense fear of getting needles. I've even learned to give them to myself!
44. I never knew what a blog was before this, so infertility gave me blogging.
45. Infertility may have saved my life (after all, I may have died in a plane crash if I had spent that 50K on cool vacations instead).
46. Nobody tries to nag me into baby-sitting any small cousins or nieces. Ever. Either because they believe I wouldn't know what way up to hold a baby, or because they're scared I'll steal theirs, like crazy infertile ladies are supposed to do. This used to annoy me but hey, the free time and lack of responsibilities is very nice.
47. I'm doing a full-time degree and working part-time. I'm doing this because I can't get pregnant and I need a 'the rest of my life'. And look, I get a degree out of it! How many other people get a whole degree out of their coping strategies?
48. Ice-cream is apparently good for fertility. So I eat ice-cream for my health. So there.
49. Getting to be a stay at home Mom. Without all the struggle and heartache to get our children, we may not have realized just how precious this gift is and to take full advantage of enjoying it every moment possible. From the moment my daughter was born I couldn't stand the thought of being away from her so much, so I quit my job.
50. I'm always able to justify baking brownies or cupcakes in anticipation of another BFN. The proceeding to sit down with a fork (or not!) and chow on them.
51. Being able to tell your kids (when you get kids) that you REALLY loved them and wanted them -- else you would not have spent $100K MAKING them.
52. Knowing that you'll be a thoughtful and loving parent (see $100K comment above -- no one does that for the hell of it).
53. If you have a problem with needles, you get over it. If you have a problem with doctors, you get over it. If you have a sense of modesty/discomfort with nudity/keeping your privates private... you get over that, too.
54. If it fails, and you don't get the first child or the second child or however many you want--you have just saved an enormous amount of money you would've spent on their college tuition.
55. You will always get to have 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
56. You will never be obligated to clean up someone else's shit, pee, or vomit. You will only have to do it if you WANT to.
57. You will never have to spend time in a pediatrician's office or a pediatric ER. (See above notes on vomit, etc...).
58. Seeing an RE led to finally getting diagnosed with PCOS and hypothyroidism. Medications for both have helped me lose 40lbs.
59. When the high-maintenance relatives want to stay at your place instead of a hotel, there's nothing like saying "I'm sorry, but we're trying to get pregnant and this just isn't a good time to have houseguests."
60. If I'm running really late for work, I can always call and say that I had to stop at the lab to give more blood because hey -- it's certainly feasible! :) I save this for the rarest of occasions, but it's a nice save when I really need it.
61. Infertility taught me you never know what you'll do or how you'll react until your actually in a particular situation. It's so easy to say, "I'd never do IVF" when you've never really had to make that choice.
62. Airplane travel! that is one time i am not jealous of anyone with kids.
63. With a independent daughter who's nearly six we can leave her with the grandparents or aunt/uncles or even friends. When there is only one, anyone will take her for the night and even for the weekend, which means more me and husband time, which as you know, is vital when going through the stress of infertility and treatments.
64. You develop mad internet research skills.
65. You can read medical handwriting.
66. My work with my RE has changed the relationship with all of my doctors. I can ask better questions and come from a more informed place.
67. You now have a working map in your head of the best places for chocolate in relation to the clinic. Bonus if you're on a first name basis with store staff.
68. The longer it takes to get pregnant, the longer I get to hang on to my beloved (but two door) Sebring convertible.

And here I was struggling to come up with 10! Keep them coming...this list is sweet and sad and funny all at once.

38 comments:

LJ said...

Oh, I am getting good at this game:
4. Get to experience a large variety and volume of wine.
5. No problems at a French restaurant (runny cheeses, alcohol, undercooked stuff).
6. Breakfast (and other meals) stay put in your stomach.
7. Built-in excuse for bad days, "oh, it must be the hormones I'm on..."

Tigger said...

For us it's being able to do what we want when we want - just get up and go.

Ruth said...

It's hard to differentiate the silver linings of infertility with the silver linings of not being pregnant, or of being child-free. For the strictly infertility-related ones, how about the secret knowledge that you're bad-ass enough to give yourself shots?

Shelby said...

This is fun!!

8. On monitoring days, I have to get up earlier and leave earlier. This leaves no time for me to pack a lunch, so I get to walk across the street at lunch time and grab some Panera or Mamma Lucia (I love working across from a huge plaza!).

9. Get to really work on your flexibility. Things may change at a moments notice, and no matter how many hormones are running through you, you have to jump when the RE says to jump.

10. Get to meet people who you never would have met otherwise, and they all understand you on levels that even your best friend cannot.

And the no birth control comment made me laugh. My hubby still said that after the twins are born, he's getting a vasectemy just to make sure we're really done. I'm not sure whether to hug him or smack him for that.

Bean said...

Well, meeting fellow IF bloggers has to be high on the list. Also, I'd have to say that while it's made me alot grumpier (not a silver lining I'll admit), it has also made me more sensitive to others. Given my own sensitivities I think (I hope) that I'm a lot more thoughtful about the things I say to other people -- in all sorts of situations, not just IFs. Oh, here's a weird one, but a silver none-the-less. One side effect of my grumpiness is that I have a lot less tolerance for other people's BS. As a result, I've actually been much better about speaking my mind and standing up for myself -- things I've never been very good at as a lifetime conflict avoider. While I wish I was in a better mood much of time, it actually feels good to have the nerve speak up when I feel someone else is out of line.

Carla said...

All I can think of is that we would resign ourselves to being DINKs (double income-no kids) and the traveling we could do with that extra income. I have always wanted to see the world and experience other lands and cultures. Of course, as soon as I think of how cool that would be, all I can think of is how much MORE cool it would be to show my child the world. Geez, now I've depressed myself! I'd better try to start smaller...how about sushi and Coca-Cola anytime you want? Before I miscarried, those were the things I missed the most!

A.M.S. said...

Getting to wear yoga pants to my "professional dress" office because they are the only pants that will fit over my bloated belly.

A dutch apple bagel with cream cheese from Einstein Bros. and a latte from Starbucks on bloodwork/sono mornings.

S brings home treats like the darkest chocolate he can find during shot phases.

Josh said...

I forgote one... opportunity to stay current on recent trends and artistic motifs in contemporary pornography during visits to sperm palace.

Bea said...

I need to get up in five hours to drive to a fertility clinic by myself and get needles stuck into me. I see where you're going, though - I promise I'll jump on board another day.

Bea

Bea said...

Oh. But I did think of one! Instantly able to top most horrible pregnancy/birth stories.

Bea

sharah said...

Even if we never get pg, being put on metformin for my PCOS-induced blood-sugar issues means I'm less likely to develop Type II diabetes in the future.

Also, going through this has made me much more aware of how other people suffer their own conditions in silence. I try to be compassionate to others when they complain, because pain is pain, no matter what the cause.

Sarah said...

my clinic is next to krispy kreme, so i got lots of donuts! (and pounds, but who's counting?)

Sunny said...

I can go to happy hour once a week and bitch with my friend about this stupid journey and drink my little heart away.

Chris said...

*Actually knowing what goes on each and every cycle. How many women not dealing with IF understand how the body works and what happens from one day to another when cycling.

*Sonograms are pretty cool. I dig seeing those follicles grow.

*Getting to know the people in my clinic. One of my sonogram techs in particular is an amazing woman who has struggled long and hard with IF herself. Without my own struggles I would never have the pleasure of meeting her.

Heather said...

Get to pee on lots of stuff each month.

Getting to "know" all the amazing people in the online community.

Going to the big city for doc appointments - so that means good restaurants and shops.

Strengthening my relationship with my husband.

Not having to commit to anything because I "might" have to go to the doctor that day. (I use this ALL the time)

That is just off the top of my head.

serenity said...

* Definitely meeting up with fellow bloggers.

* Knowing that this will make me a better parent with a greater sense of empathy.

* Knowing that I can rely completely on my husband for emotional support. (This is big, I've never done that with someone before.)

* Drinks (both real and virtual) after the BFN

* Finding support in the unlikeliest of places - my MIL for example. I love that I know who my real friends/family members are, the ones who I can rely on when things go to shit.

Lori said...

No post-pregnancy tummy tuck!

nancy said...

~ having something to blame your weight gain on. I'd rather blame it on a baby, but mentioning "my 10 lbs comes from the fertility drugs" always gets met with a sincerity.

~ I am put on the "smart pedestal" for ANY ONE I know who is TTC.

~ I'm healthy! (heh) I take more vitamins than anyone else, cause I take these damned prenatals everyday for years, where a preggo would take them for 9 months and may never take them again.

Tina said...

How about: I can get out of work (or a meeting at work - YEAH!) at the drop of a hat if I have to go in for u/s monitoring, IUI, etc? It's a small plus... :)

chicklet said...

-Fabulous wine and lots of it.
-Discovering how much you two can really get through together.
-Making new friends both in the real world and online, people you may never have bonded with had it not been for infertility.
-Sitting in a work meeting with your husband, knowing only you two know that he was late cuz he was sperminating, and I left in the middle cuz I was taking that sperm.
-Putting together fun "donation" kits for the hubby, taking pics of donation rooms and accupuncture - getting new stories to tell out of all of that.
-And hell, learning new things. Cuz with the IUI, we found it quite fascinating! We're dorks...

Wow, apparently there IS a silver lining cuz I could go on and on! Thanks for this first thing in the morning!

Heather said...

1. Conquering fears - I was able to give up my intense fear of getting needles. I've even learned to give them to myself!

2. Meeting crazy-ass funny IF bloggers.

Beagle said...

I can think of two:
1) I never knew what a blog was before this, so infertilitygave me blogging.

2) Infertility may have saved my life. (after all, I may have died in a plane crash if I had spent that 50K on cool vacations instead.)

May said...

- Nobody tries to nag me into baby-sitting any small cousins or nieces. Ever. Either because they believe I wouldn't know what way up to hold a baby, or because they're scared I'll steal theirs, like crazy infertile ladies are SUPPOSED to do. This used to annoy me but hey, the free time and lack of responsibilites is very nice.

- I'm doing a full-time degree and working part-time. I'm doing this because I can't get pregnant, and I need a 'the rest of my life'. And look, I get a degree out of it! How many other people get a whole degree out of their coping strategies?

- Ice-cream is apparantly good for fertility. So I eat ice-cream for my health. So there.

Adrienne said...

Silver lining for me: Communing with women (and men) who really "get" it.

PCOSMama said...

Silver lining for me - getting to be a stay at home Mom, because without all the struggle and heartache to get our children, we may not have realized just how precious this gift is and to take full advantage of enjoying it every moment possible. From the moment my daughter was born I couldn't stand the thought of being away from her so much, so I quit my job.

Oh, and I'm always able to justify baking brownies or cupcakes in anticipation of another BFN. The proceeding to sit down with a fork (or not!) and chow on them.

Kelly said...

Seeing an RE led to finally getting diagnosed with PCOS and hypothyroidism. Meds for both have helped me lose 40lbs

Anonymous said...

When the high-maintenance relatives want to stay at your place instead of a hotel, there's nothing like saying "I'm sorry, but we're trying to get pregnant and this just isn't a good time to have houseguests."

SaraS-P said...

Let's not forget that you actually appreciate how precious children are and how lucky all those complaining parents really are.

Nica said...

Silver lining (ish) - Being able to tell your kids (when you get kids) that you REALLY loved them and wanted them -- else you would not have spent $100K MAKING them

- knowing that you'll be a thoughtful and loving parent (see $100K comment above -- no one does that for the hell of it).

megan said...

if i'm running really late for work, i can always call and say that i had to stop at the lab to give more blood because hey -- it's certainly feasible! :) i save this for the rarest of occasions, but it's a nice save when i really need it.

Jenn said...

Infertility taught me you never know what you'll do or how you'll react until your actually in a particular situation. It's so easy to say, "I'd never do IVF" when you've never really had to make that choice.

Lea Bee said...

1--Airplane travel! that is one time i am not jealous of anyone with kids.

Artblog said...

I have one, more appropriate for the secondary infertile.

With a independent daughter who's nearly six we can leave her with the grandparents or aunt/uncles or even friends. When there is only one, anyone will take her for the night and even for the weekend, which means more me and husband time, which as you know, is vital when going through the stress of infertility and treatments.

I have several friends with at least two or three kids and they never go out or go on holiday together because who'd look after their large brood. They always moan about this and it's at these moments I think, ok, I'm infertile, but at least I get to go on weekends away once in a while!

bitter-sweet, but a silver lining all the same.

I loved the list almost all could apply to secondary infertility.

nycphoenix said...

You develop mad internet research skillz.

You can read medical handwriting.

My work with my RE has changed the relationship with all of my doctors. I can ask better questions and come from a more informed place.

You now have a working map in your head of the best places for chocolate in relation to the clinic. Bonus if you're on a first name basis with store staff.

Nica said...

If you have a problem with needles, you get over it.

If you have a problem with doctors, you get over it

If you have a sense of modesty/discomfort with nudity/keeping your privates private... you get over that, too. (Somewhat. Although I'm NOT sure that getting used to dozens of people viewing your hoo haa is a good thing...)

Aurelia said...

If it fails, and you don't get the first child or the second child or however many you want----you have just saved an enormous amount of money you would've spent on their college tuition.

You will always get to have 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

You will never be obligated to clean up someone else's shit, pee, or vomit. You will only have to do it if you WANT to.

You will never have to spend time in a pediatrician's office or a pediatric ER. (See above notes on vomit, etc...)

EGG and Wiggler said...

http://eggmeetssperm.blogspot.com/

My own blog post about my silver lining.

Thanks. I needed that this week.

jenna sais quoi said...

Hmmmm...

The longer it takes to get pregnant, the longer I get to hang on to my beloved (but two door) Sebring convertible.

The drugs have given me a sudden understanding of the fact that chocolate is life-altering, should become its own food group.

I have become weirdly superstitious (this is probably more of a side-effect than a silver lining!) There are robins nesting in every tree outside my RE's clinic, and doves nesting on the pillars on my front porch. For some reason, that gives me hope.