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.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Blog Roundup

I hit an interesting roadblock in my attempt to lose weight without actually making any drastic changes (we'll see how successful I am in the end), namely, one cannot drink two liters of water on the first day of their period. In fact, one cannot even drink a liter on top of her normal coffee consumption (which is a must because one cannot have a headache and cramps). By "one" I mean "me" and by "can't" I mean that I was so bloated that I felt like all I could manage that day was to lie on my side and moan. Like this:



And if I wasn't drinking water, I figured I might as well throw the whole thing out the window so I ate ice cream for three days and now I'm back at square one. Lesson learned.

My jeans actually are fitting differently. All I am doing is (1) eating healthier snacks such as apples or grapes rather than...oh...let's say my usual chocolate chip cookie, (2) drinking two liters of water a day, (3) making sure one meal is a salad or is mostly salad, and (4) still not exercising. This non-diet, non-exercise weight loss plan takes into account that I have no time in my day, no money to take a class or join something like Weight Watchers, and am a vegetarian who loves carbs. Oh--actually, let me restate. I'm a picky vegetarian who prefers white rice to brown, yellow potatoes over sweet potatoes, and generally aims for the unhealthy choice.

I'm letting myself have a small treat in the evening. And I'm staying away from processed foods as much as possible. So I'm letting myself have all the fruits and vegetables I want and not depriving myself of my beloved carbs. And seeing if this is enough to get me down two pants sizes by the end of August. I'm guessing not. But we'll see. I'd rather have it take longer but make me feel less unhappy. I guess that's what this is--I'm not really willing to torture myself into eating things I don't like to eat nor depriving myself too much, but still know that I need to do something to stop the weight gain. And so far, I've succeeded in making the jeans fit better.

I'm just trying to figure out the period roadblock since mine comes every 21 days...

On Tuesday, Paz and I grabbed lunch at Cosi. She brought me the most amazing cupcakes (and just to reiterate, the cupcakes fell during my period days so it's not like I fell off the wagon and then fell off again. I just fell hard and then writhed on the ground for a while in a cupcake-and-ice-cream stupor). Eating cupcakes on a random day just may be one of the most indulgent things ever.

Paz said something brilliant about reading infertility blogs. After many losses, she has a boy who is now a little over two. They are probably done having children. By all intents and purposes, she said that it's strange to think of herself as infertile because she is not actively adding to her family, therefore, her fertility status shouldn't matter.

But think of herself as infertile, she does.

She mused that it must be similar for cancer bloggers who step into a world of support and eat, drink, and breathe information and stories all day long. And then one day, they are well, but they don't know where to go because they neither fit with their old community members who are still struggling nor do they fit with the healthy, carefree communities. This is the world that they know that became a part of who they are.

I think it is hard to imagine that you'll still need the support even if you resolve your infertility and/or become a parent, but need it, some do (what is up with my sentence construction today?).

Because even after the problem is "solved," the memory of all that came beforehand is not erased. I have to imagine that a similar thing happens to cancer bloggers, since even when cancer is eradicated from the body, it isn't eradicated from the memory. It still remains like an imprint, a consideration. Is this just a random pain, or a clue that something has returned? Is this nothing--just as everyone has anxiety-inducing nothings from time to time--or is this something? Because I'm not sure you will ever fully relax after having that experience. And I see the same thing happen even after family building is done. That infertility imprint that shows itself in differences--not in parenting, but in viewpoint. We both agreed that while we had a lot of friends who were not infertile, there is something easy about making friends with someone else who has the same "me too."

The Weekly What If: What if you could either make everyone else happy (as in, everyone would walk away from an interaction with you incredibly happy, but you would be neutral to miserable) or yourself happy (as in, everyone would walk away from an interaction with you neutral to miserable, but you would always be happy), which would you choose? And "happy" is a relative term. It's sort of a "if you had one last cookie and either you could eat it and enjoy it or give it away to someone else who would eat it and enjoy it, would you" except that it's 100% of the time instead of a one-time deal.

And now, the blogs...

I want to preface this by saying that I wasn't just drawn to this post due to the mention of turkey vultures (though I do have a tremendous love of turkey vultures), but Elm City Dad had a post about the nows and the nexts, and of course, at its heart, missing his son. It contains this gorgeous thought: "Is there a way to un-hope for something? If so, I’m living it. So now I don’t do hope. I just do givens, realities, nows." This is grief laid bare. This post is beautiful and moving.

Bugaboo Envy had a post about the grouchiness that is overtaking her at the moment. And while the impulse behind it, the sadness, is decidedly unfunny, there is still comedy in the image of the playskool car barreling down the hill. The evil work of the grouchy infertile.

Adventures of Tader Baby had a brief post about moving that made me cry. She writes: "This is the house David gave me injections in so I could get pregnant with the boys. This is the house we brought our babies home to." You can't help but think of your own home and what has gone on or not gone on between the walls. Wish them an easy move.

Lastly, Barren Albion had a post about what makes a life remarkable. The post begins with a slideshow of past relatives and rather be interested in the concrete details of a person's life (they were married to Y, they worked at X), she wanted to more about...them. Who they were, what made them unique. She writes: "I think too many people get caught up in the notion of major accomplishments, and not so much on the minutiae that actually makes a person interesting." It is not only a beautifully written post, but it gives you a moment to consider what people on newer branches of your family tree will say about you after you're gone (hopefully, my niece's great-grandchildren will remember me for my cakes, especially my vanilla latte icing). Leave her a comment stating how you wish to be remarked upon after death as well as how you'll remember her.

The roundup to the Roundup: how do you drink enough water to stick to the plan when you are bloated beyond belief? Paz's musings on where you stand within this community once you've built your family or resolved your infertility. Answer the Weekly What If and lots of great posts to read. See you back here on Saturday night where I will be showing off something pretty.


battynurse said...

I think that I have a similar idea of diet that you do. Except I'm not a vegetarian. But I do love my carbs. Especially potatoes which is probably one of my favorite things.
For the weekly what if? That's hard. It's hard to think about interactions where only one person can be happy. I admit that I would hope I would be the happy one but with my past history of being a pathological people pleaser I have a feeling I'd end up going the other way. It just makes me nuts if people are unhappy with me.

Jill said...

ooo that what-if is hard! My original thought was that I wanted to be happy first and foremost, but when I think of my past behavoir, I think I would choose to make other people happy. I guess that's just my nature!

Jennifer said...

I use midol sp bad sorry have not been to bed yet hehehe for the blotting and it lets me still get the water I need. Being in Arizona water is a must lol

bunny said...

thank you for the "shout-out" I love the recognition, but mostly I am relieved that the humor was clear, too. a lot of this journey for me is so ridiculous that it is like laughing through tears.

happy weekend!

Carrie27 said...

I'm so glad you touched on where parenting after IF "fits" in. I may not be in the trenches of IF, but I feel it still every day. Not only is it a memory, but as each month passes and my period does not show, it makes me sigh.

I often feel like I'm on a tightrope teetering between sides. Where do I belong?

WiseGuy said...

Mel, did you visit Bodhi Ekah's blog ( check out:

Can there be some stand taken about that?

Emmy said...

I am on a similar weight-loss plan, but with a bit of trying to be more active in my everyday life- parking far from where I'm going, taking the stairs, etc. I also had a set back with my period last week. I'm also trying to take food off of my plate after I get dinner ready to serve.

Have you tried any natural diuretics to help with water/bloat? I often find I can drink more water when I squeeze a bit of lemon in it to help me pee!

chickenpig said...

Hmmm....sound like Yoda you do...To the darkside you have been and back, but infertile you still be.

Cancer and infertility are a fairly good analogy. However, infertility can't kill you. Crush the will to live out of you, perhaps, but not kill you. My mother was fighting skin cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes when I was undergoing my first round of IVF. There was no question that I was more concerned about my mother's ability to fight the cancer than I was about my chances of getting pregnant. I feel like I will always be an infertility survivor, as my mother is a cancer survivor.

eden said...

What happens when you are not facing either infertility or cancer (well, hopefully) anymore? What does one blog about then?!


There is a saying, in the meetings I frequent - "Life on life's terms." This is what we are all facing, whether we are aware of it or not.

Sending you a virtual cupcake.


Bluebird said...

Great, thought provoking post today. The "what to do after IF question" immediately made me think of how there are stages to life. Right now, DH are in limbo. Our social circle is other childless couples, but many have moved on; of course, we're waiting to make that transition. But there's something bittersweet about always transitioning; always moving. There must be some constant, some stability. . . in my life I find that stability more with my family than with my friends, but it would be nice to have a little of each.

As for your question - can I chose to make everyone else happy and still not be *sad* myself? I can deal with not being happy so long as I'm not sad - there's a huge stetch between those two!

serenity said...

Now see, that's weird. Because on day one of my period, when I drink as much water as I need to, the bloat actually lets up.

(Tho I confess that two days before my period I had gained a LOT of weight. Such that I actually lost THREE FULL POUNDS on CD1 with the wather drinking and stuff.)

To your conversation with Paz, I do agree that infertility has shaped ME, personally, forever. And yes, I do think of myself sort of as an IF survivor.

But. Maybe it's because our primary cause of IF is male factor infertility, I can't say it's the same as being a cancer survivor. For me, it's more that we had to go through a lot of doctors and tests and surgery to bring home our son. And if we want to do it for a second, we'll have to do the same things. It's a KNOWN. It's not like cancer, which could pop up again ANYTIME in the future.

Because when we're done with building our family? I am hoping that it'll fade back into the background, into a past experience. Which brought me my son, some good friends, and empathy for people for which having babies isn't as easy as having sex.

Throughout the whole struggle to even get pregnant, I kept telling myself that I am more than IF. Yes, IF is one facet of me, but really I can't be defined by it.

It's really a good metaphor for it, though. And I do agree that, for me, it's MUCH easier to become friends with someone who confesses "it took us a really long time to get pregnant" than someone who calls herself a "planner." Just because the former was my experience, and I KNOW what it's like to be there. Common ground and all.

S said...

Just want to say two things. First, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, you will actually feel LESS bloated eventually if you can keep the habit of drinking two liter of water a day. It's hard to form that habit, though. Glad your efforts to be healthier are working.

Second, the "Weekly What If" question. I would opt to make everyone I meet happy. . . not because I'm so altruistic and giving, but because if everyone who encounters you leaves feeling happy, eventually that is going to result in a net benefit to you. Karma.

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

I'd have to pick the making others happy option. With the hope that by their happiness, I'd usually feel happy as well. :)

Baby Steps said...

I love your dieting plan. I always have to use similar techniques. It just isn't possible for me to go on an all out diet & exercise binge without eventually going overboard and bingeing on sweets and treats!

For the what if: my first response was that I'd rather leave people feeling happy. But then I realized it would suck pretty bad to be unhappy after interactions with everyone in my life.

I realized, though, that it's a bit of a conundrum: knowing I was having a positive influence on others, I couldn't help but feel a little happy afterwords. And if I left people feeling miserable after every interaction, it seems a little bit of that misery would seep into me.

luna said...

I have the same approach to non-dieting as you (though I do eat me some brown rice and sweet potatoes). haven't been able to commiserate on the forums lately. I agree about cupcakes. mmm, cupcakes. I bet you make some delicious ones too. what's this about vanilla latte icing? I think I just drooled...

er, what was that you were you saying about dieting?

you're right about the imprinting. I feel like I will always be an infertility and loss blogger in some respect. even if I move to adoption and parenting. there is always that lens through which I see the world and my own place in it.

Best When Used By said...

How to get 2 liters of water down? "Make" a glass of water by using 80-90% water and 10-20% cranberry juice. Tastes better, goes down easier, and good for you without too many calories.

As for the "What If" - Usually, when I make others happy, it makes me happy. The converse is not always true (in fact sometimes when I make myself happy, I realize it was at the expense of someone else's happiness). So I choose the option of making someone else happy. Unless, of course, we are talking about the Lottery.

Fertilized said...

Good luck with your diet. I personally think it's an excellent sounding diet that makes sense.

I understand the No Longer Infertile, but Infertile none the less statement

Cassandra said...

Carry a bottle around, and sip sip sip.

Lisa said...

Here's what I do to make my water more interesting: add things like citrus slices or TruLemon/TruLime powder. Add sugar-free flavored syrups to club soda. Count herbal & decaf teas.

Re defining yourself as "infertile" ---- I've been wondering whether I can still claim that myself, given that we're in the process of resolving by embarking on child-free living. How long "am" I *that thing*? Still infertile till I officially hit menopause? Infertile for life? Can I be infertile if I'm preventing (insert a snort at the funny notion that preventing is necessary) and definitely not TTC? Part of me would like to get on with thinking I "was" infertile.

Geohde said...

Every 21 days? I don't know if thats better than either always spott ing or twice a year, but those are the options I've got of you ever want to trade. ALso, I could never drink that much water, but the coffee? Oh yeah!


Mr. Shelby said...

Man, this what if is a hard question for me. I go out of my way to make others happy, even if it is, at times putting my own happiness in jeopardy.

Part of me wants to chalk it up to the "good of the many outweigh the good of the one" but what a sucky life that would be.

beagle said...

Off topic:


Lollipop Goldstein said...

So then here's a question: does iced tea count as part of your "8 glasses a day" water intake? I've been separating out the coffee intake from the water intake (so actually drinking something closer to 3 liters of liquid a day which is why I am always in the bathroom. Always).

Oh, and just to clarify: Paz was comparing IF blogging to cancer blogging: not IF to cancer. Meaning, in both situations, you enter a supportive community, but the situation comes to an end (hopefully). In which case, does the community support come to an end too?

And Beagle and Mrs. Spock got the book! SHRIEK!!!

MrsSpock said...

Iced tea counts as your fluid. Tea has much less caffeine than water. Soup counts too. And does juice and milk. But still get most of it from water.

I was SO excited to get the book.

Interested in doing the 30-day Shred? It's $9 on Amazon.

Paz said...

So many things to say!
1. SORRY about the cupcakes, perhaps not the best gift. Well, thebest yes, but maybe not the wisest.
2. Sun tea? That stuff goes down easy!
3. That What if is impossible! I chose that others walk away happy after being with me, because other than this What If, we have no control over others. So, they are happy and they keep coming back, then I can take care of my own happiness.
4. Maybe it is just that my IF is recent history that it still fills my being? Maybe one day I'll stop thinking about it every time I see a pregnant woman (was it easy for her, I hope so), or cringing at those 'we are 7 weeks pregnant' announcements, remembering all the losses... or longing for another. In the grand scheme of things, it didn't take us all that long to log in 7 pregnancies with one take-home live baby — but starting at age 42...well, the years squandered were likely my last ones. I think about when/if my son gets married, will they go through what we went through trying to have children?

And so it continues to follow me long after I am livin' the life myself.

But, I count myself lucky. I am cancer survivor and an infertility survivor...and a mom.

bleu said...

With cancer I personally found that after all was done and I was better I had the term "survivor" to identify with and find others who understood.

I think in IF maybe we need that term for still discussing after, but the thing is how to define it could get tricky.

Just a thought.

jenn said...

Just wanted to let you know that the mass water consumption does get easier. When I first started doing it I felt like I was sticking a hose down my throat and becoming a human water balloon, but now its sorta easy and I don’t even have to think about it. And, as a bonus alot of that bloat has gone away during the first few days of AF.

Leah said...

Water is evil. Drink Diet A&W Root Beer. That stuff is like nectar from the Gods.

I might have peed myself a little laughing at the visual of you "writh[ing] on the ground for a while in a cupcake-and-ice-cream stupor". That's some funny shit.

As for the What If question... I would eat the cookie. I would eat the hell out of it and be giddy about it. I've spent much of my life trying to make others happy, and now a little Me Time is in order. So I'd pick the happy person to be ME. And unlimited cookies would make me go, "wheeeeeeeeeeeeee".

Despite the fact you seemed to be channeling Yoda with your thoughts (talk funny, you do), I agreed 110% with Paz's thoughts on the whole once-an-infertile-always-an-infertile concept. I have 2 kids, so clearly I'm not infertile anymore. I got pregnant 4 times, twice without the aid of ART, so apparently I'm not purely infertile. I had 2 miscarriages, but it takes 3 to be considered in the RPL club. However, I have no doubt that I am an Infertile. I always will be. My struggles are over, my joys are limitless, and my contribution to the IF community is just about nil, but I have the wounded, mangled heart of a veteran infertile. Always will.