I in cyst
You know how I said I was giving my cyst perhaps a little too much input into my daily decision-making? Today it whispered most seductively, "Siiiiiign up your sister-in-lawwwwww to receive a freeeeee informationallll videoooooo about the Craftmaaaaaaaaatic adjustable beddddddddd."
Is there no end to the mayhem this thing will wreak?
The buddy system
If you've spent any time at all on infertility message boards, you are well aware of the insidious phenomenon of cycle buddies.
Cycle buddies are a group of women going through fertility procedures at the same time. They compare protocols, egg each other on in the manufacturing of symptoms, and engage in a not-so-subtle one-upmanship when discussing the dozens of eggs they retrieved or their stratospheric hCG levels.
Many of them will get pregnant. You, alas, will not.
Cycle buddies always but always have cute and cuddly names. The first part of the name is usually seasonal, temporal, or meteorological in nature. The second is often a friendly, cheerful adjective. The third is a noun of surpassing adorableness.
If you're feeling lonely and abandoned as you contemplate yet another ART cycle, don't despair. You, too, can join a group.
Tertia, this one's for you.
Three things that freak me right out
- Dermoid cysts. An ovarian dermoid cyst is "a bizarre tumor, usually benign, in the ovary that typically contains a diversity of tissues including hair, teeth, bone, thyroid, etc."
That's right. You can have teeth in your ovaries. You may not be able to make pretty eggs, but would you look at that gorgeous set of pearly-white choppers?! (I hasten to assure you and myself that the cyst that was and may still be monopolizing my right ovary is not a dermoid cyst. It may be the size of a Volkswagen, but I'm pretty sure it's boneless.)
- Ovarian drilling. It's a surgical procedure often done on women with PCOS to reduce the level of testosterone in the ovaries, the desired result being the resumption of normal ovulation. The procedure itself doesn't seem all that alarming, but the name, the name! Ovarian drilling. It had to have been named by a man. A woman would have called it something descriptive yet non-threatening like electrosurgical ovarian perforation.
Um. Okay, maybe not. But I doubt they'd call a male variant of the procedure testicular hot-wire hole-pokin'.
- Mucus plug. The very phrase makes me do a full-body cringe, complete with a shudder of disgust. I'd like to imagine that it's something tidy and clean like a bathtub stopper or one of those neat newfangled rubbery wine bottle corks. But it's not. Oh, it's not. You can see a real one if you really want to...but I assure you, you really don't.
It's the thought that counts
Please enjoy some greeting cards for the rest of us.
Games to play at camp
Pin the tail on the donkey
Apply festive tassel to end of progesterone syringe ("tail"). Blindfold player. Spin player around until dizzy enough to vomit. "Donkey" (or "jackass," as the case may be) pulls down pants and leans over, gritting teeth, bracing self bravely. Player stumbles toward flabby, half-nude target aiming for upper outer quadrant.
Winner: Player who delivers oily payload to any spot even vaguely muscular
Loser: Traumatized and bleeding lumpy-assed donkey
Players pair off and stand two steps apart on pavement, facing each other. They gently toss an uncooked egg between them. Then they each step back, and toss the egg again. Action is repeated, with players moving farther apart, until every egg has been shattered irreparably and smeared across the burning asphalt. Now-useless eggs are pronounced to be of exceptionally poor quality. Players are firmly advised to purchase more expensive eggs from younger hens for the next game.
Hide and go seek
The person chosen as "it" ("pregnant and terrified in the first trimester") stands at base, hides eyes and counts to twenty. Players ("symptoms") choose ingenious hiding places, snickering quietly at their cleverness. When the person who is "it" reaches the end of the count, she calls out, "Holy shit, I can't feel anything!" and bursts into tears. "It" then searches frantically for vanishing "symptoms," clutching her breasts, weeping, as she runs.
Winner: Any "symptoms" who make it back to base without being intercepted by hysterical, sobbing "it"
Loser: Any "symptoms" caught by "it," who then viciously and mercilessly kicks them in the ribs until they spit blood for scaring her that way
The other night I found myself transfixed by an episode of Law and Order. Actually, I wasn't truly transfixed; I was so awash in torpor that I could scarcely raise the remote control. Actually, I wasn't awash in torpor; I was immobilized by the hypnotic rhythmic bobble of Sam Waterston's head. But that's not important right now.
What's important is that I was watching Law and Order, an episode called "Scrambled." The episode opens with a woman lying conscious on a gurney, husband smoothing back her sweat-dampened hair, while an off-screen doctor's voice counts, "11...12...13...your ovaries are nice and supple."
The husband is then instructed to go "do his part" "There are magazines," the doctor kindly informs him, then returns to his delicate ovum-plucking.
We soon learn that in this elite fertility clinic, an embryologist has been killed by an intruder who has invaded the lab, conked her on the head with a tank of liquid nitrogen, and emptied a bunch of frozen embryos into the stainless steel sink.
Hilarity subsequently ensues.
As the minutes passed and the case unfolded, I found myself getting more and more incensed. I get so angry when I see the inaccuracies that riddle any dramatic treatment of infertility. This episode alone included the following egregious errors:
- Lieutenant Van Buren confides that her sister pursued fertility treatment. Detective Curtis, who is opposed to assisted reproduction, suggests, "Maybe she just wasn't meant to have a baby." Van Buren does not seize the nearest blunt instrument and cave in the side of his skull with a single powerhouse blow.
- The husband of the patient in the opening scene is lovingly soothing her instead of a) chewing his fingernails past the bloody quick; b) loudly and self-importantly fielding business calls on his cell phone in the waiting room; or c) worrying aloud about whether he'll be able to achieve erection and orgasm on demand.
The patient is a) fully conscious; b) entirely lucid; c) in no apparent discomfort; and d) not raving deliriously about the desperate crush she has on the doctor who is, even now, perforating her vagina with dozens of tiny needle holes.
- The receptionist at the top-tier fertility clinic is warm and friendly, with a comforting motherly air. One gets the distinct impression that she returns calls promptly and passes messages on accurately.
- A couple have a daughter as the result of IVF. Nine years after her birth, they appear to have recovered entirely from the emotional and financial strain.
- Briscoe works with grim determination to ejaculate into a cup. Because Jerry Orbach is a consummate actor, his penis is convincing, responding to his panicked manual blandishments with realistic sluggishness, but the cup is marked with measurements in hectares instead of the more conventional mL/cc.
Additionally, the room in which he is sequestered includes no toilet.
I don't know about you, but I demand more realism from my courtroom dramas.
How to get your husband to divorce you in one easy sentence
"I'm naming this baby Vercingetorix and there's nothing you can do to stop me."
Sing along with Julie and Paul
Five names that I can hardly stand to hear...
Julie: Hey, I thought of a good name for this kid. [Grandiose, sweeping name-in-lights-on-marquee gesture; portentous, booming tone.] Steely Dan. [Expectant look at Paul, quickly melting into a glare.]
Julie: Charlie Freak?
Julie: Josie! Peg! Aja! Rose Darling!
Paul: Babylon sisters.
Julie: Okay, okay. How about Doctor Wu?
Paul: Are you crazy? Are you high?
Julie: Wait, wait: Kid Charlemagne.
Paul: They got a name for the winners in the world. And, um, that's not it.
Julie: Call him Deacon Blues!
Paul: [Crooning.] Deacon Bluuuuues...
Julie: Oh, no! William and Mary won't do?
Paul: Congratulations. This is your Haitian divorce.
Why, you're radiant...with evil.
Last night I watched the opening ceremonies for the Athens Olympics. Well, I sort of watched, meaning I fast-forwarded at double speed. (Thank you, TiVo. You may rest now.)
I have had fever dreams more coherent than the spectacle I witnessed. Well, sort of witnessed, meaning I was also compulsively worrying at a hangnail at the time.
I looked up just in time to see the climax of one phase of the show: a young, slender woman voluptuously fonding what looked to be a bowling ball, carried at navel height. It was a bizarre enough sight that I unmuted the television, allowing TiVo the privilege of telling me what the hell was going on.
" symbolizing the hope for the future: a pregnant woman," the Canadian announcer somberly intoned.
And I watched in disbelief as the bowling ball lit up.
Paul and I couldn't decide if it was closest to 2001, Alien, or Rosemary's Baby. It was exquisitely upsetting. I am left to conclude that the future hinges either on a battery-powered translucent bowling ball, or on a radioactive demon child sending signals to the mothership from the surface of our doomed planet.
"What the fucking fuck?" the Canadian announcer somberly intoned. I heartily concurred.
The only belly picture you'll ever see on this site
You can't say I'm not a sharing person.