I’ve hired a scientist to watch over the babies

A few weeks ago, I found out that Lego was coming out with “female scientist” mini-figures. I’m not a huge fan of Lego, but I am a huge fan of female scientists. So, I ordered one. Because there is only one.

Don’t get me wrong, there are other females. There is Mermaid, Hollywood Starlet, Fortune Teller and Pretzel Girl. Wait! All is not lost, there is also Librarian, Zookeeper and Swimming Champion — all of whom are female.

When Scientist arrived, I needed a place to put her and next to these seemed like as good a place as any.


I bought all these babies when I was trying to create the original banner for this blog, because when you’re going through fertility treatments you’re either going to have no babies or a whole pile of babies. Your choices basically look like this:


And I know some people will be all “Jesus doesn’t make too many babies.” But Jesus doesn’t make these babies, scientists do. And scientists will be all “this is statistics, so we need to increase your odds of success by filling your body up with pre-babies, called zygotes.” It’s complicated, but that is the basic idea.

So I put my Scientist here with the babies.


According to Lego, “Thanks to the Scientist’s tireless research, Minifigures that have misplaced their legs can now attach new pieces to let them swim like fish, slither like snakes or stomp around like robots.” So, even though she looks like a chemist, she’s actually Dr. Frankenstein.

Then, I tried to order more female scientist mini-figures because one is never enough. And there weren’t any, so I ordered an androgynous-looking surgeon.  I put her next to the chemist.


Then, I realized that I’ve turned into Richard Dreyfus from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But instead of building shrines to aliens with mashed potatoes, I’m re-creating scenes from my IVF treatment using Legos.

Now we just need to name all these babies.

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Is it OK to have a few glasses of wine and tell your new boss about your vagina?

Last night I was at a welcome dinner for the new senior executive in my department. And we were having drinks. And somehow the topic got around to “birth stories.” Now, before we move on, I was not aware until very recently that there was a name for this. But there is. Thankfully. Because this is one of the most memorable experiences in life, and by that I mean traumatic. Another human is trying to rip you in half, people. You can’t forget it.

So somehow the topic got around to giving birth and the crazy stuff that happens during that time. But why just pick on that moment? Crazy stuff happens when you’re out to dinner with your new boss and people order an alcoholic beverage. Or even when they are just drinking ice tea, like the guy standing next to me.

Anyway, my point is that I got in on this action. And started telling a story about a time before my child was born, when I thought my child was being born four weeks early, and we went to the hospital to find out.

We got to the birthing center around 9 p.m., and I was told to get undressed and put on one of those drafty, over-washed, smashed up hospital gowns and lie down on the bed. Various measuring devices were put on my belly to listen to the baby’s heartbeat and try to determine if I was having an contractions. I was not. So the nurse, just to be sure, did a physical exam. And just to be clear this is a nice doctor way of saying getting fisted. Or just to be crystal clear, she put as much of her hand as possible into my vagina and felt around.

There was nothing unusual going on in there. No party. No crimes being committed. The carbon monoxide detector was not going off. All was well in that small, dark part of the world, except it was now throbbing with pain. Which by the way, the doctors don’t tell you about before it happens. They describe this as pressure. You might feel a bit of pressure. Sure. Gird your loins, someone is going to put something somewhere that it doesn’t normally go and it’s going to hurt like a mo-fo.

But that part was done. And now I could go home, and come back to the hospital when I was actually in labor. So the nurse left, and I started putting on my clothes. And then she came back just as I was putting on my bra.

“Oh sorry!” she said when she noticed that I wasn’t completely dressed. And she started backing out of the room.

“Stop! Come in. You just had your hand in my vagina, it really doesn’t matter if you see me putting on my bra.”

“Yeah, that’s right. We’re BFFs now.”

(Nurses are AWESOME!)

And that is the story I was relaying to one woman, three guys who are thankfully highly comfortable with their masculinity (that’s the best!) and my new boss. So let’s just say I can’t wait to see everyone in the office this morning. Maybe they will ask me how my vagina is doing. (It’s fine. In case you are wondering.) On the plus side, at least I remember telling them this. It would be super awkward to walk in, have someone ask you how your vagina is doing, and have no idea why they are asking. It’s happened. But that’s a whole other story.

IVF treatment: It’s just like a vacation to a foreign country, except for the fun part

I’m still making progress in the book The Complete Guide to IVF. That is a bold title, by the way. I am not sure that guide will ever be complete because this shit is complicated. And let’s be honest, the doctors don’t know everything there is to know. There is a section called “unexplained fertility” on page 7, so how complete is that?

But the author is British and a mother, so she’s an authority. If she was reading this book to me, she would have one of those clipped accents that would make me feel like everything she is saying was either funny or true. And she’s probably related to Queen Elizabeth who granted Humphrey Gilbert a patent for overseas exploration in 1578. Holy crap. Our relationship could go way back: The Gilberts and the rulers of the British Empire. This was meant to be. But I’m getting way off track.

In my defense, this is all sort of related, because while reading this book I’m learning to speak “reproductive technology” and “British.” Or English. British English?

For example, are you aware that being overweight can cause fertility problems? One woman in the book had to lose eight stone before she could have a baby. Yes. I had to look that up. And when you try to Google, “what does stone mean?” you get some answers such as “hard, solid, nonmetallic mineral matter.” Duh! I knew that! I don’t think that’s what she meant. But if you go to Yahoo you find out that one stone = 14 pounds. I’ll do the math for you. She lost 112 pounds. Holy crap! (again) So if you are carrying the equivalent of a small person’s worth of extra body weight, it might be difficult to get pregnant. I’m guessing it might be difficult to do a lot of things. And if I lost that much weight, I would definitely be bragging about it in pounds or even ounces.

And finally, and a the risk of sounding xenophobic, I wanted to mention one more thing about foreigners before you get to onto something more important like watching that cat video on YouTube. The author (on page 32 in case you want to look it up) suggests that some people prefer to have their IVF treatments in a foreign country. Really? There are lots of reasons for this including more options, better eggs, better sperm and the opportunity to pretend like this isn’t happening, because you’re on “vacation.” But I can tell you from personal experience, using a clinic in my own town, that you don’t need to travel to a far-away clinic to feel like you’re in a foreign country. But it’s good preparation for parenthood, which is like a whole other planet.

Getting pregnant could involve a small amount of drilling. No, not that kind.

In attempt to better understand my medical records, and to do what I promised at the very beginning of this whole writing mess, I bought a book on IVF. Thank you for not pointing out that I should have done this research BEFORE I went through IVF. My rationale is the following: I could have, but I’m pretty sure that it would not have affected the outcome. And side note, I was terrified. So this blog, as a reminder, is sort of like looking up at the diving board after you have jumped off. I’m going back to scare the shit out of myself, now that I know there is a happy ending.

So let’s get right to the scary stuff. Or at least to one alarming thing that I found last night while doing some medical research. Laparoscopic ovarian drilling. Holy God! What is that? The words ovary and drilling should never be part of the same sentence. Just like genital and wart. Or wet and fart. I could on, but I won’t. Drilling should be reserved for dentists and oil companies. Or, on second thought, maybe just dentists. I am for drilling to remove bad stuff, only, like tooth decay.

However, if one has polycystic ovaries, there may be some laparoscopic drilling required. Or at least it could help. I had neither. Thankfully.

But in case you are still wondering what this all means, I will share with you what I have learned. A polycystic ovary has a large number of developing eggs near the surface of the ovary. Now, if you were trying to get pregnant, I’m guessing that this would be good news. Eggs, lots of them. That is what I’m sure I would have heard if the nurse had discussed this with me. Oh, but do not be fooled my friend. All these little, cute, dressed up eggs in miniskirts are cock teases. They just hang out with their friends and never get released into the Fallopian tube.

So, what to do? Go after them with a drill, obviously; a laparoscopic one that makes small holes in the surface of the ovaries to get those bitches out of there.

Put a check mark in the “lucky miss” category for me. I’m grateful to have avoided the drill.


It’s been three weeks and no medical records. This could make me insane.

I do not have the medical records from the fertility clinic that I requested and agreed to pay for three weeks and three days ago. The form says it “may take up to 3 weeks from the date of receipt…..” I sent the request on February 19 at 15:43. We are using military time, because this is extremely serious stuff. And because that is what the fax machine uses.

So just to make sure that I’m doing this right, I just Googled it. Because that’s what I do all day. I Google things. It makes me feel like I have a cool job. At Google. And I got 125 million results in .21 seconds. That’s a record. But not a medical record, which is what I’m looking for. And I am doing this right. Because the internet knows everything.

According to all 125 million web sites, it is my right to have copies of my medical records. Ok, you’re right. I’m exaggerating. According to the first three sites that I skimmed, I have a right to my medical records, except possibly records related to mental health. Great. That was the part I’m looking for. I want to find out what happened, and if I was crazy to have kids. I know it’s too late now, but I just want to find out.

And here is what About.com says about possibly not receiving your mental health records:

If you request records that the provider or facility deems may be harmful to you, they may deny you access. These records are often mental health records. They cannot be withheld just because the provider believes they will upset you. But you can be denied if the provider thinks you will do harm to yourself because of their outcome.

Hello! Yes. The records could be harmful to me, because I could have AIDS and be on drugs according to form and I don’t even know! See, you asked me right here.

medical records

Please. Help me. I must get this information. I could die. Or be insane. Or on drugs, and I don’t even know it because it has not or will not be fully disclosed to me.



OK. That space was me calming down. I’m just going to call them today to follow up. That is a what a person who is alive, reasonable and drug-free would do. So for now, we’ll just pretend that that’s me.

Read the other posts like this:
You’ll need a form for that. And a credit card.

You’ll need a form for that. And a credit card.

I ordered my medical records last week from our former fertility clinic. Now this might sound easy, but it’s not, because it involves the medical industry.

The first thing I did was go to their web site to see if I could find the Request for Medical Records form. I could not. I think it’s because they don’t want you to know what happened to you. Or they don’t want you to switch clinics. I did both at one time, but I’ll tell you about that later. But this week I’m requesting my medical records for a second time. Yeah, that’s right. I bet you wish you could be this badass, but you’re not, so let’s move on.

I did, however, find some forms on the site that piqued my interest. There was a “baggage information” form. I totally could have used that one. I have a lot of baggage, which might explain why I waited until I was 36 years old to try to have kids. Then there was a frequent flier form. Who is traveling? The sperm? I thought they only sent that stuff FedEx. But maybe really important sperm travel First Class. No? Oh. It’s the wanna-be-parents that do the traveling and apparently the clinic also does a little side business as a travel agent. Who knew? Well, not me. See, we’re learning something already.

So I called the clinic and talked to a sweet, helpful and undoubtedly incredibly fertile 18-year-old, who e-mailed me the form right away. They must have retired their our-patients-are-idiots customer service motto that they used when I was a regular.

I printed the form and filled it out. Then I faxed it to them using our office fax machine, which always makes me a little nervous. I would hate for someone to innocently pick up the forgotten fax confirmation form only to find out that I was ordering information about whether I have AIDS (I hope not, but I am gay) and whether they found any illegal drugs in my system (Again, I hope not, but if they did that would explain A LOT). Both of these helpful pieces of information will be included with my records if I checked both boxes that are in bold and right in the middle of the form so you and all your co-workers will not miss them. And of course, I checked them!

Also according to the Request for Medical Information form, it will take three weeks for the records to be photocopied and mailed to me, and it will cost 10 cents a page. I have my credit card, ready, which is the main thing you need to have ready whenever you make a request of a fertility clinic. In fact, I would have one ready right now just in case they decide to charge us for using the word “fertility clinic.”

So, why am I requesting my medical records? Did I forget to mention that part. It’s to help me to get on with this story. What story? The one I plan to share here, starting now, and ending when I’m done telling you about the Seven Little Mexicans that started as 11 eggs retrieved from two ovaries, which became seven zygotes and resulted in two wonderful children. (Girls. Yes, girls. Why does everyone ask that question?)

It’s been a long journey. And although I was there, I’m not sure I was really there. So we are going back to this time and place together to see what we can find out. Are you with me?

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