Hilariously Infertile by Karen Jeffries (Book Excerpt)

Chapter 1

My Name is Karen and I am Infertile

Hello Ladies!  (Oh and hello to the few “supportive” men who were bullied into reading this book).  I am infertile and no one likes to talk about it.  If you are infertile, you are not alone.  Let me start at the beginning, I was born on…HA!  Just kidding, that book would suck.  No, let’s start at the other beginning.  Soon after we were engaged, my husband and I moved in together in the fall of 2009.  My husband, John, proposed after we jumped out of a plane together.  Yeah, we are those cool people.  We were married in August of 2010.  I had no plans of starting a family anytime soon.  I told people, including myself, that I wanted to wait until I was thirty-five to start “trying.”  Well, I am turning thirty-four in a week and I have a dog, two kids and a house in the suburbs, so that “plan” sure as heck went to hell in a handbasket and fast.

We went to pick up our dog in June of 2010.  That was when the motherhood juices really started flowing.  We were towards the end of our engagement; the wedding was right around the corner.  Brady, our Australian Labradoodle love of our lives, was the perfect thing for us.  I tell people that Brady is my first-born child.  I truly believe that he thinks I pushed him out of my vagina, and. to be honest. if you saw the way we spoon each other at nighttime, you would think so too.

I trained Brady over the summer.  I would play with him on the floor of our living room because he was too little to jump onto the couch.  Then, he would fall asleep on my lap for two hours and I would be stuck there, on the living room floor, under my sleeping puppy.  When he awoke, I would carry him on my hip, like a child, to my elevator and take him for a walk.  If I did not carry him, he would pee a little in the elevator.  When I did carry him, he would pee a little on my shirt and make it look like I was a lactating mother, but I didn’t mind.  Brady was my child.

I had a little bag of training treats attached to my pants and a clicker to house train him.  Once, in the elevator, someone asked me if I was the dog trainer.

“Oh no,” I said, “I’m just neurotic about training him.”

When he went for his first haircut, which turned out to be a disaster, I cried for two days straight.  John called the dog salon and made them refund us the money because he could not listen to me sob about Brady’s hair any longer.  Brady was my child.

We were a very happily married couple.  I liked being married and not having kids.  Brady was plenty for me.  I liked living in NYC and getting drunk on the weekends.  I really liked sleeping in late and ordering bagels delivered.  Then, when the sun got to the right spot in the sky, I really liked ordering wine delivered and starting the whole cycle over again.  It was perfect.  I did not need kids.  However hearing John tell Brady, “Go get Mommy,” totally made those Mommy emotions twinge.

In June of 2011, my best friend told me she was pregnant.  A few weeks later, my sister told me that she was pregnant.  Correction, I told my sister that I thought she was pregnant – we will get to that.  Regardless, that is when I started getting the “pregnancy bug.”

What is it?  Why is it that when women get pregnant and have babies it makes other women want to get pregnant and have babies?  Why?  It’s not as if they have a Louis Vuitton purse and I, too, would like one.  Well, let’s be real, I’m a school teacher.  So in my case, it would be more as if they have a Michael Kors purse and I, too, want a Michael Kors purse.  (To the five men who were bullied into reading this book please pause and ask your bully what that means…you back?  Great!)

My best friend, who we are going to call Shamecha because that name is awesome, and I were on our way to a bridal shower for another friend.  She wanted me to come to her apartment and drive to the bridal shower together.  She was insistent on this.  I could not understand why.  It was not making sense.  We kept texting back and forth about it and finally I gave in.  I pulled into the parking lot of her apartment.  We moved her car so that I could park mine in her spot.  I was putting my bridal shower present in the back of her car when I saw a CVS Pharmacy bag full of pregnancy tests and tampons.

“Uhhh, are you pregnant?”  I asked, positive that the answer would be no.

“Yeah, I am,” she said.  “And you’re messing this all up, we were supposed to drive together and I was supposed to tell you in the car, but now you saw the bag and, yeah, I’m pregnant!”

She had the biggest smile on her face.  “OH MY GOD!!!!” I squealed, as I gave her a huge hug.  We talked about her pregnancy and the way she felt the whole way to the bridal shower.  Once we got to the shower, we were surrounded by things that she could not eat or drink: coffee, mimosas, soft cheese, and the list went on.  After the shower, we drove to Barnes and Noble and I bought her a number of pregnancy books to read because neither one of us knew what to do when you are pregnant.

A few weeks later, my sister called me just to talk.  My sister, who was married that April, went off the pill at the end of May.  It was June.  She started telling me about all of these random symptoms she was having and how she was sure that she was going to get her period any day now, but how it had not come yet.

“What type of symptoms?”  I asked her suspiciously.

“Well, like, my boobs hurt, a lot.  I’m tired.  I don’t know.  I just want these symptoms to go away and my period to come already,” she said.

My sister, who is perfectly balanced equal parts smart/not smart, did not know what was happening.

“Kate, how long have you had these symptoms?” I asked, as if I was asking a student about missing homework.

“Umm, well, for about two weeks now, I think,” she said in her not smart talk.

“Kate, your period is not going to come you dumb fuck, you’re pregnant!” I said.

“No, I really don’t think so,” she tried to convince me.

After significant back and forth, she agreed to go buy some pregnancy tests.  She called me back two hours later.

“Umm… so, I think I’m pregnant,” she said.

“You think?  What does that mean, you think?”  I questioned aggressively.

“Well, I took two pregnancy tests and they both came back positive, so I think that means I’m pregnant,” the not smart part of her continued.

“You think that means you’re pregnant?  Kate this is not a ‘you think situation.  You are freaking pregnant!”

“Yeah, I am,” she conceded.

My sister’s pregnancy went off without a hitch – kind of – we will get to that. My best friend’s pregnancy, however, was not on the same track.

Shamecha suffered a miscarriage eight weeks into her pregnancy.  She was devastated and so was I.  I was so excited for her to be pregnant.  I had been checking in on her every day to see how she felt.

It was June, Field Day.  All teachers hate Field Day, except for the PE teachers who run and organize it.  Prior to the invention of black workout pants, Field Day was actual torture.  Let’s take all these women who do not know what to wear, and put them onto a field so they can awkwardly sweat through their shirts and pants.  Nothing says “school spirit” like bra and crotch sweat.  Shamecha did not technically have to partake in Field Day.  I walked into her room that morning.

“How are you feeling today?” I asked with a smile.

“Weird,” she said.

“But like normal weird right?” I asked.

“No, not normal weird.  I feel very crampy,” she said as she looked up at the ceiling and fluffed her hair away from her face with both hands.

“Well, cramping is normal this early on, isn’t it?”  I asked, not even thinking about the alternative.

“I think so, but this feels different.  I’m taking a half-day and going home,” she said.

“I’m sure it’s nothing, but good.  You should.  Go rest.  I’ll call you after work.”  I smiled and left her room, thinking nothing of it.

That afternoon my grade level was hosting a First Grade Orientation meeting for parents of current kindergarten students who would be in first grade in September.  It was a meeting to explain the expectations of first grade to them, which they did not believe, understand, nor respect.

After the meeting, I got in my car to drive home.  I saw a missed call from Shamecha, and, instead of listening to the voicemail, I just called her right away.  She did not pick up.  I left a message complaining about Field Day and the orientation meeting.  Then, I checked the message that she left me as I was getting on I-95 south.

“Hey, it’s me,” she started, “so I had a miscarriage.  I’m okay.  I’m going home.  I just wanted you to know.”

I gasped aloud.  My heart sank to my stomach.  I started breathing heavy; tears were welling up in my eyes, making driving nearly impossible.  I called her back immediately.  I left yet another voicemail apologizing profusely for not listening to her message first, and for not being able to pick up the phone in the first place because of my stupid first grade meeting.  I drove the whole way home to the city with foggy, cloudy, tear-covered eyes.  When I got home, I cried into my labradoodle pillow, and then worse when we actually spoke on the phone that night.

Her miscarriage hit me hard.  How could my best friend, and a perfectly healthy girl, suffer a miscarriage?  If it could happen to her, could it happen to anyone?  This was all new to me, but it scared the shit out of me.  I wanted to start “trying” to get pregnant with my husband, and why not pull the goalie?  (Pull the goalie is a colloquial term meaning to go off the pill that had been preventing me from getting pregnant for about ten years.) I was in no rush to get pregnant.

The whole subject of “trying” to get pregnant is such a hoax.  Any woman who is “trying” to get pregnant, or doing the whole, “we are just not stopping it from happening anymore,” is full of shit.  The second a woman starts, “trying,” to get pregnant she officially wants to be pregnant.  The minute she takes her first pregnancy test and it is negative, but she was hoping it would be positive, her mind is made up.  She wants to be pregnant and she wants it – yesterday.


Karen Jeffries, author, Hilariously Infertile, is a fourth grade dual language teacher outside of New York City. She loves to spend time with her family and apply numerous layers of face cream, due to her recent realization that she is on the slippery slope to turning forty. More than anything Karen hopes to help other women through their infertility treatments, one laugh at a time.  Visit https://store.bookbaby.com/book/hilariously-infertile.

  1. One Response to “Hilariously Infertile by Karen Jeffries (Book Excerpt)”

  2. Bravo. Love this. Thank you for your humor and candor.

    By Marina Paleos on Jun 19, 2019