Things the USA has got wrong

OK, so aside from Trump (just lost a few of my readers there!!) the USA has got a few things wrong.  As I sit here in the UK on a short work trip back to my home country I realised the USA got a few things wrong, very wrong particularly when it comes to infertility.   Let me explain.

But before I do, have you ever heard of a ‘shit sandwich’ as a method for giving feedback to someone?  Briefly, a shit sandwich is where you tell someone something positive, then something negative, then something positive again.  It helps make the negative more palatable.  So here is my shit sandwich.

Things the USA has got right!

Parking for FREEEEEEE! (or very cheap and you never need change if you do need to pay).  It’s very easy where I live in Virginia to drive somewhere, anywhere random, and not have to worry about whether or not I have change for parking, or limit my time somewhere because I only had 2 quid on me at the time.  True fact.

Portion sizes in restaurants.  I can buy one meal and have a second meal for free because the portions are soooo big…it’s expected that all leftovers are taken in a ‘doggy bag’.  It is deemed rude not to take a doggy bag!  So I always order something that will taste good the next day.

Friendly customer service.  Any American reading this disagreeing with me on this point, just come on over to the UK and return a shirt you recently purchased because you changed your mind.  Good luck with that one!

Things the USA has got wrong.

Poor healthcare coverage for infertility.  In 2012 a survey showed that 46% of people with infertility did not have ANY form of healthcare insurance coverage.  And I am willing to bet that of that 46% that do, the majority of insurances will only cover testing and minimal treatment options.  Infertility IS a DISEASE.  Why is still perceived as ‘optional’?

IVF for wounded Veterans. The coverage runs out in September 2018.  WHAT??? WHY??? In 2016 congress passed a bill that allowed the veterans agency to provide cover for IVF for wounded….for TWO YEARS ONLY. WTAF. I mean what monster could have not passed this indefinitely – these people have literally gone to war for their country and can’t now build their family because their deployment caused made them infertile.  What is your beef?????

Introduction of Personhood Bills to declare when a person becomes a person without understanding the implications. Wait.  A personhood sounds pretty reasonable?  Well on the face of it, agreeing when a person becomes a person sounds like a good thing.  I am NOT going to debate here about personhood bills, but I will say that there are huge implications on infertility treatment if any of these bills pass.  Most people would believe that these bills aim to create a constitutional framework that would make abortion and embryonic stem cell research illegal.  I am not debating these issues here, they are separate.  But such legislation endangers IVF with many uncertainties over what the implications are for embryos that are created from the IVF process.  severla questions that have unclear answers if personhood bills were passed include:

  • Would women who have ectopic (tubal) pregnancies after IVF be able to receive life-saving treatment, or would the embryo’s legal rights have to balanced against hers? ITS A HARD DECISION TO MAKE WITHOUT THE LEGAL ISSUES AS IT IS…if you have been following me for a while you will know that I went through this and had to terminate my pregnancy of unknown location, suspected ectopic.
  • If one or more microscopic embryos from an IVF cycle do not develop normally in the lab or fail to result in live births after transfer (all natural events), could the physician, lab, and/or patient be criminally liable? Except for the embryos transferred in all my three IVFs – ALL BUT ONE of my embryos arrested.  That’s a whole lot of potential legal implications under personhood bills.
  • Not all frozen embryos thaw successfully. Could embryo freezing be prohibited as too risky? I’m relying on my little one frostie, but there is a 50-50 chance it won’t survive the thaw.
  • Will patients be prevented from donating their frozen embryos to research after they complete infertility treatments?  If we decide not to use our embryo or I died we agreed to donate our frozen embryo to research.
  • There are many more questions, you can read about them here on Resolve’s website here.

Things the USA has got right Pt II

Okay, so I will end this shit sandwich with something positive.

Open and progressive Ameicans.  I have found an amazing online community who are largely Americans who are willing to be open and share their story to break down the stigma and barriers about infertility.  The charity Resolve is also prevalent in the community, bringing people together to fight infertility related issues and provide support to sufferers.  When I come back to the UK I sense a lot of reservedness when it comes to infertility ,whereas I don’t find it quite that way in the US.  For that I am grateful that America is breaking down boundaries with their openness around the subject of infertility and that it is a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples.

The Legal Alien

It was almost 3 years ago that I handed in my security pass and said goodbye to my office of 7 years.  I actually shed a little tear on my way out.  I was about to leave a job that I really loved.  But a new world was calling us – we were about to move to the United State of America!

My initial contract for working overseas was 3 years, and now that we have been living here in the US for almost 3 years I have been offered an indefinite contract.  So we signed another year’s lease on our house…and unless something crazy happens, e.g. World War 3, we will be here in Virginia for another year.

I’m both excited and sad.  I’m excited because we get some time to do more travelling and keep working at the infertility treatment.  But I am sad because I miss my friends and family.

There also the more material British things that I kind of miss too…..

I miss Greggs (the bakers).  I miss their iced buns and even the sausage rolls.  People of America, your corn dogs suck in comparison.  Why have you yet to discover the sausage roll?  Someone at the New York times has realised the error of their ways and yesterday wrote an article about them.  There was a bit of interest on twitter.  But I am not sure it was enough to start a sausage roll revolution.


Will the sausage roll gain as much traction as craft beer has?  I hope so if I am going to stay here for any longer….

Christmas is coming and mince pies are top of my wish list this year.  What’s a mince pie I hear you ask?  They are beautifully crumbly pastry pies filled with juicy, spiced raisins, sultanas and dried fruits typically eaten around Christmas time.  They can be served hot or cold, eaten on their own or with Brandy butter or cream.  To be served with hot mulled wine. Mmmmmm, I’m just salivating at the thought of them.


Lastly, I am also getting a bit bored of having the same conversations over and over again! Sometimes I fake an American accent just so no one notices I am British and asks all the same questions.  This video shows the struggles…for real.

By the way, if you are an American and like British culture, the BBC American has a webpage called Anglophenia that might interest you:

You can also follow them on facebook here: they post a ‘British word a day’ which is rather amusing!

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Last chance saloon…well kind of

Last chance for natural conception

Today it dawned on me that as a result of my last cycle being shorter than expected, I am probably going to be away for a work conference right at peak ovulation time. DOH.  This is going to be our last chance to conceive naturally before we start IVF. (Yes I still have hope that we can beat the odds!)  Soooo, what’s a girl to do? I’m thinking an ice box and turkey baster will be required.  Wait.  That’s NOT natural!

I can just hope that I ovulate later than expected or have another short cycle!

OR Chis will just have to drive 4 hrs to DC and stay with me for one night and then get up super early and drive 4 hrs back before work. Ummmm, do you think I will be able to convince him to do it?? I’m pretty sure he will be not be down for that.

Love you honey!!!

Love you honey!!!

Oh well. It will be what it will be.  Nature is unpredictable anyway.

Lost blood work frustrations

When I first had all my infertility testing back in December last year, my doctor gave me TWO orders for blood work.  The first order was to test my cycle day 3 hormone, FSH LH etc.  The second order was to test for baddies that can affect the health of a pregnancy, such as HIV, Hep B & C, syphilis, in addition to having an immunity to Rubella and Chicken Pox (I’ve had these jabs, so I hope I have immunity!!) which are all a legal pre-screening requirement for IVF.  I received my results for Day 3 tests, but never saw my results for HIV etc.  I just assumed all was good, and never thought anything more of it until…..I met my IVF nurse the other month.

After much hunting, it turns out they never drew blood for my second order.  I KNOW I gave them that second order, so I am really annoyed.  It was only last month I received the bill for this blood work back in December, so I had no clue they never did the tests.  The bill I received for $500 I thought would have covered all these tests.  But it turns out it costs over $1000 for both orders of blood work!! So, frustratingly, the nurse had to send me a new order which took almost a week to get to me in the post (I forget how snail snail mail is here, I should have just picked it up from the office).

This time I went directly to the lab who does the analysis rather than to hospital to have my blood drawn.

Now, you would have thought that going straight to the specialists who take blood day in day out would be good at it.  But oh no.  Not this one.  After one vial of blood was collected with the needle still in my army, the nurse was like… “Come on….where did it go?  Why is nothing coming out? Hmmm…” as he wiggled the needle and I tried very hard not to shout out ‘OWWWWWWW THAT FRICKING HURTS!!’ Thankfully after what seemed like forever “Oh!! There’s the vein!”.  But I won’t be totally mean about this nurse.  He was entertaining, and did immediately recognise my accent and asked where in the UK I was from.  I congratulated him on his talent for recognising a British accent and we talked about how surprising it is how many people have no clue where I am from.  He even understood what I meant when I said “Cheers” as I left.  So I’ll let him off the hook.

So after all that, let’s hope I do have immunity to rubella, otherwise I am going to have to wait ANOTHER cycle to start IVF.  Now that will make me pretty mad 😐

Things I like about living in the USA

A couple of weeks ago I would have written the title of this post as “things I like about living in America”. However, I recently learned from a Canadian colleague that this is just a weird thing to say. Note, the difference…USA and America. I had no idea this was a thing. Anyway, everyday is a school day!

I’ve been thinking recently how lucky I am to be going through our infertility treatment whilst we are living in the US. Why? Well, from what I am led to believe by the UK’s National Health Services (NHS) website, we would not be going through IVF quite so soon.  Generally it takes 2 years of trying to conceive before reaching this stage of treatment (there are exceptions to this). There is also a waiting list, depending on where you live will dictate how long you may have to wait. Of course, there is always the option in the UK to go private. (££££).

But there are many other things I like…

  • The warmth here in South Virginia from April – December. I do not miss drizzly grey summer days in the UK!!
  • How grand and big everything is. Especially the National Parks. Wow. Just wow, these are so well run and looked after. The Rangers are so good.


  • County fairs. We have them in the UK too, but the ones here in the South are just something else!!! Mutton riding is all I will say!!
  • Turning right on a red light. It makes SOOOO much sense. I get a little mad at people who complain about red light cameras that catch people who don’t stop before turning on a red light. These cameras are for your safety because not every intersection (junction) is easy to navigate! Anyway…I love it, we need it in the UK.
  • Table service. Waiters and waitresses are generally excellent. I like not having to ‘get in line’ (queue) at the bar to get a drink. Sometimes service is too quick and can be annoying, eg I am just about to take my second bite of my appetizer (main course) and there is the check (bill) already on the table accompanied with a ‘no rush guys’. But in the majority, I love the service.
  • Gas (petrol) prices. It’s practically free, well in comparison to the UK.
  • Frozen yoghurt bars/shops. Yummy…I know these are getting bigger in the UK.
  • Playing sports like softball, kickball, dodgeball, volleyball, bocce ball, inner tube water polo and corn hole…








innertube water polo


bocce ball


  • Monster trucks…actually it was kind of cool once you find some earplugs.

There are many other things I like about living in the USA, but these are to name a few. We’ve been here for 2.5 years almost and we still have much to see and do, including make this baby (and if it is born here, it can have a US passport too!)!!! 


Can somebody get me a translator in here please?

We moved to the US from the UK over 2 years ago, and even now I still have awkward moments with Americans where the conversation just stops mid flow as we realise we don’t understand each other.  I’m not saying it is a huge language barrier, like it might be if we had moved to Japan, but we have had to learn a new language.  I think it is easier for us Brits to understand Americans because we watch a lot of American TV shows and films, and Americans have a harder time trying to understand us.

I thought about this issue when I was talking to my nurse about prescriptions – it can be like another language, for example a prescription is known as an Rx.  When I have asked some Americans what Rx stands for, they were unable to answer, so upon googling Rx, it turns out it originates from a Latin word – Recipe, to take.  In Europe doctors use the abbreviation Rp.  (Everyday is a school day!).  I also asked about repeat prescriptions, which is actually called a refill prescription here in the US.  The nurse was very understanding and helpful.  Finally, when I picked up my prescription the pharmacist asked for my Date of Birth, I replied “28th December (insert some ‘I am ancient’ year here)”.  Her brain did not compute this immediately because Americans say the month, day, year.  Not her fault…In the UK we say day, month, year.  Still after two years I have not got this into my head – even today as Chris was writing a check he wrote it the wrong way round!!!

So here are some words which mean very different things in each language, some of them lead to funny misinterpretations:

American = Britishamerica

check = bill

bill = note ($$)

chips = crisps

fries = chips

cookie = biscuit

biscuit = savory scone

underwear = pants

pants = trousers

broil = grill

grill = bbq

eraser = rubber

rubber = condom

faucet = tap

silverware = cutlery

first floor = ground floor

second floor = first floor

gas = petrol

trunk = boot

jelly = jam

jello = jelly

pudding = not pudding!!! Angel delight?