My husband and I own a barber shop in Lawrenceville, a neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Half of our barbers and staff are girls, so they've been "in the know" since we started on this infertility journey. It also helps that these girls are some of my best friends, so I would be telling them anyway.
The other half of our staff and the majority of our clientele consists of men. And I can say it's safe to assume that these guys want nothing to do with any knowledge of my fucked up reproductive system or my hormonal imbalances. The feeling is mutual. I prefer they know nothing about it as well.
I was able to keep our fertility issues pretty quiet to our male barbers. That is, until we started IVF. After we had our nurse talk and realized how aggressive an IVF cycle is, we decided it was best to let our entire staff know what was going on.
I ended one of our staff meetings with a really awkward "Also, one more thing, sooo...umm...Michael...and I...we...we can't really...we can't really get pregnant...so...um we're going to do In Vitro..."
I explained that I was only sharing this information because our schedules would be changing. I would be at the shop a little less. Michael would have to move clients around and work weird hours to accommodate the continuously changing IVF timeline. And most importantly, if I was seen crying at work or if I snapped at any of them, it's me, not them.
They were so receptive and supportive. I was so relieved that they weren't just incredibly uncomfortable with all of the information I had just dropped on them. It was a lot. They were just happy to know that when I'm a bitch they shouldn't be taking it personally. And, they've been a really great support system to Michael, the same way the girls have been to me.
Once our barbershop family was all on the same page, we were able to all work together to cover up my absences and Michael's constant rearranging of his schedule from our clients.
My fear was an exchange something like,
Guy one: "The shop is great, but the female owner is REALLY open about her vagina and her menstrual cycle. Gross."
Guy two: "I know! Did you notice how she looks pregnant for a few weeks, then looses weight and goes back to normal? Wtf?"
This would kind of defeat the purpose of creating an environment geared toward men, where they'd be comfortable being themselves. We wanted to make sure we remained professional and didn't allow infertility to affect at least one aspect of our lives.
My husband and I also live just a few blocks from our shop, next to a really busy bar/restaurant. Needless to say, we see and live by a lot of our clients. This is great because we freaking love our clients, but the downside is that if something weird/embarrassing happens it's a little harder to hide. Luckily nothing insane had happened anywhere but inside the privacy of our own home.
Until this cycle.
On Friday night I took a bag of garbage outside. Instead of simply opening the garage door and placing the bag inside like I normally do, I set it next to our garage door. The next morning I hopped in my car and went to work, noticing nothing out of the ordinary.
When I returned home I pulled up and noticed something had ripped a hole in the bottom of the garbage bag. I was surprised to see nothing was pulled from the bag and there wasn't a mess. After I put the bag in the garage, I went around the corner to go in my front door. And that's when I saw it.
There was a large ziplock bag in the middle of the sidewalk, right in front of the bar's parking lot. As I approached the bag my heart literally fell out of my ass. There it was plain as day, a bag of my progesterone suppositories. This wouldn't be a big deal if it wasn't laying face up with my prescription label in bold.
HEATHER L. SHURINA, PROGESTERONE VAGINAL SUPPOSITORIES DIRECTIONS FOR USE: INSERT ONE SUPPOSITORY VAGINALLY TWICE DAILY
It was there ALL day, beating in the sunlight, for anyone and everyone to see. Awesome.
Welp, I guess the cat's out of the bag...or the suppository's out of the vag.