acronyms

Yesterday was exciting. I finally figured out what BFN stands for: Big Fat Negative, as in “my heart was aflutter with anticipation as I peed onto the pregnancy test stick, but it was a BFN.”

I’ve been lurking on the infertility discussion boards and blogs for a few months. The following is the personal introduction of a typical poster:

Me: 30, long cycles, irregular ovulation
DH: 29, perfect
7 yr old boxer

10/08 – off the pill
10/09 – first round 100 mg clomid, timed BD, canceled, too many eggs
12/09 – timed BD 50 mg clomid
1/10 – timed BD 5 mg femera
3/10 – timed BD 5 mg femera
6/10 – IUI 5 mg femera

I worked briefly for the Census in the spring of 2009 and was struck by my higher ups’ insistence that we call our hand held computers, used for address canvassing, HHCs instead of handhelds. One supervisor would be sure to work a Census-specific acronym into each sentence, even if it didn’t make sense, as in, “we have to plan in advance so this gets done JIT [just in time].”

Some acronyms are useful, particularly when the acronym itself has onomatopoeic qualities, like SWAT. But why do you need to replace a three letter word, like sex, with a two letter acronym, BD (baby dance), that stands for a phrase several times longer than the word it replaces?

I admit I felt deeply satisfied when I began to crack the code. Nothing beats writing sentences like, “CD 14, after 2nd IUI, not feeling the FV and expecting BFN,” and imagining the waves of confusion rippling through maternity wards across the city.  [Translation: Cycle day 14, after 2nd intrauterine insemination, not feeling the fertile vibes and expecting big fat negative.” ]

Maybe using intentionally confusing language keeps out the voyeurs. But honestly, who else but those of us who think about this crap all the time would spend hours every day reading about other people’s follicles?

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