Wednesday, April 26, 2006

6 Things Meme

Sunny Jenny tagged me with this meme so I'll play. I've been sticking only to the theme at hand here on this blog, but why not take a little break.

So here are...

Six Interesting Things about Me

1) I once read in a dumb women's magazine that if you weren't fat by the age of 30, you'd never be fat. I never forgot that dumb "fact." And I always wonder if I should test the theory with some, you know, delicious treats on a very regular basis. But then I can't bring myself to do it. Ahhh! It's true!

2) At parties I often find myself talking to/playing with the kids instead of interacting with the adults. They're often times more real. And more interesting. And I don't feel shy with them.

3) I stopped consuming all artificial sweeteners about 5 years ago because they scare me. It was after I had a very large diet soda and then tasted a sweet "aftertaste" about 7 hours later. I thought, oh my god, these chemicals cannot be innocuous.

4) I made my close friend promise that if ever I was in a coma she would pluck out my chin hairs regularly so that other people wouldn't see them. (No, I don't have PCOS - it's just a few regular ol' genetic whiskers. Attractive. I know.) I promised to do the same for her. Wherepon she told me I should also pluck her nipple hairs for her.

5) Part of me wishes I would have become a doctor like my dad. It's not a major regret, just a recurring thought. More and more often as I get older and find myself hyper-interested in medical issues and wishing I knew more and had more solid scientific background. My cousin thinks I should go to medical school. (I would be a first-year resident at like, age 45. Not impossible but... also not sane.)

6) I sometimes have creative ideas or am able to solve problems I couldn't solve before, right when I'm waking up. Sometimes I try to stay in that "just waking up" state for an extended time for this reason.

Well, I think everyone's been tagged by now, so I'll just say, grab this meme if you feel like it and tell us about yourself... after all, TTC and IF issues are only part of each of our lives.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Reproductive Semantics

I thought I would bring this very insightful thought from Comment Land onto Front Page. The famous and ever-supportive Soralis brings up a very good point regarding the semantics used in the IRS (and apparently Canadian as well) tax forms. Read the previous post for context.

Soralis Wrote:
I just had to say something about the Fertility Enhancement... I think it is really bad that it's called enhancement, makes people believe that we are improving on something that actually works. (I got a letter from our provincial health minister and she reffered to it as fertility enhancement and said it wasn't covered because it wasn't medically necessary.)

Soralis, you raise an excellent point pertaining to the semantics. It absolutely should be thought of as medically necessary and should be covered by insurance. And now that I think of it, "enhancement"... sort of does imply that it's just making something that works even better - like that messed-up assumption that all IVF folks are TRYING to "get twins" or whatever. (And "enhancement" on its own actually makes me think of breast augmentation or something... hmm...)

That being said, I am a steadfast believer in the power of positive thought. I like to think (of myself and of the world around me) in positive terms rather than negative. That's why the term appealed to me. Of course, I do need some professional scientific expertise to (hopefully) make things happen and plan to use all tools available to me to do it.

But you are so right. We all really should become activists to a certain degree. Speak out, write letters and be heard, like you have done. Fertility issues are so private and so painful, we often want to forget about all of it as soon as we can (regardless of outcome). But perhaps we owe it to our sisters (and the men and women who love them) who will follow us to call for change in health care policy. To not be ashamed and step up. Thank you for (inadvertantly) making me realize I have a responsibility to do something. I'm not quite sure yet what or when, but you've got me thinking.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

ART is Tax Deductible

You probably already know this but I did not until yesterday. Save all your receipts for IVF - it is all tax deductible. The doctor's bills, the meds, car milage (only .22/mile but every bit counts), travel & lodging, etc. (Actually, it appears that any medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance are deductible, but it's nice to know they don't EXCLUDE fertility stuff.)

Here is the IRS's Publication 502 Medical and Dental Expenses (Including the Health Coverage Tax Credit) 2005

And this is the particular paragraph:

Fertility Enhancement
You can include in medical expenses the cost of the following procedures to overcome an inability to have children.

- Procedures such as in vitro fertilization (including temporary storage of eggs or sperm).

- Surgery, including an operation to reverse prior surgery that prevented the person operated on from having children.

Just thought I'd post in case there was someone else out there as clueless as me. ;) That's why I have an accountant. I don't think I would have thought of disclosing this information to him had I not been aware.

i think Fertility Enhancement is a much nicer way of thinking about it. Better than Infertile or Subfertile. And possibly more accurate in many cases.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Update: Ovu-LATE-shun

Well whaddaya know. So the last few mornings I've taken my BBT and there was no rise whatsoever. Then, this morning (CD 17-unheard of for me) I presented with abundant, stretchy CM. So I tested LH again and lo and behold it was a very dark positive. So I guess I hadn't ovulated a few days ago and my body is trying again. I suspected this might happen. Will continue to test BBT to see if there's a rise.

(Note: The Hubs and I did the deed today but didn't use the pasteurized eggwhites this time. Maybe we'll go for it again tomorrow. So... what was already a wholly unscientific experiment with no controls : Can Eggwhites Up Your Cooter Help You Get Knocked Up Even When You Know It's a Friggin' Retarded Idea? is even further tainted. All I know is that I am SO ready for our first IVF cycle approximately 17 or 18 days from now.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It's Eggie Time!

Yes it's Easter time, and yes, I am into counting my antral follicles and such, but I am not referring to either of those. No, fair readers, this time I am referring to the pasteurized eggwhites I shot up my cooter this afternoon.

As you all know, we were postponed from IVF this cycle because of a cycst that I managed to develop even while on BCPs. Which is supposed to be nearly impossible. So, what the hell, why not try the mythical eggwhite as sperm-friendly lube and great medium for spermular travel this cycle? The Easter Bunny would be proud, no? And as we are labled with Unexplained Infertility, we deserve to do stupid things on long weekends. Sue us.

Now mind you, I normally have very nice, clear signs of ovulation each month on day 13, 14, or 15: abundant CM, LH predictor kit cooperatively giving me the only pink line I ever get to see. This month, though, having just come off BCPs and having a big ol' cyst on Leftie, things seem a bit less predicable. In fact, with no CM to speak of, I figured I wouldn't be ovulating this month at all. Ah well. We're scheduled for IVF next month anyhow, assuming cyst is gone.

My current cycle looks like this: no detectable CM and the LH seemed to rise during the past few cycle days - 12, 13 and 14 - (darkest yesterday afternoon but still not "positive") but then I detected NO LH AT ALL today which is CD 15. So I figured hey, maybe I missed detecting the actual surge sometime yesterday and today is O day. Why not give it a go. Clearly we've got nothing to lose.

So, I took a baby medicine dropper, pictured above, cleaned it thoroughly with very hot soapy water. Then, I opened a brand-new container of the organic, pasteurized egg whites* (also pictured above) and sucked some up. Then, I let it sit in the dropper for about 15 min to warm up. Then, I lay on the bed and squished it in. Ok. A bit weird, but so far so good.

Luckily, the Hubs works from home. So I intercommed into his office (in the garage) and invited him to horizontal mombo. He replied, "Um, uh... hon... you told me earlier that you thought you weren't going to ovulate this month." I was like, "Yeah, I'm probably not ovulating, but there's a small chance I might be, so why not." He was like, "Ummm... I... well, I kinda released a few hours ago." And now, friends, we all know why the Hubs likes working at home! LOL!

But he is a trooper and so said, "Hey, let's give it a go. I don't know how much I've got in there, but it only takes one, right?" You gotta love the guy. And he ain't 19, either. He's 35. So all respect going out to the Hubs and his refractory period today! Props, dude! We did the deed, slipping around in eggwhites, and I lay around basting for a while.

It won't work. It was just for experimental fun. What, you think I was born yesterday? This is an IVF blog, people. I am way over the "normal" way of procreation. I'm probably not ovulating (who knows if I ever actually release eggs, anyway), Hubs made his end of the equation practically ineffective, and I have a big cyst screwing up this cycle in any case. So whatever. But I'll test BBT the next couple mornings to see if there's a rise. if not, maybe I'll keep on with the LH testing for shits & giggles.

Balk balk baaaaaalk. Balk balk balk baaaalk! (That's me turning into a chicken and wishing you all a very happy and eggful (the kind that matters) Easter and Passover holiday.)

* As I am quite sure you've read at some point, there is risk of infection when using regular eggwhites out of an egg. Eggs often contain salmonella. However, I figured I was mitigating most of this risk by using these pasteurized (and organic, to boot) egg whites. Is there still some small risk? Maybe, but I felt comfortable with this decision:

Monday, April 03, 2006

Regular CD3: Postponed

Well, here's a true test of my optimism in the last post. We've been postponed for a month because I have a big ol' cyst on the left ovary.

I managed to grow it even on BCPs! This is the 5th or 6th big cyst I've had diagnosed (on either ovary) since TTC a year ago. I don't have POS, it's just a single, big, probably corpus luteum cyst that flares up big and goes away by the next cycle. I know most women have a cyst like this from time to time, it's not unusual. But this could be the missing puzzle piece as to our "unexplained" part.

Anyway, the FE gave us a 3-part choice: 1) proceed with IVF during this cycle with the understanding that there's a small risk that a cyst under stim could result in torsion or other bad complications 2) aspirate the cyst which would cost $$ and a tiny risk 3) wait until next month. Of course he recommended we just wait, saying that everything else looks good, that I have time on my side, plenty of follicles, and my bloodwork is fine. I don't even need to go back on BCPs because that didn't successfully prevent a cyst anyway.

So, I felt let down, OF COURSE! But am already bucking up. The Hubs was pretty relaxed about the whole thing, asking the FE right off if we could "try the regular way" this month. He's so cute.

A months a month, no big deal - and I'm sure there will be other delays, surprises and disappointments along the way. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy this month of beautiful spring. Oh, and perhaps we'll try the pasteurized eggwhites+medicine dropper trick ;) Well I'll be damned... it seems that my optimism is intact!

I may not post for a while (nothing to say on an IVF blog while on hold) but will lurk and be back soon. Hugs and good luck to everyone else out there, I'll be reading you!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Pre-day 22: Happy to See AF (for once)

Yesssss. Bleeding. Hello Monthly Visitor, may I offer you a fresh and delicious tampon? And this ain't no April Fool's joke. I have been off the BCPs for 3 days and here we are. Excellent Smithers, things are going exactly as planned.

We are on the launching pad to begin this first IVF cycle. A FE nurse called to remind me "no more pills" a couple days ago and confirmed me for tomorrow's injection instruction and beginning shots. I will post a thorough protocol after I've been schooled.

Well guys, I feel optimistic, relaxed, and... thoroughly committed to enjoying my life aside from IVF. Because, yes, I have a (really good) life aside from this. I admit that I have become tunnel-visioned at times about TTC, but I remain a happy person, open-minded and ready for what comes my way. We will do whatever it takes (within reason) to become pregnant and have a child to raise, but some things in life you just can't "make happen," you can only open the doors. And you know what, I am actually ok with that. For real. It doesn't mean I want it any less than anyone else, it just means that I know I'll be ok, and still whole, if it doesn't happen. That's just my truth.

The sun is shining, there are flowers all over, life is good!

If you're reading and in a different emotional place right now, I hope you're better soon. I take nothing for granted. I promise. And I send you a big hug with a virtual flower.