ONE.

In ONE day my life completely changed.

I think about that a lot now, how you can go to bed ONE person, and wake up the next morning to news that fundamentally changes everything you know, trust, believe, expect, and hope for. How you can forever be changed by ONE thing.

Eleven years ago today a doctor told me I had cancer.

That ONE word changed me. It took me from a 30 year old who was just wrapping up a post-grad journalism degree — with plans to travel Australia and then settle into what I hoped would be a long career in news and television –- to a 30 year old with ONE focus: survival.

As part of that diagnosis, I would lose many things (my travel plans, job prospects, my hair, the confidence that youth protects you from scary life challenges…), but ONE of the most crushing losses would be my treatment-induced inability to have a child. I would need fertility treatments — specifically in vitro fertilization (IVF) that we would have to fund ourselves — to even hold on to the possibility of becoming a mom ONE day.

Thanks to my forward-thinking oncologist, I met with a fertility specialist and we all agreed to ONE IVF procedure – ONE chance to realize the dream of having my own biological child. ONE try was all I had time for before I started treatment, as my cancer — though in early stages — was aggressive and required a swift approach.

I did my ONE IVF cycle … and luckily we ended up with 21 embryos to freeze for the future.

My daughter — now five years old, and so spirited and full of life it’s hard to believe she was frozen for five years in a lab — was ONE of those embryos.

My daughter is here because of ONE IVF cycle. My husband and I are parents because of ONE IVF cycle. My whole life changed, again, because of ONE embryo. Cancer can never take that away from me.

News is out that the Ontario government will fund IVF for couples experiencing infertility – with the caveat being that only ONE embryo is transferred at a time.

Well, I’m here to tell you that ONE is all it takes.

And thankfully, couples for who IVF may previously have been financially prohibitive now have ONE chance to create the family they’ve hoped and dreamed for – without having to pay the price, literally, or face significant financial hardship in the process.

This is a good day, for so many reasons.

ONE chance is no small thing.

ONE chance can change everything.

ONE chance is all it takes.

ONE amazing miracle.

ONE amazing miracle.

Conceivable Dreams has been advocating fiercely for this for six years. They didn’t give up, and now those who couldn’t afford even ONE cycle of IVF won’t have to, either.

Please follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter or the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for IVF. Help other couples become parents, without the financial burden that comes with infertility.

*I am sharing this as a member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team, and have been compensated for this post. Opinions and the words I’ve written, however, are all my own.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Family Day: The Power of Perspective

Long before cancer, infertility, surrogacy, and finally, becoming a mom, I had plenty of opinions about kids — even though I was in no way qualified to have such opinions.

“Of course you need to give them a sibling! Only children must be so lonely.”

“Moms who don’t breastfeed aren’t trying hard enough, obviously.”

“Why are they waiting so long? Wasn’t the wedding like, four years ago? I wonder if they’re even trying to get pregnant?”

“Forget IUIs … I’d jump right to IVF if I was having trouble getting pregnant.”

“Well, if I couldn’t have my own I would probably just adopt.”

“I definitely won’t give my kid [plastic toys/sugar/non-organic baby food/formula/anything that requires batteries].”

Then, once our ability to create our family naturally was ripped away via cancer and treatment, I revisited all those opinions.

And I realized I didn’t know a thing.

Maybe parents of only one child could ONLY have one child. Breastfeeding may be natural, but for many it is not easy. Perhaps that couple had been trying to conceive since before the wedding, and had so far been unsuccessful (did you know that 1 in 6 struggle with infertility?). Any kind of fertility treatment costs money — IUIs and IVF are not solutions for all. Adoption is a beautiful option, but not often a simple one. Having a baby is lovely/challenging/impossibly frustrating/life-changing/amazing…all wrapped up into one, and whether you feed that child formula or breastmilk, or puree organic chicken (for the record, I have done this and it was…something I only did once) or serve it out of a jar, or give him toxic-free wooden, hand carved blocks or a tablet to play with, it doesn’t matter. Becoming a parent, and parenting a child, is an experience like none other. And until you’re in it, you can’t really know what that means.

So while infertility is something I wish we didn’t have to go through, I am grateful for it. Why? Because it opened my eyes to see the struggles other want-to-be-parents were facing. Would I have been able to reach that understanding without going through my own challenges? Perhaps. But like I’ve often said, when you simply need a nice bottle of wine and good timing to start your family, it can be hard to understand just how punishing it is for others. Not being able to conceive when we wanted, how we wanted, and without a lot of money, time, and heartache gave me perspective, and I will never judge anyone’s parenting journey again.

February 17th is Family Day in Ontario. And while I’ll be celebrating with my little family of three that day (yes, she is an only child, and no, she is not lonely), I’ll also be thinking of and hoping for those still waiting for their chance to celebrate as a family.

***

Please follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter or the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for IVF. Help other couples become parents, without the financial burden that comes with infertility.

*I am sharing this as a member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team, and have been compensated for this post. Opinions and the words I’ve written, however, are all my own.
Tagged , , , , , , ,

A Christmas Wish

It was December circa 1982. I was eleven years old, and had only one thing on my list for Christmas that year. A Cabbage Patch Kids doll. (If you were a child of the 70s, you will remember the mania that was CPKs …)

I was borderline obsessed. I remember going to bed each night and fervently wishing in the dark, over and over, that she would be waiting under the tree for me. I wanted a preemie. A girl, with green eyes like my own. To say I would have been devastated to not find her under the tree on Christmas morning would have been an understatement.

At the time I had no idea what my mom had to go through to get both my sister and me one of those dolls (there were a lot of store battles that Christmas, from what I’ve heard), but sure enough, Christmas morning there she was — a preemie, green-eyed Cabbage Patch Kids Doll named Azalea.

Fast forward a whole bunch of years and there I was again, wishing fervently in the dark for some Christmas magic. Although this time, no matter how many stores we visited or how much money we paid, there was not going to be what I most wanted under the tree.

A baby.

And I would have loved it if he or she had my green eyes.

We’d just had our second failed frozen embryo transfer about a month before, and while the plan was to try one more time, I had a feeling we weren’t going to be successful. Christmas is a tough time when you’re trying to conceive — at every turn is another reminder about how the holiday is really set up for families, for kids. From Santa’s lap, to homemade ornaments on the tree, to little packages filled with adorable “Baby’s First Christmas” onesies or sweet little booties, to the number of stockings hung on the mantle, it is a season geared to families. Of course, it’s also an incredibly expensive time of year, which doesn’t help when you’re feeling the pinch of the holidays and fertility treatments.

There was no baby for us that year. But the next Christmas we were nearly 15 weeks pregnant, after a successful transfer to my sister, our gestational carrier. And the year after that, we celebrated our first Christmas as a family — with our brilliantly blue-eyed, 6-month-old daughter — and four stockings hung on the mantle (of course, we couldn’t leave the dog out of the holiday festivities!).

IMG_0776

I’m always reminded this time of year that there are plenty of people out there like me — going to bed each night wishing and praying they won’t have to spend another Christmas or holiday season without a child. Or that maybe, just maybe, they’ll be able to find the money next year to do a round of IVF.

So this year I’m sending my wishes out on behalf of all those who may be in that situation, and hope by this time next year they’ve been touched by a little Christmas magic of their own.

Isn’t that what this time of year is about, anyway?

Please follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter or the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for IVF. Help other couples become parents, without the financial burden that comes with infertility.

*I am sharing this as a member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team, and have been compensated for this post. Opinions and the words I’ve written, however, are all my own.
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Happy Transferversary to us…

Six years ago today, two of our thawed embryos sat waiting for us in this petri dish.

The baby dish...

The baby dish…

Both would be transferred to my sister’s waiting uterus.

And one would become our daughter.

It was October 8, 2007, and it also happened to be Thanksgiving Monday. When I woke up that morning, I felt happy and excited. Which was a welcome feeling after all the heartbreak and disappointment our fertility journey had brought to that point. My ever-thoughtful sister, our surrogate, had made our doctor an apple crisp that morning because he was working on the holiday. Because when it comes to transfers and IVF, it’s a seven-day-a-week job; the embryos are in charge.

I’m not sure why I was so positive that morning. After all, our track record up to that point had sucked. We started with 20 embryos and a lot of hope, and after two years of trying to get pregnant (first with me and then with my sister), we were down to our final six embryos. And after the three were thawed for our transfer that day (one didn’t survive the thaw, which is common), we were left with three. Which we knew, realistically (at best), represented one more chance.

But things looked good that morning. The sun was shining, the weather gorgeous. The two embryos looked “beautiful”, we were told, and strong. “I think it’s going to work this time,” I whispered to my husband as we drove to the clinic. My sister was determined at least one of those embryos was going to spend a good long time in her uterus. And of all the days our transfer could have fallen on (for those who are unfamiliar with IVF, there are SO many variables that go into prepping for a transfer, and a lot is out of your control), it was Thanksgiving. I saw that as a sign.

To say I was thankful that day is an understatement. I was thankful for our amazing doctor, Dr. Hannam, who placed those embryos with such care and gave them a chance. I was thankful for the lab techs, in charge of thawing out our precious embryos. I was thankful for my sister, who graciously and without a moment’s hesitation offered us her body and commitment. I was thankful to my oncologist, who had four years earlier convinced me to do a round of IVF before starting chemo. I was thankful to my grandmother, who helped us cover the cost of that IVF cycle. I was thankful to my doctors, and Western medicine for helping me kick cancer to the curb. I was thankful to my husband, who never let me give up hope.

Mostly, I was thankful I would get a chance to be a mother.

That day I also thought a lot about luck. And all the pieces that had to fall into place to make October 8, 2007 happen. The timing. The money. The kindness.

When those embryos were released into my sister’s uterus, we shouted “Stick and grow!”, and then had lunch and excitedly talked about pregnancy tests and the future. It was a good day.

We became a family that day.

My silly, beautiful family!

My silly, beautiful family!

Two weeks later the pregnancy was confirmed, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today when I look at my daughter, who is technically 10 years old though she spent five of those years frozen in a tiny glass tube, I am beyond thankful. It’s hard to comprehend how she went from an 8-cell embryo, to this …

Our happy girl

Our happy girl

…but she did. She’s truly a miracle.

So as we celebrate our transferversary today, I’d like to pass some hope along. To those still dreaming of the moment when you get to wear a “Mommy” or “Daddy” badge, I’m hopeful you hang in there. I hope there are happier days ahead. And to the Ontario government, I hope we’re getting closer to the day when families don’t have to choose between paying a mortgage, and having a child.

I would certainly give thanks for that.

***

Please follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter or the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for IVF. Help other couples become parents, without the financial burden that comes with infertility.

*I am sharing this as a member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team, and have been compensated for this post. Opinions and the words I’ve written, however, are all my own.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Word on Mommy Wars, and why I won’t play along …

On my Facebook stream this morning there was a debate posted about the use of child leashes and restraints. It wasn’t the first time this issue has been discussed, and it definitely won’t be the last. As you’d expect, opinions varied. That part was all good. But as has become all too common when it comes to how we parent our children, there was also a whole lot of judgment being laid down. That part? Not so good.

I’m the first to admit I cringe on occasion when hearing about others’ parenting choices. I have never taken my five year old to McDonald’s, and I won’t. Because it doesn’t fit with how we’ve chosen to raise her, or how we’ve decided to take care of ourselves. Honestly, I believe it’s bad news for demonstrating healthy eating behaviour. I wish others would also banish fast food (at least 98% of the time), but I understand I can only make that decision for myself. And the beauty of being a grown up is that you get to make your own choices. So while I may not agree, I would never stand in front of you (or on social media) and berate you for choosing the McD’s drivethru on a crazy busy night, or on a Saturday morning as a special treat. And I’d hope you would never suggest I’ve deprived my child of fun, or a necessary life experience, by not taking her out for a Big Mac.

The point is raising kids is hard. SO VERY HARD. At least I think it is, and I only have one child. So I want to support my other mommy friends, regardless of their choices (this goes without saying, but as long as those choices are not life-threatening or dangerous, of course), and pump them up for getting through the days and challenges, rather than push them down for the decisions they make. Even if I don’t agree. My place is to support, try to offer a differing view without judgment (yes, this is possible), and listen carefully to their reasons for making said choices.

If you want to co-sleep, go for it. We didn’t, because it didn’t work for us. But what you do in your own bed and with your sleep is not my concern, so get your sleep however you can. I’m happy for you, because sleep can be hard to get with little kids. If you don’t agree with co-sleeping, that’s okay too. I’d like to hear why, especially if your reasons for not doing it differ from mine.

If you want to breastfeed, go for it. I did, despite having to induce lactation for four months prior to my daughter’s birth via surrogacy. It was hard, breastfeeding was very difficult for me, and I prevailed for eight months. I’m quite proud of that, despite suggestions I should have breastfed for at least a year. If you don’t want to breastfeed, for whatever reason, then don’t. I am certain you have your reasons, and it isn’t my place to tell you they aren’t valid.

If you want to use a child restraint or a “leash”, go for it. I did it, and my kiddo is just fine. Perhaps you disagree with the idea of it, or how it looks, and that’s okay too. Don’t use a leash, then. Problem solved. And maybe next time you’re out and about and see a mom using one of those leashed backpacks, rather than thinking “Oh, dear God, she’s treating that child like a dog…” you could consider that mom has her own reasons for doing what she’s doing – and show some compassion for another mother by not judging her.

If you want to use a soother from birth, switch between bottle nipples and human ones, hide veggies into your kid’s food, feed them a vegetarian diet, give them non-organic meat and fruit, go gluten-free just because, let them fall asleep by nursing or with a bottle, never put your baby down awake, cuddle them against your chest for the first six months of their life, skip sending them to JK and opt for another year at home, send them to private school / send them to public school, put them in front of a movie because you need a break, turn the television on the moment school is out while you gear up for the evening, never say ‘no’ to a request for a cookie or toy at the toy store, spoil them rotten, be very disciplined, or let them wear pajamas to school … the same pair for an entire week – GO FOR IT.

I will not judge you, even if I don’t agree. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you have your reasons for doing whatever it is you’re doing, and it isn’t up to me to decide if that’s okay. I may ask questions to better understand, and knowing me, might offer my opinion to give you the other side. You can do with that what you will.

Because we are not that different, you and me. We both want the very best for our child(ren), even if the “how” we do it looks wildly opposite.

So why can’t we all just get along?

Father’s Day: The power of wishful thinking…

One of the best gifts my husband ever gave me.

One of the best gifts my husband ever gave me.

This is what my husband gave me, shortly after our last failed attempt trying to get me pregnant with our embryos, nearly seven years ago. On a tiny piece of paper he drew a sort of stick figure (and somewhat alien-looking, but that’s not important…) baby called “Avery” – which, at the time, was the name we had chosen if we ever had a girl.

On the other side of that tiny piece of paper was a note, and IOU of sorts. It read: “Redeemable for one genetically related baby.” (Oh, if only it were that easy…)

It was one of the best gifts he’s ever given me.

Even though we now have our genetically related little baby girl (whose name was ALMOST Avery), I have kept that tiny piece of paper because it reminds me, a) how lucky I am to have my husband by my side, and b) how it’s so important to never give up hope … even if that hope comes scrawled in basic blue ink on a corner of a random piece of 8 1/2 x 11 notepaper, ripped edges and all.

But finding that note again recently also reminded me that often the men, the dads-to-be, get left out of the discussions surrounding the struggle with  infertility. Perhaps that’s very much on purpose: I’m certain my husband had little desire to wax poetic about his deep longing to be a dad, particularly not online or in any kind of group discussion. I, however, participated in a lot of those type of discussions — in infertility chatrooms, in blog posts, and in-person with friends — and in all those discussions, 99.99% of the time it was with other women; other hopeful moms-to-be. And it didn’t matter the root cause of the infertility — whether it was egg quality, a cancer diagnosis like in my case, or low sperm count, it was the women offering and giving support to one another.

Of course that doesn’t mean men aren’t equally as affected. Like us, they struggle with the overwhelming crush of disappointment. The piled up bills from countless clinic visits. The gut-wrenching sadness of watching the person you love become more and more depressed by the failures. The decisions around what not to spend money on to be able to afford yet another round of IVF. No question my husband debated and stressed about all these things.  He desperately wanted to be a dad. Like me, he had dreams of snuggling our sweet newborn to sleep, of watching our child take first steps, of sending her off to school on her first day, of teaching her to drive stick, of walking her down the aisle one day when she’s much (MUCH!) older. But each time we were defeated by my broken uterus he didn’t complain, or lament the unfairness of it all. He’d hug me while I sobbed, then pick me back up, brush me off, and get us back on track for the next step in the process.

He’s an amazing dad — and our daughter adores him, as she should. And even though fate and mysticism are concepts he rolls his eyes at, I like to believe that picture he drew and the words he wrote had a little something to do with us becoming parents. It was to make me feel better on a bad day, sure, but the intention was clear. Losing hope was not an option.

So while we celebrate our little miracle this weekend, and how lucky she is to have the Daddy she does, I’ll also be sending a little note up the universe for all those hopeful dads-to-be who may be in the infertility trenches this year. It’s a wish that by this time next year, they’ll also be celebrating their own little miracles.

After all, every little bit helps, and it certainly can’t hurt. Despite what my amazingly supportive, and incredibly pragmatic, husband might say.

***

Please follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter or the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for IVF. Help other couples become parents, without the financial burden that comes with infertility.

*I am sharing this as a member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team, and have been compensated for this post. Opinions and the words I’ve written, however, are all my own.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cancer Sucks. (Obviously).

This morning I woke up to the news that a fellow Chatelaine blogger and ovarian cancer activist, Elana Waldman, lost her fight with cancer yesterday. She just turned 40 years old. She has a daughter, a husband, and I’m sure, so many friends and family who will never be the same again. I cried for all of them this morning.

Cancer sucks. (Obviously).

I started following her blog when I started blogging for Chatelaine. It wasn’t lost on me that while I blogged about recipes and fun foodie stuff, she was blogging about fighting for her life, and who she had to leave behind. I never met her, or spoke with her, but I left comments and cheered her on.

Cancer Sucks. (Obviously).

But it’s so much more than that. It takes away confidence, friendships, love, and opportunities. Once you’ve had cancer, or have loved someone fighting it, you are forever changed.

This is why when I get comments about my hard core stance on too many high-sugar treats at my daughter’s school or about how I put kale in our smoothies and pumpkin in brownies, or read self-deprecating comments on social media (usually about extra pounds) from women far too smart to put themselves down like that, I want to yell STOP.

Please, just stop.

Life is short. Yes, it’s a cliche, but it’s true.

So today I am going to do all the things I normally do, grateful that I get to be annoyed by a slow checkout at the grocery store or my daughter’s insistence that it’s not bedtime yet because it’s still light outside. Grateful that I had an 83% chance of still being alive and kicking 5 years after diagnosis, unlike Elana who had a 70% chance her cancer would kill her in that same time. Grateful that 10 years later I am STILL HERE. Snuggling my daughter, laughing with my husband, appreciating my life — imperfections and all.

I challenge you to do the same. To treat your body with the respect it deserves, and in a way that tells it you plan to be around for a long while. To be grateful for your life, imperfections and all. And to remember a brave woman, Elana, who would have given anything I’m sure for more time.

Me and my niece, summer 2003, middle of my treatment.

Me and my niece, summer 2003, middle of my treatment. I was grateful that day, too.

 

Tagged , , , ,

A Mother’s Day Gift

She made me a mother.

She made me a mother.

There was a time when I started to believe I might never become a mother. I actually wrote out a pros and cons list, shortly after my sister (who was our gestational surrogate) became pregnant with one of our embryos, only to find out it was an ectopic pregnancy. What was on that list is irrelevant now, as I watch my nearly five-year-old daughter colouring beside me, but what stuck with me was the fact that no matter how many positives were on the ‘pro’ side (and yes, there are positives to remaining childless), they had no power against the cons.

If you struggle to become a mom (or dad), and desperately want a child in your life, nothing else will scratch that itch. I know. I thought of nothing else for months. I contemplated that life. And over and over again, I came back to the place where I couldn’t see a future without a child. Luckily, we had enough embryos stored from our IVF cycle (we ended up with 20 frozen embryos!) to try again after the ectopic, and that pregnancy stuck. Our daughter was born a month after Mother’s Day that year, and I’m grateful I now get to celebrate a holiday that before only taunted and teased me.

If I’m being honest, I still hold a bit of a grudge towards the Hallmark holiday Mother’s Day has become. When we were trying to conceive, all the ads for gifts were difficult reminders that I had not yet been invited into the ‘club’. And those ads start WELL before Mother’s Day, so I was tortured for a solid month in advance.  Even now, officially a ‘mother’, this holiday is not about solo bubble baths and pretty presents … for me it’s about celebrating my child, who is the only reason I got an invite into this club. Also, it’s about celebrating my own amazing mother, and my sister – who carried and pushed our little girl into the world nearly five years ago.

I remember chatting with another trying-to-be mom at the fertility clinic back when we were doing a frozen embryo transfer round, and discussing the toll it all took – emotionally and financially. She told me about a friend of hers who had spent nearly $100,000 trying to have a child, was now in serious debt, and had yet to realize that dream. I was both terrified at the thought of becoming that person (it’s very hard to know when to stop), and horribly saddened for her and her husband. No one should have to go through that to have a family. No one should have to go into debt to learn the joy of becoming a parent.

So this Mother’s Day, I’m crossing my fingers for all those trying-to-be-moms out there that by next year, you have your own bundle to celebrate. I’m also sending wishes out that in the not-so-distant future, couples in this amazing province of ours can get financial help to build their families. So they don’t have to start their beautiful journey as parents under the burden of debt.

That would be an amazing Mother’s Day gift.

Please follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter or the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for IVF. Help other couples become parents, without the financial burden that comes with infertility.

*I am sharing this as a member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team, and have been compensated for this post. Opinions and the words I’ve written, however, are all my own.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

the price of family

I’d like to introduce you to three different couples: Kate and John; Nadine and Dave; and Michele and Peter. They’re fictional, of course, but that doesn’t make their stories any less real. Let’s assume all three couples have similar financial resources, and are all in their early thirties. Kate and John, and Nadine and Dave live in Ontario. Michele and Peter live in Quebec.

Kate and John were married two years ago and decided to start a family not long after. It took a few tries, but they’re just about to leave the hospital with their bouncing baby boy, thrilled to be first-time parents. As John wheels Kate through the hospital doors, the only costs they’re bringing with them are the rental of the breast pump and the fee for an upgraded room. Small change. Of course, Kate’s going to be on mat leave for the year so as a family they’ll be taking a hit on disposable income, but they know they can manage just fine.

Nadine and Dave were also married two years ago and started trying for their family on their wedding night. After over six months of trying on their own, they sought help. Following a couple of failed IUI attempts, they ended up doing two rounds of IVF. The second time worked, and Nadine and Dave are beyond excited about the double joy they’ll be bringing home — twins. However, the babies were born at 35 weeks and need to stay in the NICU for a couple of weeks, which is costly for the health care system and tough emotionally on Nadine and Dave. They spent over $25,000 on fertility treatments, none of which was covered through the provincial health plan. Most of the costs were split between their home line of credit and two credit cards, and they’re nervous about how long it will take to pay that off … especially with the costs of raising twins.

Michele and Peter have a story similar to Nadine and Dave’s. After trying unsuccessfully to have children on their own, they turned to fertility treatments and also did two rounds of IVF. However, as is policy in Quebec, the treatments were subsidized and only a single embryo was transferred. On round two, Michele became pregnant. The baby was born four days after her due date; Michele and baby were in the hospital for less than two days; and the couple’s credit cards remain at a zero balance thanks to Quebec’s subsidized IVF.

So what do these stories tell us? One, if you’re going to have difficulty conceiving, Quebec is the place to be. Two, here in Canada we now have one of the highest rates of multiple births for all the developing countries, thanks to the explosion of IVF. Three, the benefits of IVF funding tied to a simple embryo transfer (as in Quebec) are impressive; moms and babies have healthier outcomes, the healthcare system is less stressed, and couples don’t have to take second mortgages to finance family planning.

Quebec has proven single embryo transfers reduce multiple births AND reduce health care costs, both short and long term. Not to mention the reduction of emotional and financial stress on families. The projected savings for Ontario, if a subsidized IVF program with single embryo transfer were adopted, are estimated between $400-$550 million over 10 years in hospital costs, plus $300-$460 million in savings related to long-term disability costs. That is no small change.

I’d say Nadine and Dave, and plenty of other couples just like them, are worth the investment … wouldn’t you?

Please follow @OHIP4IVF on Twitter or the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for IVF. Help other couples become parents, without the financial burden that comes with infertility.

*I am sharing this as a member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team, and have been compensated for this post. Opinions and the words I’ve written, however, are all my own.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Weighty Issues

Blythe body comparison

Photo credit: wellapptdesk

I weigh myself Every.Single.Day. When my doc asked me to step on the scale last week at my physical, I jumped on without hesitation, knowing exactly what it would read.

125 pounds.

For the record, I’m happy with my weight. Gleeful, in fact. Because I was five pounds heavier before Christmas, and have diligently worked to bring that number down with good, sustainable habits. I love my scale. It keeps me honest.

I am not the person who goes by how her clothes feel. I have yoga pants in my wardrobe with flexible waistbands and forgiving thighs, plus jeans made with (glorious) stretchy fibres … I can’t trust my clothes. Now if that works for you, awesome. But for me, all Type-A and uber competitive, I need hard proof to keep me going.

Of course, the secret I’ve had to learn is that the number on the scale doesn’t matter. All that number does is give me a benchmark, allowing me to make checks and balances to stay on track. It’s the checks and balances that are the key.

I’ve never been an easily thin person. Even as a kid, when I was a competitive gymnast doing ridiculous amounts of physical exercise every week, I had to watch what I put in my mouth. Some days I long to have one of those bodies that looks great without much work, but that is not the body I have. The body I have, and the one I appreciate every day, requires plenty of exercise and food that doesn’t come in packages. So that’s what I give it.

I do love to exercise, to feel strong and capable and fit. But that doesn’t mean I want to do it every day, or even every other day. I still have to force myself to the gym many days, or push myself to run another kilometre. Same goes with food – it isn’t always easy to pass on the pasta, or hold back from a slice of chocolate cake. Raised on a farm by hippie parents with very little money, we never ordered out – we ate vegetables from our garden, eggs from our chickens, and pork from neighbouring farms. The only time we had fast food was on Saturdays, after gymnastics practice. My sister and I would share a small hamburger and fries, and that was enough. Those habits have stuck. I still never eat fast food; we order out maybe once every few months, and very little of what I make for my family comes from a package. BUT I do drink wine often, eat chocolate every day, and indulge in far too much cheese on a regular basis. Hence the reason I exercise so much.

The single most important thing for me when it comes to how I look? Not competing with anyone else’s ideals. I am only in competition with myself. I honestly don’t care what you weigh, or eat, as long as you’re happy with what you’re doing and feel good. I don’t read fashion mags, or buy into the ‘starve yourself into a bathing suit’ mentality. I still wear a bikini, even though I don’t look ‘perfect’ in it. I avoid self-deprecating remarks about my shape or size, because I’m only hurting myself. I am happy with how I look, but not because I’ve simply accepted my body. I work on it every day – including on my brain, so I don’t fall into the trap of believing there’s something wrong with the bumps and cellulite I know will always be there, regardless of how many kilometres I clock.

I do all of this for myself, but also for my young daughter. Because she’s still in that beautiful place of not focusing on how she looks; loving her body because it leaps, runs, and moves in ways that allow her to have fun. I want her to hold on to that as long as she can. And I can only hope that when the inevitable switch happens, I’ve helped her develop great habits so she always sees her body for what it can do, instead of how it looks.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
Jack Straw Lane

a place to roam

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.