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Infertility Awareness Week – the Boo Boo Bag

One thing that you may or may not know about fertility treatments is that you are supposed to and aren’t allowed to do the strangest things. Everyone knows things like you aren’t supposed to have a lot of caffeine or alcohol, or that you are supposed to take folic acid starting at least 3 months before start trying to get pregnant. But did you know that it’s not recommended that you take any pain relievers besides acetaminophen during a medicated cycle? And that hot baths and hot tubs are discouraged after transfer/IUI? Or that there are certain herbal teas that can actually counteract the work that your medications are trying to accomplish?

With all of these rules, plus all of the old wives tales that may or may not have any salt to them at all (can eating a plethora of green peas can act as a natural birth control? And don’t ever leave home without your fertility idol!), it’s hard to get any relief during a medicated cycle. Add to that the facts that a)the things that are causing problems with your fertility often cause a lot of physical pain and discomfort, b)the medications you’re taking to overcome these problems generally have a lot of side effect, many in the realm of mood and overall well-being, and c)a lot of these meds are prescribed super-charge guess and test method. For instance, our treatment protocal right now is “superov iui”, meaning that they’re trying to get you to ovulate as many eggs as safely possible naturally (without a retrieval and without too much chance of higher-order multiple pregnancy). So hormones are going nuts and it often feels like there’s a rodeo going on in your stomach before, during, and after the transfer.

Enter the Boo Boo Bag and the Boo Boo Bag Cover. The Boo Boo Bag is the workhorse here – it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be functional – two square pieces of any old fabric (I like a plain cotton muslin) sewn together almost all the way around and filled with something (rice, buckwheat, some sort of dried legume) before being sealed up… you don’t even need pretty edges if you don’t want to.

The Boo Boo Bag Cover is the window-dressing – it’s the thing that makes you smile when you’re feeling like all you want to do is hide under the bed and cry and cry and cry (I’ve actually done that… ask my husband). It’s the soft part the cushions the blow and feels nice when the rest of the world feels sharp and pointy (and I don’t just mean the huge needle for the trigger shot). It’s also the part that is washable and swappable. This can be just as simple as a small envelope pouch with or without a clasp – this part isn’t going in the freezer/microwave so it can have anything that looks pretty and feels nice.

To use, first decide if you want hot or cold – hot is nice for cramping anything when you can’t take an Aleve or an Ibuprofen and cold is nice for soothing and stinging, swelling injection site. I like to have some bags for hot and some for cold because if you use a single bag for dual duty you should let them come to room temperature before switching roles. I like to put a glass of water in the microwave with mine and warm it for about a minute and then 30 seconds at a time afterwards – at each interval I take the bag out and shake it up to thoroughly mix the contents from the inside with the contents closer to the surface to get a more even heating. The cold bag I just leave in the freezer and take out and shake when I need it. Some people add oils to their bags to make them smell pretty, but to me the smell of whatever is in the bag is a symbol of the relief to soon come, so I usually leave mine unscented.

Here are a couple of covers that I made… the first one took 9 MINUTES! The first is all minky, the second is flannel + minky. The first one has a horizontal flap, the second has a vertical flap. They were both made to fit the same ice pack that just slides in beween the two parts of the flap. Both are super soft, super purple, and do the job!

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I just want to mention now that it’s Infertility Awareness Week this week. You can find out more about the disease of infertility, infertility etiquette, and what you can do to help at RESOLVE, or the Canadian support site IAAC (even though Canadian Infertility Awareness Week isn’t until May!)

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