Sunday, 31 March 2013

ART education

Happy Easter Sunday.  Spring is here: Rabbits, eggs, renewal, birdsong and hope make their appearance. I hope everyone can catch a little bit of magic.

So, today we have one of our semi-regular family gatherings.  We don't have huge ritual gatherings of extended family (outside of weddings and funerals). We don't have much extended family in town, either. A "big" gathering might consist of me and Mr. Turtle, father-in-law and stepmother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law (engaged), my mom and dad, my brother (single) who lives in town, and my stepmother-in-law's friend (single), who is always invited and is kind of like one of our cousins. No kids. (THANK YOU THANK YOU God/Fate/contemporary social trends whatever. Is it wrong to be grateful nobody has kids yet? Cuz I so am.) So, about 10 adults, give or take. Today there is supposed to be 11, and I've been trying to do the math to figure out how we get to11, but I can't quite make it work. Maybe there will be some surprises. Anyway.

Mainly I've been thinking about how to provide dessert for this gathering, which is what Mr. Turtle and I were asked to do. I  decided to make two kinds of  mini-pies, apple and berry, roughly following these recipes:

Mini Apple Pies
Mini Berry Pies  (We're going to do 2 crusts per pie, however)

I think it will be just awesome for everyone to have their own pie for dessert, and to be able to pick a flavour, too. And mini-pies are soooo cute.

Anyway.

The other thing that hangs around the back (sometimes the forefront) of my mind on these occasions  is, What if the Baby question comes up? As it often does. Sometimes it's more in the abstract: our parents talk about when we were children, the younger people (us) talk about babies / children in a cheerful, theoretical kind of way to demonstrate that we are not entirely terrified by the concept.  Sometimes it's more personal "Are you thinking of...?" "Do you want....?" "When are you....?" Now, to give my family credit (and I truly do love and like them all) the more personal questions do NOT usually get asked around the dinner table. But it might be brought up in a teasing way (nudge nudge wink wink), which honestly I find harder to deal with than a straightforward question, because it assumes I'm in on some kind of joke and at this point, well, the joke isn't very funny.

Now, I've maybe been a bit of a coward about IF disclosure. Mr. Turtle has told his mom  (who doesn't live in town) and his dad (who probably told my stepmother in law, but I don't know for sure.) Mr. Turtle's mom is a health professional so we are both comfortable with her knowing everything. I shared with my mom at Christmas time that Mr. Turtle and I are trying to have a baby, but not for how long we had been trying. She was very excited to hear that we were Trying, anyway. And even gave some advice. And told me that I was an an Accident. Eep. A week or so later we learned about the MFI. I haven't said anything to my mom or dad or anyone else about that. Partly it's because I haven't seen my mom in a  private setting since Christmas, and IF isn't really a great topic to bring up at a social family gathering. ("And in our news...") Also disclosing via email doesn't seem that appropriate. The other piece is that everything is so vague at this point. We believe we will be doing IVF but it's not confirmed and we don't know when. All we know is that it's next to impossible to conceive naturally.

On one hand, I don't think anyone should feel obligated to tell-all about their private parts and what they can and can't do.  On the other hand, I would like my immediate family to be informed (and calm. and supportive.) whenever we do start IVF. I'm also strongly against Secrets and Shame: I believe in community building. On the other-other hand, I long ago developed a habit of  not telling my parents a lot of things because it made life easier. They are worriers and they can be Dramatic. I'm not ashamed  of  what's going on in my life, but I disclose on a Need to Know basis. So maybe there's a  bit of a double standard there. However, the disclosure has to happen sometime in  the next few months, in the right kind of way, hopefully without causing too much embarrassment or distress to our family members.

I've been thinking that when we do Disclose (and I still don't have a clear idea of how or when it will happen) I would like to give family a Reading List. There's a ton of info online, and  they all know how to educate themselves; however, I think it might be good to give them somewhere to start and then I also have some reassurance they are not reading nonsense and/or terrifying themselves. They might also need some sex ed 201 (as opposed to sex ed 101: sperm meets egg = baby). Prior to TTC I knew very little about hormones, embryos, implantation, sperm counts, reproductive disorders, and all that stuff. I think it's safe to say that most people think it is much more straightforward than it really is.

Sex Ed 201
Female Reproductive System from WebMd
Male Reprodutive System from WebMd
Female Reproductive System and the Roles of Hormones (more scientific)
Endowment for Human Development: Conception and Step-By-Step Development of an Embryo

IF
Male Factor Infertility from Stirrup Queens
What is Lymphedema?
Male Genital Lymphedema

Assisted Reproductive Technologies 101
Good Ol' Wikipedia on ART

IVF specific
IVF / ICSI process described in detail by Regional Fertility Program
After IVF? interviews with families

For Family and Friends
http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family--friends/

Emotional
I've been trying to find a good article on the emotional effects of IF, that would give family members some idea of how it feels to be a person in this situation (and might be a conversation opener). I want something that is realistic but not too scary/negative. I don't want people assuming that we're going to  become depressed and anxious on account of IF, because I don't want to cause additional worry. I'm also a positive, goal oriented person for the most part, so I want to take that tone overall. On the other hand I want people to know that overcoming IF is not going to be easy  for us, and I think  it's fair to ask them put themselves in our shoes, if only for as long as it takes to read an article or have a conversation.

Mel's Infertility Manifesto
I thought this one is OK (haven't read it in depth): The Worst Thing about Infertility

Blog visitors: Any other suggestions for articles that help to inform people about IF and/or treatments?

The Turtle

Update: No questions about babies or fertility at family dinner. Hurrah! Grateful for family that easily talks about Other Things. The mini pies were a hit. Here are 2 that were left. We made 12 of these.



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