Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tentative understandings

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine the other day. Generally our relationship is pretty uni-directional (she calls me to talk and we mostly talk about her) but I told her vaguely what was going on with us a few months ago, so now it comes up in conversation occassionally. We've been talking more regularly lately because she just got engaged and so there's lots of wedding stuff in her life for us to talk about. But this time, after an hour of “this venue or that venue” and “what kind of wedding dress” and all that, she asked how things are going with us. So I told her how we had maxed out our options at the ex-clinic and are meeting with new clinics in anticipation of a likely IVF/ICSI.

Now, this friend of mine is a bright person. She’s a lawyer. Her dad is a neurologist, and she’s been around medical stuff her whole life. She’s had her fair share of medical scares and mishaps. And she knows nothing about IVF. But she’s willing to ask, and seemed to want to know what it entailed. So I explained. Every so often she’d ask a question. At one point, she said, “This is probably a dumb question, but do they just pick one sperm, or do they put the egg with a bunch of sperm or what?” And I was able to explain that no, that’s actually a really good question, and that they’re both options. And then I explained ICSI.

It got me thinking about people who aren’t going through the process, and what it looks like from the outside. I ranted a bit about Inconceivable and my friend and I talked a bit about gestational surrogacy and why I’m concerned about the show’s portrayal of infertility. But it also got me thinking about something Beaver Girl said a while ago (here and here) about the possibility that even a bad representation of infertility is better than none at all. That people will start to have a sense of what the terms mean and what the process entails. (Presuming, of course, that they’ve got a halfway decent medical consultant on the show to keep things at least mostly accurate. If not, I’ll organize a letter-writing brigade right away, because that would be absolutely unforgivable. Of course, if they do like CSI, it will give people all sorts of unreasonable expectations about the innovations of technology. But I digress. Sort of.)

Another thing. We’d had my in-laws read the first couple of chapters of a well-written book about infertility, and I think it contributed to my MIL’s sudden comprehension of what we’re going through. So I figured it couldn’t hurt to try out on my mother. It took her a bit longer to get around to reading it (she insisted on buying her own copy of the book, so I guess I won’t have to explain the basics of my various tests and procedures anymore) but now that she’s read the first couple of chapters she seems to be trying to get it. “This sounds like you,” she said. I said something vague about the author’s tone (like a blogger, which is to say, like the best possible kind of snarky friend). But later I thought, it’s not that her story is like mine. It’s just that she’s managed to capture what it’s like. (At least, what it’s like for many of us.)

Mom will be here for a quick overnight visit tomorrow - we’ll see how this plays out.

9 comments:

  1. That all sounds very promising. Well, except for Inconceivable because I have a strong suspicion that that's going to be awful. So can you tell us what the book is? I have some relatives who could use it!

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  2. Sorry about that. I added a link to the book above.

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  3. damn good blog, check out mine http://juicyfruiter.blogspot.com, comments always welcome!

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  4. I have that book. It was really good. I think it would also work to throw it at the heads of those in our lives that don't "get it."

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  5. It is hard to get across to other people what is going on without getting into all the nasty little details--but it's so gratifying when you find people in your life who are willing to listen, and learn, and hopefully cheer you on.

    For me, I found that if I said, "We're doing IVF," I was met with blank stares, but if I said, "I'm going to be doing X shots for Y days, and then..." people were a lot quicker to offer their help or support.

    Best of luck with your mom!

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  6. It's so hard to try to explain it to others... and for me it's even hard to explain the utter disappointment at the end of every failed cycle to my husband.

    I'm working on it though - one person at a time... one small step at a time.

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  7. I've just discovered your blog Cass. I've put you on my list.

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  8. You are a brave trooper, Cass. I have told no one of our IF troubles, b/c it seems to me people are too stooopid. Example, the handful of people who knew of our m/c - the idiotic, asshat comments - I can't be the educator. Glad you are strong enough to do it. (I read that book too, parts I found helpful, other parts not so much).

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  9. I hadn't thought of getting family to read a book like that. Might stop my mother sending me articles like: Reflexology made me pregnant!

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