Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What prompts a flashback?

( Originally posted May 26/ 08)

We attended a celebration yesterday. A celebration which, to be honest, brought me back to a chapter of my life that I had for the last three years not really wanted to flip through again. A lot of very bitter memories were in those pages. However, that particular book did have a very happy ending.

A couple of months ago we received a card in the mail inviting us to a 25th anniversary party. We were curious, and interested in hearing a living pioneer speak. There was a promise of games and activities for the kids and a buffet lunch. And to top it off, the party was taking place in a banquet hall about 5 minutes from our home. So why not? We rsvp’d our intentions to attend the Silver Anniversary Celebration of IVF Canada.

We arrived at the event and were quite impressed with the setup. We registered and got our name tags; we were asked whether we would be willing to talk to media as they were to be in attendance at some point. I agreed that I would I’m quite open with anyone who asks or even doesn’t ask and am now putting it out there on the internet.

Inside they had fun hoops and minigolf for the children. They had a band of clown musicians (well, they were a little creepy) playing Dixieland tunes, and popcorn and drinks as well as a huge jumping tent rounding out the carnival atmosphere. Balloons and other clowns were plentiful, and people were milling around with their children. The girlie had a couple of balloon animals made for her; the boy some balloon swords. We found a seat with another couple with cute 10 month old twins, a beautiful boy and girl.

As we sat down with our drinks, sitting near the stage where a slideshow of baby photos was being shown, we made conversation with the couple about their children, and their experiences. I kept my peripheral vision on the screen in case I would see little G - I had sent the clinic a birth announcement with our thanks. I wondered aloud whether the first children born from IVF in Canada would be in attendance; they would be around 25 years old now. And my boy asked us what IVF was. I was hesitant as to how to answer that… Ian just replied that it was when a baby was conceived in a test tube or Petri dish. I doubt that the boy understood any of that, but it seemed to satisfy him as he continued to munch on his popcorn.

I looked around the room to see if there were any familiar faces. But to be honest, I may have subconsciously erased many of them from my mind. It is really a blur now. I did however, recognize all of the doctors. I'm not so much of a hussy that I don't recognize the faces of all the men who have peered directly at my nether regions, for one reason or another. I actually remembered which doctor performed which consult, which ultrasound, which procedure. I don't think those memories will really ever escape me.

They opened up the line for the buffet lunch and I got right in there (given the number of people, I thought I'd better lest we be waiting an hour later with two very hungry children). The food was standard filler (burgers, fries, chicken fingers etc...) but it gave us something to do while waiting for something to happen. And finally one of the doctors took to the podium to say a few words.

And they didn't really amount to much. He touched on the number of years that IVF Canada and the Life program have been in existence. That they don't really keep records of how many births they have had from their program, but estimated about 4000 in the last 25 years. He then introduced Dr. Robert Edwards, whose work led to the birth of the first test tube baby Louise Brown, in 1978. Dr. Edwards, who got up to say that he was happy to be here to celebrate this milestone, but that he was really here to visit his brother (remember, this fellow is quite OLD now).

It was a bit anti-climactic. We decided to leave after the speeches, not wanting to wait another hour for a large group picture to be taken. The first boys born from the program did show up and were cutting the massive cake that was to be served.

Our curiosity satisfied, we took the kids out to enjoy the rest of the beautiful Sunday afternoon. It was too lovely a day to stay inside any longer.

But I'm glad we did it. To see so many families together in one room, those who had success stories, children ranging from babies to young adults. People not so different from us. The lucky ones.

My blog has been focused on my shiny, happy family. It likely appears sickeningly sweet sometimes. And perhaps it is so for a reason; it is an ode to my family, my children, my life with my family. But it is ultimately a blog for me.

I've been following another blogger and his journey with his wife through infertility. It is not an easy journey, and Xbox is capturing it all with humour and wit, but there are some very sad, frustrating moments. Through his words, I have thought about sharing my own story. I did not have this space when we were struggling, and I wish I had. I've decided to write a bit about our own roller coaster ride, a little at a time. I'm not sure how far I'll go with this, but it is important.

If my words can help even one person with their infertility struggles, and give them hope, then that will just be icing on the cake.

And as has been my tradition to use music in my Monday posts, here is one of my favourite songs that happened to come out the year that we started our very unexpected journey on the infertility train...yeah, it started that long ago...

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