Who is Ivy F? And so begins the adventures of young Preston Lee as he dons his best detective outfit and goes on a quest to find this baby his parents keep talking about: “Ivy F”.
Little does he realise it will be a quest to find out his own beginnings as an IVF baby. Preston Lee isn’t just a storybook character – he’s the much loved and much wanted young nephew of Chandler mum of four Katrina Logan.
The first-time author and publisher watched her sister and brother-in-law on the IVF roller coaster before celebrating the great news that a baby was on his way.
“I can’t tell you how excited we all were,” Katrina said.
“Being a teacher in a past life it was only a matter of time before I started collating this little one’s book collection – and top of my list was a book about IVF.
“I wanted something he or she would be able to read and enjoy while still quite young – the picture books I did find were all too clinical, too scientific, it just wasn’t what I wanted to give my much wanted nephew or niece.
Not one to give up easily Katrina decided to have a go at penning her own IVF picture book.
By now, young Preston Lee had arrived and Katrina was even more inspired to get writing.
“He was just beautiful, just perfect,” she said.
“He really was a little miracle and like my sister, I wanted to be able to help him understand the very special way he came into this world.
“Preston Lee became my book’s character and it was just so easy to imagine this little fellow as a five-year old playing dress ups and wandering around his backyard.”
“I kept thinking - imagine if a child did hear the words IVF for the first time, what would they make of that?”
“And in the case of my story young Preston Lee just assumes his parents are talking about another baby who has obviously gone missing.”
Katrina ended up penning two tales, one chronicling Preston Lee’s discovery of the real “Ivy F” and the second a tale in rhyme from Preston Lee’s point of view about his assisted conception.
I.V.F. babies are the same as others,
they all love cuddles from fathers and mothers.
But there is one difference you can’t see -
a doctor helped my folks make me.
If you’re an I.V.F. child too,
smile and feel proud just like I do!
“I know my own children love rhymes and stories that rhyme – Preston Lee is still too young to read for himself but I can tell you he loves listening to this one,” Katrina said.
Artistic talents run in the family and Katrina was able to convince another brother-in-law, Geoff, to provide the accompanying illustrations for both books.
“Geoff has created the most beautiful character in Preston Lee and the images are really endearing – I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved not just for Preston Lee but for all IVF children and their families.”
Katrina said since releasing the books she’d received wonderful feedback from both here and overseas.
“Despite the books making references to iconic Australian things from the backyard barbie to the mulberry tree they’ve been well received all over – I guess the themes are universal,” she said.
Katrina consulted widely during the drafting process.
“I’d originally sent my drafts off to loads of friends, health professionals, fertility doctors and IVF families as well as Australia’s first IVF baby Candice Reed,” Katrina said.
“I got such great feedback and encouragement that I just kept going and published the books myself.”
“Since then I’ve met many folks who are on or who have been on the IVF rollercoaster.”
“There is absolutely no doubt that IVF can be a very difficult and trying time – to anyone undergoing IVF treatment I wish you the best and hope you are able to conceive and bring another little miracle like my nephew into this world.”
Katrina said her research found that health professionals advocated IVF children be made aware of their beginnings.
“It’s really a question of personal ethics whether parents of IVF children tell them about their conception – but there seems to be overwhelming support for the view that if children know of their beginnings it becomes natural to them and part of their life story – rather than some deep dark secret that no one talks about or acknowledges,” she said.
“I know in my sister’s case the miracle of IVF and Preston Lee was really worth celebrating – she wanted him to know how much he was wished for and how unique he is.”
To contact Katrina or find out more about her books, “Who’s Ivy F I.V.F?” and “I’m I.V.F!” visit www.ivfbooks.com A $1 donation from the sale of each book goes towards The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation and IVF Friends.