Ten years ago my husband and I got married. Like most other couples in their late thirties, we started trying for a baby on our honeymoon with dreams and plans for our new future. After three months of trying, and still nothing, I was very surprised. Then eventually after six months and still nothing, I began to worry.
I’m a planner, so the fact that this wasn’t happening according to my schedule and the picture in my head was more than a little frustrating.
And what we didn’t know at the time was that over the next seven years, we would experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows through this fertility journey.
After almost two years of trying everything you can imagine – different fertility specialists, acupuncture, special diets, homeopaths, we were told there was no other option for us but surrogacy. However, just a few months before we were dealt with that blow, my sister in law, Renee had flippantly remarked that she’d have a baby for us. I didn’t think she was serious at the time, but now we were faced with our reality, it became a serious prospect.
To cut a long story short, she said yes, and we began one of the hardest experiences of our life.
So we tried…..cycle after cycle. Failed egg pickups, failed transfers, we were once again shocked. This wasn’t going according to plan, and this time we were dragging along a loved one. My sister Renee was experiencing every bump in the road with us.
Then, it finally happened! After six failed cycles, we got those magic little positive lines. It was the best feeling in the world! We rejoiced, we did happy dances, we celebrated.
Six weeks later however, the world crumbled around us. Renee was having a miscarriage and there was nothing we could do to stop it. Not only that, we had to watch her suffer too. We had done this to her. The guilt was tremendous, wrapped within the grief of losing our baby.
But it gave us hope. If we did it once, we could do it again.
So after a well-earned break, we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and started again. After another couple of failed cycles, we hit jackpot again. Another positive! This time we kept it quiet and were cautiously confident. That 12 week scan was the first time I had exhaled in a long time. We had finally made it past the first trimester with a healthy baby!
The next nine months held mixed emotions. I was so excited that our baby was finally growing, however, it pained me that I was merely a spectator. Of course, there was guilt woven in there too – how dare I be so ungrateful that I wanted to feel my baby kick for the first time – I should be grateful I have the opportunity. I pushed the feelings down and concentrated on our upcoming arrival.
The day that our little boy Luca arrived was one of the most surreal experiences. We walked into that operating theatre a family of two and walked out a family of three.
Just as we were settling into our life as a family of three, I found out I was pregnant. ME. The person who had NEVER fallen pregnant despite every effort. The person that fertility specialists told had a 0.01% chance of being pregnant, was pregnant! We were shocked, to say the least. Elated, amazed, happy, and did I say shocked?
Five weeks later our world came crumbling down around us once again. I was miscarrying once again, except this time it was inside me. I blamed myself, I questioned everything I had done, and once again felt like I was a complete failure as a woman. I was angry that I couldn’t fully appreciate the newborn baby in my arms. I felt I was robbed of the happiness I should have been feeling after all the effort we had gone through. I finally had my baby in my arms, but I was grieving the loss of another.
I walked through the grief and came out the other side with a renewed hope. I COULD get pregnant!! Six months later it happened again, and now we have our little girl Sophie.
I know how tough this journey can be. Isolating, consuming and soul destroying. Today, I am now a fertility mentor and coach. I provide emotional support, inspiration, and encouragement for those traveling the same path. If I had to choose an easier path or the one I went down, I’d still choose my story 100 times over.