4 years ago she was still very much a dream.
5 years ago the dream was far removed from reality.
I’d just had an ectopic pregnancy and while Dr’s told me to be reassured I could actually get pregnant; if I’m honest I felt a bit of failure not being able to house this poor little embryo properly.
But when it was ok to try again. Nothing happened. And to use the most hated phrase by childless women in their 30’s, the clock was ticking.
Some people are so painfully nosey especially when you don’t have children. Does it not cross their minds that you’re as baffled about your childless status as they are? Most of us wouldn’t dream of asking an acquaintance how their sex life is, yet it is perfectly acceptable to bump into someone at a party or at Tesco’s and ask why they have not yet been impregnated.
We were lucky to have a proactive GP and tests showed it may not actually be me who was slowing things down. Of course it doesn’t matter whose ‘issue’ it is, but I do believe if you get to the root of a problem the better your odds of solving it. This actually made me feel a little better. I naively thought I may be spared some indignity for a while. It didn’t quite work like that but hey no guts, no glory, right?
So this time 4 years ago we had our first consultation with Care Fertility. The consultant took us through the science of IVF like it was a business proposition and like most business plans, you do the right things and you have a better chance of success but there is still an element of luck.
The way I understood it with traditional IVF the egg and sperm are left in a dish and the boys are left to do their job. Whereas the ICSI procedure is used when the sperm isn’t as abundant or dare I say lively and is therefore injected into the egg. So ICSI actually gave us better odds.
At the end of November 2008, after months of injections, I underwent the egg retrieval operation and hatched 19 eggs. I was in agony but rather pleased with myself. I can put up with pain for a good result. We took a risk and decided to let the embryos go to blastocyst stage which was a fairly new procedure at the time. We wouldn’t know until the day of implantation if the embryos had survived and that phone call to Embryology was the most terrifying I had ever made but 7 embryos were alive!
December 2nd 2008, 2 blastocyst embryos were implanted. I was wheeled into theatre while Dizzie Rascal’s ‘Bonkers’ was playing and wheeled out to Destiny’s Child ‘Survivor’. Rather fitting tracks I think.
We were told to wait 13 days to do a pregnancy test which seemed like forever. But I could wait. I had given this my best shot and was hopefully a few big steps closer to my dream. Then I began to bleed and was admitted into hospital with Ovarian Hyperstimulation. I still administered the fertility drugs while being treated for OHS. I was discharged after 4 days. I never actually gave up hope but it’d be fair to say my optimism was tested.
The day to take The Pregnancy Test finally came and a very faint positive line showed up. We went for a scan to see if it really was true. The scan showed 1 tiny yolk sack but they couldn’t detect a heart beat. The Sonographer rather optimistically said it could be just too early & another scan was booked for after Christmas. It was an odd Christmas that year. Quiet yet full of cautious hope. 1 embryo could have survived. The dream could still happen.
Finally the day of our second scan came. It was a tense, argumentative drive to the hospital, a nervous wait for our appointment and then we went in and there it was the tiny, thumping heart beat we had longed to hear. Even typing now I feel elated yet slightly sick and weepy. We were given a due date of 19th August.
Of course Izzie didn’t turn up the 19th. She made us wait until 25th and even then had to be induced to get moving. She was so worth the wait though. Sometimes when you really want something, work your bits off (literally in my case), when you finally get it, its not quite what you expected. Izzie however is quite literally my dream come true and then some.
I love everything about her, from her beautiful brown eyes to her bigger than average feet. Although it infuriates me, I even love the fact she back chats me, when I’m bigger, older and allegedly wiser. No, I’m not one of those modern ‘follow the child’ parents. I’m just impressed she has the guts to stand up for what she believes in. While I do try and channel her confidence, I want her to be able to fight for herself when some loser tries to steal her sweets or worse her dreams.
So this week in preparation for the biggest and best birthday party ever, my family and friends are asking where the last 3 years have gone. Everyone loves a cliche, myself included. The last 3 years have been packed full of fun and fear. Endless cuddles, games of hide and seek or boo, warm baths, songs and bedtime stories. Then there’s been the sleepless nights, waking up terrified Izzie’s crying too much or worse not at all.
I have never experienced such incredible highs and of course terrifying lows. And that it is why I know exactly where the last 3 years have gone.
They’ve been spent living the dream.