Once upon a time there was a Girl. This Girl had decided that she really wasn’t that keen to have babies (when the time was right) – she thought she was too selfish, and also squeamish, for that. And that she was too short-tempered and impatient to be a good mother.
Anyway, one day the Girl met a Boy, and eventually they decided to get married. They talked about babies beforehand, and the Girl, who was a bit more mature by then, decided that it was a good idea to have babies, but not right away (the Boy agreed with that!).
In late 2004, about 5 years after the Girl and the Boy got married, the Girl’s father became gravely ill. As is common with serious illnesses, it made the Couple realise that they shouldn’t wait any longer to take the important step of having a family.
Fast forward to 2006. The Couple still do not have a family. They decide it is time to seek out some assistance. At around the same time, the Girl meets another girl who is in a similar situation, and who is also a knitter (knitters are the best!). These two Girls become firm friends, even though they live in separate cities, although thankfully in the same country!
After 6 months on basic drugs, the Couple start full IVF treatment. Their first embryo is transferred on the Girl’s father’s birthday. But it doesn’t work. Neither do any of the other 7 IVF transfers performed over the course of the next 2.5 years.
If you haven’t done IVF, the Girl (and her friend) can tell you that it is hard, that it is heartbreaking, that it involves many many needles, many bloodtests, many ultrasounds (and no, they are not performed externally!), many hormone drug induced moodswings, and many disappointments. But despite all this, the Couple persevered through the treatments, as they thought it was their best chance of achieving the family they so now very much desired. The friendship of the other girl was invaluable support to the Girl during this time. Only someone going through the IVF lottery really knows how it feels and what to say and what not to say (example of what to say: “Oh, that sucks, I’m really sorry you have to go through this, I hope it works for you”; examples of what not to say: “Oh, you just need to relax, and then it will all happen”; or “I KNOW it will happen for you” – no you don’t! If my specialist fertility doctor doesn’t, then you sure as heck don’t!).
When the last transfer didn’t work, the Couple decided that was it. They weren’t going to spend any more time (or money) on IVF. If it didn’t work after 8 times, it wasn’t going to.
If the story ended here, then the moral would clearly be “be careful what you wish for”. But this isn’t the end of the story.
As the Girl headed towards acceptance of the fact that she would never carry her own baby, and the Couple had initiated adoption processes (itself no easy feat and also no guarantee of a family), the Girl noticed something weird. She felt like she was about to have her monthly cycle, but it didn’t happen. For days. So she found an out of date pregnancy test in the back of her cupboard, and she thought, “what the hell, I’ll take it”.
And she did. And it was positive. But it was expired – it might be wrong! So she bought another test (well, 2, because they come 2 to a box). And she took the next test. And it was positive! And the next day, before a blood test to confirm, she took the 3rd test. Yep, it was positive too! And all confirmed by the blood test.
In a state of disbelief, the Couple somehow passed the couple of weeks until an early ultrasound, where they could see the little blob and most importantly, hear the little heartbeat. Still almost fearing to believe it was real, the Girl started making arrangements for doctors and hospitals (because you have to book so early!! OMG). And managed to pass the time (sans morning sickness – hurrah!) until her 12 week scan, which was all good. The Girl slept really well that night.
And here’s a picture of the 12 week blob. The head is on the right, with the right arm over the head, and the spine is the white line along the bottom. The legs are crossed (most modestly!) over the body.