I struggled with infertility after naturally conceiving two beautiful daughters.
We were both really excited to give our daughters a little baby brother or sister and it was strange at first that we couldn’t conceive. After trying for twelve months we saw our infertility doctor. He ran the blood test on me to see my egg stores. Never for a second would I have imagined that at the age of 30 my egg stores would be that of a 44 year old woman.
He sent me off for more tests after trying IUI and timed intercourse with fertility enhancing drugs. These tests resulted in the discovery that my fallopian tubes were damaged beyond repair and I was told that I would be a very good candidate for IVF.
It was rough. IVF was one of the hardest and most consuming things I’ve been through in my life to date. My two daughters, 5 and 9 were supportive although they had little understanding and my husband was ever by my side, encouraging me and helping me through the cycle.
We didn’t conceive that first round, so I decided to take a couple of months off to recover as we had many frozen embryos from the pickup and needed to save some money for the second round.
A couple of months later I missed my period and we were, to my absolute joy and delight, pregnant naturally! But sadly, this pregnancy wasn’t to be. It was Mother’s day when the doctor removed my little ectopic foetus.
I fell into a black hole and people wondered why it was so difficult for me as I already had children. They felt that I would be better off moving on in life and forgetting about this next baby.
But I couldn’t, my husband couldn’t and my children couldn’t. We all felt the absolute need for the next little member to complete our family and luckily for us, it took only two more IVF cycles to conceive the most amazing and wonderful little boy. He is a joy and a delight and the apple of our eyes.
Having both naturally conceived children and IVF children it dawned on me one day that my son will need both of the ‘talks’. Not only was he created in a laboratory by a scientist, he was frozen and defrosted before being transferred back inside of me. So he will need the Birds and the Bees talk and he will also need the IVF talk.
I consider myself a bit of a master at explaining tricky things to my children so my girlfriend and I put pen to paper and created our children’s book series I Am Extra Special.
Neither my girls, or my boy are any more or less special to me, though we all as a family realise and take stock of what the IVF journey we all went through to conceive this little fellow.
Knowledge is Power. For a child to have the information on how a baby, any baby is conceived is of such importance and I look forward to having the conversation with my son when he is old enough.
Bel Messer is the co-author of “I am extra special – an IVF Story”