When we decided to start a family, we never dreamt that it wouldn't just go according to plan - like it had for all our friends. Instead, it took time, money and a lot of patience.
For three years, we tried month after heartbreaking month to conceive our first child. For the first few months we were still optimistic that it was going to happen. But with each passing month, we started to worry that maybe we couldn't fall pregnant. So, given our ages we decided to get some assistance. We saw a natropath, acupuncturist and eventually a fertility doctor. We fell into the 'unexplained fertility' camp - that lonely place where there isn't an obvious answer or course of action.
I changed my diet, took multiple vitamin supplements, tried an IUI and took chlomophene (which in itself is an adventure that doesn't really foster a calming environment for some women). Month after month we had the agonising two week wait and the resulting disappointment. Until one month, exactly three years after we started trying to have a family, and just after the big earthquake, we fell pregnant. And nine months later we got to hold our precious son. Our miracle.
Our journey to have our second child, while shorter, was possibly more difficult. We fell pregnant naturally and quickly. We couldn't believe our luck - finally we were one of 'those' couples.But sadly it wasn't meant to be. Our baby passed away at eight weeks. We had a partial molar pregnancy, something we had never heard of before. Coupled with the sadness of losing our little baby, we were also had to deal with the fact that there was a possible risk of me getting cancer and so we couldn't try for 6-12 months. For a couple dealing with fertility issues, being told you have to wait before trying again is a real kick in the guts. But we were so fortunate to our son - who kept our spirits up and helped us to enjoy each day.
By the time we were over the waiting period, we qualified for IVF. So we boarded that train to see what adventure lay ahead. What followed was not the journey we had hoped for. A chemical pregnancy and another miscarriage was absolutely heartbreaking. Slowly, our optimism was beginning to fade. And with no more funding for the year, we went back to taking chlomophene and charting my temperature.
My mantra throughout this journey has been 'It will all be alright in the end. And if it's not alright, then it's not the end'. And we still desperately wanted a second child. So it obviously wasn't the end. And it wasn't.
We conceived shortly after the second miscarriage. But this time, we couldn't relax and experience the unbridled joy of being pregnant. Every day was a worry. We had little milestones we wanted to get to - 7 week scan to see the heartbeat, 12 week scan to check everything was okay, 20 week anatomy scan, 24 weeks when the baby was 'viable' etc.. And we had a massive scare at 12 weeks when I started bleeding heavily an hour after my scan. But fortunately the pregnancy wasn't compromised and after an agonising 39 weeks, living day to day - scarcely wanting to believe, we got to meet our daughter.
I had always dreamt of having a large family, with lots of kids running around. But when I look at my two amazing miracles, I am alright. And so I am at peace that this is the end. No more kids, but no more blood tests, drugs, procedures, appointments.
I have preferred not to have gone through this experience. But we did meet some amazing people along the way. My natropath who didn't have to speak to convey her empathy, my acupuncturists who will be lifelong friends, the nurse at the hospital who seemed to feel my loss as if it was her own and the phlebotomist who hugged me when I finally arrived for a blood test sporting a little bump.
But most importantly I met a couple who, through everything, still managed to stay positive and share a laugh together.
I don't know why we were chosen to experience this journey. Why our children took so long to join our family or why we experienced the loss of a pregnancy. But I do know that our children will never have to wonder if they were wanted. They will never have to question our love for them. They are a daily reminder that where there is hope, there is life.