The end…

… well not really, it’s just the beginning isn’t it? Because after all this – egg freezing, solo IVF with donor sperm, B appearing when I had given up on love and relationships, IVF as a couple, unexpected natural conception, miscarriage, and ultimately going down the route of IVF with donor eggs – we have our beautiful baby (who we obviously think is perfect in every way.)

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In the middle…

Last year when I got pregnant naturally and accidentally, I felt a sense of almost guilt about being such a cliché. Woman stops trying to get pregnant, gets pregnant, here’s the Hollywood ending (that I always secretly hated and resented when I heard it in others’ stories.)

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Talking and telling…

Now that I’m at the point where, despite what I thought was clever dressing to conceal my bump, I am very obviously, it appears, pregnant, I am confronted by yet another issue. How much do I say about our baby’s origins?

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What happens next…

It’s hard to know what this blog – which has been all about trying to get pregnant – should be about now I’m actually pregnant. And I suppose that sentence alone is something that speaks volumes. I didn’t start this as a blog about trying to get pregnant. When I started it, it was a blog about freezing my eggs. And when, later, I came back to it, I thought it was going to be a blog about being a solo mother. But life has other plans. And so I suppose now it’s a blog about being pregnant with a donor egg after trying to get pregnant for so long.

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Tempting fate…

You know I’m not superstitious. But perhaps inevitably I can’t help being with this. Given everything that’s gone before, I don’t know how I couldn’t be. How I could ever be someone who would assume it would all be fine. Despite all the scans that told me otherwise.

Because we’d had that six week scan, and then our clinic offered us an early scan at eight weeks, and then because we wanted to do the Harmony test (a blood test that looks for three different chromosomal abnormalities and can be done from ten weeks onwards. It’s sometimes offered on the NHS but if it is, it’s usually at a later stage) we booked a private package that combined a 10-week scan, the Harmony test and a 12-week scan. And all of them were fine. In all of them, the measurements were what they should be. The things they were meant to be able to see, they could see. Everything looked normal.

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The numbers…

This strange feeling of detachment persisted. We knew what day the donor would be donating because B had to go to the clinic to wank into a cup (it is what it is, so let’s not dress it up as anything else) so her eggs could be fertilised. And while I wanted to know how many eggs they’d got from her, how many had been fertilised, how many had got to day 2, day 5, how many blastocysts, I didn’t have that same desperate-for-the-phone-to-ring anxiety.

Maybe it was that I still felt quite detached from it, but I think a lot of it was also because I feel more sanguine about the whole process. More aware that there’s nothing I can do that will change the outcome so whether I know at 10am that day how many embryos looked healthy, or whether I don’t find that information out until seven hours later makes no odds.

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The hunt goes on…

Back sometime before the last Ice Age, we’d made the decision that we were going to try to conceive with donor eggs. OK, maybe it wasn’t that long ago, but it was pre-pandemic, pre-accidental-natural-unexpected pregnancy, pre-totally-predictable miscarriage, and so as a result it does feel like aeons ago. Even if it was only just over a year ago. Because since then we found (or rather the agency found us) the Mary Poppins donor who wasn’t, and the Mary Poppins replacement that didn’t fill us with joy. And then two days after I’d had it confirmed that I’d definitely miscarried, the agency got in touch with a suggestion of someone else.

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When you’re making other plans…

It was John Lennon who apparently said that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” and Woody Allen’s credited with saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans” — even though my suspicion is that Jewish grandmothers have been saying it for millennia. Undoubtedly there’s a bunch of other quotes from various wise civilisations that say pretty much the same thing. The bottom line is that you can do everything in your power to create a certain outcome, but it turns out that “everything in your power” is pretty much the square root of fuck all.

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So about that donor…

I know these things aren’t karmic. I know this by now. I know that when it comes to fertility, you don’t somehow suddenly get a smooth ride because it’s been bumpy so far. I know all this. But finding this Mary Poppins of a donor (she was practically perfect in every way) felt like we’d turned a corner, like it was the start of something brand new and positive. Like I said, I knew there were a load of hoops we still had to jump through, if this were a game of snakes and ladders, we had a lot more ladders to climb before we won that baby. But this was a pretty long ladder.

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“We’ve found you a donor…”

(I have a horrible feeling I published this post out of order, so I’ve reordered it — apologies if you already read an earlier iteration and felt you’d missed a bit, you had.)

When the call came, the number wasn’t in my phone, and a donor was the furthest thought from my mind. We’d had generic email updates from the agency keeping us posted about the impact that the pandemic had had on the recruitment of donors and the possibility of treatment delays, but for me, the whole things was sort of mentally parked. There was comfort in knowing that what happened next was in someone else’s hands. There was nothing we could do about it, it was just something that was happening elsewhere that we had no power or control over, all we could do was just get on with our lives. And so we did. Well, as much as anyone could in the middle of a global pandemic.

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