I’ve hesitated to write this post because… oh for a million different reasons. Partly because it felt like the blog ended nicely, on Mother’s Day no less, tied up with the bow of a baby — finally — after all this time. Partly because I’ve never seen a post like this by anyone who writes about infertility. Partly because I wasn’t sure I wanted it down in black and white. Partly because I wasn’t sure when I would actually have the time to arrange my thoughts and get them down.
But then I’ve never been anything other than brutally honest on this blog and I know that there are people who have gone through fertility treatment who read this blog, and I kind of wanted to write about this for them, as much as for me — because part of the problem with this whole thing was feeling, a bit like I felt when I was first freezing my eggs, that it was just me. And I’m fairly sure it’s not just me. Anyway, I’ll stop caveating and get to the point…
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.)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 donorwho 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.
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.
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.