There is a room in the city I live that has seen the worst and one of the best days of my life. It’s the room where I learnt that my husband would never be a biological father and where I learnt that it would be very tough for me to be a biological mother. It’s the room that we learnt that we would be parents. This is our journey to parenthood.
Roll the clock back nearly five years and my then fiancé and I decided the time was right to start the journey to parenthood. I naively thought, well this should just take a few months. I was wrong. A year ticked by, nothing, not even the slightest whiff of a pregnancy, another few months passed by, still nothing. It was easy to explain things away, we’re not having sex enough, we’re too busy, we’ve been busy with the wedding, it was just wrong timing, it will happen next month.
Finally, just under two years of trying we went to see a fertility specialist. The news was bad, very bad. I remember sitting there as our specialist turned to my husband and said, “I’m sorry but you have a sperm count of zero. There is a less than 1% chance that you would ever be able to father a child, and to determine that 1% would involve an operation.” And then turning to me “and even if we do, it is unlikely that IVF would be successful for as you have a very low egg count for your age”. You can imagine the tears, the grief, the anger. It isn’t often in this day and age that you are told that you can’t have something that you desperately want and it is a bitter pill to swallow.
There were two options for us to consider, adoption or try IUI (intrauterine insemination) using donor sperm. In the country where I live there are less than 100 babies adopted annually. After tears (from both of us), sleepless nights, week/months of talking about our options – a decision was made, we will try using a donor. Selecting a donor was like reading an online dating profile – you ruled out donors based on superficial information – we want an extrovert not an introvert, we can’t imagine having a blond haired child, he’s too short. The selection was made.
Treatment protocol started, pills taken to increase the number of eggs I ovulated, blood tests upon blood tests, scans, daily phone calls from the clinic, acupuncture sessions – it felt endless and overwhelming. First round a BFN (big fat negative) as they say in infertility land. We weren’t too worried; we were both anxious and nervous the whole way through not knowing what happens next. Second time round we learnt that we would be parents. Nearly three years after starting to try for a baby we were finally pregnant. The room that made us so sad, was now a room filled with hope and joy.
The rest of the story is uneventful, my son sleeps peacefully in his room as I type, while his twin brothers (due later this year) kick and prod me from inside my heavily pregnant belly.
The story ends with all the thank you’s I owe… thank you to science, thank you to the generous man who donated sperm, thank you to his wife that allowed him to do it, thank you to the specialist and all the clinic staff and thank you to my husband – I love you with all my heart.