After years of heartache, 11 failed attempts at IVF, and a miscarriage, an Australian woman has shared her story of becoming a mum for the first time at 47 years old.
“When he was born, I just kept asking “is he okay, is he normal? Tell me the truth.” When they said “yes,” I sobbed and sobbed,” Fiona told kidspot.com.au earlier this week.
“If there were issues, we’d already made the decision to just take him home and love him.”
Conceived via IVF, Fiona says the pregnancy almost didn’t happen. Having met 13 years ago, she and husband Paul, 57, had given up hope of conceiving four years earlier, but when contacted by her IVF clinic about two remaining embryos they had held onto, she says she decided, “I’ll have one last go, I’ve got nothing to lose.”
Nine months later the couple welcomed Izaak, a healthy and happy baby boy, into the world.
Despite their joy, though, Fiona is honest about the hardship and setbacks that older parents face, saying that like many women, she "assumed it’d work the first go, and was gobsmacked when it didn’t".
"The IVF was horrible," Fiona said. "I had to take lots of drugs, my life revolved around the medication, plus I’d have to inject myself without anyone knowing – sometimes in the toilets at work."
"The first six times I thought, this is it. Then for the next six, I was like a robot. I had no emotion, I’d just turn myself off. Paul had to drag me there."
Now eight years old, Fiona says Izaak is a "very cool, confident kid, who's pretty smart".
Listen: Megan Malkiewicz talks to Hello Bump hosts Monique Bowley and Rebecca Judd about her IVF journey, miscarriages, and eventually falling pregnant.
He wants to be an architect when he grows up and loves going on overseas holidays with his parents.
He tells people he's actually a lot older than he looks because, as an IVF baby, he was "frozen for five years".
The biggest challenge Fiona faces as a parent now is that all of her friend's children are adults, and all of the women at mother's groups are far younger. But with Izaak and Paul at her side, she says life seems pretty good.