Welcome to a new Mamamia series in which mothers anonymously confess to some of the aspects of parenting they can’t say out loud. If you have an Anonymum story of your own (anonymity guaranteed) email it to us at: [email protected]
Joanne* had 13 rounds of IVF before falling pregnant with twins at 45. Her sons are now 3 years old and she says she is shattered.
“The desire to have kids didn’t kick in properly for me until I was in my thirties and then I had to wait another couple of years until I met a guy I could imagine having a baby with. You know that saying, “how do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans.”? Well, that was me. Once we started trying, after years of worrying about contraception and having two abortions in my twenties….nothing happened.
This came as a shock because I just assumed when I wanted to get pregnant, I would be able to. We began IVF at the suggestion of my doctor after just 12 months of trying because she said I didn’t have time to waste. Especially if we wanted more than one child, which we did. A dozen IVF attempts later I would have been grateful for one baby because nothing seemed to work. It was rough on my body and on our marriage, which was still pretty new. And let’s not even talk about our bank account which was rapidly being depleted. We ended up having to re-mortgage our house after the 9th IVF that didn’t work.
So much crying – that’s my memory of those years. Anyway, after a couple of early miscarriages during IVF cycles three and eleven, I finally fell pregnant with twins when I was 45. We had to use donor eggs for the last eight cycles because mine were just too old and our doctor said we were literally wasting our money on IVF trying to make my eggs work.
IVF is terrific for your self esteem, have I mentioned that?
The pregnancy did feel like a miracle though and we were over the moon, both of us. The pregnancy kicked my arse but all twin pregnancies do from everything I read and heard at the time. When you're doing IVF, you're so focussed on the pregnancy that that feels like the finish line.
Then you're just so desperate to make it to a viable stage like 12 weeks. Every ultrasound where you hear the heartbeats of your babies feels like an incredible milestone. Every month you tick off the calendar is an inch closer to that new finish line of the birth. When you can hold your precious babies in your arms.
Except then you do and you realise you were totally kidding yourself about the finish line and you've only just got to the start. But you're exhausted from the nine months of pregnancy and the years of IVF before that and now you have the run the marathon that is being a parent.
Deb Knight did 14 rounds of IVF and then had a baby naturally. (Post continues after audio.)