When I turned 40, the thought of having another baby was far from my mind. I had two beautiful girls, my then husband had had a vasectomy and, having experienced an ectopic pregnancy between the girls, my reproductive viability was severely compromised.
Then, when I was 41, my marriage ended and I met and married a man much younger than me who had no children of his own. That he would be sacrificing his opportunity to be a biological father worried me, but he was adamant that it wasn’t a factor and couldn’t be a barrier to us being together.
Nonetheless, after watching what a great stepfather he became, I began to harbour a secret hope that maybe we could have a baby together. We agreed that we would try without trying; we would not seek fertility treatment or pin our hopes on a ‘what if.'
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He was more "c’est la vie" than me. I made lifestyle changes, tracked cycles and ovulation windows and suffered silently through each month’s disappointment.
12 months after we were married I was enough days late to take a pregnancy test. The positivity of that was soon washed away with an ultrasound showing a blighted ovum. Six months later, another positive test, another miscarriage.
On my 45th birthday the GP suggested my reproductive window was closing and I should consider contraception.
I made an appointment for a couple of months later to have a Mirena put in, but the week that appointment was due, my period was a couple of days late (yes, I was still counting!) and the two pink lines were stronger than anything I’d seen on a pregnancy test before. They were positively neon, and I can still feel the thrill and the frisson of terror that accompanied them.
My husband was calmer and more resigned to the (inevitable) fate of this embryo. He didn’t come to the six week scan because we agreed that it might be less stressful for me to see the bad news alone.
I lay on the scan table, closed my eyes and ran through my plan for coping, my plan for the D&C, my plan for the exciting things we would do instead of having a baby. The radiographer had to nudge me to look at the screen… and there it was, the blip, blip, blink of a heartbeat.
Our first obstetrician’s appointment did not go well. I was hoping for warmth and congratulations but her first question was, “Did you get pregnant on purpose?”, followed by, “You do understand your chance of Downs at this age is 1:7?” and then a list of options, the last of which seemed to be have a baby.