My name is Samantha and I am the incredibly proud and lucky mum of two beautiful children, neither of whom would be here if it wasn’t for IVF.
How I found myself needing IVF
Ever since I can remember I yearned to have children – in all honesty, I just assumed that one day I would be a mum. As a little girl, I kept my dolls clothes neatly folded away in a box to use once I had babies of my own. By the time I was a teenager I had names picked out. I couldn’t wait to be a mum when I was older.
I grew up to become a medical sonographer specialising in obstetric ultrasound. Every day I would go to work and perform ultrasounds on happy couples looking in awe at the little miracles they had made. “That will be me one day” I constantly thought to myself.
Life rarely goes to plan. At 38 years of age, I found myself single and childless having left a long-term, unhealthy relationship. It took great strength to leave the relationship as not only was I leaving the life and home I had built up over 10 years, I was also very aware that I was potentially leaving my only chance to have a child. I returned home to Perth and continued my work as a medical sonographer. My profession became less enjoyable – it was a constant reminder that I had not fulfilled my ultimate desire to become a mum. I went to work and every day was faced with couples living my dream.
Meeting my husband
Sometimes life places us in the right place at the right time. Three weeks before my 39th birthday I met my wonderful husband, Bill, who I married in 2010. When I met Bill his daughter was 12 and together we set up a beautiful home and a loving environment. I felt very lucky indeed. But my biological clock was ticking and more than ever I was desperate to have a child. Bill and I tried without success for 6 months. I did pregnancy test after pregnancy test in the hope of seeing a positive result (our local chemist made a fortune!!!). I was approaching 40 and scared of leaving things too late. We decided to seek assistance.
Choosing to see a fertility specialist
We saw a fertility specialist and a diagnostic laparoscopy revealed that due to endometriosis both of my tubes were completely blocked. There was no way I was going to conceive naturally. And the road of IVF began….
I was excited rather than apprehensive to start IVF. I was in with a chance that our dream may come true. I remember the daily, early visits to the clinic for blood tests. I remember the injections and pelvic pain that my stimulated ovaries gave me. I remember the ultrasounds, the egg retrieval, Bill’s short but sweet contribution and finally being given the go-ahead for an embryo transfer.
Above all, I remember the fear that the IVF cycle wasn’t going to work. What if, after all this invested hope, pain and money we remained childless? My IVF cycle had produced two embryos. One was implanted, the other frozen. I consoled myself with the thought that if this first embryo didn’t lead to a successful pregnancy at least we had another chance.
Our IVF success
I am truly one of the lucky ones. My fresh embryo transfer was successful. I was at work when I received the call from the fertility centre – “you are pregnant” they said. I felt incredulous. I couldn’t believe the words I had just heard. Me…. pregnant…. a true miracle. I heard those beautiful words the day before I turned 40.
Our beautiful baby girl arrived at 32 weeks. It was the best day of my life. It seemed surreal that I was finally a mum. I couldn’t take my eyes off her – she was perfect. Molly spent 4 weeks in special care and then she was well enough to come home with us.
Trying for baby number 2
When Molly was 8 months old we decided it was time to try IVF once more. We had a single frozen embryo and as I had recently turned 41 I didn’t want to wait too much longer. If this embryo did not lead to a successful pregnancy we thought we may try another complete IVF cycle.
The experience this time was far more stressful than I had anticipated. I thought it would be easier to undergo the embryo transfer the second time around as I already had a beautiful daughter but I was wrong. The transfer itself went smoothly but then the worrying began. Surely I wouldn’t be lucky enough for this second cycle to work, it was a miracle that I had one child through IVF. Was I being selfish hoping and praying for a second child when so many women have tried so hard to conceive without success?
The agony of the two-week wait
The ensuing two weeks were the longest I’ve ever experienced. The day I received the phone call from the clinic I was once again at work – in the same ultrasound room I was in when I heard the amazing news about Molly. I had convinced myself over the last 2 weeks that it wasn’t going to be good news this time. There is no way I could get that lucky.
But I did. I was pregnant again.Our gorgeous son arrived at 37 weeks. We were both very unwell after the birth and spent a few weeks in hospital. We finally went home when Tom was 3 weeks old – just in time for my 42nd birthday.
Not a day goes by that I don’t look at my children and count my lucky stars.
I still find it amazing that we made these beautiful children. We love them to the moon and back.
I am proof that miracles do happen.
Sam Ward is a renowned sonographer who runs an online resource called ‘Obstetric Sonography’, a comprehensive portal for those learning and extending their knowledge of obstetric ultrasound.
Sam’s two children were conceived by IVF at ages 39 & 41 and she is a passionate advocate of top-quality care during conception and pregnancy.