IVF Babble

Our story by Grant Ford . . . part two

Choosing a donor. Spring 2018

Not a normal thing to do. When you allow yourself to think, really think, about what you are researching, it’s scary and not quite how you imagine it. The suggested donor websites, the various online profiles . . .

“Well, he has to be tall with dark hair. Ideally university educated.”

“Blue eyes OK?”

“Says here he enjoys the gym and plays chess. He has brains and brawn!”

Conversations like this were a regular occurrence after the initial fear and heavy research had subsided. Something they couldn’t have prepared for, so they just jumped right in.

“This clinic adds a comment if the donor looks like anyone famous. Do you like Chris Hemsworth?”

“YES” She replied.

Insemination by Thor himself. What’s not to like he thought

The more the process went on the more they settled into it. They were happy with their choice. Donor number 53, you were the chosen one. He considered how this man they’ll almost certainly never meet is giving them the gift of life. A child of their own. What a gift to give. If it works.

Psychologically it’s complicated. Up and down

On the one hand he was happy they’d found a way to progress, a way to have a baby even. Happy that his wife was happier. On the other hand he felt incredibly conflicted and sad. As a man he wasn’t what you’d describe as an alpha male or a traditionalist, but it still hurt every day that he couldn’t have children.

He found a way to look at the positives and of course, there were many.

First attempt

So the process began. It all moved very quickly.

Compared to the painstaking speed of his prognosis, this felt like a breeze. With a date in the diary the couple travelled to Marylebone, London for their first IUI attempt. A lovely, airy clinic in a nice part of town, it didn’t feel like a clinical procedure was about to happen. A handful of other couples were milling around the waiting areas, with a mix of demeanours.

For the first time in a while he allowed himself to feel more positive, she could tell that a huge weight had been lifted, with the focus now shifted. With her tests and results so “normal” in the best sense of the word he felt like there was no reason this couldn’t work first time.

With IUI, it is a less accurate and less expensive method when compared to IVF. Instead of a direct test tube coming together (no pun intended) of sperm and egg, the former is a well-placed insertion of donor sperm at exactly the right time during a woman’s ovulation cycle. In both cases you hit and hope, but with IVF the chances are considerably greater. Despite this, they both allowed themselves to dream. To even discuss names for the first time in nearly 2 years.

The first IUI attempt came and went without success. Not unsurprising but still felt like a bit of a setback for them both – particularly after the positive rush they felt as they left the clinic that afternoon.

Second attempt

Brought back down to earth by the first failure they waited another month, composed themselves and their expectations and went for the second attempt. This time though, they were more reserved with their excitement, the percentages of the situation still ringing in his ears. They’d bought three rounds, three attempts. Not particularly cheap and not much was guaranteed. They had become used to that narrative. Spending money to speculate, to hope and to trust in various specialists. The prospect of losing hope as well as money was an ever-present background noise. But they both had to keep it in the background for anything to happen.

Neither of them wanted to consider the possibility of three strikes with no success. What would be next and how much more time would it take.

One night in June he came home from work off the train. The usual. Nothing was other than mundane about that day. Until he walked in the door and she was holding a pregnancy test in her hand and she uttered the words they’d both been waiting for. It’s fair to say he was emotional. They both were. It still felt surreal though. Despite the happiness, relief and excitement he felt he still wouldn’t allow himself to 100% accept it. Probably because of all the false starts of the recent past.

They both needed something concrete. Something like a 6 week scan. An early stage scan they were fortunate enough to have as part of the IUI process.

The scan came and the baby was there. He cried. Another part of him freed up space for joy and love to replace the hurt and difficulty.

The scan

12 weeks. They were understandably nervous. He had a lump in his throat already. The big one you read and hear about. In the interim they’d very tentatively told nearest and dearest about the pregnancy, but this was the final psychological hurdle. This was it in his head. It all rested on this. He didn’t really let on how anxious he’d felt about it. As the midwife manoeuvred over his wife’s belly for the second time in half an hour they waited patiently. The first time her bladder wasn’t full enough to paint a clear picture. Then there it was. Breaths were held. This time it was unmistakably a little baby. They even knew what equivalent sized fruit it was and the emotion and relief in the room was palpable.

The midwife had no idea of their story or what it meant to both of them, how long they’d waited for this news. On the journey home they both cried happy tears. They could finally look ahead.

Saturday March 2nd 2019

Crowborough Birthing Centre, East Sussex.

1:51 am Marlowe River Jean Ford was born!



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