In December 2016 I started thinking more and more about my life, my situation, maybe it was a midlife crisis of sorts! Or just the right time to take stock. Ultimately, I felt lucky, I ran my own business and love my job, I’d just bought a house and had recently moved back up to the northeast after 12 years in London – again which I’d really enjoyed. I have great friends here and in London, a close family….but I’m single. For whatever reason, I’d just not met the right man to settle down with. And I felt like time was ticking on the baby front….and I guess I knew that something was missing. Maybe it was time to face it.
I was 38 and began worrying about the vision I’d always had about having children. Who exactly was I kidding here? I was in touching distance of 40 and no perfect man was on the horizon. I decided (after some long conversations with close friends and family) to look into going it alone and using a donor. No big decisions just yet, but the wise thing seemed to be to get the right information from the right place and let it percolate.
I looked into private clinics near me. I live in Durham and the London Women’s Clinic in Darlington seemed to be the closest and had some great reviews. It didn’t look big and scary or like a hospital and when I called the person on the end of the phone (who I later figured out was Ellie) was lovely and friendly. This was the place.
Information was gathered! I visited the clinic with my mum and spoke with Dr Ashour. The place had a lovely feel. More like a family than a ‘clinic’. The first step was that I arranged to have a hycosy to see if my fallopian tubes were viable and then we’d take it from there. I also arranged some counselling – which I must say I was nervous about.
The counselling was fine and not scary at all. I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to someone I was not related to about this and my thought process. It reassured me that this was the right decision for me. I must say though, that deciding to proceed as a singleton does involve a period of letting go. You have to grieve for that vision you’ve probably always had since being a little girl of the ‘perfect’ family – husband, wife, baby. I did grieve for this. And honestly right now, I have never felt more sure that this is the right thing for me. But I can imagine that this period could be enough for some people to step away – maybe thinking “oh this is too much of a BIG decision…. I’ll give it a few more years, maybe I’ll meet someone, if its meant to be it will be” For me I didn’t want to leave this up to fate. I just didn’t want to regret anything. I’ve pretty much always found a way to get the things I want in life eventually and this was just another thing I wanted and I was going to make it happen – just maybe not in the most conventional way.
Ultimately, we found that my fallopian tubes were blocked, so IVF with donor sperm was my best chance of getting pregnant. I opted for purchasing three rounds of ivf all at once – I didn’t want to feel any added pressure should round one not work and ultimately this was a more cost-effective way of doing it.
I was lucky. My first fresh transfer didn’t take, but my second go, this time a frozen transfer from my one frozen blastocyst took. I tested early and I was getting those magical double lines from six days post transfer – although I know you are supposed to wait much longer! I was so shocked as my natural position is always to think the worst and then you wont be disappointed.
At around 12 weeks pregnant I went back to see the lovely counsellor again just to discuss how to talk to the baby and other people about how he or she was created. And how to talk about the donor using the right language. I started keeping a memory box of little things that I wanted to talk to the baby about when he or she is old enough – like a lovely print that shows the night sky on the day of my embryo transfer, or a programme for the first Newcastle United game the baby ‘attended’ inside my tummy. I’m trying to enjoy this time. It’s magical and scary and very special. I know that some people assume that I wish I had a husband with me along the way but this just feels so normal for me. This is my baby and we are a little team of two.
On my last visit to the clinic I asked to have my photograph taken with the whole team, they are an important part of this journey and they helped in the creation of this little person, who I was so excited to meet. I knew that when my baby was born that I would take my new addition along to meet the special people who made this all happen.
Bertie arrived in May 2018, he’s perfect and I haven’t once regretted anything at all about how he came to be. As I had always planned, I took him along to meet Dr Ashour and the lovely people at the London Women's Clinic. It was strange walking through those doors with my baby! I can’t recommend the team at Darlington highly enough. I just loved all the nurses and Doctor Ashour. As for going it alone as a parent, of course it is hard, you have ups and downs along the way, but I am sure that is the case for all parents. He’s here and I couldn’t love him more.