My IVF story used to sound like something out of a fairy tale, a story that many admired.

We fell in love, got married, wanted to have children, conquered the obstacles in our way and had a beautiful child. We were united and strong. About two years later, after a few obstacles, along came another child. That was one chapter of my life story.

Then, the girl I loved fell for another girl and I was devastated. I was heartbroken, shattered and served with divorce papers.  My dreams of having a big family were still there, but clouded by overwhelming feelings and it took time for me to find myself again. I was navigating this new life of being alone and having my kids half of the time, but I was determined to get through it. I built myself back up, slowly but surely and I became stronger. Everything was clear again and the path to wanting more children began. This time, however, I had to involve lawyers and courtrooms, in order to claim the rights for the embryos I’d produced. My eldest daughter kept asking me when would she have another sister or a brother? I had no answer for her, or for myself. One day, I thought.

Finally, the day came when I felt like all the waiting had paid off, the embryos that my body had miraculously produced were mine. It had taken two egg retrievals to get those viable eggs and two rounds of IVF to get those embryos. I cried tears of joy, knowing that I could now try to get pregnant again. However, it wasn’t long after I got the news that the embryos were being taken back to court! Again? How? I cried until it hurt. I felt helpless. Was I ever going to be able to start this journey? I had spent so much time building myself back up, only to feel knocked down again.

Christina IVF journey

I didn’t stop pursuing my dream. While my lawyers fought for my embryos, I decided I would try again. I would start a new IVF journey. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but maybe what I had to do. Doing this process seven years later, showed me how much had changed. My body had not only aged seven years, but the process itself was different. There were different medications and protocols. I went to the same place, but even the procedure room was different. Everything just felt foreign. Thankfully, the faces of my nurse and doctor were the same. I felt comfort knowing that they would help me to achieve my dreams. I thought I would get tons of viable eggs, as the ultrasound showed I had thirteen follicles and ten appeared mature. I was excited, but also nervous. I remember that moment of going to sleep before they retrieved the eggs in the procedure room. In those few seconds, I felt such calm.  It felt like no matter what happened, I would be fine.  

However, when I woke up, I was informed that many of the follicles were empty. They were able to get just six. I was shocked, but still hopeful. As the doctor kept talking, I got more discouraged. The follicles retrieved weren’t all usable. He kept talking, but the words became words I didn’t understand. Then I heard him. Three eggs would attempt to go through fertilisation. Only three, out of thirteen! My heart sank. I got this overwhelming feeling in my stomach, thinking back to my first failed round of IVF – I had two eggs then – two eggs that didn’t survive. Two eggs that didn’t make it to fertilisation and no embryos. Will this fail too? They said they would call me. This process felt all too familiar.

The first phone call came and it wasn’t good. They said they would continue to watch the two that were fertilised. They weren’t growing as they should, but they wouldn’t discard them yet. I hung up and cried. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just produce viable eggs and make more embryos? The phone call that followed, said it was time to discard the two that were left. I knew it was coming, having been through it before, but I was still sad. I didn’t give up. Meanwhile, my embryos from my second IVF were still frozen, still untouchable, still held up in court. My third round had failed. I decided to go through a fourth round of IVF.
I got more needles and more medication.  My medication was increased, pushing my body to its max. I was giving it my all. It wasn’t clear why my third round failed, except that my age was a factor.  I was now seven years older.

Even though I’m only 33, apparently my body just doesn’t produce viable eggs well. I also have PCOS.  Did the reasons really matter? The fourth round of IVF pushed on. I was bloated, bruised and uncomfortable, constantly checking my calendar to monitor my meds. I told myself, this was the round, this was when I would get new embryos. However, on finding out they’d only retrieved two eggs, I cried on the way home, till I passed out from the pain medication.
Then, a miracle happened – a deal with my embryos.  After a trade, the embryos were mine.

I started my medications for an embryo transfer.  I transferred two, in the hope that both would take. After watching my body for every little sign of pregnancy, it was finally time for my first blood test to find the BETA number.  That two-week wait was just dreadful. I anxiously awaited the results. The phone call came from my nurse that I was pregnant! The number was pretty high, so we both suspected twins. I couldn’t wait till my next blood test. The results came, but the number didn’t double as it was supposed to. This had happened with my second daughter though and I was thinking that these babies must want to be like their sister. Stay calm, I told myself. Thankfully, the third blood test showed everything was fine and I had to wait for the ultrasound to confirm it was twins!

I couldn’t wait to see the ultrasound screen. I walked into the room and my nurse was there. I was so happy to see her and to finally be at this point. At first, one baby showed up on the screen, then the instrument moved over and revealed a second baby. I was so excited that time stood still. I got to hear both heartbeats, both strong. I walked out of the room, shocked to see many of the staff standing along the wall clapping for me. My nurse handed me two baby gift bags. I hugged her and just felt ultimate joy.

After I took a few photos and said goodbye, I sat on the drive home, admiring the photos they had printed for me. My babies were growing inside me.

Now here I am, 13 weeks pregnant. Although this journey didn’t start out as my first one did for my other two children, I still feel it is a happy ending. I have two adorable kids, who can’t wait to be big sisters. I have a girlfriend who cares deeply for me and has stood by me through it all. I have family and friends who love me unconditionally. I have support all around me, both in person and from my online community. I am finally starting the next chapter of my life. These twins are so loved and we all can’t wait to meet them.