I decided to go it alone with motherhood at 40, but then I met the one
OPINION: Staring at those two tell-tale lines on the pregnancy test, I started crying happy tears.
Feeling elated and terrified in equal measure, and physically shaking, I picked up the phone to share the news with my mum.
At 40, after longing to become a mother for most of my adult life, it was finally happening.
I hadn't found love, but after one round of IVF, I was pregnant.
Having carved out a successful career in brokering which allowed me to travel extensively, I know I appeared to lead a glamorous life. But without children it wasn't enough to make me genuinely happy. I had a steady stream of dates but I'm sure they could sense my desperation and nothing blossomed into a steady relationship.
So, while all my friends were coupling up and having kids I was left on the sidelines, feeling inadequate, questioning if my time would ever come.
Reaching 40 was the turning point. I didn't give up on finding love, but I knew that being a mother was more important to me.
I was in a good job and had saved carefully, so with no financial concerns holding me back, I began to explore treatments. With extremely low hormone levels, I required not only sperm donation but egg donation.
I started IVF in March 2012 and felt incredibly lucky when I became pregnant after the first round.
Accompanied by a loyal friend, it was at my first scan that I discovered I was carrying twins. Admittedly, while I knew I had enough love for two, a glimpse into the future with me as a single mum, firmly outnumbered, added a new dimension of fear – but I didn't let it derail me.
I started to share the news with my family and friends, who were all so happy for me. I can't count the number of times I was told I was "brave" – although I preferred to see it as being proactive. I'm sure, quietly, some felt I was mad, too.
As my bump grew, I stopped thinking about finding love. So I'm sure it's no coincidence that when I was four months pregnant – with all that pressure washed away – I met my husband. I had a new-found confidence and I'm sure I came across as less needy.
I connected with Mark after commenting on a picture of his motorbike on a friend's Facebook wall.
We started chatting online and arranged to meet at a pub. There was an instant attraction between us. I considered hiding my pregnancy, but I knew from day one I was falling for him and so felt it was only fair to be honest.
Unfazed by my situation, and having spent every possible moment with me, he proposed just 10 days later. I think we both knew straight away that this was something special. Later, Mark told me how in awe he was of my independence, while I was bowled over by his openness to my situation.
Ten years my senior, recently divorced and with two grown-up sons, he had never considered having any more. But when Sam and Ollie were born five months later, Mark was holding my hand throughout. When they were just 9-months-old, we were married.
But for me, the icing on the cake was the day Mark officially adopted the boys, when they turned one.
My sons know that they were in Mummy's tummy before I met Daddy, but one day I'll tell them the full story with great pride because it's all been beyond my wildest dreams.
- Sydney Morning Herald