Have you struggled with fertility?
Janelle Shaw shares the story of her fertility journey. If you have battled with fertility, share your story with us by clicking the 'contribute' button below.
This year is our first Christmas with our wee miracle, Olive.
My husband and I were married in Auckland in 2004 and took it for granted that we would start a family within a few years.
We moved to Invercargill, where I am originally from, to prepare ourselves for parenthood by buying and doing up our first house and continuing our careers.
After five years my husband and I were termed with 'unexplained fertility'. None of the invasive testing showed us what our problems were or how we could fix them. So we joined the increasing number of couples in the public systemwaiting list for IVF treatment.
We were very open about our journey and our colleagues, friends and family offered us plenty of support. Time was needed to travel to Dunedin for scans and treatments on a regular basis.
Our house began to look like some sort of science lab with the drugs around. All social engagements revolved around jab timings, which were set to my cellphone.
Three years later, after two rounds of IVF and six embryo transfers we were reaching the end of our stamina and courage to continue. Luckily, I found the support I needed to continue in an online IVF group where others were in the same boat. Many of these people have remained close friends.
From research provided by my online group we managed to convince our fertility specialists to try a different protocol on our third cycle. I remember the nurse telling me I should 'rattle as I walked' with the number of drugs I was taking.
This was the first time we got a positive.
The pregnancy was not without its own complications and the angel at the top of our Christmas tree represents our lost twin in utero.
At about 30 weeks Olive was termed 'growth restricted' and had slowed her growing right down. We were assigned to the obstetricians who were hoping for me to reach 38 weeks and Olive to grow to 5 pounds (2.268kgs). We lasted until 37 weeks when pre-eclampsia signs set in. Out Olive came the day after New Years 2013, weighing 4 pounds 5 ounces (1.956).
I have put together an album for Olive sharing the journey we took to get her here with the inscription 'Never forget how wanted and loved you are, love Mummy and Daddy'. In the album are doctor's letters, ovary scans, blessed stones from well-meaning aunties, along with the scans of her and her twin.
My online group started up a 'lucky sock' trend. During the egg extraction operation each of us chose a pair of socks to wear. For Olive's first Christmas I have made her her own Santa sock with her initials 'OS' sewn on the top from the lucky socks worn at her egg extraction and the following successful egg transfer.
Finally we have our first Christmas as a family.
Sod the expensive Christmas presents and blow the scurrying around for weeks beforehand that seems to go with the big day. This year we have been blessed enough to discover the true meaning of Christmas.
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