Where do you begin planning for parenthood? Can you ever fully prepare yourself or know when the moment is exactly right? 2017 was the year we knew our parenting journey would begin.
When same-sex marriage became legal in the UK it sparked conversations in our relationship about our future. We quickly established that not only did we want to get married, but we also wanted to have a family together. Even though we were nervous about the journey we were about to embark on, we were lucky to have had lots of positive influence from LGBTQ+ families who showed their journeys and allowed us to accept and embrace that parenthood and marriage was realistic for us.
One of the first things we prepared ourselves for in our journey to becoming parents was securing our finances. As a gay couple we knew that the avenues we would have to take to becoming parents would come at a cost. Rather than worry about how we were going to pay treatment to treatment we felt it was best to save should we need to have multiple tries.
Once we felt financially ready, we started what would turn into our IVF journey. We firstly tried IUI but shortly after realised that IVF was better suited for us. We found the IVF process smooth-going and luckily had no issues. Much to our joy, our embryo took first time! We were elated. Sarah thankfully had a relatively stress-free pregnancy with minimal symptoms. She even worked till a mere 3 days before giving birth! Our daughter Annabelle was born via planned c-section. Whatever apprehension or nervousness we felt prior to her birth was desolated instantly meeting our little girl.
One of the things we were especially grateful for during IVF was Laura being able to play such a big part from egg collection, embryo transfers, scans and arrival of our child. It was truly lovely experience to share.
We imagined ourselves as micro-manage parents – partly due to being first time parents and as we can be a little stubborn! However, much to our surprise it was the opposite. We found ourselves stepping back and allowing Annabelle to lead and for us to listen to her needs. It came naturally to us and we worked as a team rather than taking on certain roles.
After such a positive experience we decided to try for baby number two. Unfortunately, it wasn’t how we envisioned. This time round Laura was to go through IVF. Pre-testing showed that Laura’s egg count was low which meant we had to take a different route than expected. Thankfully Sarah had embryos from our first IVF that we could implant in Laura. This is called shared motherhood.
Our first attempt at embryo transfer took but unfortunately ended in miscarriage. It was an emotional time for us – we didn’t expect it at all and especially due to the easy nature of Sarah’s pregnancy it came as a shock. Thankfully we had money saved to fund additional embryo transfers and we tried again, trying to not feel defeated.
We went ahead with the second embryo transfer but sadly the embryo didn’t take. Trying to not feel too disheartened with tried a third time (with our last embryo) and it took! Joyous news but even with the embryo taking we felt nervous, there was a real possibility Laura could’ve miscarried again.
Due to the nature of Laura’s history, doctors advised her to take it easy with plenty of rest and no heavy lifting. She did experience some bleeding early on which thankfully has eased off since. The first scan showed a healthy baby which was a huge relief.
Currently, we are thoroughly enjoying parenting Annabelle and cannot wait for the newest addition to join our family. Our advice to anyone starting their parenting journey is to enjoy every moment because it flies by. Everyone said it to us, and we didn’t believe them – but it’s true! Savour every moment, take plenty photos and videos and just remember there are far more good days than bad.