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Case study: Customised book for donor conceived children where Mum used an egg donor and surrogate
18 February 2021
Katie and husband Chris have struggled through a difficult 10 year journey to become the parents they’ve always dreamt of being. In 2020 little baby Hope entered their lives via a surrogate. In this guest blog, Katie shares her journey, and why she has chosen a Sensitive Matters book to help explain the emotional and complex story of how Hope came to be.
I’ve always known I wanted to be a mum, ever since I was a child. I never thought that the road to having a baby of my own would be quite so difficult or devastating, especially considering that after just a month of trying we fell pregnant. Sadly, we lost that child not long after realising I was pregnant. The news was extremely upsetting, but I also found myself feeling strangely comforted – this meant that I could get pregnant, quite quickly, and this is a situation that happens in 1 in 3 pregnancies so I simply assumed that pregnancy would easily happen again for me.
2 years later, years filled with the emotional turmoil of trying and failing to get pregnant, as well as the utterly heart-breaking sudden loss of my Daddy, I realised that my assumption was misguided. Chris and I had all the tests we possibly could, trying in vain to discover the root of the issue, but nothing came up. On paper, there was just no reason why we would be unable to conceive.
Anything you can think of to help conception, from using ovulation sticks to hair mineral testing - we tried it. Over the next few years we tried IVF a total of 5 times, with 2 positive pregnancy tests but, no baby. I was emotionally and physically overwhelmed and exhausted. I had a few breaks from trying treatments, where we went through the more natural route, and I worked on my own health and wellbeing to aid the chances of conception.
On my journey to becoming a mummy, I’ve felt the loss of something I never really had, a pain that is so hard to understand if you’ve never experienced it yourself. We couldn’t continue doing this to ourselves, going through the heart-wrenching process of trying, hoping, and losing again. So we looked into the alternatives and started the early stages of the adoption process. While still draining at times (it really felt non-stop for 6 months!) the experience was a positive one through which I learnt a lot. Yet, we were once again due some more heartbreak, as due to life-threatening health issues that had hit us both recently, we sadly were unable to be adoptive or foster parents.
Our next attempt at conception came in the form of egg donation. When it didn’t work we were hit hard. This was my last chance to carry my own baby, something I’ve always thought would be a part of my life. But, we felt like time was passing us by, and we knew we were destined to be parents one way or another, so we investigated surrogacy.
After huge amounts of research, we decided to look abroad and found an agency based in Georgia. It was a concerning time for Chris who saw it as going into the unknown. But I was sure this is what I wanted to do, and made sure that all the boxes were ticked before we signed on the dotted line. We found the perfect egg donor, hopped on a flight to Georgia and got down to business.
That brings us to January 2020, when we found a surrogate to be implanted with our best embryo. Not too long after, there was a positive pregnancy test. In March, we heard the heartbeat of our little baby Hope for the first time, a memory that will bring me joy every day for the rest of my life. On October 16th 2020 our miracle was born, and every day since then has been a blessing.
Everything we went through across those 10 years, all the heartbreak, exhaustion and devastation, as well as the hopefulness, closeness and eventual elation has been a part of our story, and we will share this story with Hope as she grows. I looked everywhere to find a book to help us explain our journey to Hope when she is a little bit older, and knew I’d found the perfect match when I came across Sensitive Matters. The Magic of Hope is a beautiful, meaningful book that I will treasure, and will be a valuable tool in teaching Hope about how she came to be with ease. We’ve already started reading it to her and showing her the pages with our faces smiling back at her – she might not quite understand it yet, but I know this beautiful book will hold a special place in our hearts, as a family, forever.