When did you first see your baby?
At the 12-week scan? When they were born?
I first saw Sonny Jim before he was even a baby. Before I was even pregnant.
He was a blastocyst – an embryo of about 200 cells. And it was six days after I’d been sedated to have my eggs collected. Doctors had managed to get 14. Of which 11 survived to the next day. By day five we were left with six still growing in a petri dish at Barts Hospital. Two of them were deemed “A grade.” One of them was Sonny Jim.
When I went back to have the “best looking” of blastocysts implanted – two years ago this month – the specialist spun a screen round to face me. See all that blackness she asked, that’s your uterus. Now see that tiny white speck? That’s the embryo.
My little Speckles.
From that moment Speckles was real to me. I had to wait ten days to see if I would actually fall pregnant. To find out if Speckles was staying put. If it would ever be more than literally a tiny speck of hope flickering on a screen.
They were the longest ten days of my life. You’re trying to get on with life as though you’re not caught in this constant inner-monologue with a teeny speck, trying irrationally to convince it to embed itself. To carry on growing.
You’re avoiding heavy lifting and hot baths. You’re eating healthier than you ever have. Every twinge you’re utterly convinced means you’re not pregnant. Or that you definitely are. The hope is literally exhausting. And no one, apart for the very few people that know you are having IVF, have any idea that any of this is going on with you.
Every baby is a miracle. But when I look at my beautiful boy and think back to that tiny speck I still can’t actually believe it. That it worked. That Speckles is actually here.
This post was first published in the Echo newspaper on Friday, June 30, 2017: www.echo-news.co.uk