Leo and I disagree about how we met. I think we met in Las Vegas. He thinks we knew each other before that, but mine is a better story.
We were in Vegas nine years ago at a mutual friend’s wedding. I was a bridesmaid and Leo was best man. We’ve been together ever since and we’re actually having our own wedding on Saturday!
We booked the wedding just before we started the IVF. I was worried that the treatment would take a long time and be all consuming, so I thought the wedding would be a good distraction. But instead, it is all happening at once.
We’d been trying for a baby for a couple of years but nothing was happening. We had all the tests done and it came back as unexplained fertility. Thinking about the way forward, we were torn between IVF and adoption. I’m a nanny and I genuinely love the kids I work with – so I wasn’t sure I needed the biological link in order to love a child. But our thinking was, if we didn’t try IVF and went straight to adoption, there would always be a question in our minds. So, eventually (and it took a really long time), we decided to at least try IVF first.
One of my friends has two children, both from Wessex Fertility treatment. She really recommended it so we did an online Zoom group meeting in early 2020. It was a good session if you wanted a general introduction to IVF. We had our camera on blank, though. We thought, what if someone who know us is on there? I’m happy to tell anyone now, but at the time I didn’t really want it out there. By the time you get to IVF you’ve had quite a few heartbreaks and you feel like being private.
The Freya Centre is the building where Wessex Fertility is based. When we were keeping the IVF quiet, we’d say to each other that we needed to go and see Freya.
The IVF was straightforward and I felt that all the staff at the clinic were really invested in us. It didn’t feel like a medical thing so much. They were on our side and weren’t just ‘conveyor-belting’ us.
I waited the full two weeks before taking the pregnancy test as a false positive would have been devastating. It was the longest wait of my life – but we had to do it right.
We weren’t expecting it to work quickly. I had in my head that we’d be third time lucky. Leo had gone out for his morning run when I did the test and it came out positive. I know full well what a test result looks like but I had to re-read the instructions to double check. I was pacing around the flat, waiting for him to come back.
Unfortunately, I was not a glowing mum-to-be. The pregnancy involved bleeding, vomiting, heartburn and, final, obstetric cholestasis, where your liver produces too much bile. Due to this complication, they induced the baby a week early.
Leo had been with me for the early labour but had gone home for the night. They called him back in at 1am. At that point, I took a lot of drugs, things went a bit hazy, and then a baby was born at 8.30am. My overall memory was of thinking ‘ok, whatever’ as they talked about using forceps and gave me an episiotomy.
Neve Freya (named after the building, of course) was 7lb 13oz. We stayed one night in Winchester hospital and were home the next evening.
Life now is good. We love it. She is everything we dreamed of and more. She sleeps with us, which was never in the plan, but her head is naturally tipped back as she has tight neck muscles. So, when you lay her flat, you are effectively pushing her head forward. But if she’s on her side, she’ll sleep beautifully.
We were so caught up in the pregnancy and parenthood that we forgot about the wedding! When she was six weeks old, we said, oh bother, the wedding is in six weeks. I had to buy another wedding dress as my pre-baby dress doesn’t fit me anymore.
Neve is very involved in the wedding planning. She comes to all the appointments with me. She’s been meeting caterers and she has a lovely dress for the day.
We’re getting married in a Mason’s centre near our house. We can do the ceremony and reception there and it is pretty much next door. Leo’s two conditions for marrying me were: no church, and pie and mash as the meal. So, we’ve got a pie and mash van for dinner and then an ice cream van for pudding.
My advice to others reading this would be to find a way to involve the partner. I feel a lot of the effort is on the woman, so think how to involve the man. Leo did all the injections for me and managed all the medications. That worked really nicely for us.
There was a time early on when I was looking at the pile of needles and questioning things. But it is worth it and I would do it again for her. It’s wonderful.