The story of Sara: How it changed my luck

My story begins about 14 years ago. I fell in love with a fantastic guy, Paul, and soon knew this man would be the father of my children. My feelings of becoming a mother outshined everything else. My goal in life was to start a family; unfortunately, it was not his. He hadn’t found his way in life yet, he wasn’t happy with the things he already had… Briefly, he didn’t want to have children until all these matters were taken care of. After 8 years we decided to split up. The things we wanted in life were too different.

I applied for single mothership in a hospital in Belgium but they found I was too young. I can understand their answer, since I was only 28 at the time. Nevertheless, it hurt me, and I didn’t want to start this adventure with any man I didn’t love, so I kept on dreaming, hoping.

Paul’s road and mine crossed again. He told me he had grown up, that he understood why our relationship had ended, but most of all. he was ready to become a father. We came together again, though I soon realized nothing was changed. But I kept on loving him so strong! I still wanted him to be the father.

During holidays, Paul told me he wanted to start making children. He was ready! My happiness was of course very big. Finally. finally. finally… My patience was being rewarded! I was so happy I wanted to tell everyone about our plans: it is now time for me, time for Sara!

We only had to try for about 3 months to know something went wrong. I didn’t get my period, but the pregnancy tests were negative. I took some blood tests and the doctor told me my menopausal values were very high. Very naive I asked: “Doctor, menopausal values. hasn’t that got something to do with my fertility?” Very cool, he answered: “Yes, lady, you’re not going to have any children of course. You have no eggs left.” I believe he heard my breath tremble. “I’m sure I heard it wrong,” I kept on telling myself. I was not ready to start believing it.

That night, Paul and I went to see the doctor. He told us I’m infertile, I’m completely post-menopausal, and we had a short conversation about egg donation. I could only cry but I listened very carefully. My biggest dream was falling apart, I waited too long. I immediately knew. egg donation: this is my solution, I would go for it! Where do I need to be? What do I need to do? When would it all take place? When would I be pregnant?

Paul was not very positive about this egg donation plan. He felt he would make a baby with another woman, and he only wanted children with me AND from me. I understood his thoughts, but I found that after all these years that I took care of him, he could now do this for me. After all, who’s fault was it that we started so late? Unawarely, I blamed him for this. Of course he could not predict this would happen; no one could even think this would happen to a young, energetic, 31 year old woman. But how come I started begging for children so early? I truly believe my body was screaming: Do it now! It’s a pity he could not be positive about this instantly; I now hear from other couples with the same problem, the husband said yes from minute one, this makes it much more easy for the woman. She doesn’t have to feel guilty about her body letting her down.

I believe this was the darkest time in my life. Of course I know he was struggling with this as much as I was, but couldn’t he just make it all better, couldn’t he agree with the plan, couldn’t he make this dark cloud disappear? I truly loved him with all my heart, but for the first time in my life I could say. love is not enough! I deserve more, I deserve someone who can see how much work I do for my job, the household, the orphanage, our friends, and family… I deserve someone who supports me, who sees me as I am. a fighter, a positivist. and sometimes a little girl, a scared little person.

Pretty soon I took a decision that would change my life forever: I wanted to become a single mom. I would not let this decision depend on anyone else anymore, wouldn’t wait for Mr. Right to come along. My time had come! My mind wanted so, but my body had got no time left. I could still carry a child, but the situation could change within the year. There are cysts, the beginning of endometriosis, so I won’t take any risks and go for it now! I’m a strong woman, make a good living, have good friends and the most amazing mother and sister who support me in everything I do!

I googled the internet and found a clinic in Barcelona, the Institut Marques. Its site appeared to be very professional, informative, and written in different languages. but I didn’t find the courage to contact them yet. I had so many questions about traveling, expenses, their scientific knowledge, the origin of their donors. Within the same week, my mother told me the daughter of a friend of hers also contacted the Institut. This gave me the courage to contact them, so I sent them a mail.

From that moment on, everything went really fast. The communication went smoothly. They were very open to me, and answered all my questions very honestly. We sent a few mails to each other, before I booked my flight, direction: Institut Marquès.

Arriving at the Institut, I felt happiness and nerves going trough my body. My Patient Assistant, Max, whom I had already spoken to over mails, welcomed me and guided me through the whole agenda. He was very good looking, spoke fluent English, and was very friendly. I immediately felt at home. My doctor, Dr. Plaza, explained the whole procedure, we went through the medication programme, he looked at my test results from Belgium, and he made an echo. The Institut’s equipment, their knowledge, their English, . it all outshined my expectations. Soon I was back in the streets of Barcelona, this time (for the first time in my life) with a very concrete plan. It felt good, this was what I wanted to do, this was how I would become a mother. Institut Marques would transfer 2 embryos into my uterus at the time my body was ready. I would follow the medication programme very strictly and within 11 weeks (when my diary form work allowed me to) I would go back to Barcelona for my first attempt to get pregnant. Could I start believing it? Could I really get pregnant? They were all so positive about this… Was this all true? It felt like such a dream, I was scared to wake up.

Yes, it was all very exciting, and from the first moment on, I had a great feeling about this. The doctors, the nurses, as well as the whole staff in Barcelona were very positive about me. Nowhere else had I felt such great vibes. We kept on mailing each other, they called me to ask how I was doing. The communication was very personal and they were truly interested about how I and my body felt. Serenella is the person I wrote/heard from the most these days, she was so friendly and she always knew how to set me at ease. She always told me how great I was doing, she told me I could call her anytime with all my questions. No effort was too much for her.

I took my medication as I should, I stopped smoking, I started eating more healthy. shortly I did everything a woman in my situation would do. It’s not always easy to take the medication. You have to take it at specific hours. I kept on working so sometimes I had to leave a meeting, or when there was a big traffic jam, I’d have to go to the next gas station. This all starts at 8 o’clock in the morning and ends at 12 o’clock at midnight. But all together, it went quite easy! I’d just do whatever it took to get were I wanted to be. The only thing that concerned me from time to time was that I sometimes lost some of the medication I had to apply vaginally. When you make a big effort, or when you cough real hard, you push some medication out. Institut Marques assured me this was no problem, because I was given more medication than needed, because they were aware of this happening.

August 17th is D-day! My lovely mom wanted to come with me to give me support. I should have to take it easy after the transfer, so the embryos could find a perfect place to settle down in my uterus. We booked a little hotel near the Institut and so my second visit in Barcelona started. At 16 o’clock I had to be there. The whole team was ready. At first I had a conversation with my doctor where he told me the length, weight, eye and hair color and the age of my donors. Then, a nurse came to take me for that one thing I had been waiting for so long: the transfer. I should lie down and relax (not very easy to do with a full bladder). A whole team of doctors and nurses were in the room. They were all very relaxed. At home I bought 2 little cuddle bears, they had been sleeping with me the past months, and now they were on my chest during the procedure . so to say ‘welcome little babies’! Together with me they went trough the whole plan, they would become the first teddy bears of my child(ren). I deliberately chose to transfer 2 embryos for several reasons. The first reason is for the children themselves, they would have a pure genetic brother or sister, someone in the exact same situation. The second reason is for myself. I’m not sure that in a few years I can still carry a child. I always wanted 2 children at the least. Also, they told me it would increase my chances of becoming pregnant. I will tell my children the truth as they grow up and they will be happy to have each other, so I think.

When I was fully prepared, I asked the doctor if I could see the embryos. He showed me a video of the 2 little sweethearts. I can’t describe how proud I was when I saw these images on the big screen. I thought they were already so courageous and sweet! I was so happy, although I was lying on a table with my legs wide open and 5 people watching. I asked my doctor if I could have this video and he immediately put himself after his desk and sent it to me. Oh boy. how I appreciate all the effort they made for me. I got a little emotional, the staff is so sweet, they made this whole process so easy for me.

When ‘it’ was about to happen, a funny man came out the other room with a really big needle in his hands, where my 2 treasures were hidden. They were about to be placed into my uterus, which I had made into a warm and cosy home, so I imagine. An ideal nest for them to get ready for the big world. I ask the man from the lab if this needle had to go all the way into me. He assures me it will not hurt, and he didn’t lie. This transfer does not hurt a bit!

I could follow everything on my screen. It surprised me how close they put the embryos together, but then again, what do I know about these things? Nothing! The biologist went back into the lab with the empty needle, we waited for his answer. When he came back, he told us everything went according to plan and he wished me good luck. Sweet man! I could get dressed again, went the toilet (a little scared I would pee them right back out, but they assured me this is impossible) and received my last instructions. I should stay in bed till the next morning and off course I did so. The 2 cuddle bears stay with me all the time. It’s funny but I actually start talking to them.

Back home I returned back to normal and went to work. I should wait 2 weeks to do the pregnancy test. The longest 2 weeks of my life. I took the day off from work that day. If the test would be positive, I wouldn’t want to work and would want to celebrate. If the test would be negative, I would take the day to myself to whine a bit on my own. The whole family and some good friends were waiting for me to inform them, but I turned off my phone. When I woke up, I knew this was the day I had been waiting for, but I didn’t dare to get up. I would have to go to the bathroom as soon as I woke up, and I had to use my morning urine for the test, but I felt not ready to know the answer yet. Eventually I got up, urinated in a little jar and went downstairs to take the test. I’d have to wait a few minutes for the results, but. the test shows 2 pink lines very sudden, one as a check up, the other as . I AM PREGNANT! I could’t believe my eyes, thought they ware fooling with me, after all it still was very early in the morning… I took my camera to take a picture of the test, and also on this picture I saw the 2 lines. Could this be? I grabbed my 2 little cuddle bears and talked to them again as if they were actual persons. I could cry from being happy, but I couldn’t because of the tension. I should call everyone! No, better I should go see them and tell them in person. My god. My prayers have been heard!!!

I still couldn’t believe it. For years I had fought for my child wish, for years I had known sorrow, sometimes I even gave up hope of ever becoming a mother. and now I was pregnant? Right from the first try? I’m so thankful to the Institut, for all their care, their top quality delivery, their positive words, their support. The love I felt from my family, friends, even strangers who heard my story, the staff from Barcelona. It’s just indescribable. All these factors made it possible for these little babies to come home in a place filled with happiness, love, fun and health!

I’m 3 months pregnant now and all is going fantastic. I’m not even nauseous, just really tired. It is a dream pregnancy, but I know it will become harder as I will be going into my 9 months. But it will all be worth it! My next dream is meeting these 2 different persons and helping them grow. I will turn my whole world upside down, just to give them everything they need. I’ve had a great life up until now, but I have the feeling my ‘real’ life is yet to begin.

(Brusels, 2011 october)