What follows was originally posted to Facebook on the 3rd of July 2016. It was the morning following the birth of our 2nd Child, Natalie Davis. It’s really just a dump of raw emotion – I think it might just be the most powerful thing I have and will ever write in my life…
What a day… So fiercely proud of my amazing wife Kerryn. Since the words “Balanced Chromosomal Translocation” were first uttered almost 2 years ago she has been incredible. For 16 months she has endured a litany of tortures. Needles, examinations, needles, blood tests, more needles, excruciating swollen ovaries boosted to overflowing, the longest needles I have seen in my life going places they are never supposed to go. More needles, more blood tests. IVF really turns you into a piece of meat.
The torture of waiting to find out how many of those eggs were viable.
The torture of waiting to find out how many of those eggs fertilised.
The torture of waiting to find out how many of those fertilised eggs were maturing.
The longer still wait to hear if they were genetically viable.
The joy of hearing that two, yes only two, had survived and had all the bits in the right places.
More indignity as new tools went into private places.
More torturous waiting for that second pink line to show up.
I’ve learnt that IVF is just a game of hurry up and wait while you get stabbed with a frequency that would have Ramsey Bolton feeling cheerful (yeah, I went Game of Thrones there…).
Then, just as the joy of seeing that second line is sinking in it hits you. 9 more months.
9 more months where anything and everything could go wrong.
Weekly scans for 13 weeks, each starting with a fear honed by a long history of world-shattering news seen on an ultrasound screen. Each ending with relief and elation than slowly erodes with each passing day until it’s scan day again.
Finally the first movements are felt, and with them comes a mother’s certainty that her little girl is going to be all right. Kerryn always knew it was going to be a girl. Whether she slipped the geneticist at the IVF lab a sneaky $20 to make it so, I’ll never know. She just knew it.
Months go by with nothing but good news. This could actually happen. A not-so-little boy’s excitement at becoming a big brother grows and grows.
As D-Day approaches the medical fraternity have their say. Doctors tell us to do things that we don’t feel are right. They don’t inform, they don’t explain, they tell. So we research. We seek knowledge and with that knowledge comes the certainty that they are wrong. The miracle of modern science that has gotten us this far is now filling us with doubt and uncertainty. 3 doctors all have different and opposing views of the same case. We argue our case and stand firm – they back down. Midwives around the country are heard cheering. I think they have their own Facebook group or something.
Then, finally at 41 weeks and 2 day the chaos of childbirth. Hollywood has a lot to answer for. I suppose that if they showed reality it might put people off getting pregnant in the first place.. It’s one of those things you probably shouldn’t know about until you have no choice to go through with it. Our baby’s birth has been described as “efficient”. It was fast, violent and messy – about as natural as it’s going to get in a hospital environment. I got punched in the face by my wife. She didn’t mean to do it I’m sure (or maybe she did? I’ll let her have it either way.).
And then it’s quiet. One final agonising wait. Watching our little girl lie still for a moment. Waiting for something, anything to happen. She coughs. She gasps. She is alive. We collectively exhale in relief.
First cuddles, skin to skin. Nothing can compare.
And all through this Kerryn hasn’t complained once (well not really, we all grumble a little), hasn’t hesitated, hasn’t wavered from what she knew needed to be done.
One journey comes to a close and another begins. We have a perfect baby girl. A new instruction manual to read. A new life as a family of 4 to figure out.
We have always been brutally open and honest about the trials we’ve faced in growing our family, in the hope that our struggles would help somebody, anybody out there find comfort and solace that they are not alone in loss, that they are not alone in grief, that the path to family isn’t always easy or clear. We know that not every story ends like ours, we have been incredibly lucky. If out story can give a little hope to anyone out there then all we can do is share it.
Rested, relaxed and happy, Jono and I are going for more Baby cuddles and to maybe figure out a name.
Well done Kerryn, well done.
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