Miscarriage, stillborn, premature birth and infant loss have brought many tears to four special women in my life. With my deepest admiration and gratitude, I have permission to share their stories.
An intimate and inspiring memoir of my journey of sadness, utter despair, sheer determination and triumph to become a mother after eleven rounds of In Vitro Fertilisation.
I fought so hard for so many years treading down the infertility road. Throughout the obstacles and setbacks of which there were many, the flame inside me to meet my child never burnt out. I just knew I needed to be a mum. I often cried into my pillow at night, hoping IVF would work. After all, it was all I had.
I tried to remain calm in case I was the reason it wasn't working. Yet I was so mentally and physically exhausted. I convinced myself to rest and while I did, I quietly dug deep for strength to get through the hard moments that kept sneaking up on me.
When I'd given my all, it still wasn't working. I wondered how anyone could possibly understand my torment. I felt like I was in another country and couldn't speak the language. I got down and very upset and felt so incredibly alone. The repeated crawl back up was so very painful and difficult and left me feeling I was holding on by my fingertips.
Prior to my dad passing away unexpectedly at round five of IVF, each time it failed, he would say, "No Maher ever gives up." Mum guided me by advising me to take it one day at a time. I trusted my parent's belief in me, but I felt helpless, and I did not know how to change the outcome apart from turning up to what was expected of me next. I then paced myself minute by minute, to get through the everlasting emotional storm.
When I was struggling to wait for the next step and had exhausted all my options on planet earth, I turned to the sky. I wished the universe would align the stars and I politely asked to be graced with my Miracle from Mahers. I somehow got up at round eight, with a renewed determination and made it to the victory round.
While IVF can create a pregnancy with many successful deliveries, IVF does not guarantee a baby, a full term delivery or a live birth. My decision to undertake IVF was never guaranteed to result in a living baby for me, and while this possibility absolutely rattled me, it was a risk I was prepared to take. I knew very well, once IVF worked for me, that the outcome I wanted, which was a living healthy baby, was not promised and this made me incredibly nervous for the duration of my entire pregnancy.
My saving grace was optimism and hoping science would result in the fairy tale that IVF can be, because I could not see the finish line. I now feel determined to help and inspire others so their flame of hope might also continue to burn.