On Friday afternoon DD and I hosted our IVF friends for lunch. The excuse was that they didn't get to celebrate DD's birthday two months ago as we went to London. Then DD had her birthday at the nursery one month later so we were really done for this year. However, the real celebration is that S could came with her eight-week-old son, O. For that, it was worth having another birthday party.
We were five mothers and five children, ranging in age from three years to two months. That means we have waited three years and nine months for all of us to have successfully brought home a baby. And, strangely enough, after five long journeys and many disappointments along the way, each of us came home with the exact baby she wanted.
It all began when I met N whilst trying to get pregnant. We both succeeded but, sadly, after a difficult first trimester, I miscarried at 22 weeks. I followed N's continuing pregnancy with hope and excitement. Her success was vital to prove that IVF does work for us. My involvement with N helped me regard my situation as a big, disappointing and frustrating delay. It was not the end, just a setback.
During a subsequent attempt, I hooked up with S and R. On that cycle both S and I became pregnant. For me, one year later, this was a totally different pregnancy experience. The numbers were high, the signs were strong and there were no complications. S lost her baby at 19 weeks. She clung on to the fact that I had experienced the same tragedy only one year earlier and here I was, with a healthy pregnancy. And she didn't give up.
Meanwhile, by the time I gave birth to DD, R was three months pregnant. And another R, who had joined our unofficial family of mutual support and encouragement, was two months into her pregnancy. And S was still trying.
At DD's first birthday party S took the group photo of mothers and babies as she didn't feel the need to be in it. By the next first birthday - a picnic in the park - she was already pregnant, but didn't tell. I don't know how she managed not to say anything. I knew and I nearly gave it away twice.
Finally our little group is complete. I can't post the photo but I assure you that it is one that radiates pure joy. And DD thinks that she gets a birthday party, with presents, once a month.