Cate & Wendi's journey to parenthood through DI & IVF
Our guest blog has been written by Cate who, this LGBTQ+ history month reflects on their achievements, their rights to be able to have the family that they always dreamt of and to both be recognised as the girls' parents.
Hi, we’re Cate and Wendi. We had our civil partnership 10 years ago and are parents to Molly (9) and twins Annie and Pippa (3).
We always knew we wanted children, we knew we both wanted to experience pregnancy and we knew it wouldn’t be super straight forward but didn’t know quite the path we would end up travelling.
Our first point of call was the GP, he wasn’t really sure what to do so he just did as we asked which was refer us to the nearest fertility clinic.
Wend underwent three rounds of DI (donor insemination) and we were lucky to be able to welcome Molly into the world a little over a year after our civil partnership (she was due on our anniversary, but made us wait another week!). We were so lucky, this little baby was ours and all we had hoped for, after new-born checks and contraception advice (pick your audience!) we were allowed home the same day. She came on every adventure with us, when Wends maternity leave ended we both dropped hours at work to enable us to have as much time as possible with Molly and a work life balance.
When Molly turned two we started to get ready to go back to the clinic for ‘my turn’ we were filled with hope, anticipation and excitement. After three IUI (intrauterine inseminations) were unsuccessful we shifted tactic and embarked on IVF. Very quickly the thoughts of ‘when’ we have another baby changed to ‘if’. After three exhausting unsuccessful rounds of IVF we took a year off, we changed clinics, we lived our life. When we finally mustered up the courage to try one last time, we met with a counsellor who really helped us to reframe our situation and see that there was still life beyond IVF.
To cut a long story short this fourth round gave me my first positive pregnancy test, the early scan at six weeks told us that both embryos had stuck around and those two embryos are now just three years old, currently filled with snot and eating bagels.
Pregnancy for me was a breeze compared to actually getting pregnant. We were classed as a high-risk pregnancy which didn’t help me to relax, however it did mean extra monitoring and scans which were reassuring on the whole. We didn’t have the three year age gap that we had naively hoped for we had a six and a half year old and new born twins, we were exhausted and above all else incredibly lucky.
One thing I knew I wanted to do was be able to breastfeed the twins, Wend had successfully fed Molly for over two years and I wanted these to have the same start. I’m a bit of a planner so had done the research, collected colostrum in advance and bought the biggest feeding pillow known to man. I was lucky having seen Wend establish and succeed in feeding, I knew what to expect. Supporting her through that and having her in my corner really helped, as has the amazing support from Breastfeeding Twins and Triplets UK. The girls turned three a couple of weeks ago and still enjoy a bedtime feed.
I am very lucky that I have been able to stay at home with the girls, due to the cost of nursery going back to work wasn’t viable, they are only little once and I have tried to make the most out of this time even during a global pandemic. We get out and about as much as possible, this is our third year following the 1000 hour outside challenge. I set up invitations to play for the girls that they spread around the house. At times the house looks like we’ve been burgled, the juggle is very real and we look forward to Gin o’clock.
As a family we try and reduce our impact on the earth as much as possible, we used cloth nappies with all three girls and make as many swaps as we can. We have swapped out kitchen roll, cling film and foil in favour of reusable alternatives.
This LGBTQ+ history month I reflect on our achievements, our rights to be able to have the family that we always dreamt of and to both be recognised as the girls parents. There are still times when assumptions are made, when Molly was only a few days old a midwife assumed this proud parent was a proud Aunty.
Assumptions from strangers when we’re at the shops, at the park or even groups that my husband must be outnumbered in our house, making the decision do I just nod and agree or do I correct them? If I could teach everyone just one thing. It would be to never make an assumption; you never know what is going on under the surface.
Follow us on our journey on Instagram – @rainbowsarg1985