As long as I can remember I always wanted a large family. Since being a little girl I dreamed of becoming a mother and having quite a few kids. My Mum was the eldest of seven and so too was my dad and growing up with an older sister and younger brothers meant larger families were the norm and quite natural to me.
As a young girl I would joke that I was going to have a whole rugby team of kids when I grew up. I’m not even sure why I said a rugby team, it’s not a sport I enjoyed. In fact I’ve always been into football.
My dad played football when I was young and I played right through high school. I guess Rugby was more popular in New Zealand and so people must have related more to the term “a rugby team of kids” than football.
The point is I wanted a large family. I wanted kids with siblings and to spend my days as a Mother, raising, teaching and nurturing my future children. As a young women I often spent time with children.
I was a nanny during several Summer holidays (during my high school years), I worked with disabled kids and volunteered in the High School day care centre. Not surprisingly 6 years after leaving high school I was back in the very nursery building doing my 8 week practical teaching young kids once again.
At the age of 16 I was diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian syndrome and the doctor told me you may have real difficulty having kids in the future. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was devastated to hear this but simply brushed it off and thought, if that’s the case I can always adopt.
As a young adult I married and straight away tried to become a mother. I was unsuccessful. I considered egg donor treatment and IVF. I’m actually really glad I didn’t fall pregnant to my first husband!
The man I was married to was a bully, an abuser and the worst thing I could have ever done was to have his children. In a way I am so so pleased we didn’t have kids and pleased that I don’t have to stay connected to this man. It would have been a nightmare.
In my mid twenties after a divorce and second marriage I went back to trying to become a mother. I was now married to a man named Tevita from the Pacific Island of Tonga. Again, every effort was made to become a mother and fall pregnant.
When I first married I lived in Tonga and hoped that the stress free calm lifestyle might help in falling pregnant but it wasn’t to be.
Diagnosed With Infertility
I did all sorts to try and become pregnant. I remember seeing specialists, taking part in research trials at the University of Auckland, having investigations and reading the ideas and suggestions of every day folk.
I would even do silly things like head stands after “doing it” in the hope that this might aid the sperm in travelling towards my egg for the chance of fertilisation. You name it, I tried many things.
At the age of 25, my then husband and I began the process of adoption. We planned to adopted little Lisa, my husband’s cousin, along with her siblings however before the adoption process was complete Lisa died. It was a heartbreaking experience and I’ve shared this failed adoption story if you would like to read it at some point.
By the time I was 26 I had been diagnosed as having infertility and went to see a new fertility specialist with the hope of becoming a Mother.
This time I was told there was no PCOS, it had gone away, my tubes were not blocked and there was no obvious reason why I could not fall pregnant.
I underwent Inter Uterine insemination using my husband’s sperm and that was an experience in itself. I had to have injections daily to stimulate the growth of eggs in my uterus and have daily blood tests to check the levels of hormones. Once the levels were right, I went to the private hospital to have an internal scan.
The scan revealed my egg was ready to be fertilised. I had one egg and one egg only that had finally popped and it was ready.
Inter Uterine Insemination
Tevita’s sperm was provided to the doctors and was washed and sorted. The very best was taken out and placed into a long syringe needle and I underwent the Inter Uterine Insemination.
It was really quite a scary procedure and something very stressful and emotional. The whole preparation and the months leading up to my infertility treatment was stressful but the actual IUI procedure was emotional.
I was happy and hopeful to become pregnant at long last. I was scared of failure. I was worried about money and not being able to become pregnant.
I was emotionally stressed and feared having to go through the whole process for a second time. I felt embarrassed at the whole procedure, laying there in stirrups having a syringe inserted into the uterus.
I was sad that I could not fall pregnant naturally and also thought how strange it was for this to be the procedure to make me a Mother. It was all rather bizarre but needed in order to become a mum.
Within two weeks I found out I was pregnant. It was a nerve wracking time and I had actually decided I wasn’t pregnant and decided I would take a break from trying when I got the phone call to confirm the IUI treatment had worked.
And so after visiting the IVF Clinic my pregnancy began…
A Difficult Pregnancy and Labour
During my pregnancy I struggled. I worked for the first few months as the head teacher of a preschool and managed to cope by eating ginger biscuits, drinking ginger and taking ginger tablets.
I always became incredibly unwell at 2pm each day, however I got to go home at 4pm so managed to just get by for the final two hours each day. I would then crash out and rest for the rest of the day.
Sadly during my pregnancy I was in a car crash. I ended up in hospital. I also ended up taking early maternity leave and becoming bed bound for several months. I was too sick to walk, had pregnancy or gestational diabetes, Cholostasis in pregnancy and other conditions.
I spent most of the third trimester of my pregnancy in hospital and during an early birth, I lost a lot of blood resulting in permanent pituitary (brain damage) which now affects my hormones on a daily basis.
Hypopituitarism results in conditions such as Adrenal insufficiency, Growth hormone deficiency and a host of other health issues.
What Happened to the Dream
I guess despite my dreams and goals to have a large number of children, the odds were against me from the start. My periods have always been irregular, the Polycystic Ovarian Sydrome that came and went, or maybe it has always been there but the scan didn’t show it on the last occasion?
Then I developed poor health which meant having a large number of kids is not the wisest of things to do.
I am so so glad I didn’t have kids to my first husband. I am also glad I only had one daughter to Tevita. Sylvia is my world and at the tender age of 6 months we had to flea the family home due to domestic violence and abuse and so I became a single mother for the next five years.
Finding a Father for My Daughter
When Sylvia was five years old, I married my sweetheart John. It was not easy finding the right man for me and my daughter but I was blessed and so was Sylvia.
We found an amazing Yorkshire man who has brought joy and happiness to our life. John and I would have loved to have at least a second child but my infertility continues to get in the way and adoption has so many criteria that the red tape continued to block my dreams.
We tried for several years to have more kids but finally decided to enjoy our time with Sylvia and focus on giving her the best life.
I’m so pleased to be a mother and have a beautiful child. I am a wonderful mother and although I do have disability I am a fit mother and do a wonderful job.
Although having more kids was always the dream and I’d happily have a second child tomorrow, I’ve accepted this is the family I have and am both grateful and happy with all I am blessed with.
I sometimes wonder how different life would be had I fallen pregnant easily. My sister has 6 living children and that’s so amazing, I get to be an aunty to many, although they live far away in New Zealand.
We have set a goal to visit our family back in NZ and when we reach our goal I will finally get to meet and spend time with these precious family members that I have never seen in the flesh.
It is a dream to travel home to New Zealand and we are scraping and saving hard for our dream. It will be wonderful for Sylvia to meet her cousins one day who will be like the sisters she never had.