A year ago today, DH and I nervously went for our first appointment with Mr No Nonsense. DH had provided a sperm sample in advance, and I was prepared for my first encounter with the ultrasound wand.
We weren't too sure what to expect, but were shell-shocked by the news that DH's sperm were so bad that we had pretty much no chance of conceiving naturally. Even IUI was not an option, and we were bluntly advised that IVF with ICSI was our only hope.
Thus began a year of struggles.
Struggles with my conscience as I came to terms with the fact that the only way I had any chance of achieving my life-long wish to become a mother was to go against the teachings of my Church.
Struggles with my body, as I learnt to give myself injections, forced myself to eat and drink more of some things and less of others, and battled to coax my aging ovaries into producing the one decent egg I needed.
Struggles with my feelings, as I fought the green-eyed monster that told me the people around me who got pregnant and popped babies out so easily were 'jumping the queue'.
Struggles with my tear ducts, as I shed more tears over the course of a few months than I had done throughout my life.
Struggles with my appetite, as I worked to lose the weight gained through comfort eating and treatments, denied myself some of my favourite foods for months on end, stuffed my body full of supplements and tried to follow the instructions I'd been given to improve my general level of health.
Struggles with my husband, as he failed to take any responsibility for the regime he too was supposed to be following and fell off the wagon again and again.
Struggles to persuade our little embryos to stay with us, and to come to terms with the fact that they were gone.
It's a year in which I've experience deep sorrow, physical and mental pain, soaring hope following by crushing disappointment.
And whenever I reached the pits of despair, I've been lifted up. DH and I haven't had to carry this burden alone. My family and friends have been amazing. You, my internet friends, know more of my story than any of my 'real-life' friends (apart from Jeannie, who has given me so much support). You have shared the ups and downs with me, hoped with me, prayed with me, rejoiced in my good news and given me words of wisdom and comfort in the many troughs of this rollercoaster ride, and for that I'm so grateful to all of you.