My hands trembled as I clutched the thin plastic stick. A faint blue mark was emerging on the pregnancy test.
Maybe this time... I prayed, willing that precious second line to appear. But there was nothing.
‘It will happen one day,’ my husband Michael soothed. But when? Michael and I had started trying for a family straight after we got married. It had now been five years, yet every month I dared to hope.
Was I feeling sick? Were my breasts tender? One thing I could almost always count on was my period being late. But it wasn’t because I was pregnant.
When I’d hit puberty, I started to pile on weight and my periods were irregular. Aged 22, I finally got a diagnosis. I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – a hormonal condition that results in weight retention and unpredictable periods.
‘It means you might find it more difficult to have children,’ the doctor warned.
I wasn’t too worried. I’d yet to meet the man of my dreams and besides, how hard could it really be? What concerned me more was my weight. When I piled on extra kilos, PCOS made it harder to shift.
Wearing a size 22 and weighing 115 kilos, I tried everything to slim down – eating just cabbage soup for days, sipping meal-replacement shakes, even acupuncture.
While I’d lose a few kilos here and there, I’d pile them back on again just as quickly. So I focused on my career as a singer and enjoying time with friends.
One of those friends was Michael, now 33. He played bass guitar in the band I sang with and I had a soft spot for him. So I was thrilled when he asked me on a date. Soon, sparks flew and we tied the knot six months later.
Michael loved me no matter what and he knew all about my PCOS.
‘It might be harder for us to have a baby,’ I’d confided.
‘Don’t worry, it’ll happen,’ he said.
But every time there was only one blue line, a piece of my heart broke. I was so ready to be a mum. My wardrobe was filled with bibs, vests and tiny onesies, ready for our bub. We’d chosen a name – Tyson – and even imagined life with him there.
‘He’s in his baby seat now,’ I’d laugh in the car, pretending our little boy was with us.
Five years turned to six, then seven and still Tyson was just a dream. In that time, the doctor’s advice was always the same.
‘If you lose weight, you’ll have more chance of getting pregnant,’ he’d say.
But nothing worked. And every month was another cycle of disappointment. Friends went from having one baby to having two.
‘You’ll be next,’ they’d say.
I clung to that hope, but often frustration took over. When I cried and screamed about the unfairness of it all, Michael was my rock.
Back at the doctor’s one day, my GP mentioned an IVF clinic in Sydney that offered an affordable option. But tests showed my body was in a worse state than I ever imagined. I had type-2 diabetes and all my levels were critical – sugar, kidney and liver function, cholesterol…
Suddenly, something snapped. For IVF to work, I had to fight my PCOS. This was it. So I joined a weight-loss program called Putting Health at the Top.
Out went the sweet treats and in came high-fibre fruits and meals of lean chicken and veggies. I could hardly believe it when I lost 14 kilos in a couple of months! My doctor was amazed too when all my test results came back as normal.
‘Whatever you’re doing, it’s working,’ he smiled.
Soon I’d lost another 16 kilos. Clothes were hanging off me and I had more energy. I decided to keep going before we started IVF. But chatting to my friend, Bronwyn one day, I realised something was missing. My period.
'That’s not unusual,’ I said.
It was 10 years since we’d started trying for a baby. I knew IVF was our only hope. But over the next few days, I started to feel faint.
‘I think you need to do a pregnancy test,’ Bronwyn said.
So the next morning, I raced to my GP.
‘I want a pregnancy test,’ I said. ‘But I’m not peeing on a stick! I want a blood test so I know for sure.’
I’d lost count of how many pregnancy tests I’d done – but it must have been hundreds! I couldn’t bare seeing that single blue line again. When my phone rang later that day, my stomach lurched.
‘Your results are back,’ the doctor said. ‘It indicates a positive result.’
I felt my knees go weak.
‘I’m pregnant?’ I stammered.
Tears ran down my cheeks as I went to tell Michael.
‘It’s okay,’ he said. ‘Next time will be our time.’
‘No!’ I screamed, elated. ‘I’m pregnant now!’
Michael’s face lit up. ‘We’re having a baby!’ he cheered.
Every step of my pregnancy went smoothly and when I felt my bub kick, I felt blessed.
At 38 weeks, I was induced and after a C-section it was finally time to meet Tyson. Holding him in my arms for the first time, I thought my heart would burst with joy.
After a decade, there was finally a baby to wear those tiny onesies I’d cherished for so long.
Now Tyson is a cheeky little boy. It might have taken 10 years to have him, but he was worth the wait.
This story was originally published in that's life! Issue 39, 29 September 2016.