It was hardly romantic trying to conceive in my bathroom

I’m sitting on the floor with all the IVF paraphernalia. Tons of needles, vials of IVF medication, and alcohol swabs. I am taking slow, deep breaths feeling nervous before giving myself the shot. My main fear is making sure there are no air bubbles, so I’m flicking the barrel neurotically. This isn’t worth dying over.

I’ve watched Trainspotting enough times to get the gist of what to do but I’ve never actually injected drugs. It’s not easy. Suddenly Alex walks in and sees me with a needle in my leg and screams. Does he think I’ve relapsed? I don’t even have my ears pierced – that’s how phobic I am of needles. But he’s fled the scene in horror. “Come back,” I shout. “I need your help.” I couldn’t draw all the fluid up into the vial and I was sweating profusely.

It’s not that he didn’t know I was doing IVF – I just wanted to spare him the details. He had finally met my fertility doctor – after dragging his feet. He even agreed to do a sperm sample.

Alex was happy to do the groundwork: he loved me enough not to deny me the chance to try for a baby but in his mind it didn’t mean we would actually have one. “Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey,” my mum friend Mel had said. She was also having issues with her husband, who was fed up with being forced to have sex during her ovulation window.

It was hardly romantic trying to conceive in my bathroom but the day our DNA would meet in that laboratory dish and be given ICSI – where they inject one sperm directly into the egg – was going to be an explosive day. To prep for an IVF cycle, I had to inject myself in the leg, and belly and felt hormonally insane. All Alex had to do was to sign the legal papers each IVF round and hand me a sperm sample.

It was like watching a horse race – how many eggs were in the running? And, yes, the third follicle had reached the 15mm mark

But when I was sobbing after another yet another failed pregnancy test, I’m sure I noticed him take a sigh of relief. Wow, how different our experiences of IVF are. I would sit in the clinic without Alex waiting for IVF scans – while other couples held hands.

Story continues

It was hard for some people to understand why I was so happy with the scenario. At times I may as well have been single but I was over the moon that he had agreed to it. It was a miracle. I ended up boring my girlfriends to death about the process. It’s all about the quantity and sizes of follicles, which have to get to about 18mm before they do an egg transfer. It’s a numbers game: “Good news,” I tell Mel. “Yes, the third follicle has reached the 15mm mark!” “Well done Char,” she would say. It was like watching a horse race – how many eggs were in the running? Sadly not many because my egg count was low – but it didn’t mean I wouldn’t have a good egg.

It would have bored Alex senseless. But I knew that once he saw our baby he would be in love. That’s why it’s so sad that he never met Lola and Liberty, who were conceived after his death. While we were trying, it was all just a fantasy. It was only after the third failed IVF cycle that I questioned whether it was going to work?

In the time I had spent getting Alex on board, it never crossed my mind that I would then fail. Panic consumed me. “Just relax,” said the psychic. “I’ve told you so many times – I see you having his baby.”