Four rounds of IVF.
More needles than I ever want to think about ever again.
And what is simultaneously the biggest and the smallest gift I’ve ever received.
So I’ve been keeping a secret. A big one (or a little one depending on how you think of it). I’ve been keeping it for a while, but I hope you’ll forgive me; it’s felt too raw, too ephemeral to share online until now.
Long-time readers won’t be surprised to know that I’ve always wanted to be a Mum – I’ve never made a secret of it, and it’s something that’s been a constant for me ever since I was old enough to understand that mothers were something you could be, not just something that you had.
I never doubted it would happen for me, either. My fertility and my ability to bear a child was so fundamental to my sense of self that it felt like an inevitability that I never even questioned.
It turns out I was wrong.
I’ve been a woman on the internet for over ten years now (holy moly) and in that time I’ve been called a lot of not terribly nice things, but nothing has ever hurt quite like being called infertile.
We’d been trying for a bit over a year by that point. First in that let’s-just-stop-trying-not-to kind of way, then in that ovulation-strips-and-fertility-tracker kind of way. Eventually, after a barrage of doctors appointments, tests and procedures we found ourselves in the waiting room at Monash IVF, waiting to see Australia’s best-known fertility specialist, Dr Lyn Burmeister.
IVF treatment is expensive, difficult, and uncertain, and there are absolutely no guarantees, but absurdly the thing that had me crying as we waited for the lift was the discovery that we would have to get police reports before we even got started. It just felt like adding insult to injury, you know?
When the first round failed we were disappointed, but not too surprised. The odds of it working first time are small, and we had enough money put aside for a second go. I had plenty of eggs, and I wasn’t young but plenty of older women seemed (seemed, being the operative word I later discovered) to be falling pregnant without too much trouble.
The second round failing was devastating.
It was the first time I’d been forced to consider that the path I’d always imagined for myself might not be the one in my future. That choices I’d made in the past had cost me the one thing that I had always dreamed of for myself. I felt like I’d let everyone down: myself, my parents, and – most distressingly – my partner, who I knew would make the most wonderful father.
My mother’s generosity after selling her Melbourne apartment allowed us to go back for a third round, but by that point I was so numbed by the grief of the process that when we heard it too had been unsuccessful I didn’t even cry.
It seemed like the end of the road for us.
Something like ten years ago I met a girl in the back room of a bookshop in Kew. She was funny and sweet, and I looked forward to seeing her every month when I visited for work. We became friends, and as the years passed she’s become one of the most important people in my life. She’s been by my side through some pretty tough times – crippling breakups, my sister’s cancer diagnosis, the whole horrible IVF process – and I hope I’ve been there for the ups and downs of her life, too.
When our second round failed, my wonderful, wonderful friend cried with me in a cafe across the street from my office. And then she went away, and privately started doing some research.
I’m sure you can see where this story is going.
I’d like to introduce you all to the Mister’s and my son, due May 2019.
Oh my goodness! Lilly, am so happy for you that I started crying as soon as I saw your post. I have been a very long time reader and cheered you on, cried for you and worried about you from afar. I know exactly the pain and hurt you describe since my husband and I also had to go through multiple rounds of IVF. So. Many. Needles. Our son arrived in May 2017. My heart is bursting with happiness for you and your Mister!
And of course, autocorrect changed the spelling of your name. I do know better. Lilli
Thank you so much, Mary, and for sharing your own story. <3
Congratulations on your own little son, too! May babies for the win!
So thrilled for you!
Thanks Julie – we’re so excited
That’s amazing! Congratulations!!
What a beautiful friend you have, and an amazing mother and what a wonderful little (big) announcement.
Wishing you and your partner a wonderful time on the parenthood ride xxx
She’s amazing, and I’m so lucky to have her. She’s an amazing Mum to her little daughter, too, so I’ll definitely be trying to follow her lead with our own little boy <3
Massive, massive congratulations to you and your other half, Lilli – I’ve been through it too and my god it is a rough, nerve wracking process. Totally worth it though (I’ve got a three year old IVF kid sitting on my lap demanding biscuits as I type this!). I’m so glad for you. And what an amazing gift from your friend, that is true friendship indeed. Wishing you a happy, healthy pregnancy xx
Thank you so much, Nessa! It is absolutely such a rough journey – I was very lucky to have such a strong support network around me. Congratulations to you, too!
Congratulations to you and the Mister! I’m so sorry that it’s been such a painful road to get here. This is such wonderful news!
Thank you, Heather 🙂
Everyone told me it would be worth it in the end (and it totally is)
Well this is the most fabulous news I’ve heard in a long while. Huge congratulations!
Yay! Thanks Danya
OMG! How is it possible that I’m tearing up reading the wonderful news of a stranger on the other side of the world? I’m a long time reader and I’m so so so happy for you and the mister. This is the most wonderful news I could imagine for you and I’m so happy for you that you will be able to fulfill your dream.
Thank you so much Dikla – it feels like a wonderful dream that’s still sinking in!
YAY!!! I went through an extraordinarily similar process here in the US, & it was agonizing. I’m so sorry you had to go through such a challenge, & I could not be happier that he is arriving so soon! Love to you, to him, to the Mister, & to Fiona. What a beautiful love story.?
Thank you so much Molly. I’m sorry to hear about your own challenges as well. It’s crazy how little it’s spoken about when it’s so common!
So so happy for you! I’m a long time reader but almost-never commenter. My twins are the result of three rounds of IVF, and there is nothing like the low of infertility and nothing like the joy of holding that so, so, longed-for baby. All children are precious but those of us who have had to work so very hard for ours feel that preciousness in a special way I think. Congratulations!
Thank you, G! He’ll certainly never doubt how wanted he was, that’s for sure! Congratulations on your twins <3
such wonderful news! Huge congratulations! Sometime around your birthday last year it seemed to me that you were alluding to disappointments in this area, which I thought was so sad and would have been such a rotten shame as you and your wonderful fiancé will clearly make equally wonderful parents. I have been reading your blog for almost ten years and in this time I have followed along some of the extremely hard things you have had to contend with and which you always mastered so graciously. I was delighted when the tide turned and so many things fell into place in the best possible way, to the extent that the only puzzle-piece missing seemed an equally fashionable baby. So I, a stranger from the other side of the world, is heart-glad to read this today and wishes you all the very best for the remainder of your pregnancy and the new life you and Cameron will soon be embarking on with your little boy. It will surely be your best life yet!
All the very best,
PS: I can’t wait for your perspective on plus-size maternity wear! My experience is that the selection is generally dire.
Thank you so much, Anna 🙂
Forty was definitely a difficult milestone to hit, especially considering where I’d always thought I’d be by that point. Despite everything I’m so happy to have been on the journey – highs and lows alike – because I’ve ended up somewhere pretty great <3
Also: yes! If I thought dressing as a plus sized lady was hard, I’m quickly learning that dressing as a plus sized pregnant lady is nigh impossible!
I’ve been with you for every post over last 10years so this news was so lovely to read! I too had failed IVF (3 rounds) and just as well were debating our next step – I got my cancer diagnosis (as I think I’ve mentioned) so life has gone a different route for us. But it always warms my heart to read someones happier ending to mine when theyve struggled! I look forward to being with you for your next adventure!
Claire, my darling, the past ten years have been such a challenge for you too. Thank you so much for finding the time and emotional space to share my journey too. I hope you’re doing well, and that you’re happy. And thank you for your kind words.
Huge congrats! Parenting is equally the most wonderful and most challenging thing you will ever do. So very, very pleased for you!
Thanks so much, Olympia. We’re hoping we’re up to the challenge!
Oh I’m crying. Lilli you have meant so much to me, you were my first blogger and you are still my favourite. I feel like I’ve been a ghost silently cheering you on every step of the way from the sidelines and I am so so proud of you for working through this was such grace and courage. You are going to be such a great mum. You’ve raised a community of confident fashionable happy women who didn’t know who they were when they first saw that article about *gasp* a plus size blogger with actual boobs and thighs and a hang up about her knees (side note: your knees are gorgeous). You raised us – now you get to raise your own. Oh it’s perfect. Big big hugs from your ghost.
Thank you so, so much Brodie. That means a lot to hear that you’ve been alongside me for such a long journey, and thank you for your very kind words <3
We're pretty excited about this next chapter 🙂
Congratulations! Many warm thoughts.
Lilli, many congratulations! What an incredible blessing! I, too, could not conceive naturally & IVF was not an option medically for me. So I took the adoption route. I now have an almost 4-year-old blessing of my own. No matter how they come into our lives, children challenge & change us. I can’t imagine my life now any other way. I look forward to hearing more of thus exciting journey! You have LONG been one of my true inspirations!
Thank you so much, Helen, and congratulations on your own little family. There’s so many people walking down that hard path of infertility. It’s been wonderful knowing that I’m not alone <3
Long-time lurker, first-time commenter; I actually gasped seeing the title of this post. Congratulations and best wishes. You deserve all this happiness.
Thank you so much, Rachel. We’re thrilled and excited and nervous in equal measures, I think!
Whenever I see one of your posts, I’m happy and you often make me smile in a boring/stressfull/whatever day… today you gave me a big present, so happy for you, both!!! A big big hug from Italy, Lilli!
Thank you Federica! It took us a while, but we got there <3
What wonderful, happy news! I am so delighted for you and your expanding family!
A million congratulations to you both! This is almost the exact story of struggle and eventual success for my brother and his wife, so I know something of your tribulations. O to have such friendship in your life!!
Your child will be so precious to you both, so wanted – and that is the best startiing point for your life as parents. Such wondrful news!!!! x
Thank you so much, Pippa. I’m so glad your brother and his wife got their happy ending too. Such a hard journey, but it’s all feeling worth it. <3
Oh Lilli, what wonderful news! I have been reading your blog for almost 10 years, but very rarely comment. We went through a similar journey to yours and now have 4 year old twins. So happy for you and the Mister. What a precious gift and an amazing friend xx
She’s extraordinary, and I’m endlessly lucky to be able to call her a friend ??
Thank you for sharing your story too – there’s a lot of us infertility warriors out there – congratulations on your twins!
Congratulations! what amazing, wonderful news!
What a lucky little one to already be loved and surrounded by so many loving people. <3
We’re both lucky to have such a loving and supportive community around us. I’m not sure I would have had the courage and strength to get there without my friends and family around me
Such wonderful news. Congratulations
Thank you! It still feels like a dream !!
Having tried to get pregnant (without IVF) for 3 years myself I can imagine the stress and sorrow you went through. But good things happen!!!! Congratulations, I feel so happy for you. My daughter is 4 years now. The best one in my life and just recently she sleept the whole night through for the first time…;)
Wooo, for sleeping through the night! Thank you for sharing your story too.
I am teary reading your story and those of the others, for they echo my own. I’m typing with my 3 monther on my lap. We love you, Lilli, and are so very thrilled for you. xxx
Thank you so much, love. I know what a long and difficult road you were walking. I’m so glad you got your bub in the end
Lilli, I may not have followed you for quite as long, or know you as ‘intimately’ as some of your most loved and loyal followers but I DO know what this journey means and my heart if full for you both. Our 4th attempt was our (only) successful attempt too. With that, we got two beautiful babies who just turned 16! You have THE BEST road ahead of you and Im glad you get to walk it with someone you love. I hope you walk it slow and get to savour every moment from first kicks and baby showers to first days at school and 16th birthday parties ?
Kindest thoughts x
Thank you so much, Kirsty. It’s so lovely to hear everyone else’s stories too, and to know that it’s not an uncommon struggle ??
I am so happy for you both xxx
Thank you! We’re thrilled
Thank you so much for sharing such intimate and painful and exciting details of your road to pregnancy. Although this is not something I have had to deal with personally, it needs to be talked about. So many people are struggling in silence. Congratulations to you and your partner!
Thank you Julie. It was so isolating when I first found out we needed to do IVF. I didn’t think I knew anyone else who’d done it, and was totally filled up with a sense that I was broken and flawed. I know how common it is now – and how many of my friends struggled, or needed medical help. Like you, I wish it was talked about more openly ??
As your father, you will know that I have never felt let down by you. I have always taken the view that whatever you decided was right for you was right for me as well, no matter what life threw at you. If circumstances meant that you could not be a mother then I would never feel let down as just having you is a huge reward in itself.
Thank you Dad. I’m glad we finally got there though ??
Congratulations! Enhorabuena desde España!
Congratulations! Thank you for sharing this personal news. What a beautiful friend you have. Donation is something I have been discussing with a friend also. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it to be honest, but after reading this it makes me feel like it could be the right way to go for me too. Thank you for being so raw and honest. And all the best for your pregnancy and bringing your beautiful boy into the world. Looking forward to your cute maternity outfits 🙂
Thank you, Nayla. It was such an extraordinary gift – absolutely priceless – and I’m incredibly lucky to have a friend who would do that for me.
Send me an email if you want to talk in greater depth about any worries you might have, but there’s also some great support communities online.
Huge congratulations. What lovely news. Wishing you every joy with your boy.
Thank you so much! We can’t wait to meet him
Long time reader, some time commenter. Congratulations to you and the mister. I was already welling up but seeing your Dad’s comment made me blubber all the way out of my coffee shop. I hope the rest of your pregnancy is joyful and uneventful.
Thank you so much, Jenn. I’m lucky to be surrounded by such loving and supportive people
I never knew about the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008. That was shocking to read about!
It’s kind of terrifying, isn’t it?! Still, at least it supports same sex couples and singles thank goodness
How bloody fantastic for you and of course Mister 😉 So bloody fantastic in fact words after that seem inadequate!!! Only a few more months to go!!!! bloody fantastic!!!!
Lots of love and hugs to you!!!!
Thank you! The first months have been a whirlwind of anxiety – fast, but absolutely nerve wracking. I’m looking forward to hopefully enjoying the next few ??
Congratulations – such wonderful news – so glad you have the chance to be a parent at last.
Me too! Thank you so much
I’m so happy for you. I too know the excruciating pain of (secondary) infertility. I’ve managed to get pregnant twice (after years of the ovulation strips and timed intercourse palaver) but both pregnancies miscarried.
We’re starting our first round of IVF in 2 months. I hope to be as lucky as you.
Such wonderful news xx
Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this. How heartbreaking. My fingers are crossed for your first round in 2 months ??
wow, congratulations. and what a special friendship you have!
Thank you! I’m very lucky to have her in my life
So so happy for you and your Mister. Long time reader and admirer here. I wish the three of you many many happy years to follow. This is the best of news and I’m so glad you have such a good friend. You will be an amazing mother, this little one is a lucky guy xxx
Thank you so much, Julia! We’re excited (and nervous!) but I know the Mister is just going to be the most wonderful Dad, and our little guy is certainly going to be surrounded by lots of love <3
I squealed with delight when I saw this post! Huge congratulations from a long-time reader. Your blog has cheered me up so many times over the years and given me confidence in my own body and with experimenting with fashion and style. Best of luck to your little family from the other side of the world, looking forward to reading about your further adventures xx
Thank you so much May, and for your very kind words! We’re very happy 🙂
So happy for you, I’ve followed you for years and you feel like a friend. Congratulations, love from the apple isle.
Thank you so much, Pru <3
Congratulations! Long-time reader, and very aware of your disappointments over time. I wish you and your mister and son a very happy life together!
Thank you, Simone! It was a long, hard journey, but it’s all feeling worth it now <3
OMG YAAAAAY! So happy for you!
I’ve never commented much but I’ve followed you since the Flickr fatshionista photo stream days (way back in 2008 or 2009 or something?) and for some reason the fact that you wanted to be a mother stuck with me, and I was sad from afar that it didn’t seem to be happening for you (more so when I started struggling with fertility issues of my own – I can relate to what you wrote in response to a previous comment about feeling broken and flawed). It’s absolutely wonderful that you are expecting a baby now! I wish you three all the very best 🙂
Thank you, Vera! And for following alongside me over so many ups and downs over the years! It was definitely a much longer and more difficult road than I thought it would be to get here, but knowing I wasn’t doing it alone meant the world. I hope you’re doing OK as well, and that you have a good support network around you <3
Wonderful! We may be but internet strangers but I’m sitting with tears in my eyes, a little bit overflowing with happiness with you.
Thank you so much, Narelle <3
My spidey senses had been tingling about you. For a while you’ve looked forlorn in your posts and I wondered if you might be struggling with infertility. I have been reading your blog for years. I check in every week looking forward to seeing what fantastic outfits you might be rocking.
So happy for you and your partner. Your first pregnancy is magical and terrifying all at once, at least that was my experience. The best advice I read about a maternity wardrobe was from Kaz Cooke. She points out that this is a temporary wardrobe and investing a heap in clothes you will literally only wear for one season is bonkers. I found target to have fantastic maternity basics in plus sizes which you can then accessorise to feel more “you”.
Major congratulations to you, mister, and your courageous heroic friend.
Thank you so much, Kristie <3
I'm ridiculously lucky to have such an incredible friend in my life. She's just absolutely extraordinary.
Good advice on the maternity wardrobe! I'm lucky that (so far at least - I'm 25 weeks now) a good percentage of my existing wardrobe is still fitting, because if I thought dressing well as a plus size lady was hard... dressing well as a plus size PREGNANT lady is about a million times harder!
Congratulations, Lilli! I’ve been reading you since I came to Australia almost five years ago. You were the first Australian blogger I followed! I see you sometimes in D Street, and several times wanted to say hi, but I was always shy (and didn’t want to seem like a creep). 😀
Some of my friends are thinking of/undergoing IVF so I know how frustrating the journey can be.
I am so, so happy for you!
Thank you so much, Chel! Come say hi next time you see me! You’re far from a stranger, and definitely not a creep 🙂
Good luck to your friend too – it’s a tough journey, but she’s definitely not alone
I dearly love checking in with you Lilli – love your creativity (even the charming shelves in your photos). But this!! My heart is melting for you and Mister, not to mention your amazing friend. This beautiful boy will be cherished and immeasurably loved! Huge hugs across the miles to all of you!
Thank you so, so much, Peggy. We’re thrilled, and I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such an amazing network of people who supported me through everything (even if they didn’t necessarily know exactly what was going on) <3
Many congratulations to you. Like so many of the other comments, I have been following your blog since the start too, and have read of your ups and downs. I also suspected you were struggling to conceive based on some of your comments last year, so I am so thrilled for you. I had my babies in my late 30s, and you will find plenty of mums around in a similar boat to you. Pregnancy and motherhood is a wonderful journey, full of love, fatigue, anxiety, stress and joy, and I am so happy you and your partner get to experience it. I hope you are feeling well, especially in this heat. Pregnancy for me was a shocker, and I thought I was going to die of morning sickness for months on end, so I hope you are managing better than I did! I look forward to observing your mumma journey from the other side of the screen. Oh, and little boys are divine. I have two!
Thank you so much, Maz! I’ve been fairly lucky – morning sickness mostly felt like being carsick for months at a time (also that I’d been sucking on five cent pieces) but it wasn’t too crippling. We – mercifully – got aircon installed before the worst of the heat hit, so that’s been manageable as well. Just recently got diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which is a pain in the butt, but I’m sure it’ll all be worth it in the end <3
Love to you and your little family as well!
?Congratulations! Awesome news for you both. Most exciting and I have been wishing for this for you from afar.
Lucky baby ? Xoxoxoxoxoxo
Thank you so much, Margaretanne <3
I have been following this blog for quite some time and this made me the most happy. IF is a mean snot and too many deal with it, often in silence. I am so glad you have that happiness to come through on the other side (we went through a lot of m/c and went the adoption route and once that baby is in your arms….it softens so much).
Thank you so much, and I’m sorry to hear about your own struggles Julia. I’m very glad to hear you got your own little happy ending. Much, much love <3
Congratulations! It really is such a grueling and lonesome process. I’m so happy it worked out for you finally!
Thank you so much! Us too <3
Congratulations! I am so happy for you.
All the very best for the road ahead.
Stumbled into your blog via one of your (smashing) outfits on Pinterest and actually felt my heart skip a beat when I saw this. It’s strange how I can sit halfway across the world from you and still feel a glowing sense of happiness for a total stranger. Me and my husband went through 3 rounds of failed IVF treatments and will now, after a much neeeded break from needles and tears, move onto egg donation as well. Although I am a rational person I still felt like finding this blog post was a sign that it’s truly time to hope for the best again. Massive congratulations to you and the father to be, I wish you a truly happy 2019. Oh, and thank you for the outfit insipiration too, that IS why I winded up here on your blog after all. Big love/ L
Dear Lilli, I’ve been a reader for 10 years but a more infrequent visitor lately so I’ve only just found your news. I’m now a grandmother as well as a mother, so I can only say welcome to the great adventure. It will extend your emotional range in all directions, but I know you are wise and kind and will be great at it, from reading your words all these years. Remember also to take care of yourself, too. New mothers sometimes forget that. All the congratulations. Emma
I’m not crying! Someone is cutting onions.
This has brought more joy to my day than you’ll ever know. Xx
How wonderful to read this!
I used to be a regular reader but had fallen by the wayside a little, however I‘m so glad I checked in!! Btw, you posted this on my daughter‘s 28th birthday and I can confirm, it‘ll all be worth it… ?
I so pleased for you and I wish you much joy in your pregnancy and in your new little bundle of joy. I am a nana to an ivf beauty (he is now 18 months) and I understand the pain you have gone through to get to this point, it isn’t just finding the enormous amounts of money or the waiting to see if this time… but the way you feel so rotten on the hormones treatments, the strain on your relationship, however much you try and pull together. But I promise you (as if you didn’t already know) your child will be worth every gram of pain and disappointment so wishing you and your family peace and happiness.
Oh Lilli I am so happy for you. I am so glad it has worked out. Very excited for you. Made me teary too reading this. Enjoy those newborn snuggles.