The journey to parenthood

Mark Conneely

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The journey to parenthood

Our journey to becoming parents was anything but smooth. We experienced two miscarriages in the space of 7 months which were incredibly difficult to cope and deal with but we took solace from the fact that we had at least been able to get to conception. A stressful time in our lives with the death of my father-in-law just before these miscarriages also convinced us that we would soon realise our long-held dream of becoming parents.

However, after the second miscarriage my wife did not fall pregnant again and after almost two years of trying we turned to IVF. The first round was unsuccessful and the health professionals could not really offer us any reasons as to why – I cried in the meeting at which they told us they could not explain why the treatment had not worked after they had had such high hopes beforehand. They then decided to try a slightly different approach for the second round and I will never forget both the day my wife told me that she was pregnant nor the results of the first scan – which I unfortunately did not attend due to work – following which she told me we were expecting triplets!

The pregnancy was stressful as multiples pose lots more risks and there were scans every 10-14 days. I attended all of these (asking too many questions according to my wife) bar the very last one at where it was decided the babies would be coming out in 48 hours – during only the 29th week of the pregnancy. We were expecting identical twins and a ‘singleton’ and there were problems with the growth of one of the twins necessitating an earlier than ideal delivery – we had been hoping the pregnancy would make it to between 33 and 35 weeks to give all the babies as long as possible to develop in the womb.

During the pregnancy I had spent hours researching twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and all manner of possible problems affecting multiples both during pregnancy and after birth. Thankfully, due to the incredible care of the Neonatal Unit at St. Thomas’ Hospital, all of my research proved academic. Our two boys – Michael and Tadhg – and daughter Ciara are now healthy 6 year olds providing us with more joy than we could ever have imagined. Every stress and difficulty encountered in their conception and the early months/years my wife and I have met together and it has only made our marriage stronger and our lives are certainly so much the richer now they include our wonderful children.

To say that the stress and challenge were worth it all would be the biggest understatement of all time – try to deal with it together and keep going until you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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