You took your time!

But it was well worth the wait...

Published by: Jean Jollands and Katie Evans
Published on: 28 June 2012

Why is it when you're trying for a baby, all of a sudden the world seems full of pregnant women? They were everywhere I looked - and the chances of me joining that particular club were slim.
Me and my hubby Martin, 33, had been trying for 18 months, since our honeymoon, with no luck. Now we'd just been told that Martin had low sperm mobility, and I wasn't producing good-quality eggs. Our chances of conceiving naturally were incredibly low.
Wasn't it cruel enough that one of us had problems, let alone both of us?
‘We could look into adoption?' suggested Martin.
‘It's an option,' I nodded slowly, sniffing back tears. ‘I've just always looked forward to being pregnant, giving birth.'
‘I know,' he sighed, hugging me. We talked and cried until we'd no tears left. Eventually, we decided to try IVF - yes, it was a lottery. but we had to give it a go.
There was a year-long wait on the NHS. Privately, it'd cost £6,000, money we simply didn't have. Seeing how heartbroken I was, my mum Pam, 60, offered to use her savings to pay for it.
‘Thank you so much,' I smiled. Now at least we had a chance!
We paid for a private cycle of IVF at the Woking Nuffeld Hospital in Surrey. ‘Please God, let us be one of the lucky ones,' I prayed, as I lay in a hospital gown, ready for the procedure.
‘One of the embryos we've created looks very viable,' the consultant smiled afterwards.
It was implanted, and four others were put on ice for the future. We were a precious step closer to having a family.
‘Don't get your hopes up too much, though,' Martin warned. ‘You hear about couples doing several cycles, and even then...' he trailed off.
I nodded. ‘Let's take it one step at a time.' Easier said than done, though. Those next weeks were a rollercoaster of emotions as we waited to see if I was pregnant.
One day, I'd be filled with hope - the next, not daring to believe.
‘I'm so scared,' I admitted to Martin.
‘Me, too,' he sighed. Finally, it was time. I went to the bathroom and did a pregnancy test. Before the results had even come up, I ran out shaking.
‘I can't even bring myself to look,' I admitted to Martin. ‘You check it...' He went into the bathroom, and was out seconds later... The grin on his face said it all!
‘Are you sure?' I wept, unable to believe it.
‘It's positive!' he whooped, pointing at the little line on the test. No, it couldn't be right. The odds of us getting lucky first try were incredibly low. So I did another test, and another. In the end, I did six more just to be sure!
Nine months later, I gave birth to our gorgeous daughter Libby, a bonny 7lb 4oz bundle with big, blue eyes. Holding her in my arms, I finally felt complete.
‘She's perfect,' I cooed to Martin, as her tiny little fingers curled around mine.
‘Takes after her mummy,' he murmured to me.
I threw myself into motherhood. Every milestone, from Libby's first words to the day she took her very first steps, made me realise how lucky we'd been.
But my thoughts always returned to those frozen embryos we'd left in the clinic, and every year we'd receive a letter asking if we wanted to keep them or let them ‘perish'. That word alone made me shiver.
Perish, expire, die, kill off those tiny sparks of life.
By the time Libby was three, we agreed we had to do all we could to give her a brother or sister. So in June last year, we underwent another cycle of IVF. This time, doctors implanted two embryos to increase my chances of falling pregnant.
‘What are my odds?' I asked the doctor anxiously. We'd been so lucky first time around... would it run out now?
‘There's a 14 per cent chance of one of the embryos taking,' he said. He didn't even give us the odds of both embryos taking - that was less than one per cent, almost impossible.
Well, I was a mum now, so if this worked - great. If not, it would be heartbreaking, but I knew Martin and I would get over it, somehow.
Two weeks later, I did the test. This time I was brave enough to look... Positive!
‘I don't believe it!' Martin whooped, as we checked the test for the umpteenth time.
‘We're having a baby!' I laughed.
At my scan, I couldn't stop grinning, waiting for confirmation that everything was okay. Martin had to work that day, so I took my friend Louise, 40, along with me.
The nurse seemed to be peering at the screen though, as if checking something...
‘Congratulations - you're expecting twins,' she beamed.
‘I'm...what?!'' I gasped. ‘Am I dreaming this? One minute I was struggling to have a baby, now I've one child plus twins on the way!'
None of us could stop smiling. ‘And because the embryos were all created at the time, technically your older child and the two new babies are actually triplets,' added the nurse.
Triplets born four years apart - how weird!
Martin could barely believe it when I called him on my mobile. ‘Talk about scoring a hat-trick!' he laughed.
‘Well, they say things come in threes!' I chuckled.
On February 5 this year, little Neeve and Maddie were born four weeks early, weighing in at a healthy 4lbs 12oz and 5lbs 8oz.
‘Meet your triplet sisters!' I said to Libby, who was wearing her ‘Best Big Sister' t-shirt we'd bought her.
‘Hello babies!' she giggled.
We still can't get our heads around the fact we've had triplets almost four years apart, and Libby's still far too young to understand how it all came about.
When they're older, we'll explain to our trio that they were conceived at the same time, but Neeve and Maddie stayed in the freezer just that little bit longer.
The babies are 15 weeks old now. Baby Maddie's the spit of Libby, and they have the same quiet, clever temperament. too.
Neeve is so laid back I'm surprised that she doesn't fall out of her baby bouncer.
Watching Libby cuddle her sisters on the sofa, Martin and I feel like the luckiest parents in the world. Three's definitely not a crowd in our house!
Nadine Cooper, 38, Melksham, Wiltshire