14/06/2018 by Charlotte Penketh-King 0 Comments
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: MY HUBBY HAD A BABY - WITH MY SISTER
When I went through menopause aged 20, I thought my baby dreams were over. Then my sister gave me the greatest gift of all… By Sian Evans, 26
I squinted at the tiny screen, trying to figure out if there was really a line or if it was just my imagination.
‘Do you think you could be?’ my partner Ian asked excitedly. ‘It’s too faint, I’m just not sure!’ I said, holding the test up to the light.
It was 12th December 2011, and I was standing in my bathroom, clutching a pregnancy test.
I had a two-year-old son, Connor, already from a previous relationship when I was 17, so when I missed a period and started feeling the familiar pregnancy symptoms, I decided to do a test.
I turned to look at Ian, whose eyes were shining with hope. I’d known Ian for a while through work, but we’d only officially become a couple in November 2011.
Now barely a month later, we stood together in my bathroom with a pregnancy test between us.
It may have all happened very fast, but Ian and I loved each other, so excitedly we visited the doctors to confirm the pregnancy.
‘It’s too early to tell,’ the doctor told us. ‘Come back after Christmas and we’ll have a look again.’
With a possible baby in mind, Ian and I happily planned for our first Christmas together. We were at Ian’s parents’ house on Christmas Eve when I suddenly started getting cramps and pains.
I visited the bathroom, and to my dismay, I was bleeding heavily. As we weren’t certain on whether or not I’d been pregnant, it was impossible to tell if I was suffering a miscarriage or just a heavy period.
Whatever it was, I felt awful, and told Ian that I needed to go home to rest. Although it was sad to have my baby dreams suddenly dashed, I stayed positive.
Ian and I were only young, and had all the time in the world to have a baby together.
We quickly got back to normal, but months passed after the big bleed and I hadn’t had another period.
Something wasn’t right, and I went back to the doctors in June 2012, terrified I could be going through an early menopause.
‘You’re too young,’ the doctor said breezily, dismissing my worries as he ran some tests to see what was really happening.
But two weeks later when we visited for the results, my worst fears were confirmed.
At age 20, I was going through menopause, and my dreams of a baby with Ian were destroyed.
I rang my little sister Hannah straight away, and within an hour, she was at my front door. I sobbed into her arms as the news I’d been dreading began to sink in.
In two days I would turn 21, and yet I could never have a baby again. My heart broke into a million pieces as Hannah comforted me on my living room floor.
‘It’ll be ok,’ Hannah said, rocking me gently before reaching for a marker pen. Tears turned to laughter as Hannah attacked me with the pen, drawing all over my face.
We’d never been close as children, but the birth of my son had brought us together, and now we were inseparable.
I could always count on Hannah to make me smile, and as we giggled on the floor where I’d just been crying, I felt so grateful for her.
Taking silly selfies to cheer me up, I knew I was lucky to have Hannah as a sister.
With a smile back on my face, Ian and I sat down and spoke about our situation. We both still really wanted a baby together, so headed back to the doctors to discuss our options.
Years of tests followed, and it seemed like we would never have our dream baby. It was tough, but Ian stuck by my side through it all.
He was an amazing father to Connor, but I knew Ian wanted a baby of his own too.
I felt so guilty struggling to give him a child, and couldn’t help but wonder if he’d be happier having a baby with another woman.
‘You should be with someone else,’ I cried to Ian after months of doctors appointments.
But Ian didn’t budge, and despite our fertility issues, he stayed with me, and I was over the moon when he proposed.
We got married in a beautiful wedding in 2014, and whilst I was thrilled to tie the knot to my perfect man, I couldn’t shake the feeling our family was incomplete.
We were settling into married life when the doctors finally came to us with options.
We discussed the possibility of adoption and surrogacy, when the suggestion of IVF came up.
As I already had a son, it was unlikely that we could get funding on the NHS for our baby, but due to me being so young, there was still a slim chance.
We put our application in for funding, and crossed our fingers. In June 2015, we received the amazing news that our wishes had been granted, but there was a catch.
The NHS would only fund us for one round of IVF, and we had to provide our own egg.
Shocked, Ian and I debated what to do. Who could give us the baby we’d been dreaming of?
Two of my wonderful aunties offered to help, but as women over the age of 40 can’t donate eggs, it was out of the question.
Ian and I thought long and hard, but we both knew there was only one person we wanted to go on this journey with - Hannah.
But how could I ask my 17 year old sister to have a baby for me?
It was such a big ask, and I didn’t know how to talk to my teenage sibling about such a big decision.
Ian and I knew Hannah was the best choice for us - our baby would come from an egg within my family, and could still even look like me.
I deliberated over how to do it, but in the end I got so worked up that I just blurted out the question when we were out jogging together.
I felt sick to my stomach, and my heart sunk when Hannah asked for a few days to think about it, but I understood the hesitation.
I was on tenterhooks but a couple of days later, the phone rang. ‘I’d love to do it!’ Hannah cried, and I burst into tears.
I ran to Ian immediately with the good news, and we both sobbed with joy. For the first time in a long while, we felt hope, and it was all thanks to my baby sister.
Hannah was prescribed medication to become my egg donor and we finally started our baby journey.
We got seven eggs in total, with three fertilised, but only one embryo was strong enough to be implanted.
As this was our only round of IVF, that one tiny embryo was our only hope.
In June 2016, the embryo created with Hannah’s egg and Ian’s sperm was implanted into my womb, and I prayed for everything to go smoothly.
Within a week I got the news I hadn’t dared to dream of - I was pregnant.
All three of us were ecstatic and six months later, in November 2016, I sat at home cradling my baby bump when Hannah rang with some happy news of her own.
‘I’m pregnant too!’ she screamed, and I couldn’t have been happier for her.
Four years earlier, I’d sat crying with my sister thinking I’d never have a baby, and now we were both pregnant at the same time!
We celebrated together and as I gave birth to our baby in February 2017, my heavily pregnant sister squeezed one hand whilst my tearful husband held the other.
Our little miracle, Marcy Olive, was born perfectly healthy - and thanks to Hannah’s incredible gift, looking very similar to me.
Ian is every bit the wonderful father I knew he would be, and our little family is finally complete.
We made Hannah Marcy’s godmother just a few months before she gave birth to her own daughter, Erin.
Now, our gorgeous girls are the best of friends and when Marcy’s older, I’ll make sure she knows just how special her Auntie Hannah is.
I can’t thank Hannah enough for giving me the most precious gift ever. I still can’t quite believe I had my sister’s baby, but it’s brought us closer than ever.
Together, we’re quite the sister act!
Hannah, 21, said: “I was hesitant at first due to my age but after thinking about it, there was no way I couldn’t try and do it for my sister. Although growing up we hadn’t been the closest, this experience really did bring us together! We shared a range of emotions together, not least the arrival of her beautiful daughter, my niece. I now have a daughter of my own and can’t wait for them to grow up together knowing what my sister and I went through. I would do it again in a heartbeat - it really is the gift that keeps on giving!”
Sian and her sister Hannah had always been close but when Hannah gave her the best present ever - a baby - Sian decided to share the incredible news with the readers of Take a Break. We helped her sell her story for the best price, if you've got a story to sell contact one of our team to find out how we can help.