This was the year that certainty evaporated, but amid so much loss from Covid-19 I found small wonders to be thankful for
Before this year, I thought that you could be either “pregnant” or “not pregnant”. As it happens, it’s not always that simple. Last August, two weeks after an embryo was transferred to my uterus in the basement of a Harley Street fertility clinic, I held a pregnancy test up to the strong sunlight at my bedroom window. The control line, which indicated whether or not the test was working, was clear and dark pink. The test line, which indicated whether or not I was pregnant, was faint, like a shadow. In some light it was impossible to discern in some light – but standing at the window, there it was: hope.
The embryo had been in a freezer for the best part of the year before it was transferred. It had been created using my egg and my husband’s sperm at our local hospital in east London because, due to illness, conceiving naturally was no longer possible for us. We had commenced treatment after almost a year on an NHS waiting list: I injected myself with hormones and doctors retrieved eggs from my ovaries; they were injected with my husband’s sperm and became embryos. Due to a complication, it wasn’t safe for them to be transferred straight away so they were frozen. On New Year’s Eve 2019, we toasted our three frozen embryos as we looked ahead to 2020: this would be the year I became pregnant, this would be a good year.
In February 2020, the first of the frozen embryos was transferred. My husband was there with me, holding my hand, as the doctor placed it in my uterus. She reeled off instructions afterwards: no sex for seven days, no alcohol, no smoking, do an at-home pregnancy test in 13 days.