Right after our embryo transfer, Freya turns two years old. We’re still in London so that Freya can spend her birthday with her grandparents, and this is where our previously stressful trip turns much more enjoyable. Freya, despite having only memories of seeing them through a laptop screen, instantly ADORES her grandparents. She’s so happy to be with them, her eyes are shining and her face is alight, and we her mamas rejoice when they watch her so we can sneak off and go on a date together!

I can’t believe it has been this long since this child catapulted us into parenthood. Two whole years.

It feels shorter somehow, but also as if we have always lived these lives where she is our main priority. I didn’t fully foresee how utterly exhausting it would be, raising a child day in and day out, but I didn’t know how rewarding it would be as well. I profoundly enjoy being a mother, and I occasionally get sad that part of it is already over. She is growing up so fast… Of course she is still small and needs us constantly, but still, she’s no longer a baby. She’s a whole little person, with a (strong!) personality all of her own.

She is brilliant, this insane toddler, this beautiful free spirit, who I both love to bits and occasionally want to duct tape to the wall just so she’d sit still for five minutes. *laughs*

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It’s perfect timing. My period decides to come early for once and our clinic appointment is suddenly scheduled right before Freya’s birthday. That means we can combine going over to London for the frozen embryo transfer with celebrating Freya’s birthday there with her grandparents, who we hadn’t seen in person in nearly two years! It feels like it was meant to be.

When the day finally arrives, it’s a bright sunny morning in London exactly like when we transferred the embryo that would become Freya. That must be another sign, right? Despite the beautiful weather though, I am feeling exhausted and stressed. I barely slept the night before, our trip to London has been hard with an overstimulated toddler in tow, and I end up snapping at Jo enough to make her tear up (sorry my love!).

We eat breakfast in a café nearby because I wanted to be in the area well on time. I go into St. Paul’s cathedral for a quick prayer like we did last time, while Jo stays outside with Freya. They both walk me to the clinic’s doors, and… that’s it.

Because of Covid, I have to go in alone. I think my irritability that morning was about that, too. It’s not the same, it was never going to be the same, but if there’s ever a moment where you want your partner with you, it’s at the conception of your child!

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In order to have Freya, it took us two years from the moment where we first seriously discussed having a child, to actually holding a positive pregnancy test in our hands. Two years in which we first considered co-parenting with a gay man, then at home insemination, then researched and ‘auditioned’ at multiple clinics. Two years where we went through IVF and hyper-stimulation, a FET, and endless stress and worries, most of it carefully chronicled on this blog.

It felt like forever to me then! But at least with the great outcome of our IVF and all the embryos we had stored, we felt sure that we’d never have to go through such a drawn-out process to get pregnant ever again.

And then Covid happened… With us stuck in Belgium and our embryos in London. At first we simply felt extremely lucky that we were able to have Freya before all of that happened, and it’s not as if we would have tried again within that first year anyway. But it’s been so long by now!

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Freya was quite a late walker, she took her first steps at sixteen-and-a-half months. So she has been running around our house for only a few months now but it already feels like a distant memory that once upon a time she wasn’t everywhere at once. We must have been so well rested then… Ha!

She’s wonderfully sweet, but she’s also a cheeky little monkey who loves trouble.

When she’s verrryyy quiet, that’s when something is going down! She might be head-first into rooting through the kitchen bin, or attempting to deconstruct one of my orchids, or trying to poke the cat awake, or stripping off her nappy, or stealing knives off the kitchen counter and then running around with them while giggling madly like a happy ninja about to take out your kneecaps.

She loves her shoes. Her rainsuit. Tea, cheese, beans, and BANANAS.

She will take our hand, and gently, encouragingly, guide us towards the toilet while motioning to sit down, then hand us toilet paper and try to flush. She’s like the world’s tiniest and most thoughtful toilet attendant. Unless you close the door in search of some precious privacy of course, in which case she will screech in outrage that she’s been denied entrance.

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It’s hard trying to tell a story when you’re in the middle of it.

We are still in lockdown. Still at home. Still taking care of a baby through a pandemic. Nothing ever changes, or that’s what it feels like anyway, every day unfolds at the same pace, every task is a familiar one, every minute is taken up by something that we’ve already done a hundred times before.

Sometimes the sheer thought of walking to the park to go see the ducks AGAIN makes me want to scream. But I hold it back, because Freya loves the ducks, because we are fortunate enough to live close to a park, and because feeling sorry for myself won’t change anything anyway.

Really, the truth is that we have it so good.  We live in a beautiful flat, with a wonderful child who we adore. Jo and I support each other, love each other, and we still genuinely look forward to spending time together even though we’ve already been stuck here together for well over a year.

Still, I can’t wait to get the vaccine. For our lives to get moving again.

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