Cassie Fitzpatrick | Little Jane
Cassie Fitzpatrick always dreamt of being a mum, but having endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome, she knew it would be challenging. Through her popular children’s book, Oh How We Wished For You, the Sunshine Coast mum-of-two shares her emotional IVF journey and how it has provided much-needed comfort to couples who have struggled to conceive.
It’s a sentiment anyone who has tried for a baby understands.
“I’d see a shooting star, I’d make a wish. When blowing out birthday candles, I’d make a wish. See a fallen eyelash, I’d make a wish,” Cassie Fitzpatrick says.
When Cassie was in Year 12, she was diagnosed with a mild case of endometriosis and over the next 10 years, she underwent a series of procedures and treatments with varying success. But it wasn’t until a procedure before her wedding to husband Sam, that doctors discovered she had a blocked fallopian tube.
The pair, who desperately wanted to have children, now knew the challenges they were up against in trying to conceive, or so they thought. After months of unsuccessfully trying, Cassie was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
“I was broken, I felt like a failure and I struggled to deal with all of this news. I felt ashamed and like I had failed as a woman, failed my husband and failed my family. My job, as a woman, was to conceive and carry our child safely to make our little family, however I couldn’t even do this. I felt like a financial burden, the medical bills were crazy and it was all because of me and my failed health,” she says.
Cassie and Sam needed medical intervention and decided to try IVF. This involved an egg collection and countless scans and blood tests, and saw Cassie admitted to hospital for overstimulation, which she says was extremely painful and delayed her embryo transfer; meaning it, along with the other embryos, had to be frozen.
Sadly, they lost the first embryo, but the second embryo transfer was successful and in June 2016, Cassie and Sam’s miracle baby, their daughter Willow, was born.
“I was very precious about this pregnancy, we had fought so hard for it and I was beyond scared of losing our baby, however it was a perfect pregnancy thank goodness. There were no hiccups and I absolutely loved being pregnant,” Cassie says.
Throughout her pregnancy, Cassie began jotting down ideas for a book, and while laying awake at night feeding her daughter, she wrote Oh How We Wished For You, a collection of wishful moments in life to become a parent.
In publishing this book, Cassie has paid attention to every detail, from the beautiful illustrations by Sunshine Coast artist Cass Deller to gold, silver and rose gold foil on the cover. The end result is a keepsake, something special to read to every single child, regardless of the journey their parents took.
“This book is not just for IVF children, but for all children brought into this world who were wished for. Since releasing the book, I am often contacted by parents of adopted children, parents who have miscarried, parents who have used surrogacy and parents who have been trying for years to meet their little miracle,” Cassie says.
“The journey to parenthood is a very sensitive one and I want to remind anyone going through it to stay strong; it is okay to feel overwhelmed and helpless at times, it can be tough on even the strongest of people.”
Now with two beautiful daughters, three-year-old Willow and 10-month-old Hali, Cassie counts her blessings every day and says parenthood is extremely rewarding, albeit not without its challenges.
“I have moments where I’m exhausted and in tears with mum guilt feeling like I’m not doing enough for our girls and that I could be a better mum. I have to remind myself regularly that I am doing my absolute best and that in reality, every day is not perfect – even though on social media, things can seem picture perfect in most mums’ lives,” she says honestly.
“But when I watch Willow and Hali together, I count my lucky stars to have them in my life. Every day is a new adventure and I am so lucky to be on this adventure with my girls and my amazing husband by my side.”
For more information on Oh How We Wished For You, visit Little Jane.
Photo: Elle Pierce from She Loved Fierce Photography.