When Natalie Hart looks into the eyes of her precious son Jenson, she feels an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
Gratitude to have a child and gratitude to a special woman, who by donating her eggs, helped bring him into Natalie's life.
Now she has written a book to share with Jenson, and all donor conceived children, the special journey it took to create them.
The Melbourne mum was 41-years-old when she decided to try for a baby after meeting her husband, Glenn just a year earlier.
"I came off the pill and literally a month later got a hot flush," she tells Essential Baby. "I went to the doctor and had a blood test and was told I was perimenopausal. I was gutted. I knew being in menopause was not going to make it easy for me to have a baby."
AMH levels showed she had less than one per cent of her eggs left and would need aggressive IVF.
However, even that wasn't enough with two cycles of IVF being cancelled because there were no eggs. Her fertility specialist said she'd need a donor egg.
"I wanted a baby so whatever option was next to try I was going to give it a go. I took four to six months to grieve the loss of my own eggs, but once I changed that thought process, I was okay," she shares.
Natalie's specialist suggested she fly to South Africa to get donor eggs because of the shortage of donors in Australia.
Just under a year after trying to conceive in Australia, Natalie had two embryos transferred from donor eggs and Glenn's sperm in Cape Town and two weeks later was overjoyed to discover she was pregnant.
"It was amazing. I had never been pregnant. I was shocked. I was so grateful to the donor. If it wasn't for someone donating, I wouldn't be a mum and that's what I wanted," she says.
"I will always be forever grateful to her and that is the reason why I wrote my book."
Natalie wants Jenson, who is now three years old to know how much he was longed for, the lengths she and Glenn went to have him, and of the special woman he will never meet, who helped create him.
"I'm proud of how Jenson was conceived, otherwise he wouldn't be here. I want him to know how a beautiful angel helped me have him and that I will be forever grateful to her," she says.
"The story is important because Jenson has a right to know about how he was conceived and by telling him now, it will allow him to grow up without any secrets and to normalise this way of conception."
Keen to find a suitable way to introduce to Jenson how he was conceived, Natalie searched for a children's book that might explain in a simple way the journey she and Glenn took.
But she says she was surprised to discover there was very little available.
"My first port of call was to try to find something written here, but when I couldn't find anything here I had to look overseas but the ones I saw didn't appeal to me. They weren't exciting to read. They didn't hit the mark of what I was wanting to read to him," Natalie explains.
During lockdown last year she devoted her time and energy to create her own book that she would enjoy reading to Jenson and The Journey to You was created.
"I wanted to help more mums like me have a book as a resource for their children.
I know from reading it is important to educate your child about how they were conceived so at three-and-half Jenson is able to understand.
"The book is not complicated and explains in a simple way for children to understand without being too scientific."
Natalie helps run a donor egg Facebook group called Egg Donor Angels and knew there was a huge need for such a book.
"There was no book written for kids by an Australian author. In this niche space there can never be enough books about it, so that if one book doesn't suit another will," she says.
She now has a waiting list for the book, which is due to be published early October, and other people asking if she will write something on other topics around donor conceived children.
Fertility counsellor, Antonia Solomon, says the book is a fantastic way to create dialogue and encourage kids to understand the concept at a young age, which promotes truth and honesty.
"Children look to parents to tell them the truth and create confidence and if parents are lying about their origin what else are they lying about," she says. "Children have a right to know about their identity. They grow up always knowing the truth and in it is not in question.
"The idea of children being brought up with a sense of belonging and they are loved is vital. As they grow it won't be a taboo language it will just be something that is spoken about."
The Journey to You will be available by October and Natalie is taking orders now online.
Find out more at thejourneytoyouchildrensbook.com