The long journey to our $250,000 family

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 Photo: Getty Images

Kasey Hincksman's journey to motherhood was a long and expensive one. She told her story to Emma Levett.

All I'd ever wanted was a family, and when I met and married Luke I was ready for it all to start happening.

I was lucky to fall pregnant, but we soon learnt it was an ectopic pregnant. I had the surgery I needed, but was devastated to be told that due to complications, I wouldn't be able to have children naturally.

Luke and I knew we wouldn't be giving up without a fight – we just didn't know then how big, or expensive, that fight would be.

And so began our epic 22-cycle IVF journey.

I went into the process feeling positive. My problem was damaged Fallopian tubes, so surely popping an embryo directly into my womb would get round the problem and we'd get pregnant easily, right?

Wrong.

As the months and the cycles wore on the experience took its toll. On cycle number five we lost a son, Rory, at 19 weeks.

On cycle number seven I had a late miscarriage.

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Devastated doesn't even come close. To have experienced the joy and hope to then have our tiny babies ripped away left me in tatters. As always, it was Luke who kept me strong.

'We can be miserable or we can win this fight,' he said again and again.

If it hadn't been for him I'd have given up long before cycle nine, the miraculous cycle that gave us baby Liam.

We worked out we'd spent $90,000 to get our little miracle boy, but he was worth every cent.

That moment I became a mum, holding Liam for the first time, washed the slate of endured hardship clean. And I knew I'd go through it all again to complete our family.

The next time was harder though. The pregnancy had taken its toll and I weighed 90 kilos, overweight for my 166cm frame. I was advised to shift some of the weight, but there was no time to focus on me.

This time I wasn't working, so my salary as an IT specialist, which had paid for the last treatments, no longer existed.

Luckily we had savings, but even I couldn't have guessed how much longer it would take. 

The dollars added up away as cycle after cycle failed. Every month was another dreaded negative test.

By the 21st cycle, after six long years, we had to face the facts. We were down to our last cents. We were so grateful for Liam, but perhaps a brother or sister wasn't meant to be.

Plus my body couldn't take any more. I was a physical and emotional wreck, savaged by the rollercoaster of hope followed by failure.

And so, with heavy hearts, we decided number 22 was our final round.

I fully expected it to fail ... until it didn't. We were expecting again!

Cue a very anxious nine months, until in May 2015 Jack was born.

Finally, $250,000 poorer, we had the family we'd always dreamt of.

Our doctor at IVF Australia told us we had one of the biggest files in Australia. It sounds depressing but actually I was proud. We'd sacrificed everything and fought so hard for what we believed could happen.

At last the worry and emptiness were gone, and being a mummy was all I'd ever hoped.

There was just one niggling thing: how I'd let myself go. After Jack's birth I was at my heaviest, weighing 120 kilos.

I was slow and breathless. The body which had birthed my desperately wanted children was letting me down.

I couldn't run after them or play with them properly. Would I even be here to see them grow up?

It was the same grit and determination that got me through the IVF years that got me down to my local gym in August 2015.

Walking in I felt so ashamed. It was crazy. My body had fought the odds to produce two beautiful boys but I still hated it.

Over the next 12 weeks I took part in an exercise challenge with the goal of shedding 20 kilos, and I did it. The focus was exercise and changing your mindset around food. Eventually I dropped 50 kilos, going from a size 22 to a 12.

I looked and felt incredible. For the first time in eight years my life was what I'd being hoping for – I could be the mum I'd always dreamt of being.

Now the boys are five and nearly two. They're full of energy and life is busy. But compared to the fight we've had on our hands, having two boisterous kids is really a walk in the park.