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#morethanordinary – meet Sheene

18 September 2018, Tuesday

In August, we asked you who you would nominate as #morethanordinary. We got such a great response and so many inspirational moms were nominated! Meet Sheene, this mom has an encouraging story of persevering through fertility treatment, as well as being a step-mom. Grab some coffee and take a read...

Who makes up your family?

We are a modern day 'blended' family consisting of my husband Tyran, myself and our daughter Haven Rae who turns 3 in December. We have a little boy, Grayson Presley due in November and two older teenagers from my husbands first marriage, a 16-year old daughter, Hannah and 14-year old son, Eden 14.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a 27 years, half South African and half British and am sincerely married to my soulmate (I met him when I was 18). I am slowly learning the truth in counting true friends on one hand and how valuable those relationships are to me. I've spent the majority of my professional life in sales but am currently working my way through my teaching degree. I love making a list of goals and completing these before the end of the year - I feel it gives me purpose and helps me to evaluate my successes. I love my family fiercely and treasure the time I get to spend with each and everyone of them.

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Tell us your story of becoming a mom?

My journey to motherhood consisted of a mixture between, love, A LOT of patience and a little bit of science. My husband had a vasectomy after his son Eden was born in 2004 therefore leaving us unable to conceive on our own. We met a few years after his divorce and once engaged decided that a family of our own was something we were both passionate about. As directed by our doctor, we did the vasectomy reversal which was successful, however, we still did not conceive naturally. After a list of health checks and operations, we finally decided to go for IVF treatment - this was our most guaranteed route. Our first fertility doctor did two full stimulation rounds with us which ended with a twin miscarriage just under 8 weeks. Traumatic wasn't close to describing the pain.

Anyone undergoing or considering fertility treatments, will know this costs a small fortune and the likelihood of having to do multiple rounds of IVF is the norm. Once we had no other embryo's to use we decided to move to another clinic. Our second fertility doctor did more tests on both of us to rule out infertility factors, after which we proceeded with another full IVF protocol  - this includes stimulation medicine, egg retrieval and embryo transfers.  Our first transfer was unsuccessful and our spirits were diminishing. We gave ourselves a little break to reconnect and then went back to use one of the two remaining embryo's we had frozen. This time however we moved to a different fertility doctor within the same clinic. After four embryo transfers and 3 full IVF stimulation cycles we finally had our baby girl. Haven Rae was born absolutely perfect on 15 December 2015 and I was FINALLY a mom. The pain, money spent and heartache really was worth it.

When Haven was 6 months old we decided we wanted another child to complete our family and scheduled our last embryo transfer. Once again we were pregnant and over the moon. However due to a subcutaneous haemorrhage we lost our little baby at just under 8 weeks. Again the pain and disappointment was indescribable. We had no more embryo's to use and started debating if we could emotionally and physically handle another full stimulation cycle, not to mention the affordability of this. When Haven turned 2 we did decide that we wanted one last try to bring another miracle into the world and went forward with the same fertility doctor and a whole new IVF cycle. The care and support we received from our doctor made all the difference in the world and left us with amazing egg numbers and embryo quality. To limit stress, we went forward with our transfer in February 2018 with only a few close friends and family aware. We were surprised with fraternal twins at our early scan - this meant that we had a successful single embryo transfer and conceived naturally as well. I honestly can't even express what we felt and thought at that moment). Unfortunately, at our 8 week scan only one foetus could be seen which meant we had suffered vanishing twin syndrome. This is apparently very common in early pregnancy. We allowed ourselves to mourn the loss but tried to focus on the little baby that had clung to life within me. At our 16 week scan we found out we were being graced with our very own pigeon pair and we named our little boy Grayson Presley. He is due on 10 November 2018 and we await his arrival with so much anticipation and excitement. Although I've shed more tears through this journey of motherhood than for anything else, having these two little people to protect and love makes all the medicine, injections and operations worth it! I'm also so proud of myself and my husband for all that we had to overcome together in order to become parents. He is my strength.

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What are some of your 'mom-challenges'?

Some of my 'mom-challenges' are focused around whether I'm present enough for Haven's needs or desire's but more currently, I'm researching the best way to transition from a household with one toddler into a household with two children whilst giving enough to each of my children. I like to think I'm proactive in opinions on the best ways to approach each situation and that the love I instill in my home will be enough. I do however feel 'mom-challenges' are daily and can range from which healthy snacks to pack into the lunch box to whether or not your arming them with the love they need to feel secure and content as developing human beings. As long as we are doing our best nothing else matters!

Do you have any advice or encouragement for other moms?

My advice for those tackling 'blended families' is to give yourself a break and to value the respect you deserve for your position within the family. A step-mom or step-dad is a huge responsibility and one that you do by choice not requirement. Advice for those going through fertility treatments is hang in there! It's a hard and painful journey, one that NO ONE can prepare you for but once you reach the finish line the rewards far surpass expectation. Also reach out because the support you receive from those around you helps heal the wounds. The best advice that I received and would pass on is that 'children don't come with instructions and always remember that love comes with discipline and discipline must always come with love'.

What do you as a family get up to on weekends?

As a family we are extremely social and love to braai with friends or family. However we are also keen travelers and enjoy visiting new countries/places as often as possible, whenever possible. I also LOVE scheduling family photoshoots to collect memories of every stage of my daughter and family - much to my husbands dismay.

What's your favourite ZUZU collective product?

My favourite ZUZU collective product is the Ben Rabbit Swaddle Blanket and Hooded Baby Towel! The print is divine!