RAIN­BOW CON­NEC­TIONS

Meet two same-sex cou­ples and their beau­ti­ful tots

Little Treasures - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy Dean Kozanic and Ralph Brown Words Jai Bre­it­nauer

“THE NER­VOUS­NESS I FELT ABOUT NOT BE­ING ABLE TO BOND WITH A BABY THAT HAD NONE OF MY GE­NET­ICS WAS IN­STANTLY VA­POR­ISED WHEN OUR DAUGH­TER ABBI AR­RIVED.” — GEORGE

Anna & George “WE DIDN’T WANT A THREE-PAR­ENT FAM­ILY”

Anna and Re­becca Mag­dali­nos – George to her friends – met in 2011 and were mar­ried in 2016. They have a daugh­ter, Abbi, one. “When we met, we were al­ready on the older side for fer­til­ity,” says Anna. “We were re­al­ists, and knew what we wanted. We be­gan talk­ing about hav­ing chil­dren within a year.” “I knew I was go­ing to marry Anna af­ter the first date,” says George. “I also knew the fer­til­ity jour­ney was long so there was no point in wast­ing time. Although I was keen to be a mum, I wasn’t that keen on car­ry­ing the baby, so no dis­cus­sion about that was needed.” “At first, we opted to go on the donor in­sem­i­na­tion wait­ing list,” says Anna. “We wanted to get preg­nant as nat­u­rally as pos­si­ble, and IVF is ex­pen­sive. But we were on the wait­ing list for a year and didn’t move past num­ber 100.” “We went on the wait­ing list for IVF, which opens up more avail­able donor sperm as their swim­ming qual­ity doesn’t mat­ter,” says Anna. “We had to pay for two rounds of IVF and when that failed we were able to be funded through the pub­lic sys­tem on the grounds of in­fer­til­ity.” “When you go pub­lic you go into a draw for a clinic, so we were re­ferred to the Auck­land ADHB clinic Fer­til­ity Plus,” says George. “Un­for­tu­nately, Fer­til­ity Plus didn’t have as many sperm donors – they don’t have the same mar­ket­ing bud­get as the pri­vate clin­ics. There was no donor avail­able and at this point it was sug­gested we find our own, but we didn’t want to be a three-par­ent fam­ily.” “Luck­ily, a donor came up and while we were wait­ing for the IVF fund­ing we had one round of donor sperm in­sem­i­na­tion. Amaz­ingly, we fell preg­nant,” says Anna. “When the clinic called to tell me I kept ask­ing ‘are you sure?’ be­cause I was so used to be­ing told oth­er­wise!” “At that point you trans­fer from clinic care to a mid­wife, but there is a time de­lay,” says George. “We were seven weeks preg­nant and had to be 12 weeks to see a mid­wife, which was hard for Anna.” “I drove George mad, con­vinced I’d lost the baby on a daily ba­sis, es­pe­cially as I had no morn­ing sick­ness. But the baby and the preg­nancy were fine,” says Anna. “All the rules I set my­self for sup­port­ing Anna dur­ing the de­liv­ery went out the win­dow the minute she started to push,” says George. “I said I wouldn’t look at the ac­tion end, that I wouldn’t cut the cord… but in the mo­ment things change. Anna was a leg­end, and the ner­vous­ness I felt about not be­ing able to bond with a baby that had none of my ge­net­ics was in­stantly va­por­ised when our daugh­ter Abbi ar­rived. In that mo­ment we be­came an in­stant fam­ily.” “At one point I looked over and saw George in a chair with Abbi asleep on her chest,” says Anna. “That was an amaz­ing mo­ment I will al­ways re­mem­ber. We sud­denly had this lit­tle crea­ture that needed us both.” “We make a great team,” says George. “Back home Anna ex­pressed milk and I took the night shift with feed­ing so I was in­ti­mately in­volved from the start. Anna took six months parental leave and I took three.” Anna was re­lieved that George was able to look af­ter Abi­gail for three months be­fore she went to Porse. “That was great for me. I felt some stress and anx­i­ety go­ing back to work, but know­ing she was at home with her other mum made it a lot eas­ier and it was very im­por­tant for George to have that time to bond with her.” “I’ve never felt left out,” says George. “We are both legally Abbi’s par­ents. When we filled out the birth cer­tifi­cate I just filled out the ‘dad’s’ sec­tion and asked for it to be changed to read par­ent/par­ent.” “This first year has been in­sane, and I’d rec­om­mend any­one go­ing through fer­til­ity to make good use of the coun­selling on of­fer at the start. The fer­til­ity clinic was so sup­port­ive, and the more you talk about the process the more you nor­malise it. Pro­tect your­self – don’t pin all your hopes on the first try.” “Would we go for num­ber two? Well that’s a mil­lion-dol­lar ques­tion,” says Anna. “We’re both 40 now, and the process is gru­elling and ex­pen­sive. There are no happy ac­ci­dents in a same-sex re­la­tion­ship. We just want to fo­cus on Abbi and give her all of the time we can.”

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