BLESSED: Paul and Tara Crook with daughter Kaycee who arrived with the help of IVF and some talented specialists.
BLESSED: Paul and Tara Crook with daughter Kaycee who arrived with the help of IVF and some talented specialists. Donna Jones

Potato chip foretells end to nine-year, $25k IVF heartache

ACCORDING to Paul and Tara Crook, their daughter Kaycee is a miracle child.

One whose coming was foretold by a potato chip of destiny.

The day before Tara received the welcome news that her final round of IVF was successful and she was pregnant, she was astonished to find a potato chip which to her eyes was in the shape of a love heart.

"Normally I just get stuck into chips. Especially when I'm watching movies. I don't even look at them. I just eat them by the handful. But on this day, I just held this one in my hand and I knew it was special," she said with a laugh.


The potato-chip of destiny for the Crook family.
The heart-shaped potato-chip of destiny for the Crook family, which Tara has kept throughout her pregnancy and which husband Paul keeps threatening to eat. Donna Jones

So special it heralded the arrival of the love of her and husband Paul's life: daughter Kaycee.

The couple started IVF in 2008 but after several attempts and nearly $25,000 later, they resigned themselves, in 2011, to the fact it probably wouldn't happen.

"It was just so expensive. So we decided to give it away for a while," Tara said.

Through it all, they maintained a positive view of their lives.

"Paul and I make a really good team. We always had a realistic view of things. Yes, it'd be lovely to have a child of our own but we had a tribe of nieces and nephews. You make what you do of your life," she said.

It was the arrival of a nephew to their "tribe" that spurred the couple into trying again in 2014.

So they underwent three rounds in 2015 and at the start of last year they thought they would have one last try.

"We thought we'd do just once more. And it worked!" Tara said.

Little Kaycee was implanted as a five-cell fertilised embryo directly into Tara's uterus.

"She was so small. So tiny at the time of transfer," Tara said.

The microscopic embryo was the couple's last chance.

There was a two-week anxious wait for the couple to find out if the implant had taken.

"There were lots of Tim-Tams and they let you pee on a stick but you have to wait for the blood test to see if it's taken," Tara said.

During the years of undergoing the treatment, Tara said she had to have hormone injections, blood tests and scans and she clocked up hundreds of hours in travel time.

"I had to do all that, but you get used to it," Tara said.

But the day before she went for the blood test, after the potato-chip omen, Tara said she knew this time it was different.

Then, 35 weeks and six days later, on October 12 at 11.34am at Sunshine Coast Private Hospital in Buderim, little Kaycee finally arrived, weighing 3070 grams.


Paul Crook with new daughter Kaycee share a tender moment.
Paul Crook and new daughter Kaycee share a tender moment. Donna Jones

Tara and Paul share the duties and have taken to parenthood right away.

"She's filled a hole in our lives. We're so blessed," Tara said.