A baby born on Christmas Day – Rocco – was a dream come true for parents Lynsey and Rocky Stocking. The couple had struggled with infertility and miscarriage and to have him at last in their arms felt like a Christmas miracle.
Lynsey explains that the couple got engaged in their twenties and had both always wanted children, so soon started trying for a baby. They married in June 2013, but sadly had an early miscarriage at eight weeks the following year.
“It had been a year and a half of trying for a baby and I was ‘oh thank goodness it has happened’ and then the rug was pulled out from under our feet,” explains Lynsey. “It was back to square one and never did happen again.”
Eventually the couple went to their GP for advice and investigative tests. Lynsey had hoped that the tests might give them a reason for struggling to conceive but no identifiable medical reason could be found and they were told that they had ‘unexplained infertility’ which accounts for around a quarter of cases of infertility in the UK.
Lynsey continues: “I felt really frustrated; we were young, fit, neither of us was overweight and I had periods like clockwork. Rocky gave up smoking specially when we started trying and that had been quite hard for him. You think ‘what more can we do?’”
The couple were told that they would be eligible for referral for NHS-funded IVF treatment.
“They were talking about pulling the plug on NHS funding and I was getting quite anxious about that but we got the go-ahead it felt like our big chance,” explains Lynsey.
“I was a bit scared, but we chose Bourn Hall Colchester for treatment and they were brilliant. I quite liked the routine of waking up and knowing which injections to take at certain times and getting a bit of control back.
“I got a positive pregnancy test result from the first cycle of IVF, but then lost it again after only three days. It was very sudden from joy to despair. It was a double-blow.
“I wanted to get Christmas and New Year out the way and started again in February with a fresh cycle.
“During my first IVF treatment I produced loads of eggs but not of great quality. The second treatment was my last chance to have NHS funded IVF so I felt under pressure.
A Fitbit and protein
Lynsey continues: “For stress relief I got a Fitbit and used to walk to work in the morning. By pounding the street, I made sure I got fresh air every day; I enjoyed it as it uplifted my mood and helped to give me something to focus on.
“Rumours are that protein is good, so I started eating a lot of chicken and eggs and cutting down on carbs.”
“I don’t know if it helped but second time around I got better quality eggs. One embryo was transferred and three were frozen and so I felt more positive.
“I got so nervous before the pregnancy test, because of the disappointments I had experienced in the past. I did the test four days later than I should have done and waited so I could do it at the weekend.
It was positive, so I wrapped myself up in cotton wool after that until the six-week scan which gave me a due date of Christmas Day. At first I was just relieved and then ended up getting quite excited about it as Christmas is such a special time of year.
“I absolutely loved being pregnant, even though I did have morning sickness at the same time every day at 9am!
“When I was told at my six week scan that the baby’s due date was Christmas Day I didn’t believe that he would actually arrive on that day. But sure enough he did! I was in labour for two days and tried really hard to get him to arrive on Christmas Eve but he arrived at 1.30am on Christmas Day! He was the first baby born on Christmas Day in the area.”
Baby born on Christmas Day offers sign of hope
Christmas can be a particularly painful time of year for couples trying to conceive and Lynsey offers words of encouragement to others based on her own experience.
“Don’t lose hope,” she says. “Remember to look after yourself. Most importantly talk about how you are feeling to loved ones and friends.”
“When I had my first miscarriage I didn’t tell anyone, but I did the second time and it was definitely better. I would recommend that people struggling with infertility talk to their support network.”