Michelle from Suffolk has been through so much – she lost ten natural pregnancies and her first marriage failed under the strain – and she was devastated when her first attempt at IVF failed. Fortunately she was persuaded to have one last try and achieved her baby dream.
Having lost four natural pregnancies during her previous marriage, Michelle (now 34) knew that she had a fertility issue when she got together with Alastair (34) in 2007.
After two months together Michelle unexpectedly fell pregnant but again miscarried a few weeks later.
“It was a very traumatic experience for Alastair and me. I found myself questioning our situation and wondering ‘why me?’.
“Alastair realised that IVF was our best option and so once we’d got over the devastation of the miscarriage we went to our GP.
“He explained that it would take three years before we could be referred for fertility treatment and as I’d managed to become pregnant naturally that ‘you never knew and to keep trying’.”
During their three year wait, Michelle lost two further natural pregnancies.
Finally, in 2010, Michelle was referred for investigation at a London hospital. Tests revealed that her one remaining functional fallopian tube was damaged and that all her miscarriages, which had happened within 11 weeks, could in fact have been ectopic: when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb. However no conclusive reason was given and they were told their only way to have a baby was by IVF.
“Not knowing the exact reason for why I had recurrent miscarriage was very difficult to deal with. I had hoped an answer would mean we could do something positive about our circumstances ourselves but IVF now seemed the only option.”
Referred to Bourn Hall for IVF
The couple were referred for NHS funded IVF and chose Bourn Hall’s Colchester clinic.
The couple started their fertility treatment in January 2011. Michelle was prescribed a course of medication to help stimulate her ovaries.
In early April, 18 eggs were collected but only one embryo made it to day five. This one fertilised blastocyst was carefully put into Michelle’s womb.
Two weeks later Michelle took a pregnancy test, which revealed she was pregnant. Unfortunately she started bleeding three days later. It turned out she’d had a chemical pregnancy, which is when a fertilised egg does not attach itself to the uterine wall.
“This was the first time I ever felt like giving up as I had been at this stage naturally.
“I even declared to Alastair ‘I think that’s it!’ but as it got nearer to us being able to try again I realised that if we didn’t take this opportunity we would regret it.”
Second cycle of IVF
In September 2011 the couple started their second cycle of NHS funded IVF and on a slightly different treatment plan, to try and improve the quality of the eggs that Michelle produced.
On 21st November nine eggs were collected from Michelle. Five days later she returned to the clinic to have two blastocysts transferred.
Michelle then had to wait two weeks before taking a pregnancy test.
“The test revealed I was pregnant but I wasn’t sure as I didn’t feel pregnant.
“When we went for the first scan I was delighted to know they could see a healthy baby inside me and in the right place!
“We then took each day at a time and due to my fertility history went for frequent check-up scans, which was reassuring.”
One last hurdle
The pregnancy was going well until at 32 weeks Michelle started to develop high blood pressure and swelling of her legs. She was diagnosed with preeclampsia and following a scan at 34 weeks taken into hospital. The medical team hoped to help Michelle keep her pregnancy until 37 weeks but unexpectedly she lost her waters at 35 weeks and needed an emergency C-section.
Isobel is born
On 9th July 2012 baby Isobel was born.
“She’s absolutely brilliant! I’ve always wanted to be a mum and although it’s taken 12 years of trying Isobel has certainly been worth it.
“Alastair has been great, and although nervous to begin with, he was actually the first to feed her and change Isobel’s nappy.
“They are like two peas in a pod and it’s lovely to see them together.”