“Being told it was highly unlikely we would fall pregnant naturally hit us like a ton of bricks,” says Kirsty. “During lockdown we had four pregnancy announcements from people close to us, although happy for them it was a dark and isolating time for us.”
The couple have been together since they were teenagers and had always talked about having a family. When they got married in 2018, they soon started trying for a baby.
“How naïve I was to think that we would fall pregnant quickly… ” says Kirsty, aged 28. “After just a few months I knew that something wasn’t right. My cycles weren’t regular and I was finding it difficult to accurately track my fertile windows because of how unpredictable they were.”
The couple went to see their GP after a year of trying and because they live in Norfolk were referred to Bourn Hall Norwich for NHS fertility testing and diagnosis. The tests revealed that Kirsty wasn’t ovulating and that Harry had low quality sperm and count.
“We took a couple of months out to focus on ourselves and for Harry to make some lifestyle changes such as taking supplements and reducing his alcohol intake when he might normally have a drink at the weekend, that kind of thing. We went back to Bourn Hall in March 2020, literally just before lockdown, and things had slightly improved so we agreed to try ovulation induction (OI) first. Then the first lockdown hit and our journey was put on hold.”
During that time the couple sought support from online forums. “This helped us not feel so alone and to know our feelings were valid and that it was okay to mourn the fact that we were yet to have a baby of our own.”
Ovulation Induction is less invasive first option
After lockdown lifted and the clinic’s were allowed to resume treatment, the couple started Ovulation Induction or OI, this is when the ovaries are stimulated to produce a mature egg and carefully monitored. The couple are told when to have intercourse and the egg is fertilised naturally.
Unfortunately, after two rounds of ovulation induction treatment, Kirsty and Harry didn’t fall pregnant.
“Our next option was IVF, something which we didn’t take lightly,” remembers Kirsty. The couple waited until after they had moved into their new home before deciding to progress.
“It was time for us to accept that we needed this help to be able to achieve our dream of having a family,” she says. “I will never forget the moment we were told that IVF was likely our only hope, to imagine a life without children was something we had never envisaged.”
IVF with ICSI
The couple had NHS-funded IVF with ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) all the embryos were frozen to give Kirsty’s body time to recover and then there was a frozen embryo transfer (FET) and the couple had to wait 10 days before they could take a pregnancy test.
“We had the embryo transfer at Bourn Hall on 30 November last year. I remember going to a Christmas event in Norfolk and writing a wish on a tree for us to get our miracle baby,” says Kirsty. “On December 10th we saw those two lines for the first time and we shall never forget that day.”
Robin was born in August 2022.
A little frosty
That Robin is here still feels miraculous.
“He was a tiny embryo frozen for over three months, before being transferred to me and growing into a tiny human,” says Kirsty. “He has provided us with so much joy and love.
“We would put complete trust in Bourn Hall again in trying for a second child. The support we had throughout was nothing short of exceptional, we always felt listened to and that our choices were respected. We are grateful beyond words to Bourn Hall for helping us to parenthood.”
Now Kirsty and Harry are preparing to spend their first Christmas as a family with baby son Robin. “My wish this year is that our story will give others hope that they will get their own little miracle,” says Kirsty.