“Being a mum is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it is absolutely worthwhile. Sometimes I just sit and stare at my beautiful boy Alexander and think ‘how did this happen?’ It’s amazing!”, says Victoria. The 35-year-old conceived her son after IVF treatment at Bourn Hall Clinic.
Victoria can well remember the feelings of frustration that come when trying to conceive: “Every month, if my period was a couple of days late, I would think, ‘is this it?’. Then I’d experience the rumbling pain in my stomach when meant my period was on the way and would know another month had passed without success.”
Victoria suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), a condition which affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord causing problems with muscle movement, balance and vision. While the condition does not cause fertility problems, Victoria had to stop taking some of her medication and wait a year before she and husband Neal could start trying for a baby.
After a further two years with no success, the couple went to see their GP who referred them for tests at their local hospital. While the tests were ongoing, Victoria was rushed to hospital in the middle of the night with suspected appendicitis. It was discovered that she actually had a 6cm cyst on her ovary which needed emergency surgery to be removed.
Victoria picks up the story: “Along with the cyst, the doctors discovered I had serious endometriosis which also had to be removed. I always had painful, heavy periods and just thought it was normal, until I discovered it was due to this condition where bits of my womb lining grow outside by womb.
“At this point, we thought the odds were stacked against us ever having a child. Our consultant told us we could try IVF on the NHS and we chose to be treated at Bourn Hall Clinic in Colchester”
IVF with ICSI at the Colchester Clinic
Victoria had to wait for her body to recover before starting IVF treatment. While the treatment was going on, Victoria remained stoical about their chances of having a child.
She explains: “My MS is made worse by stress, so trying to keep calm was vital, and I didn’t want people asking about it all the time. We didn’t tell anyone we were having IVF other than our parents and one person at each of our places of work.
“I tried to stay as emotionally detached from the treatment as possible so I viewed each trip to the clinic as just another appointment and took everything a step at a time.”
The couple had IVF with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), a procedure where a single sperm is injected into the egg to fertilise it. Two weeks later, Victoria snuck off to the bathroom to take the pregnancy test that was to signal a change to their lives.
The couple welcomes Alexander
Baby Alexander was born on 4 August 2013 at Colchester General Hospital weighing 7lb 11.5oz after a quick hour and a half labour. Victoria and Neal are delighted with their little boy and say everything they have been through is worthwhile.
Victoria adds: “The staff at Bourn Hall were so helpful and reassuring that it made everything easier to cope with. Nothing was too much trouble from them… I just can’t thank them enough!”