“I met my husband when we were both in our early 30s. We soon started trying for a family, but realised after a couple of years that nothing was happening,” Louise recalls. She remembers that their fertility journey with Harley Street Fertility Clinic began in the year of the Olympics, because after their first appointment with Dr Venkat they went to watch the gymnastics!
“It was the beginning of a long journey with Dr Venkat – we saw her on and off for the next three or four years,” Louise continues.
The first ICSI cycle
Louise and her husband went through extensive testing at the clinic. “My gynecologist recommended Dr Venkat so highly that we didn’t even think of going anywhere else.”
The tests discovered a male infertility factor, so the couple decided to try an ICSI cycle. Louise tells us that the procedure was “very straightforward. We had eggs, blastocysts - I fell pregnant the first time round.”
While it was great news about Louise's pregnancy, unfortunately, things did not end as well as everyone had hoped. At 12 weeks, Louise had a miscarriage. “It was Boxing Day, the day we reached 12 weeks, and I miscarried. It was heartbreaking, because we were excited to tell our friends and family,” Louise recalls. “Since then, Christmas has been hit with a bit of sadness.”
The second ICSI cycle
Louise and her husband had a small break, but were soon starting again with the second ICSI cycle. “Everything went very smoothly. We had several embryos, but we never managed to freeze them because our embryos were never good enough. Every cycle was completely fresh.” Unfortunately, the second cycle wasn’t successful.
Holding onto hope
“The third cycle was the 'third time lucky' cycle,” says Louise. “We had a few embryos, and Dr Venkat told us to go for it. I remember thinking it was too soon, but Dr Venkat said the embryos were better off being in me."
Louise then recalls her initial feelings: “I had a feeling this child would be born. And she was. Third time lucky, we had our little blessing. It was the best thing ever.”
Baby Chloe - A treasure and blessing
When talking about her daughter Chloe, Louise tells us she is “a real treasure. She brings great joy to everybody, not just us. She is a very special girl.”
Louise and her husband later tried to give Chloe a sibling, but unfortunately, their luck had run out. “We are eternally grateful for the precious child that we have. She is wise beyond her years, like all those children mixed into one little being. Chloe is almost seven now. Because she was a spring baby, we felt that she brought so much hope, we named her Chloe – 'little green shoot'. She brought so much hope, like the little green shoot that comes up in the spring.”
Dr Venkat helped Louise stay positive throughout the pregnancy
Louise recalls all Dr Venkat’s support throughout her pregnancy with Chloe: "whenever I was worried, I phoned Dr Venkat. I felt I could always call her. Because I’d had a miscarriage at 12 weeks with the first cycle, I was terribly anxious once I found out I was pregnant again. Coming for our seven week scan, Dr Venkat saw there was an embryo with a great heartbeat.”
At one of Louise's consultations, Dr Venkat discovered that the cervix was shortening quickly, so she started watching Louise carefully, and arranged to have her cervix stitched. Louise says that she must have had 4-6 scans.
“Dr Venkat was unbelievable when helping us get through the first and second trimester. Then, I started to feel the baby moving, and I knew she was fine, so we didn’t worry as much. Dr Venkat was incredible, especially when we were worried.”
Louise admits that even today, the family still sends Dr Venkat a Christmas card with a photo of Chloe. “She can’t get rid of us, she became part of our family,” says Louise. “She will watch Chloe grow.”
Chloe learns about Dr Venkat!
Chloe knows exactly who Dr Venkat is, and what she did for mum and dad, from their stories about the fertility clinic.
“Chloe came with me to some appointments when I was trying to give her a sibling. She’s always been very articulate, and wants to know what’s going on. It wasn’t during a specific time I told her who Dr Venkat was, but she was three and a half years old when I think she knew that Dr Venkat put her in mummy’s tummy.
Louise says that the IVF/ICSI babies are very special. “You feel like you’ve known them since they were a cell, an embryo. They are so special.”
A message for other couples
Louise encourages others to never give up hope. “It is an emotional rollercoaster, the desire to have a child and not be able to have one - it created so much heartbreak for us... the journey is hard, but stay hopeful, stay focused – the reward of having that baby in your arms is incredible. I wake up every day to look at my baby and think, how lucky I am to have you!"
Happy Birthday to Harley Street Fertility Clinic
Louise had a special message for Harley Street Fertility Clinic as it is our 10th anniversary!
“Happy birthday to the people who create all these other wonderful birthdays... a very well deserved 10 years creating beautiful little people for us.”
We would like to thank Louise for sharing her experience with us, and we hope it inspires other couples who are looking to embark on a fertility journey.