“We were so ready through lockdown and so positive that it was going to work”
Today’s story is about resilience. It’s about not giving up. It’s about a family that went through heartbreak before having their precious rainbow baby.
Jenny and David decided to have children in September 2018 and Jenny got pregnant straight away. “I had a miscarriage at 5 weeks,” says Jenny who didn’t worry at the time. As sad as the miscarriage was, she believed miscarriages were common, and shouldn’t be a problem as she got pregnant straight away.
A month later, Jenny got pregnant again, but they lost the baby again early in the pregnancy.
After 5 months of not getting pregnant, Jenny and her husband David decided to have tests with a private clinic.
Jenny and David walked past HSFC after a session with another Doctor and booked an appointment. This time David, Jenny’s husband, decided to get tested as well. The results came back normal, but he insisted on having a DNA fragmentation test. He had a feeling something was wrong. By the time the results came back, Jenny was pregnant for a third time. Although Dr Venkat put Jenny on medication, and scans were periodically performed, they lost the baby again.
Meanwhile, the DNA fragmentation came back and it seemed there was a DNA issue with David’s sperm.
By mid-October 2019 Jenny and David decided to go via the IVF route and have their embryos tested. Jenny also had high natural killer cells, which needed to be monitored.
Due to the Christmas period, the first round of IVF was delayed until January 2020. Jenny had 38 eggs retrieved, “a lot!” says Jenny. Although only 26 eggs were good quality, by the time they got them PGS tested, they only had 3 ‘normal’ embryos.
Unfortunately, the first round of IVF was unsuccessful, and Dr Venkat suggested further tests for natural killer cells. Jenny had intralipids and steroids, but these had not done enough to aid implantation. It was suggested that for the next round, additional injections and testing would be needed.
Covid-19 and fertility treatments
Jenny confesses that “Everything shut down for Covid-19 and we went through a lot of emotional turmoil, not knowing when we would be able to try again. We also didn’t know if we should go ahead without the add-on treatments, as the HFEA was not allowing immune suppressant drugs required to lower the natural killer cell activity.” They decided to go ahead, and Jenny had another egg collection. “There was a lot of pressure because there was only one embryo left, and we didn’t want it to be the last chance, so we went through egg collection again” says Jenny.
This time, Jenny got fewer eggs. They only send 3 embryos for testing, and 2 came back normal. “So, so pleased, and one of them led to baby Leah. I have had the picture with the embryo on my fridge ever since!”
The phone call and a positive mindset
Dr Venkat suggested, in case Jenny gets pregnant, to have the intralipids as early in the pregnancy as possible.“For some reason, this time we felt super positive, I don’t know why. We were so ready through lockdown and so positive that it was going to work,” recalls Jenny.
Jenny was so nervous that she passed on to David the duty of answering the phone call to find out if she was pregnant or not. David walked around, in the rain, for 2 hours, to wait for the phone call announcing the pregnancy, because she was too scared to take the call. “A day I’ll never forget, when David came in all wet, telling me the good news,” smiles Jenny.
Complications during pregnancy.
In the first 12 weeks of her pregnancy, Jenny had complications, including bleeding. “HSFC were amazing. At around 8 weeks I didn’t feel symptoms anymore, and I started bleeding. It was Friday night, and I rang out of hours, and Suvir [General Manager] was so great, booked me in for a blood test the next day, and everything seemed fine.” Jenny kept bleeding but all the tests were normal and scans showed a heartbeat. The bleeding carried on for a week and a half. At every scan, everything was normal. After 10 weeks, the bleeding stopped.
At her 20 weeks scan, a doctor told her that her placenta was split, which explained the bleeding. “Nerve wracking at the time but explained everything.”
Despite the initial scare, Jenny had an amazing pregnancy. Because of the baby being breach, Jenny delivered baby Leah by c-section.
A message for other couples
Jenny and David, about their fertility journey: “It’s really emotional but the outcome is so, so worth it, just amazing. The people you meet along the way, they know so much about what they are doing, they never had any doubt that everything will be ok. And they are right, you just have to listen to them”. Jenny adds, “I don’t know how to thank all the people at HSFC”.
Baby Leah was born after Mother’s Day, so the first special day to celebrate in the family is Father’s Day. Jenny says that “Dad gets all the smiles, all the presents, all the good things.” While Jenny gets cuddles for the rest of the time.
“I won’t hesitate to do it again – it’s a different way of getting the desired outcome. At the end of the day, we have what we wanted, we met some amazing people, we got the support of some amazing doctors and nurses.”
Jenny finishes her interview with the biggest, happiest smile, while breastfeeding baby Leah.