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Birth story: “there was less than 1% chance of success”

miracle ivf babyThe story of Hannah starts in October 2004, when my husband and I decided that after three years of marriage and nine years together we should turn our couple into three.

After a year of trying we realised that perhaps all was not right and made an appointment to see our GP. With a history of terrible acne and painful periods I fully expected that I was the cause of our infertility. Our GP ordered blood tests for both of us and a semen analysis for my husband.

I will never forget receiving the call, at work, from the GP to tell me that they had been unable to find any sperm in the sample provided. I was devastated and remember sitting in the carpark at work crying.

We were referred to a local fertility clinic and there started our merry-go-round of testing, procedures and needles. My husband underwent a TESA (poking around in your bits with a big needle) followed by a course of fertility drugs. We successfully found seven (yes, that’s not a typo) sperm and used them unsuccessfully in a round of IVF. More drugs and another TESA and it was confirmed that there was little point pursuing this option.

After much soul searching we decided that we would use donor sperm. However this was not as easy as we thought and after eight unsuccessful rounds of IVF we had all but given up. By November 2012 we were at the end of the road. Over eight years of trying, heartbreak after heartbreak, we were starting to contemplate life without children.

We decided that we would have one more go and then reassess our future.

It was decided that this cycle would include genetic testing, however this couldn’t be done at our regional clinic. At day 2 of growth the embryos were flown to Brisbane for testing. We were called on day 3 to say that the embryos had not progressed and we should probably cancel the cycle. As our flights were already booked we said we would still travel and go ahead with a day 5 transfer.

On the afternoon of day 4 the clinic called and said the embryos were slowly progressing but it wasn’t worth undertaking a transfer. I insisted that we would transfer anyway. I cried all through the transfer as the doctor told us that there was less than 1 per cent chance of the cycle being successful. He also suggested I go and have a drink or two that night as there was no literally no chance of success.

After a cider or two that night we discussed possible overseas holiday destinations.

The two-week wait felt like all the others, so I knew it hadn’t worked.

There are no words to describe how I felt when I saw two lines on the pregnancy test. My husband was at work when I called, he thought I had been in a car accident I was so hysterical. The blood test confirmed the positive and we were finally on our way.

We scarcely dared to believe during the first 12 weeks. The 12-week scan confirmed all was on track and we breathed a great sigh of relief. To finally announce our pregnancy was amazing.

Our joy was short lived.

At 13 weeks I started bleeding. Over the next 10 weeks I went to hospital eight times and was admitted four times. One trip was in an ambulance after collapsing at home following an estimated blood loss of 2.5 litres.

During one admission a midwife sat me down and explained that no baby could survive the blood loss I was experiencing and to prepare for the inevitable miscarriage. However scan after scan showed a healthy heartbeat and growing baby. I had three blood transfusions (six units in total) and an iron infusion and prepared for the worst. We didn’t buy any baby things and work on the nursery stopped.

By 24 weeks the bleeding stopped. I remained on light duties and as much bed rest as possible. Somehow by 34 weeks our baby was still there, still growing and very healthy. She was however in the breech position.

Due to being breech and the high risk of bleeding during labour it was decided that a caesarean delivery would be safest way for our miracle to enter the world.

The night before the caesarean my husband and I went out to dinner. I spent most of the night in tears, overwhelmed by the knowledge that tomorrow I would finally meet my little girl.

Now, ever since baby Hannah entered the world, I have to keep pinching myself to realise that it isn’t a dream, she is really here. I find myself just staring at her, wondering how she even made it.

Perhaps miracles really do happen.


Thanks to Bub Hub member DJ Nette for sharing her incredible story with us.
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