Leona, 37 and happily married, endured two ectopic pregnancies, with both tubes removed. Now, following two IVF disappointments, she and her husband have twins to complete their family.
Growing up, I always thought I would have children. But, rightly or wrongly, I wanted to live a little first. To see the finer places in life, enjoy exotic holidays. My husband and I had always agreed we would have children when it was right for both of us and it wasn’t just a spur of the moment decision. So in September 2009, three years after getting married, we both decided the time was right. The idea of “trying” didn’t sit well with me; I was always of the opinion that we went with the flow and, if it happened, then brilliant.
It didn’t take long. Early the next year, while attending a routine smear test, I was told I was pregnant. But within two weeks I was being rushed into emergency surgery with an ectopic pregnancy. I was nine weeks pregnant and had to have one of my fallopian tubes removed. At the time I was told by a specialist that it would take around 18 months to get pregnant with one tube, so you can imagine my surprise when a few months later I was pregnant again. But once again it was a second ectopic - and history repeated itself when I lost my remaining fallopian tube. I was five weeks and six days pregnant.
I was 33 years old and now considered infertile. The thought that I could no longer have children really hurt. I might have looked like a woman but I didn’t feel like a woman; I could never have children naturally.
My husband and I weren’t eligible for IVF in the area where we lived, even though I didn’t have any other children. So we decided to look at private clinics, and, following an open day visit to the London Women’s Clinic at Darlington, we both decided that this was where we would put our hopes.
If I’m honest I don’t remember all the details of when my treatment started and finished. We did try starting the egg sharing programme but were not suitable because of my poor ovarian reserve. Apparently, whilst I was still only 33, I had egg reserve of a lady in her 40s. However, this didn’t stop us and, to cut a long story short, we had three rounds of IVF treatments. The first two attempts were both failures, with just one egg per cycle and no implantation.
We had already decided that we would only try three cycles of IVF, so, after reviews of my medication with Dr Ashour, we decided to increase the medication. This proved the solution we were waiting for: seven eggs… of which six were fertilised, and two transferred as blastocysts in June.
Waiting to do the pregnancy test was possibly the most nerve wracking few days of my life. I started to bleed a day before my period was due, and I thought that was it. But it wasn’t and we got our little blue line.
The first three months of my pregnancy was a mixture of emotions. I wanted to enjoy being pregnant as I knew it would be the only time ever, but I was always on tenterhooks. The last six months went brilliantly, and I loved being pregnant. Our beautiful twin babies were born naturally in February 2013, and we felt like the luckiest people on the planet. We had a little boy and little girl.
“ I honestly believe that, had we not chosen Darlington, I would still not be a mammy today”
Looking back on my experience of the whole treatment at Darlington, I honestly believe that, had we not chosen Darlington, I would still not be a mammy today. We wouldn’t have our family and we wouldn’t be the happiest we have ever been.
We never felt at any time that we were patients, but more like friends with the staff. They explained everything so well, and were always professional and caring.