Andi & Paul's Story
We met the LWC Darlington team in 2010 after two unsuccessful IVF cycles via an NHS trust. We were in our late thirties so knew time wasn’t on our side. Time after time we made it to five-day blastocyst transfer but when it came to the pregnancy test, that vertical blue line was absent and disappointment kept overwhelming us. Was it just not meant to be?
In February 2012 we were delighted to be expecting a baby. However, things just didn’t seem right. At 8 weeks, an ultrasound identified an embryo with an intermittent heartbeat. Hope returned. Sadly a week later another scan revealed that the heartbeat was absent. Our baby had miscarried.
In May 2013 we had new hope. Pregnant again. Surely this time fate would smile kindly upon us. But only two days later, Andi was experiencing excruciating pain and was rushed to intensive care to discover that she had an abdominal abscess. She had to undergo life-saving surgery and we were told the chances of our 5 week old embryo surviving were negligible.
As Andi recovered, we discovered that miraculously our baby had survived. We knew we had a long way to go but we had renewed hope. At 27 weeks gestation, Andi went into premature labour and baby Patrick (Paddy) was born on 30 October 2013. Sadly, our little man’s growth had been affected by the early pregnancy complications and he lived for less than an hour.
Devastated, we wondered how we could possibly continue to expose ourselves to more heartache. Specialists confirmed that the physical trauma Andi had experienced could mean another pregnancy could risk her life. We kept hoping a solution would present itself - our glasses are always half-full. We still had three good quality five-day blastocysts in frozen storage. Then out of the blue a dear friend told us she would be delighted to carry a baby for us.
It took several months to take on board the legal, practical and emotional implications of surrogacy and in January 2017 we travelled to LWC Harley Street for transfer. Two weeks later we took the test together and were overjoyed to discover a very strong vertical blue line.
Two weeks passed whilst we waited anxiously for the first scan. The day arrived and to our amazement there were two strong healthy babies with pounding heartbeats. Our little embryo had split – Identical twins!!!!
“We’ve been on an amazing journey but this isn’t the end, we are excited for many happy times ahead"
After apologising profusely to our friend for the unexpected revelation we celebrated wildly. After the twelve week scan came back all clear we took secret joy in witnessing the shock and joy on the faces of family and friends when we delivered our triple whammy –
“Firstly, our friend has offered to be a surrogate for us”
''Secondly, she is pregnant”
“Thirdly, its identical twins”
To find out the babies were girls was also special, it meant Paddy’s position as our one special boy remained distinct.
On 4 September 2017 our beautiful babies, Penelope Beatrice and Gabrielle Eleanor, were born healthy and hearty at 36 weeks. And since then they have rocked our world in the best way possible.
We’ve been on an amazing journey but this isn’t the end. We are excited for many happy times ahead with our girls, always remembering and celebrating their big brother at each milestone in life. And we still have two embryos in storage so call us greedy but….……who knows?
We can’t recommend that everyone keeps going the way we have. Sometimes people choose different paths and can’t commit the financial and emotional resources. All we can say to anyone who feels like their dream of a family will never come true is that when you are at your lowest ebb, hold on to that belief that one day all your faith could well lead to the happiest outcome. It did for us.
None of this would have been possible without the care, support and ongoing encouragement of Dr Ashour and the amazing team at LWC Darlington.