where real people share their remarkable experience
We recognised the remarkable journey some of our patients have gone through to achieve their personal goals, and would like to dedicate this special space for them to share their experience so that we can truly appreciate the courage, patience and wisdom they have demonstrated, and the pain and sacrifice they have endured. It is through this act of courage and persistence that gives us the motivation to continue our work to provide the best care we can possibly give and I hereby declare my highest salutations to these people, both men and women, who have showed us how they have made it possible to have a baby for whom they shall love dearly and care forever. I would also like to thank the contributors for sharing their intimate and personal feelings, and for so generously giving their thoughts and advice to helping others who may be feeling anxious about starting the journey or may perhaps be on the brink of giving up hope of having a baby. These writings are provided by the authors at their free will, without any third party’s interest or influence, but any form of writing constituting a testimony of our work shall be edited to maintain the objectivity of this corner, i.e. to solely give us the true perspective and reflection of their experience, thoughts and feelings. The name of the doctor involved is hence removed. We also encourage other people including those whom we have not cared for to contribute their experience too, so that this space can eventually be an invaluable source of information and inspiration for all. The names given here can either be real or a pseudonym, as per the contributors’ wish.
As a little girl, playing with my dolls, I remember the strong feelings and the vision that one day I would be a mother. I never expected the journey that was ahead of me.
My life took me through so many positive and negative experiences that led me to move to Queensland where I met my husband Michael. We were married 18 months later and decided to settle back in Adelaide to start a family. This was October 2004 and I was 34 years of age.
After a year of trying to conceive without success, I made an appointment to see my gynaecologist. It was December 2005 and as a result of this visit, I had a hysteroscopy, laparoscopy and dye studies -- procedures to look inside my uterus and pelvic cavity. This revealed multiple small (<2.0cm) fibroids and minor adherence of the right ovary to the broad ligament, a fold of peritoneal tissue that hangs down from the fallopian tube. This adherence was presumably secondary to the previous ovarian cyst removed on that side. Both fallopian tubes were patent and despite the previous surgery, on the right ovary, there was essentially unrestricted mechanical function of that tube and ovary.
There was no suggestion to remove the fibroids at this stage however, IVF was highly recommended due to my age. Michael and I were not keen on commencing IVF and decided to take the natural alternative approach. During the period of 2006 till 2009, we saw doctors, naturopaths, homeopaths etc. that specialised in alternative medicines. We then decided to make changes to incorporate a healthier lifestyle to achieve our dream of started a family.
After 3 years of frustration, again with no successful pregnancy and the thousands we had already spent, we decided to commence IVF in February 2010, by this stage I was 39. At the first consultation, our medical history was provided and I mentioned about the fibroids. The fertility doctor could also feel one of the fibroids and the recommendation was to commence IVF.
My first simulation cycle in July 2010, with four embryos collected, one embryo was transferred with an unsuccessful pregnancy. In September that year, a second attempt was made to transfer one embryo but unfortunately, my levels were not right for a frozen-thawed embryo transfer. My blood pressure was low and I nearly fainted whilst driving, which then caused panic attacks and severe anxiety. I was turning forty at the beginning of September and my father had a stroke only days before so I was feeling quite stressed.
In November 2010, we had a third attempt of a frozen-thawed embryo transfer. I was put on 50mg Clomid and my levels were right, so two embryos were transferred. That December, I found out I was pregnant at my 7-week ultrasound scan at the fertility clinic and I was then transferred to my own private obstetrician. I had another scan at 8.5 weeks, with another scan scheduled at 10.5 weeks which I attended without Michael as he just commenced a new employment.
I was so excited that day as I was going to see the next growth stage of our baby. I was just about to leave work to attend my scan appointment when my team leader gave me a beanie buddy called ‘Star, a friend to watch over me’. A white teddy bear with blue angel wings holding a gold star.
Star did watch over me through my scan but my baby had no heartbeat. I apparently had miscarried at 9 weeks with no bleeding prior, so it came as a complete shock to me. The next day, I was booked in for a curette. My results from the curette found an extra chromosome 18 (also known as Edward Syndrome) indicating that our baby would have severe intellectual disability if he were to be born. He was a boy as he had a Y chromosome. I also had an internal scan to check the growth of the fibroids, and by this stage, two were about 4cm and was considered a risk to operate.
Two weeks after my miscarriage, I was at work and felt pain in my left arm, shoulder and face. I felt my face was slowly dropping, and I thought I was having a stroke. It was Bell’s palsy. After a slow recovery from the Bell’s palsy and the roller coaster of emotions, I had been experiencing from the miscarriage, I found the strength to go back to the fertility clinic in June 2011. All the information was provided regarding my miscarriage and the results of the internal scan. I was again concerned about the fibroids, only to be told to go for another cycle as we had one embryo remaining. My levels were right and ready for the transfer only to receive a phone call from the fertility clinic that the last remaining embryo died during the thawing process. We were shattered. It was a hard decision in itself to find the strength and courage to go back.
You just have to pick yourself up and move forward and I did. In July 2011, I had my second simulated cycle, five embryos were collected and two transferred with another unsuccessful pregnancy. The remaining three embryos were transferred at a later date and were also unsuccessful.
By the time I had first met Dr M in February 2012, I was aged 41 and my husband 43. We had gone to another reputable fertility practice prior to meeting Dr M but with 5 failed IVF treatments and 1 miscarriage, we were emotionally and financially exhausted with the process. My Husband and I were in the “unexplained category”. Of course my age and the statistics were the main conversation as to maybe why we were not conceiving. Deep inside however, we knew that our age was not the barrier. With every failed attempt, my heart felt it was the multiple fibroids that were revealed from a procedure I had in 2005. The only solution offered back then was IVF as surgery was too much of a risk.
After our initial consultation and reviewing our medical history closely with Dr M, he made us feel that we still had a chance. He was the first doctor to sit down and explain that the fibroids were the issue and how we were going to achieve a healthy pregnancy. He gave us the medical answers we required without any discrimination about our ages.
The final solution was having surgery to remove the fibroids. I was book in for an MRI which assisted Dr M to determine where the fibroids were located. In April 2012, I was booked in for a myomectomy to remove the fibroids. The morning of the operation, I was calm and I even gave permission to Dr M, if the surgery went astray and that a hysterectomy was needed, I was at peace with his decision.
Dr M knew our goal and dream was to have a healthy baby, so I was not having a hysterectomy that day. After 9 hours of surgery, six fibroids with four being the size of a tennis ball were all removed laparoscopically. A repeat scan months later found that I still had 3 smaller fibroids, and after much consideration, we agreed that the best outcome was to remove them and so, in August 2012, I went back for more surgery.
Every single step of the way, my husband and I were informed about our choices and what to expect. Dr M was not the type of doctor that would see us for 5 seconds and leave the room. He answered all our questions, thoroughly examines all situations and spent the time we needed. So in October 2012, when I had just turn 42, we decided to give IVF another go. This cycle was only to collect the embryos and store them for future transfers as I was still healing from my operations.
We organise another follow up appointment with Dr M in December 2012 and we discussed about whether to do another cycle of IVF or proceed to a frozen-thawed embryo transfer. My husband and I were happy with the two embryos stored and asked about our option of trying to conceive naturally. Dr M was supportive of this option as there was no significant barrier to natural conception and that I had recovered from my operations. That night, I stopped taking the pill and we scheduled a follow-up appointment in the New Year.
It’s true what they say, when you relax and let go, it will happen. During that Christmas holiday, I felt that I had truly let go of the expectations of falling pregnant. A big weight was lifted from my shoulders and I also found out that four of my cousins were pregnant and I was so happy for them.
By New Year’s Eve, I had noticed that I was late with my period but I just put it down to my cycle not being regular due to coming off the pill. I mentioned it to Michael as we had our family and friends over for a New Year’s Eve celebration. I had one beer that night.
My husband was unable to attend the follow up appointment on 2 January 2013 with Dr M, so my mum came with me instead. At this stage, I still hadn’t mentioned to mum about missing my period. We were supposed to discuss the next fertility treatment options but after knowing my period had not come on time, Dr M proceeded to do a urine pregnancy test on the spot and to my wildest surprise, it showed up a positive result. It was a very emotional and happy moment in Dr M’s office that day with Dr M and his practice manager Mei who was also his spouse. I was so touched by how excited Mei was, they are like family and care so much about every one of their patients.
Of course, the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy was hard. The thoughts of my previous miscarriage haunted me. But having Dr M see me through my pregnancy was a bonus. He made me feel relaxed, confident and positive during my pregnancy, and he would always go above and beyond what I could ever have expected or imagined.
Two weeks before my 43rd birthday on 20th August 2013, our healthy baby boy was born. “Jayden John Hazard “at 7:07 pm, weighing 3.150g. There are no words to express how amazing holding our miracle baby for the first time was. We are truly grateful that Dr M was a part of our son’s first breath into this world, as he was there at the start of our fertility journey.
This experience has definitely made our relationship stronger. Yes we had some tough challenges and there were times we did question ourselves “are we happy just the two of us”. If we had listened to the fertility age statistics, we would have never gone down this journey to be parents. Age was not our fertility problem per se. In the end, what got us through was our dream, our patience and our determination to be parents, no matter what age and for Dr M who was supportive of helping us realise our dream to be parents.
Thank you all for your love, support, encouragement and for our million dollar baby.
Our journey to increase our family to three has a happy ending. In May of 2013 we met the love of our lives, Chase, our beautiful little man.
Getting to this point was difficult and challenging from both an emotional and physical standpoint. We began trying for a family in 2009 and after an unsuccessful year we sought out the assistance of a fertility specialist. Our unexplained infertility then took us on the long road of six rounds of IVF treatment, with our last round resulting in a successful pregnancy.
We had almost given up hope of starting our family naturally and had begun looking at alternatives. We were actually a year into the adoption process when we got the wonderful news that we were expecting a baby.
We were fortunate to have met Dr G at another clinic and he was our first thought and choice when selecting our obstetrician. From day one we felt comfortable and confident in his care.
During my pregnancy, I was worried daily that something would be wrong with my baby; I was worried given the difficulty we had experienced to get pregnant that something horrible would eventually happen. In retrospect, I am sure this is a normal thought for people who have faced similar challenges. I feel blessed each and every day to have Chase in our lives.
The care, service and understanding that Dr G and Ann provided us was second to none. Whilst he is clearly a busy and in demand doctor, we were made to feel like his only patients. Both Dr G and Ann made themselves available whenever we needed them, day and night. Our pregnancy was without complication with the exception of a hospital stay whilst on holiday in Fiji. Both Dr G and Ann supported us during this time by phone and email. This gave us confidence that out baby’s health and wellbeing was in great hands.
We encourage anyone that has concerns regarding their fertility to make some time to speak with Dr G. He will leave no stone unturned in helping you realise your dreams.
In terms of the support and care we received during our pregnancy, the birth itself and then after we returned home to our “new normal” we cannot speak highly enough. Strongly we feel Dr G and Ann have become a part of our extended family. They are a huge part of our happy ending and we cannot thank them enough.
My name is Kenzie and just recently my husband Adam and I had a son thanks to Dr B and his team, this is our story...
Adam and I have been together since high school and in 2011 we decided that it was time to start a family. Soon after going off the pill, I missed my first period, we were so ecstatic and thought I might be pregnant already, but month after month, the tests came back negative. Finally we decided to speak to our GP and I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovaries and referred to ABC IVF clinic for further tests. I had requested to be referred to Dr B after speaking with a midwife at the Pregnancy Expo prior to my final diagnosis. After our first meeting, both Adam and I walked away feeling very excited and pleased with our decision; Adam more so as Dr B was the first doctor we had had that spoke to us as a couple rather than just me as the patient. Dr B assured us that there were options for us and that he would be with us every step of the way. We under took many blood tests and procedures to establish what complications we faced and to rule out anything further than the original diagnosis. I was placed on medication to bring on my period as due to my Polycystic ovaries we were unable to establish ovulation. During this time we had discussed various methods of fertility treatment and Dr B talked about all available options, presenting us with the pros and cons for each and together we decided that prior to the path of IVF, we would try Clomiphene induction.
In May 2012 we found out that we were pregnant and had been lucky after only 1 round of Clomiphene induction cycle. At the 12 week scan, we saw our baby for the first time and were so grateful, and asked Dr B if he would be our obstetrician and deliver our baby for us. From this point, we had regular visits in which my husband and I met with Dr B and we were both very comfortable in asking him all sorts of questions being first time parents.
On 2nd Jan 2013, Dr B delivered our son Nate via C section (because baby Nate was breech) and it was the best day of our lives. Dr B made me feel very comfortable going into my c section and explained what was happening throughout the procedure putting my mind at ease, having never under gone any type of surgery before. I can honestly say that this experience as special as it was, was made all the more special due to the support and assistance of Dr B and his practice manager Ann. We felt that all our questions were answered and all concerns addressed, and felt that we received the best care and assistance available during a difficult and magical time of our lives. This truly was a pleasant experience and we are forever grateful.
In 2008, at 19 years old, I was diagnosed with uterine didelphys by my gynaecologist which in simple terms, means I have a double uterus and a double cervix etc. My gynaecologist at the time told me that I would have no problems getting pregnant but I would need a C-section. Two consecutive miscarriages in 2011 and 2012 led me to look for a high risk specialist, and my GP referred Dr. P to me. I made my first appointment in November 2012 after my second pregnancy loss earlier that month. We decided that we would see what happened if I fell pregnant next time and I did soon after as I found out I was pregnant in January 2013 but to our devastation, we lost that pregnancy too. After I had my ultrasound scan and later on D&C, Dr. P discovered that I did not have uterine didelphys. What I actually had was a full septated uterus extending into my cervix which cut my reproductive system in half and led me to have two uterine cavities and two cervices etc. Dr. P suggested that we do a surgical procedure called a uterine metroplasty, where he would attempt to remove the septum dividing the uterus and then place a balloon catheter inside the uterus for 7 days to prevent bad uterine scarring. The surgery was a success.
16 months later, I fell pregnant and I was terrified because I thought I would miscarry again. I rang and booked an appointment with Dr. P to get all the tests done to make sure everything was on track. I had a massive bleed at 5 weeks 4 days and I remember just sitting on my bed crying my eyes out begging for God not to take this baby from me. The bleeding stopped 10 minutes later which gave me some glimpse of hope. I booked an ultrasound and they told me that there was a sac and everything was okay at this stage. I waited 2 weeks and booked another ultrasound and saw the most amazing thing - our baby’s heartbeat. I was over the moon. I had such bad morning sickness, I was throwing up all day, everyday and nothing they gave me would work but I figured out that it was a good sign my baby was growing and everything was going according to plan.
Besides the horrific morning sickness, everything was going so well and at 14 weeks, we decided it was time to tell the world we were having a baby on Valentine’s day in 2015. At my 19th week of pregnancy, I was home alone and was going to bed when I started to bleed and I was in such a state that my partner could not understand a word I was saying on the phone. I had my sister-in-law rushed me to Flinders emergency department. They said the baby was fine and to come back the next day for an ultrasound. We went in for the ultrasound and was told that baby was perfect and that they could not find any evidence of a bleed. They advised me to have a follow up following my 20-week ultrasound. I had my 20-week ultrasound where they found funnelling of my cervix which was not a good sign. I placed myself on bed rest and a week later, when Dr. P did an ultrasound and found the funnelling was gone but my cervix was getting shorter which was not a good sign either.
Dr. P said we would monitor my cervical length each fortnight and see how we went until we could decide the time to place a stitch around the cervix (also known as cervical cerclage) as we did not want to risk getting a pre-term labour at this stage. I had a scan at Dr. P’s rooms on the Monday the 13th of October 2014 and the cervical length looked okay but during the week, I wasn’t feeling all that great, so decided to book another ultrasound on the 18th of October to make sure everything was okay. I went for my ultrasound and my cervical length went from 2.5 to 1.9cm within a few days. I rang Dr. P and he told me to pack my bag and head to Flinders Private Hospital for an urgent review. I was terrified and was pacing up and down my passage as my back was killing me and I was having cramps. I had no idea what the future was going to hold for our baby. I rang my manager and told him I wouldn’t be at work for 2 weeks….little did I know, I would not be going back to work at that stage. I was admitted to Flinders Private and a cervical cerclage was placed 2 days later on the 20th of October. I was told my cervix was very soft but Dr P managed to perform the cerclage and everything went well. However, 8 hours later at 3am that night, I felt a huge gush of water which woke me up. I remembered thinking to myself please be blood, please be blood. I went to the bathroom and it was clear fluid. I walked back to my bed and pressed the nurses’ bell and told the midwife that my waters had broken. She went and tested my pad and it was positive for amniotic fluid. At that stage, I was trying to be calm but when my room was flooded with midwives and machines, I broke down and cried and started begging them to not let my baby be born because it was too early as I was only 23 weeks then. As I was not having contractions and baby was happy on the heart tracing, I was told to wait till 7:30am. I just watched the clock on the TV, waiting for it to hit 7:30am. Once it hit that time, I had Dr. P come into my room and it was confirmed for a second time that it was indeed amniotic fluid. Dr. P brought in an ultrasound machine from the ward and quickly did a scan to see how much fluid my baby had around it and to our surprise, there was enough fluid around my baby.
A midwife brought in all my medications I was to take and the steroid injections to mature my baby's lungs as everyone expected the baby to be born within a week. 3 days later, the leaking stopped and an ultrasound showed the fluid accumulating again and baby looked happy which was such good news. Dr P organised a baby specialist to brief me on nursery care in anticipation that my baby might be born very premature. Our goal was to make it to 24 weeks which we did… then 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 weeks went by and still no sign of labour! I ended up making the hospital room my own with my quilt, pictures etc. as I was going to be in there for a long time which was so hard for me and my partner but it was for our baby.
I asked to go home at 29 weeks but I was in and out of hospital as I was having pains etc. At 35 weeks, I started to bleed which could indicate that my stitch might be tearing due to the pressure from the baby’s head. I had the stitch taken out in theatre under sedation…I could feel everything in theatre and before I even made it to my room, I started contracting and I was stuck on monitors for hours. Soon after, the contractions subsided and I was allowed to go home the next night as my mother had come down from WA to be with me for the birth. I went home and started to try to get everything ready as I could but it was hard as the cot etc. had not arrived like it was meant to. I started to feel so much pains when I left but I just figured it was okay and I went on my merry way. That weekend, I started to get horrible shoulder pain and my legs started to swell and I felt pressure down below. I checked myself and could feel the cervix dilating. I could also feel pressure from my baby’s head. I called Dr. P and he advised me to go to the hospital immediately for a checkup. On examination, he could see the baby’s head and the only thing holding my baby in at this stage was the septum going across my cervix which was intentionally not removed in my previous surgery. It was decided that we would deliver the baby the next day or two via C-section. I waited what felt like forever for the call to say that they had a team ready and that we would be having a baby as the pains I felt were just getting worse by the hour. On the 19th of January, I was advised late that afternoon that we would be going down to theatre at 6:30pm for delivery. It felt so unreal. My partner just made it and got dressed in his scrubs and we went down to theatre.
I know the thought of having a C-section is terrifying for any woman but my experience was nothing but beautiful. The team was lovely and if I could re-live that moment, I would do it over and over again. We had a few complications with my placenta as we discovered I had an extra piece of placenta which was abnormally stuck to the uterine muscle. I had placenta accreta . Dr P was calm and explained everything to me and what the plan would be etc. Kaitlyn Robin was born at 7:13pm on the the 19th of January 2015, weighing 2.5kgs (5lbs 9oz), 45cm long and just perfect. Kaitlyn didn’t need oxygen and we got to have our skin-to-skin contact like I wanted, but shortly thereafter, she had to be admitted to the special care nursery as she was still a bit premature etc.
Kaitlyn had to remain in special care nursery for 10 days instead of staying there till her due date which we were very happy about. I improved so quickly from my C-section however the pain I felt from the retained placenta is unlike anything I had ever felt before. I felt like I was in labour 24/7 until Kaitlyn was about 10 weeks old - pain pills were my best friend but having to look after a tiny newborn and being in so much pain for so long really took its toll. I fell exhausted and saw Dr P 9 days after having Kaitlyn because I felt so unwell and I was in so much pain but due to the risk of bleeding heavily, we decided it was safer to wait for the placental remains to come out spontaneously rather than have surgery, and see how everything panned out. Several weeks later, I finally had the small piece of placenta removed in theatre using a specialised hysteroscope at the end of April, immediately after which I felt great. Later on, I also had a transabdominal/laparoscopic cervical cerclage placed at my request mainly for my next baby to be as my cervix isn’t strong at all and I have cervical shortening very early on during my pregnancy and I honestly don’t want to go through what I went through unless I’m much further along in my pregnancy stage as I know my baby would be less premature and I know what to expect.
Dr P not only saved Kaitlyns’s life in the nick of time, he has become a friend and will always have a special place in my heart.
Click here for my YouTube video: Our Miracle in the making.
Looking back, I was always imagining and hoping I'd get pregnant and then have a good excuse to drop out of uni! Unfortunately, the pregnancy never happened and I ended up feeling stressed and overwhelmed, working long hours
and still unable to get pregnant.
We had tried at least 6 cycles of clomid with another obstetrician before we were referred to Dr H. By this point we had lost some hope. My husband pleaded with me to stop working and relax. He didn't want to see me stressed and he knew it must have been affecting my health and fertility.
At our first appointment with Dr H, we were impressed. He clearly explained our options and was efficient in doing a thorough work up and getting things happening- finally we felt like we were progressing and might actually get somewhere.
After one cycle of clomid (and additional hormone injections) I felt like I might be pregnant. The day we saw those two lines on the pee stick we were so happy we were dancing around the house! We were even more excited to find out we were having twin boys!
The pregnancy had gone smoothly up until 28 weeks when I started getting really huge. On my 30th birthday i woke up in a pool of pink fluid and I realized the waters had broke. Initially we weren't too worried. We called Dr H and I went to hospital where I rested for a few days.
Then one night in hospital i had a lot more fluid leak out and some contractions that weren't responding to medication to dull them down. I thought I might be going into labor but it seemed to settle. Dr H organized for me to be prepared for a c section just in case.
Then suddenly I started having intense pain in a band around my abdomen and back. Every time one of the twins kicked I would have fluid leak out and a shot of additional pain. It just kept getting worse until I couldn't stop crying. My abdomen stopped contracting and went tense all over. At first I think staff might have thought I was just being emotional. They suggested I was tense from anxiety. I kept calling out and pressing the emergency button by my bedside so they knew I was still in pain.
My husband urged staff to update Dr H and after they called him he came straight away. He immediately did a bedside ultrasound, identified a placental abruption and we went straight to theatre for an emergency section. As soon as I had the spinal anaesthetic I was so relieved but frightened at the same time, the situation was overwhelming.
It was only later on when it hit me, I felt all alone without the twins inside me and I pictured them struggling to breathe inside their little boxes at the ICU. I knew we were going to have to stay positive and be strong to get through the next few months. I was discharged on day 3 and and whilst it was heartbreaking to walk through an empty nursery, I was so relieved to be at home.
Having this kind of experience brings up mixed emotions. Part of me was joyful about being a mother and even just the smell of my boys was bliss to me. But it was hard not to feel some guilt or responsibility for creating two little suffering babies. As the weeks went on there were good and bad days spent watching monitors and waiting for the times we could hold them.
The most difficult time was when they contracted parainfluenza -- we weren't allowed to touch them without wearing a gown, gloves and mask. It must have been awful for them only being touched by rubbery hands.
But we remained grateful, kept up our positive attitude and the boys began to thrive.
After 80 long days in hospital the boys finally came home, and it was like they knew it was their home. They lay in their cots and slept soundly. Since then they were much calmer and so were we!
Now I can't stop smiling as I look at them. They are next to me sleeping on the couch in their cute fluffy pyjamas. We have never been so proud of anything! Days now are spent chilling at home with them, playing with them, walking them by the beach and through parks, it is a really fantastic time.
These little guys have had such a difficult start to life yet they are such happy babies! I want to spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to keep those cute smiles on their faces!
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