I met my husband Brian when I was 33 and we were married when I was 38 in 2011. After the wedding we started trying to have a family. After 6 months, nothing was happening and when it came close to a year, I went to Hollis Street as I was concerned. I was put on Clomid for a few months but still nothing happened and then they performed a HSG to check my tubes. I was advised that they thought they saw what might be a blockage but I was then told it was fine and IVF was recommended. We did not proceed with IVF but continued to try to conceive but nothing was happening.
A friend of mine recommended NeoFertility but I think I was so fed up with the whole process I wasn’t really ready to hear it or to put my energy into something new. Then about a year later I went to my school reunion and I spoke with a girl from my class about not being able to conceive. She advised me that some of the girls had success with NeoFertility and I felt it was a sign as this was the second time the clinic was mentioned. She gave me the clinic details and this time I spoke with my husband and we figured we had nothing to lose.
I remember the day we had our first appointment, I felt a mixture of emotions. there was a lot to take in but I remember how personal the whole experience was. The girl on reception was really nice and I remember feeling that Doctor Boyle really cared. I looked at the wall in the waiting room and I remember seeing all the pictures of happy babies and wondering if ours would ever appear on that wall. One thing I remember is that Doctor Boyle said to me that I would probably end up diagnosing myself and I asked him to explain this. He advised me that through the process I would get to know my cycle more and I would probably understand what was going wrong. He also advised me that the process could take a few months and I was relieved because he wasn’t ruling me out because of my age.
After a few months I had an appointment with Doctor Boyle and I told him that I thought I had endometriosis. He agreed and I understood now what he had meant in relation to getting to know my cycle. From the time I was very young I had suffered with extremely painful periods that lasted sometimes over 2 weeks and it had a huge impact on my life. But I was never referred for any tests and I had begun to accept the situation as being normal even though I knew deep down there was something wrong. I had also suffered severe migraines and I was bloated a lot of the time. It meant there was only about a week every month where I felt normal.
A couple of months later I woke up for work and had excruciating pain. I went into work but couldn’t even stand up straight and was sent home. I went to my GP and he gave me pain killers and sent me home. A couple of hours later I knew something was seriously wrong. My husband drove me to NeoFertility and one of the doctor’s performed a scan and said there was definitely something not right and I may have had a miscarriage but after performing a pregnancy test it was negative. I was referred to the Beacon A and E. After a scan it was confirmed that an ovarian cyst had burst causing all the pain. I had an MRI after this and was advised that my left tube was swollen — it was referred to as a hydrosalpinx.
Dr. Boyle had advised me that I would more than likely need to have a laparoscopy to determine what was going on and I had this in November 2013. It was supposed to be a short procedure but ended up being over 4 hours. I was in Hospital for almost a week afterwards. It was determined that I had stage 4 endometriosis and I would never have conceived as among other problems my ovary was fused to my bowel. I was referred for another HSG after the surgery which I had in May and I also conceived in May with the help of Neo. Sadly this ended in miscarriage but I was advised through blood tests by Neo there was a high possibility of this happening as my HCG levels were not multiplying as they should be. I was then referred for more surgery as my consultant in the Coombe Dr. Hugh O’Connor felt that my left tube may have leaked causing the miscarriage so this tube was partially removed in September 2014.
In November I attended a friend’s wedding and I realised the morning of the wedding that I was a couple of days late. I bought a pregnancy test and we couldn’t believe that it was positive. I began having blood tests done again. I had 2 early scans and the first one the baby had a healthy heartbeat; the second Dr. Boyle advised the heartbeat could be better, and also the HCG was not as high as it should be but not as low as before. When I had my third scan in the Coombe there was no heartbeat. We were devastated. I think the second miscarriage was actually tougher and I found out the baby had been a little girl, which made it seem even more real.
We continued to try to conceive and I tried to console myself with the fact that some people never get pregnant, but would I ever be able to sustain it? We attended a wedding in America in July and a couple of months later I was calling Neo to advise of my monthly blood results and I knew something was wrong in relation to the levels. It turned out I had 3 ovarian cysts: 1 was quite large, a medium, and a smaller one. I was so upset plus because they were quite near the bowel so there was an increased risk in removing them.
Treatment was on hold and I thought long and hard about having the surgery. I worried about the bowel issue. I decided to have the surgery as even if it didn’t result in pregnancy I was extremely uncomfortable and it was affecting my quality of life. I was supposed to have surgery a few months later and was given a date and the surgeon left the Beacon, so the Beacon contacted me to advise my surgery was cancelled. I was so frustrated as it had been extremely difficult coming to the decision to have the surgery in the first place. The surgeon who was available did not specialise in endometriosis and I was uncomfortable going ahead with it with my issues.
I contacted Doctor O’Connor in the Coombe who I was under for my previous 2 pregnancies and who operated on me after both miscarriages as I felt comfortable with him and he specialised in endometriosis and he agreed to perform the surgery. I had the surgery in August 2016 and I was advised that once again my bowel had fused to my ovary and had to be untangled. He had successfully removed the cysts but one was fused to my ovary and I was lucky not to lose it plus there were a lot of adhesions he had to remove and he had to remove the rest of my left tube. He also advised me that he had performed a dye test and the right tube was blocked and he was sorry but he did not think I would be able to conceive naturally and I should think about a donor egg and IVF as he knew how much we wanted a baby and at this stage I was 43. I remember asking if he thought I had any chance of conceiving naturally and he said maybe 5% as sometimes the tube can be blocked due to the trauma of the surgery. But he said he had inserted a balm which would help sustain the pregnancy if I were to become pregnant. We were devastated.
My niece and her boyfriend were heading to the Cotswolds a couple of months later and suggested we go with them. I just needed a break from everything. We had a lovely time and it was exactly what we needed. In February my period was late and I couldn’t believe it when the test was positive. I contacted Neo straight away and they made sure I was on the right medication to give the pregnancy the best chance possible.
I dreaded the HCG tests once again and every time I was due to get the results I was anxious but the levels seemed to be ok this time. I couldn’t believe it when Doctor Boyle advised me at 12 weeks he felt our chances of having a successful pregnancy were 90%. I loved being pregnant and I would go to my appointments at Neo and see girls in the waiting area attending their first appointment looking at me with hope the way I used to look at pregnant girls when we were trying to conceive. I felt incredibly lucky.
Dr. Boyle told me after a few months that soon he would not need to see me anymore and I would be in the care of the Coombe as I would not need to have any more blood tests and I felt I was losing my security blanket and he said it’s a good thing as everything is going really well. I remember being sad on our last appointment with Neo as it had been such a huge part of our journey. We had a healthy baby boy in September 2017 and I was 44. I couldn’t believe after nearly 7 years we were parents to the most amazing little boy who is an absolute miracle. He arrived almost 6 weeks early, delivered safely by Doctor O’Connor in the Coombe. We have no doubt that if we had never had that appointment with Neo we would not have our miracle baby.
I remember saying to Dr Boyle at one of our appointments that I had been reading the success stories and although some people had specific problems I had more issues than all of them and he said wouldn’t it be so inspiring then if your success story was printed. I really hope our story gives others hope. Neo is amazing and they really care about you and want you to have your baby at the end of it all and you really feel that from the first day you walk in. I’m so glad I listened and made that appointment. Everything changed for us from that day and we will be forever grateful.