May 31, 2016

A perfect new addition for delighted Guernsey couple

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For the Downes family from Guernsey, baby Hollie was a long awaited dream. Emma and Jon told us about their fertility journey and their attempt to become a family of 4.

Emma already had a daughter, D, who was 4 when the couple decided that they would like to expand their family, in the Summer of 2013, by having a child together. Emma had suffered with endometriosis for over 15 years so she was aware that getting pregnant may not be easy. “I was well known to the endometriosis specialist in Southampton,” explains Emma, “so I arranged to see him to ensure that my reproductive areas were as healthy and clear as possible to enhance our chances of conceiving. I had a laparoscopic ablation of endometriosis in November 2014 but we never expected to return for our post operative check up to be told that we should see a fertility consultant. Those words were ones that we will never forget, and whilst we were sat in the clinic the consultant contacted Dr Sue Ingamells at Wessex Fertility to arrange an appointment.” The couple were booked to see Dr Sue Ingamells in March 2014, a week after their wedding. “From that moment we felt individual and very well supported by both our endometriosis specialist; Mr Moors, and Wessex Fertility” remembers Emma. “It was a shock coming away from the appointment thinking that we could have years of treatment whilst trying for a baby but we had nothing to loose by attending the Initial Consultation.”

The day in February 2015 when we attended our 12 week scan was one that at times we thought we may never see, but to this day I am convinced that our visit to the ice cream parlour for an extremely chocolatey pudding was a contributing factor to getting pregnant!Emma

Emma explains, “after our Initial Consultation we left knowing IVF with ICSI was our best chance of having the much wanted baby we dreamed of to complete our family.” The couple decided to wait until October 2014 to start their first cycle of IVF, after their honeymoon and D starting a new school year. Emma settled in to a routine of taking medication at the same time every day. “I spent nearly two hours one day scouring the supermarket for foods recommended in the IVF information pack; I had a trolley filled with red fruits; vegetables and brazil nuts!” remembers Emma. “Out went the caffiene and alcohol and in came lots of water! I remember the day that I started injecting myself with the suppressant medication and then adding in the stimulant injection, it was something that I never thought I would be able to do, but I did! It was a stressful few weeks with appointments, tests and scans in Southampton but with a very supportive husband, family, friends and employer we made it to trigger day.”

“On Monday morning we arrived at the clinic for egg collection fully reassured and supported by the staff at Wessex. Flying back home that afternoon was surreal, it felt strange to think that we had just spent the last five hours ‘making’ what we hoped would be our dream.” Two days later the couple were told that they had 2 good quality embryos, after discussions with Dr Chantal Simonis and Tony Price, Wessex Fertility’s Embryology Manager, Emma and Jon decided to have both embryos cultured on to Day 5 to see which of them were good enough to transfer. “We are a very optimistic and open couple and we left the clinic that morning with the full support of Dr Chantal and Tony to extend to a day 5 transfer so we could see which embryo would develop the best. So flying back home again we knew the decision we had made was the best one and that on Saturday we would have our strongest embryo transferred. It was an extremely long and emotional 2 days but we kept busy with D making sure that she wasn’t affected by the treatment and on Friday evening we flew back to Southampton.” The couple were contacted on Saturday morning to inform them that both embryos had developed to good quality Day 5 embryos, so the decision was made to have both embryos transferred.

“The rest of the day we spent relaxing in our hotel room before going for dinner followed by a white chocolate sundae in an ice cream parlour,” remembers Emma. “The next 11 days were long and emotional not knowing what was going on inside my body but on the Wednesday in December 2014 when we tested we received the best news yet, our test was a very strong positive! Waiting to phone the clinic at 9am that day felt like an eternity; the support didn’t stop there and during the first 12 weeks we had a few scares and a quick call to the clinic ensured that we were looked after appropriately in Guernsey. The whole process for us as a couple ran as smoothly as possible, living across a stretch of water always posses potential issues of bad weather affecting a flight or medication not being able to arrive on the island. We were very well supported by Gillian who coordinates Guernsey patients and she was at the end of an email or the telephone whenever we had a question. Towards the end of the cycle I’m sure the girls on the reception desk knew my voice as always greeted me by name! We couldn’t have asked for a more informative, supportive and caring clinic to have undergone treatment with. There was never a time that we felt like we were two individuals or a number we were always a couple going through the cycle together.”

“The day in February 2015 when we attended our 12 week scan was one that at times we thought we may never see, but to this day I am convinced that our visit to the ice cream parlour for an extremely chocolatey pudding was a contributing factor to getting pregnant!”

On 7th August 2015 Emma and Jon welcomed their very precious daughter Hollie Isla Rose Downes to the world weighing 6lb 12oz by elective caesarean section. Hollie is the perfect addition to their wonderful family. “Fertility treatment is definitely not a walk in the park,” explains Emma, “but as a couple we found that our way to deal with the strong emotions, low moments and highly stressful times was to talk about it. We were open about our need for treatment with friends, family and colleagues so that people were always aware why we were popping off, always checking in at the airport or just having a bad day. We also found the support in each other and a local fertility support group. The only person we didn’t tell was D as we did not want the treatment or emotions to affect her or her schooling. It was all worthwhile as now we have our beautiful baby Hollie and have seen what an amazing big sister D is.”