Thank you to Karrie and Adam for sharing their inspirational story

Karrie Sutton and her partner Adam Towey, both 38, are looking forward to what 2020 holds, not least celebrating their baby boy Elijah’s second birthday.

Starting the new decade as a family of three is a dream they once thought would never happen after trying for a baby for almost seven years.

Karrie said: “Even though Eli is over 18 months old I still very frequently sit and wonder how we got here and whether it’s all real. On the day I was told that I was pregnant it was so unbelievable, I felt like I was in the middle of a dream. But both me and Adam were so, so happy and it’s a day I will never ever forget.”

“We were both 29 when our journey started. I came off the pill and part of me thought that I’d instantly become pregnant. But, after knowing my mum struggled to get pregnant, another part of me already knew it was going to be a long journey. When we realised things weren’t going to just happen we booked an appointment with the GP and started tests. We both received the all clear so were referred to Jessop Wing for further support and tests.”

“It quickly consumed a lot of my thoughts. As more time passed I found I wanted it to happen more and more and kept thinking ‘our time will come’. But it didn’t. Not really wanting to accept that we would need a lot more help we decided to take a break. We travelled to a lot of amazing places but it was just a distraction because more and more we wanted our own little family. I never lost the hope each month that it might just happen but it wasn’t meant to be.”

“Around two years after starting our journey my dad had a heart attack. Thankfully he survived but it made me realise that time was ticking. It was the jolt we needed to contact the GP and how we found ourselves at Jessop Fertility. I work at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals so always wanted to be treated and have my baby here as it was somewhere I trusted and was very familiar with. We met with one of the consultants who talked through everything and we agreed to start with IUI before moving on to IVF. Unfortunately after three rounds of IUI we still hadn’t managed to get pregnant.”

“With renewed hope we began the IVF process. Our first round of IVF started positively. I responded well to the drugs and produced lots of eggs. The process of injecting myself and the surgical procedure to extract the eggs wasn’t easy but by this time I didn’t care and would have done anything. Adam was very supportive but he found it hard too because he could see my discomfort. We successfully produced 10 fertilised eggs of which 5 were good enough to be implanted or frozen. This meant we had 3 attempts at implantation. But the first attempt didn’t work. I manically researched things that I could do to encourage success. I spent a fortune on vitamins and even started taking cough medicine because I’d read it could help. But we were devastated that our chances didn’t work. Everything was going so well but I just couldn’t get pregnant.

We had another NHS funded IVF attempt so I focused on trying to eliminate every possible problem before entering into this final process. We had a great meeting with our consultant, Dr Vidya Tamhankar, who was extremely supportive and understanding and arranged for me to have lots of further tests and an endometrial scratch to try to encourage egg implantation.It sounds crazy but I wished for them to find something so that it could be put right and we could get pregnant. But there was nothing wrong. By this stage I had resigned myself to the fact that it wouldn’t work. We successfully fertilised 4 eggs. I cried my eyes out when they phoned to tell us this because statistics say that only half would survive. I had a lengthy conversation with Davina, the Embryologist, who was absolutely amazing and raised my hopes again. Thankfully all 4 survived and two were put back in. I’d organised to take time off work during the big wait so that I could relax. After surviving nearly two weeks and seeing nothing from mother nature I started to allow a trickle of belief to seep through. After a whole weekend of pregnancy tests I frustratingly still didn’t have a definite answer….but still not a definite no either.

The evening before my blood test I did a final test and there was a definite line. You’d think by this point I’d be convinced that I was pregnant but I didn’t allow that to happen until Jessops phoned to confirm the results of the blood test. When they told me I was pregnant I couldn’t quite believe it. After all this time it had finally become our turn. This time the tears were happy ones and lots of them. It just all felt so unbelievable.

“When the time came, I had quite a difficult birth. I joke that we struggled getting Eli in there so it was only right that it was a struggle to get him out! We ended up in theatre prepped for a caesarean because he was so comfortable in there. Luckily he came out with forceps but I remember my first thought being relief because I’d convinced myself he would be in there forever! He was placed on my chest and I just didn’t want to let him go. But after waiting so long for that moment it all felt very surreal.”

“Eli is doing great now. He’s a very active little boy who loves animals and being outdoors. He has gorgeous blonde hair and blue eyes so I’m sure he’s going to be a heartbreaker when he’s older!”

Jessops were so supportive throughout all stages of treatment. Everyone listened, provided advice and were very understanding and ultimately are the reason we have our little family.. We had a lot of low moments before the big happy one and the nurses always had a shoulder to cry on and a tissue to help mop up the tears no matter how busy they were.”

“The Nursing staff were also absolutely amazing. They are the people carrying out a lot of the treatment and they really do care. They are on hand to help with anything and always have time. We became regular visitors to the department and the continuity of care was fantastic. When we attended appointments or came for scans everyone involved was familiar with our story so there was never a need to go over the details.”

“My advice to others is to never give up. I was very close but then our little miracle came along. We had what felt like a long journey to get pregnant that was filled with a lot of disappointment. I remember resenting people who became pregnant because I was so jealous but realise now that it’s a normal response and I shouldn’t have made myself feel bad about it.”

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