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Cassidy's Story
Posted Dec 21, 2005

Hi, I'm Cassidy and I'm 39, although I feel 109 sometimes!! My story sort of has a happy ending but it may give hope to some of you out there, going through IVF at the moment.

I had an ovarian cyst removed at age 17 and was told that it would probably not affect fertility. But at 17 I wasn't even thinking about babies so didn't think it was much to worry about. I had always suffered with bad painful periods (I was sent home from school and then work nearly every month) and thought that I would only have periods every other month!! That was not the case and I suffered every month up until 2001 when I was diagnosed as having adenomyosis (a form of endermetriosis (endometriosis)). After I married my husband in 1988 we didn't try for a family straight away and I wish now we did. We left if for a few years and then after trying for quite a few more, realised that we had fertility problems. Our specialist put me on Clomid and when that didn't work, suggested IVF.

I only had one ovary as the other one and tube had been removed earlier, and I was devastated when I only had four eggs taken during the cycle. We were even told to abandon the cycle and try again with my ovaries being stimulated better next time. We wouldn't give up and continued with the cycle against medical advice. When I became pregnant I was elated but then disaster at 8 weeks when I began to bleed. Bed rest followed and then a scan revealed I was still pregnant - but with only one baby. One baby! I was elated (two would have been a bonus but I could cope with one).

The pregnancy proceeded but a high AFP reading at 20 weeks caused more problems. The scans didn't show up anything so I enjoyed the rest of the pregnancy until at 38 weeks I was so huge that I began to think I was still carrying twins!! Sadly a scan revealed that the baby had spina bifida but it was too late to do anything about it now! This baby was coming in a week or two. So we just shut ourselves away and got out heads around having a baby with a disability. Within 5 days she was here! We think that the stress of finding out brought labour on - and she was born in less than 3 hours from start to finish ( I was only at the hospital 55 minutes before she came into the world kicking and screaming). Kathryn had good leg movement and was wisked away to have surgery to close the opening in her back. We were told that the IVF had nothing to do with her disability but having seen research on the subject I'll reserve judgement. The specialist said that she would probably walk but would have bowel and bladder incontinence. They were absolutely right. She walked, albeit slightly later than most, and she does have bowel and bladder incontinence needing two major operations within the last two years. She attends mainstream school and is nearly top in her class for most subjects. We are so proud of her.

When Kathryn was two we decided to have another attempt at IVF. Unfortunately that one failed, despite being given increased hormones. Another attempt (our third) also failed and by that time we were sick of pouring money down the drain and decided to adopt. It took nearly four years to be given Rebecca, who was four months old when she came to live with us. Unfortunately she too, has special needs. She has congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) which means her adrenal glands do not work properly and she needs regular medication to keep her well. Social Services had unfortunately labelled us "special needs" experts because of Kathryn's needs but I wouldn't swap both girls for anything.

Yes, IVF was hard but worth it. Yes, I do sometimes wish Kathryn was perfect, but then she wouldn't be Kathryn if she was, would she? and Yes, I would do it all again.

My message to any of you considering IVF or going through it at the moment - don't give up. We carried on with the treatment despite being told to abandon it by the medics and we ended up with a baby, whereas the other two more closely monitored cycles, failed. If we had abandoned the first attempt, we would never have had our beaufitul daughter. Even if you start off with such a small amount of eggs, don't just assume it won't work - miracles do happen.

 

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