IN FOR THE LONG HAUL
Kylie Allison-Miller, 42, was never the maternal type but when she and her husband Glenn, decided they were ready to try to have children, and struggled, she realised just how much she wanted a baby. “I had never changed a nappy and was very reluctant to hold other people’s babies.” In her late 30s she realised time was running out and her feelings changed. The couple tried for two years to conceive naturally, without success.
“We spoke to Fertility Associates and pretty much decided then and there we didn’t want to wait another 18 months on the public list so would do our own privately funded IVF.”
The cost was $12,000 plus extras, but Kylie wanted to get started. This turned out to be a good decision as the ride to getting their gorgeous bundle of joy wasn’t easy.
AT THE START
The first harvest of eggs was successful and four embryos were fertilised; two embryos ‘took’ and two didn’t. But the couple’s hopes were dashed at the eight week scan when there was no heartbeat. They were both devastated but determined to try again.
At that time Kylie’s name came up on the public funded list, so they were able to get the next round without incurring cost. They did however opt to pay for new technology – PGS (Pre-implantation Genetic Screening) to get an indication of the viability of the embryos. The results came back with one known ‘good’ embryo and one unknown. “They plugged in the good one and that didn’t take at all so we had a two-week wait followed by a negative test. That was heart-breaking because in our heads we thought it was a known good one and this could be it.”
They decided to try with the unknown embryo; it stuck but the eight week scan showed this pregnancy had miscarried too. Despite being totally distraught, they tried a third round of IVF. Again, they used PGS, which reduced the six fertilised embryos down to two – one ‘good’ and another unknown. The ‘good’ embryo was used and after two positive pregnancy tests they were hopeful. “At seven weeks, we went for a scan and the doctor said ‘This is it!’” The couple saw a heartbeat for the first time. “It was amazing but I still didn’t want to get attached after all we’d been through.”
That long-awaited heartbeat became the adorable Annabella. Understandably the couple are thrilled after a hellish five-year ride, made worse by living in a social media era. “I’d see other people plastering photos of their kids everywhere and complaining on Facebook about sick kids and pregnancy and sometimes I thought ‘they don’t know what they’ve got.’”
“It’s hard when you’ve lived a life so much in control of everything. In control of the time you do this and the time when you do that. Then you decide okay, we’re going to have a baby and realise you have no control over what your body does at all. I also felt like people might think I’m a failure because we couldn’t do it unsupported.” But it was all worth it.
“We just decided we would keep going and not give up. It was worth every cent and every bit of heartbreak. For me, if the baby’s crying I don’t care. If I’m sleep-deprived I don’t care; we’re just so glad to have her here with us after trying for so long.”
After five years of fertility treatment, Annabella was a long-awaited treasure.