IN FOR THE LONG HAUL

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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.”

KEEP­ING FAITH

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.

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