MY LITTLE IV- ELF
Mums spend first Christmas with their biggest gift
THEIR bright eyes and beaming faces tell us it’s a time for cheer.
But although these five new mothers are at last sharing the joys of Christmas with their babies, the festive period has not always been one for celebration.
Between them, they have endured nearly 30 years of heartache and loss in their struggle to become mothers.
Now, after rounds of IVF treatment, each of them finally has their Christmas wish – a happy and healthy little helper.
‘These women have all been through a lot to have their babies and it’s amazing they are going to be finally spending their first Christmas together as families,’ said Simon Fischel, who is medical director at fertility clinic CARE – where the new mothers each underwent treatment.
Jo Greenfield, 36, said it would be the first happy Christmas for her family after trying to have a baby for four years.
She and husband richard, 38, who live in Cumbria, tried everything to conceive – including fertility drugs and a traumatic investigation in which her uterus and cervix were damaged.
Mrs Greenfield eventually became pregnant after a second round of IVF and gave birth to son Finn in October.
‘When he was finally born it was the most amazing moment of our lives. I just couldn’t stop crying.
‘I had ruined the last three family Christmas celebrations because I couldn’t cope not being a mum.
‘ So it’s going to be a lovely Christmas finally for us all this year. Every time I look at him, I just think how incredibly lucky we have been,’ she said.
It was a similarly traumatic path to motherhood for Carla Kerr, 32, who had been trying to have a baby for 11 years.
She suffered two miscarriages before her daughter Grace finally arrived in June.
She and her husband carpenter Andrew, 38, from Bolton, took out a loan to pay for three rounds of IVF, costing £13,000.
Mrs Kerr said: ‘Every scan I went to I was terrified the doctors weren’t going to find a heartbeat.
‘When I was 39 weeks pregnant, there was suddenly no movement from Grace in my womb.
‘I was raced to hospital where docs did an emergency caesarean to get Grace out, and thankfully she was fine. When I look at her now, I can’t believe I’m a mum
‘We have been incredibly lucky’
at last.’ Stacey Blenkin, 31, a claims handler, tragically lost her premature baby daughter in 2016.
She and her husband Alistair, 27, had been trying to conceive for four years – and after a fourth round of IVF her son Sonny was born at 29 weeks in April this year, weighing just 2lb.
Mrs Blenkin, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, said: ‘We thought we were going to lose this baby too.
‘Doctors delivered Sonny weighing just 2lb, he has fought through to survive. He’s our little Christmas miracle.’ Louise Dudley, 35, from Derby, also lost a baby before finally having her son Jack. She and engineer husband Steven had been trying for four years and on their fourth and final try last year she became pregnant again.
The nurse, who gave birth in August, said: ‘We were desperate for a baby but nothing was working for us.
‘So we turned to fertility treatment and had three goes at artificial insemination but nothing worked. We had a course of IVF in July 2018 where I did fall pregnant, but then at an early scan it showed no heartbeat, which was devastating. I couldn’t believe it had taken so much to finally fall pregnant and then our baby had died.’
The couple had frozen one embryo from that cycle of treatment, and after trying again in 2018, they were thrilled to find it had worked.
‘At our first scan, I was really nervous in case there was no heartbeat again, but it was there, pumping away on the screen.
‘Eventually Jack was born safely. We call him Jack Frost because he came out from the freezer and he was our last hope!’ Emma McGeorge, 31, had been trying for eight years and, after a devastating ectopic pregnancy, she had been so desperate to become a mother that she experienced a ‘phantom pregnancy’.
The special educational needs administrator and accountant husband Sam, 31, from Derby, finally had baby Isla in March – after two rounds of IVF.
But the new mother almost died giving birth after losing around four pints of blood. She said: ‘Sam was told to say goodbye to me as they didn’t think I would make it.
‘Luckily I pulled through and Isla is the best Christmas present we could have asked for.’
Very merry: Louise Dudley and Jack, born after four rounds of IVF
Special delivery: Stacey Blenkin and baby Sonny
Miracle: Jo Greenfield and Finn Big day: Carla Kerr and Grace
Cuddles: Emma McGeorge and Isla