Maddy & Justin’s Story
Primary School teacher Maddy, 39, and her husband Justin, 39, welcome Penelope:
“Myself and Justin were born within hours of each other at the same hospital but didn’t meet until we were matched online years later. We hit it off straight away and after a couple of years moved in together and married a couple of years after that. By then we were in our early thirties, and as we both wanted children, we started trying for a baby straight away.
“We conceived after five months, but at our six-week scan we discovered the baby had stopped growing and our world came crashing down. It was such a hard time. We tried again for a baby but with no luck so our GP referred us to the local hospital for tests. These revealed that I had an under active thyroid, which could have impacted my fertility and so I was given medication. After six months and no joy, my fallopian tubes were checked to make sure there wasn’t a blockage. When they were fine, it was recommended that we undergo IVF at Oxford Fertility, with most of our appointments at its Cheltenham satellite clinic.
“It was a huge relief to be starting IVF, to be taking a positive step. At our first appointment, the consultant painted an honest picture for us. I had a low egg reserve and our chances of success weren’t great. Although the news may sound brutal, behind the hard facts was a real warmth. We knew she would do anything she could for us. So we started, hoping for the best, but knowing our chances were slim.
“Attending mainly the clinic in Cheltenham made a huge difference to us, minimising disruption to our lives. As a primary school teacher, I always want to be there for my children. Attending a clinic nearby meant that even at one point when I had to have my ovaries scanned every day, with an early appointment, I didn’t need to be out of the classroom for long. My head teacher was also amazing and helped me through the process. She always arranged for our cover teacher to be in class when I had an appointment. It really minimised the stress for me.
Everyone was so compassionate, patient and understanding. You could tell they are real experts in their field.
“When my eggs were retrieved, it was agonising waiting to hear how many had fertilised. We are so lucky to live where we do, as it meant that we could access two NHS IVF cycles, which really took the pressure off. We took comfort knowing that if it didn’t work first time we could at least try again before facing potentially years of debt.
“But we didn’t need to use our second cycle as it worked first time. We were overjoyed. After a few months, after the Christmas break, I shared my news with my children and the classroom erupted with cheers. It was so lovely.
“Penelope arrived safely during my water birth. It was perfect, despite COVID-19 Justin could join me as no one else was having a baby at that time, it was such a dream. I was so calm I didn’t even need gas and air (I know!). Although the first three months were a blur, she is full of the spirit of life, smiling and giggling.
“We are so glad we were able to attend Oxford Fertility and can’t thank them enough. Everyone was so compassionate, patient and understanding. You could tell they are real experts in their field. They treated you as an individual and we felt very safe.”