Debora’s story started in 2009 when she got married. At 26, she had always wanted to be a young mother of two, but time went by and nothing was happening. After six months, she decided to check with her GP, who did a few tests with her and her husband but nothing appeared to be wrong.
In the meantime, due to the recession, the couple had to travel abroad to find work. In 2013, they returned to Ireland to start their lives here again. Debora was referred to the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street. It was then that the couple met Dr. Fiona Martyn for the first time and she started to investigate their case.
From the beginning of 2013 until the end of 2015, the couple did many tests to try to find a reason why the pregnancy wasn’t happening. Her husband stopped smoking during this time. By the end of 2015, Dr. Martyn said she couldn’t find any major reason for the couple not conceiving as all the results were normal. At that point, Dr. Martyn advised IVF treatment.
First this came as a shock to the couple. They experienced a feeling of failure and a worry about whether they would have the money to pay for the treatment. Debora also worried that the process would be scary and overwhelming. She believes that it doesn’t need to be if people are willing to talk more openly and fearlessly about fertility treatment.
Dr. Martyn advised that she worked for both Merrion Fertility Clinic (MFC) and the National Maternity Hospital, so if the couple opted for IVF with MFC then she would be available to help them in both locations.
Debora chose to have IVF with MFC as she wanted to continue working with Dr. Martyn. She also had the opportunity to apply for funding with Merrion Fertility Foundation, a sister charity of the clinic, which provides funding for patients who meet certain clinical and financial criteria. Unfortunately, the couple weren’t successful in their application but luckily they had the exact amount of money they needed for one round of IVF.
“Choosing MFC was THE BEST DECISION EVER!!! From day one we felt embraced and secure and treated as a couple and not a number. Everything was always explained and all our questions were answered. As a biologist, I had lots of questions. The important tip they gave was: “Take one bit of good news at a time”, and we did that.
The first few ultrasounds showed some cysts and we couldn’t go ahead (please, always be hopeful!). That was scary until Dr. Martyn sorted it and finally we got our first good news: “No cyst! Let’s start with the injections.” From the first injection until embryo transplant, it was only 15 days. (This was our case and now we know how many ups and downs there can be on the IVF rollercoaster).
Out of 14 eggs, we had 3 and 2 were good for transplant. Pretty tense but remember, “One good bit of news at a time”. We decided to freeze one, just in case.
But miracles do happen and I got pregnant. Everything went well from day 1. Our daughter was born healthy and the exact date MFC predicted. How good are they! Amazing!!!
Then we used to spend nights watching her sleep and we couldn’t believe that miracle. Now she’s just passed her terrible twos and even now during her ‘threenage’ time, when I get too tired, I go back to the journal I wrote from day 1 and I remember that back there I wished so much to have her with us.”
When Debora’s daughter was 8 months old, the couple decided to go ahead with a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) and Debora was successful in getting pregnant. She experienced a bleed in the early stages of pregnancy, which was a very scary moment for her, but she went on to give birth to a second, healthy daughter.
“I still love to connect with MFC now and again and send photos of my daughters and read about their news and all the research they do to offer the best to their patients. As a biologist, I gained a new area of interest and, as a woman, I got the most precious miracles. Being in contact with them brings me good memories of being treated as a unique human-being. So, when I feel sad (yes, I had PPD twice!!!) I send them a hello and I always get a nice reply that cheers me up.
Writing this text, I not only want to share my story but to encourage you to share yours too. It’s not easy but one lesson I learned: the more we keep this journey a secret, the more obscure, lonely, uncertain and terrifying it looks. And it’s not!!! If we share, if we talk about it, the burden is taken off our shoulders and we feel better knowing we are not alone. My dream now is to help other women to come together and talk about IVF and also PPD.”
Debora says that she will make sure her daughters know all about her journey with MFC and the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street.
Debora finished her story by saying:
“We are really grateful to all of them, especially Dr. Martyn, who always found nice jokes to cheer us up and wash the tension away. Amazing people, always in our hearts.”