“We met through our shared love of motor racing and our relationship has gone the distance, as we’ve been together now for almost 20 years. We both wanted children but waited until we felt ready.
“In the back of my mind I always worried I may have problems conceiving, as at 22 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a long-term condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed. So after trying to conceive for a year, we went straight to our GP, who referred us on for further tests, which confirmed I was right to be worried. Results revealed that not only did I have endometriosis and a cyst, but I also had a low egg count and my few eggs were low quality.
“I had to wait for surgery to remove the endometriosis and cyst, but as soon as this was done, I was able to proceed with IVF straight way at Oxford Fertility, which was the clinic selected by our CCG for treatment. It was such a good experience, as not only were most appointments close to our home at its Cotswold Fertility satellite clinic, the two major procedures which took place in Oxford, were at the most wonderful clinic on a business park, with lovely people who take really good care of you.
“Going through IVF was such a fascinating process. Initially we thought we would have to use eggs or even sperm donated by other people, so we were delighted to learn we could use our own. Our first cycle didn’t work, but during the second cycle, the quality of my eggs improved, and it worked.
“Aside from experiencing bad stomach acid, I had a really good pregnancy. Everything was so positive, but as we approached our due date, COVID-19 arrived, and lock-down began. I would have preferred to avoid a hospital birth, but because of my existing ulcerative colitis condition, I knew this wasn’t possible. Once my contractions started and we arrived at hospital, everything went well, but towards the end I had to have an emergency c-section, as the baby’s heart rate dropped as the cord had wrapped around his neck. But finally, Seb arrived into the world!
“Straight away, we were whisked to a private room where I was tested for COVID-19. Once my results came back negative, I was taken with Seb to the practically empty maternity ward and Neil had to go home. It was the following day, when I was leaving with Seb, when Neil could see us again. He met us in the car park, where the nurse calmly made sure Seb’s car seat was fitted correctly.
“Since coming home it has been quite strange. We have had visits from midwives in full PPE clothing and have only been able to wave to our parents. No one could hold the baby and give us a congratulations cuddle. It has also meant that we really have been left holding the baby, with no one able to come around to give us hands-on practical support.
“Luckily he is such a calm, chilled baby. He settles and sleeps well. He only kicks-off when he feels hungry – he gets hangry like me!
“We could be tempted to think that we’ve been unlucky, first needing to go through IVF and then giving birth during the coronavirus pandemic. But the whole experience has been fascinating and we’re definitely not superstitious, after all 13 is our lucky number. We married on 13th of September 2008, took our pregnancy test which revealed a positive result on 13th September 2019 and finally Seb arrived on 13th May 2020, changing our lives forever. When we return to racing, our car will have to be number 13!”