Vicki and Jamie from Southampton met in 2007, whilst in a nightclub. “We spotted each other because we were both wearing bunny ears!” remembers Vicki. “We then discovered we had similar interests including football, and that was it really”.
Vicki and Jamie decided to take things slowly at the beginning, and decided to save for a house before thinking about children. “We knew that we wanted children and I’d had never thought about marriage, but then Jamie proposed! We got married in March 2016, and starting trying for a baby a few months afterwards”. After trying for a while, the couple had a feeling that something was wrong.
In 2017, the couple decided that it was time to have some fertility testing. “We had a lovely doctor but we received some bad news when we were told that there were some issues with Jamie’s semen. It was really emotional time for us, so we decided to park any treatment for a bit to recover” recalls Vicki.
When they were ready, Vicki attended her local hospital for an AMH test, a test that measures ovarian reserve. “My AMH level was found to be ok. We then had our first fertility appointment the day after my 36th birthday. We found it just awful. We didn’t feel right in the clinic, and we felt that when they found the male factor fertility issue, they just stopped trying to find further issues, even though I still felt something wasn’t right with me. We felt in a bad place at this point” remember Vicki.
Having just received the terrible news that we would need IVF treatment, I had a panic attack when I saw a women cradling new-born, she was wheeled past me whilst we were paying for parking. I found it so hard being in the world and seeing babies everywhere.
The couple decided to take a trip to South Africa over Christmas time to visit family. “We hoped we’d relax on our trip and get pregnant, but my period came at the airport on the way home, it was devastating” remembers Vicki.
Upon returning, the couple had another appointment at the fertility clinic to discuss their options. “We really felt again like we were getting no direction or emotional support, so it was at this time we decided to go to a fertility information seminar ran by Wessex Fertility” remembers Vicki.
As soon as we spoke to the team at Wessex we felt like they had so much time for us. Embryologist Pav spent time speaking through our situation with us and we left the seminar feeling so informed”.
Following the seminar, the couple pushed for Vicki to have her tubes checked at their local hospital, and it was discovered that Vicki had a blocked cervix.
Vicki and Jamie decided to take matters into their own hands, and booked an initial consultation at Wessex Fertility. “We felt so much more relaxed as soon as we entered the Wessex Fertility building. We were treated so well by the reception staff, and then we had our consultation with Dr Sue Ingamells who we found so calming and relaxing” remembers Vicki. “Dr Ingamells gave Jamie some lifestyle advice to help improve his sperm, and arranged for me to have a procedure to un-block my cervix, which was performed by another member of the Wessex Fertility team Dr Chris Guyer. Dr Guyer was also absolutely amazing and made me feel completely at ease”.
Following the procedure, the couple decided to try for a baby for another couple of months, and were then ready for IVF treatment. “I started my injections which I found difficult at first, but in time I began to feel empowered that I was able to do them myself” recalls Vicki.
Vicki had her egg collection procedure, where 8 eggs were collected. “I felt good about the number of eggs that were collected, and we were happy to learn that Jamie’s sperm quality had improved following the advice given by Dr Ingamells”. The couple had a call from the embryology team to update them on the progress of their embryos. “We learned that we had two embryos that were average in quality, and the others hadn’t survived. The team were so good with us on the phone as it wasn’t quite the news we were hoping for” remember Vicki. The couple decided to have both embryos transferred to Vicki’s womb, and then took some time away at an Art’s festival to have time to relax.
“I started to bleed before the pregnancy test, and assumed it was my period, but I still took the test when it was planned and saw a faint positive. I was told it was likely I’d had a chemical pregnancy and so had a blood test. I received a call whilst I was at work that the blood test had confirmed this. At this point I was at rock bottom, we had no embryos. I realise now that I didn’t deal with the pain and went back to work way too soon. We were really struggling”
When the couple decided it was time for a second round of IVF, they went in with a completely different approach. “We decided to see the counsellor this time to talk things through, I also decided to cut my hours at work to reduce my stress and anxiety, and we completely changed our diets. I also had acupuncture and used podcasts like the BFN podcast, and mindfulness exercises to get into a really positive mind-set.” The couple learned that from this round of IVF, they had one excellent quality embryo, and two that were suitable for freezing. “When it came to the embryo transfer procedure I felt so positive, I even said to Jamie ‘let’s go and get pregnant!’”. Dr Guyer performed the embryo transfer procedure, and the two week wait began for Vicki and Jamie. “We went to the cinema and had nice food, I decided to treat myself as if I was pregnant and felt really good” remembers Vicki.
Two weeks later, Vicki took a pregnancy test and the couple finally got the news they had longed for. “Even though there were signs that I was pregnant, we were still in utter disbelief when we saw the test was positive, we were over the moon!” remembers Vicki. “I absolutely loved being pregnant and growing a big belly, it’s the most womanly I’ve ever felt. We had two early scans at Wessex Fertility. Letting go of Wessex after the second scan was so hard, we didn’t want a scan anywhere else! We later learned that we were having a little boy”
On 23rd October 2019, after a long and painful labour, Vicki gave birth to a baby boy, Arthur. “The doctor was wonderful and the team around me sang Happy Birthday the moment Arthur was born. It felt absolutely amazing holding Arthur for the first time, it was too much to comprehend. I spent most of the night watching him. It was my birthday two days after Arthur’s birth, and it was the best birthday I’ve ever had.”
“Reflecting on our experiences at Wessex, I just love them. I rave about them and recommend them all the time. They were kind, patient, supportive people and we can’t thank them enough.”
Vicki and Jamie are enjoying life with their son Arthur.