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IVF Treatment - Roller Coaster Ride

by Kate Arnold(more info)

listed in women's health, originally published in issue 169 - April 2010

Having been sterilised in January 1998, I'd been told that my more likely chance of having a baby, 8 years later, would be IVF.

As I already had children from a previous relationship, I was told that there would be no financial assistance from the NHS and that I would have to attend a private hospital.

Amelia at 18 months
Amelia at 18 months

October 2006 was our first appointment with the Consultant Paediatrician (who was the same man that I had seen at my local hospital), where we discussed the options of which type of IVF we would need.

And so the regime started. Tablets every day for 3 months to prepare my body for possible pregnancy, followed by injections every day in my leg.

The injections started off well. No problem in doing them myself, until one day, I just froze and wasn't able to do any more. I felt like a failure! Why was I suddenly being so silly?  I had the syringe ready. I had a clean leg. What was the problem? I just couldn't do it and I felt stupid.

Later that day, I had an appointment at the hospital and explained what had happened and how upset I'd got myself over it. They were fantastic and did the injections for me when my husband couldn't.

Once I'd had the all the injections and my body was ready for the eggs to be collected, I went into hospital to have the eggs removed from me.

The doctors kept my eggs in their incubators, mixed it with my husband's sperm and waited! They wait to see which eggs are the best and have the best chance of survival.

Back I go to hospital to have the eggs re implanted in me. I'd been told that I had 17 taken from me and they were going to give me back three. They said that those three looked really good and healthy. I did wonder how they could possibly look healthy???

IVF is a constant waiting game.

Once the eggs were back in, I had to wait 2 weeks before I could do a pregnancy test. Having already gone through pregnancy before, good healthy pregnancies, I honestly felt that everything would be just fine. I felt that there was no reason whatsoever that it wouldn't work.

Mike, Amelia and Kate winning a Mother & Bay Award
Mike, Amelia and Kate winning a Mother & Baby Award

I did my pregnancy test. POSITIVE! I knew it would be ok. They booked me for a scan for two weeks later. I was so pleased. I went for the scan at the hospital 2 weeks later alone, as I thought that as it would be so tiny, there would be nothing for my husband to see or do.

As I sat in the waiting room, just before they called me in, I knew. I knew that something was wrong. I have no idea how I knew that. One of the strangest things ever for me was that feeling. I went in, got changed and then she started the scanning, and told me what I had already just figured out. The baby that was meant to be growing steadily had no heart beat. I suddenly felt numb. She apologised to me. Not her fault. I got dressed and was then told that I would need to come back again in two more weeks just to be doubly sure that it had indeed died and then we could move on to the next procedure.

My husband and I returned two weeks later; they had been right the first time and there was no heart beat. I cried. A lot. A few weeks later, I had to go into hospital again and have it removed.

I swore I wouldn't go through it again. What a painful experience it was. I'd told my husband, who didn't have any children, that I would never do it again.

A year later, a new house, new challenges, I changed my mind. I told my husband and myself that one last go and that would be it. I really would not do it a third time.

So, it started all over again. This time though I had to go on the pill for 3 months in preparation. Then I had to have more drugs. The toll this was taking on my moods was no one's business. I'm not the most placid of people at the best of times, but these drugs made me so moody.

The injections started again and I didn't do any of them myself. After the last time, I didn't even try them. My husband would do them daily before work, and when he was away, my eldest daughter did them. I think she enjoyed it!

This time, I was prepared for the worst. I knew the risks and understood that it might not work.

February 11th 2008. Egg implantation day.

All went well and according to plan. They told me at the hospital what to do for the next few days. No lifting, take painkillers and rest.

Two weeks went by and I did my pregnancy test again. POSITIVE. This time I didn't think that everything would be ok and knew that it could all go horribly wrong. We had to wait three weeks before the scan. I just needed to know what if anything was happening inside me. I'd told my husband that he had to come to the scan with me, otherwise I wasn't going. He came.

The scan started as normal, searching round my insides to find what it is they need to find. Yes, she says, we have a heart beat. I was so pleased. That was one hurdle over. She keeps turning the probe and then she says, we have a second heart beat. Oh my God. I just squeezed my husband's hand and looked at him, not sure whether to laugh or cry. Then she says that she had to get a colleague. They return and keep probing, and we're starting to get worried. Then she says, we have a third heart beat. Then a little tear fell from my eye. My husband and I just looked at each other, unsure what to say. She showed us the monitor and sure enough, three little people with heart beats.

By 14 weeks, I was in maternity clothes as I was gaining so much weight. I found that odd, as I didn't have much of an appetite. I couldn't lie down flat because my blood pressure would get too low, and I found it very difficult to sleep at night.

During one of my many scans, I was told that there was a lot of fluid round my belly which would need to be kept an eye on, and that was that. At the ante natal appointment later on, the Consultant told me that they suspected that the identical twins inside me had Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome and that I would need to go to London to see Professor Nickolaides, is one of the worlds best experts with this particular syndrome, and he would decide what to do.

When we saw him a few days later, we were told that the receiving twin was too big, and also that if it survived, would have a heart condition, and that the donor twin wasn't getting enough blood or oxygen. The worst bit was that if I didn't have laser surgery then and there, the chances of survival were next to nothing; with the surgery, chances of all three babies surviving was only 3%.

We took the chance. They split the placenta of the twin babies to give them both a fighting chance. They also drained 2 litres of fluid from my belly. It meant that I could sleep again and eat properly.
It didn't work. 2 days later, triplet one died. I was 19 weeks along.

I wasn't able to work after that as I was at high risk of miscarriage.

At 25 weeks and 6 days, I went into labour.

At 26 weeks exactly, Amelia and Chloe came into this world. 1lb14oz and 1lb 8oz.

What a fight and struggle they both had.

My beautiful Chloe didn't last past 10 weeks. She had so many different problems she couldn't fight anymore.

Connor, Shelby and Amelia
Connor, Shelby and Amelia

Amelia is 18 months old and doing just fine. Would I do IVF again?



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About Kate Arnold

Kate Arnold, 37, currently lives in Kent with Mike, her husband of 5 years and her 3 children: Shelby 17, Connor 15 and Amelia 20 months. Kate works as a community mental health support worker and has done for the past 10 years, a job that she really enjoys. Kate may be contacted via

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