Woman falls pregnant with miracle baby after eight years of heartbreak

When Lisa Pettifer, arrived home from her dream honeymoon, she sifted through the post that had arrived when she was away.

Among the junk mail and bills, she found a letter from her hospital.

Months before, she had an exploratory procedure to find out the reason behind her chronic stomach pains.

But after hearing nothing and heading off to the Carribean to marry her partner Dan, 34, she had pushed the hospital stay to the back of her mind.

The letter told her she had endometriosis – a condition she knew very little about.

It causes tissue similar to the lining of the womb to start to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes

Looking it up online, she read that it could cause infertility and her heart broke.

Lisa, 26, from Cornwall, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I immediately broke down in tears – this was the worst news I had ever been given. I was so confused, I felt almost numb.’

By that time, Lisa had already lost three babies and the couple were desperate to be parents.

Following her diagnosis, she went on to have another miscarriage and two unsuccessful rounds of IVF.

Just as they started to approach the idea of using an egg donor, Lisa found out she had unexpectedly fallen pregnant again.

This time, the 12 week mark passed and the baby was healthy.

Now 24 weeks pregnant Lisa and Dan are expecting their miracle little boy in August.

Lisa says: ‘I wake up shocked everyday at how this is now my life, how for the past eight years I’ve cried countless times for this, for all these moments. I am utterly blessed each day I get to spend growing my little boy.’

Lisa fell pregnant for the first time in 2013, shortly after her 19th birthday.

She says: ‘I went to my 12 week scan and they told me that my dates must be wrong as the baby only looked to be around eight weeks, so I was sent away and they re-booked an appointment for four weeks later. 

‘Four weeks came around quickly. Laying on the scanning bed, I just had a gut feeling. The room went silent and I just knew something was wrong. 

‘The nurse looked at me and said “I’m sorry but..” and that is all I remember her saying.’

Doctors told Lisa that her baby’s stomach was larger than it’s head and it was unlikely to survive and advised her to have a termination.

Although genetic testing was carried out, the baby was too small for them to give the couple a diagnosis, but they were able to tell them it was a boy, who they named Thomas.

Almost exactly a year later, Lisa found out she was pregnant again but at six weeks, she started to experience pains in her stomach.

Lisa says: ‘I phoned the midwife and they got me in for an early scan. 

‘The baby was visible, with a heartbeat but the heartbeat was slow.

‘They sent me away with a scan booked in for a week later to check the heartbeat. At the next scan there was no heartbeat.’

In 2015, Lisa was pregnant for the third time. She experienced pregnancy symptoms so thought everything was fine and was offered her first scan at 12 weeks, as normal.

Sadly, there was more bad news.

She says: ‘I was unbelievably nervous, it felt like time had stood still. I could see another woman come out of the same room I was in when I had my bad news about Thomas. I was sitting there praying to god for my scan to not be in that room, but it was.

‘I laid down on the bed, my heart was in my stomach. I could feel my hands shaking. 

‘She scanned me, and not even a couple seconds after seeing the baby on the screen she said “I’m so sorry. There’s no heartbeat, it looks like the baby’s heartbeat stopped at around eight weeks”.’

Heartbroken by her losses, Lisa and Dan knew they would keep trying.

But she had also been dealing with chronic stomach pains, particularly around her period, for years, and it was after this third loss that they got much worse.

She says: ‘They were so bad I couldn’t get out of bed.

‘I had been going to the doctors for years with my pains, and they did the same tests over and over again and each time everything came back normal.

‘The pain I would feel would was like my insides were eating away at itself. My whole body would shake because of how much pain I would be in. 

‘I would be laying in bed cradling my hot water bottle in tears, the pain overran everything else. I ended up with burns all over my belly because the pain was so intense I couldn’t always feel the heat from the hot water bottle.’

Things reached a peak in October 2017 after repeated trips to the doctor.

Lisa adds: ‘On one of the last doctors visits I had before I got my diagnosis they did the same tests they always did, checking for STI’s and different infections and allergies, they sent me home with a prescription for pelvic inflammatory disease.

‘That afternoon after taking the medicine I became extremely poorly, I was throwing up, couldn’t keep anything down and I was in more pain than ever.

‘My mum ended up phoning an on call doctor and they referred me straight to hospital with suspected appendicitis.

‘The hospital kept me in for a few nights while I waited for them to give me a laparoscopy (camera surgery through the belly button). That happened on October 13 2017 and then I was allowed to go home.

‘They told me I would have a letter in the post as a follow up from surgery.’

While she waited for the results, she was planning her dream wedding on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

They spent two weeks abroad and when they came home, it was back to earth with a bang as Lisa found the letter giving her diagnosis among the post.

Getting the news that she had a condition that could affect fertility was heartbreaking as she had dreamed of being a mum for so long.

A diagnosis meant she was finally able to explore treatment options – but this brought more difficult news.

She says: ‘My follow up was a really quick appointment, and I was given three options, surgery to remove the endometriosis, take contraception to help or do nothing. Taking contraception was never an option for me as for years leading up to this I was actively trying to have a baby, so I opted for the surgery.

‘Not long after my follow up appointment, I had another one at my local fertility clinic, where the fertility specialist suggested that I have exploratory surgery and at the same time they will remove the endometriosis. They put blue dye down your fallopian tubes to check for blockages. The endometriosis got removed and the blue dye test came back fine.’

A month after the surgery, Lisa fell pregnant again – but sadly experienced her fourth miscarriage.

She explains: ‘We went on a family weekend trip away and I just remember falling to the ground in tears in so much pain, I knew things were going badly again. 

‘I was roughly around five weeks pregnant and went for a scan to find out baby had no heartbeat.’

After her fourth pregnancy ended, both she and Dan had further tests at the fertility clinic to investigate any issues.

Lisa explains: ‘They did countless blood tests over and over again and the only thing they could find is that I had a high hormone level. 

‘They explained to me that by having that, it can cause recurrent miscarriages so they prescribed me some pills.

‘I think I felt every side effect possible on these pills. I ended up fainting and having a slight fit. Dan was absolutely beside himself, he wanted me to stop taking them. I was adamant I wasn’t giving up. 

‘We took a trip to the hospital to get checked out and I was ok, but was told I would have to stop taking them.’

The couple went back to the clinic and Lisa again had more tests but they had no more answers.

Dan’s semen was also tested which showed he had a low count and more abnormal sperm than usual.

This meant that IUI treatment, where sperm is inserted into the womb in a clinical setting was not an option for them.

Lisa adds: ‘I went back to have another appointment with the fertility specialist and she suggested that IVF would be something to think about. 

‘I immediately agreed that that was something we wanted to do. In my head, I thought if they took a good egg from me and a good sperm from Dan it would work – it had to work.

‘I was so unaware at how much went into IVF, I think until you’ve gone through it, it’s something you will never be able to understand.’

They had their first round September 2019 and everything went to plan.

Lisa explains: ‘They managed to get seven eggs from me, they fertilised them with Dan’s sperm and on day three they transferred two low graded embryos into my womb. 

‘After waiting two weeks I took a pregnancy test to see if it had worked.. it hadn’t. Neither one of our little embryos stuck – we were devastated. I was so sure this was going to work.’

Unfortunately, they were due to have their second round, just as coronavirus hit.

They were finally able to start this in the summer, this time using ICSI, where the sperm is injected directly into the egg, rather than being left to fertilise in a dish like with standard IVF.

Lisa says: ‘This time I was on the highest possible dose for all my drugs. I had complications through this process with eggs not growing much so I had to stay on injections for longer then what was planned.

‘I was like an emotional zombie. This round was absolutely draining the life out of me, I was miserable. 

‘They took seven eggs from me again, and only one made it to day five so they transferred that one embryo in.

‘Two weeks later, I did my test again thinking this has to have worked. It hadn’t. 

‘At this point, I was so done. I couldn’t even imagine having to go through IVF again. It had taken so much away from me. I was exhausted, mentally and physically exhausted.’

The couple went back again to the fertility clinic to talk about what their options were going forward and were told by doctors to explore using a donor egg.

Lisa says:  ‘The specialist said she didn’t think IVF was going to work for me and that my egg quality was too poor. 

‘She then suggested that we look into using a donor egg. This news was hard to take in. I wasn’t ready to give up but I didn’t know what to do, life certainly threw us a curveball. 

‘The cost of IVF was another burden too – we couldn’t possibly afford it ourselves but luckily my parents very generously offered to help us. 

‘Without our knowledge my sister set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for our IVF drugs, so many friends, family and even a few people who didn’t know us donated which we will always appreciate so much.’

As another gift, Lisa’s parents decided to buy them a puppy to give them something to focus on and shortly after, they picked up Beau.

Lisa says: ‘I fell in love with him straight away, I had always loved the name Beau for a little boy so that’s what we named him.

Symptoms of endometriosis

The main symptoms of endometriosis are:

  • pain in your lower tummy or back (pelvic pain) – usually worse during your period
  • period pain that stops you doing your normal activities
  • pain during or after sex
  • pain when peeing or pooing during your period
  • feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your pee during your period
  • difficulty getting pregnant

‘He took away all my pain instantly. He was all I thought about, all I talked about, he was my baby. I know it may sound so silly but he gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.’

After taking a few weeks to think and talk about it, the couple decided that they would go ahead and use a donor.

Lisa says: ‘We wanted a family together and we would do anything for that. We made appointments with the clinic and had paid for an upcoming zoom call with a specialist to talk through my traits and things we wanted in a donor.’

But they had no idea, she had actually fallen pregnant completely naturally again. 

Before the appointment, she had a positive pregnancy test but was worried about losing the baby again.

Lisa says: ‘I phoned my clinic and told them straight away what was going on. They booked me in for an early scan on December 31. Due to the pandemic, I had to go in alone and I was terrified I would have to hear bad news but this time alone.

‘I was amazed at what I was seeing, a little baby bobbing around with a heartbeat!! I couldn’t believe it. I was in awe of that tiny little life inside me.

‘My clinic then scanned me nearly every two weeks – each scan I went to the baby was growing, the heartbeat was still there. 

‘I was adamant before each scan that something was going to be wrong, maybe it was because I was used to getting bad news but I am so glad and amazed how well things were going.’

On February 1, they went for the 12 week scan, which Dan could attend.

Lisa says: ‘This was the first time he had seen our baby other than a video on my phone. He was in awe, so in love and we both ended up getting emotional.’

They had a private scan to find out the gender and they were told it was a little boy.

Lisa says: ‘Our 20 week scan came around pretty fast, I was dreading it. Even though my tummy was growing and everything felt fine, my mind wouldn’t let me forget the pain I felt last time I was pregnant with a boy.

‘Much to our amazement our beautiful baby boy was perfect, we couldn’t believe our eyes.’

Throughout everything, Lisa has shared posts about her journey online and has found it to be incredibly helpful.

Why does it seem that only people with living children get to share them online. My children were here, brief, but were here and I want the world to know just how much I love them and how important they are to me.

‘Because of my openness I have made the most incredible friends online – girls I’ve never met but have so much in common with. My friends and family have been amazing but there is nothing better than talking to someone who knows exactly what you’re going through.

‘My advice to anyone struggling with fertility is to keep going. My miracle is eight years in the making. Never give up. Trust your journey even if you do not understand it.

‘Make time to have fun and laugh with one another, even though life seems bleak sometimes. 

‘There are always better days ahead and that with or without a child you are good enough. 

‘Believe in yourselves and listen to the medical professionals but just remember they are not always 100% right. They told us we couldn’t do it naturally and we have beaten the odds so far. 

‘Remember you are not alone there are many couples going through the same thing as you, sometimes it’s hard to talk but opening up to loved ones or even strangers like I did helps massively.’

You can follow Lisa’s journey on Instagram @lisajade_IVF.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch at [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article