Case study: Sticking together through IVF

27 March 2012

Abebi Adeyemi tried for two years with her husband to have a baby. Eventually he went to get tested and it was discovered his sperm function was blocked. They embarked on a painful and lengthy fertility procedure which eventually resulted in the birth of their first son. Two years later they tried again. This time it took four goes and just on the point of giving up she got pregnant again. They are now a happy family with two boys.

I met my husband Dan in 1987 at university. We got together straight away and eventually married in 1996. The icing on the cake for both of us was to have our first child.

We tried for a baby for more than two years. I was doing my temperature charts so I knew exactly when I was ovulating. We tried and tried but nothing happened. It was driving me crazy. Eventually I suggested to Dan that he go and get a sperm test.

They discovered he had no sperm at all. His testicle function had become completely blocked when he had an infection a few years prior. For him it was the worst news he could ever break to me. He was really emotional and upset.

I was in my early 30s and all around us people were having children. I felt like the clock was ticking and couldn’t stomach it. When my best friend announced she was pregnant I just burst into tears.

I just couldn’t believe this was happening to us. I was very, very emotional about it – it seemed so unfair that we couldn’t just have sex and produce a baby like everyone else seemed to. Dan was much more rational. He saw it as a medical thing – something we had to have done. Even so, the whole way through, we were really close and together about it.

We went to a fertility clinic and they suggested we try a bypassing operation. It took six months and didn’t work. I decided I didn’t want to waste any more time so we started on a fertility treatment known as Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

It was a long and painful journey. I had to inject medication every day and was in and out of the clinic constantly. I had a phobia of needles which I had to overcome by learning to inject myself. It was awful. It had a huge impact on both of us but Dan was there every single step of the way.

We were lucky, it worked first time for us. When we did the pregnancy test we didn’t know what to do – we just stared at this stick for what seemed like hours and hours not quite believing it.

I had quite a difficult pregnancy. I bled all the way through it and was in and out of hospital all the time. About two to three months in I passed what we thought was the baby. We rushed to hospital, it was horrific. Dan was certain we’d had a miscarriage, but I refused to believe it. They did a scan and the little heartbeat was still there. We were offered counselling, but it was pretty bad. It was only a couple of sessions; they had no idea who we were, so it didn’t feel meaningful at all.

After all that I ended up having an emergency caesarean because the baby got stuck. I remember the second I woke from the anaesthetic saying have I had a baby and they said yes, he’s there under your armpit, and there was my gorgeous boy with a little hat on.

Two years later we embarked on the whole process again because we wanted a sibling for our son. It didn’t work. Then we tried again and it didn’t work, and again. After that I said right this is the last time – I can’t cope with all these injections and the mood swings. I really thought that’s it. Then I found out I was pregnant again.

I just feel really lucky the procedure was available to us and I also feel really lucky I had such an incredibly supportive partner. There was no way I could have gone through that without him.

If ever anyone is going through a similar thing I would say to them just get on with your life. Distract yourself as it’s like waiting for paint to dry. And most importantly talk to your partner. The hormones change you so much you have to air your feelings. When you can’t do such a fundamental thing as have a baby it’s about both of you. You can’t blame each other; you have to be very much together to get through it.