Family Matters: Jill’s Story…
Jill Anthony-Ackery became the communications manager at Midland Fertility in 2004, two years after her ICSI treatment.
Just before they married in 1996, Jill (49) and Gwyn (61) were delighted that his vasectomy reversal had been successful. But after a year of marriage and trying to conceive for a further two years, they sought advice. A further analysis of Gwyn’s sperm indicated that too many were swimming in circles, making it almost impossible for them to conceive naturally – so ICSI treatment was recommended, as a single sperm would be injected directly into each egg, overcoming the problem of poor ‘motility’.
In early 2000, their first treatment cycle at Midland Fertility was physically tough on Jill, but a positive pregnancy test made it all worthwhile. And two weeks later their first scan confirmed it was twins, so they were doubly-delighted!
Jill had slight sickness during the second couple of months and then started to feel better, but she went for her 13 week scan with some caution, following an unsettling dream the night before. Their worst fears were confirmed when the sonographer said; ‘I’m sorry but you have lost both the babies’. They had stopped developing at around 10 and 11 weeks.
‘I laid on the scan bed and wailed like a banshee,’ said Jill. ‘We knew we had a problem getting pregnant, but never realised I’d have a problem staying pregnant, too!’
The couple was devastated – and it was only the thought of the five embryos they had stored at Midland Fertility that offered any sort light during a very dark time.
In October 2000, the couple from Ledbury had a frozen embryo transfer and during the two week wait before the pregnancy test, enjoyed a week’s holiday in the sun, to relax and prepare for another pregnancy. But the pregnancy test was negative.
‘We just couldn’t believe it! Why didn’t it work again? It had worked last time and we were so sure I was pregnant again,’ said Jill.
They took some time out, Jill lost some weight and then they returned to Midland Fertility for their second full treatment cycle – which was funded by Herefordshire CCG. This time slight changes to the drug protocol and the egg collection procedure meant the treatment was far less gruelling and, again, two embryos were transferred into Jill.
‘When the test showed a positive result, I could hardly believe my eyes. But this time, I was scared from the start that I would miscarry again,’ said Jill. ‘The first scan confirmed a single heartbeat, and while my heart was yearning for the twin heartbeats we’d had before, my head was thinking ‘one is best’.’
After a pregnancy filled with severe ‘morning’ sickness 24 hours a day, from week eight to the morning before she gave birth, Gwyn and Jill were ecstatic with the birth of their daughter Connie on 1 August 2002, following a straightforward labour and delivery.
‘I maintain I had the pregnancy from hell, and the birth and baby from heaven!’ said Jill.
LU: 3/9/15 LJB