Take two for Heidi

Issue date: 17 December 2015

Heidi Birch, director of nursing services of Midland Fertility, proudly holds her second name sake after helping her parents to conceive at the clinic in Tamworth.

Baby Heidi was born after her mum Melissa and dad Marco Astolfi were referred to Midland Fertility with NHS funding for investigations after trying for a family for more than two years.

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“We saw Heidi for a few appointments initially and she oversaw our care all the way through our treatment,” said Melissa. “As she had such an impact on us and our family, it felt the right thing to do to name our daughter after her!”

Melissa, a police officer, suffered with Grave’s disease, an autoimmune condition that causes over-activity of the thyroid gland.

“I had been treated for hyperthyroidism for some time and I knew that a thyroid imbalance can affect fertility,” said Melissa (34).

In addition to Melissa’s thyroid condition, Marco (51), an operations manager, had reduced sperm quality. This meant that the couple from Stoke on Trent needed intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to increase the chances of fertilising Melissa’s eggs.

“We were overjoyed after our egg collection to have some eggs for the embryologists to inseminate,” said Melissa.  “Heidi reassured me all the way though, and I know she was a great comfort to Marco too.”

Heidi, who has worked at Midland Fertility for 28 years, is one of the most highly qualified nurses in the world.  She carries out all procedures at the clinic including egg collections and embryo transfers and she also recently passed a fertility drugs prescribing course.

The couple had two embryos transferred and they faced an anxious wait to find out if they had been successful.

“The waiting was the hardest part – having to wait, knowing there was nothing we could do to influence the outcome was really hard,” said Marco.

The couple finally got what they were waiting for, the magical positive pregnancy test result!

“It was only right that Heidi would be the one to carry out our first early pregnancy scan,” said Melissa.  “We were over the moon when we saw not only one heartbeat, but two!”

“After we had been discharged, we felt that we wanted to continue with the care we had received at the clinic so went back for several pregnancy scans with the See My Baby pregnancy service,” said Melissa.

It wasn’t’ until 10 weeks on when a routine scan showed that there was only the one heartbeat.

“Vanishing twin syndrome is when a twin pregnancy cannot be sustained and the stronger one goes on to full term,” said Melissa.  “We were incredibly sad about our loss but still blessed with one heartbeat and now feel like the one twin helped Heidi become stronger.”

Baby Astolfi arrived in August this year and was named Heidi after the fertility expert who had taken such care of her parents.

And as Heidi Birch had such an impact on us and our family, it felt the right thing to do to name our daughter after her!”

The Astolfi family will be spending a very special Christmas together this year as a family for the first time.

“I am truly honoured to have such a beautiful girl named after me and enjoyed treating such a lovely couple.” said Heidi Birch. “I understand how hard it is around Christmas time when you are trying for a family and Midland Fertility is here to help other couples like Melissa and Marco to achieve their dream of having a baby too.”