With the help of a pioneering fertility expert, 35-year-old Laura Worsley and her husband were finally able to welcome a daughter, Ivy, into their family after a long and painful road of repeated miscarriages.
Life after miscarriage can be filled with guilt and fear — guilt that you inadvertently caused the miscarriage, and fear of what may happen should you conceive again.
But Laura and Dave Worsley held fast to hope that one day, in spite of 13 miscarriages over 10 years, they would hold their biological child in their arms.
Laura, from the United Kingdom, had her first miscarriage in 2008. Like many couples trying to start a family, the Worsleys grieved the loss of the tiny life and tried a second time.
When their second and third pregnancies ended in miscarriage, the Worsleys knew that something was wrong.
The couple went to the Biomedical Research Unit at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) and met Professor Siobhan Quenby, the Director of the Biomedical Research Unit in Reproductive Health.
Quenby, who has two decades of experience in researching recurrent miscarriage and dysfunctional labor, according to her Warwick Medical School biography, believed she could help.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 14, 2019
Quenby diagnosed Laura with Antiphospholipid syndrome, which can cause recurring miscarriages and stillbirth in pregnant women.
Armed with that knowledge, the Worsleys again tried to conceive. Two of her pregnancies, both boys, were vital up until 17 and 20 weeks, respectively.
The loss of the boys, Graceson in 2015 and Leo in 2017, were particularly devastating to the couple, as they were the only two pregnancies out of 13 to make it into the second trimester.
But Leo’s placenta held an important clue as to what else was happening inside his mother’s body. His placenta test revealed that Laura had Chronic Histiocytic Intervillositis (CHI), which leads to rejected pregnancies.
‘MIRACLE’ BABY 💕 She lost every baby she conceived, with many pregnancies lasting just a few weeks. But she never gave up hope of realizing her dream of having a child with her husband https://t.co/KR1wcZrkkV
— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) June 17, 2019
By this point, Laura was unsure that she wanted to try yet again for a viable pregnancy. But Quenby encouraged her, saying she had helped other women with CHI successfully have a child.
The Worsleys agreed to try — but it would be the last time.
“I told myself, this is the last time I’m doing this,” Laura told BBC News.
The couple conceived a 14th time, keeping the information private.
Laura took steroids to suppress her immune system and medication to strengthen the lining of her womb and scarcely dared to hope that maybe, just maybe, this baby could make it to full term.
“We didn’t really tell anyone,” Laura told BBC. “It was the hardest thing to keep in but the hardest thing to share. I just kept thinking if we tell people, we’re going to jinx it. My husband saw Ivy first. He showed me a photo of her when I woke up.”
On Sept. 12, baby Ivy was born at 30 weeks, weighing just 1 pound and 7 ounces.
After a rocky road in the NICU, a healthy Ivy went home, to the delight and amazement of her parents.
“Even now, nine months on, I can’t believe she’s actually mine,” Laura said, according to Fox News. “I cannot thank the research and the maternity teams at University Hospital enough. They have helped me to have the baby I always dreamed of. It feels like all of my Christmases have come at once.”
Laura calls Ivy her little miracle.
“I look at her and think ‘miracles do happen,'” she said. “I’d read about other people’s miracles, and now I’ve got mine.”
Laura hopes that her story will encourage other couples struggling with infertility.
“Through my story,” she said, “I want to give others the hope and strength to carry on even when things seem impossible.”
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