‘For whatever reason, he stayed’: Woman told she would never conceive celebrates miracle
A woman who was told she would probably never conceive due to a chronic condition that leaves her in constant pain, including being sick up to seven times a day, has celebrated after finally having her “miracle” baby.
Lucy Dench, 36, a postwoman, says the odds were against her after a treatment to lessen her endometriosis symptoms was rapidly depleting her egg count.
After deciding to undergo IVF in 2020, Lucy had just one viable embryo implanted into her uterus and, while she says she did not believe it would happen, she had a healthy pregnancy and gave birth to her “miracle baby” in December 2021.
Lucy, who lives in Tingewick, Buckinghamshire, with her partner Ali Rixson, 34, an accountant, and their 15-month-old son, Bohdi, said: “He really is our miracle baby.
“I spent a lot of time after my diagnosis trying to come to terms with the fact that I probably wouldn’t have children, which was something I’d always wanted.
“Now, to have Bohdi home with us feels incredible. The odds were completely stacked against him but for whatever reason, he stayed.”
Lucy, who first met Ali through a mutual friend in 2017, says she had always wanted to be a mum but had been warned that her chances of conceiving were slim due to having a low egg count as a result of her condition.
Lucy said: “I spent years trying to find out what was wrong with me and, while I was diagnosed in 2018, I’d had symptoms for a lot longer than that.
“I had really bad periods and would bleed for 14 days of the month which I just suffered through, but it wasn’t until I spoke to friends that I realised it wasn’t normal.
“I went to the doctors and at first they thought I had polycystic ovaries but five years ago I was diagnosed with endometriosis.”
Endometriosis is a chronic condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and affects one in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK.
Symptoms can include pain in the lower stomach or back, severe period pain, pain during or after sex, nausea, and difficulty getting pregnant.
Lucy said: “I suffered so much with pain and it’s something that still affects me everyday, but I was told about a treatment that could help my symptoms.”
In a bid to combat her condition, Lucy underwent a laparoscopy, where a small telescope is inserted into the abdomen to look directly at the internal tissue.
She added: “They go in through your belly button and burn the endometriosis out of your uterus, but it damages and depletes your eggs too.
“My egg count was declining and I’d already had a low count to begin with due to my condition.
“Whatever chance I had of getting pregnant, those chances were getting smaller and smaller.”
In 2018, doctors warned that the treatment was starting to kill off Lucy’s remaining eggs and, if she wanted to conceive, she would need to act fast.
“The doctor told me that if I wanted to be a mum then I should hold off on further treatment and start trying for a baby,” Lucy said.
“I had spent years since my diagnosis believing that I’d probably never have children, I knew the odds were against me, but all I’ve ever wanted was to be a mum.”
Determined to make that dream come true, Lucy and Ali chose TFP Oxford Fertility, one of the UK’s leading IVF and fertility providers, to begin their fertility journey.
“We’d done a lot of research and looked at many clinics but we just felt this one was right,” Lucy said.
“We’d said to each other if we didn’t like it when we arrived then we could change our minds, but the staff were lovely and it just felt right.”
Starting the process at the end of 2020, Lucy had eight eggs collected.
She said: “Of those eight eggs harvested, all died but one.
“It seemed so unlikely, but we went ahead with a donor and the one embryo was implanted into my uterus.
“For whatever reason, he stayed, and he turned out to be my miracle baby.”
Lucy says that pregnancy felt like a break from her condition as she had no symptoms while carrying her baby.
She gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Bohdi, on December 9 2021.
Lucy said: “He is a miracle and everything we always hoped for. I feel so lucky to have him.”
Now, Lucy does not have any remaining eggs and Ali plans to carry their next child using the same donor.
Since giving birth, Lucy’s symptoms have also returned. She is in constant pain and experiences excruciating migraines and is physically sick daily.
She is due to undergo her second laparoscopy in June this year.
Lucy said: “I throw up every single day – on a bad day it can be up to seven times, which is very difficult to deal with.
“It’s very depressing and affects me doing day-to-day activities because I have no energy.
“I’m reluctant to take pain relief as I don’t want it to affect my ability to care for Bohdi. It’s a daily struggle but it has been worth it.
“You don’t realise when you are young that you have a limited amount of time to have good enough eggs to make a baby.
“Then when you get older, you realise endometriosis can be life-changing and it could rob you of your happy ending. Thankfully, for us, the story has the happiest of endings.”