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Nicole the Fertile Chick: Mrs Darl’s Story

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I remember sitting in the waiting room of the first clinic I used for infertility investigative tests, and noticing this good-looking couple. I remember thinking how incredibly pretty the woman was, and noticed how besotted they were with each other. After that first time, I saw them on a few more occasions, before I found my way back to my original Doctor. Only a few months in, and there they were again, here in this new hospital. By this time, I was too preoccupied with my issues and didn’t pay them too much attention. Fast forward about a year later, when I was pregnant and attending an ante-natal class when this same woman walked into the class, also heavy with pregnancy. Outwardly I might not have shown much emotion, but my heart was so glad at the sight of her also expecting. As the years went by, I sometimes wondered about this couple, and how things had ended for them.

Then a few weeks ago, my best friend called me and told me of this old school mate of ours she had run into at the supermarket. Somehow, they had started talking about infertility, the lady shared with her how she had had her child via IVF, and my friend told her about me, and my website. Someway, somehow this lady was able to piece together the puzzle and identified me as the woman who had been on the same fertility quest as she had been, coincidentally in the same hospitals. My friend gave me her number, I called, and we immediately recognized each other. I Googled her, just to make sure, and yep…it was the same pretty lady. We immediately made plans to see, and she and her son came to my house for a play date. It was amazing how neither of us had recognized each other from University, but had instead immediately noticed the other at the clinics. When she told me her story, I was so moved and immediately asked her permission to share it. Let’s call her Mrs. Darl!

We had been trying to have a baby for almost 8 years. My husband and I are Medical Doctors; my husband also has a post graduate degree in Assisted Reproductive Technology. So you can imagine our frustrations facing a challenge in an area where you are so knowledgeable. Our case was peculiar, we weren’t only trying to have a baby, I had a series of gynecological problems.

We got married in June 2004. I didn’t think getting pregnant was going to be a roller-coaster ride. We were nomadic in the early years of our marriage so I didn’t worry much that the kids weren’t coming, but sometimes it bothered me that without ever being on contraceptives I never got pregnant.

In March 2004, prior to getting married, I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids the size of a five-month pregnancy. That was the beginning of a long arduous journey for us. The fibroids were embedded in the muscle of my uterus (womb) making surgery a nightmare for any doctor. After 9 incisions on my uterus, doctors took the decision to leave remaining seedlings of the fibroids. This was to prevent uterine rupture in future when I get pregnant.

Subsequently I was placed on fertility pills and injections, but rather than get pregnant I got fat! I had taken on an administrative rather than clinical role, this was so I could pursue my quest to be a mom. I didn’t want any job that would require call duties so I could be home for times when we needed to ‘meet’ based on whatever fertility treatment we were having. Well, I was so wrong.

My administrative job was twice as hectic as a clinical job. I was constantly in the air, on land or water crisscrossing the nation ensuring all the health care providers we had partnered with were delivering quality services. Once, I even missed out on ‘meeting’ after taking hormonal injections! I decided to stop the drugs and all hospital visits by end of 2009. Up to this point we never sought a 2nd opinion. In March of 2010, the gynecologist we had been using invited us to his office to discuss the option of IVF. As we sat across the table from him, I heard that still small voice whisper to me never to return after we left!

And so we began our search for a new gynecologist and God ordered our steps to one of the finest in the field. When he learned of my previous surgeries, he decided to leave the fibroids in place and attempt IVF first; if that failed we’d have to take out the fibroids before repeating the IVF.

I commenced my first IVF cycle in March 2010. By the time I was due for egg collection in May, I had developed a life threatening complication as a result of hyper stimulation. This caused my blood vessels to leak fluid and blood into my stomach and my abdominal girth rose from 32cm to 104cm in less than 12 hours. I was admitted for observation, as there was no treatment other than to replace the fluids and electrolytes I was losing. My gynecologist went ahead and transferred the fertilized embryos. By the third day, I was in some respiratory distress and couldn’t breathe, so he had to drain the collection under ultrasound guidance. 3 litres of blood and fluid were drained. I quickly managed some ogi as I had not eaten for days. The fluid re-collected within 2 hours. Eventually I was discharged home but with my tummy still distended. I spent six weeks away from work.

We resumed our hospital visits in August. My gynecologist told us we needed to take out the fibroids as earlier advised. My husband refused vehemently. He was worried, afraid that something sinister might happen to me with the incessant surgeries. I could understand his fears. Boy, was I scared too?! But I had to stay strong and fight this battle. My husband said he’d only consider a minimally invasive surgery – a laparoscopic myomectomy. The problem with that was we had attempted it in 2009. The hospital we had been using at the time flew in a gynecologist from the UK to perform the procedure. After the conventional approach failed, he tried something else. He then aborted the procedure, warning that any attempt to remove fibroids using that method would be catastrophic. This was because he discovered my Fallopian tube and left ovary were sitting on top my uterus as a result of adhesions from previous surgeries.
I was able to convince my husband to consent to surgery. I knew God would see us through. Surgery was fixed for end of September. I went in the night before. My doctor told me he was going to use a spinal block and epidural rather than putting me to sleep. Ah, I was so relieved, but that was short lived. I got into the theatre and the battle started. They needed to ‘deliver’ my uterus and ligate (tie) the bottom to minimize bleeding during surgery. An hour into the surgery, they hadn’t succeeded in doing that. The doctors had an ordeal communicating because I was awake; I soon realized that could pose a problem so I requested to be put to sleep. That turned out to be the wisest decision I made as I was on the operating table for over 7 hours.

By the end of the surgery, my PCV had dropped to 15%. With a PCV that low, heart failure was imminent but I never showed signs or symptoms. Doctors kept taking blood samples and repeating my PCV check because they said the results didn’t tally with my clinical state. They sent me home 4 days after!

My doctor decided we should repeat IVF in December, but my husband asked that we delay till January so my body could recover. So January 2011 came with injections and hospital visits. Because I had over stimulated the first time, my doctor reduced the dosage of injections, which meant I had to take them for longer and go for frequent ultrasound scans to detect any fluid collection on time. The process was hitch-free.

The two-week wait before getting a pregnancy test were the longest two weeks of my life. We went in for our test in March and I was confirmed pregnant. Hearing that for the first time in my life was so surreal. We went for antenatal visits more frequently than the conventional schedules. My scan showed we were having twins….yay! Subsequent scans showed that one of the babies was growing into my Fallopian tube and there was a risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Which meant both babies and I were at risk. The second baby stopped growing and by the time I was having my first anomaly scan there was absolutely no evidence of a second baby ever being present! That was a miracle because I could have lost both babies or needed an evacuation.
God saw me through almost eight years of childlessness and seven surgeries and on Thursday, November 10 2011, Tickles made his debut onto the world stage. He is a joy to behold!

Today I am a joyful mother, all the years of pain forgotten as I behold my son. Through it all, God constantly reminded us of His love and promises. For every woman holding on to God and His word for this kind of miracle, He will surprise you sooner than later!

At the end of our play date, we took dozens of pictures of Mrs. Darl’s son “Tickles” and my girls, and proceeded to flood our respective social media platforms with them. Watching them play, I had tears in my eyes. If anybody had told me all those years ago, when we were steeped in worry and despair, that we would be happy Mothers one day, we probably wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are today, planning even more play dates. God is so awesome.
Whatever your situation, whatever your challenge, whatever your diagnosis, never give up hope. Your joy might be on its way sooner than you think!

Have a great week, everyone! Baby dust to all!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Michael Zhang

Nicole is a woman in her late 30s, with a passion for all things fertility related. She suffered infertility for the first 3 years of her marriage, and found it extremely isolating. After she had her kids, she started The Fertile Chick (www.thefertilechickonline.com) to create a community and happy-place for all women, in various stages of the fertility journey.

34 Comments

  1. guess

    April 20, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Oh! Nicole I love you soooo much.At the moment I’m pregnant with fibroid. Satan has whispered all kinds of nonsense to me. Ive been living in fear but I thank God I read this today. I got preggy normally,Ive not had any complain or bleeding but I can tell you Ive been more worried than Mrs darl who went through so much. Thanks for sharing. God bless you.

    • A

      April 20, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Hmmm, satan is a lie, i am pregnant too with multiple fibroids, not yet married but glad right now, i get scared and all, constantly visit the clinic and insist the check that my baby is alright, so far so good, not spotting, dull ache when i am stressed, sometimes like now i wonder abt the baby cos i feel normal…lols.. but i know sunshine is there! 🙂

    • chu

      April 20, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      Darling, you will deliver normally, fear not. I am also pregnant with fibroid, I was so scared when I found out cos I saw the hell my friend went through, but God has been so faithful, the fibroid has reduced and is of no threat to my baby what so ever. Just believe and hold on to God’d word. Do not allow the devil put fear in your heart.

  2. oj

    April 20, 2015 at 8:44 am

    so happy for her. my heart goes out for all who are trying to have a baby of their own.

    on another note, I’ve noticed that the IVF journey is really expensive for the average Nigerian.

  3. Tess

    April 20, 2015 at 8:48 am

    wow,thank God for the strength to carry on. growing up and reading stories like this,i will say to myself ‘these women really try oh,how do they manage to go through this type of battle’. the thing is you never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice…God help us all. baby dust to everyone.

  4. Frances

    April 20, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Amen! This story encouraged me more than you can ever now!

    so happy for you both! Mrs. Darl went through a lot wow! Thank God for both your happy endings 🙂

  5. http://dakkylove.blogspot.com/

    April 20, 2015 at 9:00 am

    This story literally has me in tears ….the journey , the travails ..never take for granted the children in your life, some have gone through hell and back to have theirs.

  6. A

    April 20, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Whenever i come across stories like this i know i do not have an issue at alll, i have multiple fibroids, two on the wall of my uterus and one on the fundal area, not married but got pregnant….i thank you Lord mbok…….

  7. thathausachic

    April 20, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Morning Dear Nicole, don’t know if you ever read this. But God bless you as some people can have a little understanding of what women go through but still have hope.

    • nicolefertilechick

      April 20, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks thathausachic! I most definitely read everyone’s messages, and always use the “Love” button. God bless you plenty!!

  8. Maggie

    April 20, 2015 at 9:55 am

    God is on the throne and he never abandon us. One thing I have learn is dat we should always pray for his Will in our daily lives and God has said his thought for us are of peace and not of evil. Nicole you are a wonderful woman and Mrs. Darl you r blessed.

  9. Agbeke

    April 20, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Thanks for sharing Nicole! This boosted my faith and quest for my babies. Been married for almost 4 years been to see various gynaecologists tried everything but IVF. Looks like its time to give it a go. Baby dust to all the couples out there in similar situations may we behold our bundles in the near future. Amen

  10. Chige

    April 20, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Gosh,I had tears in my eyes reading this. What some people have gone through is really incredible, I just thank God for the strength he gives during periods like this cos I believe it’s only God that can help someone endure all this and stay strong to the end.
    I read this column diligently every Mondays because it just helps me count my blessings and know I shouldn’t take anything for granted.
    God is truly awesome and there’s nothing he can’t do and I keep on praying for all those going though infertility struggle.
    P.s…… Nicole pls can I get mrs darls email address. I am a doctor and want to ask her something about the medical profession. Thanks.
    I

    • nicolefertilechick

      April 20, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Hi Chige. She is profiled on our website, but if you e-mail me at [email protected], I will send you her contact information. Thanks so much for your kind words and support. It’s truly appreciated!

  11. tamy

    April 20, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Wow,so touchin(though dnt undrstnd sm of dose medical words),nt yet married bt I can only imagine hw u ladies hv felt,its a terrible situation,i can only imagine,love your strength n faith,nys of u to share such testimonies,helps a lot of people out dere. May God keep strengthening u n may ur kids keep being d source of ur joy n may oda women havin similar problems never give up,amen.

  12. darkchildlovethyhair

    April 20, 2015 at 10:49 am

    This was an awesome read. Thank you.

  13. awosemo oghogho

    April 20, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Congratulations my sisters,thank God for u

  14. Thanks Doc

    April 20, 2015 at 11:26 am

    You need to be thanking your team of Doctors for intervening against and fixing an aliment given to you by nature or God. Give credit where credit is due, a miracle would be having a natural healthy birth against all the odds without the aid of medical intervention but since the birth can be explained by science there is no need to bring God into it. Doctors deserve all the credit. They did such a wonderful job for you. Congrats.

    • nicolefertilechick

      April 20, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      ThanksDoc, without God there would be no medicine.

    • Becca

      April 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Oh please not everyone believes in a floating sky god answering the prayers of the infertile while so many orphans need a home. Most doctors certainly don’t. Comeback with a more substantial response.

  15. Priscy

    April 20, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Mrs Darl is a super strong woman
    God will never wipe away your smile

    I pray for all married couple seeking for the fruit of the womb …God will answer you today!

  16. Yemisi

    April 20, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    @thanks Doc, are you ok at all, who gave the doctors the brain and all the scientific interventions. Osiiiii

    • Becca

      April 20, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      In 2015 you still believe in this ish? God gave man the brain for scientific inventions to give man even more reason to doubt the necessity of his existence? Probably believe fossils and dinosaurs were planted by the devil to discredit god aye? Maybe infertility is your Gods way of telling some to adopt but instead you force your own way through using ‘synthetic’ means.

    • Tess

      April 20, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      kpele, its okay, now you can sit down, no need to change name from doc to Becca. we will keep calling on God. we didn’t ask you to join the prayer session.

    • Becca

      April 20, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      It was to get my point across. Ain’t no shame in my game.

      @mrs darl
      21 cycles and still no baby! Maybe your God or Mother Nature is trying to tell you something….how selfish to continue 21 cycles when there are so many unwanted children in need of homes. Even if it happens at 22 nah serious thanks doc be that.

  17. Doks

    April 20, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Wow! thank God for His mercies and never ending miracles. May God continually bless and keep your children and bless you with many more. To all the women out there with fertility struggles – pls stay strong and keep your head up! It will end in praise!!!

  18. Mrs Darl

    April 20, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you Nicole for featuring my story. I pray it encourages all couples battling infertility and looking for a miracle. I’m glad we finally connected. A big amen to all the prayers. @ThanksDoc, when you’ve met with couples who have had 21 cycles of IVF with no success you’ll come to appreciate the God factor. Indeed, without God there will be no miracles. Baby dust to all

    • Becca

      April 20, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Babies are a product of working biology not a God factor. Way too many abandoned babies and babies born from rape, abuse and even wilful damage and to suggest otherwise. Either the reproductive system works or medical advances make it possible. If nah god solo why bother with medical intervention. Credit to the docs for the job done.

    • oj

      April 21, 2015 at 8:00 am

      @becca, I don’t think it’s right to force your opinions on people. insulting mrs darl for the pain she went thru for years to have a child of her own instead of adopting is just plain wrong.

      I have nothing against adoption, I hail people who adopt a child and treat the child as though they came from them, but not everyone, especially in Nigeria is comfortable with adoption. there are a lot of factors one has to take into consideration before adopting a child. sadly, most Nigerians are not keen to adoption, esp when they consider what the extended family would say. Most would never acknowledge the adopted child as a member of the family.

      Sad but true.

      and denying the existence of a creator? well, that’s ur opinion. but as for me, anytime I open my eyes, I see the evidence of a loving Creator who cares about me.

  19. Olufunke

    April 20, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Our God is awesome

  20. LadyWithTheAfroLocs

    April 20, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    lovely lovely story…happy it ended so well.

    and we take a lot for granted…i have had 9 ivf cycles and i have a 5 year old to show for it…after every cycle when i come back with a negative result, i am always so angry and so negative…smooth sailing cycles. no issues. nothing life threatening except my hormones taking the better part of me(i am always on the highest dose of FSH possible)…so thru this story i thank God for everything. absolutely everything. i thank my doctors for always crossing that professional line and take each of my cycle personal….

    congrats Mrs Darl.

    ****baby dust to all****

  21. vien

    April 21, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Thank God it was successful,@mrs darls thank God for u @nicole weldone,plz kip it up…….
    @becca i will simply ignore all ur writeups ….its nt worth it

  22. WarriLady

    April 22, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Thank you for this story. Currently in the process of IVF for the first time so wishing others in the same boat testimonial outcomes like this.

  23. Amama

    May 4, 2015 at 8:47 am

    I was happy coming across this blog. Been married for a year but we have been trying for 2 . Every time I see my period these days my heart breaks. Ivf is expensive and one is not sure to get it that one time. I get confused but I know that I have to do whatever it takes to have my own child.

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