Miracle baby
March 4, 2005
Miracle baby

Valerie and John Armstrong, had been trying for a baby for over two years. They sought medical advice and were told that without fertility treatment it was unlikely that their dream would ever come true.

Valerie was born in England and moved to the Virgin Islands (VI) when she was a teenager, John was born in BVI and they married in 1997. They both enjoyed successful careers and were in no rush to start a family; they were both under 30 and never thought that fertility would cause them any problems. {{more}}

When they had been married for four years, they decided the time was right to try for a baby; Valerie was now 32, and John, 30. After two years of

trying they had still not achieved a pregnancy and so considered that they may have a problem.

They thought there was no help available in the Caribbean and that they would have to seek help either in the USA or Europe – which would be very expensive. Fortunately, Valerie’s doctor advised them of a Fertility Unit in Barbados.

The couple contacted and visited Barbados Fertility Centre. Dr. Juliet Skinner, the Unit’s Head Clinician performed further investigations. Due to Valerie’s hormone imbalance and John’s low sperm count, Dr Skinner confirmed the couples need for an IVF cycle, with ICSI.

IVF (in-Vitro Fertilisation) with ICSI (intra cytoplasmic sperm injection) is a technique in which John’s sperm is injected directly into Valerie’s eggs.

In February 2003, they began the build-up to their treatment cycle. The initial stages of the treatment involved stimulating Valerie’s ovaries to produce several eggs. On February 4, at Valerie’s egg collection eight eggs were retrieved and each were injected with one of John’s sperm. The clinic reassured the couple that in their experience, typically 90% of injected eggs would fertilise. Forty-eight hours after the eggs had been collected, two Grade I embryos were placed back into Valerie’s womb, and the remaining six were frozen.

Valerie and John then had, like any other couple, to wait two long weeks to see if Valerie became pregnant. They found the two week wait “a very emotional time …a real guessing game that we may or may not become parents”.

Imagine their excitement when Valerie’s pregnancy test result came back positive! Valerie said “it was just amazing, we were elated … I became the model pregnant woman … this baby was so precious to us that I wanted to give him the best start in life”.

“Barbados Fertility Centre were very supportive and provided clear literature from the onset on what to expect during our treatment cycle,” Valerie said. She added they had a “dedicated nurse co-ordinator to answer all our questions and reassure us”.

Valerie experienced a normal pregnancy with no complications and carried her baby to term. On October 14, 2003, just one year from Valerie’s initial investigations, she went into labour. And at 2 a.m. on October 14, 2003, Aiden was born through natural labour, a healthy bouncing boy weighing 5lb 8oz.

After so much anguish and heartache their dream had been realized and Aiden was the living proof. He has given them so much joy watching his progress over the last year.

He first sat up when he was four months. He got his first tooth and started to roll over in both directions at five months, then he was crawling by nine months and started to walk along the furniture; of course this led to those all important first steps just after his first birthday. He delighted them even further when his first words were ‘Dada’ and then ‘Mama’. Aiden is a very happy little boy who is very friendly and a real pleasure to be around.

So one year on, Valerie says: “When he is sleeping, I stare at him and can’t believe that he is all ours ….. he is so loving and is full of kisses and hugs”.

Valerie is a teacher so is used to having a lot of children around and has found that coping with a baby has been quite easy.

She returned to work when Aiden was four months old and is pleased with his progress socialising with other children at the play school. Valerie is a firm believer that his interaction with other children is so important for his development.

Valerie and John have since recommended other couples to Barbados Fertility Centre. She was keen to stress that although there are no guarantees with IVF, she was determined to leave no stone unturned to get her baby.

She wanted to tell her story so that for couples that are experiencing difficulty, reading this will give them hope and the courage to pursue their dream of having a baby.

A real fairytale story with a very happy ending.

• For further information regarding infertility and available treatments please call Anna Hosford, IVF Nurse Coordinator at Barbados Fertility Centre

on 246 435 7467 or email [email protected]

• For further information regarding this article please call Veronica Little, Rolling Deep Communications on 246 420 5943 or email [email protected]