Jade Barton, 32, is desperate to become a mother.
For the last 12 years Jade and her husband Andrew haven’t given up on starting a family, despite having been through multiple losses and spending £30,000 on IVF.
They’re sharing their story to encourage other parents-to-be to never give up hope.
Their journey began 12 years ago. After two years of trying to conceive, in 2010 Jade was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
‘The doctor said we could still get pregnant with it and as we were young we should just keep trying,’ Jade, who works as a carer, remembers.
When another year passed without falling pregnant, they were referred to a gynaecologist at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, where tests revealed that Jade was not releasing any eggs.
She was given medication to stimulate ovulation, but when it failed to work after six months, Jade had some cysts removed from her ovaries.
Still failing to ovulate by the end of 2012, her doctors advised her to try IVF.
But on discovering that there was no NHS funding in their area for couples under the age of 30 for IVF, the couple decided to keep trying to conceive naturally until they could scrape together enough money for one round of IVF.
When they had finally saved enough, just after getting married in June 2013, a change in policy made IVF available to couples over 25 on the NHS.
In January 2014, Jade started medication and managed to get 21 eggs, six of which were viable, and then two of which were transferred.
Jade became pregnant, but after her first positive pregnancy test she miscarried before the first scan.
Heartbroken, the couple took a break for a year then tried again with the remaining embryos – but, sadly, failed to conceive.
In 2017 they decided to borrow £12,000 from friends and family to pay for three rounds of IVF with a private company that offered a full refund if pregnancy didn’t occur.
Again, Jade received a positive pregnancy test and was overjoyed. But at 17 weeks of pregnancy she went into labour, giving birth to baby Riley, who was stillborn.
The couple spent four days with the baby they had lost, holding a funeral for Riley over Christmas.
Brave woman speaks candidly of her 12 year fight to become a mum which has seen her spend £30,000 on IVF and endure multiple miscarriages
‘She weighed just 110g. She so was tiny she didn’t stand a chance,’ said Jade.
‘We were able to make amazing memories with her and were given a beautiful memory box. It helped us massively with the grieving process.
We left hospital with something of her even though we didn’t leave with her.’
After Riley’s death, medical investigations revealed that Jade had an incompetent cervix, when the cervix opens in the second trimester, which can cause miscarriage and stillbirth.
‘With the polycystic ovary syndrome and the weak cervix, I’m really unlucky,’ she said.
‘It makes it harder to conceive and harder to carry a baby, which explained why Riley did not survive.’
The couple refused to stop trying, and went through IVF again with their two remaining embryos in February 2019.
When this failed, they made another attempt, this time getting the embryos genetically tested to try to minimise the risk of miscarriage.
Jade produced 38 eggs but overstimulated (when too many eggs are produced, causing pain), ending up in hospital. Still, seven of these eggs became embryos, which were tested and all fine.
After three more transfers and no pregnancies, the couple were devastated.
‘We’d basically taken a massive gamble and it hadn’t paid off,’ said Jade. ‘We had one round of IVF left, but no embryos in the freezer.’
The couple decided to remortgage their home raise funds for further IVF, and in January 2020, they tried again, this time with Jade producing 53 eggs and being hospitalised yet again for overstimulating.
24 embryos were frozen – with two being transferred in April, resulting in a pregnancy with twins.
‘At our six-week scan we were shocked to see that both had worked and we were going to have two babies, which we were so happy about, as it meant we would never have to do this again – we would have our family,’ said Jade.
‘I had bleeding, so was on bed rest, but at our 12-week scan, everything looked fine.
‘At the 14-week scan, they found my cervix had started to shorten the way it had with Riley, so I spoke to a specialist at a hospital in London, who was able to put a cervical stitch in to close it and reduce the risk of the babies coming too early.’
But at 20 weeks, one of her waters broke, so Jade was taken to hospital and given antibiotics – enabling doctors to remove the stitch, which had become infected.
‘I had to hope the infection did not get worse and that labour did not start. We had to try and get as far along as we could,’ she said.
At 22 weeks labour started and the twins were both born on 15 August – George at 1.01am and Amelia at 1.21am.
Jade said: ‘We got to kiss and cuddle both of them, but there was no chance, they were just too tiny. Amelia weighed 360g and George 404g, so doctors would not have been able to get a breathing tube into them.
‘They both lived for about an hour and died with me cuddling them.’
Again the heartbroken couple spent four days with the twins – staying in the Butterfly Suite, making hand and footprints and precious memories.
A small charity, From Leia with Love, provided a dress and outfit for both babies, whose funeral took place on Tuesday, September 1 at Basingstoke Crematorium.
Even after miscarriages, two funerals, and more than £30,000 spent on rounds of IVF, Jade and Andrew won’t stop trying to have a child.
Their message to others who want to be parents is to never let go of their dream to have a family.
Jade said: ‘I have always said, from the beginning, that while the pain of not having a family is still more than the pain of everything we are going through with IVF, I will continue to try.
‘I would tell other people going through something similar that it’s important to talk to people and get advice, but that, inevitably, only you will know when you’re ready to give up. You know what’s right for you in your heart.
‘It is draining physically and emotionally and it’s easy for it to consume you, but you have to try not to let it and to take care of each other and your relationship.
‘We’ve had lots of support from social media groups and chatted to people who have had losses as we have, as well as to people who it has worked out for. Baby charities like Tommy’s, SANDS, and SiMBA, which makes memory boxes, have also been really supportive.
‘Sometimes I just wish that feeling of wanting to be a mum and have a family would go away.
‘If it did I wouldn’t have to go through this horrible process and keep blaming myself, but it doesn’t.
‘But I want to be a mum more than anything. We will keep trying until I can’t take anymore.’
To donate towards the couple’s funds and to contribute towards the cost of George and Amelia’s funerals, head to their GoFundMe page.
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