Victoria Warrington and husband Paul spent eight years going through agonising fertility treatment to have their miracle baby Harry.
for the neonatal unit at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, where he was born.
As seven month-old Harry gurgles happily on his play mat, Victoria recalls the rollercoaster ride which brought her her miracle baby, a brother for 11-year-old Hannah.
Her fertility problems were caused by severe polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), diagnosed when she was a teenager.
She says: ‘It wasn’t until I was 22 I joined a new surgery and the nurse looked at my notes and said ‘you’ve got quite a bad case of PCOS. Why are you on the pill?
‘I said it was because I didn’t want to get pregnant and she simply replied “but you can’t have children”.
He is so loved, he is so happy. He is our miracle baby. It still feels like a dream.Victoria Warrington
‘Although I was with Paul I hadn’t really thought about children. But as soon as someone says that you think, “oh hang on a minute”.’
Aged 25, Victoria fell pregnant after taking Clomid – which stimulates ovulation – with her daughter Hannah.
It was not long before Victoria and Paul, 55, felt broody again.
She says: ‘I was put back on Clomid. It’s a drug that makes you ovulate and PMT is, on average, nine times worse than usual.
‘It really makes you feel strange and emotional. I ended up being on it for three years.
‘The PMT was extreme and I was moody and miserable.
‘One day I was rushed into hospital with what they thought was a burst cyst. I explained to the duty doctor that I was on Clomid and she was gobsmacked I’d been on the highest dose for three years. She explained you should only be on it for a maximum of six months and if it hasn’t worked by then it’s not going to.‘
During those three years Victoria had been hoping beyond hope that she would fall pregnant. She felt crushed. Further investigations found revealed Victoria’s fallopian tubes were blocked.
Straight-forward IVF was not powerful enough and Victoria was advised to undergo ICSI, which has only a 30 per cent success rate.
In July 2013, the treatment had been paid for, the drugs were in Victoria’s fridge.
But a nurse dropped a last-minute bombshell, Victoria was too overweight to start the treatment. Her BMI was 38.9 and it had to be 35 or under for treatment.
She says: ‘I had been absolutely buzzing to start the treatment after all that time, all that heartache.
‘Back in 2012 I had asked my consultant if my weight was an issue and his response was that it was none of his business. He could have told me then, I had nine months to lose weight before we started treatment.
‘It was their mistake and I was absolutely devastated. I sat on the bed and cried and cried and cried.’
Victoria hit the gym and lost three stone in six months. She says: ‘I went from driving to the corner shop to going to the gym six days a week.’
In February 2014 Victoria finally underwent ICSI treatment at Complete Fertility, in Southampton.
Daily injections of hormones caused her ovaries to balloon to the size of grapefruits due to ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome. She was in so much pain she could hardly walk.
She produced 21 eggs and created 13 embryos. Of those, 12 were not viable. Victoria says: ‘When they told me that I was heartbroken. All the time the chances were going down. I thought it was game over.’
The remaining embryo was frozen for three months because Victoria was so unwell, and then implanted. Despite the odds, Victoria became pregnant. ‘I couldn’t believe it’ says Victoria. ‘I was absolutely buzzing.
I’d been trying for so long it just didn’t feel real.’
But there was more heartache to come. At six weeks Victoria lost so much blood that for five days she believed she had lost the baby.
But a scan showed a tiny heartbeat on the screen. Victoria says. ‘I completely lost it, I burst into tears. It took a while to sink in.’
After eight agonising years of trying Harry was born in March.
Victoria says: ‘He was perfect.’
But 24 hours later he caught an infection and was rushed to neonatal.
Victoria was beside herself with worry. She says: ‘I thought I had lost the plot. Being without him made me question whether I’d had a baby at all. He was in an incubator and had feeding tubes. It was awful.’
Fortunately he was allowed home after five days and it was there Victoria noticed his head was very flat on one side. ‘When he came out he looked a little bit like Elvis, his lip was funny.’ After a raft of tests Harry was diagnosed with plagiocephaly which can be fixed with a special helmet which will reshape his head.
His development is slightly delayed but he is an otherwise healthy baby.
Victoria says: ‘He is so loved, he is so happy. He is our miracle baby. It still feels like a dream.’
What is plagiocephaly?
Victoria Warrington’s longed-for baby Harry was born in March following eight years of fertility treatment.
Shortly after he was born, at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, Victoria noticed something was wrong and he was diagnosed with plagiocephaly, a condition where his head is flattened on one side.
Victoria has been fundraising for a special helmet for Harry designed to reshape his head whilst the bone tissue is still soft
and growing. The NHS does not fund helmets as the condition is considered cosmetic. Victoria was absolutely stunned when the charity Give for B.E.T.H tipped them over the £2,000 target with a huge donation of £1,350.
Harry will start wearing the helmet on Thursday and will wear it for 23 hours a day for six months.
He is also having physiotherapy and occupational therapy as his muscles are weak but he is otherwise healthy.
All the money above the target will go to St Richard’s Hospital’s neonatal ward.
Victoria, of Bickton Walk, Havant, said: ‘St Richard’s are just fantastic. They were amazing to me.
‘Our miracle boy has defied all the odds as our ICSI cycle only had a 30 per cent success rate. Yet here he is.’
A Christmas sponsored walk will take place on Friday, December 4 at 4.30pm, from Staunton Country Park to The Swan in Bedhampton. There will also be quizzes and a raffle.
All are welcome to join in.
To donate, search Helmet for Harry at gofundme.com.