Two families have an extra special reason to celebrate Christmas this year - as they spend the day with the babies they have longer for.
Heidi Dickins and husband James have completed their family with baby Emilia - and Lottie Bagnall and husband Harry have welcomed their baby Heidi following successful fertility treatment at Bourn Hall Clinic.
And what makes the story even more amazing is that both babies were born on the same day - July 18 at Bedford Hospital.
Fire destroys huge area of land at Great Denham Golf Course
Anglian Water rules out hosepipe ban for Bedford households
'Sophisticated crime group' behind £1.1m stolen from Luton council that was destined for a Bedford school
Man charged with burglary and assaulting an emergency worker in Flitwick
Bedford bus company revises timetable after passenger numbers review
LOTTIE AND HARRY'S STORY
“Trying to get pregnant and not being able to when everyone around you seems to be able to is heartbreaking," said Lottie.
"It got to the point for me that I stopped going to baby showers and christenings because I knew that I would struggle to hold it together, get really upset and spoil it for everyone.
“My friends were always really understanding but I did start to panic that if I didn’t have children, I would get to 40 and have no friends because I had cut myself off socially or alienated people. That became more and more of a worry.”
Lottie was 24 when she met Harry when they were both classical singers in London and their relationship became serious very quickly. “I had always known that I wanted children and made it clear to Harry from the start that it was something I wanted.” she said.
“Two years after we had first started trying for a baby and I was thinking ‘why isn’t this happening for us? What is going wrong?' Harry found it quite tough as I used to get really upset a lot of the time about us not having a child.”
The couple were referred to the local hospital for tests which revealed why they were struggling to conceive. IVF treatment was recommended and the couple chose Bourn Hall in Cambridge.
Lottie and Harry were treated at the clinic using IVF with ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), where a woman’s eggs are collected and a single sperm is injected into the centre of each mature egg to assist fertilisation in the laboratory. The best embryo is selected and transferred to the woman’s womb. The couple were fortunate and amazingly it worked the first time.
Lottie, aged 33, added: “I geared myself up for a negative pregnancy test, when it was positive I didn’t really know how to feel. I just felt shellshocked. Harry was conducting a concert that day and did it very exuberantly whilst I was in the audience and couldn’t concentrate at all.
“I still can’t believe that I get to spend Christmas at home as a mummy this year.I have had so many Christmases where people have asked when I am going to have children, which got harder and harder to deal with as the years went past. This year I don’t have to worry about any awkward questions, I can just enjoy showing my baby Heidi off to everyone.”
HEIDI AND JAMES' STORY
In a remarkable turn of events, on the same day, another Bourn Hall patient - coincidentally called Heidi - was also giving birth in the same maternity unit.
It is estimated that around five per cent of the population, like Heidi Dickins and husband James, experience ‘secondary infertility’ which is when a person has difficulty conceiving when they already have a child.
“Not being able to get pregnant when I already had a child was a very lonely experience,” said Heidi, aged 34. “Our son Logan had got to the age where most of his friends had got a baby brother or sister and their mums would be at the school gates with them so it was really difficult for me.
“Other people didn’t understand, they took the view that I should be grateful that I had one child and not get too stressed about being unable to have another.”
Heidi conceived after their second round of IVF at Bourn Hall using a frozen embryo from their first treatment. Logan was nearly seven when his little sister Emilia was born and after such a long wait to complete their family Heidi cannot wait for their first Christmas together.
“Every new year we would ask ourselves ‘is this going to be the year that we have another baby?' Now at last we will spend Christmas as a family of four, a dream that we have had for many years.”
During lockdown, the clinic has experienced an increase in enquiries and is providing free online consultations with a fertility nurse specialist to help couples move forward.
To book a free consultation with a Bourn Hall fertility nurse specialist visit here