If you long for a baby – mom’s story of hope and IVF

If you dearly want a baby, it is difficult to believe there are parents who throw away theirs – and yet, this is an ugly truth. Following her sad struggle to get pregnant, Annemie Schoeman has decided to offer a safe haven for unwanted babies.

For years, she yearned for a baby. She started to try for one, a mere year after she got married. After months of fruitless attempts, she visited a gynaecologist. She was put on medication for insulin resistance. A few months later, two stripes eventually appeared on the stick – she was pregnant for the first time!

Stopped using insulin

Due to unforeseen circumstances, it took her quite some time to get to the doctor, but in the meantime she stopped using the insulin medication. She assumed she had to do so during her pregnancy. After nine weeks, when she eventually saw her gynaecologist, it was too late. The baby’s heart had stopped beating.

Pain of loss

The pain of this loss was terrible. “It felt as if the world has been jerked out underneath me. I cannot put the pain and sadness into words,” Annemie says.

From then on, it was an uphill battle to get pregnant again. A fertility specialist put her on ovulation medication, as she has not been ovulating at all. She lived as if in a volcano that could erupt at any moment and besides, the medication did not work.

She then started with her first in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. She left the consulting room with a case full of injections. After all the needles and changes of mood, she eventually tested positive on four weeks.

Moderate pain, at first

“We were so excited and thankful, properly in seventh heaven,” she relates. “A week later I had some pain on the side of my stomach. The doctor told me to visit the clinic if it worsened.”

A few days later, early in the morning, she decided to see a doctor. The moment she got out of her car, she felt something was amiss. The pain started off mildly, but soon it became unbearable.

She had a tubal pregnancy and the tube had burst. She started bleeding internally, which caused her body to go into a state of shock. She even struggled to maintain consciousness. “It felt as if I am going to die – it was all over,” Annemie says.

She was immediately taken to a theatre, where a doctor struggled for hours to remove all the blood. Her whole body was blue after the operation.

IVF and acupuncture

Her only chance to get pregnant again was IVF, as she has lost her tubes. “I then went four times for IVF at a cheaper clinic, as this is a very expensive procedure. I also received acupuncture.

“Each time, I left the clinic with bags full of injections. My body was pumped full of hormones. With every negative test, I felt that I have failed as a woman. It felt as if my body was dis-functional and left me in the lurch.”

Leads to depression

All the negative emotions have resulted in depression. She saw how other women got pregnant and gave birth. The questions would not stop. “Why would it be so easy for others, but not for me? Some, who fell pregnant so easily, do not even want them, or they neglect or even mistreat them. Many tears rolled and each day was a struggle. I yearned for a baby each and every day.”

Pregnant after sixth IVF

By the sixth IVF, she nearly gave up hope – but not quite. The hormones caused headaches, nausea and emotional swings. She was tired of needles in her stomach. Yet in the end, it was all worthwhile – she fell pregnant with twin boys. During her pregnancy, she started bleeding three times. Every time she rushed to the gynaecologist, expecting the worst.

On 31 weeks her birth symptoms started. She could barely walk with her big stomach as there was not enough space for two babies. The gynaecologist decided on 33 weeks to hospitalise her. Two weeks later, her water broke and she underwent an emergency Caesarean section.

She is blessed with beautiful twins who are now in grade 2. Every time she hears about babies who have been dumped, be it on rubbish dumps, in drain pipes or even in toilets, she feels heart-broken – when desperate mothers just want to get rid of their babies. She has yearned for one, for years. She does not wish the same pain for any other mother.

Also read the article on how Annemie founded a safe haven for unwelcome babies.

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