Mother’s miracle boy after 14 years trying to give birth

Author: By Sophie Goodchild, Health Editor
Source: London Evening Standard

A woman who endured a 14-year struggle to have her “miracle” son has been reunited with the doctor who helped her become a mother.

Lucy Fitzpatrick gave birth to Louis on her 40th birthday after seven attempts at IVF, a twin miscarriage and two tries at using surrogates. She finally became pregnant naturally, but then developed serious complications and gave birth prematurely.

The property developer from central London, who is now 47, was helped to have her son by the research centre at St Thomas’ Hospital, funded by baby charity Tommy’s. Last week, she returned with Louis, seven, to thank its head of obstetrics Professor Andy Shennan and his team.

In an interview with the Standard, Mrs Fitzpatrick, who conceived Louis naturally, called for more funding for research into preventing complications during pregnancy.

She said: “My story gives people huge hope. The reason I’m supporting Tommy’s is we wouldn’t be here without them. Having Louis after such a struggle was both unreal and exceptional. I had amazing care but other women aren’t so fortunate.”

A total of 296 babies in England and Wales every year are stillborn, 3,359 born premature and 8,398 women experience a miscarriage. Yet medical research into pregnancy complications receives little funding in the UK.

Professor Shennan said there had been huge advances in finding ways to prevent premature birth but there was still a “long way to go”. He added: “Seeing Louis now makes my job all the more worthwhile. We’re making a real impact but we have a lot more to do. There is a huge cost attached to premature birth — about £3 billion to the NHS.

“This is why research into treatments such as giving women hormones which stop the womb relaxing is so important.”

Mrs Fitzpatrick first became pregnant at the age of 26 with twins but lost one at nine weeks and miscarried the second at 18 weeks. It took 13 years before she became pregnant again naturally after 10 attempts at IVF and six tries at using surrogates.

Because of her history, she was referred to Professor Shennan who administered a cervical stitch to stop her going into premature labour. But doctors discovered she had developed a medical condition where the liver stops functioning properly which can lead to stillbirth.

Doctors delivered Louis via Caesarean section at 34 weeks in February 2003. He spent time in intensive care and Mrs Fitzpatrick needed a blood transfusion because of problems with her placenta.
Tommy’s said January was the time many couples decide to start trying for a baby but pregnancy complications are more common than many people think.

The St Thomas’ centre houses almost 40 clinicians and scientists who work to find the causes and prevention of premature birth.

This month Asda will be fundraising for Tommy’s in a bid to beat the £400,000 they raised last year.

If you’ve just welcomed a premature baby into your life then please visit Prem2Pram our premature baby clothes are lovingly hand made in the UK to fit premature babies from 1lb upwards.

Should the unthinkable happen then our lovingly hand made baby burial gowns will ensure your baby’s final sleep is both serene and dignified.

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