'Our life had been on hold for two years trying for a baby - but now I look at her and think this is a miracle'
How a Magherafelt couple discovered that IVF wasn't the only alternative in their long struggle to have a baby
Couple Eimer Hegarty and her husband Eoin from Magherafelt have a really special reason to celebrate Christmas this year — their beautiful six week old baby Abbie, who they thought they’d never have.
Eimer Hegarty (28), a teacher from Magherafelt, who is married to electrician Eoin (28) got an early Christmas present this year with the birth of the baby daughter, Abbie. Eimer says Abbie is their miracle baby. She says:
Eoin and I met at when we were still in school. My cousin went to school with Eoin and he introduced us. We have been together ever since. We got engaged during a very romantic holiday to the Dominique Republic when Eoin completely surprised me by asking me to marry him.
I was overjoyed, and our wedding in 2012 was a fabulous day in the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena.
We thought, just like everyone else, we would get married and start a family and that would be that. We had no idea of the roller coaster that lay ahead of us.
I discovered I was pregnant in May 2014 and we were both delighted but from very early on things didn't feel right and I spent every week going to the early pregnancy clinic in the hospital.
One week things would be fine and then the next they couldn't find a heartbeat and I would have to come back the following week. Then the doctors thought the baby wasn't growing. There was always something and I would be sent home to rest and told to come back the following week.
Eventually, at 11 weeks we were told it wasn't a viable pregnancy and I was given medication to take - but it didn't work, and after a couple of attempts they took me to theatre to surgically remove our baby.
We were both devastated after trying for so long but we were told everything was okay and to go home and give ourselves some time, and then start to try again.
Six months later and nothing had happened so we went to our local GP. She told us that this was perfectly normally and that the health service would not do any tests on us until we had been trying for over a year.
She told us to relax, but that is easier said than done, especially when there is only one thing you want and it is constantly on your mind.
After a year, nothing had happened so we were seen by a health service specialist. They did an internal X-ray on me and looked at my womb and tubes and said that everything looked fine.
Eoin had special testing done, too, and all this came back clear.
By this stage I had read every book and article about getting pregnant and had tried reflexology and acupuncture, taking all the supplements but nothing was working. My period would be up to two weeks late and we would get our hopes up all the time, only to have them dashed again.
It was horrendous for both of us as what seemed to be the most natural thing for everyone else wasn't happening for us.
I am impatient by nature, which doesn't help but it is worse when you are trying everything that is suggested and nothing is working.
I felt like my whole life had been on hold for two years trying to have a baby.
It was all I thought about and probably all I talked to everyone about, too. It put us under huge strain but it brought us closer, too.
In the end I told Eoin I thought we were going to have to go down the IVF route and I started looking at various clinics online.
I phoned a few up and talked about what the procedure would be like and what it would cost.
In the end I came across the Logan Wellbeing Clinic in Belfast and the more I read about it the more I liked it.
We made an appointment to see the owner Ruth Ellen Logan and she was amazing from the word go. She was so kind and patient with us.
We were with her for an hour and half and she examined me and explained in that first appointment that she knew what was causing the problem.
I had auto immune disease, so my spleen was working overtime and basically any time an egg was being fertilised my body kept rejecting it.
They also told me my womb was tilted and not in the right position to get pregnant.
It was such a relief to have someone finally tell me what it was. To have the problem identified and be told there was treatment and I could be cured.
We were ecstatic and hopeful for the first time in two years.
There seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel.
A course of treatment was recommended and I started attending the clinic every week.
Eoin came in the beginning but because they had identified the problem was with me I went on my own after the first few weeks.
My first appointment was at the start of January.
Holistic treatments like Maya massage and diet changes were recommended. The massage helped to correct the position of my womb to aid successful conception and pregnancy.
They warned me that after the treatment had started my periods would be horrendous - very sore and heavy as the body was readjusting and preparing to give the eggs a chance to successfully implant.
Everything they told me would happen did. It was textbook.
Eoin took me away for Valentine's weekend and he told me he thought I was pregnant. I told him not to be silly as I didn't want to get my hopes up.
But when we came home and did a test together it was positive. We were over the moon. This was about five weeks after starting treatment at the clinic.
We were scared after what we had been through before, so we didn't tell anyone. When I got over the first 11 weeks, which is when I had lost the last baby, I started to have hope for the first time about the pregnancy.
We told our parents and they were over the moon as this is the first grandchild on both sides.
I was really sick and tired at the start of the pregnancy but, to be honest, I really didn't mind as it made me feel pregnant and made it feel more real and I knew my baby was growing.
Then I had a really healthy pregnancy until about eight and a half months when I got really tired again. But I didn't mind that either. I was so excited and couldn't wait to meet my baby.
In the end I had to be induced as I went 11 days over my due date, giving birth to Abbie on November 7 this year by normal delivery.
I can honestly say we have never been happier. I spend hours just looking at her and thinking - this is a miracle and I can't take my eyes off her. Instead of doing stuff when she is sleeping I just sit and watch her.
We both just feel so blessed as do our parents and we are all looking forward to a big family Christmas together.
I am shouting from the roof tops and telling everyone about our story and how much the clinic helped us.
There is only so much conventional doctors can do, as their hands are tied, so it is worth exploring different avenues.
Most people think IVF is the only alternative but we found it wasn't and it can be so expensive. The treatment we had was nowhere near as expensive as IVF but it was worth every penny.
Our initial consultation was £150 and after you get a diagnosis you are under no obligations to attend the clinic for treatment.
That's what I loved about it. They weren't pushy but they were there for us 100% and never made us feel stupid for asking any questions. We never felt like we were wasting their time, nothing was too much trouble.
They have also told me that now that they have sorted the problems out there should be no reason why I shouldn't get pregnant naturally again.
We are content with Abbie for now and will think about that when we get her up and about and running around.
It is just such a relief to know that it can happen again if we want it too and hopefully the next time would be a totally different story."
Details of Logan Wellbeing can be obtained on www.loganwellbeing.com; tel: 028 9033 2546
Couple Eimer Hegarty and her husband Eoin from Magherafelt have a really special reason to celebrate Christmas this year - their beautiful six week old baby Abbie, who they thought they'd never have. By Karen Ireland