Diagnosis of Early-Onset Pre-eclampsia

I was let down by my local hospital’s antenatal and fetal assessment unit by the way they failed to recognise or take seriously enough my symptoms, or take the urgent action required when I presented with pre-eclampsia at 20 weeks gestation, quickly worsening with mine and my baby’s life becoming in danger over a period of around 2 weeks.

It was my first pregnancy, achieved through IVF after trying to conceive for 3 years. My baby already had growth restriction at this point.

Prior to this stage I’d had 3 severe bleeds, threatened miscarriages during my first trimester, and despite this was still labelled ‘low’ risk.

Ultimately my baby boy was stillborn at 25+1 weeks – an event that is sadly associated with pre-eclampsia.

Whilst I was in hospital, having been in for a month; I spent 2 weeks in this hospital and then I was transferred for specialist fetal-renal obstetric care – which was excellent – at a Women’s hospital who are more used to looking after mothers-to be in similar situations to how I was.

I feel that the staff at the first hospital (my local) did not have the awareness that pre-eclampsia can develop even at this early stage. It seemed to me that they refused to take it seriously, and so correct diagnosis and proper treatment/care was delayed until I finally saw an out-of-hours GP at my local hospital, who immediately understood the severity of my condition; my blood pressure had peaked at 170-180/ 100 by then, and proceeded to get me admitted that night.


Forced to go private?

I first got pregant 6 years ago, it was unexpected but my partner and I decided that we wanted to keep the baby. Unfortunately, just a few weeks later I miscarried. I had an awful experience on a Saturday night in an emergency room. People who were drunk being seen before me. I was never formally told that I had miscarried. The doctor on duty at night was very good, but in the morning as I sat (obviously upset at what had happened) I was asked by a nurse ‘what’s the matter?’ and the doctor asked me ‘was it planned?’. As if that mattered! I had just lost my baby.

We got married 3 years ago and decided that our financial posisitions were better and that we would try and have a baby. Within weeks of starting, I conceived. Unfortunately, I miscarried again. I received care at a different hospital which was much better.

We were determined that we wanted a baby, so within three months I was pregnant. However, I miscarried a third time.

We waited and underwent some investigations to see if there were any medical reasons as to why I miscarried. All tests came out negative.

18 months on and we have been trying again. But we have been unsuccessful. My doctor refuses to send me to see a consultant because I am severely obese. He wants me to loose weight. Fine. But there are two people in my relationship. He suggested that an option would be to have Gastric banding. He has ignored my requests to be tested for coeliac disease because “if you had it you would be loosing weight rapidly” (not true). I’m currently on weight loss tablets. When I went to see him on Tuesday with an aim to be tested for coeliac disease and to tell him that I am depressed, after waiting 30minutes to be seen, he asked me what I wanted; told me that I wouldn’t be eligible for NHS funding for obesity treatment. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I was depressed. He just made it worse.

I’m fed up of being fobbed off. I pay my taxes- have done since I was 16. I have a good job, I’m intelligent, I don’t want IVF or other treatments that involve creating embryos. And yet I’m left feeling that my only option is to save my money and have private treatment.


Unhelpful doctors in fertility clinic

My husband and I had been trying for a baby for 6 months with no success. Due to my age my GP referred me and my husband to the Reproductive Medicine department at Leeds General Infirmary.

I was already aware of the fact that I would not qualify for IVF unless I lost weight and I was happy to do so. The Doctor I saw first suggested I had a gastric band fitted which I declined, I explained that I wanted to lose the weight in a healthy and controlled manner by myself. I felt as if I was completely ignored and given leaflets regarding gastric band surgery.

Also because of my age the Doctor remarked in a manner I found to be very sarcastically “why have you left it this late?”

The doctor then said to me if you had done something about it sooner we could have helped.

We wanted to wait until we had enough money, a nice home and that I had recovered from previous depression before trying for a baby. This seemed to me to be the responsible decision.

At my next appointment with another Doctor I had lost 2 stone in less than 3 months, despite the last Doctor telling me I wouldn’t be able to lose the weight without a gastric band.

We were sent for further fertility tests which were luckily all good and normal and we were told we should be able to have a child without help but to come back if nothing has happened when I’m closer to 40 as long as I had lost enough weight to qualify for IVF.

This was fine, I accepted that this treatment is not available to someone with a high BMI but when I simply asked was there anything the Doctor could suggest to help us get pregnant naturally I was told by them that they were sorry but they couldn’t give me any further advice, they said they were not allowed to as it would be aiding and abetting someone who is an unsuitable parent.

My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief; I couldn’t believe someone just said that to me. Ok I have a weight issue that I was working hard on, despite them telling me a gastric band was the only option.

I don’t smoke or drink, I have been married for 14 years in a loving and stable marriage, I have a lovely home and we both have a good job. I think we are more than suitable parents.

When I left that room I burst into tears and my husband was so angry.

On top of all of this when we were waiting for test results nobody ever knew where they were or called us back, my GP had to chase up all of the tests because I think people weren’t doing their jobs properly.

Since then I have managed to get pregnant without help, I called the reproductive medicine unit to let them know and the woman on the phone said to me you do know that a cyst on your ovaries can give a positive pregnancy result? I couldn’t believe the secretary said that to me on the phone. I was shattered, I was so distressed and upset after being ecstatic about finding out I was pregnant. I went to see my GP because I was so worried and upset but he put my mind at ease and said to me he was disgusted that the receptionist had said that to me on the phone putting me under stress in early pregnancy.

I am disgusted with my treatment in Leeds. I am seriously considering paying for private care when I have my baby. I feel as if they have treated us badly. Infertility is stressful enough without feeling like you are being judged or people making sarcastic and nasty remarks when they know nothing about us.


Infertility misdiagnosis

When I was approx 23 I went to the doctors experiencing bad period pains and cramps at other times of the month. I was eventually sent for investigations and was found to have endometriosis. I was advised to take the contraceptive pill continually to prevent further growth – which I did for several years. The pain didn’t lessen and I was sent for a further investigation. I asked the surgeon if ‘while he was up there’ he would check out my fertility as I was concerned that the pains could be related to problems, he agreed to carry out a lap. and dye. He subseqently reported no evidence of endometriosis but that my tubes were blocked – one showed no dye spill at all and one ballooned before leaking a small amount. He advised that it would be difficult to conceive with this problem. At this time I wasn’t trying to conceive, but obviously became concerned.

I later met my current partner and we decided to start trying for a family as soon as possible, bearing in mind the advice of the previous surgeon. We started trying when I was 30. After a year, and no luck, I went to my GP who referred me for fertility tests. I had all the usual blood tests etc, which revealed no problems. I was ultimately sent for another lap and dye test. On arrival at the hospital the consultant I spoke with looked at my previous test results and said that a lap and dye wasn’t appropriate as it was obvious from my previous results that the tubes were ‘badly damaged by infection,’ and ‘recommended going straight for IVF following removal of these tubes.’ I recalled that the previous surgeon had said that the tubes could simply be blocked by mucus but she dismissed this idea and said it was obviously scar damage from infection.

I was mortified. I have always been tested for infections, as part of pain investigations, and tests have always been negative. I was keen to follow the surgeon’s advice and have the damaged tubes removed and go straight for IVF as teh consultant said that tube damage could negatively impact upon the success of IVF. My partner however was very much in favour of getting a second opinion as he is mistrustful of authority (thank goodness!) So we opted for a further lap and dye procedure which we had – and which revealed perfect tubes with no damage or blockage at all – both had full dye spill.

We returned to the consultant who continued to move me through the procedures leading up to IVF as we still hadn’t conceived, though no reason for this had been found as I was ovulating and everything else seemed normal. We reached the hurdle of my partner providing a sample, which he was simply unable to do. He found the investigations too personal, too intrusive and very emotionally damaging. As a woman I am fairly used to being subjected to a battery of probes, smears, scans etc. but men are fortunate enough to be largely spared this. Anyhow, it became obvious that our relationship would fall apart if we pursued further fertility investigations so I met with the consultant to explain the situation.

I was heartbroken but it was the only option for us at that time. I asked if we would be able to return to this position if, at a later stage, we could continue but was told I’d have to start right at the beginning and repeat all the tests I’d had up until that date – putting us back another year or more. At this stage I was 32. I had no choice but to withdraw from treatment, with sadness. The consultant showed little understanding at my partner’s feelings and even patronisingly suggested I ‘told him how important this was.’

About a month later we received a letter through the post, cc’d to my GP, that pretty bluntly said my partner had been ‘unable to take his part’ in the testing and that maybe ‘when he felt able’ we could start the process again. I really felt hurt that she’d shown such lack of understanding. I can’t believe we’re the first couple to find the process painful, stressful, humiliating and intrusive.

Six weeks after making the decision to withdraw, I fell pregnant naturally. Sadly, we miscarried. However I am fertile, I am able to conceive and am concerned that we were told my tubes were so damaged they should be removed and IVF started immediately even though there was nothing wrong at all. Had I followed the consultant’s advice I really would be infertile now.

My faith in the medical profession has taken a real battering. I am a resilient and intelligent woman yet I was made to feel pathetic (through not forcing my partner to masturbate into a pot), dirty (through being told I’d contracted an infection that I hadn’t), dismissed (through being told to have my tubes removed and being tutted at when asking for a secon opinion) and quite scared of trusting the medical profession again. How many women and men have to go through this?


Removing an NHS service required as part of the fertility tests for IVF

We are in the early stages of fertility treatment- we have been told that we are unable to conceive without assistance – and are going through the various exploratory tests required for IVF on the NHS.

Part of this requires an HSG – which is undertaken once a week for 1 hour at Crawley Hospital. This requires you to be on Day 8-12 of your monthly cycle so there is only a very small window of opportunity. The last TWO months, this service has been withdrawn – even though it is required for NHS fertility treatment – which means that three months has now been lost.

In fertility cases, this is pretty critical. We now have to wait another 4 weeks – and even then, it is no guarantee that we will be able to secure an HSG appointment given that there is only 3 or 4 slots for all fertility couples in the whole of Surrey and Sussex every week.

How can the NHS insist on this test being undertaken for NHS fertlity treatment – and then not (a) provide this service, and (b) when this service had previously been provided, only allocate 3 or 4 slots per week for all couples seeking fertility help in Surrey & Sussex?


IVF success

I have had 2 son’s via the IVF unit at Hull and East Riding Women and Children’s Hospital Fertility Unit. I can not fault the excellent and timely care I received by them. The first time was on the NHS the second time we paid for the treatment.

The staff are all so friendly and efficient, they really care, and know you personally, remember your name and make the experience very stress free, and dignified.

It is a nurse led unit and I can’t praise them highly enough. I would recommend them highly to anyone!


IVF Treatment

My husband and I had tests as I was unable to get pregnant after 5 years of trying. I already have a son from a previous marriage. Our GP advised us that my husband had such a low sperm count that we would not be able to have a baby without medical intervention. He referred us to Ipswich hospital. My husband was told that he had a varicocele and he would require an operation to remove it. He was told that this was his only option as we were not entitled to IVF as I already have a son. They told us that this should improve his sperm count and so he had the keyhole surgery. Following the procedure my husband got an infection in his stomach and ended up back in hospital and off work for a number of weeks. He had tests on his sperm again and we went back to the hospital for the results, We were told there had been no change in his sperm count and that was the end of that.

We went back to see our GP who referred us back to the fertility specialist at Ipswich Hospital for a follow-up appointment as he felt we had been left in limbo. We saw one of our consultant’s understudies and was advised that we would not get any IVF treatment as I already have a son and we would be discharged. I broke down into tears and my husband got angry as he felt he had been through a lot for nothing. The understudy didn’t know what else to say and went off to get the consultant. They told us that there was no NHS funding as we did not meet the eligibility criteria due to me already having a son. I told him that my husband has no children of his own and they said if they had a pot of money they would give us the treatment but they hadn’t.

I went back to work that afternoon and did nothing but cry. I had the next day off and luckily my work were fantastic. That day I sat at home and trawled the internet trying to find some answers. I looked on the East of England NHS website and found their IVF funding criteria. There was a paragraph that struck me instantly. It said that if you and your partner didn’t have any children together and your partner had not adopted your child then you were entitled to funding. I printed it off and my husband drove to the GP surgery and gave it to our GP who was already writing to the NHS panel. A month or so later our GP telephoned my husband at work to tell him that we had got the funding!! We had 3 attempts at the IVF ICSI and I fell pregnant on our second attempt. We have a beautiful, perfect little boy who is loved and spoilt beyond belief. I’m glad that we have got to where we are now but I can still feel the pain and upset caused by the fertility consultant at the hospital. I cannot be more grateful to my GP and tell him every time I see him!


First time pregnancy

I was 26 wks 6 days pregnant with an overwhelming low feeling at the bottom of my stomach and around the cervix area…i was diagnosed with constipation + braxton hicks..i was alarmed and scared…and i couldnt believe it..i was in shock as we had been trying for 4 years to have a baby and ended up with ivf which worked 1st time.

i was sent home..they wouldnt keep me in….and i was told to take laxatives…well i said how will i know when to come back…they said u will know..ask people who’ve had babies????? i was sat in the car with my mother all the way home praying not understanding why….i was sent home in the early hours of the monrning…big shooting pain…after several small pains…thirst…angry …frustrated i fell to my knees in pain…my husband came running down the stairs..we got an ambulance and my daughter was born an hour after i’d been discharged, after a couple of pushes

She was born on her 27th week…….incubator, off to the neo natal section we prayed we cried we hoped…we said goodbye she died 7 weeks later from mutiple organ failure due to septicimia…we were HORRIFIED…..

now we been told we should have gone back earlier….WHAT? …..i didnt want to leave in the first place……why was I, as a first time mother, sent anyway……why was i diagnosed with the wrong medical term because they didn’t know why I was uncomfortable….and lastly, why was the medical notes not filled in, no dischage time or diagnosis wrote on my medical notes…

The doctor did not make it clear that they had removed the mucus plug the day before and they did not listen that I was premature.

my experience with the NHS was very poor and we are disgusted…the neonatal ward did their best ..in my opinion the doctor before did not


Jessops Wing staff were totally wonderful

I had IVF treatment at Jessops and the staff were totally wonderful. It was a success, however unfortunately I miscarried early into the pregnancy, again the staff were excellent. I was then extremely fortunate to become pregnant naturally shortly after and although I had a taumatic birth, the midwfife, doctors and nurses were great and I felt I received first class care.


IVF unit, Ward 34 and others in Womens and Children’s hospital – Great service

At the end of last year, I starting undertaking IVF treatment in order to try to conceive my first child. Each time I attended the IVF unit, the staff (receptionists, nurses, embryologists, consultants etc) were extemely welcoming, helpful and understanding of our difficulties in conceiving. Not once did I feel embarrased talking about the subject and all intimate tests were done professionally putting myself and husband at ease. We were extremely pleased when I got caught pregnant following our first cycle of treatment.

However, the fertility drugs made me ill, causing me to gain fluid on my lungs. Due to difficulty breathing, I contacted the IVF unit who asked me to go in for investigations immediately. I was then referred to Ward 34 where I was treated in hospital for a few days. Thoughout this time, my stay in the Ward was just as nice with the staff being very helpful, particularly Mr Lesney.

I was then discharged and have had various antenatal appointments with my midwife, GP (Dr Queenan) and Mr Maguiness – all of who have provided an exceptional service, always asking if I have any queries or concerns.

Unfortunately I started bleeding and was extremely concerned that I was miscarrying. I was again seen by Ward 34 staff plus staff within the Ultrasound department. They reassured me that the baby was fine and that the bleeding should ease (which it did).

I am now looking forward to my baby’s arrival in October but wanted to thank all the staff concerned for making it possible and supporting me thoughout my pregnancy.