Couple welcome first child after nearly 7 years of fertility struggles

Michelle and Robbie Crathern with their baby girl Matilda. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Michelle and Robbie Crathern are overjoyed with their baby girl Matilda. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The fertility tests and treatments "feel like a distant memory" for one happy couple from Bradfield, who have finally welcomed their first child after nearly seven years of trying. 

Matilda Crathern was born at Ipswich Hospital in September last year, bringing "joy and pride" to first-time parents Michelle Crathern, 27, and husband Robbie Crathern, 32.

Michelle and her baby girl Matilda.

Michelle Crathern said it is "amazing" to be a mum to her baby girl Matilda. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The pair had been trying for a baby since 2013 - four years before they got married - so Matilda's arrival is even more special and "precious", said Mrs Crathern. 

The pair decided they would seek some fertility help after the wedding, something they had been reluctant to do as Mrs Crathern said it felt like she had failed. 

"Being young it was hard to ask for help as I personally felt like I had failed and not many people talked about fertility struggles - so it was the unknown that was scary," she said. 

Mrs Crathern was quickly diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. The hormonal imbalance creates problems in the ovaries and can cause infertility. 

She was referred to Dr Alleemudder, the fertility consultant at Ipswich Hospital, who placed her on six rounds of clomiphene - all of which were sadly unsuccessful. 

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Mrs Crathern was then given two last options to help her fall pregnant, opting for gonadotropin treatment, which is a fertility medicine and is injected every day, to help stimulate ovulation. 

Mrs Crathern had to inject herself every night, despite having a phobia of needles, but said she "wasn't going to give up" as all she wanted was to have her own family.

Michelle and Robbie Crathern with their baby girl Matilda.

Michelle and Robbie Crathern with their baby girl Matilda. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Just before Christmas 2019, she was given the trigger shot to release the egg follicle, but the first round failed. 

She then went straight into a second round in January, going through the same process and having her second trigger shot.

Mrs Crathern said doing the fertility treatment was tough, but the process made them stronger as a couple. 

"Because I was the one with the fertility issue, I felt like if I failed or wanted to stop (which I didn't) then I was letting my husband down," said Mrs Crathern. 

"It was hard for him to see me go through the tests and treatments but he supported me throughout. Knowing I had him holding my hand through every single step and a baby at the end of all of it made me a stronger person."

They anxiously waited for test day, taking it a day early and getting their first positive result. Mrs Crathern then took six more tests just to be sure and they didn't tell family or friends until they had passed the 12 weeks. 

Mrs Crathern said they were over the moon when they found out she was pregnant - adding it was all they had ever wanted.

Michelle and Robbie Crathern with their baby girl Matilda.

Michelle and Robbie Crathern with their baby girl Matilda. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

She said she found it hard having to do all the scans and appointments alone, due to the Covid restrictions in place, but it "feels amazing" to now be a family-of-three.

"We now look back on what we have gone through and all the tests and treatment feels like a distant memory," said Mrs Crathern.

"But if we didn't go through all of that we wouldn't have our beautiful little girl. Matilda means everything to us, and it makes being parents after all the struggles we have faced even more precious."

They wanted to share their story to show other couples who have had any doubts or worries that there is help out there.

Mrs Crathern added: "It can be a long process but it is so worth it in the end. It proves miracles do really happen. 

"We couldn't be more thankful to Dr Alleemudder and his team members that helped us at Ipswich Hospital through every step."

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