Our Fertility Journey

By Faith & Yanga

Often when you have your life-plan set-out, with your hopes, dreams, and heart’s desires lined-up, having to eventually accept that you are not in control of these plans and walking into a fertility clinic for a consultation, is hardly ever part of the program. So, when the day came, and we were slapped in the face with the reality that life is not as rosy as I had envisioned it, was genuinely upsetting.

After we married, we knew we were ready to start a family. We surprisingly fell pregnant a month after we stopped taking birth control. Everything was perfect until I was 23 weeks pregnant. I started having contractions which were not expected. I gave birth to our stillborn son six hours later. Our baby devastatingly passed away shortly after my waters broke. We were crushed. The hospital couldn’t give us any answers to all of our questions. According to the clinic, our baby’s placenta was frozen, so was not suitable for the lab to test it. We left the hospital, in a state of shock. How could a seemingly healthy pregnancy end just like that?

It took us some time to get to a point where we felt ready to try again. We prayed it would all go according to plan. However, after we failed to fall pregnant after 8 months, we felt it was a good idea to book an appointment at a fertility clinic. We conducted an exhaustive search for the best clinics in Cape Town and came across HART Fertility Clinic. We immediately booked an appointment and met with Dr Mark Faesen

Dr Faesen was very meticulous in our initial Fertility Assessment, and oddly, our results came back as “normal.” Yet how could this be based on our journey so far? Dr Faesen determined that there were possibly two issues that would have to be investigated further: 

  • An incompetent cervix or progesterone issues which potentially led to losing our first pregnancy; OR
  • We were now encountering secondary infertility

Of course, neither possibilities were what we really wanted to hear given we were a newly-wed couple, who were young and healthy 23 years and 28 years olds. 

What really impressed us when we met with Dr Faesen was his integrity and empathy throughout the process. He didn’t string us along, or draw out his diagnosis, as he was acutely aware that we were not financially in a place where we could afford the fertility treatments that were on the cards.

Alongside working as our Fertility Expert, he also gave us lifestyle advice such as fertility nutrition and fitness, to aid our journey to parenthood. With his recommendations, we worked hard to change our lifestyles for the better and miraculously we fell pregnant again. Dr Faesen confirmed the pregnancy at 6 weeks and sent us to our nearest maternity clinic with a referral letter. He noted in this letter that particular interventions had to be adhered to, in order to preserve our pregnancy till full-term.

Although we had a government hospital managing our journey, we opted to continue our scans and check-ups with Dr Faesen, as we were trusted him from the bottom of our hearts. Devastatingly, the hospital did not comply with his guidance, and as a result, we lost our baby at 21 weeks.

“Dr Faesen was deeply moved and apologetic when he found out, given that he advised our hospital of prescribed next steps.”

Completely heartbroken with our dreams shattered, we returned to HART. Dr Faesen recommended cycle tracking. He initially attempted a trigger shot with one of our cycles; however, we missed this. It was at this point we were ready to give up. And then suddenly our world changed forever when we found out we were pregnant again!

We were delighted when Dr Faesen confirmed our news. However, this time, we decided that from that point, no-one would evade Dr Faesen’s recommendations, given our history. 

Once again, the hospital refused to take into account Dr Faesen’s recommendations. According to them, any emergency contingencies that need to be put in place due to miscarriage or “preterm labour”, a couple need to go through 3 consecutive miscarriages. How horrendous it was to learn that if this was the case, that our only hope for our long-awaited family, was a 4th intervention to preserve our pregnancy. 

We had a miscarriage scare at 12 weeks, as my cervix was shortening. The recommendation was that between 13-14 weeks, I should have a cervical cerclage and start progesterone boosters based on the lab results. I was given a progesterone prescription at 8 weeks; however, the cerclage was only to be administered at 13-14weeks. 

At 18 weeks, I almost miscarried again. My contractions were so agonising, and my cervix had shortened. I was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery; to insert the cervical cerclage. 

At 27 weeks, the contractions returned, but luckily, my baby pushed through to 35 weeks and 6 days. My beautiful son was born, weighing 2.5kgs; however, spent 6 days in ICU for respiratory distress and suspected sepsis; which again our little miracle baby got through.

We will never forget Dr Faesen and his team at HART – we will forever be grateful to them all. Their combined care and desire to ensure the well-being of us and all their patients, is honestly, what strengthened us through this roller-coaster journey. 

Working with Dr Faesen and his team, we were educated and empowered enough to be able to have the courage to try one more time. Because we would have given up had it not been for the HART team supporting us every step of the way.

I am positive, without them, we wouldn’t have had the courage to continue. This journey taught us that trusting your medical team is an essential key to this journey; communication, care, and compassion is vital.

HART Fertility Clinic and Dr Faesen were there for us every step of the way. They gave us hope when all was lost, and because of them, we were able to bring our baby boy home with us.

We have one more step in this journey, and that is to bring our baby boy to HART Fertility clinic to meet Dr Faesen and the team. Because without them, we wouldn’t be able to count our blessings.

To find out more about Faith & Yanga’s journey as proud parents, follow them @thechosenrainbow