Hannah Vaughan Jones and husband Lewis, were delighted to announce the arrival of son Sonny after 15 rounds of IVF.
Hannah, a TV presenter on CNN, says: “We genuinely thought we might never be parents.
“So when they first placed Sonny on my chest, I bawled my eyes out. The tears just kept falling. Even covered in goo, he was perfect and the emotion was simply overwhelming.”
Lewis, also a newsreader, adds: “We both cried our eyes out. I felt such love but also relief.
“I thought: ‘There he is, we’ve actually done it’. It was like we’d been holding a breath all those years and could finally let it go.”
The couple, both 38 from Twickenham, Surrey started trying for a baby in 2013 and assumed that it wouldn’t take long to conceive. After two years of waiting they agreed to try IVF but disappointment followed when their only round on the NHS failed.
Hannah was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovaries and found to have a tilted, heart-shaped uterus that would make pregnancy difficult.
In early 2016, the couple signed up to several private clinics and began a series of 14 further IVF rounds — at a total cost of £80,000 — in their bid for a family.
Hannah says: “Besides being endlessly poked and prodded, I went through so much emotional pain — and felt such a failure.
“The wounds of the inevitable highs and lows will be forever printed in my mind.”
Lewis also found the process tough. He says: “Those first few rounds were hard. Nobody knew we were having IVF so we just carried this burden of crushed hope in silence.”
Sticking together as a great team Lewis said,
“We’re so much stronger and more certain about our relationship as a result of this journey.
“Trying to conceive, you live in this weird state of suspended animation. For years, we were neither carefree and out partying or busy with a young family instead.
“That sense of limbo can cause friction but we were lucky enough to get through it and thrive.”
In March 2019, just as Hannah and Lewis had agreed to give up on IVF and try donor eggs and sperm, the one frozen embryo they had left did the unexpected.
It had been written off as a dud, of such poor quality it wasn’t even PGS-tested — a technique to see whether embryos have any problems with their chromosomes but the embryo stunned doctors when it implanted successfully.
Lewis explains: “We had zero expectation of that last one working. We even had a clinic booked for the donor process. Then suddenly Hannah is pregnant . . . and stays pregnant.
Baby Sonny was born by caesarean at 38 weeks.
Hannah said, “My advice for any couple going through IVF is not to compare yourself with anyone else. Your pain, your experience, your journey is just as valid as the next person’s.
“I struggled so hard with that — and would feel so envious when I saw new mums. But everyone has different factors at play.
“You must also be prepared to draw a line in the sand. That doesn’t mean giving up. It might mean taking a different path.”
Lewis adds: “I would urge any would-be dad to talk to people about what they’re going through. Hannah and I didn’t for the first couple of IVF rounds and it felt like this huge burden was lifted when we finally opened up.”