For six years, a Norwich couple marked each Christmas as another year that they went by without being able to get pregnant.
But last year, Niki and Adam Brighton’s miracle baby finally showed up on Christmas Day.
It was an occasion that saw them featured in this newspaper and this year will mark an extra celebration for the family.
Ms Brighton, 33, from Costessey, said: “Having children is something I’ve always wanted and there were nights I would cry myself to sleep because it just wasn’t happening.
“It was really hard going on social media when friends posted photos of their pregnancies and baby scans. I was happy for them, but when all you want is to be pregnant, it feels like everyone else is moving on with their lives.”
This all changed last year when baby Louis arrived on December 25 following a successful round of IVF at Norwich’s Bourn Hall.
As the couple live in Norfolk, their GP referred them for an NHS fertility test at Bourn Hall, but the tests were unable to find the reason for their infertility.
Ms Brighton added: “I found it frustrating that we didn’t have a cause for our infertility.
“Obviously we needed a little help.”
He was advised that he needed to reduce his BMI, which led to a complete change in the couple’s lifestyle.
“I did a lot of swimming and going to the gym, getting on the treadmill and going to spin classes. I lost two stones,” she said.
“I did everything I could to make sure I was as healthy as possible.
“In addition to exercising regularly, we took vitamins and made ‘fertility shakes’, ate lots of eggs, avocados and salads.
“Like many people during the pandemic, we started walking when gyms and swimming pools had to close. Walking wasn’t something we’d really done before but we love it now, we did a lot of nice nature trails and walked on the beach. I also started running.
“I basically did everything I could to prepare my body as well as possible for the IVF treatment and pregnancy. I felt healthier than ever in my life.”
Once his BMI was reduced, the couple were approved for NHS-funded IVF and it was in their second round that they were successful.
“Interestingly, my egg collection and transfer took place over the Easter weekend.
“When I came out of anesthesia, they told me that they had only collected three eggs. I thought ‘it’s not going to work’ and cried all the way home.
“I got a call the next day to tell me that two of the eggs had been fertilized. One was transferred and then we had to wait two weeks for the result. I was very afraid to take a pregnancy test in case IVF had not worked.
“When I found out I was pregnant it was incredible.
“We had our embryo transfer at Easter and Louis was born on Christmas day. It was very strange how it worked that way.
“He really is a little miracle.”
As the family prepares to celebrate Louis’ first birthday on December 25, she added: “Every year I told myself ‘next year will be the year’ and last year was.
“Now I have everything I ever wanted. Christmas is going to be very special every year now.”
Baby Louis David Edward Brighton was born at 1:47am and was the second to arrive on Christmas Day at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Ms Brighton went through 12 hours of labor before undergoing a C-section, describing her birth as a “Christmas Day miracle”.
At the time, he added: “We are absolutely amazed and so happy to have him here for Christmas Day, it’s been a long time coming.”
What is unexplained infertility?
Dr Thanos Papathanasiou, medical director of the Bourn Hall Clinic, explained that unexplained infertility is the reason around a third of couples seek IVF treatment in the UK.
It simply means that after investigative testing, a direct cause cannot be identified.
He said: “Unexplained infertility can be caused by subfertility on both sides and sometimes lifestyle changes such as improving nutrition or medication can increase the chances of natural fertility and we can help couples with tips about it.
“But it can add to the stress for a couple not having a definitive reason for not being able to conceive.”
Couples concerned about their fertility can have a free Bourn Hall consultation with a fertility nurse and talk to a nutritionist to help get them in shape.