When Ellin and Ryan met on Tinder nine years ago, she quickly became his ‘Tinderella’ and a few years later the loved-up couple got married.
During their beautiful boho style wedding, they excitedly told guests about their wishes to start a family as soon as possible. But despite their best efforts, it took another two years before finally welcoming their first child, after a long and painful journey with infertility.
“We had actually tried the month before our wedding and continued to try naturally, month after month. People said, ‘just relax, I bet when you go on your honeymoon you’ll come back pregnant because you’ll just be having fun and not thinking about it’. We went to Hawaii and had the most amazing honeymoon but did not come home pregnant,” Ellin tells Mum’s Grapevine.
“In August, 2019, we went to see Kristin our local OBG and Fertility Specialist. We already knew I had PCOS and it was confirmed through monitoring that I wasn’t ovulating. We tried Ovulation Induction. After the seventh failed cycle and a few biochemical pregnancies, I was scheduled to have some investigative surgery in May 2020.
“I had been home anyway as COVID was here and everything was shut down. I was a lucky one as I was put on a priority list, otherwise, it could have been 12 months+. I had a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, hydrotubation and D&C. The results showed nothing.”
Ellin and Ryan start IVF
“We decided to do one more cycle and then try IVF. After our last failed cycle we started IVF August 2020. IVF was pretty intense, the follicle stimulation is probably the hardest part. Very uncomfortable, bloated, constipated, emotional. Again, we were in another lockdown so I didn’t have to take time off work.
“We were up at 4:30am to get to Ballarat for our egg collection. I was put under and Ryan was sent to his ‘special room’. I woke and found out they had collected 25 eggs!! Huge amount, in the following days they would call us each day to let us know how they were going. By day five we had nine embryos which we are so grateful for. These were all frozen.”
“Our first perfect little embryo was transferred and on November 6th, 2020, I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I went and bought a green bunny to celebrate. I remember someone saying to me, ‘it’s early days yet’. But I was so bloody happy. It had been the biggest emotional rollercoaster of my life.
“It was hard to be around pregnant women, babies, hard to talk to people about someone else’s babies. I was hit with jealousy, envy, then sadness and confusion and guilt for feeling that way about friends and family. People I loved and babies I loved. I planned baby showers and attended them and endured questions like ‘when are you gonna have a baby’, ‘oh I thought you’d be pregnant by now’, ‘gee you better hurry up’. Dealing with infertility is really hard but we’ve always found it an easier journey when we shared it with others.”
‘I loved being pregnant’
Ellin enjoyed a textbook pregnancy, and even managed to dodge morning sickness! She worked in her beauty salon all the way up until 38 weeks pregnant. Being an IVF baby, she had an induction planned at 39 weeks.
“Went up to the hospital on the Sunday to have the balloon put in and was already 2cm dilated so just had a stretch and sweep, wow aren’t they fun. Arrived Monday morning at the hospital at 6:30am. Set up our labour room (the midwives had fairy lights and candles already set up), we set up our speaker and our oil diffuser. We had done hypnobirthing so we were trying to keep the room very calm and relaxing.
“7:30am-8amish my OBG came and broke my waters. That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Weirdest feeling! Then they hooked me up to the syntocinon. I can’t remember the time, it was a couple of hours later, that I really started to feel the contractions. I started the TENS machine when they started to get a little intense. 11.30 three contractions a minute. Spending time on the birthing ball with hypno tracks playing and Ryan doing soft touch. I remember every time I stood up that the fluid would gush out of me and down my legs onto the ground, it was so gross, haha. My midwife gave me a cloth nappy to fold up inside my knickers. The joys!”
By mid-afternoon, Ellin found out she was 5cm dilated – much to her disappointment. She thought she was further along. It was time to bring in some pain relief, so she opted for the gas.
“I’ve lost a bit of time in the afternoon, I got up to the strongest amount of gas and I had one shot of morphine during this time. I also ended up putting my earphones in and listening to my hypnotracks and disappeared into my own little world. I remember drinking a lot of water after each contraction and Ryan having to rub my sacrum to the point where my whole body needed to rock, I found that helped through the contractions. He rubbed so hard that he actually broke one of the heat packs. I found that during a contraction, I needed my body rocked or I had to kick my legs or tap my fingers.
“When I had my baby shower, my best friend and cousin had my guests write me a letter prior and they printed and stuck them inside this beautiful green book, Ryan read these letters to me during the labour also. I remember the OBG coming to check me at 7pm and I was about 8cm. By this stage, the morphine had worn off and I just had the gas and TENS. I could feel my body trying to push. 10pm the night shift midwives started and I was finally fully dilated and could start pushing.
“They tried to get me to go to the toilet but I couldn’t go, so they popped in a catheter – Ryan says he could believe how much came out, haha. They took the gas and the TENS off me so I could hold my breath to push and feel the contractions properly. I changed positions a lot, on my knees, over the head of the bed, side, back, other side, back on my knees. I’ll admit it was hard work with no pain relief but I knew I could do it and it wasn’t long before I would meet my beautiful baby.”
But two hours later, Ellin was still pushing and getting nowhere. It seemed her baby hadn’t descended enough and was also getting tired.
“My OBG came in and said we were going to have to try the vacuum. So into the stirrups I went! They gave me back the gas for this and thank god, I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’m pretty sure her entire hand went up there!
“She put two pain relief injections on either side of the inside of my vagina and then put the vacuum on babies head. I could feel a contraction coming and she told me to push as hard as I could. I pushed and the vacuum came off his head. I knew straight away it hadn’t worked. She came over and sat next to me on the bed and said that baby wasn’t coming down for whatever reason and that she could tell I was utterly exhausted and that she’d like to get me some more pain relief. It was time to head to theatre and get a spinal block and try the forceps, if that wasn’t going to work then it would be an emergency caesarean. The room got extremely busy then with midwives and doctors. Kristin had been there before we had arrived in the morning, she must have been exhausted, I remember sharing lollies with her in this moment.
“I was able to stop pushing by this stage and just breathe through the contractions with the gas. I could feel some adrenaline or some shock set in as I started to shake and couldn’t stop. We had to wait 20 minutes for the theatre and then off we went. We reached the theatre and the anaesthetist was just about to administer the spinal block and he was called away to an emergency, so we had to wait another 20 minutes. Finally, we got into theatre and my OBG decided that the forceps weren’t going to work either, he just wasn’t going to fit! So caesarean it was!”
An IVF baby is born
At 2:19am, Vance Bernard was born and it was the happiest moment of Ellin and Ryan’s lives.
“So much relief and joy after all the struggles. My heart is so full! I couldn’t stop crying I was just so happy and full of love.
“He is such a little legend too and is doing all the right things, I was so thankful to have my OBG there with me the whole time and trusted every decision she made to make sure we were both safe and healthy.”
Baby Vance is now a healthy and energetic toddler who turns two years old this week! Here’s wishing him a very Happy Birthday!
Got your own birth story you’re itching to tell? We’re always on the lookout for new stories to feature. Submit your birth story.
More birth stories from the Grapeviner community…
- Birth Story: ‘I gave birth in the hospital carpark’
- Birth Story: ‘Little Miss Thumbelina’ baby weighs 1kg at 36 weeks birth
- Birth Story: Queensland mum gives birth to 6kg baby boy
About to (or just had) a baby?
We know that the wait to meet your baby can be nerve-wracking, but we’re here to remind you that you’re not alone. Our private Pregnancy & Baby Groups are a great way to connect with other Aussie mums who are due or had their babies around the same time as you.