Natalie Akoorie

Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Eight-year heartache of trying for a baby

Natalia Hatton, pictured with husband Brett, has written a book about the couple's unsuccessful endeavours to have a baby. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Natalia Hatton, pictured with husband Brett, has written a book about the couple's unsuccessful endeavours to have a baby. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Brett and Natalia Hatton have been trying for a baby for eight years.

In that time Mrs Hatton has suffered through eight miscarriages, two surgeries to remove endometriosis, failed in vitro fertilisation, two fallopian tube flushes, and years of debilitating fertility drugs.

She has also endured countless insensitive comments from friends, including that the pair are "selfish" for not having children.

The Auckland couple have spent thousands of dollars trying to conceive and gave up a "normal" life in favour of an intense and at times gruelling process.

But they decided to take a break after a hellish 2011, during which Mrs Hatton persisted with a fertility drug which left her unable to work or even leave the house without fear of vomiting.

On Christmas Day she made the heartbreaking discovery that IVF treatment had failed.

Now the 32-year-old has written a book about the isolating and devastating effects of infertility, aimed at helping other couples experiencing the same heartache.

"It really did break me. Unless you've had that absolute ache to be a mum, you can't understand it. I had read a few books but they really didn't go into the raw emotions of it, they just kind of glossed over it. It is such an incredibly hard journey to walk that if I can help people and be there for people then I want to do that."

A Mum In Waiting recounts the couple's battle with infertility which began in August 2004.

What followed was years of tests and bad advice which led to unnecessary waiting.

In early 2005 the couple were put on a waiting list to see a fertility specialist at a publicly funded clinic in Auckland.

"I didn't understand back then that I could just make an appointment and go by myself."

In the meantime two infertility-related conditions she had, endometriosis, where womb lining grows outside the uterus, and polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes cysts to grow on the ovaries preventing ovulation, went undiagnosed.

Two years later, after the couple moved to Waikato they secured an appointment within two months at a Hamilton clinic and discovered the endometriosis.

Initially their health insurer denied the $18,000 claim for surgery, saying Mrs Hatton "should have known" she had the condition.

"I definitely had incredibly chronic period pain but I didn't know what was normal."

IVF was recommended following the operation but the Christian couple were concerned at the invasiveness of the treatment, which went against their beliefs.

They moved back to Auckland and took up an intensive natural fertility regime with registered naturopath and medical herbalist Loula George.

The treatment, which cost hundreds of dollars and involved a strict diet including organic-only food, natural remedies, acupuncture, and daily charting of Mrs Hatton's body temperature, worked.

Mrs Hatton fell pregnant. But within weeks the pregnancy ended and after eight miscarriages the couple stopped the treatment.

"It was devastating. I just wanted answers."

By then it was July 2010 and Mrs Hatton's endometriosis had returned so the couple went to Auckland gynaecologist Neil Johnson.

Dr Johnson performed two lipiodol flushes on Mrs Hatton in which her fallopian tubes were rinsed with poppy seed oil in a bid to help potential embryos to implant.

There was no success despite other infertile women falling pregnant after the treatment.

Mrs Hatton was then prescribed diabetes drug Metformin, which helped her ovulate but made her ill.

When the couple tried IVF and the last of their two embryos failed to implant on Christmas Day, Mrs Hatton told her husband enough was enough.

"We had to put on a smile and pretend nothing had devastated us in front of all Brett's family and then as soon as we got in his vehicle to leave, we both just cried and cried and cried. I ended up blurting out 'I don't want to do it any more and he said 'That's good because I want my wife back'."

Now a beauty consultant, Mrs Hatton said the couple still dream about becoming parents and will try IVF again next year.

For now she wants other infertile couples to know they are not alone in their struggle.

To buy the book visit www.amuminwaiting.com

- NZ Herald

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