A Bristol couple are getting ready to celebrate their first Christmas with their ‘miracle’ baby. Camelia and Andrew Gay overcame fertility struggles and then life-threatening medical complications before finally welcoming their son Liam into the world.
During pregnancy Camelia fell ill with chronic pancreatitis, and she saw in 2022 at Southmead Hospital at New Year where she said staff “saved my life and my baby’s life too”. The pair have now thanked the “amazing” NHS and Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine as they approach Liam’s first Christmas and his first birthday shortly afterwards.
Camelia and Andrew were aged 35 and 37 respectively when they married in 2015, and tried to conceive naturally as soon as they tied the knot. By 2017, two years later, there were no signs of a baby despite their attempts to start a family.
They were soon referred to Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine (BCRM) by their GP, where investigations revealed that Camelia had endometriosis. Camelia underwent two separate surgeries to remove excess tissue from her womb which enable her to start assisted fertility treatment. Given Camelia’s history, the decision was taken to use ICSI, a sophisticated form of IVF.
Just one of the couple’s blastocysts made it to day five and this was then implanted. Camelia said: “I didn’t believe it was going to work and I didn’t want to do the pregnancy test when the time came for it, but one of my colleagues just wouldn’t take no for an answer and persuaded me.
‘So happy I could have fainted’
“When the blue line appeared, I was so happy I could have fainted. All the same, I found it hard to have confidence in my pregnancy because of the damage caused by the endometriosis, and it wasn’t until I could feel kicking at 18 or 19 weeks that I really believed we were going to have a baby.”
But her pregnancy became challenging after she suffered from chronic pancreatitis which resulted in an emergency admission into Southmead Hospital on New Year’s Eve last year. She said: “I hadn’t wanted to go to hospital – I was just 10 days away from my due date – but the pain from the pancreatitis was so bad we had no choice.
“We were the only car on the road at midnight as we drove there, and I expected to be given medication. Instead, I was kept in the hospital for three weeks.
“I was very ill and truly, they saved my life and my baby’s life too. As my due date approached, it was suggested I should have a C-Section but this wasn’t possible because of my pancreatitis and my diabetes, so on January 6 I was given an epidural, then they hooked me up and induced me.”
Camelia said it was a “long and difficult birth” but the couple eventually welcomed their “miracle baby” at around 3pm that day. She said: “I cannot describe how grateful we are to the team at BCRM who worked so hard to give Andrew and me our beautiful son, and to the NHS for the amazing way they nursed me through my pancreatitis.”
The duo’s fertility treatment was paid for by the NHS and the loving pair said they were “incredibly lucky that everything worked” the first time around. Now, they have returned to where it all started to thank the team at the BCRM who helped make their “dream a reality” ahead of the festive season.