IVF last chance for couple's baby dream

By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

JODIE always took it for granted she would one day be able to have children.

But she recently discovered her chances had been severely reduced because doctors failed to properly diagnose a burst appendix 11 years ago.

The 32-year-old has now been forced to turn to invitro fertilisation (IVF) to fall pregnant with her husband. Her embarrassment was so immense she did not want her last name to be published.

The Observer's story last Monday of three-year-old Courtney Lockyer's agonising wait for diagnosis after her appendix burst, struck a chord with Jodie, who is still bitter over the effects of her prolonged appendicitis diagnosis that resulted in her inability to have children.

Jodie's appendicitis symptoms began about Easter 1994 but despite four visits to her general practitioner in three weeks, the diagnosis still had not been made.

Doubled over in pain, a soaring temperature and passing out, Jodie was admitted to Gladstone Hospital's emergency section where she was immediately diagnosed with appendicitis and operated on.

The 32-year-old recovered from the operation but never realised there could have been side effects until she was unable to fall pregnant and saw a specialist in July this year.

Jodie had to undergo an exploratory surgery to discover the problem and woke hoping for the best, but broke down in tears when she was to be told she could never have a child except by IVF.

'The specialist said I should have investigated it (the appendicitis) earlier so it wasn't such a big operation,' Jodie said.

'Surely after four visits in three weeks there is something wrong there. If (the GP) had looked into it a bit further it may not have gone so far.

"I just feel betrayed as I've done the right thing ? financially and emotionally set up for a family.

'Now we are ready, I feel it's been taken away from us.

'My ability and 'privilege' to be a mother has been taken away and it didn't have to be this way.

"It's embarrassing. It's degrading. I've got no dignity.''

Jodie has become exhausted with turbulent feelings of incompleteness, guilt, that she was incomplete and had let her husband down.

She was frustrated that nobody could be held accountable for the irreversible effects of her delayed treatment.

She and her husband are doing everything possible through IVF to fulfil their dream of a baby.

'I would feel very blessed, very happy, very lucky,' Jodie said.

Jodie asked other mothers to realise the blessing they had been given and said no woman should ever take the chance to be a mother for granted.

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