Beth McInnis is heartbreakingly familiar with a moment no one wants to experience “There is that terrible moment in an ultrasound where the entire room knows the baby no longer has a heartbeat.”
Beth and her husband, Neville Lok, decided to start a family in their late 30s. They felt lucky when Beth conceived quickly but, at nine weeks, she miscarried. That crushing experience would be repeated again, and again, as the couple kept trying for a child.
At BC Women’s Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Clinic, under the care of Dr. Dena Bloomenthal, Beth learned the miscarriages were unavoidable, caused by abnormal chromosomes. “Everyone was so caring,” says Beth. “The nurses would come up and hug me.”
Determined, Beth conceived again, through IVF, only to experience another devastating miscarriage.
“I was crying every night,” she says. “I knew I needed to talk to somebody.”
The clinic connected her with a grief counsellor, who helped her find coping strategies, and accept that her own genetics were no longer an option.
Then Beth, by this time aged 45, discovered a U.S.-based program that pairs families who have stored frozen embryos with families who want to “adopt” them.
“By their mid-40s, the chance of healthy, spontaneous pregnancies is significantly reduced,” says Bloomenthal. “Often, they use donor eggs or embryos.”
In Beth and Neville’s case, they were matched with a family in Washington State, and had the donated embryo implanted.
The pregnancy was officially confirmed at BC Women’s, where Beth was monitored regularly for diabetes, preeclampsia and other complications.
“The risks are heightened as you get older,” says Beth. “Dr. Bloomenthal and her colleagues at BC Women’s really kept an eye on my health and how our baby was doing.”
At 11 weeks, Beth experienced bleeding and was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma. Dr. Bloomenthal prescribed bedrest to reduce the risk ofpregnancy loss, and the danger passed. Then, in May 2014, the couple welcomed their son, Tristan.
Today, Beth and Neville are expecting their second embryo adopted child – a girl, also due to be born at BC Women’s.
“The team is phenomenal,” says Beth. “They provided support, care, and a community where we no longer felt alone and lost in our struggles.”