Parents blessed with three donor egg babies
THREE years ago Emma Nicholas-Pugh's life was completely different and incomplete. Now she's the mother of three children thanks to donated eggs from South Africa.
Mrs Nicholas-Pugh and her husband, Darren Pugh, had been trying to conceive naturally when they were told by professionals it would not happen.
Despite the mental, physical and financial aspects of the IVF process the couple was determined to have a child.
Mrs Nicholas-Pugh had been a midwife and knew the workings of the female body so when 10 IVF attempts failed she looked for something different and started to research egg donation.
The search led her to South Africa, the couple packed their bags and flew to Cape Town to become parents. Mrs Nicholas-Pugh was 43 and Mr Pugh was 42.
Their miracle baby, Esme Ruth, was born on March 6, 2017, via caesarean at Mackay Base Hospital.
Mrs Nicholas-Pugh wrote a book titled, 11 Times a Baby, about her rollercoaster journey to motherhood.
"I wrote it to get some of my past issues out and also for Esme as I never dreamt I would have more children. I hope that some women going through IVF can read it and get some hope. I am always available to contact or chat," she said.
"I didn't have anyone to talk to and I would have loved to have known somebody that could recommend clinics and doctors to have given me hope and support during my journey."
She said the book was a "support book" to give women hope.
"It took me 11 times through IVF to get Esme and I never gave up," she said.
"The book talks about not wasting time or money on specialists that know there is never going to be a child with your eggs. The chance of me ever having a child with my own eggs was zilch due to my age and yet I was still going through the IVF process.
"So many chemicals, steroids and growth hormones that I injected every IVF cycle, held onto so much hope and just continued to have so many failures. The book talks about egg donation and how wonderful it is by giving me the chance of a baby."
The family recently grew from three to five with the birth of twins, Oliver Ted weighing 2940g and Sophia Grace weighing 2310g on September 22, 2018.
Mrs Nicholas-Pugh said she went back to South Africa and the original egg donor because she absolutely loved motherhood.
"I couldn't believe that I had my little girl - I held onto hope that I might be able to have a sibling for her," she said.
The Pughes were prepared for the worst after the failed IVF attempts before Esme. Mrs Nicholas-Pugh said she had learnt to be positive and strong from their first visit to South Africa.
"We prepared for other situations, we were talking about adoption. I had accepted that I would never become a mother but having Esme did give me hope," she said.
The second attempt went like clockwork.
"We had an amazing holiday again and did the IVF during the holiday. Staff and doctors were so precise and organised. It just made it a lovely experience," Mrs Nicholas-Pugh said.
When the news came through it was twins, it was double the celebration.
"Ecstatic, was jumping from the rooftops and swinging from the chandeliers it was such a gift and to be pregnant with twins," she said.
It was made more special when it was discovered it was a boy and a girl.
"All my hope and prayers had been answered and Esme was going to have a new brother and sister," she said.
To tell Esme about the exciting news, Mrs Nicholas-Pugh bought her daughter twin dolls.
"And talked about my bump as much as I could. She is a very grown-up two year old and helps me now by getting their nappies and she does the same on her dollies," she said.
Mrs Nicholas-Pugh said it was incredibly hard work to raise three children so close in age.
"But I wouldn't change it for the world. I am so very blessed that I have got my precious family and never gave up hope," she said.
Mrs Nicholas-Pugh said going through egg donation was the best thing she has ever done.
"I carried my children and delivered them like any other mother," she said.
"Research has shown that the baby does take on some of the mother's DNA, so my children are still mine. In fact, Esme is the image of my mother as a child - it is so surreal. I fought with egg donation at first but now I just wish I would have done it sooner- it is amazing."
The family have relocated from Mackay to the UK to be closer to the children's grandparents.
"We love Australia and we will move back at a later date but we are here for now," she said.
"I am currently on maternity leave looking after my three little cherubs and will be going back to work as a health visitor in the near future.
"Life is busy but very very special I enjoy every moment with my little ones and I feel so incredibly blessed to have three amazing beautiful children."