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Quest for a family

Sherie Holder-Olutayo

Quest for a family

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Sometimes it’s the events in your life that take you down a particular road. Rachael Lazare-King and Philip King know that first-hand.
“It was actually a life-changing thing for me because my dad had a heart attack and I thought, ‘My father can’t die without seeing his grandkids’. So that’s where it all began,” Rachael said. “I was 36 at the time and figured it was the right time.”
Rachael and Paul had been together more than 20 years, married for four, and found themselves at a good enough place where they wanted to have children.
Though the desire was there to start a family, Rachael soon found that she had fibroid tumours.
“I had a myomectomy in 2007 and after that procedure I found out that I had some scarring of my Fallopian tubes,” she said. “We got married in 2008 and then started trying to have a baby for six months.”
After being unsuccessful for those six months, Rachael started to panic.
 “I’m 36 years old and I’m thinking I have no time to waste and the clock is ticking and so forth,” she said candidly. “So we went to Dr Skinner of the Barbados Fertility Centre and we had some tests done. They inject a dye into your uterus to see if there is any leakage. If there is leakage that means something will get through. But I had no leakage whatsoever, I was completely blocked.”
Finding out that she couldn’t have kids naturally left her in shock, but not deterred.
“They continued to do more tests, including one for antibodies,” she said. “My antibodies were very high. Normal antibodies are like four points, but mine were 906. So Dr Skinner told me even if I could have had kids naturally I would have been prone to frequent miscarriage.”
Finding out that news about the antibodies meant that Rachael had to endure additional tests – which also added to the expense.
“I had to go on four bottles of drips per month at $3 800 per month for three months,” she said.
Philip was by his wife’s side throughout the whole experience.
“When we were trying and we realized that nothing was happening, we weren’t sure if the issue was hers or mine,” Philip said. “She had to get checked and I had to get checked as well.”
Philip never had any resistance in doing the necessary fertility testing.
“I really wanted kids so I was willing to do whatever it took,” he said.
Rachael had her eggs extracted and then the whole procedure of in vitro fertilization (IVF) could begin.
“They got seven of my eggs and after they did the procedure I got four embryos. Two of them were very good size, one of them was not good enough and the others didn’t survive,” Rachael said. “So we had actually made a decision before to go for two. A natural thing is if you’re going to make this type of investment and there’s not a guarantee, and you might not be able to do it again, you might as well go for two. They actually put in three embryos, but thank God three didn’t come, but I got Adam and Zach.”
During her pregnancy, Rachael worked for seven months and then started having contractions.
“I thought it was Braxton Hicks and I went to [the Queen Elizabeth Hospital] and they kept me in,” she said. “I had pre-eclampsia and I was in there for seven weeks. I had a good pregnancy just up until that point.”
Though the process was invasive on some levels and took a lot out of them emotionally and financially, both Rachael and Philip were so pleased with the service and treatment at the Barbados Fertility Centre that she deems herself an “unofficial spokesman for Dr Skinner”.
“They’re so professional, amazingly so,” Rachael said. “I have no problem talking about IVF or fertility. I know it’s taboo but the taboo thing needs to disappear because fertility for women is a rite of passage and it empowers women. It’s very empowering to be able to have this procedure done.”
Though Rachael and Philip are completely in love with their twin boys, they don’t plan to have more children.
“It’s very expensive having twins,” Rachael said, “but you know what? – It’s double the joy. The entire family is so thrilled to have them here. We’re good because we have our boys.”