Baby by science
Jacqueline Gillies-Layne admits to being a poster child for a typical career woman. She had done the college thing, established a successful career in banking, met the love of her life in Reynolds Layne and the two were travelling the world and enjoying themselves.
“We didn’t get married until we were 40,” Jacqueline said candidly. “Reynolds is Bajan and I’m British. I was working overseas in Singapore and we met when we were older.”
Being that they were quite content travelling the world and enjoying life, it didn’t dawn upon them to consider having children until they were in their 40s.
“We didn’t think there would be a problem,” Jacqueline said.
But though Jacqueline and Reynolds were trying, their efforts didn’t yield the outcome they had hoped. What ended up happening was that they decided to get tests done to make sure despite their ages, that their fertility was still intact.
“We had all the tests done only to find out there was nothing wrong with either of us,” she said. “I went to doctors in Singapore and nothing could be found.”
After the couple returned to Barbados, they decided to consult the Barbados Fertility Centre in their quest to have a child.
“We got pregnant through IUI (intrauterine insemination) but I lost the baby at 11 weeks,” Jacqueline said.
Losing a child at any stage is traumatic for any woman but losing a child in your 40s when a woman’s fertility is on the decline can be devastating.
“We tried again after two or three months but still nothing,” Jacqueline said. “Dr Skinner suggested we try IVF (in vitro fertilization. We couldn’t afford it financially or emotionally at the time. But emotionally we knew we could only do this once.”
IVF is the process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. When the IVF procedure is successful, the process is combined with a procedure known as embryo transfer, which involves physically placing the embryo in the uterus.
After making the decision to try to get pregnant using IVF, the process required a lot of work on the part of the couple to prepare Jacqueline’s body.
“I had to get a series of injections. At some points I would get four a day — two in my stomach and two in my inner thigh,” Jacqueline said. “My husband gave me every single injection.”
To this day Jacqueline marvels at how Reynolds stepped in to give her the injections.
“Reynolds tends to be a bit squeamish and yet he still gave me these injections,” she said.
Both Jacqueline and Reynold relied on each other heavily during the process and admits that it was difficult as they were waiting to receive good news.
“We tried to protect each other from what we were going through and it put a real strain on our relationship,” Jacqueline said. “I don’t think people realize how emotionally draining the whole process is.”
After the whole process, Jacqueline revealed that she and her husband continued travelling and living their life.
“We didn’t stop our life,” she said candidly. “We were very positive throughout the process. Actually I found out I was pregnant while I was in New York.”
“At that point I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We just waited until we’d passed the milestone and then at three months we breathed easier.”
Jacqueline says that after the treatments she had the easiest pregnancy.
“I had retired from work. I was able to swim every day and I ate well,” she said. “I didn’t have to do this and manage a full-time job.
“I had a C-section and was out of the hospital in two days,” she said looking back on the experience.
Now that they have their son, two-year-old Reyne Hendry (which is a combination of her husband’s name and her father’s), Jacqueline couldn’t imagine life without him. Though the process of IVF wasn’t easy, she looks back with delight.
“As a couple, you’ve got to talk to each other,” she said. “I I could not have gone through IVF by myself. My husband was there every step of the way. I know some women do it alone, but I know I couldn’t do it.”