A mum who endured four miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy has given birth to a baby boy, after her fertility issues were cured with a course of antibiotics.
Diana Bowden, 39, lost five babies between December 2017 and June 2021, leaving medics baffled.
Devastated, Diana and her partner, Mike Grosvenor, 41, wondered if they’d ever have children.
But after joining a trial for women with recurrent miscarriages, a biopsy revealed that Diana had endometritis – an infection of the uterus with stops embryos from implanting correctly.
She was prescribed a course of antibiotics and within 12 months went on to conceive their first child, Freddie, now three months.
Diana, an account manager at a recruitment company, said: ‘We have had our little rainbow baby.
‘All I’ve ever wanted to be is a mum.
‘I still can’t believe it, I still look over at him and think, “He’s ours”‘.
After meeting though work in May 2018, Diana and Mike both agreed they wanted to try for kids right away.
Just four months after stopping contraception, Diana found out she was pregnant but the 12-week scan revealed she had suffered a miscarriage.
She said: ‘My body had not showed any symptoms of it, but the embryo had stopped growing at six weeks.
‘The most difficult thing was expecting to see a baby on screen, I just couldn’t get my head around it.’
Diana went on to have three more similar missed miscarriages, in August 2019, February 2020 and August 2020.
She said: ‘I couldn’t have any further tests until I’d had three miscarriages, so in April 2020 they did every test possible on us.
‘Mike had his sperm tested and it was fine, and my ovaries and uterus were perfect.
‘We even researched fertility specialists and got lots of second opinions through private testing but they all came back clear.
‘Doctors just told us we were unlucky and to keep trying.’
After falling pregnant for a fifth time, Diana had an ectopic pregnancy and medics were forced to remove her right fallopian in life saving surgery.
Diana said: ‘That was quite a horrendous one.
‘They didn’t know if it was an ectopic pregnancy or not first, and said they would have to do keyhole surgery and find out.
‘Because my right fallopian tube had ruptured they had to remove it.
‘I’d been quite strong throughout all my losses, and I’d had faith and hope, but after my ectopic pregnancy that was the first time I had started to lose hope.
‘I was losing part of my anatomy and I was getting older too.
‘I never thought I’d be able to have a baby, I was looking into surrogacy and adoption because I was getting to the point where I didn’t think it would happen.’
After their ordeal, the couple spoke to Tommy’s, the baby loss charity, which set Diana up on a trial to help discover the cause of her miscarriages.
The mum-of-one said: ‘The specialist said they were doing trials all the time, so she’d put in a referral to see if they could help us.
‘It was a relief to finally be getting proper help as we felt like we were totally alone before that.
‘We travelled to their research centre where they took two biopsies from the lining of my womb in October and November 2020.’
A month later the results came back as positive for endometritis.
Diana said: ‘They explained that this meant my embryos couldn’t implant, and that could potentially be why I was losing my babies every time at six weeks.
‘When they first told me I had endometritis I didn’t think much of it. It was good they found something, but I didn’t think anything would come of it.
‘In January 2021, I was put on a course of the doxycycline antibiotics for 14 days, taking one tablet every day.’
Due to it being a trial, medics where uncertain was to what the outcome would be – but they assured Diana that so far, the success rate was high.
Diana had to wait three months after taking the course of antibiotics before she could begin trying for another baby.
Diana and Mike were about to begin the early stages of NHS IVF when they discovered Diana had fallen pregnant.
Diana said: ‘I’d just had a blood test for the IVF treatment, and Mike had had his semen analysed when I fell pregnant.
‘It took a year after the trial to conceive, and I expected the worst as I did before.
‘But low and behold at every scan there was a heartbeat.
‘At my 12-week scan I was told I’d ovulated from my right side too, so the egg would have had to travel to my other fallopian tube to work, which was a miracle in itself.’
Having experienced so much loss before, Diana was worried for the future.
She says: ‘The stress and anxiety was horrendous, at every scan I was expecting them to say we’d lost it.’
Then, on 20 December 2022, Diana was admitted to hospital, where she was induced into after her blood pressure was deemed dangerously high.
She said: ‘I was taken to the delivery suite and had an emergency c-section as the baby’s heart rate was too high.
‘I was so scared thinking, “What if he’s not alive”.
‘It was a massive relief as soon as I saw his face, I just needed to hear him cry and then I relaxed.’
Diana and Mike’s son, Freddie Grosvenor, was born at 10.20pm weighing 9lbs 8oz.
She said: ‘Seeing him was a massive relief but I still worry about him at every moment.
‘I love him to death but it’s never going to leave me.
‘It feels amazing to finally be a mum, it’s still not sunk in.
‘A course of antibiotics cured my infertility, and I owe everything to Tommy’s.
‘I’m still in awe.’
Now, Diana wants to help remove the stigma of baby loss.
She says: ‘We went through so much heartache to have him, at times I felt really alone.
‘I think the most important thing is to talk. Don’t be ashamed of it. I didn’t talk about it for so long but the awareness needs to be out there.
‘I want other women struggling to know there is hope.’
Due to a lack of numbers, Tommy’s CERM trial has now stopped, but Diana is fundraising throughout March, walking 8,000 steps a day with Freddie, to raise money and awareness for the charity that helped her.
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