TALK about lucky number seven — after seven years and six previous failed pregnancies, Sabrina Rodriguez finally has the chance to hold her much-longed for baby.
Her battle to become a mother has not only been torturous, it has risked her life.
And they even almost lost baby Levi, who was born premature and still has to learn how to breathe unassisted before they can finally take him home.
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, but Levi is a real fighter. It’s absolutely been worth it. It is such a blessing to have this precious gift from God,” Mrs Rodriguez said.
Mrs Rodriguez’s husband Manny paid tribute to his wife calling her a “champion, an amazing woman”.
“Her resilience and determination has been rewarded, Levi is a miracle,” Mr Rodriguez said.
The couple’s astonishing journey began in 2011, just a year after they married, with a miscarriage.
In 2013 she fell pregnant again but this time she had an ectopic pregnancy, where the foetus grows in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.
This can lead to a rupture and even death, so her left fallopian tube was removed along with the seven-week-old foetus.
With one tube remaining, there was still hope for a natural pregnancy but, after one ectopic pregnancy, the odds of another are high.
In September 2013 she had another ectopic pregnancy but actually miscarried. The following year she miscarried again.
In 2015, she discovered her remaining fallopian tube was enlarged and would cause future problems so the couple had 10 eggs retrieved, six of which were fertilised.
Finally Mrs Rodriguez fell pregnant with the first embryo but, 15 weeks in, disaster struck.
Her amniotic sac holding the baby began to leak. Four weeks later it was discovered the baby had no amniotic fluid, so chances of survival were minimal. She was induced and her perfect tiny baby was born too soon, too small with no chance of survival.
“It was heartbreaking but then I fell pregnant again naturally but got my third ectopic pregnancy and had to have my right tube removed,” Mrs Rodriguez said.
IVF was the couple’s last hope but the next embryo implanted also miscarried at five weeks.
Last November, another embryo was implanted.
At 27 weeks and three days, she went into labour three months premature because it turned out her placenta had an infection.
But this time Levi entered the world weighing just over 1kg.
Now four weeks old, or 32 weeks corrected (as he should still be in the womb) Levi weighs just 1.3kg and has the task of growing and learning to breathe unassisted before he can go home.
“To have Levi breathing and kicking and eating, even if he is premature, it has been worth the challenge and the trials and it’s a huge blessing, it leaves you speechless,” Mrs Rodriguez said.
Royal Hospital for Women Neonatalogist Dr Srinivas Bolisetty said previous ectopic pregnancies can double the risk of premature birth but Levi, despite his prematurity, was doing well.
“He has made a good progress so far. He has gone through some of the typical hurdles that preterm babies born this early. We expect him to make a steady progress. He will come off breathing support in a few weeks and start breast feeding in three to four weeks. We expect him to continue to grow and hopefully will be ready to go home around the due date,” Dr Bolisetty said.