Baby parties are nothing new these days but this one was a party with a difference.
Calderdale Royal Hospital’s dining room was filled with emotional but delighted parents who feared they might never hear the patter of tiny feet and the gurgle of contented laughs.
The occasion was the 16th annual party for families who have been cared for by the assisted conception unit in what has been the busiest ever year for the team.
Due to its excellent reputation the clinics at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital have cared for 737 new couples in the past year – the highest ever – and the unit has continued to expand its nursing staff.
Among those in party mood were Huddersfield Methodist minister Deborah Hopkinson and husband Andrew with their 15-week-old twins Jennifer and Abigail and big sister Susannah, who is three.
All were conceived at the same time but little Jennifer and Abigail were frozen embryos and arrived three years later.
Deborah, minister at Mount, Outlane, Parkwood and Bradley, and resident of Lindley, said: “ The staff were with us every step of the way as there were some tough times.
“After we had Susannah we didn’t really expect to be lucky enough to be successful again so we were over the moon when we told we were having twins.”
And for Laura and Dave Willimot it was an emotional return to Calderdale Royal Hospital with 13-month-old Austin.
Laura, from Fenay Bridge, said: “ Coming back here brought it all back as this was where we had our treatment. But it’s been lovely, really special.”
Rosie and Tilly Eastwood, aged 14 months, were born at the second attempt after parents Emma and Paul from Golcar had been told there might be little chance of success.
The twins were born eight weeks early and spent the first five weeks in the Special Care Baby unit.
Emma said: “ We have all been looked after amazingly well. From start to the finish it was an amazing experience.”
The Calderdale Assisted Conception Unit prides itself in embracing new and advancing technologies.
For example, couples are benefiting from embryoscope monitoring where photographs are taken every 10 minutes of the developing embryo.
This determines which is the strongest for implantation to improve the chances of becoming pregnant.
On average this has a 10%-20% higher chance of conception and this continues to enhance the conception rates which are traditionally among the highest in the country.
The unit even had couples travel from Europe to stay with friends in Halifax throughout their care as they had heard such good things about the care.
Sister Helen Marvell, said: “We are nurse-led and very proud of our teamwork and our close bonds with our families.
“For us, every couple is special and we deliver the treatment which is unique to them.
“It’s lovely for us to see our mums and dads and their children from years gone by and also to welcome some of our newest babies back for a party.”
Unit head Martin DeBono said: “ This day is always a pleasure for me and the team. We know it’s not always happy news for our families but when it is, it is always special.”
Want to read, watch and hear more? You can download the FREE Examiner Apple App here, the FREE Examiner Android App here or you can view the paper as an e-edition on your Apple, Android or Kindle device by clicking here
To follow us on Twitter click here