MEET baby Felix – a “miracle” and “lucky” son for York couple Beth Sheriff and Darren Woodhead.
Felix was born after the couple lost five pregnancies in three years.
Beth said: “It was sixth time lucky. He is our little miracle and we could not have asked for more. He has completed our little family.”
They chose the name Felix because it means lucky in Latin.
Beth, 36, who has a 15-year-old son, Joshua, from a previous relationship, said the couple never gave up hope after the ordeal of losing five pregnancies.
Felix was born on June 23 at York Hospital weighing 6lbs 3oz.
The couple’s heartbreak journey began three years ago when they had to terminate a pregnancy because Beth needed emergency surgery on her back. It was an agonising decision, she said, but one they needed to make.
Beth, from Clifton Moor, said: “I had to terminate the pregnancy for my own health. If I didn’t, I was told I would not be able to walk again.”
They kept trying for a baby – but in the next two years endured four miscarriages, including one just before Christmas 2018 when the pregnancy was almost at 12 weeks.
Beth said: “We were planning to tell everyone about the baby at Christmas but I had a miscarriage just three days before. That was so hard.”
Tests revealed that in one of the miscarriages, the foetus had a missing chromosome linked to Turner Syndrome, but there were no explanations for the other three failed pregnancies. Further tests on the couple suggested everything was “normal” and they should be able to conceive and have a healthy baby.
Beth said: “When they can’t tell you why, it is bittersweet. You feel relieved that things are normal, but there is no closure.
“It is so hard to deal with because you don’t know if you are doing anything wrong; there is nothing you can do.
“The worst part is the guilt; you can’t help the guilt process.”
Beth said she wanted to share her story to give other couples hope and break down the taboo surrounding miscarriage.
She said: “It is not something that gets talked about. It is a taboo subject. You will be amazed that even in families people go through it alone.”
And she had this message to people coping with miscarriage: “Never stop trying and never give up hope.”
She said Felix is now 12 weeks old and settling in to family life with big brother Joshua and family dogs Walter and Elmo.
Dad Darren added: “There has been a lot of heartache, but we have got there in the end.”
The couple wished to thank all NHS staff who have helped them along the way.
Miscarriage – fact file
What causes a miscarriage?
There are probably many reasons why a miscarriage may happen, although the cause is not usually identified.
The majority are not caused by anything the mother has done.
It’s thought most miscarriages are caused by abnormal chromosomes in the baby.
Chromosomes are genetic “building blocks” that guide the development of a baby.
If a baby has too many or not enough chromosomes, it will not develop properly.
For most women, a miscarriage is a one-off event and they go on to have a successful pregnancy in the future.
Miscarriage – in numbers
An estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage (1 in 5 if we only count women who realised/reported the miscarriage)
Around 11 in 1,000 pregnancies are ectopic
About 1 in 100 women in the UK experience recurrent miscarriages (three or more in a row)
More than 6 in 10 of women who have a recurrent miscarriage go on to have a successful pregnancy
For more information and support around the topic of miscarriage visit tommys.org.
Tommy’s funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.