(By Hannah Phillips, MagazineFeatures.co.za)
A former alcoholic who downed 24 bottles of beer and two bottles of wine per day has had an IVF baby after giving up booze.
Heather Ogburn Stokes, 36, had been an alcoholic since she was just 11 years old and thought she’d never be able to have children of her own as her health had started to decline.
And after six miscarriages, Heather and husband, Justin, 36, thought their lifelong dreams of beginning a family were doomed forever.
However, the couple’s wishes finally came true last year after Heather decided to ditch the booze and look into IVF. Heather of Houston, Texas, gave birth to daughter, Alice, in May this year. “Alice is amazing, she’s sassy and sweet. It was a tough pregnancy but she was worth it.”
Heather, who now runs a treatment centre for addicts, said: “I was an alcoholic since I was 11.
“I drank to numb pain, it was my solution and I couldn’t control it. I would drink 24 beers and two bottles of wine every day. My health was declining and I was fighting for my life. Even my first miscarriage didn’t stop me.”
Heather decided to stop drinking in 2011 after she was arrested for driving under the influence when she totalled her car.
“I’ve been given another chance in life,” says Heather. “One way or another I wanted to be a mother.”
“I had my first miscarriage in 2010,” recalls Heather. “I was in an unhealthy relationship with my ex fiancé and I wasn’t healthy myself so I thought the loss was down to that. It was devastating and I blamed myself. I had a few conversations with God.”
“I had two more miscarriages and thought it’s not meant to be, but I cherished and honoured them and thought they were my angels.”
Eventually she managed to leave the unhealthy relationship and met Justin.
“I got my life together and we got married.”
Heather discovered she was pregnant again on their wedding night, but she sadly miscarried for a fourth time.
She had two more miscarriages before she started researching IVF. “The doctors found that I had clotting and I started to get discouraged because I had got pregnant on my own, I just couldn’t carry them.”
“I thought there was a reason we were going through this and just left it up to God.”
After one IVF treatment, Heather fell pregnant and was able to carry the baby to full term.
“Now I’ve got Alice, she’s my miracle girl. I thank God every day for my beautiful miracle child.”