38-year old Stephanie Maundrell-Merritt had given up hope for having a baby after suffering eight miscarriages. But miraculously, on New Year’s Day 2015, Stephanie gave birth to a healthy baby girl who she named Ophelia Hope.
She said, “All we had was hope – that’s why her middle name is Hope. I look at her and see she’s the reason the others didn’t go right because without the miscarriages she wouldn’t be here. It’s still hard to believe that I’ve become a mum again! It only dawned on me that I was having my baby when I was actually in labour!”
Prior to having Ophelia, Stephanie and her husband lost every baby they conceived between six and 12 weeks and agreed to stop trying to expand their family. The couple had decided that they were at peace with the reality that they would never have children. Stephanie said, “We weren’t going to have our own child and you’re trying to move on with your life.” She added, “…I got to a point where I said ‘I can’t do this any more’. We just said ‘we have tried everything’.”
Her husband explained that it was incredibly difficult, especially because doctors couldn’t find out why Stephanie was miscarrying. He said, “There was no reason for it, there’s a grey area and it happens so often. We had hard times, it’s obviously not been plain sailing. Physically it’s not happening to you as a man so you don’t have that connection. It was different for me as you’re seeing your partner go through it. It got to the point where we just stopped telling our families what was happening.”
When they found out they were pregnant with Ophelia, they didn’t tell anyone and had scans every two weeks to check in on their developing baby. Now their infant daughter is doing well and developing normally. Stephanie said, “It doesn’t take away what we went through, but there’s a reason why she’s here and a reason why it all happened.”
Additionally, Stephanie commented on what it’s been like being a new mom. “You don’t complain – you just have to get on with it. She keeps me up at night but I don’t care at all. She could be sick on me, I don’t care, because she’s here. Even as dark as it can get there will always be hope and light and the end of the tunnel,” said Stephanie.
According to the Daily Express, Sarah Tomley from the Ipswich and Suffolk branch of the Miscarriage Association applauded Stephanie for her bravery and perseverance. She said, “Stephanie knows we are all extremely thrilled for her. It’s amazing she has managed to go through this. It takes a great deal of bravery to do what she’s done and she’s an extraordinary woman.”