Mum-of-two loses six stone and endures six IVF rounds to get ‘dream family’
A determined woman has finally got her "dream family" after losing six stone and going through six rounds of IVF treatment.
Marie Hooper and her husband Steve spent a whopping £15,000 on treatment since 2013 and suffered the "heartbreaking" pain of a miscarriage.
The couple were brokenhearted six years ago when, after nine months of trying, doctors said they wouldn't be able to conceive naturally, with some medically professionally suggested they'd never have kids.
The 33-year-old former hairdresser was advised by someone at work to look into IVF treatment, leading her to book a consultation in September 2013.
But Marie's renewed hope turned to heartache once again when a doctor said her weight would prevent her from undergoing the treatment.
She had already gone from 18 stone to 15 stone since the start of the year, but was told to lose another three before being eligible for an NHS IVF.
"It was so frustrating to hear I needed to do more, especially because exercising wasn't something I enjoyed doing," she said.
"But I was really motivated, I knew it was what I had to do in order to give me and my husband a baby, which is all we wanted."
Marie continued to swap pizzas for peanuts and kebabs for kale, as well as using an exercise bike at home, to eventually reach her target weight of 12 stone at the start of 2015.
She credits much of her success to Slimming World, which she joined in 2013 when her weight loss journey begun.
The couple had their first attempt at IVF treatment in March that year, but it failed.
Marie said: " That was a really awful thing to go through but I knew it was a possibility so we decided to try again really soon."
Just two months later she found out she was pregnant following a second attempt at treatment.
In February 2016 the couple's first child, James, was born in their hometown of Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
Marie and Steve, a 35-year-old bus driver, say James's arrival was a "dream come true" following three years of suffering.
"We had both been through so much to get to that point so to finally have had a baby felt amazing," Marie said.
"It was the end of a really long and difficult journey but I knew that I wanted to give it another go and try for a second.
"I wanted James to have a sibling. A sibling is like your best friend and I wanted to have that for him."
But the process second time round proved to be even more painful than the first.
On Marie's third and fourth attempts at treatment her body failed to respond to the drugs and her fifth, in 2017, resulted in a miscarriage.
She said: "After the fifth attempt, that was the worst month of my life. I was devastated. I felt so depressed I didn't want to be with anybody.
"But after a few days, I decided I wanted to do it again. I was determined."
The couple had already spent £9,000 on IVF and didn't have any money left, so crowdfunded for financial support.
To their surprise the public donated a whopping £6,000, which enabled them to give treatment another go.
In March 2018, Marie got the brilliant news she was pregnant again and that December her youngest son Jack was born.
Marie said: "Going through IVF is like going through the world's longest labour.
"It's so, so difficult because of the dramatic ups and downs.
"We'd hear good news one day then have it taken away the next, so it was hard to ever be happy.
"I felt like I had been cheated because all I wanted to do in life was to be a mum and I had to fight for it."
She added: "Looking at the family I have now makes me so, so happy.
"It's taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears but in the end it's all been worth it.
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