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Success Stories

Family finds hope in test tube

A Langley Township firefighter has gone from three alarm fire calls to 3am feedings, after he and his wife experienced the miracle of birth through in vitro fertilization.

by Erin McKay reporter - Langley Advance

Sam and Carmen Klassen's live changed forever on January 30, 2001. That was the day Carmen gave birth to the couples twins, Josh and Martie.

For the Klassens it was a dream come true, the culmination of 11 years of heartache, hope and tears. It was a miracle made possible through in vitro fertilization, and the Langley couples hopes their story will give faith to others.

Sometimes I feel like I'm living someone else's life. It seems so unbelievable to me that I could be so blessed. It's like an amazing dream that I don't have to wake up from. - Jan. 9

When Carmen knew she was finally pregnant, she began writing a journal that she will one day pass on to her children. She wants them to know how badly she and their father wanted children, and the lengths they went to have them.

Carmen a legal assistant, and Sam, a Langley Township firefighter who also works for the City of Burnaby, have been married for 12 years.

"Since the beginning, we tried for babies," said Carmen. But she had a disease called endometriosis, a painful condition that affects the Fallopian tubes, and prevented her from getting pregnant despite three surgeries.

"There was a lot of disappointment" said Sam. "We tried to make excuses to make ourselves feel better."

Without children to look after, the Klassens would treat themselves to trips and tell themselves they were happy. Inside, though, they felt a sense of loss when family members and friends had babies or threw birthday parties for their kids.

For a while they thought about adopting, but found the process took too long and was too expensive.

There aren't any words to describe how blessed I feel every time one of you moves inside of me. Every kick or nudge I feel reminds me of how great a miracle you both are. - Dec. 22

When the Klassens' family doctor suggested in vitro fertilization - a test tube baby - Carmen and Sam found new hope.

They were sent to see Dr. Cheung at the UBC clinic. Often it takes more than one attempt for fertilization to take place, and the Klassens started saving up their money, forgoing new cars and doing without vacations.

The first time, nothing happened. The second time Carmen almost died. Sam had been driving Carmen to the UBC clinic. She was not feeling well, and Sam who has first aid training, reached over to check Carmen's pulse. There was none.

Sam knew his wife had gone into shock, called 911 and met an ambulance on the side of the freeway.

Carmen was pregnant, but it was an ectopic pregnancy. The baby was growing in her tube, not in the uterus, and Carmen was bleeding internally. She regained consciousness to hear nurses discussing how remarkable it was that she hadn't died. She had lost half her blood and been given a half-hour to live.

Carmen lost one of her Fallopian tubes, leaving her with fifty percent less chance of conceiving, but she and Sam wanted to try again.

"Everyone else was terrified, but I wasn't," she recalled, noting that her family was angry she was risking her life to try again.

But in the end they respected her decision. In fact, Carmen's mother helped come up with the money to pay for the next attempt.

This time it worked, and Josh and Martie are the result.

"Grandma owns one of them," laughed Carmen, joking that the babies were paid for by VISA.



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