When Point Cook parents Mali and Yvette Ozkavak celebrate their daughter Ella’s first birthday next month, the day will be about much more than cake and presents.
For Mr and Mrs Ozkavak, Ella was a “miracle” baby.
After two rounds of IVF, Mrs Ozkavak fell pregnant naturally at the age of 45.
“When we got pregnant we were so happy, excited and over the moon,” Mrs Ozkavak said.
But the couple was devastated when a test showed there was a 99 per cent likelihood that their baby would be born with the chromosomal condition Trisomy 18, also known an Edwards Syndrome.
There is no cure for Trisomy 18, which can cause severe developmental delays. Children diagnosed with it sometimes die within their first year of life.
Mrs Ozkavak said that after the test results doctors “pressured” her to terminate the pregnancy. But the couple was determined to have a child.
“Even if she’s sick, if she only has one hour, we wanted her to have love for that one hour,” Mrs Ozkavak said.
The couple was also encouraged by the fact that all of Ella’s ultrasounds showed she was developing normally, although signs of Trisomy 18 are often spotted during the procedure.
In March last year, when she was 38 weeks pregnant, Mrs Ozkavak gave birth to Ella, a perfectly healthy little girl.
“When the doctor said, ‘You have a healthy baby girl, she definitely doesn’t have Trisomy 18,’ it was probably the happiest moment of my life,” Mrs Ozkavak said.
She said she had spoken out about her experiences to “empower” women to trust themselves and do their research, or get second opinions when it comes to issues with pregnancy and their health.