Infertility in the bush

Host: Umbearra Station

Every year we conduct two rounds of mustering. These two rounds of mustering, depending on season conditions, can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to complete.

We muster our cattle via trapping and mustering with planes and helicopters. Trapping the cattle at watering points is our preferred option due to lower stress levels for the cattle. Part of our herd management strategy here at Umbearra is a controlled mating programme for the maiden heifers (young females having their first calf).

We them join our heifers with bull brought specifically for them, they are given a mating window of 6-8 weeks. They are then preg-tested using a Repro-scanner to pick up a pregnancy as early as 28 days. What heifers that have fallen pregnant in the given time frame are tagged with their year of conception and put out into our breeder paddocks and those that have not fallen pregnant we sell. After 17 years of controlled mating we can expect up to 90% pregnancy rates in our maiden heifers.

However, for us to start our own family was not as easy. We were soon to discover that there was a long road ahead of us. This was the beginning of our fertility treatment journey.

After a few years went by with no sign of a pregnancy, we decided our best option was to meet with a fertility specialist in Adelaide. We were soon set to go with our first round of clomid treatment. With a box full of injections and a handful of trips into Alice Springs for scans and blood tests we were pretty keen to get our family on the way. Angus and the crew had a few days of cattle work coming up and we thought we had some time up our sleeves, so off they went to camp for a few nights.

A few hours had passed since they left and I received a phone call from our doctor that our scan and blood results came back early, and that it was time to “bed down”.  What bad timing that was as Angus had already just left. I had two options, drive out 60km to where they where working or call him on the radio.

So, I picked up the radio knowing our staff were also in the other vehicles listening so I call out to them first:

“David do you have a copy?”

with a reply of

“Yeah, Kim I got you”

“I need to talk to Angus but I need you to turn off your radio”

The radio went quiet and then I called out to Angus

“You got a copy Gus??

and with a reply

“Yer I got ya”

I told him

“Tonight’s the night, you need to come home ASAP!”

I would have hated to be in his shoes telling the crew that mustering was called off and he needed to return home.

Safe to say it was all worth the shame and we had the best results of a healthy pregnancy in the making. On July 14th 2014 we welcomed a tiny little boy Oliver Laurence into our family.

 Five days later our little boy was born.

 Angus and Ollie having a catch up over a coffee break.

After 6 months of being parents to our beautiful little boy, Ollie as we call him, it was time to try again to complete our family. We knew we could do it once so we thought the second time around with fertility treatment would be a breeze, how we were very wrong.

After 6 Clomid cycles with no success, our hopes of having another child where fading away. At this point it was where we decided we should try our first round of IVF. With two rounds of hormone injections and egg collections this journey was on a whole new level.

After we had 6 failed Clomid cycles and 3 failed cycles of IVF we decided that we would have one more try at it. After 37,000km of trips to town and Adelaide for appointments, the emotional and financial roller coaster ride were taking its toll. At this point we had realised we were fortunate enough to be proud parents to a beautiful little boy and accepted that this would be our last attempt to give Ollie a sibling and another child for us to love.

We had our final transfer and two weeks later we received the best news. It was a success!

Our little girl was born 30thJanuary 2018, her name is Millie Elizabeth.

Angus and I are blessed with a little boy and a sweet little girl, and excited to tell you all a third baby will be joining our family in November this year. Completely natural and loved beyond words.

 Ollie riding shotgun with Mum.

 Ollie Enjoying a milo over Smoko.

 Dad’s right hand man helping him clean our a trough.

 A girl and her boots.