I love being a newborn baby photographer and have met and photographed a lot of babies! I have never met a family with a story like Emma’s that has touched me so much.
This beautiful little girl came into visit us in the studio at 39 days old. She was born 5 weeks early and spent a few days in the NICU. We decided to postpone Emma’s session due to complications after her birth and to let her get to her due date, so she would be stronger. I could not wait to meet this family. I knew they had quite a journey, but didn’t know the whole story. When we finally met in person, I fell in love with them. They absolutely adore their baby girl and she was the sweetest little girl, with the prettiest blue eyes and red hair. She had such an angelic way about her. She gave us lots of smiles throughout her session, almost like she knew I love capturing baby smiles, but really I think it is because she knows how loved and wanted she is.
Mom & Dad…they love her so much. You can just feel the love and pride they have in their beautiful baby daughter. They told me how they went to New York to do fertility treatments and she was actually conceived in New York! She IS truly a miracle baby.
I asked Mom if she would like to share the story of their journey and she graciously agreed. Grab a tissue…
“1,095 days, 26,280 minutes, 872 shots, 7,029 miles driven, tens of thousands of dollars, and millions of tears. This is how many days, minutes, injections, miles driven to a New York fertility clinic, money spent on fertility treatments, and all the tears we cried alone in silence. We are the 1 in 8 of couples in the country that struggled to conceive.
Our journey began in the beginning of 2015, like most couples we thought conceiving our first child would be so easy, throw out the birth control and BAM pregnant. Well we quickly learned it would not be that easy. After six months of actively trying to conceive I visited my gynecologist. A few test were done and nothing unusual for myself or my husband was discovered. We were told to try for another six months and come back. Another six months dragged on with the same ending each month not pregnant. A year after beginning trying to conceive we sought treatment from a Reproductive Endocrinologist in Michigan. The first visit was so overwhelming and scary. We again had more testing and was told again that nothing abnormal came up on any tests. However, since we had been trying to conceive for over a year we had now been labeled “undiagnosed infertility”. I am not sure which was worse the undiagnosed (so no real explanation) or the word infertile. We tried a couple treatments with this doctor and happily conceived with our second round of Intrauterine insemination (IUI). Our excitement was short lived as I miscarried at 6 weeks. After trying this procedure 3 more times and spending well over $10,000 in total we both needed a break. I began doing research into other options. I stumbled upon a fertility clinic in New York called CNY Fertility. They offer low cost IVF options and had amazing reviews. I booked my appointment and before you knew it our IVF journey began.
Most people believe that IVF is a guarantee to have a baby or worse yet viewed as an “octomom” scenario. The reality is that IVF actually only has about a 30% chance of ending with a successful pregnancy with each embryo you transfer. Most insurances will not cover any cost associated with IVF so your basically taking tens of thousands of dollars and risking it on a 30% chance of success. The money is obviously a huge deal when we decided to go this route, but the emotional turmoil of gambling to have a child is even worse. It was more likely that we would spend all this money and still be childless.
We began our cycle in May 2017, I had already been supplementing with nine different type of vitamins since January and lost 25 lbs doing a fertility diet called KETO. The daily injections I had to give myself where honestly not as bad as I imagined. My dire desire to have a child out weighed all fears I had of needles. I gave myself 5-7 injections daily for 3 months straight. I was basically a walking pin cushion. When it was time for my egg retrieval I was over the moon that they had retrieved 8 eggs. The next day we were informed that all of the eggs were mature and 7 fertilized. By the end of the third day we still had 7 going strong and decided to stop growing them and freeze the embryos. A month later we transferred 2 of these embryos. The waiting for ten days to find out if your pregnant was the longest and most stressful ten days of my life. I cried, prayed, laughed, and planned what move we would make next if this didn’t work. I knew the odds were not in our favor, and I kept taking myself to that dark place in my mind that said “what if you never have children” On the tenth day I got a very faint positive pregnancy test, I literally dropped to my knees in my bathroom and cried for 20 minutes. I have never felt pure joy and pure terror at the same time. All I could think about was what if I miscarry again?
The following day I got a blood test that confirmed I was pregnant but my numbers were low. I knew again that this was not a good scenario and I had been down this road before. I had to wait 48 hours to have another blood test that confirmed my worst fears my numbers where declining and I was most likely miscarrying. I just couldn’t believe that the world could be so cruel and unfair. All I kept thinking is what did I do to deserve this? My doctor wanted me to go back for a 3rd blood draw to make sure my numbers were continuing to decline. Another two days later I went back for my 3rd blood draw. I was completely shocked when I received a phone call that my numbers had actually increased properly. I was baffled, I had already come to terms with the fact that I was miscarrying and was planning for our next transfer. The only explanation that the nurse could offer was since we had transferred two embryos perhaps both took originally but now only one was continuing to grow and the other one stopped. This is called a “vanishing twin” scenario.
I had to wait a full weekend for the next blood test, which showed another huge increase. My pregnancy was progressing! At my 7-week ultrasound it was confirmed that I indeed had a vanishing twin as another sac was discovered but had not grown.
Each week I was pregnant relieved more and more stress. I hated that I couldn’t enjoy my pregnancy because of the constant fear that it was going to be taken from me. Every ultrasound, blood draw, doctor’s appointment was filled with fear.
My baby girl Emma arrived via c-section on March 5th, 2018. She was born early at 35 weeks due to a condition that I had called Vasa Previa*. The aftermath of her birth was almost as heartbreaking as trying to conceive her. I had lost a lot of blood during the c-section and became extremely ill. Emma however was my little trooper and only spend 3 days in NICU before coming to my room.
I would like to say that my journey is unique and that thankfully most do not have to go through the obstacles my husband and I did to conceive. However, the reality is that there are thousands of women just like me. We are one of the lucky ones that IVF was successful for. Unfortunately, there are still so many women struggling without success.
Every time I look at my daughter I am full of such gratitude and love, but also so sadden for others who have not been as lucky as us.”
What an incredible journey. With everything against them, they didn’t give up.
She is truly a gift from God and although the journey was a long, emotional one, I believe she chose you both to be her parents.
You already are amazing parents and she will grow up feeling the love you have for her and how truly wanted she is. Thank you for choosing me to capture these sweet memories for you. I feel honored to have been able to share in a little bit of your journey. Being a newborn baby photographer is the best job I have ever had and really doesn’t feel like a job. It is truly my passion to help tell the story of a new life.
For more information on vasa previa visit The International Vasa Previa Foundation at http://vasaprevia.com/Vasa-Previa-Fact-Sheet
To visit the CNY fertility clinic website https://www.cnyfertility.com/