Kimberly and Patricia are two women who shared the same dream: to grow their blended family by delivering a biological child together. The only thing missing was an egg, but finding one that wasn’t going to break—their wallets, patience or hearts—would prove to be harder than they anyone could imagine.
The payoff, on the other hand, was a beautiful baby girl and a powerful reminder of what they went through together to get her.
Meet London, the sweetest little in vitro fertilization (IVF) face you've ever laid eyes on. One might even go so far as to say she's a dream come true. In fact, that's exactly what the happy couple thought the day she was born, and they wanted to shout it from the rooftops because, as Kimberly puts it, “A fertility journey is unlike anything we have ever experienced.”
With the help of a local photographer—Samantha at Packer Family Photography—the couple created a visual story of strength, courage, beauty and perseverance. The way they chose to do it, however, has raised a lot of eyebrows on social media.
Kimberly and Patricia did not ask Samantha for an average family photo; they asked her to photograph London, swaddled in a lush array of purple, blue, orange, pink and yellow, while lying in the center of a heart-shaped pile of IVF syringes.
“She jumped at the challenge when we showed up for the shoot,” said Kimberly. “I almost cried. I knew it was going to be perfect.”
After the shoot, Samantha, who wore a strap around her neck, preventing the camera from falling, shared this photo on her Facebook page, along with a note: "This is the first time I have been asked to do a photo like this," she wrote. "I was honored and wanted to create something special! Mom said, '4 years, 7 attempts, 3 miscarriages and 1,616 shots.'"
And she wasn't joking.
Samantha later commented about the syringes underneath the photo: "The mother brought in all of them, she used every single one and saved them over the last 4 years.”
The couple, who thought having a child was going to be easy, told Mom.me exactly what led to their photograph.
"We pick a doner, do a round of IUI and in nine months, we will have our baby!" said Kimberly "Boy, were we wrong!"
After the first two rounds of IUI had failed, the couple switched gears and found a new doctor. This time, they were going to try IVF.
"We started the process of egg retrieval when we got in the office for the procedure." But, soon after, the doctor came out and told them it had failed. Crushed, but still determined, they went back the next month.
"Success! We got 20 eggs!" said Kimberly, and five of them were healthy embryos—three girls and two boys.
They did the first transfer and were immediately notified that the results were positive, but after six short weeks, they lost the baby. The same thing happened with the second egg, only this one lasted a bit longer (eight weeks). That’s when their doctor ran genetic testing and found out that Patricia had Factor V Leiden, an inherited blood disorder that’s thought to cause blood clots in the placenta.
Excited to try again, they went in for a third time, using blood thinners to overcome the problem. Sadly, it did not work, but the fourth attempt brought better news: The couple was pregnant.
"At 8 weeks, we saw his little heartbeat!" recalled Kimberly, but when they went in for a checkup at 11 weeks, his tiny heart was no longer beating.
"We stopped at that point. We almost gave up. We knew we have one embryo left and if we didn’t transfer it, we would have to discard it—there was no way!"
Kimberly said they took a small break and found a third doctor; one who specialized in Patricia's disorder.
"He was like a mad scientist," joked Kimberly. "He had Patricia on a crazy diet and more pills then I could count, but we trusted him."
On December 8, 2017, the couple went in for a final embryo transfer.
"We found out we were pregnant less then a week later," said Kimberly. "Each visit, we were on the edge of our seat, waiting for something bad to happen. Each visit was just as scary as the last. Patricia did progesterone injections until about 12 weeks but continued blood thinners the entire pregnancy. Then August 3, 2018, our miracle arrived!"
The rest, they say, is history.