When a same-sex couple in Arizona managed to have a baby after years of IVF treatment and a number of miscarriages, they decided to celebrate the birth of their child with a picture that encapsulated their family’s journey.
The photo, created by Samantha Packer, of Packer Family Photography, shows Patricia and Kimberly O’Neil’s newborn baby surrounded by hundreds of needles shaped in a heart.
The photo was shared on the Packer Family Photography Facebook page with the message: “Mom said, ‘Four years, seven attempts, three miscarriages and 1,616 shots’.”
The couple, who married in January last year, had been trying to conceive since 2014. Kimberly told Sky News they spent $40,000 (£31,260) and made seven attempts to get pregnant during this time, which saw them endure three miscarriages and two rounds of Intrauterine insemination (IUI), before being recommended IVF, according to Sky News.
The third miscarriage was particularly difficult for the couple as they had heard their child’s hearbeat and knew the gender. Patricia told CNN: “We were excited. We went in to eight weeks in and we knew it was a boy.
“We saw the heart beat and then we went at 11 weeks and the the heartbeat had stopped.” She said she was at breaking point by this time, but the couple worked through it to try again.
Patricia had already discovered she has a blood clotting condition called Factor V Leiden, which can cause a higher risk of developing blood clots during pregnancy, but after the last miscarriage they found a new doctor who recommended IVF. The doctor also discovered other factors that contribute to recurrent miscarriages, CNN reported, such as an enzyme deficiency and inflammation markers.
The 1,616 needles seen in the photo represent the shots that 30-year-old Patricia had to take every day, which was a combination of blood thinners lovenox and progesterone, and were saved by Kimberley throughout the process.
While Kimberly and Patricia thought the photo would serve as personal symbol of the years it took to have baby London, the picture has now been shared over 63,000 times on Facebook.
“We wanted to create a memory to remember the babies we lost and the incredible journey we fought through,” Kimberly told Sky News. She said she hopes the photograph can somehow help and inspire other parents struggling to conceive.
Other parents shared their own IVF struggles. Mandy Fagiano posted a photo of her baby with the caption: “We were fortunate to get pregnant on our first try with IVF, so we didn’t have that many needles.. so I thought this would be a heart touching picture!”