It took four years, three miscarriages, and 1,616 IVF shots to make the perfect baby photo happen for one couple from Arizona.
Patricia and Kimberly O'Neill welcomed their rainbow baby London on Aug. 3, 2018 and they knew that they wanted to pay homage to their difficult journey of becoming a family of three, which took years filled with both emotional and physical struggles.
Recruiting photographer Samantha Packer, of Packer Family Photography, the couple received the photo of their dreams on Aug. 10: their baby girl swaddled in rainbow and surrounded by the 1,616 IVF shots it took to conceive her, all laid out to frame baby London in a heart.
“This is the first time I have been asked to do a photo like this! I was honored and wanted to create something special!” the photographer. Packer Family Photography, captioned the photo on Facebook. “Mom said, ‘4 years, 7 attempts, 3 miscarriages and 1,616 shots.’”
“We just wanted something to symbolize the end of our long journey," Kimberly told Today of the photo. “We were both tearing up in the studio watching (as the picture was taken)."
The couple, who each had a child from a previous relationship, had begun attempting to expand their family in February of 2013 with Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), in which donor sperm was placed inside Patricia's uterus. While the couple initially “thought it was going to be pretty easy,” the journey was much longer and much more difficult than either of them had expected.
When Intrauterine Insemination didn’t work, the O’Neill’s switch doctors and strategies, this time opting for egg retrieval, which resulted in 20 eggs successfully retrieved for fertilization, five of which were deemed potential embryos. However, “right around the six-week mark she miscarried.”
“We were heartbroken, but we weren’t completely discouraged,” Kimberly said, adding that they tried again with a second embryo, which ended with a miscarriage just eight weeks later.
After Patricia was diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder called Factor V Leiden, which can lead to miscarriages, the couple experienced several more miscarriages until, in December of 2017, they received news of another pregnancy, one that eventually led to the birth of their daughter.
“Up until the day of delivery we were on the edge of our seats," Kimberly said, recalling how her wife had kept every IVF needle it took to conceive London, as she had envisioned the portrait that Samantha Packer was able to bring to life.
The couple decided to share the portrait because “there are so many women that are in some form of situation like that who have a feeling of hopelessness and they look at someone who has been through it and they realize that there is hope there."