Powerful Photo Of Baby Surrounded By 1,616 IVF Needles Shows Couple's Fertility Struggle
One of the most devastating things you could possibly learn about yourself is that you are unable to have a child. Of course, it all depends on your own personal perspective and whether you even wanted to have children in the first place, but if you planned for children in your future, then discovering that it may never happen for you can be heartbreaking.
There is something very harsh about the idea that your choice to have a child - one of the most natural things in the world - has essentially been robbed from you. The possibility that starting a family could end up in years of fruitless fertility treatments is a scary one.
But it is one that many parents from around the world go through all so they can have a little one of their own.
When Patricia and Kimberly O'Neill finally welcomed their first child in August 2018, they couldn't have felt more fortunate. The doting parents had been struggling to conceive for over four years before the eventual birth of their daughter, London O'Neill.
Naturally, they wanted to do something special to mark this momentous occasion without brushing aside all the effort, the struggle, and the pain it took for them to finally realise their dream of starting a family together.
So Patricia and Kimberly O’Neill shared the most heartwarming photo of their child surrounded by all 1,616 needles that were used in their IVF treatments - all the needles it took for them to finally have a child of their own.
The couple, who both have one child each from past relationships, had explored the idea of a newborn photo shoot as soon as they started trying for a baby. Luckily, Kimberly decided to save every single needle.
"My wife saved every single needle that I injected, all capped and plastic seals around them and everything," Patricia told CNN.
Unfortunately, Patricia and Kimberly's journey to parenthood was far from easy. It was decided that Patricia would go through with the pregnancy but it later emerged that due to a blood-clotting condition called Factor V Leiden, she would face immense difficulties carrying a child.
Patricia underwent a number of fertility treatments but sadly, she had two miscarriages in 2016.
"We were taken back. It's what you expect," Patricia recalled to PEOPLE. "The doctor encouraged us to keep going because it was our goal to have a baby."
So the couple kept going. Tragically, Patricia had another miscarriage in 2017. Understandably devastated, Patricia said that she did not think she could go through with any more treatments.
"I was done. I was done poking and prodding myself. I was done with all the doctor's visits. I was throwing in the towel," she said. "My wife and my mom, they pushed me to do it."
Ultimately, Patricia did not give up and her next pregnancy resulted in the birth of their beloved daughter, London O'Neill.
To help them along the way, the couple reached out to a doctor who specialised in Factor V Leiden, Patricia's blood clotting condition. As well as the IVF shots, she started receiving two blood-thinning heparin shots a day.
"We held our breath. It was very scary," she said of her fourth and final pregnancy. "Throughout the pregnancy, we were always on the edge of our seat."
After four years, three miscarriages and an approximate $40,000 spent on fertility treatments, Patricia and Kimberly were overjoyed at the prospect of finally being able to have a child together.
"When we heard her cry, we both looked at each other and started crying," Patricia said. "I was shaking and crying so hard. It was an overwhelming feeling of relief. She's here. It was a lot of emotions for us all at once. It's still unreal to me that we finally have our baby. We actually made it here."
They finally had their baby and they wanted to commemorate the truly momentous occasion by creating a powerful photo using the IVF needles to surround the newborn.
Unsurprisingly, the photo has since accumulated over 90,000 shares and thousands of comments of solidarity and support.
"I hope that there's a couple out there that's going through what we are that can see that there's hope at the end of the tunnel," Patricia explained. "There's a light and you just have to get there."
The pair contacted newborn photographer Samantha Packer who helped them arrange what ended up being a very striking photo of their baby. The two-week-old is wrapped in a rainbow fabric and surrounded by hundreds of syringes which Packer painstakingly arranged.
"The heart symbolised … that this whole painful journey was all to love a child," Packer explained. "I think that's why the photo resonated with so many people. The journey, the goal, and the baby, it was a lot."
I can only imagine how painful a journey it must have been until Patricia and Kimberly finally had their dream baby. But it has definitely worked out well for them, and they seem to have a very loving, happy family indeed.