A photo of a newborn that celebrates life after a long struggle with infertility has recently gone viral.
Samantha Packer of Packer Family Photography shared the powerful photo of Patricia and Kimberly O’Neil’s newborn daughter London earlier this month. The baby girl is swaddled in rainbow-colored fabric, but it’s surrounded by 1,616 IVF needles that her parents had used over the course of their fertility journey that lasted for more than 4 years.
The photographer captioned the post with:
“This is the first time I have been asked to do a photo like this! I was honored and wanted to create something special! Mom said, ‘4 years, 7 attempts, 3 miscarriages and 1,616 shots.”
The post has been liked more than 85,000 times since, and it has been shared more than 64,000 times.
The idea of incorporating the IVF needles into the photos was suggested by the parents, and they gave Packer the freedom to arrange them however she wanted.
She explained that she didn’t know the whole story, but she knew that they had already lost one baby before because they had contacted her the previous year with a different pregnancy. She chose the heart shape to show the love through the pain of the journey that got them to the sweet baby girl.
The O’Neils thought that it would just be a simple process at the fertility clinic, but it turned out to be a journey that lasted almost half a decade. Patricia had two miscarriages, in 2016 and in 2017.
The couple learned that Patricia had a blood-clotting condition after the first two miscarriages, and it can affect pregnancies. A fertility doctor prescribed two daily shots of blood-thinning medicine in addition to the IVF shots, and Kimberly had saved every needle Patricia had injected over the years.
The eyes of the two mothers filled with tears when they saw their daughter’s newborn photos.
“It was amazing to see them all laid out. To look at them all and go, ‘Man, I was able to do that. I was able to get through that’. It’s a good representation of our journey. It’s inspiring to hear other women sharing their stories on a topic that’s kind of taboo,”
Packer says that it took her several hours to arrange all of the needles because when she got to the outer layers of the heart, she still had five bags left. The moms told her that she didn’t have to use all of the needles if she couldn’t, but she felt like every one of them needed to be there to ‘tell’ the journey.
Packer was touched by the overwhelming response to her post, just like the mothers.
“This response has been amazing and truly touching to hear all of these women saying that it gives them hope on their IVF journeys. I hope that when people see the photo they have hope if it’s their struggle, and that they have some compassion and more understanding if it’s not their struggle.” – she added.