when we have each other, we have everything.
When I think of my three children, I count myself among the lucky ones. I did not struggle for long trying to conceive, they were all fairly uncomplicated overall, they are much more complicated now that they are out and can talk back but that's another story...
Not everyone is blessed in this way. I know so many who have struggled, who continue to struggle, to create a family of their own. I was so honored to meet and photograph Ashley and Alex in the studio and their newborn, Mason. They gave me permission to share some of their story, so here it is in their words.
"Alex and I were married in 2017 and shortly after that we decided to start trying to grow our family. We knew it could take time so we were okay with not succeeding right away. After a year to a year and half of trying with no success I went to my doctor. We were referred to Baystate Reproductive Medicine were it was confirmed that we have less than 1% chance of becoming pregnant on our own. We were devastated. We also learned our insurance does not cover infertility treatments.
We made the decision to move forward IVF in May 2020 knowing that this journey is not going to be easy. Unfortunately due to covid we were not able to start when we wanted too. In January 2021 our IVF medications were ordered, March 2021 the first round of shots were done and our egg retrieval was preformed. We had 14 mature eggs, 12 of them became fertilized and the waiting game started. In 5 days we would hopefully be able to do a fresh transfer as long as our embryos were ready by day 5, if they were not, they would be frozen and we would do a frozen transfer the next month. I had to do a trigger shot which my body did not react well too. This was a huge problem and I knew I wouldn’t be able to have the transfer. We got the call that unfortunately our embryos were not ready as well and would have to be frozen. On top of this bad news we learned that only 2 of our 12 embryos survived which completely broke our hearts. A month later we moved forward with a frozen transfer. We decided to place both of the embryos for our best shot at becoming pregnant. April 22, 2021 was our transfer day. I was now officially “pregnant” until proven otherwise. 9 days later I went in for blood work, I received the call that afternoon stating the embryo or embryos did implant and I was pregnant. On May 1, 2021 I went in for another blood test to make sure my levels were going up and they were! A few weeks later I went in for an ultrasound to confirm a heartbeat and see if both embryos transferred. There I learned only 1 did but there was a strong heartbeat. Our miracle baby was due January 8th, 2022! My first trimester I had to take progesterone shots everyday. Right at 12 weeks we thought we were miscarrying and ended up in the hospital. Thankfully our baby still had a heart beat and was okay. From here I learned the placenta was blocking my cervix and caused the bleeding.
Throughout the our pregnancy we had some issues, multiple ultrasounds and appointments. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and ended up with preeclampsia which sent me to the hospital early. We were admitted December 16, 2021 and I was induced. On December 17, 2021 at 7:59pm Mason was born at 36 weeks and 6 days. There was complications during the delivery with his heart rate dropping. NICU was called and once he was delivered he was taken up to be evaluated due to his breathing. He was there for a few days and I was unable to see him for 24 hours due to the hospital being short staffed and I was on magnesium. After being in the hospital for 5 days we were finally discharged, but I was sent back to the hospital 2 days later for what I thought was postpartum preeclampsia but it turned out to be Covid. After everything we went through to now have to quarantine from my newborn was a nightmare. He thankfully never tested positive.
We are so grateful for our son; without IVF, the whole Baystate Reproductive Medicine staff, and my doctors this would not have been possible."