The Beginning (obviously the best place to start)
I first met Angelina and Justin through a referral from their kick ass doula Beccy. Little did I know that an average, run of the mill website inquiry in February would end up having such a huge impact on my life. We messaged back and fourth a bit and chatted the normal chat, what to expect, what I offer, and the investment that goes along with birth photography. Then came the story, This crazy, tumultuous, amazing, perfect, heartbreaking story of two humans laying it all on the line to grow their family. And I knew it. I knew it from that email that no matter what, I needed to be the one to tell their story.
The Long Road to Grant
They walked into Starbucks a few weeks later for our meeting, and first and foremost OH MY GRACIOUS were they a gorgeous couple! I started getting so excited imagining their session and putting her in the big perfect Reclamation dress, and laying them out on the sand and...okay...focus Kerri.
They came and sat in the corner where I had of course grabbed my usual comfy spot and began chatting. I asked them to tell me their story, and with her permission I am going to share some of that with you.
Angelina and Justin first found out they were expecting on January 9th of 2017, and were excited to welcome their first child in the beginning of September that year. Unfortunately, like a lot of first pregnancies, she miscarried on January 14th, only knowing and loving "Baby #1" for 5 days. After this, and because the couple hadn't been together too terribly long yet, they decided that although yes, they absolutely wanted to start a family together, that the thing to do would be to wait. They talked and decided that for 6 months they would go about life, and grow in love before discussing the possibility of trying again. At the end of that time they got back together and were both very much on board to continue the process and start trying again!
Over a year went by and no luck. At this point they were about to be married so they decided that after the wedding, they would head to the doctors to see what was going on. Shortly after being put on progesterone and getting things regulated, on October 18th, 2018 they found out they were pregnant with "Baby #2" on November 7th they heard "Baby 2's" heartbeat! But by November 20th, Angelina began miscarrying again, and went through 7 hours of labor.
At this point she qualified for a recurring pregnancy loss blood workup. She was told by the doctor that she had a "blood clotting condition" and by the time she went for her follow up they were pregnant with "Baby #3" ( February 19th, 2019) but Justin and Angelina were optimistic now because they knew what was causing the miscarriages and hoped things would be alright. At the follow up appointment the doctor informed them that they were wrong about her condition. A few days after the meeting with the doc, Angelina began to feel the heart wrenching cramps that she had now learned meant that "Baby 3" would be following the same path as their previous siblings.
The couple decided to find a new doctor.
Dr. Greenberg ran every test he could think of including some for extremely rare conditions. Within a week they had their answer. Angelina was diagnosed with a Balanced Translocation and that 2 of her chromosomes were swapped causing the embryos to never be able to develop fully. And while it is a hard diagnosis only leading to a few options to start their family, it was an answer. A real, tangible answer with real reasons, and real solutions.
The couple looked into IVF, and while waiting (9 months out to even begin!) Angelina joined support groups for people with her same condition. Within those groups she learned about Embryo adoption (snowflake babies) Basically, when a couple goes through IVF, and has embryos leftover after their treatements, they can donate them to other couples.
They found a clinic in Jacksonville and after choosing the perfect match for them from the binder of hair colors, and descriptions they began the process in August of 2019. On September 19th, 2019, two of their tiny embryos were transferred to Angelina.
On October 17th, 2019 they went for their first ultrasound and found out, that Baby Grant was healthy and ready to be their son.