Sarah’s Story

I’ve known since I was a teenager that I would never be able to conceive naturally, not even with IVF. I essentially had no eggs. I always hoped the doctors were wrong, but I lived with the knowledge that I would probably never experience being pregnant and giving birth. When I married my husband, we planned to adopt when we felt like it was time. I come from a family with two adopted siblings and I also had a niece who was placed for adoption. So, adoption was not a new concept for me. However, I also knew all the hard parts that come along with adoption. Because of this, I was very hesitant to fully embrace the process. I was also still grieving the fact that I had no option to be a mom besides adoption. The process to be approved to adopt was expensive, long and traumatizing for many reasons. It ended up taking about a year to finish that process and finally be able to start the waiting process for a family to pick us. After a year of no prospects, I saw an article posted on a friends Instagram about “Snowflake Babies”.  If you’re new to the term “Snowflake Babies”, as I was, when a couple is doing IVF, they can end up with extra embryos. After completing their families, they might still have some embryos left in the freezer. There are programs out there that allow people to adopt these embryos. As I read the article, I just knew this was what we needed to do. IVF with someone else’s eggs and my husband’s sperm never felt right to us so we never considered it as a real possibility. However, the idea of being able to adopt an embryo that would otherwise stay frozen forever seemed like the perfect fit for us.

After we decided to do embryo adoption, everything fell into place like it was meant to be. We adopted 4 perfect embryos from an amazing couple. I became pregnant after our first transfer. Our miracle pregnancy. The one I NEVER thought I would get to have. I enjoyed every minute of it. My body never felt as good as it did when I was pregnant with our son. We decided on the name Oakley Jeff. The name Oakley had no significance, just a name we both loved. Jeff is my dad’s name and my husband’s dad’s name, so it just seamed natural to use it as Oakley’s middle name. At 35 weeks, I went into labor. When we got to the hospital, there was no heartbeat. The next morning, on June 30th, 2019, Oakley was stillborn. There was a blood clot that took up 60% of the placenta. It is impossible to explain how crushed we were to lose our miracle boy, the one we never thought we would get, who was taken from us before we could really know him. I was tested for every blood clotting disorder there is and any disease that could cause blood clotting issues. Nothing. There is no explanation as to why a blood clot formed that took our baby’s life.

After my body had recovered from giving birth to Oakley, we decided to transfer one of his sibling embryos and hoped for the best. We hoped that this embryo would stick around with us and that this blood clot issue would not show up again. We were crushed as each of our remaining 3 embryos each were not successful. The loss of Oakley was felt all over again as we lost any chance of having a sibling who was biologically related to him.

Feeling like we were at the end of the road, everything we tried had left us empty handed and longing for our baby who was no longer with us. We felt pulled to adopt another set of embryos and try again. It worked once, and we were holding on to hope that it could work again. Oakley gave us back the hope that 7 years of infertility had crushed. Holding on to our experience with Oakley’s amazing time with us, we transferred our first embryo from a new set. And just like with Oakley, it worked on the first try. Our rainbow baby is due at the end of November. This pregnancy has been full of anxiety, especially as we get closer to 35 weeks, the point where we lost Oakley. But it has also been full of hope, joy, and remembering how sweet our time with Oakley was. We pray constantly that we will be able to hold, raise, and watch our rainbow baby grow.

Sarah is wearing a white dress and the rainbow skirt.  She is pregnant with her Snowflake baby.
Sarah is wearing a white dress and the rainbow skirt.  She is holding her pregnant belly.
Sarah is wearing a white dress and the rainbow skirt.   The skirt is laid out behind her.
Sarah is wearing a white dress and the rainbow skirt.

Photos taken by 35th Place Photography.

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