Christine & Stephan: their journey to their son, Elisha James 🙂
Pregnancy, fertility, infertility, labor, birth, miscarriage, and everything in between: bringing life into this world, or not, is often not a linear journey. Stephan and Christine’s journey through IVF was truly awe-inspiring to watch, and their hope is their very real, sometimes painful and uncertain, and ultimately BEAUTIFUL, story, ignites hope, inspiration, and maybe a helpful resource or two. This post shows their story through incredibly intimate imagery, and I hope you enjoy this IVF pregnancy and birth story through pictures.
Oh, and did I mention this is my freaking sister and brother-in-law? Ultimate role models to me, and shameless third-wheel to them? So freaking blessed.
Long story short, IVF was the only way Christine and Stephan could have a vaginal birth, which was the decision they made as they embarked on parenthood. Enter team mode: one another, self-care, family, lots of prayers and reading, and the KICKASS team at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Seriously. Think, girl squad with invisible capes. I cannot express their gratitude enough to this dedicated medical staff, AND during a pandemic. THANK YOU, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA). This link is their fertility page.
As life would have it, we got to spend a cozy Winter Vacation in Killington, VT, together after the first few days they found out they were pregnant. All I can remember is the sheer gratitude and thanks we felt for prayers answered. Stephan celebrated with some snowboarding with the family, and Christine and I took some much-needed sister time with the wolfpack with a (much slower and more cautious) winter hike. The first of many 🙂
Stephan’s late mother, Yolanda, was not only his best friend, but would have been a fiercely loving physical presence in her grandson’s life. Although not here in physical form, she is still just that. We feel her every day. I know she is right there next to her son, grandson, and daughter-in-love through every phase of their lives. We wanted to incorporate some of her jewelry she passed down, as well as those of my sister, Stephan, and my mom, around Elisha’s future onesies. We also wanted to incorporate a bit of the IVF journey as so often this is a more hidden part of a very real, frequent, and daunting journey for couples.
Just look at my parents. The joy. Seeing them enter this stage of being grandparents has been one of the proudest moments as a daughter. They freaking deserve this and they have soaked in every MILLISECOND.
Also, what a way to gift something so simple but so powerful to loved ones. We must have a dozen copies of these first pictures of Elisha-in-the-womb laying around all our places. Science, you’re the GOAT.
Christine and I, as well as Stephan, have a huge family. Stephan and Christine have also made an A-LIST family of friends that are there at the drop of a hat: to celebrate, to support, babysit the wolf pack when we are away, and invite their families into our lives, too.
We were incredibly fortunate to be able to head up to the mountains one last time as a family before little man arrived. Heading up north every weekend to ski and snowboard was a staple of my family’s childhood, and these mountains just feel like home to us. We rented a house, DOG FRIENDLY, and this was one of the most special experiences for us all. My parents, my brother James, my Paul, and of course these two, were all together in one spot to just BE.
When I pitched the idea of a raw, intimate, session, these two good sports were in and I’m SO THRILLED they trusted the vision. Of all the images of their story, I feel these capture their teamwork, unbreakable bond, and authenticity in their IVF experience this past year.
A quiet, powerful moment among sisters. Tears, dogs anxiously staring at her belly, and grounding oneself in the moment. I am in awe of my big sis.
Full name: Elisha (Ee-lie-shuh) James (Jay-mz) Neville (Nehv-ill). Tiny, happy, healthy, chirping, loved, peanut.
While there is no one answer, no one-size-fits-all hub of information, I will share with you instagram accounts that gave my sister a sense of community, comedy, knowledge, and inspiring stories. I hope these help anyone else out there. Lets keep the real conversation going of the winding road that is fertility! Thank you for reading.
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Kayla | Owner of Babel Photos
Easy-to-follow steps on your New Hampshire Elopement journey as well as a sample timeline to help guide you. Just a TINY part of my Client Elopement Guide!