When you're trying to have a baby, everyone thinks it's fun. And in theory, it is. But for some couples, trying to have a baby means heartbreak after heartbreak. It's not always easy for people to conceive. And if they do, it doesn't always mean that it ends with a baby.
It doesn't matter who you are, infertility and miscarriages can happen to anyone. TV star Hilarie Burton shared an emotional message after the birth of her daughter, trying to make people understand just how hard it can be.
There's something I really want to say to all the women out there who are trying.....It took a long time for Jeffrey and I to have this baby. The first time I got pregnant, it took a year and a half. I surprised him on Christmas with baby Seahawk booties. We cried. We celebrated. We picked out names. And we lost that baby.
More losses followed, and as so many couples know, it was heartbreaking. It still is heartbreaking. And every morning of the five years it took us, I'd open my computer at the kitchen table and see the news and I'd grow bitter over the endless parade of celebrities showing off their bumps and babies. I'd weep out of jealousy for how easy it was for them. Didn't they know something could go wrong? Didn't they know that there were other women out there struggling? It pained me to see the corporate sponsored baby showers and magazine covers capitalizing on this human miracle that wasn't happening for us.
So when this pregnancy started, we were cautious. I didn't want to celebrate for fear of jinxing it. I didn't want a baby shower. I checked her heartbeat every day, up until the day she was born. And now that she is here, I just stare at her in wonder all day. I see her in her daddy's arms and I don't take any of it for granted. She screams bloody murder and I smile because she is so wildly alive. So now that folks know she's here, I don't want her birth to cause any other woman to weep at her kitchen table.
If anything, my wish is that she would restore hope for others. Fertility is a fickle thing. And for the other couples out there who have had dark days, we want to introduce our miracle baby to you and send you our love and support in finding yours.
The message was meant as a way to inspire those struggling to conceive. There is light at the end of the tunnel. And no one knows that more than Allyson Ponto and her husband, Tony.
Dreaming of having kids is common among married couples. It's a big step, but it can bring so much joy into your life. Allyson Ponto had always dreamed of having a big family, and she wanted nothing more than to start one with her husband Tony.
The couple, who lived in Minnesota tried for years to conceive. They would find out they were pregnant, and then be struck with grief after Allyson miscarried. In six years, the farthest she ever got in her pregnancy was 16 weeks. Finally, after her fourth miscarriage, the Pontos were told that conceiving naturally was no longer an option due to built up scar tissue.
“We would start the month with high hopes and then my monthly friend would come. It took a huge toll on our marriage,” said Allyson. “I ugly cried before every single baby shower I went to. I wondered ‘why not us? Are we not worthy of children?’”
But despite their doubt, Allyson and Tony still wanted to have a family. They turned to IVF, despite the enormous cost. Because there was only a 30% chance a single embryo would take in Allyson's uterus, doctors implanted three in order to increase her chances.
Two weeks after her treatment, Allyson and Tony went to their first ultrasound. They were nervous, and rightly so, as they waited to see if their risky treatment had taken.
They saw one heartbeat appear on the screen.
“Three?” Tony asked. “We got three babies?!”
As the technician looked at the screen, she replied “No… not exactly.”
As it turns out, one of the embryos had split in two, meaning there was a set of identical twins. Tony and Allyson were now pregnant with four babies, which is the same number of miscarriages they had suffered on their journey. To say they were emotional is an understatement.
"I was totally prepared for a let down. Or for something to be wrong,” Allyson said. “When I saw those four heartbeats. I just started crying. All I ever wanted was the chance to be a parent.”
The pregnancy was something Allyson will never forget, and even though she was big, she loved the feeling.
“The best way I can describe carrying four babies at once is to picture a clothes dryer with four tennis shoes in it,” Allyson recalled. “That’s what it felt like . . . constant movement. And I loved the feeling.”
The quadruplets, all girls, were born at 32 weeks, each of them letting out a big cry for their mama when they entered the world.
“I cried as soon as I heard each one of them cry. Tony would tell me who was coming out and I would listen and listen,” she gushed. “Four different times and it was the best sound I have ever heard in my entire life.”
And to make everything better? The babies were born on the fourth of July. That's right, after four miscarriages, the four babies were born on July 4. Talk about the universe delivering signs!
As for the babies, named Olivia, Carolyn, Morgan, and Anna, they all "thrived" after birth. They had to be held at the hospital for over a month because they were premature, but now, nine months after they were born, the "Four Peas in a Ponto" are doing just fine.
Allyson and Tony now document the girls' milestones on a Facebook page, called "Four Peas in a Ponto," and have gained over 20,000 fans.
The Pontos are a testament that keeping hope and never giving up will always lead you to something good. It may not be the path you thought you'd take, but it will take you where you need to go.