When photographer Samantha Packer, of Packer Family Photography in Arizona, was approached by Patricia and Kimberly O’Neill, to shoot their newborn baby, she had no idea the scale of what she was agreeing to.
The parents wanted a photograph of their baby, London (who was conceived via the IVF process), with the injections her mother had to endure over countless cycles to bring her to life.
Thinking it was a wonderful, original idea, Packer of course said yes. But it turned out to be a much larger project than she was expecting.
“I had no idea that it would be so many!! I started lining them up and just had to layer and layer,” Packer told Mamamia.
The arrangement of the needles surrounding the sleeping and snugly bundled baby was shared in a post, which has now gone viral. With 78,000 likes, 5000 comments and 60,000 shares, it’s easy to see why the powerful image has been applauded.
Packer posted the photo to her Facebook page on August 11, with the caption:
“This is the first time I have been asked to do a photo like this! I was honored and wanted to create something special!
Mom said, “4 years, 7 attempts, 3 miscarriages and 1,616 shots”.”
It was Packer’s idea to shape the needles into a heart surrounding the infant, to symbolise the love which the child was brought into the world with.
And of course, the effort. Speaking with Mamamia, parents Patricia and Kimberly O’Neill explained the arduous journey they took to bring little London into the world.
“Patricia and I met in February 2013 and started dating a couple months later. After almost a year we decided we wanted to grow our blended family by one more,” Kimberly said.
Assuming it would be “pretty easy” to select a donor and conceive, the couple was told by their fertility doctor that they would need some assistance.
The journey saw the doctors try less invasive techniques before IVF, a change in doctors, failed egg retrieval, two heartbreaking miscarriages, the discovery of a blood clotting disorder in Patricia and a third miscarriage.
“We went in at eight weeks and saw his tiny heartbeat and his little arms wiggling. We were overjoyed! We went in at 11 weeks to find his heart had stopped” Kimberly said.
“We were done. Crushed. Confused. Heartbroken. We took a break from it all and almost [threw] in the towel.”