Pregnancy Announcement Shows The Reality Of IVF
It's a long way from the baby booties or bump shots people have become accustomed to in social media pregnancy announcements.
But the picture Macy Rodeffer used to announce to the world that she is expecting a baby is an accurate portrayal of the journey to parenthood for her and husband Tyler.
The US woman gathered all the empty medication bottles and needles she had used during the round of IVF it took her to conceive, and placed them around her ultrasound image and a baby onesie bearing the words: "worth the wait and wait and wait".
Macy, who suffered several miscarriages and other complications during the four years she spent trying to conceive, said she decided to create the image to raise awareness of the emotions surrounding IVF.
"We're some of the lucky ones. It only took 4 years, 3 miscarriages, depression, 107 hormone injections, one surgery, two procedures, over 100 suppositories, and several thousand dollars to get our baby," she wrote on her blog Martinis and Medicine.
"You might ask how I say that we're lucky. We're lucky because we get to have a baby. So many women don't. Even more go through multiple rounds of fertility treatments to get their baby.
"Our baby doesn't erase years of loss, depression, hopelessness, pain, tears, and crying out to God ...What our baby does do is fill us with a love and joy and gratefulness that I never knew possible. When I look at that ultrasound my heart actually skips.
"For years I lived never knowing if I would ever have an ultrasound photo hanging on my fridge. If I would ever have a bump or see that coveted stretch mark on my belly, or if the baby clothes I bought for friends would ever hang in my own home.
"If life would ever grow inside of me. And against all odds, it does. I'm so in love I can hardly stand it. There will be hard days, I know. We've longed for them for years."
Macy's photo was inspired by a similar one taken by a woman who underwent three years of IVF treatment before conceiving her daughter. That photo, which was shared earlier this year, featured the baby girl sleeping surrounded by a heart made out of syringes and drug vials.
Speaking to US Today, the mum-to-be said she was glad her story was helping other women to not feel so alone.
"If my story can help encourage or help someone understand, even just one person, it will all be totally worth it to me," she said.
Writing on her blog, Macy explained how she feels like she is "trespassing" as a pregnant woman.
"The world of fertility. I don't belong. I've stood on tiptoes for years, peering over the fence to see what it's like," she wrote.
"I'm here, but my heart is still with my sisters. The ones left behind. The ones who have walked with me for years and still they wait.
"My sisters who are happier for me than anyone else could ever be, because they know the pain first hand.
"This post will hurt them. My pregnancy, my baby, my joy, it will hurt. It's a guilty kind of hurt (though it shouldn't be), because you can't understand why you're so happy for your friend, but so utterly broken for yourself.
"I know because I've been there, and while I have this precious one now, in many ways I will never leave."