Kristen and Greg’s IVF journey to parenthood

Kristen and Greg standing in a grassy field with the sun setting behind the clouds. They're holding hands facing and looking at each other.

Last fall I had the good fortune of meeting Kristen and Greg. Kristen reached out to me looking to book a maternity session, along with one very special request.

Kristen and Greg had gone through two rounds of IVF treatment and were finally expecting their little one! To honour this journey Kristen asked me if I could incorporate her IVF needles and vials into a few images to commemorate their journey to parenthood. Needless to say, I was beyond honoured to be asked and agreed to give it a go.

The studio session

Kristen mainly wanted to do an outdoor maternity session. But we needed to do the portrait incorporating her IVF vials indoors. So she added on a quick session at my home studio to bring her vision to life. Kristen had a vision and an example image as well. She took time to plan out the layout of all her vials and needles and even brought in a photo of her trial run laying them out at home.

It took us both some time to place them all in the right spots (factor in my uncooperative floordrop which kept shifting and throwing off our efforts), but we finally got there… TWICE! Once on my grey seamless backdrop and once more on the white.

A bit of Photoshop magic and Kristen and I were thrilled with the result!

The outdoor session

Once we wrapped up the studio session we set a date for the outdoor session. Greg and Kristen chose one of my absolute favourite locations for outdoor sunset sessions – the grassy field! Below are just a few highlights from their beautiful gallery.

Greg and Kristen also invited me to photograph their little Isla when she was born. You can check out my blog post about that tender in-home newborn session. (And about why I think it’s a good idea to book both sessions at once with one photographer).

Client Q & A

A little later down the road, I reached out to Kristen and Greg again. This time to see if they would be willing to provide a little more insight into their journey to parenthood and their experience going through IVF treatments. (I knew very little about the process, admittedly). They were incredibly obliging and forthcoming, and answered all my questions. They also agreed to let me share them with you, in case you find yourself on a similar journey waiting for your own little miracle.

On your IVF journey

  • Before embarking on your journey to parenthood, what were your expectations? Did you have any inkling that IVF was going to be part of that journey?
    • At the beginning we didn’t expect IVF would be part of our journey. We were completely unaware of the process and any problems with infertility. It’s not something that runs in the family or that any of our friends were dealing with at the time. We were naive and just thought it wouldn’t be difficult to get pregnant when we wanted to get pregnant. 

  • Can you tell me a bit about how you came to the decision to try IVF? Did you explore any other fertility treatments?
    • After having tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant for a few years, we had some tests done and we discovered it was out of the question for the two of us to become pregnant naturally. IVF would be our only option to try to have a biological child. We got a family doctor and were referred to Mount Sinai Fertility in Toronto. From there, more tests were done and a plan was created. We dove headfirst into the world of IVF, an eye-opening process that would end up taking nearly two years from start to finish with several appointments, tests, prescriptions and long early-morning drives to Toronto. 

      At the same time, we started the process to become an adopt-ready family with our local family and child services organization, because there was no guarantee the IVF treatments would work and we knew we wanted to be parents. We completed the educational training for that shortly before Isla was born, and plan to complete the process in the near future.

  • How would you rate your experience at that clinic?
    • We were completely unaware of just how many people are going through the IVF process. It’s such a big thing individually and as a couple to go through, but you quickly realize you’re just one in a dozen people at any given time in a waiting room going through the same thing. It was strange in a way, how it could still feel like a lonely process. That’s one of the reasons we wanted to be open about IVF, the process and everything else, because it’s really not talked about often. Other than that, going through any medical treatments during the pandemic was strange at times, as was driving from Meaford to Toronto in the middle of lockdowns (public washrooms!). 

  • If you could go back to a time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
    • I would have listened to my mother when she told me there’s no perfect time to get pregnant. We waited for a long time as we were moving around and trying to get our careers started, if we started sooner we could have maybe discovered the issue sooner as well. 
      I’d also tell myself to try and not let the process consume my life as much. Besides the medications and the treatments, it’s a lot of waiting and hoping for a positive result. We actually thought the waiting was the hardest part. It’s often also a lot of disappointment and trying to rebound. It’s mental gymnastics and really, sometimes, just feeling sorry for ourselves – the “why mes” – I would tell myself to try not to dwell and stay positive. 
  • Do you have any words of wisdom to share with another family currently experiencing fertility issues?
    • I don’t know about wisdom! I think staying positive and having a good sense of humour was a big thing for us, trying to have fun throughout the process. There are message boards online for people going through IVF. But, knowing so many are going through the same thing made it feel less isolating. Although, that can get dangerous if you start comparing your story to others. 
      One thing that helped us later in the process was really taking control of the things we could control, because there is so much you don’t have control of in the IVF process. We really dialed in our diets, exercise, sleep etc. If it didn’t work, we wanted to be able to say we gave it our very best shot, and being able to concentrate on those little things we had control over helped us mentally. 

On your photography experience

  • What made you decide you wanted to have a maternity photo session?
    • It was such a journey to get to that point we knew we wanted to celebrate and document it. 

  • When you started searching for a photographer, what were you looking for in their work?
    • It’s hard to put into words. I just wanted to like what I saw in the photographs. Stuff that is eye-catching and drew me in. 

  • What made you decide to go with me for your maternity session?
    • I was impressed with everything. The website is very personable, you get a sense of who you are right off the bat. The photos are stunning. The portfolio and gallery was very impressive, and the process from the beginning to the end was so efficient and enjoyable.

  • Did you know you would want to book both a maternity and a newborn session from the outset? If so, why was this important to you?
    • Yes we wanted to book both, again to document the journey and celebrate both getting pregnant and Isla’s birth. It’s nice to be able to tell the story now through these pictures both before and after Isla. 

  • Why did you choose an in-home newborn session over a studio style session?
    • A little bit of a convenience factor, to be honest, it’s a lot harder to pack up and leave the house with a newborn. We also wanted candid shots of the baby in our own home, and were very happy after seeing the photos, which somehow even made the interior of our home look better. 

  • What did you enjoy most about your experience working with me (not fishing for compliments here – just an honest answer that might be helpful to readers and future potential clients).
    • Just how comfortable you made us feel and how flexible you were during the process. We could tell from the portfolio the photographs would be stunning and you’re very talented, but we think your ability to make us feel comfortable and natural while still directing us for good composition helped as well. Also, you went above-and-beyond with customer service and other things, including lending a dress to wear! 

  • Lastly, is there anything you would have liked improved about your experience working with me? (This is just great feedback for me 😊)
    • Nope! 

I’m incredibly grateful to both of these lovely people for opening up and sharing their journey with me (and with you). I hope all of the above has been informative and helpful to you.

Are you experiencing fertility issues? Learn more about the options and funding that is available to you here. Wondering about fertility clinic locations? Here is Ontario’s current listing of all clinics offering these treatments.

Keen to learn a bit more about my maternity and newborn photography services? Reach out to me here! Let’s chat about documenting your journey!

If we haven’t met yet, I’m Katie – a maternity, newborn, and family photographer located in Collingwood, Ontario. I serve families in Collingwood and the surrounding area including The Blue Mountains, Creemore, Stayner, Wasaga Beach, Thornbury, Nottawa, Meaford, Creemore, and Barrie.

Did you know I’m a Qualified Newborn Photographer? You can also check my “good standing” status here. Questions? Reach out anytime here! Ready to book? Let’s do it!

  1. […] I had documented Kristen’s pregnancy and hers and Greg’s IVF journey to parenthood. (Read about it here!). I was honoured to be asked again to continue to tell their story. The resulting images help […]

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