Finally, the Utah couple learned in July that their first in-vitro fertilization attempt was successful. But the real surprise came during the ultrasound, when they learned she was pregnant with quadruplets.
Luckily, a friend was in the room to capture the look on Gardner’s face in a picture that is delighting parents, moms-to-be and just about anyone else who has a heart. A BabyCenter article on the picture was shared 2,600 times from its Facebook page, drawing nearly 15,000 likes. In the past week, the Gardners’ Facebook page, where they share news about their pregnancy, grew by nearly 16,000 likes to 24,300.
Ashley Gardner shared some thoughts via email with CNN about her experience with infertility and becoming an internet sensation.
CNN: What other methods did you try before IVF?
Ashley Gardner: We tried EVERYTHING under the sun. We tried for 8 long years (taking a few months of here and there to keep our sanity!) our efforts included, diet, a surgery on my end (laparoscopy), medications then onto 4 fails IUI’s and then we saved up for IVF and BAM! It worked really really really REALLY well!
CNN: What made you decide to start sharing your journey on Facebook?
Gardner: So about a year and a half ago I decided to open up about our infertility struggles. It was getting hard getting asked ALL THE TIME why I didn’t have children yet. I was sick of making excuses for something that was out of my control and emotionally affecting me so much. I opened up and couldn’t believe the outpouring support I started getting from EVERYONE! Even people I didn’t know. It was an amazing feeling to not be hiding this awful disease of infertility anymore and openly talking about it! I found that so many others were going through the same thing! And I’ve since been able to help so many others struggling and feeling so alone during this heartbreaking journey.
As for our Facebook page, my awesome sister Whitney set that up for me when we announced that we were having quads. We just announced on our private pages to our friends and family and the picture was so priceless that everyone started sharing it and we started getting hundreds of friend requests from people we didn’t know. So we did the Facebook page so that everyone can follow our story and we can still keep our personal Facebook pages for ourselves.
CNN: Do you remember what was going through your mind when you found out you had quads?
Gardner: “OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!” I couldn’t think straight! I had never been so excited and terrified in the same instant. We waited so long to have babies so we were so happy… But at that time we literally had NEVER even thought once about this being a possibility. We didn’t know anything about having quads and the risks that go with it. But overall, we were just excited!!!! My husband is the oldest of 10 children so he is ready to take on anything! He can calm any baby and entertain any kid. They love him. He is the favorite uncle to all our nieces and nephews. We are ready! Our doctors say that everything is in our favor for this going great. Doesn’t mean it won’t be hard. But we can handle it!
CNN: Dumb question: Were you surprised?
Gardner: YES!!!! After eight long, heartbreaking years of infertility and every month passing by with a negative pregnancy test you do get discouraged! You hold on to as much hope as you can and sometimes you lose it. But you dust yourself off get up and try again!
My endometriosis (cause of our infertility) was so bad that we found during the IVF process that it had compromised my eggs. Out of all the eggs they got they all started dying off and left us with 1 perfect egg and one good egg. They put both back to give me the best odds of one sticking so we would at least get one baby out of this since I didn’t have any eggs to freeze and this was probably our last shot at this. The chances of even getting one to stick was 40 percent. To have both stick and both split… well, that’s a 1 in 70 million chance!
It was meant to be!
CNN: Do you have any idea how the photos got picked up and started going “viral”?
Gardner: Only thing I can think of is what I stated above. People loved the announcement picture so much they shared it and it just kept going.