Welcome to the world Peter! Today I’m thrilled to be introducing you to this very adorable little boy and his lovely family. I have been eagerly awaiting his arrival for many months and can’t tell you how excited I am for his family to now be holding him in their arms. 

One of the hardest parts of temporarily closing my business during the pandemic, and then later having to limit the types of sessions I could offer, was putting a pause on the Extraordinary Love Project. Extraordinary Love Sessions have been a very special way to both honour families’ struggles with miscarriage, pregnancy loss, infant loss, or infertility and also provide a way to share their stories within our community. 

When Peter’s family reached out many months ago to inquire as to how they could help continue the Project and share their story with the community I was uncertain in what way we’d be able to go ahead with such an unpredictable situation we were all in.  When we were able to go ahead with their very special newborn session this November I was absolutely elated and couldn’t wait to meet their precious little one.

Thank you to Peter’s parents, Jyll and Sean, for sharing their story and their beautiful sons with all of us and to Jyll for her poignant and beautiful expression of their experiences. I know how important it has been to them to be able to read the stories from other families over their very difficult and heartbreaking journey and I’m extremely grateful to them for participating in the Extraordinary Love Project in the hopes of helping other families in similar circumstances.


When we took our first pregnancy test in 2012, we did not think about what our road to parenthood would be like.  We were blissfully ignorant to miscarriage and infertility issues.  At that time, we both thought that a positive test meant we would have a baby in our arms in 9 months. Unfortunately, that was not the case.  On a routine ultrasound, we found that the baby had stopped growing and had no heartbeat.  It was unexpected and devastating news for us both.

Over the next 8 years we would be blessed to have 3 healthy boys, but in our journey to build our family we also suffered from recurrent miscarriage, unexplained infertility, complications from miscarriage and one ectopic pregnancy.  

The toll this took on us both was heavy.  At times Sean or I (or both of us) would want to stop trying, we would take breaks or we made projects to try to refocus our attention on other things.  We would make long-term plans without thinking “but what if we are pregnant then”.  Over the last two years, as we tried to have a 3rd child, we made arbitrary lines in the sand; “if we have another miscarriage we will stop”, or “if we are not pregnant by Christmas we will stop”.  At the time we made those lines, I think we felt certain that if we reached this point it would truly be all we could take emotionally, and we would be ready to stop trying.  But these lines came and went.  Each time we passed one we would talk about it, but ultimately we kept pushing forward.  

Each one of our boys is a rainbow baby.  Each successful pregnancy we had was proceeded by miscarriage, and in the case of our second son Henry, unexplained infertility.  The last eight years of our lives have focused around conception, timing, loss and hope.  But the last two years, as we tried to have a third child, have been the most taxing.  

Having three kids these days is considered to be a big family, and there were many people, friends and family, who thought we were crazy for wanting to add another child to our family, especially after the difficult pregnancies and recurrent miscarriages we had had.  But we had always seen ourselves with a big family, lots of kids to fill the house at the holidays and so we decided to go for it.  

Over these last two years, as we tried for Peter, I have had nearly 40 vials of blood drawn, mostly to test HCG levels, and have had 20 ultrasounds.  

When we started trying for a third child, we became pregnant quickly, however the HCG levels (which I had to have tested every two days, given my history) were not increasing as they should.  An ultrasound could not locate the embryo and it became clear the pregnancy would not be viable.  But the HCG continued to rise erratically, and my doctor felt it could be an ectopic pregnancy.  It took another follow-up ultrasound to locate the pregnancy, in my right fallopian tube.  

We went to the emergency room to be treated and were given two options: have my fallopian tube removed, or try taking a low dose chemotherapy drug which would attack the pregnancy, stopping growth, and causing it to shrink.  The drug was hard on my system, but it seemed like the less invasive option of the two.  For a week, I went for bi-daily blood work to see if the treatment was having the desired effect; it was, but much too slowly and I had to have a second treatment. 

In 90 percent of cases, the chemotherapy treatments are effective in stopping the growth of the pregnancy and saving the fallopian tube.  I was in the percentile of people who were not so lucky.  After going through two weeks of treatment, early in the morning I woke up to the most intense pain in my right side I have ever experienced.  I remember being paralysed by the pain, unable to really move or speak, only able to cry.  I remember trying to reach out for Sean in our bed to wake him up and moving my arm required too much effort as the pain consumed my whole right side, down my legs, and into my shoulder.  It lasted several minutes and started to subside.  We quickly got up, dropped the boys off at daycare/school and went to the hospital.  

At this point, I had been an outpatient at the Montfort Hospital for 2 weeks. Each time I had come for testing or treatment, I had walked in and was mostly composed, but that day when I walked in it was clear that it was different.  I was taken in right away, given pain medicine, another ultrasound, and was admitted.  I was told that despite the chemotherapy treatment, my right fallopian tube had ruptured and that was the cause of the pain I was experiencing.  I was told I would need emergency surgery as soon as possible to remove the pregnancy and stop the bleeding.  I remember signing a consent form allowing the doctors to remove my tube and my ovary, as the ultrasound was not clear if the pregnancy was affecting both or not.  Fortunately, when they performed the surgery, only my right tube was affected and my ovary did not have to be removed.  It was the first question I asked when I woke up from surgery.  

It is hard to explain how I felt following this experience.  Devastated might be the right word.  Part of me knew that the pregnancy could have never been viable, but I still mourned the loss of the baby that we would not have.  Even more, I felt angry and almost violated that I had to have my tube removed.  I know not acting would have jeopardised my life, but there was something so invasive about having a part of your reproductive system, the organs that make you a female and allow you to become a mother, removed.  I also knew that it would decrease our chances of conceiving again.  

In contrast to my devastation, Sean was relieved.  From his point of view, I could have died.  When my life was at risk, everything had to be done to help me.  I remember the day I was released from the hospital, he wanted to talk about getting home and making family plans for the weekend; I was shocked.  I think it was the first time we were so completely on different pages about what was going on in our house and neither one of us could understand how the other was feeling.  It took a long time for us to work through this and to be in a place where we could listen and understand how the other person was processing the loss.  

After the ectopic pregnancy, we needed time to heal, both medically and emotionally, before we could even start to talk about trying again.  Four months went by and we barely talked about what we would do next.  When we did, we were often not on the same page and at any given time one of us was not sure what we should do.  

When we finally decided we were ready to move forward, we suffered another miscarriage.  Like with so many of our pregnancies before, the baby stopped growing around 7 weeks and their heart stopped beating.  We opted to have a D&C, and after a week of waiting on the list and a night in the ER, this 6th pregnancy had ended.  

Again, we took a break and drew lines in the sand of when we would stop trying.  I remember wondering if I could handle another loss emotionally?  Or if I would ever feel complete if we stopped?  Or if this would always be a question of “what if” hanging over us?

When we finally got pregnant with Peter, we were so cautious; it was hard to get excited about a pregnancy in the early stages because of our history.  Because our risk for another ectopic pregnancy was high, and our history of recurrent miscarriage, I spent the first 4 weeks of the pregnancy rotating between blood work and multiple ultrasounds.  It was an all-consuming cycle of getting your bloodwork down, waiting for the results, checking if HCG levels had risen properly, and then hoping that the next day would be good.  In the early days of the pregnancy, my obstetrician felt the levels of HCG were not rising quickly enough, and although the first ultrasound had gone well, they told me to prepare for the likelihood that this pregnancy would not be viable. 

Throughout all our ups and downs, we had had one rule: I did not go into an ultrasound alone.  Getting an ultrasound had become the most stressful experience for both of us.  Sean would say on numerous occasions how much he hated going in for the ultrasound appointments because there was always so much worry wrapped up in the experience.  

When COVID hit at the start of my pregnancy, the rules around who could come into the ultrasound room changed and for the first time in 8 years, I had to go in alone.  

We had prepared for the worst, but as always, we also held up hope for the best.  The stress of finding out if the baby we had tried for over the past two years would be viable on my own was too much to take.  I sat in the waiting room and cried as Sean sat in the car waiting for me to come out.  

That day was the 3rd time we had good news about a pregnancy; despite the low HCG levels, our baby was moving and had a strong heartbeat.  After the ultrasound was over, I ran out the door to tell Sean the good news!  It felt like a miracle after everything we had been through and the long and winding road leading up to that day.  

I cannot say that my pregnancy with Peter was anxiety-free.  When you have had a miscarriage in the past, you never feel secure in the pregnancy until your baby is born.  But getting through the first trimester and past the litany of tests needed to make sure the pregnancy was growing and growing properly made us feel more secure in hoping for a positive outcome.  

Holding Peter now, all the heartache, pain, stress and tears seem worth it and a distant memory to the joy we are feeling now with another boy in our family.  

Congratulations to Jyll, Sean, and the two very proud big brothers on the birth of their very special rainbow baby, Peter is absolutely perfect. Thank you again to this wonderful family for participating in the Extraordinary Love Project and sharing their story and experiences with the community.  

During their journey, Jyll and Sean found several things helpful that Jyll would like to share with those who are also experiencing pregnancy loss and infertility:

Close Friends

I would say that my first resource has always been two of my close girlfriends who have also suffered recurrent miscarriage. Over the years we have leaned on each other, as we each joined the “worst club ever”. Despite it being the worst group to gain entry to, having people who understand what you have been through without having to explain was so valuable. Sharing experiences, frustration, and sadness helped me deal with the losses and the months of trying without success. Finding a community, whether it is friends or online, was a huge support for me. In Ottawa I also joined the Butterfly Run, feeling the wider community of support of families like ours that struggled on the path to parenthood.


I also journaled a lot. I bought a simple notebook and over the years have filled it with thoughts, fears, sadness, anger, and hope. I have never gone back and re-read what I have written, but the book was always by my bedside if I needed to offload all the thoughts swimming through my mind. I found it really helpful to put these thoughts somewhere, it helped to clear my head a bit and sometimes to say things I wasn’t able to say out loud.


When I recognised that informal avenues were not working, seeking out professional counseling was very helpful to us. After the ectopic pregnancy, I tried to work through all the emotions on my own, as I had before, but that experience left a deeper scar. I went to see a psychologist who specialised in miscarriage and infertility. Having a professional who already had a base understanding in the issues women are facing was so valuable. You were able to start from a place of understanding of the issues without having to educate your care provider. I saw Dr. Gervais on and off for the next two years. Her counseling was so valuable to help me process what had happened to me, why Sean and I were dealing with the loss differently, and steps we needed to move forward. I don’t think I would have been able to move forward without this support. It is hard sometimes to recognise what you need, but seeking out support, informal or formal, is the best advice I could give and being honest with yourself when you need more than your partner or community can provide.

Sharing and Community

Since Sara started this project I have read each and every story she shared. Stories of families whose journey was similar to ours, stories of families with different struggles and different losses. No matter how the family came to be part of the Project, reading another family share their journey to parenthood and the pains they endured gave me hope and a sense of comfort. Knowing that we were not alone in what we were going through and what we were feeling brought a sense of community I had not had. When we experienced our first miscarriage in 2012, I felt so isolated. I knew very few people who had been through this type of loss. This first miscarriage felt like my burden to bear alone. It was something that no one knew was happening, but something that was constantly with me for the month it took for it to happen and for me to physically recover.

After this experience I started talking about our loss to others, telling people it had happened and sharing how we felt and coped. I let co-workers, friends and family know that

I would always be willing to talk about our experience if they needed it. Over the years some of these women reached out to me, and while you never want someone else to go through this loss, I was always happy they reached out and happy to offer support however I could. Projects like Extraordinary Love do so much to share families’ stories and create a sense of community among those who might otherwise feel alone.