Erickia Wilson (center left) and her husband Michael Wilson (center right) watch as Angelica, the birthmother of the child they will adopt, helps her daughter Prisilla, 3, open presents at her birthday party at Angelica's home in Evansville Friday Oct. 24, 2014. Erickia said for her and Michael this experience is about more than their baby, it is about two families becoming one,"We have fallen in love with all of them as a whole."
Michael and Erickia Wilson have been trying to have children for seven years. In May, after six miscarriages, one failed adoption and a lot of heart break they met Angelica, a mother of two who was not financially prepared to take care of the baby she was carrying. After meeting once, Angelica agreed to place her baby in an open-adoption in the Wilson's home. The couple decided to try one more time to parent a child.
Erickia (left) attends a routine check-up with Angelica at St. Mary's Medical Center Thursday Oct. 23, 2014. Since meeting in May the adoptive mother and birth mother have become fixtures in each other's lives.
Erickia and Michael put the finishing touches on Gracelyn's room during the final weeks of Angelica's pregnancy at their home in Evansville Sunday Nov. 9, 2014. "Everyone we know knew for the longest time we were trying to have a child," Michael described the feeling as his daughter's due date approached, "It is just kind of surreal to think that in just a matter of days or weeks that she is going to be arriving."
There are several options once a couple decides to attend a fertility doctor. Intrauterine Inseminations, Heparin therapy (injections), In Vitro Fertilization, Erickia and Michael exhausted them all. “If our fertility specialist recommended it to us, we did it,” Michael said. Over the course of two years Michael had to give Erickia over 2200 fertility shots, along with taking a mix of 10-15 fertility pills a day. Some of the shots had to be injected inches away from Erickia’s navel, and would bruise her stomach black and blue. They said they lost touch with everything around them, including each other at times. “I was always living in the future. Everything was based around my next injection or my next treatment or when we're going to get pregnant,” Erickia said. “I only wore maternity clothes, I wanted to be pregnant.” Some days she received up to nine shots, some of them being the consistency of peanut butter. She went from weighing 110lbs to 170lbs in four months due to hormones and they both sacrificed their freedom, because their life was based around Erickia's injection schedule. “It's a very dehumanizing process,” Michael said.
Erickia greets Michael in the parking lot the day Angelica goes into labor at St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville Monday Dec. 1, 2014.
Erickia pretends to rock a baby while she unloads the clothes she brought to choose from for Gracelyn's first outfit while Michael decides on the first hat that his daughter will wear in their room at St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville Monday Dec. 1, 2014.
As Angelica prepares to go into active labor inside the delivery room, Erickia silently takes in everything that is happening around her at St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville Monday Dec. 1, 2014. "We have split emotions, "Erickia said," We have joy for us becoming parents, but we have heartache for her just going through the grieving process with her."
Erickia lays eyes on Gracelyn for the first time minutes after she is born and removed from the delivery room at St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville Monday Dec. 1, 2014. "Before Gracelyn I lived in this state of constant heartache," Erickia said, "The second I saw her all of it disappeared, it was instant love."
Michael and Erickia hold their daughter skin-to-skin together for the first time after she is born at St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville Monday Dec. 1, 2014.
Michael and Erickia prepare to bring their daughter home for the first time as they leave St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville Thursday Dec. 4, 2014. "If I could pass anything along to anyone that is going through this (infertility) it is definitely just focus on each other," Michael said,"Everything else really doesn't matter, without us we wouldn't have her."
Erickia breast feeds Gracelyn while Michael sits on the floor and wakes himself up after a night of taking turns tending to the newborn at their home in Evansville Thursday Dec. 11, 2014. Over the past seven years Erickia's has physically sacrificed herself in hopes of carrying a child in many ways. Although she did not give birth to Gracelyn, she wanted share the experience of breast feeding with her daughter. In order to do that she takes a supplement called Domperidone which causes her body to lactate.
Erickia and Michael enjoy time with Gracelyn at their home in Evansville Thursday Dec. 11, 2014. "I cried for seven years, "Erickia said, "It is like God took seven years of heartache and wrapped it up in this five poud perfect little girl."
Michael and Erickia gush over Gracelyn at their home in Evansville Thursday Dec. 11, 2014. Since they brought her home they have spent their time enjoying getting to know her and showing her off to their friends and relatives. "My heart is overflowing with love," Erickia said.