Every once in a while, I stumble across a photo shoot that stops me in my tracks and elicits a breathless wow. Whether it's an image of a baby surrounded by the hundreds of fertility treatment injections needed to conceive him. Or a photo of a newborn alongside being embraced by the comrades of her late father who was killed overseas. Or a line of women holding their rainbow babies while each wearing a different color of a rainbow. These meaningful images with powerful backstories get me every time. And this viral photo of new moms breastfeeding their twins is a powerful, beautiful display of love.
The path to welcoming their newborns, Jackson Joseph and Ella Grace, wasn't an easy one for Kelly and Jaclyn Pfeiffer, as Love What Matters reported. Although Kelly has three sons from a previous relationship, Jaci and Kelly knew they wanted to have a child together following their October 2016 marriage. It was decided that Jaci would conceive and carry their child with the help of donor sperm. But after countless fertility injections and treatments — including intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) — that plan changed.
"We decided I would carry because Jaci had tried and it hadn’t worked. It took us almost 3 years to get pregnant, and this just happened to be what worked in the end," Kelly tells Romper. "But, oddly enough, it was never the plan. I flew to NY alone for the transfer and I was only supposed to transfer my girl but at the last minute, I put in Jaci’s boy, too. She didn’t know until I came home."
Although one baby is biologically Kelly's and the other is biologically Jaci's, the "twin-blings," as the moms call them, share the same sperm donor.
The adorable babies were born on May 14, 2019. Jackson arrived at 4:28 p.m. weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. Ella was born at 4:31 p.m. weighing 5 pounds, 6 ounces, and measuring 18.25 inches long.
Although they ended up coming a bit earlier than expected — at 36 weeks — both are healthy.
Even more amazing? Both moms are able to breastfeed both babies.
In order to induce lactation, Jaci started taking birth control when they found out Kelly was pregnant — but only the active pills. Jaci added in domperidone (which she had to order online from outside of the country) in January. At the end of March, she stopped the birth control but stayed on the domperidone, and then started pumping every few hours around the clock.
"Within a matter of days, she was producing ounces per day," Kelly explains to Romper.
"We weren’t due until June 8, but it was good she started early because I ended up delivering on May 14," Kelly says. "I went into acute kidney failure, so delivery was the safest option for me and the babies. They don’t know why, but it resolved as soon as I delivered. As soon as the babies were born, Jaci was able to nurse in the recovery room."
Kelly and Jaci have nursed both babies since birth.
"It was important for us both to breastfeed because it was important for us both to feel like moms," Kelly tells Romper. "Jaci wanted to be a mom more than anything and we tried everything for her to carry, but when it didn’t work, we wanted to make sure she didn’t miss out on any other parts of motherhood."
For Kelly's three older boys — all singletons — she was on her own when it came to breastfeeding them. So it has definitely been a new experience sharing the breastfeeding responsibility with Jaci when it comes to their twins.
"It’s logistically amazing to have a partner who can also feed the babies," she says. "I can shower, nap, etc knowing that if a baby is hungry, she can feed them. And it works the opposite way, too. She can get a break knowing I can meet their needs."
As you can see sprinkled throughout this story, photographer Melissa Benzel captured a number of moving images of the moms and their newborns after births.
But one photo in particular is proving to be especially powerful — and is quickly going viral. The image features Jaci nursing Jackson and Kelly nursing Ella while lying on their sides and holding hands. And it's pretty much perfection.
"The images we were able to capture in their home after babies arrived, where they are both feeding their little ones are so special to me," Benzel tells Romper. "I can feel their love for each other and their babies when I look at them. It's truly heartwarming!"
Benzel went on to say, "I'm so thrilled that more families can see that this is possible. So many other stories can be changed for the better just by Kelly and Jaci's courage in sharing their story!"
As a breastfeeding mom myself, I am in awe of Kelly and Jaci's hard work, determination, and bravery — both in their journey toward welcoming Jackson and Ella, and in the beautiful breastfeeding relationships they've built. And that photo! It captures a powerful display of love for the children these moms waited so long for.