The journey of delivering a baby into the world can be difficult enough, but the addition of embryo adoption and an unexpected surgery make pregnancy and delivery that much harder.

When the Torkelson Family moved for Ashley’s job on Whiteman Air Force Base, they were ready to have a baby and knew they were embarking on a long journey, but they were determined to have their miracle.

Improbable, but not impossible

Ashley had always dreamed of having a baby and when the couple found out that there was no chance that they would ever have genetic kids she was devastated.

“It was soul crushing,” Ashley said. “All I ever wanted to be was a mother. We immediately started looking for other options.”

They turned to the obvious and most common choice, adoption but it quickly became clear that the odds of matching with a child wasn’t in their favor.

“It was like hitting a brick wall; and it’s so astronomically expensive,” Ashley said, but said she wasn’t ready to give up yet. “That’s when we came across embryo adoption – and it was perfect.”

Embryo adoption makes the dreams of having a baby possible.

These embryos generally come from another family’s in vitro fertilization process, and allows parents to use donor embryos from another family to conceive a baby.

Ashley and Ben said they were overjoyed at an opportunity that would allow Ashley to carry a child.

Beginning the miracle journey

After a lot of research, testing, preparation and several appointments at Western Missouri Women’s Health Center with Ashley’s doctor, Dr. Deborah Gregory, OB/GYN, the couple boarded a plane and headed to Spain to complete the IVF process.

They explained that the cost for embryo adoption in Spain and two weeks of vacation was the same cost as IVF in the United States, and the vacation allowed Ashley to relax while waiting for good news.

After returning from Spain, Ashley and Ben received the good news that they were pregnant.

“You don’t take the pregnancy for granted, because you can’t just try again,” Ashley said. “We would have to start the process all over again, and the IVF process is several thousand dollars.”

This was Ashley’s first-ever pregnancy so she said she wanted the best care possible.

Gregory was the one who had ordered all of her preliminary testing for the infertility process, so Ashley said it only seemed right that she came back to her to finish this miracle journey she was on.

With guidance from Gregory and the midwives, and a lot of antacid for Ashley’s heartburn, the Torkelsons walked into Western Missouri Medical Center’s Labor and Delivery Unit and welcomed their baby into this world on June 21, 2019.

The unexpected turn

After checking into the Labor & Delivery Unit, Ashley began to talk to the medical team about her plans, especially Certified Nurse Midwife Tracey Arwood who worked her through for most of her labor and delivery.

“I wanted a very natural birth without being induced or having an epidural,” Ashley said, adamant about avoiding interventions at all costs.

Arwood respected Ashley’s plan and they began to work through delivery together.

However, it became very clear to Arwood, Ashley and Ben that a natural birth was not going to happen.

Ashley ended up having the necessary interventions to insure the safety of the baby.

When Ashley wasn’t progressing through labor, Gregory decided a C-Section was necessary.

“But Tracey made me feel so in control of every decision,” Ashley said. “She helped me go as long as I could with one intervention before moving on to the next one. She was very respectful of my process, and was amazing. I never felt pushed to do something I wasn’t ready for.”

A C-Section was the absolute last thing that Ashley said she wanted, but it wasn’t an emergency situation so Gregory was able to take the time to explain to the Torkelsons what was happening in detail.

She explained that Ashley had a slow amniotic leak, which meant Ashley’s body was inducing her before the baby was ready.

“She was so good about sitting Ashley down and saying a C-Section is happening, but still addressing her fears and concerns,” Ben said. “Sometimes when you go to the doctor, your doctor tells you what they are doing and they don’t explain why. Dr. Gregory wasn’t like that. She addressed every single concern we had before going into surgery.”

So with that, the Torkelsons headed into surgery, ready to meet their baby boy.

Worth the wait

At 6:51 pm on June 21, Ashley and Ben met their son, Corban Levi.

They said they couldn’t have been happier with their experience.

Recovery was smooth, and they said they felt like they were waited on hand-and-foot.

“All of the nurses were amazing. We would get a plan at the beginning of each night that would allow us to get the most sleep possible,” Ashley said.

Everything was taken care of from pain management, to breastfeeding with the Lactation Consultant Ruthie, to even the visits from maintenance and housekeeping to make sure everything was going smoothly.

“I love Wanda,” Ben said about the food and nutritional team. “She brought us food as we came in between lunch and dinner and she got us a snack pack and fruit. The team always checked in to make sure ‘dad’ was okay – and it made me feel included.”

Both Ashley and Ben said they enjoyed their recovery at WMMC and loved that the entire team was kind, patient, knowledgeable and helpful with this amazing experience.

Ashley and Ben’s Message to Pregnant Couples: Take the childbirth classes

Ashley and Ben quickly explained the two major benefits to taking Childbirth Classes: learning the delivery process and terminology and creating long-lasting relationships with the entire medical team.

WMMC’s Childbirth Classes include:

Tour of WMMC’s Labor and Delivery Unit.

What to expect during your stay.

Terminology and medical equipment that is used.

How to stay active in the decision making process.

Pain control options.

Routine security and safety.

Q&A with an obstetrics nurse on delivery.

Meet the medical team that will help deliver your baby.

Newborn procedures and feeding options.

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