For years I have had the privilege of taking photos of this family. Since Leah was two, Whitney would always come for the usual family pictures. It has been the biggest blessing to be able to see Leah grow up into such a sweet, attentive, caring little girl.
Seeing this family grow in number was also something we were all looking forward to.
This session was different from most though. You see, over this past year there has been a lot of changes, both for the Miller family as well as for my photography. Last year Whitney and Bryan began their journey with little Asher. Little did they know that the word "cancer" would become a part of their lives and that this little boy God blessed them with would be the one to help the doctors make that known. As a photographer, my desire is to capture life... as un-perfect and rough as it may seem some times. The stories that weave your own family history are precious. It was a blessing to be able to photograph little Asher the week after he came home.
I did not just want to try to re-cap what the Millers went through in my own words. Over the years I have come to realize that many times, in circumstances that are very trying, you can feel very alone. Like you are the only one going through this difficulty. Though every persons life is unique, and everyone's story is different, it remains true that there are others who have also felt pain, fear, loss, etc. Hearing their story, knowing that you are not alone, can bring comfort.
So here is the Millers testimony of these past few months and the trying times that led up to them.
Written by Whitney Miller
" Gods Will. Gods Way.
Often times, the Lord gives us trials to bring us closer to Him. But, as the song says, even in the valley, God is good.
Shortly after Bryan and I were married, we decided that we wanted to begin our family. After about a year of trying, I felt something wasn’t right, and decided to see a doctor. My worst fears were confirmed. I was diagnosed with PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome). The doctor told us that we would not be able to conceive naturally, and maybe not even with medical intervention.
I was devastated. We were devastated. The one thing I wanted (children) had been taken from me before I even had the chance to have them. Despite the heartache and depression, we decided to try fertility treatments. After several years and many, many negative pregnancy tests, I was done. I had come to peace with the fact that maybe God didn’t want me to be a mom. We stopped all fertility treatments and decided to just enjoy being married and live our life.
Then God showed Himself faithful. Three months after we stopped the fertility treatments I found out I was pregnant. We were elated. The pregnancy was perfect. Leah was born in April of 2009, a perfect 8 lb 2 oz baby girl. God had given us our desire. But He had to do it His way.
We thought our fertility issues were resolved and decided to try for another baby when Leah was 8 months old. For the next 8 years, we tried fertility treatments, diets, old wives tales, etc. in order to have another baby. We were stubborn because our hearts ached to grow our family, but God wasn’t ready for us to have more children.
In 2015, after about a year of fervent prayer, we felt that God was leading us toward adoption. It was a big step in faith for us. But we were overwhelmed with joy and love for the child that God had for us. I always wanted to experience pregnancy again, though. After some research I came across Embryo Donation and Adoption. It seemed to be the perfect fit for our family. We would be able to “adopt” an embryo, and I would be able to experience pregnancy. It was the best of both worlds! We did fundraisers for 1 year to raise money for the in-vitro procedure. I had to endure several months of hormone shots and medications to prepare my body for the embryo.
In September 2016, we had the embryo transfer. Two weeks later, we found out we were pregnant. God had given us our desire for more children. The pregnancy was perfect. The baby was growing and doing well. I was feeling good. Things were great.
Fast forward to March 2017. In a whirlwind weekend, after going to the doctor for what we thought was a seemingly normal bladder infection, our world came crashing down. On Friday March 10, I was flown by helicopter to UAB in Birmingham because my white blood cell count was zero. The doctor I saw knew something was not right, but didn’t know what.
On Sunday, March 12, I was diagnosed with Leukemia. I was dying. My kidneys were shutting down. I was bleeding internally. My body had become septic. We were told that the baby had to be delivered immediately so I could begin chemo therapy, or I would die.
Asher Dillon Miller was born via c-section on March 12 at 27 weeks gestation. He weighed 2 lbs 4 oz and was 14 inches long. A tiny miracle. The doctors told us that if I had not been pregnant, the leukemia symptoms might not have been so easy to spot, and I probably would have died.
I was in the hospital for 30 days for treatment, and after 3 weeks, the cancer was gone. Asher was in the NICU for 3 months and came home on June 12, weighing in at over 7 lbs. He’s perfect. He’s healthy. He is an answer to our prayers. He saved my life. We can’t wait to see Asher grow up and do mighty things for the Lord.
There are so many more details to our amazing story, but just know that, even though we had to go through this trial, we have all become closer to Him because of it. We have learned that His will and His way is always best. "