This was Angela Nicole's one chance to get pregnant, and she wasn't hopeful.
She was 40 years old, single, and had spent all her savings trying to conceive.
Angela, who did not want to use her last name, had been trying fertility treatments for more than two years. She had been through five rounds of IVF. In the last one, they weren't able to extract a single egg to fertilize. All in all, she had taken almost 500 shots. She injected the subcutaneous ones into her stomach herself; her father helped her with the intramuscular shots. There were days when she was getting three or four shots a day.
Out of all those attempts, she had a single viable frozen embryo to be implanted.
Her brother, Shawn, who had been supportive through the ups and downs of her treatment, told her that even though the probability was bad, the possibility was there.
"I knew the probability of it working was getting really bad," he said. "Like, extremely bad."
It came down to this one chance.
Sophia was born four months ago. Angela's mother was over helping with the newborn when they decided to take a picture to document the journey Angela went through to have her.
She had saved nearly all the syringes and medicine vials from her IVF cycles in a big wicker basket. The day they took the photo, her mother rocked Sophia until she fell asleep, then they laid her gently on a sheet on the ground. Angela arranged the vials and syringes (all fully capped) in a circle around her sleeping baby.
"I wanted her to know how much I really, really wanted her," she said.
She climbed up on a ladder to take the picture. But when she looked down on the image, she thought, Why don't I just do a heart? It was her way of saying to her baby, "Hey, I love you."
She rearranged the needles and took the shot.
Angela, of Troy, Illinois, works as an accountant. She had focused on her career, and in her late 30s, she said she realized time was running out for her to become a mother.
"I waited a long time to find a husband, but I never did," she said. She thought about what it would mean to be a single parent. She loves her own father dearly and thought about what it would mean to have a child who wouldn't have one.
"I knew all the bad," she said. She struggled with all her doubts.
She wanted a baby anyway.
She spent more than $100,000 on the treatments. She had worked since she was 15 years old and saved diligently, never taking exotic vacations or buying fancy cars.
"I spent my money on what I really wanted," she said.
The fertility clinic where she did the IVF, the Sher Fertility Institute, contacted her a few months ago to follow up on her pregnancy. She shared the photo she had taken of Sophia surrounded by the remnants of her treatment.
They asked if they could post it on their Facebook page, and she agreed.
The image has now been viewed more than 2 million times, shared and liked and commented upon thousands of times around the world. At a time when more and more women are waiting to have children and relying on fertility treatments to have a baby, the photo touched a nerve.
Shawn, who has worked as a photographer for years, says that people identified with the message in the image -- that the photograph is interesting, but the story behind it even more so. All of those needles could have been for nothing. It came down to one chance.
Even after she got pregnant, Angela needed shots to maintain the pregnancy. She started bleeding at six weeks and thought she had lost the baby. Her blood pressure spiked near the end of her pregnancy, and she had to be induced.
"People who go through (IVF) tend to keep it to themselves," her brother said.
The experience was difficult and emotional, but this photo showcases the miracle.
"It's worth all the needles and the stress and the waiting and the ups and downs," she said. She thinks her photo of Sophia spread so far because it got to the heart of the reason people try over and over again.
People ask why she didn't adopt. She says it was one of the options she considered, but as a single woman in her 40s, it would have been nearly impossible to adopt a newborn. She wanted the entire experience from the very beginning.
Even now, when someone refers to her as a "mom," she says she's taken aback for a moment.
"Wait. What? I'm someone's mom?"
It was a dream for so long, finally realized.