The Bernstein family (see Michelle's story above) is very involved in the March of Dimes. Their family team, Team Believe, walks in memory of Riley who would have been 5 this year, in the annual March of Dimes North Suburban March for Babies in Arlington Heights. They have raised more than $24,000 so far. Even though this year's has passed, fundraising continues. To help, click here.
Michelle DeFilippis-Bernstein always knew she wanted children, but after trying unsuccessfully for more than a year to have a baby, she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a hormonal disorder that affects multiple organs and tissues.
DeFilippis-Bernstein's doctor gave her medicine to treat the PCOS, and she became pregnant in the next cycle-18 months after she started trying.
But at 26 weeks, she went into pre-term labor and her daughter Riley was born via emergency C-section.
She lived for 13 days.
"After our loss, we decided that the love we felt for her was so overwhelming, we wanted to feel that for the rest of our lives," DeFilippis-Bernstein says.
So she and her husband started seeing a reproductive endocrinologist, who helped her get pregnant just three months later.
This time, she had a full-term pregnancy, which brought her twins.
And then came the shocker.
When the twins were 18 months old, DeFilippis-Bernstein took a pregnancy test and discovered she was pregnant again. After a perfect pregnancy, Matilda was born at 37 weeks.
She went through years of trying, plus one heartbreak. But she never lost her focus.
"It's so hard when you feel like you can't do what everyone around you is able to do so easily," she says. "I only hope this makes us better parents because you appreciate what you work for all the time. It's OK to feel angry and jealous. It's a hard, tough road and I wish everyone is successful."