After losing both children to an under-the-influence driver in October 2003, Carmen Pack was devastated. The immense pain, trauma and loss she endured was overwhelming, but above all, she wanted to become a mother again.
"After everything that happened to me, I realized how fragile life is and how much I enjoyed being around children," the Danville resident and preschool teacher said.
Jimena Barreto's Mercedes struck Pack's children, Troy and Alana, as they rode their scooter and bicycle along Camino Tassajara near their home. Although the Packs found some solace in Barreto's conviction and incarceration, difficulty convincing another child was upsetting.
"I knew that I had to contact a fertility center. I did a little bit of research and Reproductive Science Center was the name that kept coming to me. I contacted them and I am very thankful that I did," Pack said.
The Packs worked with RSC's Dr. Louis Weckstein, who took a personal interest in working with the couple.
"After the devastation they had been through, I wanted to give them hope," Weckstein said. "I told her we wouldn't stop until we had succeeded."
Using eggs donated by her niece, Pamela. Carmen was the hopeful mother-to-be for two twin boys. But the drunk driver trial proved too stressful for her body to endure, and she tragically lost both boys nearing her sixth month of pregnancy.
"I was put on this earth to be a mother, and I had a lot missing after my children were taken from me," Carmen explained. "I knew I couldn't give up until I was a mother again."
In 2006, Carmen's dream came true with the birth of Noelle. Now age six, Carmen and her husband, Bob, treasure every minute with Noelle. On Aug. 19, the Packs will be among nearly 1,000 families celebrating the success of new beginnings and their "miracle children" at Reproductive Science Center's family day in San Ramon.
"Family day is a celebration of life, of couples that have gone through a lot and are finally enjoying their families and their children," Pack said. "Going through fertility treatment is not the easiest thing to do; emotionally it's a roller coaster. One day you have your hopes up, the next day you're praying and you don't know the outcome."
Families enjoyed a variety of kid-centric activities, lunch and the company of other like-minded couples. RSC doctors and staff were in attendance to celebrate their patients' success, many of who have not met the children they helped conceive.
Pack said she was excited to meet similar families and advocate for those who are struggling to have a child.
"When a woman or a couple contacts a fertility center…it's because they've already exhausted other avenues. They're already feeling all the feelings that I felt -- anxious, nervous, worry," Pack said. " If you have difficulties contact a fertility center and have them help you so your dreams can come true."
Although Noelle knows she has two siblings who died in an accident, Pack said she has not yet explained the entire situation to her daughter. Pack said she will tell her once she is old enough to understand.
"I love my daughter the same exact way I loved Troy and I loved Alana," Pack said, adding that Noelle regularly says she would like siblings. "I'm planning to always tell my daughter the truth…when I do it will be wonderful because she I will tell her she has two, her cousins (Pamela's children) Alexia and Daniella."
Approximately 400 children, newborn to 12 years old, from throughout the Bay Area attended the invitation-only event at Little Hills.