The old standard for being a supportive pregnancy partner used to be running to the store for ice cream at midnight.
The new standard is ... this.
Matt Ostergaard, 36, and Adrianna Zbik, 29, found out they were expecting twins last April. "We were really excited and terrified at the same time," Ostergaard told TODAY, recalling the adrenaline rush and the long shopping list of baby gear for two.
At 12 weeks, the couple heard both twins' heartbeats. But at 16 weeks, they learned that Zbik had lost one of the babies in a phenomenon known as vanishing twin syndrome, in which a mother suffers a miscarriage of one child while the other survives. According to Dr. Christopher Zahn with The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, this phenomenon affects a substantial number of women carrying more than one fetus during their first trimester. "It is estimated to occur in 36 percent of twin pregnancies, 53 percent for triplets, and 65 percent of quadruplet pregnancies," Dr. Zahn told TODAY.
For Zbik, the loss was devastating. "She sunk into bad depression ... she wasn’t embracing her pregnancy anymore," Ostergaard explained. In an effort to help her get her glow back, Ostergaard decided to arrange a stunning gender reveal that would "light up the sky" and share the remaining good news with family and friends.
"There was a lot of symbolism there," Ostergaard said. "To illuminate the heavens; to be able to look up and see a grand gesture; to symbolize our lost one and be excited for what's to come."
The East Windsor, New Jersey, couple had planned a beach trip in late September. On the sly, Ostergaard reached out to the folks at SkyWheel — a 187-foot tall Ferris wheel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — about doing a custom pink display on September 20. He also arranged for a photographer to capture the couple in front of the colorful lights.
Once SkyWheel confirmed, Ostergaard surprised Zbik with the news. "I don't think she really believed me until we were on our way to do the shoot," Ostergaard said.
When their original photographer canceled on them in the final days before their trip, the couple was able to connect with local photographer Kelly Matthews, 26, who was all too happy to step in. "It was one of the most special things I've done," Matthews told TODAY. "I love babies ... and his reason for doing it for her was so amazing."
Matthews recalled "laying in the sand" to get the perfect shot. Her hard work paid off — the couple has already spoken to Matthews about potentially photographing their wedding and doing a newborn shoot once the baby arrives.
The couple's baby girl is due on Christmas Eve. For now, Ostergaard is just happy to see his fiancée smiling again.
"She’s excited!" he said. "Buying baby clothes, keeping her spirits up. Everything was just an effort to make her happy again. We didn’t expect any of (the media attention)."
But now that their photos have spread far and wide, Ostergaard is happy to be a light — literally — for other couples who have dealt with a partial miscarriage. "It brought more than a smile to (Zbik's) face," Ostergaard said. "It brought closure to everybody."