Norman blogger meets TV celebrity who propelled her to face infertility challenges
March 13, 2018
By Carla Hinton
A local mom is using her faith-filled blog to inspire and encourage women and men struggling with infertility.
S.J. O’Hara said she offers such inspiration out of the depths of her own six-year journey from the heartbreak of suffering several miscarriages to the joy of welcoming her “miracle” twins born via surrogate.
O’Hara titled her blog “Angel Wings” because she had many “angels” to lift her up. These were the individuals who encouraged her and her husband, Dirk, along their journey to become parents of three children.
Some of those angels included friends, family members, a life coach, counselor, medical staff and even a television celebrity.
Recently, O’Hara got a chance to visit with Giuliana Rancic, the TV personality whose much-needed encouragement came during a time when she faced a big decision concerning fertility challenges.
The Norman mom shared news of her expanded family when she chatted with Rancic and her husband, Bill, when they visited Oklahoma City in February.
The Rancics were featured guests at the Junior League of Oklahoma City’s “Speaker in the City” event in Bricktown, and O’Hara said she couldn’t wait to share her news with them.
The Rancics had spoken about their own struggles with infertility during episodes of their 2009-2014 reality-TV series “Giuliana and Bill,” and in appearances on TV morning shows and talk shows over the years.
O’Hara told Giuliana Rancic that she had taken the celebrity’s advice and encouragement to heart during a chance encounter they had when Rancic had visited the metro several years ago.
O’Hara said she had seen Rancic on television talking about Dr. William Schoolcraft, founder of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, and how he had helped her and her husband in their quest to become parents. O’Hara said she had been praying the night before that the Lord would give her a sign to help her determine whether she should keep her own appointment with Schoolcraft.
“I turned on the TV the next morning, and there she was on ‘The Today Show,’ O’Hara said.
A few days later her husband was reading the newspaper and learned that Rancic was set to visit the metro area soon.
O’Hara said she ended up meeting briefly with Rancic at a reception, and she told her that she was considering meeting with Schoolcraft. She told the television personality that she had had her son, Aidan, now 10, with a normal pregnancy, but since then, she and her husband had known the heart-rending pain of multiple miscarriages.
Rancic urged the Norman woman to keep the consultation with the Colorado physician.
“She stopped what she was doing and said ‘You have to keep that appointment. This is your sign. Dr. Schoolcraft is going to do for you what he did for me,’ ” O’Hara said recalling Rancic’s words.
All O’Hara could do is weep.
“God gave me the perfect sign that was tailor-made for me. I had been praying for clarity and wisdom, and He provided that,” she said.
In February, O’Hara happily reminded Giuliana Rancic of that fateful visit when the pair met for what seemed like a divine appointment.
She said she and her husband shared the news that her family welcomed twins, Smith and Stella, into their home and their hearts in 2015. She said the Rancics were surprised and then delighted when she told then that she and her husband took the same route they had to parenthood for the twins — in vitro fertilization and a surrogate.
“Of course, I pulled out some pictures for her, and she oohed and aahed as mothers do,” O’Hara said, smiling.
O’Hara said the couple seemed pleased to meet the O’Haras’ surrogate, also known as a gestational carrier, who also attended the February gathering. She said she gifted them with T-shirts featuring the “Angel Wings” blog logo and some pictures of the cherubic twins.
“It was a full circle moment. I think she appreciated knowing that she played a part in our journey. I don’t think there was a way for her to realize what an impact her words had on me until we circled back a few weeks ago,” O’Hara said.
Her husband, Dirk, said he has enjoyed seeing his wife spending time chronicling their journey on her blog and a forthcoming memoir.
“I’m happy for Steph. She’s come full circle. She talks about how you can get angels to come to you at any time, and she (Giuliana Rancic) was one of those angels,” he said.
S.J. O’Hara, a member of McFarlin United Methodist Church, said she is hoping her story will encourage others who may face similar challenges because of infertility. She said for a long time, she felt a sense of shame about those challenges but she overcame it by connecting with God through prayer and, of course, the support of her angels.
“This is a message of hope and about not giving up.”