Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Jen Arnold, whose TLC reality show “The Little Couple” chronicles her and her husband’s life living with dwarfism, is opening up about a cancer diagnosis that she received while traveling to India to finalize adoption papers on the couple’s daughter. The Arnolds had struggled with infertility treatments before ultimately adopting a son from China and a daughter from India–both children with different forms of dwarfism. More from PEOPLE.com:
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Back in Houston, Arnold, a neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, was diagnosed with stage 3 choriocarcinoma, a rare cancer that began with a non-viable pregnancy (the embryo had no heartbeat) she suffered in September.
“The one time I get pregnant,” Arnold says ruefully, “I get cancer.”
When a cancerous mass in her uterus didn’t initially respond to chemotherapy, her doctors decided to perform a hysterectomy.
“We wanted to avoid surgery in her case because of her shortened airway and the difficulties she has had in the past with surgeries,” says Dr. Concepcion R. Diaz-Arrastia, director of gynecology oncology at Baylor College of Medicine, who is treating Arnold. “But we felt we had no choice. The disease was not responding to chemotherapy. We had to do this in order to save her life.”
Her doctor also did extensive research and contacted specialists around the country to calculate the appropriate dosage of chemotherapy for Arnold, who has a form of dwarfism.
“I called oncologists in Los Angeles, Baltimore, New York, Houston,” says Dr. Arrastia, “and no one had experience with treating this type of cancer in a person with skeletal dysplasia. It was a very rare cancer, rare that it was found in a little person … a very rare situation.”
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Bill Klein and Dr. Jennifer Arnold, whose life is chronicled on the TLC reality show “The Little Couple” has announced plans to adopt a second child. Like their son Will–adopted from China–their second child has dwarfism, a condition that affects both Klein and Arnold. The couple had attempted to have a biological child using a gestational surrogate, but their surrogate suffered a miscarriage in November 2011 so the couple pursued international adoption. More on their second child, a girl born in India, from PEOPLE.com:
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After years of hoping to become parents and suffering through fertility issues, Bill Klein and Dr. Jennifer Arnold of TLC’s The Little Couple joyfully welcomed adopted son Will from China – and now tell PEOPLE exclusively they are adopting a 19-month-old girl from India they have named Zoey.
“We’re so delighted that Zoey will be joining our family and that William will have a little sister coming home very soon,” Arnold and Klein said in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE.
Though Zoey – who also has a form of dwarfism like her adoptive parents and new big brother-to-be, Will – is officially their daughter, the couple is waiting on final approvals and dates to be put in place so they can bring her home to Houston.
Since they wed, Klein, 38, and Arnold, 39 have hoped to adopt a child with special needs because of their own experiences with dwarfism.
“We’ve dealt with prejudice and many challenges,” says Arnold. “I feel very lucky and fortunate that I have the wonderful life I have.”
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Bill Arnold and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Arnold, have adopted a little boy who was born with dwarfism, a condition that the Arnolds both live with and chronicle in their TLC reality show “The Little Couple.” They had been attempting to have a biological child using a gestational surrogate, but their surrogate suffered a miscarriage in November 2011. More from PEOPLE.com on the Arnold’s son, William, who is 3 years old and is from China:
“We are thrilled to announce that we have adopted a beautiful young boy from China,” the couple said in a statement to PEOPLE. “We are so proud to welcome William to our family and look forward to bringing him home.”
On their TV series last March, the couple explored adoption after their surrogate suffered a miscarriage.
“My entire life, even before I met Bill, I always thought, ‘Oh, I’d love to adopt a child who is another little person,’ ” Arnold said on the episode. “And Bill and I talked about it after we got married, and I think we both realized we both would like that.”
The new season of “The Little Couple” will premiere on April 30 at 10 p.m. EST.
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Friday, November 4th, 2011
Dr. Jennifer Arnold and husband Bill Klein, whose TLC show “The Little Couple” chronicles their lives and, recently, their journey to become parents, are mourning a miscarriage suffered by their surrogate.
The couple had chosen to pursue surrogate parenting because of the physical risks involved with Arnold carrying a pregnancy herself, given her skeletal dysplasia, the bone-growth disorder that causes her dwarfism.
The season finale of the show, which aired Tuesday, showed the couple working with their surrogate to undergo the final stage of in-vitro fertilization, in which embryos are transferred into the uterus in hopes of achieving a pregnancy. Initially, the news was good, with the surrogate reporting a positive pregnancy test to the overjoyed Arnold and Klein. But the episode ended with a brief, heartbroken statement from the couple reporting that their surrogate had miscarried the pregnancy.
PEOPLE.com reports that the couple is continuing their journey, pursuing both surrogate pregnancy and adoption as possible options:
Klein had to contact his wife, a neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, while she was at work in order to tell her the heartbreaking news.
“I didn’t want her to be the last person to find out,” he says. “Ugly or happy, it needs to be told. It was a very tough day, and Jen took it harder than she originally expected.”
“I cried my eyes out,” Arnold tells PEOPLE. “I deal with families who lose their babies and I will cry with them, but I thought I would be stronger. Nothing can completely prepare for all that when it is about you.”
When the couple were able to get together at the end of the day, they mourned, crying and comforting one another and later talking to family and friends. The next day they decided they would continue trying to start a family, with both surrogacy and adoption as possible paths.
“Bill was a rock, and he held me through everything,” Arnold says. “By the next morning, I realized that I needed to try again. We were so close and so pregnant with the ultrasound looking good, and so it was horrible for it to end. But I couldn’t have said I was done. A lot of family asked, ‘Do you want to go through this again?’ And my answer is, yes. I would be miserable if I didn’t try again.”
(image via: http://www.people.com/)
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