This past weekend, we visited my dad in Mullins, SC which is only about an hour from the beach so we were able to at least see the ocean (we didn't stay too long though because it was biker weekend) and ride some roller coasters at a small amusement park in Myrtle Beach. We hadn't been on a roller coaster in about 3 years (or more) so that was a lot of fun for us! :)
We have yet another new prayer request! Aaron's bloodwork results came back showing that his hormone levels aren't balanced. One is too low and the other is too high. Basically, if we understood everything correctly, his body is indeed producing sperm but is soon after destroying them. The doctor has scheduled another test in 3 months, though he's not expecting any improvement. While we are so open to pursuing adoption (at the proper time and we don't know when that will be as of right now), we are praying for God to heal Aaron and allow us to conceive at least 1 child naturally. Please pray that God would restore balance to Aaron's hormone levels and that we would be pleasantly surprised in 3 months to discover that his sperm count is normal! Even if that would not be the Lord's will, we're okay with that...He's sovereign and we're not, but this is a medical illness that God can heal if He so chooses. So, fellow Christians, would you join us in prayer over the next 3 months and pray for God's healing hand to be upon Aaron?
As most of you who regularly read this blog know, I usually leave its upkeep to my wife. Today however is different, owing to a revelation that is going to bring important changes into our life. I wanted to take a leadership role in our marriage and be the one to communicate to all of you what is going on in our life, how we are responding to it and some family prayer requests that we now have.
Most of you probably already know that we have been working with doctors to establish a regular luteal phase in Jennifer's cycle to allow a fertilized egg to be able to attach to her uterus. Jenn has been taking Clomid for the past two months and is now in the third month. Her doctor asked for me to have a sperm test done before she prescribed any more dosages to rule out any fertility problems on my end. I had the test a couple weeks ago and today we met with a urologist and a fertility doctor to discuss the results. To our surprise it was revealed that I have such a low sperm count that is was coded, "TFTC - too few to count". The consensus between both doctors was that it is very improbable that we will ever be able to have biological children naturally.
Two options that were presented to us were IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) and adoption. We are strongly opposed to IVF because it usually results in more fertilized eggs (little people) being created than are desired to be birthed by their parents. These little babies usually stay frozen for an extended period of time and are then often killed when parents decide not to use them after having a sucessful implantion of a fertilized egg(s). We could choose to fertilize only a limited number of eggs and place them all inside of Jennifer, but that would greatly limit the chances of the procedure working. Seeing as it is an expensive procedure, and since we don't have the money to keep trying it over and over with just a few eggs each time, we are turning instead towards adoption.
I can't tell you how excited we are to be pursing adoption, but I have to announce this news alongside the truth that finding out that we probably won't ever have biological children has been very hard for us to grasp. This has been a day filled with incredible emotion. It is hard to erase, in just few hours, a quarter of a century's worth of thinking and imagining of what it would be like to birth your own kids. We have seen tears come and go today and I'm sure we will continue to for the coming weeks and months. The flow of tears have been met though with a steady flow of grace. Although we are saddened by the news that we received today, we are rejoicing in the fact that we now know clearly the path that we are to take in pursuing children. In fact, I have experienced today a sense of exhilaration towards being able to pursue adoption without any second thoughts of perhaps another pursuit being more practical.
Jennifer and I, even before we met, both carried in our hearts the desire to adopt children. The biggest deterrent towards pursuing our first child this way had been the financial cost. Although that cost is still a hurdle, we now know that it one that we must tackle. In that sense, it is rather freeing to know that we probably won't have kids naturally. Now, we are facing the decision of pursuing either traditional or embryonic adoption. (The latter involves adopting a fertilized egg, one that has been frozen, from parents who did not use it during the process of IVF. The fertilized egg would be placed inside of Jenn, who would carry and birth the baby, although it wouldn't carry any of our genes. Here is a link to a agency who specializes in embryonic adoption: http://www.nightlight.org/adoption-services/snowflakes-embryo/default.aspx )
One of the reasons that we are so excited to be able to pursue adoption is because it is such a beautiful picture of one of the greatest benefits of the gospel - the adoption of Christians into God's family. Jennifer expressed to me today in a moment of exasperation that adoption is so difficult to pursue. God kindly brought to my mind that it was difficult for Him also - difficult to the point of death. God the Father allowed his Son to suffer a tortuous death in order to bring his church, who the Bible describes as orphaned, into His family. What a gift that we can give to our future children, to our families and to our church when they see the lengths that we may go through to bring a orphaned child into a loving home.
So this is a little window into our hearts today. For those Christians who are reading this blog and who would like to pray for us, here are some requests that we have:
1) That we would glorify God in responding to today's news and showcase His grace as it is supplied to us on a daily basis. 2) That God would lead us in wisdom toward either traditional or embryonic adoption. 3) That we would be blessed with the resources needed to adopt. 4) That any roadblocks needed to adopt (ie. currently being renters) would be removed. 5) For our marriage to be strenghtened through these events and that we would love and support each other with gentle spirits. 6) That the gospel of God would be demonstrated through this pursuit, towards us, our future child(ren) and to the world.
Finally, as I have been writing this post, my heart has been moved towards my many friends who are not Christians. My fear is that the truth and beauty of the gospel could be diluted by the sentimentality of the situation. Not being able to have children is sad, having kids is amazing and wondrous, but the Gospel is necessary. "But we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons...For in this hope we were saved." Romans 8:23-24
Well, we found out some news this week that is hard to swallow in our journey for hoping to grow our family...Aaron has a low sperm count. My ObGyn told me after 2 months of Clomid, if I wasn't pregnant, she'd test Aaron before she continued to "pump my body full with fertility drugs." So, for this cycle, she gave me a refill of Clomid (and increased the dosage) and had Aaron tested. His results came back yesterday and it's all really frustrating...My ObGyn was the one who ordered that a semen analysis be done at a local fertility clinic, so she was the one who got the test results - not us. She then had her nurse call and tell me this vague info "He has a low sperm count - He needs to see a Urologist." I then asked the nurse what this all meant? How low was his count? Would we be able to have children? She abrubtly said "I don't know - The urologist needs to analylze all of this...we only treat women here - not men." Aaron then calls the fertility clinic himself to find out his specific results and unfortunately, they "legally" could not give him the results, but could only give the results to the doctor who had referred him (my ObGyn).
This was a COMPLETE SURPRISE to us...We simply thought that he would have this test to satisfy my doctor so that she would proceed with giving me stronger fertility drugs. We never really seriously thought that he too may have a problem!!! My doctor had even told me that this test was just to rule it out, because it would be very rare for both people to have a fertility problem. (I guess we beat the odds-Haha)
We have decided to bypass the urologist, since we both have some fertility issues and see a fertility specialist together. However, the fertility specialist can't see us until June 10th, unless there becomes another time available. I sobbed hard yesterday - This news was painful for us. However, we are glad to know this info so that we can begin to move in the right direction.
All this to say, if the Lord brings it to your mind, please pray for the following: 1) That we would have peace, trust, and comfort in our Great God. We want to glorify Him no matter what His plan is for our life! 2) That the fertility specialist could see us sooner than next month and that he would have the wisdom to lead us into making the wisest decisions for our family. 3) That the Lord would bless us with a baby(ies)!
This past Saturday, Aaron & I met up with my mom, step-dad, sister, and sis' boyfriend in Clemson, SC for a baseball game - Clemson vs. Maryland. This is all so ironic considering that Aaron grew up in Columbia, graduated from USC, and is most definitely a Gamecock fan!!! My family are Tiger fans though, and so he mustered up some strength sit through the game (He enjoyed it too). :)
We were married on December 17, 2005 and are trying to honor the Savior with our lives. God laid embryo adoption on our hearts after first reading about it in 2006. In 2009, we began pursuing embryo adoption. We have adopted a total of 10 babies: 8 are now in Heaven with the Lord and 2, our boy/girl twins, Abel and Belle were born at 31 weeks on June 4, 2011!
Aaron is currently writing his first book titled, "God is NOT a God of Second Chances...and Other Good News from the Gospel" which will be available in 2014.