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Thursday, December 30, 2010

9-Week Ultrasound



Above is the picture of our babies at 9 weeks 0 days (sorry that it is kind of blurry). By God's grace, both babies looked great and had heartbeats of 158 bpm & 174 bpm! I had always thought that ultrasounds would be exciting (and they are), but they also evoke a lot of fear each time. This pregnancy is such a struggle in learning to trust God. The NEDC is closed this week, so they won't call me with their take on it until next week - But, the local nurse said all looked wonderful and not to worry. They are starting to look more like babies now - In fact, Baby A on the left was kind enough to face us and give us a good look at his/her spinal cord and arm/leg buds. Both babies were moving around which was so cool to see!

Some of you have been asking how I've been feeling and what symptoms I have had... Overall, I feel normal! The strongest symptom was an increased hunger that began during the 2ww which has continued, though now I think my body is adjusting to the hCG and the increased hunger is beginning to taper off. I've had some slight nausea in the mornings and nights, but no vomiting and some days I'm exhausted. Also, I've had cramping since the 2ww and I always worry when that happens, but I've been told by the doctor and nurses that it can be normal for some women. I also think I've been so nervous about this pregnancy that sometimes it can cause my stomach to hurt...who knows? In general though, I don't "feel" pregnant most days and begin to wonder if I still am, but the nurse assured me at my ultrasound this morning that I am very pregnant. Thank You, Lord!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Still Our Hope



This song "Jesus Came to Earth" is from the Sovereign Grace Music's Children album "Awesome God." I appreciate Sovereign Grace for teaching children (and adults) biblical doctrine throughout their music, rather than moralistic fluff.

Anyhow, I have to keep reminding myself that the Gospel is still our hope and not this pregnancy. I'm only 8 weeks today and I still struggle with fear this early into the pregnancy. But, then I repent of fear (over and over again), preach the Gospel to myself, and remind myself that if God should take one or both of them home to Heaven, then by His grace, our life will go on to His glory...simply because of the message of this song. All the while, I am also thanking Him constantly for making it to 8 weeks and praying to make it all the way to a healthy delivery! :)

Merry Christmas and please do celebrate the awesome truth that "Jesus Came to Earth!"

Friday, December 17, 2010

5 Year Anniversary!!!

By God's grace, today, Aaron and I celebrate 5 years as husband and wife! We would had never guessed on December 17, 2005, that exactly 5 years later, I would be pregnant with our adopted twins (we didn't even know what embryo adoption was until 2006). God knew though - how cool. :)

We plan to celebrate tonight at Cracker Barrel - not the most romantic place, but I really want some chicken and dumplings!...this is assuming that I can find the strength to get dressed tonight, because I tend to get very fatigued these days between 6-8pm. lol

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Heartbeat x2

God blessed us by allowing us to see 2 strong beating hearts today! Baby A's heart rate was 120 bpm and Baby B's heart rate was 124 bpm. Thank you, Lord!

Dr. K's follow-up call was encouraging yesterday. He told me that heartbeats are usually seen at 6 weeks, but not always. And he also said that everything looked normal on Thursday and he expected us to see heartbeats today. We prayed he was right - and he was! We were amazed at the miracle of it all - somewhere between Thursday and today, God just "turned on the switch" and their hearts began beating.

I also realized that today is December 14th. On November 16, they were thawed and transferred to my womb. So, less than a month ago, they were frozen in liquid nitrogen and today, their hearts are beating! Amazing.

We haven't officially heard from the NEDC regarding my ultrasound today, but the local sonographer said everything looked great. So, Lord willing, Dr. K will also be pleased with the results.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Please Pray!

The more I have read and researched, the more worried I have become. I feel that the babies should have already had heartbeats on Thursday. I am the only EA blogger who has not detected a heartbeat by the 6-week mark (those of us who had 6 week ultrasounds - mostly NEDC patients). I am scared. I know fear is a sin, but it is so hard to trust. Aaron has told me not to google and use the internet as a crutch for not trusting in God. I know that God will have His perfect plan no matter what. I read in Psalm 139 yesterday about God knitting us together in the womb and numbering all of our days. These babies' days have been numbered and Aaron and I have no idea how many days God has destined them for. We are only stewards of them for as long as He has sovereignly determined. I don't know what Tuesday's ultrasound will show. I am scared and trying to trust God, but humanly speaking, that is hard today and I feel like mess. Please pray.

I do have my follow-up call with Dr. K on Monday and I guess he will shed some more light on the situation, because I've only talked to nurses at this point and not a doctor.

Friday, December 10, 2010

6-Week Pictures






The 1st picture is Baby B. The 2nd picture is Baby A. And the 3rd picture shows both of them together in my womb - how fun! :)

And I did want to make mention that we obviously lost 1 of our 3 babies. We now have 8 babies in Heaven. But we are thankful that for now, God has seen fit to allow these 2 babies to stay on earth with us. Please pray that their hearts will start beating and that they will stay with us for a very, very long time! :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

6-Week Ultrasound

Well, the ultrasound showed TWINS! And, I have to admit that in my heart of hearts, before I even knew I was pregnant, I had a hunch that there were two in there. They both measured great. Baby A measured 6w1d and Baby B measured 5w5d (the tech said any variance within a week is normal) - they both had fetal poles and yolk sacs. The downside is that neither of their heartbeats were detected. The tech at my local fertility clinic said this isn't a worry, because I am only 6w0d today and they don't even have their own patients come for their 1st ultrasound until around 7 weeks (I'm not sure why the NEDC orders them at 6 weeks, because most fertility clinics wait until 7 weeks). I also immediately called the NEDC nurse and told her about not detecting their heartbeats and she said the same thing as my local tech - that they are mostly looking for fetal poles and sacs right now, but that she would like to see heartbeats on an ultrasound next week. So, I have to go for another scan next Tuesday. Please pray that the Lord would grant them beating hearts by then! My flesh is worried about my babies, but my spirit is at peace and trusting that God will continue growing them.

I do have pictures, but I will have to upload those later because we now have to head off to my brother-in-law's college graduation!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Christmas Post Worth Rereading

Last year, Aaron wrote and posted "Christmas Thoughts About Embryo Adoption." I know we have some new blog followers this year, so I wanted to share it again with you guys. We often think of Jesus coming to earth as a baby (which He most definitely did), but before that, He came to earth as a human embryo! Please take a minute to read this wonderful post by my wonderful hubby!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Beta # 2 Results

My numbers more than doubled - they are now over 3000 (though I can't remember the exact number - too much in shock at that moment)! My 1st ultrasound is scheduled for Thursday, December 9th and we will see how many babies are growing and check for their heartbeat(s).

Thank you, God! We are so grateful for this good news that we don't deserve!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

To Be Continued...

I never got Beta # 2 results today. I tried calling the NEDC, but couldn't get through to anyone. It seemed as though their phones may have been down. If so, then most likely their fax was also down and they may have never even received my results. I hope to hear from them tomorrow and will update. Praying that all is continuing to go well with our little one(s) and that Beta # 2 will show good numbers. After 13 days of waiting for my 1st Beta, I am waiting again - Ugh... :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Beta #1 Results


This is Aaron. I wanted to be the one to share the good news that we found out today. Jennifer is pregnant with a beta of 1,123! Praise God!!!

We were blown away to be over 1,000. Jenn will go for a 2nd beta test on Wednesday. The NEDC said that they normally look for betas to double, but because this one is so high, they only want it to go up.

Of course this is still a very precarious time and our baby or babies still need much prayer, but we are so thankful to God for His blessings in our life today!

-Aaron

Monday, November 22, 2010

Post Transfer




Let me first off apologize for taking so long to update! Since Aaron and I don't have but about 10-15 tv channels, I decided to stay with my MIL so that I would be able to watch tv and distract myself during the 2ww. Aaron will be coming tomorrow and I will go home with him after Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. My MIL's computer was broken and she just got it back from a computer repairman. So, here is my update from the past week...

As I was getting dressed on Tuesday morning, one of the NEDC nurses called and told me to be sure that I had a full bladder when I arrived. I thought that was odd, because they have never called me the morning of a transfer before and this being my third time, I definitely knew the routine. (I found out after I had arrived though, that almost none of their girls had been arriving with full bladders this cycle.) However, I should have started drinking about 30 minutes earlier than I did to give the water time to reach my bladder. By the time we arrived at the NEDC, I wasn't "miserable" yet, so I continued to drink. I drank so fast that I caused myself to vomit twice (sorry if that is TMI) all over my hospital gown and bed prior to the transfer. The nurse had to give me a new gown to change into. And then I began having the hiccups... By the time, I went into the transfer room, I had drunk between seven to eight 16.9 oz water bottles - And Dr. K said that my bladder was only borderline full enough!!! Wow. But, thankfully, he did not have to use a catheter to fill me up. After all of that drama, he transferred 3 blastocysts into my womb. They were graded a 3CC, 4AB, and 4AA (4 were thawed, but one didn't survive and went to Heaven). So, now we just trust God, pray, and wait for the beta.

As anyone knows who has just had an embryo transfer and is during the 2ww, all you can think about is "did they implant or not?!" So, as I prepared to heat up a frozen pizza in my MIL's oven on Thursday, I was not thinking clearly and put the pizza on a plastic pizza dish - which of course started a fire in the oven. We called 911 and the firemen came. I also called Dr. K's after hours emergency phone number to ask if it was okay for me to stay in the house that night with the fumes of smoke and burnt plastic. Thankfully, he said that the embryos should not be harmed this early by the fumes. My MIL has a custom built oven in her wall which would have cost $1200 to replace! I was thankful because she knew a handyman who came over and cleaned out all of the burnt plastic and left the oven in almost the same condition prior to its fire. I would have felt so awful if I had cost my in-law's $1200!

I will now read all of your blogs and try to catch up with you guys! Keep praying for our babies and our hearts - we trust our good God!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Headed to Knoxville (again) Soon!

We leave tomorrow for Columbia for some family affairs this weekend (fitting for my sister-in-law's wedding, a "man day" for Aaron, his brother, and their dad, and we will also be dropping off our dog, Toby, for Aaron's mom to keep while we are in Knoxville). We will leave from Columbia early on Monday morning to drive to Knoxville. The embryo transfer will be at 11:00 on Tuesday morning. Please pray for our babies and for us. Our hearts are wayward and continue to swing between faith and fear. But, I do know that no matter what God's will is, we will be okay.

It may take awhile for me to post an update though, because we use a desktop and don't have a laptop to take. I will try to post an update and their picture as soon as I am able to use a computer.

We hope that the 3rd time really is the charm! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Our Hope



If you read the GirlTalk blog, you saw this video months ago. But, I know many of my blog followers are not GirlTalk readers, so I wanted to share it with you too! This animation is why you will never hear Aaron or me say that we "deserve" a baby, because the reality is that we were once God's enemies (Romans 5:10) and don't even deserve to be a servant in His house. We deserve Hell. And yet, God has made us more than His servants - through Jesus, He has made us His precious, beloved, & adopted children in His house! And this is why, no matter what happens with this 3rd embryo transfer, I know that we will be okay. Because the Gospel is our hope - and not embryo adoption or any other means to holding children in our arms. We're just so thankful to know with absolute certainty that God is always holding us in His arms as we walk through this life and into the life to come.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Transfer Date!

I have hemmed and hawed about whether or not to post the date of my 3rd FET, because I really wanted this time to just be intimate between God, Aaron, and me. However, the more I have thought about it, I have realized that I want these next babies to have the same attention that our other babies have had (and share their picture on transfer day). They are just as special - whether or not God continues their lives on earth or calls them home to Heaven. I also have had such a great support of prayer warriors, that I feel I owe them (you) specifics to pray for.

So, without further ado...Transfer date is Tuesday, November 16th - 2 weeks from today! :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

That I Have Erred...

When reading a prayer entitled "Desires" in The Valley of Vision (page 106), these lines captured my eyes and heart...

"...that I have erred both on the side of my hopes and also of my fears, that I am unfit to choose for myself, for it is not in me to direct my steps..."

AMEN!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"God Moves"



Back in 2005, I purchased the "Worship God Live" CD from Sovereign Grace Music. "God Moves" was one of the two songs that I least listened to on the CD. I listened to the other songs numerous times as they drew my heart closer to the Savior, but at the time, I wasn't intensely suffering (life is always throwing curve balls, but I wasn't in the valley, like I am today). Five years later, I am listening to this song over and over again. Each word describes my heart so perfectly. I especially love the line that says "Behind a frowning providence, He (God) hides a smiling face." The song has been updated by Sovereign Grace from an old hymn written by William Cowper.

I'm not returning to my "normal" blogging anytime soon, but will post some of what God is teaching and doing in my life right now as I feel led to post. I can most definitely say, that in spite of the pain, He is doing a great work in my heart and I'm slowly gaining renewed hope...not so much about our 3rd transfer, but just about filling our home with children in some amazing way that He already has planned. I'm not clinging to this 3rd transfer resulting in a pregnancy and birth. Yes, I believe God can do that. But of course, He will have His perfect way no matter the outcome. I'm not dwelling on it. In fact, whenever I think about the upcoming transfer, I'm intentional about refocusing my thoughts on Jesus and not the transfer. The reason for this is because, HE alone is my HOPE - not embryo adoption.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Please Bear With Me For Awhile...

I hate and love when the Holy Spirit convicts my heart of sin. I hate it because I'm reminded once again how wicked my heart truly is and how wretched I am apart from Christ. I love it because I'm forced to run to the Cross of Christ and am pushed deeper into the glories of Calvary - where I realize how amazing His grace truly is for a sinner such as myself!

All this to say that He has convicted me of sin lately. The first sin is idolatry. While we believe God called us to EA, I have made the hope of holding children in my arms an idol. I have felt "hopeless" a lot recently, which revealed to me that I have an idol. Since JESUS is my HOPE, I should never feel hopeless. When I do feel hopeless, I have replaced God with a "god" of my own desires. The second sin is jealousy. When God hasn't given me my desires yet, but I see others becoming pregnant and birthing babies thru EA, I'm jealous. A year ago, I was encouraged and excited when EA mommies were posting pregnancy updates, because I would think "This works and will hopefully be me soon!" However, after 1 negative beta and 1 very early miscarriage, I am no longer as excited, but rather jealous. I want to want what God in His kindness and sovereignty has chosen not to give me at this point. Both idolatry and envy are sins that nailed my Savior to the cross - I cannot take these sins lightly. By His grace, I must repent and do everything I can to flee temptation.

Thus, I am thinking that I may be a little more quiet with the blogging world for awhile. I may or may not post many details about our 3rd embryo transfer. I want to focus on Jesus and His will for Aaron and me. His plan will unfold beautifully in His time. Also, I may not read or comment on other blogs as much right now. Please know that I love and am continuing to pray for you guys. However, my greatest priority is Jesus and if I find that my heart is tempted to dishonor Him thru jealousy some days more than others, I may choose not to read your posts. But, on days when I more feel His grace empowering me to fight sin, I will choose to read and comment. Please bear with me for awhile. :)

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." - Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thoughts Regarding Our 3rd Transfer...

We have chosen our new embryos to adopt next month. We only have 1 profile this time, no back-ups because this profile has 12 blastocysts! In fact, I later found out from the patient coordinator that this donor had even more embryos so they split them into two separate profiles. Someone out there already has the other half...I wonder if they're pregnant right now???

Am I feeling any better? Yes and no. God's grace is indeed sufficient, but we are still hurting. Even though we are still grieving, we have chosen to jump right back into the November cycle for several reasons:

1) Even though our insurance doesn't pay for the actual embryo transfer, it does cover a portion of my ultrasounds and lab work. Since I have already met my deductible for 2010, it seems foolish to pay more in 2011.

2) Even if we wait until a later transfer cycle, I know we will still feel the same...it's hard not to to be guarded and scared after having 2 embryo transfers result with shattered hope.

3) After pursuing embryo adoption for the past year and a half, we want to close out our NEDC journey in 2010. We don't want to drag it into 2011 (happy or sad news). If our final transfer doesn't result in a continued pregnancy, then we want to start the new year with a different chapter.

4) God called us to embryo adoption and He never said it would be easy. Rather, it is necessary to save frozen lives. For example, God calls a missionary overseas and he really doesn't want to leave home. He is scared and overwhelmed at the task set before him. Yet, he knows God has called him to go, so he is obedient. That's where Aaron and I are right now. We don't know what God will choose to do this 3rd time around, but even when we don't completely want to try again, we are choosing to obey. We have 100% belief that God can continue these babies' lives, but we don't presume to know His will for them or for us.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Moving Forward

We were prepared for the news today and it came...our baby is completely gone from earth and is now in Heaven. We now have 6 children in Heaven and we've never gotten to meet any of them on earth. It hurts. It's a pain like none other. I hate feeling this. I don't understand. We are trusting that God has a greater plan even though we cannot understand it right now. We will choose to bring Him glory through our pain even when living life is difficult and when we are tempted to feel that our hope of ever holding children in our arms is almost gone.

What are we doing now? Since the NEDC allows a maximum of 3 transfers per couple in their program, we will return next month for one last time. Honestly, we don't want to go back - it feels like we are setting ourselves up for heartbreak once again. After our negative beta in July, we were extremely sad but also excited about our 2nd transfer - not this time. At the moment, I'm actually dreading it. We are going back simply because we believe that God called us to embryo adoption back in 2006 to save lives (before our infertility diagnosis in 2009) and we are committed to saving frozen lives until the very end. We don't want to walk away until God has completely closed the door and has made it clear for us to enter a new chapter in our lives. Our efforts have not been in vain because all 6 of our frozen embryos are now out of the freezer and with the Lord - and the same will be true with our final transfer - either continued life on earth or an eternal life in Heaven. We have spent the past year and a half pursuing embryo adoption, so we need to push through no matter how painful our journey has been - for the babies' sake. Whatever the outcome is for this last attempt, we will begin pursuing children with a new chapter in 2011.

Since we haven't found a church home here yet (we just moved in last week and have just been attending church in Columbia with our family for the past 2 months), we don't have a pastor here yet. Our pastor in Greensboro was kind enough to meet with us today for counsel and prayer. We are seeking God as to what our next step should be after our final NEDC transfer next month. Perhaps, we won't need to have a new plan, but we are preparing ourselves for that should God want us to pursue another avenue.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Grieving to God's Glory

Although Jenn usually does the updating for this blog, I (Aaron)felt that I needed to share my heart right now. For those who haven't read Jennifer's most recent post, we just received word from the NEDC that Jenn's beta number was a 6. A 5 is considered non-pregnant. We had two positive home pregnancy tests on Wednesday and Thursday and were hoping for a strong number today. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

We took another home pregnancy test this afternoon and it came back negative. HCG levels don't go down and then back up, they go one direction or the other indicating a continued pregnancy or a miscarriage. Although we have to have another blood test done on Monday and continue the shots through then, we are accepting from God that our baby or babies have miscarried. I have total confidence that God can do all things. He has brought people back from the dead. However, we feel that God is clearly showing us that the babies are gone. We feel a peace in going ahead and accepting this.

I'm struggling on many levels right now. I don't know how to view the power of prayer in light of praying without doubting yet praying that God's will be done and not presuming upon anything.

I'm struggling in knowing how to love and relate to my wife. Amidst wonderful blessings, the greatest of which is our common salvation, we have been through a long season where many of our most shared emotions are those of shattered hope and sorrow instead of joy. After receiving our first ever two positive home pregnancy tests, we spent a day and a half sharing a joy that was precious. I saw a look in Jennifer's eyes that I thought I was getting ready to see each day for the rest of my life. We spent time in the mall and for the first time, were able to smile as we saw strollers and baby carriers go past. We felt for the first time that we belonged in the "normal" crowd and could relate to our friends the same age. We envisioned each corner of our new house through the eyes of a little one. That has been taken away and we are back to the too-common bond of sorrow and empty-hearts. All this grows us closer together, but we want to grow our marriage in joy, not in pain.

I'm struggling in feeling like a good husband and provider to my wife. I want to give my wife the joy of continued motherhood but am powerless to do this. It is so hard to want to give a gift to the person you love most and not be able to. It is hard keep seeing your best efforts at giving that gift fall short.

I struggle with jealousy. It frustrates me to see fathers and husbands who have no problem experiencing the privilege of raising children in this world.

And in all of these things, I struggle with learning how to glorify God and live all of life to make much of Him. I know the answers to all of the struggles that I just listed and could counsel any person on the proper theological responses to them. Living that out is hard though. In that sense, I wanted to write this post to say that I know the following truths and want to live my life proclaiming them:

1) God is all powerful.
2) God is good.
3) God is sovereign.
4) God, through the display of His Gospel, is the answer to all of our struggles.
5) We can grieve to His glory.
6) God died and rose again to take all sorrow away and reverse the curse forever.
7) Our greatest hope is in a world awaiting us.

I am struggling, but I am comforted. I am crying, but I am held. We long to love born children, but know that we are loved born-again children. We feel empty, but we believe in Him. That is the work of the child of God, to believe in the One whom the Father sent and cling to Him at all times. Father, we are believing and clinging to You right now. Please make much of Yourself through our lives!

-Aaron

Sad News

Sadly, my beta number was a 6 today. A 5 or less is considered negative so we were only 1 point into the positive range. The nurse told me that it did not look hopeful, but it was still considered positive. I told her that I took 2 HPTs on Wednesday and Thursday and they were positive. The nurse said that a HPT should not even read a HCG of 6. Most likely what has happened is that my hormones were higher earlier this week but the baby is starting to miscarry. Since it is technically positive they want me to retest on Monday to see if the numbers increase. So pray for a miracle (because God can do anything), but it's not looking good.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Our Blessing(s?)!!!


The movers got ahead of schedule in their packing and loading on Tuesday. Because of that, they were able to deliver our belongings and furniture a day early - which meant that we were able to officially move into our house yesterday! :)

I knew that I wanted to take a HPT when Aaron was around and so I had planned to test Friday morning before my beta. However, when we moved into our house a day early, we decided to test on Thursday morning. We became so impatient that I convinced Aaron to let us test last night. We both stood there while the 3-minute clock (it felt more like 3 hours) took its precious time calculating my results. I became so nervous that I said to Aaron, "Let's go out of the room and come back in the room in a few minutes." Aaron said, "No, I want to watch it." But, I left the room and shouted from the other room, "It's taking too long - it's going to be negative because if it was positive, it would have known by now." (After all of my trust in God answering with a "YES!", I'm ashamed to say that I let fear take over my heart the minute I opened the test...) Midway thru my sentence, Aaron shouted "It says "YES!" - I ran and looked at that test and couldn't believe my eyes! (It was kind of backwards...usually a wife takes a HPT and tells her husband she's pregnant, but I was too nervous to look so my husband knew before I did - haha). Since I had 2 HPTs in my box, I took another one at 4:00am and it also said "YES!" It's still so early, but we couldn't help but tell our family, who of course are thrilled! PRAYING FOR STRONG BETA NUMBERS TOMORROW! :)

Thank you, Jesus! We are so thankful for this blessing(s?)!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Psalm 113:9 (Again)

My mom read Psalm 113:9 in her daily devotions on the day we closed on our house and 3 days before our embryo transfer. I have a "Read thru the Bible in a Year" Bible, in which you daily read a portion of the Old & New Testament, and a few verses from Psalms and Proverbs each day. After 365 days, you have read thru the entire Bible.

Today, the week of my beta, part of my Psalms reading was this verse...
"He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!" - Psalm 113:9

I think God is continuing to encourage my faith this week. And, while I don't know what this week holds, I believe that one day, He will bless us with children in this new house. Praying that it will begin with a positive test this week! :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our House








Once we get our furniture and belongings moved in on Thursday, blinds installed, some color painted on the wall (and the builders' port-a-potty moved away from our Master BR window), our house should start feeling like our home. We are so thankful to God for blessing us with this house!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Faith and Our Children's Fate

After Shannon at Room for More asked us to answer a few questions about our FETs and our faith, I thought I'd share one of my answers with everyone else too. Shannon asked "What Scripture are you holding close to these days?"

In addition to Psalm 113:9 that I shared with you guys last week, I am also clinging to another verse...

As I was being fearful and doubtful after the transfer on Sunday, Aaron said something that has stuck with me the rest of the week, "Your faith could determine our children's fate." Ouch! And then he quoted a portion of these verses "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." - James 1:6-8 (Now, we realize that the context of this passage is regarding asking the Lord for wisdom, but we believe there is also application for all prayers in these verses.) So, unlike my last FET, I have been constantly choosing to believe that God is answering my prayers with a "Yes" and if he doesn't, then that is HIS sovereign choice, but my role right now is to believe and not doubt!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

PIO Mistake

After actually reading the labels on my syringes and needles today (why today? I don't know...), I discovered that we've been using the wrong needles to draw up the PIO and inject the PIO! - For BOTH TRANSFER CYCLES!!!

We have been drawing up with the 22 gauge and injecting with the 18 gauge. When I called Ascend Pharmacy to ask if they had put the instruction labels on backwards (not likely, but...) the pharmacist said "Ouch! Isn't that painful!?" Me: "Well, yeah, but I thought it was supposed to be that way..." I didn't know any differently! I called the NEDC nurse to tell her what I had been doing and to be sure that it wasn't a problem as far as the medicine going into the muscle. She asked Dr. K and he confirmed that it would still inject and be absorbed properly, but would be more painful for me.

So, I'm looking forward to my PIO shot tonight - this should be a breeze compared to what I've been experiencing twice a day! :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

For Every Fear...Look to Christ

For years, I have been reading the Girltalk Blog - "Conversations on Biblical Womanhood and Other Fun Stuff." I hadn't read it in about a week, but had a friend post this quote on her Facebook status, it immediately struck me with joy and conviction.

“For every fearful peek into the future, I wish I had looked to Christ instead. For each imaginary trouble conjured up, I wish I had recalled the specific, unfailing faithfulness of God. In place of dismay and dread, I wish I had exhibited hope and joy. I wish I had approached mothering like the preacher Charles Spurgeon approached his job: ‘forecasting victory, not foreboding defeat.” (Carolyn Mahaney)

I had assumed that she had probably gotten it from the Girltalk blog, so I visited their site and yes, it was from there - Please read the blog post! After reading the post, I have decided for every imaginary fear that creeps up, I'm looking to Christ instead and remaining joyful and hopeful. And if that fear becomes a reality, Christ will be there on the other side.

P.S. I am not taking a HPT until the morning of our beta, because Aaron and I will only be together Sunday (which seems a bit early since my beta isn't until Friday) and Thursday night/ Friday morning. Friday will be our first morning waking up in our new home - I am trusting God that we will also be celebrating other news too! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

THREE Babies in the Womb!

God answered our prayer in that we didn't have to thaw our back-up embryos and pay close to $900 in fees! All 4 of our first choice embryos were thawed; 3 survived and 1 is now in Heaven with our other 2 babies. We were sad to hear that we lost one, but thankful that I now have THREE babies in my belly!

We had 2 expanding hatching blasts graded a 3AB & 3BB and 1 blast graded a 3AB. We were a little saddened to hear that they weren't as far along in their development than a grade 3. Last time we had a 5AB and a 6AA (a 6AA is the highest grading) and yet, neither attached. So, we know grading doesn't mean anything - God's sovereignty means everything! Pregnancies do come from grade 3 embryos (after all, we were all once a grade 3 embryo in the womb!), so we're trusting that God's grace will continue growing them. The embryologist did say that if they continued to grow, that our expanding hatching 3AB baby would likely implant today or tomorrow! My beta isn't until Friday, October 1st which surprised me (which is 12 days past transfer) and my last beta was only 9 days past transfer. October 1st seems so far away! But, all we can do is continue praying for their little lives and wait. :)

Our 3 precious babies!



P.S. I will get around to checking in on my other EA blogging mommies soon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

He Gives the Barren Woman a Home...

"He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!" - Psalm 113:9
My mom has been reading through Psalms in her devotions and came across this verse yesterday and sent it to me via text - I'm clinging to this verse and rejoicing in the Lord!

How fitting is that verse because we officially closed on our house yesterday! I wanted to wait and post pictures after it was officially ours, but after closing I went over to take a picture of it and our camera's battery was dead. Ugh. Pictures will come - just probably not until we move in the last week this month.

My ultrasound and labs were great again on Tuesday - follicles suppressed (thanks to Lupron) and my lining was at 10.7 mm (thanks to Estrace), so I was given clearance to be start PIO on Wednesday. My mother in law is giving the shots when Aaron isn't around, and she is doing a great job! She was scared at first, but after the first shot, she is doing fine with administering them.

Even though, we really don't have the money right now, Aaron is letting me splurge and get a massage this afternoon (I found a spa that gives 50 min massages for only $39 which is rare)! I want my body to be as relaxed as possible for the embryo transfer on Sunday, which is why we are doing this.

We leave tomorrow for Knoxville, transfer our babies on Sunday, and come back to Columbia on Monday. Please pray for safe travels, our babies to survive thawing and transfer - and to attach to my womb next week. I realize just how insignificant I am in all of this - God has already created them and without His grace, these babies cannot grow and attach. Aaron and I are asking the Lord to spare their lives and allow them continued life on earth with us. We really want to fill up our empty bedrooms in our new house! And since our transfer is on a Sunday, we will probably be transferring while many of you are in a church service - Please think of us and our little ones. Also, there are several of my blogger friends who have had a transfer this week, will have one this weekend or next week (all at the NEDC)- Please pray for them as well. They are all on my adoption blogs list if you care to read their stories too. To God be the glory!

I probably won't update the blog from the hotel and may be too exhausted on Monday (so please don't assume that something went wrong if you haven't heard from me on Sunday or Monday)- I'm not going to push myself to do anything the first day or two after the transfer. I will update though - Promise!

Can't wait to see our babies - their first picture prior to the transfer is breathtaking and beautiful! :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

More Happy News!

We have a closing date on our house - Thursday, September 16th! Yep - only 3 days before our embryo transfer! We will close on Thursday, drive to Knoxville on Saturday, transfer on Sunday, and drive back to Columbia on Monday. Since this is coinciding so close to our FET, I will be in Columbia for another week or so to rest and take it easy. We plan to actually move in the last week in September which is also my beta test. I have my last ultrasound and lab drawn tomorrow and if all looks good, then I will begin PIO on Wednesday. :)

For around two years, I have prayed for Aaron to be able to transfer to a city closer to SC (our home) - somewhere we felt in faith to buy a house, settle and make roots for awhile. When we moved to Greensboro in 2008, we knew that it wasn't "home" (although, we LOVED and so greatly miss our church family there! - you guys were "home" to us...just nothing else there!). Along with this prayer, I have also prayed that when God did allow us to move, that we could either have a child in our arms or growing in my womb. When Aaron got the news the day before our July FET that he was being transferred to Gastonia, I thought that God was answering this prayer exactly how I wanted. Of course, the negative beta caused me to think otherwise (although, I knew His plan was best!). However, we haven't actually moved to the Gastonia area yet, but Lord willing, the day we actually move in with our furniture and our belongings, I may have news of a positive beta. Wouldn't that be so kind of God? No matter what His will is, we trust Him because He is God - and we are only us.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy News!

I have happy news! We confirmed today that our first choice embryos (set of 4) have NO additional fees that we would be required to pay on transfer day! Each set of embryos have possible fees attached to them such as shipping (from the clinic where they were to conceived to the NEDC), possible storage, and/or STD testing on the genetic parents - all of these fees are paid by the adopting parents. Our embryos from our July transfer cost us a little over $300 in these fees.

However, if none of these babies survive the thaw and the embryologist has to thaw our "back-up" embryos, we would be required to pay close to $900. Given that 65% of blastocysts survive the thawing process and our first set has 4 blasts, Lord willing, we shouldn't have to thaw our "back-ups." Obviously, with funding the 1st and 2nd transfers (including medications, ultrasounds, and labwork) and purchasing our first house, this is needed news for our bank account. Praising God for His kindness in this and praying that our 1st choice babies will survive the thaw, transfer, and attach to my womb this time.

P.S. We should hopefully be closing on our new house sometime within the next 2 weeks - right around our embryo transfer. Busy, Busy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

2.5 Weeks Until FET # 2!

My ultrasound and lab results were great on Monday, so I began Estrace this morning. I have my 2nd ultrasound and bloodwork on 9/14 and if all looks good then, I will begin PIO on 9/15 and transfer our new babies to my womb on 9/19!

I mailed our check to the NEDC last week. We should hopefully be receiving our additional information about the genetic parents' healthy history sometime this week.

I'm ready again (I think)... I've prayed so much for this 2nd embryo adoption - I feel like a whiny kid begging God for our children's continued life on this earth. But, I know that no matter what His will may be, they and we rest in His sovereign care.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

3.5 Weeks Until FET # 2!

I started Lupron again on Sunday. I hate Lupron. Granted, the needle/shot itself is much easier than PIO, but Lupron gives me severe headaches. Unfortunately, the only medicine that ever seems to alleviate any of my headaches is Excedrin which is loaded in caffeine - and I don't need caffeine in excessive amounts prior to an embryo transfer/pregnancy (I drank a lot of caffeine prior to my mock transfer in March and Dr. K told me that day to limit my intake prior to embryo transfer). Lupron caused headaches the last time and after taking it for 4 days again this go around, the headaches are back! Lupron is depriving my body of estrogen, which is something that I have taken for granted. When I stopped and thought about it, I realized that God has made our bodies so wonderfully - that even things like estrogen make me feel the way I should. How could anyone believe in evolution rather than creation by an awesome God?!

My 1st ultrasound and lab is on Monday and if all looks good, then I'll begin Estrace (bring on the estrogen!) again on Wednesday. I can't believe that our 2nd embryo transfer (and hopefully the last one unless we return for genetic siblings later) is only 3.5 weeks away now! Praying, Praying, Praying!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Balancing Our Emotions with God's Truth

Lord willing, one month from today will be our 2nd embryo transfer. I'm excited and scared. I think the excitement comes and goes. The fear seems to stay. Two weeks ago, I was excited. This week has been very hard. I want this 2nd transfer to result in a continued pregnancy and live birth, but I know all too well that there are no guarantees even with healthy embryos. My heart feels like a mess right now. I am trying to find the balance of trusting God and hoping for a pregnancy and live birth, while also guarding my heart should God not have that in His perfect plan for us.

I know that we do not deserve a baby - all we deserve is an eternity in Hell due to our sinful rebellion against a holy God. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has already saved us from that horrific state, so we are always doing better than we deserve. If God should allow us to have a birthed baby (or babies), it won't be because we deserve it...it will only be because He is blessing us with what we don't deserve. During our struggle with infertility and embryo adoption, through tears, I'm having to preach the Gospel to myself over and over and over...which isn't a bad thing...I should be doing that anyway. :)

But please, Lord, allow us to have one or more babies born as a result of our transfer next month...we want so much to raise and teach them Your Gospel!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

House, Follow-Up Call, & 2nd FET

We have a contract on our first house and Lord willing, we will close in 30-40 days (right around the time of our embryo transfer)! We are very excited to become homeowners. :)

I had my follow-up call with Dr. K on Monday. He was very sorry that our embies didn't implant, but said that my body was perfect to receive them...they just didn't continue to grow and attach for unknown reasons. He said that there is nothing different that I need to do this next time around - no changes or adjustments in my meds (nor acupuncture or pineapple core - I asked him specifically about that!). It all comes down to God's sovereignty and His plan for the life of each embryo baby. All we can do is pray that the Lord would see fit to allow our next embies to attach to my uterus and continue growing.

Our embryo transfer is scheduled for Sunday, September 19th. I received my date and protocol today - it's basically the same as last time. I start Lupron on 8/22, 1st Ultrasound & Lab on 8/30, Start Estrace on 9/1, 2nd Ultrasound & Lab on 9/14, and begin PIO a few days prior to transfer.

Aaron and I discussed that if I had gotten pregnant from our July transfer, we would only be seeing each other mostly on the weekends which would have been really hard during early pregnancy (and my poor mother in law would have had to administer the PIO shots, which wouldn't have been fun for her, I'm sure!). So, this next time around would be better for a pregnancy - after we have closed on a house and will be back together everyday with a normal routine. I pray and hope that this is what God has in mind too.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

2nd Embryo Adoption

We received new profiles to review yesterday! The NEDC is doing things differently now. Rather than all couples having a closed adoption in the same transfer cycle receiving the profiles at the same time, each couple is given 24 hours to make a decision and then they're sent to the next couple and so on... So, rather than feeling like we were in a "time-crunch" like last time (remember how we responded to the email in 17 minutes?!), we were able to take all day and night thinking and praying about our decisions. We have chosen to adopt a set of 4 blastocysts and a set of 2 blastocysts (since the NEDC requires a total of 6 embryos in case some should not survive the thaw). Just like last time though, we are only considering our first set of 4 to be our children and are specifically praying for them to survive the thaw, implant, and that we could see their faces in June 2011! While we are still very saddened that we lost our first two babies, God has given us a renewed sense of joy and excitement about our next children - We can't wait for next month!!!

Also, this time around things will be different in that...
1) We originally wanted to raise an awareness about frozen embryos as a pro-life issue, so we were very vocal about each step in our adoption with our family, friends, Facebook, and blog. Now that we've raised an awareness, we want our next adoption to be a little more quiet and intimate. We will still keep our blog updated, but will not be posting anything on Facebook or really talking to anyone about it other than our immediate family members. Please keep following and commenting on our blog, though - We gladly welcome that! :)
2) I will be taking HPTs next time! I thought that seeing a negative HPT would be more difficult than hearing the news over the phone. However, I was wrong. When the phone call is the first time you're hearing the news that your children are no longer alive, it takes your breath away, and you lose all consciousness of what the nurse is saying regarding specific test results, etc. All you hear and comprehend are the words "negative beta." Also, I like what Jen said awhile back about celebrating their lives no matter how long the Lord allows you to do so (I hope it's okay that I linked this, Jen...If not, let me know!) .
3) We really have no expectations this time...we are simply following God's will for us to rescue these frozen lives regardless if that is continued life on earth or an eternal home in Heaven. Of course we are continuing ot pray that our next embryos would be healthy and have birth on this earth, but we know that regardless of how "healthy" an embryo may appear, that is not a measure of God's sovereign will.

All that to say, we're excited and invite you to follow us as we prepare for our Embryo Adoption #2!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mission Accomplished

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

We have believed this verse for many years, but how could we know that Paul was absolutely right without being able to experience it for ourselves? We couldn't and we believe that is one reason why God allows suffering. While we are still sad and grieving the loss of our two children, God's grace has never been more real to us. We definitely feel prayers on our behalf and God's grace is indeed carrying us through this difficult time. I was even able to attend my friend's baby shower yesterday and share in her joy - that was definitely God's grace!

God, in His kindness, has also not given us much time to sit and dwell on this loss due to our move this weekend and looking to buy our first house (we were actually meeting with a realtor on Thursday when we received word that my beta was negative). Today is August 1st which means our 2nd embryo transfer will be next month! With all of that going on, we don't have much time to stay in the valley. We feel God's strength enabling us to move forward and look ahead to all He has in store - What grace!

And at the end of the day, our mission was accomplished. God called us to rescue these frozen lives and we did. They were frozen and now they have "woken up" in the arms of Jesus. We feel so privileged that God used us to build His Kingdom is such a special way! But, we are most definitely continuing to pray that He would allow our next children to have birth on this earth!

P.S. I begin BCPs tonight. We receive new profiles to review this week, and my new protocol should be sent in the next 2-3 weeks. Again, we are literally jumping right back into saving more frozen lives! And we are very excited to become parents again. :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our 100th Post

I was hoping that our 100th post would be something really exciting and special to announce. And, it is...Just not in the way we had planned...

Our babies are now in Heaven with Jesus!!! We are obviously sad and grieving their loss, but are humbled and grateful that the Lord used us to get them out of the freezer and into His arms! How awesome is that?!

We have cried today and are continuing to grieve their loss. But, overall, God has given us more grace and peace than we could've imagined. We plan to go back to the NEDC in September. The NEDC nurse told me to stop my current meds to begin a new cycle. As soon as my new cycle begins, I will start the BCPs, followed by Lupron in August, to hopefully rescue more frozen babies in September.

God's grace truly is sufficient. And we love our Savior and are so comforted to know that they are in His arms! :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

1 Week Post-Transfer

A week ago, our babies were placed in my womb. Today, they've either implanted in my womb or are now in Heaven. The wait of not knowing where they are today is driving us crazy! I almost bought a HPT, but I restrained myself. 2 more days until my beta - Thursday can't come soon enough!

Did I mention that this wait is absolute torture?!

Trusting in God's perfect plan for them and for us no matter what that may be...

Jennifer :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More Big News!

We're moving to Gastonia, NC next weekend! The night before our embryo transfer, we found out that Aaron is being promoted to the Gastonia LifeWay Store with a start date of August 2nd. This wasn't a surprise to us - Aaron had applied to manage this store when it became available in June. Everything was sounding promising, but we had not been given an official offer until the night before our transfer. We were so thankful to God for finding out this news before the transfer. We were really dreading the possibility of awaiting this news and my beta at the same time. So, we have A LOT going on right now - But, we're so excited! We will be breaking our lease here and looking to buy our first house (and Lord willing, start decorating a nursery)! For the immediate future, though, Aaron will be staying in temporary housing (such as an extended stay hotel) and I will be staying with his mom in Columbia, SC until we can find permanent housing. Lord willing, our beta will be positive on Thursday and we have decided that living in a house rather than a hotel room would be more restful during the beginning of pregnancy (we also have a dog and would prefer not to pay a hotel pet fee). Plus, he will probably be working some longer hours as he adjusts to his new store and staff. But, I will miss him so much - hopefully, we will be able to find a house very soon. And since, we aren't trying to sale a house here, it seems reasonable that we should be able to buy something soon.

So, to all of our SC friends - We will be living close again! Gastonia is right outside of Charlotte, NC. We hope to visit soon. We will miss our Greensboro/Danville friends, but we're not too far away to visit you too. And for our blogger friends - nothing will change for us (lol) - we will still be right here for visits. :)

We wanted to wait a few days before posting this news because 1) we wanted our babies to have all the attention for a few days and 2) LifeWay didn't officially announce it to the chain until yesterday.

Praying our babies will be moving with us and that God has a great new chapter in store for our family! :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back from the NEDC w/Our Babies!

First off, let me say that God was so gracious to us in every way! We had originally reserved a hotel room for $95/night, but on Monday 2 hours before we left for Knoxville, our future-sister-law (who is a hotel employee) was able to book us a different hotel in the Knoxville area for only $35/night! We had beautiful weather driving down, I-40 was now back open (it was closed off due to the rock slides when we traveled in March). Ashley & Dusty met up with Aaron and me for ice cream the night before our transfers, so we were able to meet in person which was awesome! So, in just these things alone, God richly blessed our trip.

Arriving at the NEDC at 9:30am on Tuesday morning! (The sun was definitely in our eyes.)

Now, for the babies' transfer details...

First off (again for this section) - The NEDC staff is wonderful! They took such good care of us and our babies. I know you Snowflake families are biased to the Snowflake program, but the NEDC totally outdid themselves for our embryo adoption - they, I say again, were just fantastic! :)

God answered our prayers in that our first two babies survived the thaw. Not only did they survive the thaw, they looked really healthy. We had one expanded blastocyst graded a 5AB and one hatched blastocyst graded a 6AA! We don't take "grading" to mean too much, because we know that God chooses which lives to continue growing on earth and which He decides to usher into Heaven. All embryos equally need a chance at birth no matter what their "grading" may be. However, what parents wouldn't want to hear from the doctor that their babies looked healthy!? - We were obviously very thankful. Our hatched blast had actually already hatched prior to freezing and in Dr. K's words "this one is wanting to attach" followed by him saying "but, there are no guarantees, it's out of my hands." To which Aaron replied, "But, we know Whose hands they are in!" Indeed we do. Beta is on July 29th - Praying for strong numbers! :)

Our expanded blast is on the left and our hatched blast is on the right. The darker areas are the actual babies and the lighter areas are what will (Lord willing) become their placentas. As you can see from our picture, the hatched blast baby had completely broken through his/her shell. :)

Ashley & Me

A rainbow across the shopping center where we enjoyed ice cream - Ashley and I decided to take that as a good sign! (Haha - I'm not really superstitious) But, it was a gorgeous rainbow.

Friday, July 16, 2010

One PIO Down (and many more to go-I hope!)

Well, my ultrasound and labs were great on Wednesday - they wanted my lining at least 8mm and I was at 9.7mm. So, I was given clearance to begin my PIO injections this morning. We were blessed in having a friend locally who has done IVF herself come over and show Aaron how to inject me. Even though we're not actually going through an IVF cycle ourselves, these shots are used in both fresh IVF cycles and frozen embryo cycles. I think having her show him in person how to do it will really help us a lot. She did reiterate what so many others have also told me - these shots hurt a lot, especially by the end of it. I'm already a little sore from this morning's shot, but it's mind over matter, I guess. Ashley did tell me about EMLA cream which is supposed to numb the area prior to injection. I asked the NEDC nurse to call in the prescription for it at my local pharmacy. However, I wasn't aware that you had to put it on your skin at least an hour prior to injection, so I didn't use it this morning. It will be hard to fit that into my schedule before work in the morning, but I plan on using it for my evening shots.

All is well - Our babies will be getting out of the freezer and Lord willing, in my belly on Tuesday morning at 10:15am! Please pray that they will both survive the thaw and transfer well - to hopefully implant sometime mid-next week (I read that an embryo at the blastocyst stage should attach to the uterus 24-48 hours after an embryo transfer).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

9 Days Until Transfer!

I took my last Lupron shot tonight (Yay!) and have now increased my Estrace tablets from 2/day to 3/day. I have my final ultrasound and lab this Wednesday at 8:30am and if all looks good, then the NEDC nurses will give me the "green light" to start my dreaded Progesterone in Oil (PIO) shots on Friday - Oh how I've been dreading these shots since the beginning. But, after over a year of waiting, I'm so glad that it's finally time to start them. I will take the PIO twice a day 4 days prior to transfer, during my wait before my BETA blood test, and if positive, then I'll continue them throughout the 1st trimester! - So, like I keep saying, I hope the "yuckiness" gets worse from a continued pregnancy. :)

The NEDC nurse confirmed that my BETA would be scheduled with a local doctor on July 29th - only 9 days after my transfer! I don't think that I'll be taking any HPTs - I think I can wait for my BETA. Ashley and Christina have already told me that they will be taking HPTs, but I don't think I'm going to (but since my BETA is first, we'll probably all find out around the same time anyway). Also, if I can make it the next 9 days until transfer without going insane, then I can also most likely make it 9 days after transfer for my BETA. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

2 Weeks from Transfer!

Today officially marks 2 weeks before my embryo transfer. After over a year of waiting, I can't believe that it's almost here! Actually, it still doesn't feel "real." Of course, now that we have been given a date, been matched with embryos, started my meds, had my 1st ultrasound and estradiol check, and received a phone call from the NEDC billing office today regarding our final fees, it feels "more real" but still very surreal!!! We did receive some additional information last week about our babies' genetic family and healthy history and from what I estimated, I think they've been frozen for about 3.5 years (although I don't know for sure because we don't yet have the exact dates of when they were conceived and frozen). That is surreal in and of itself - it is even more surreal that Lord willing, they'll thaw perfectly and then be transferred to my womb in 2 weeks. As I write this post at 6:28pm EST, two weeks from now at this very minute, Lord willing, I will be carrying 2 precious babies in my womb. Amazing!

Please keep Aaron, me, and our babies in your prayers - Please pray for their continued survival and that the Lord would grant birth to them next spring! :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ultrasound and Lab Results

My ultrasound and estradiol bloodwork came back within the acceptable ranges yesterday, so I now have the NEDC's approval to begin my Estrace tomorrow. I haven't felt well at all today...I really think the Lupron is causing some side effects...headaches, stomach aches, just a general yucky feeling. And, I'm sure the other meds I'll be starting over the next couple of weeks won't help either. Anyhow, I'm not complaining at all - I love the fact that I'm doing something to make my body a warm and hospitable environment for our two precious babies on July 20th. I will even most gladly welcome pregnancy sickness, if it means that they're growing the way they should be. So, yes, I'm praying that the "yucky" feeling continues to get worse. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

3 Weeks Until Transfer!

We had a refreshing time at Hilton Head Island, SC this weekend with family. It was a great way to get out of our routine and something fun to break-up the time between now and July 20th (transfer date)!

I took my last BCP on Saturday (Yay!). My Lupron shots have been going well overall - nothing too scary or painful. It burns for about 5-10 minutes after the injection, but then the pain subsides. Even though I have been injecting at various places in my abdomen, I did notice a small bruise today. Is this normal? - Have any other FET mommies had their Lupron to cause bruising? After every injection, I always begin to doubt myself with thoughts such as "Am I 100% sure that I had the syringe marked at exactly 10 units?," "Am I 100% sure that I injected it at least 2 inches away from my belly button?" etc..." This is just so important and since I'm not a nurse, I think way too much about these little shots! Haha

I have my first of two ultrasounds and labs with a local RE on Wednesday morning and if everything looks the way it should, I will begin my Estrace on Wednesday! I can't believe our transfer is almost finally here - Lord willing, 3 weeks from tomorrow, our babies will be in my belly!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Little More About Our Babies...

In my last post, I gave the basic info regarding our match(es), but I didn't explain it all in depth...

For right now, we are the parents of two children - not six. The first set of two embryos (genetic siblings) will be thawed first. So, if they both survive the thaw, the embryologist will not thaw any more embryos. However, if one or both of them do not survive the thaw, then the embryologist will continue to thaw one at a time until we have 2-3 embryos to transfer. If our first two embryos do survive the thaw, we will transfer them and the remaining 4 embryos will go back into the pool of adoptable embryos for the next NEDC transfer cycle (in September) and they will not be our children. Unlike Ashley and her husband, who have adopted a set of 6 genetic siblings, our only definite children are our first set of two. Thus, we are currently only considering the first two embryos as our babies...we pray for them specifically and my bracelet with my two embryo beads now has an even more special meaning! If one or both of these sweet babies do not survive the thaw, then they will be our children in Heaven and we will then also adopt other children. But for right now, we are the parents of only 2 children - not 6.

It makes my heart brim with joy to see how excited Aaron is about these two precious babies - He made a copy of their profile and placed it on his desk at work right beside my bridal picture. And me? - I can't stop thinking about these two babies that are reserved for us to transfer on July 20th!!! We don't know how long they've been frozen since their conception or many other things about them (we hope to find out more soon when additional info comes), but we do know that God has blessed us with these two precious lives and we are so excited to be adopting them in 28 days!

Other Random Items...

  • I begin my first of many shots tonight - I don't think the Lupron will be too bad (it's the Progesterone in Oil that I'm most nervous about!).
  • We booked our hotel in Knoxville - We will drive down on July 19th, transfer our babies on July 20th, and drive home on July 21st!
  • Ashley and I have not only been at the same place in our adoption since the beginning - we now officially have the same transfer date at the NEDC...I think it's pretty cool how that worked out!
  • We will be going to the beach with Aaron's family this weekend - It will be a little strange to have needles on my packing list right along with my sunscreen and swimsuit! :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

MATCHED!!!

We have been matched with a total of 6 blastocysts from 5 different genetic parents! Our first choice was a set of 2 embryos, so if they both survive the thaw, these will be the babies transferred to my womb (we are praying to this end). If one or both of them do not survive the thaw, we have 4 more profiles of 1 embryo each that will be dethawed one at a time until we have 2 or 3 survivors for transfer.

We responded to the profile email within 17 minutes! I'm so glad that God is sovereign over this - It would be so stressful without resting in Him...knowing that we can't thwart His good plan for our lives is comforting.

I also received my protocol from the NEDC nurse today and will start my Lupron shot in my tummy beginning next Tuesday - I've never been so excited about a needle.

Lord willing, in just 4.5 weeks, our babies will finally be in my womb! - Our official transfer date is Tuesday, July 20th!!! :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

5 Weeks Until Transfer!

We received word today from the NEDC that our profiles would be emailed to us this Friday between 10:00am-12:00pm - Yippee!!! :)

On a different note...When we first started ttc back in the fall of 2008, we were one of two couples in our church who didn't have children yet. The other couple had been trying for two years, while we had only been trying for a few months. Obviously, I assumed that they had some unknown infertility problem (even though the doctors couldn't find anything wrong on either of their ends), and that it was just taking Aaron and me a little longer (most doctors say to give it a year before you have any tests). I told her about embryo adoption, because I was so in love with the idea and thought that maybe they would want to look into this (Haha - God was probably smiling as He listened to me telling her this). :) She and I prayed that we would both conceive and be pregnant together. Not too long after that though, Aaron and I found out that we were infertile (we didn't wait a year to test...more like 6 months being the impatient people that we are). She and her husband did finally conceive naturally back in the fall of 2009 and are expecting a baby boy this August. Her baby shower is July 31st - right smack dab in the middle of my 2 week wait before taking a pregnancy test after my transfer. She and I both have marveled at how wonderful it would be if I was pregnant at her shower and we could be pregnant together for a couple of weeks until her son is born. I love that God had already laid embryo adoption on our hearts before we were diagnosed as infertile - so much so that I was telling my friend about it. I love though, that God chose Aaron and me to walk this path. While stressful at times and is definitely stretching our faith, our adoption journey has been one of the sweetest times of my life. And, yes, I'm still praying that she and I can be pregnant together even if for a short while and in a way that we didn't imagine when we prayed in our small group some time ago. :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

6 Weeks until Transfer!

It is now 6 weeks prior to our frozen embryo transfer (FET)! Our profiles should be emailed to us probably late next week. The NEDC said that they would let us know around Monday of the week that they would email them (which is typically on a Friday), and since I haven't heard anything from them today, I'm assuming it will be next week. I can't wait to look over the profiles and find out which babies we will be adopting next month!

I started my BCPs again last week and will be taking active pills straight thru until I receive my protocol. Since this is now the cycle prior to the FET cycle, we have to gain control over my body's natural cycle beginning now. In addition to starting the BCPs, a lot of other things will be happening over the next 6 weeks that should make time start to fly (I hope so anyway!).

1) Receiving the profiles and getting matched with embryos.
2) Locate a local Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) to monitor my uterine lining the two weeks prior to the FET. I will have 2 ultrasounds with a local RE and he/she will fax my results to the NEDC. I know of one local RE whose office has already agreed to do this for me, but his office isn't too close to my job. And since I'll be doing these ultrasounds prior to work in the morning or mid-day during the workday, I would prefer to find a RE a little closer. I'm going to make some more calls this week.
3) Receive my Protocol from the NEDC, explaining when to start which shots and meds.
4) Book our hotel in Knoxville.
5) Get a cashier's check to pay for the FET (only method of payment that the NEDC will accept for the FET).

And of course, as we've been doing for the past year, we will continue to petition the Lord to allow our babies to survive the dethawing process, transfer, and successfully implant in my womb - to grow and be birthed 9 months later! :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Meds...

I ordered my meds yesterday and they arrived today - Intimidating to say the least. I'm a little frustrated with the pharmacy because I started to order them back in April just in case there should be an increase in any of their costs. The customer service representative advised me not to order them so early, because my prescriptions & protocol could change and then I'd be stuck with the meds, since they won't refund. (I doubted that my prescriptions would change, considering that the NEDC does this all the time and these are the standard drugs that all of their patients use.) When I asked the customer service rep how likely it would be that the prices would go up in the next couple of months, she replied "not likely." So, I postponed ordering them until June 1st and on that very day, one of their prices increased (my Leuprolide). It wasn't too much in the grand scheme of things and thankfully, my insurance is paying for a good portion. Nevertheless, I was a little frustrated that I let them talk me out of ordering the meds in April.

When I received the meds today, I discovered that my Estrace was the generic (Estradiol) and the NEDC only permits name brand Estrace. I called the pharmacy and they looked thru my notes and said "Yes, we see where your doctor said name brand only...we must have missed that somehow." I then got charged an additional $25 to cover the difference between the name brand and the generic. I feel like they should have given me the Estrace free at this point, but instead they told me that not only would they ship my Estrace, but that I could also keep the Estradiol...Yippee! A bottle of pills that I can't use! Haha

Oh well, I'm really not complaining...Just laughing with you guys about the crazy ordeal my meds have been. I'm so thankful to God for having brought us this far in a year's time. We made our first contact and applied with the NEDC around Memorial Day weekend last year. And a year later, I'm holding my box of meds preparing for our embryo transfer next month! (Did I just say next month?!...Yep!) :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bloodwork (Again) and Ordering Meds Soon!

We had our STD bloodwork redone last week (our previous bloodwork results expire in June) - the NEDC should hopefully have the results sometime between tomorrow and Thursday. Now, I'm just waiting to fill my prescriptions from Ascend Pharmacy. Most of these medicines are not easy to fill at a local drugstore, so the NEDC calls them into a specialty pharmacy who ships the meds directly to your home. The NEDC called the prescriptions in on the day of my mock transfer, but I haven't needed to fill them yet. Ascend is apparently a little eager for me to order them because they called both my cell phone and my work phone last Thursday asking when I planned to order them. I told them early June. Once I order them over the phone, they'll be sent to me overnight in a cooler (weird sounding, I know...). I am dreading the sight of those PIO (Progesterone in Oil) 1.5 inch needles!...But, I'll do what I've gotta do! :)

Sometimes this still seems so surreal to me...We are actually adopting embryos! When I first read about embryo adoption in 2006 and thought it sounded wonderful, I wouldn't have believed that Aaron and I would actually be pursuing it 4 years later! Thank you, Lord, for this amazing opportunity to rescue and love little lives!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Gift from My Husband

My sweet husband surprised me with this gift today!
I had to share it with you guys. :)



The bracelet represents our family. The cross symbolizes Jesus at the center of our story. On either side of the cross are two clear beads which stand for Aaron and me. Next to those are two beads shaped like leaves (you can see them better in the picture below) which represent our daily prayers for our babies' growth. The two larger stones represent the embryos that we will be adopting. Right now there are only two because we don't know how many embryos we'll adopt, but the six larger beads that aren't strung are for any other babies that we may be blessed to have and will be strung later. Each one has an individual shape and size, showing that each of our little children is a unique person created by God. On either side of the embryo beads are two small white shell beads. These symbolize the purity of Jesus which we believe, through God's grace, surrounds our embryos in their current state.

The gold beads that are currently at the top of the bracelet will be moved either side of our embryo beads if any of our children don't make it to birth. They will symbolize that our children will then be in Heaven with their Father. There are also several little heart beads interwoven. These of course tell how this adoption is a journey of love. The two beads that aren't yet strung in the middle of the bracelet look like developing children (see the head and belly?). If we are blessed that any of our embryos begin to grow inside of me, then they will be strung in place of the beads that represent our children in their embryo state. We'll see how the bracelet changes as we discover how God continues to write this amazing story.




A better view of the leaf beads which represent our daily prayers for the growth of our children...



One of the two (for now) embryo beads with the white shell beads around it...



And two of the developing baby beads that we hope to string soon...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Last Year, Today, & What We Hope Is in Store for Next Mother's Day

Last Mother's Day was the day before we were given the shocking diagnosis of "infertile." I don't talk about our infertility much anymore on our blog, because I don't want that to define us or our adoption. After being diagnosed as an infertile couple, we prayed for a few weeks for Aaron's healing and he was even supposed to have another test done a few months later to check for any improvement. However, God changed our hearts so quickly that we haven't really prayed for healing since probably June 2009 and we never did have that 2nd test done.... We suddenly became so excited about adoption that our prayers, focus, and energies were quickly spent on our future children rather than ourselves. I remember someone telling us that they asked their Sunday School class to pray for our healing and I replied "Well, we're not even praying for that...Would you please pray for our adoption instead? Our frozen children are whom we are asking for the most prayer."

This is where our hearts are today:

Is infertility sad? Yes, it's part of this fallen world.

Is it the saddest thing in life? No - This past year has caused my heart to grieve over orphans in their affliction rather than focus on our own problems.


Little babies, I pray that next Mother's Day, you'll be in the warmth of my arms, rather than freezing in liquid nitrogen which is no place for children. I love you!
- Mommy

Monday, May 3, 2010

Next Month...

I'm so glad that it's May and I can start saying "Next month, we will receive our babies' profiles." And after that I can start saying "Next month, our babies will be transferred to my womb." Amazing.

We did find out from the NEDC that it would be the 2nd or 3rd week in June before we received the profiles, so "late-May" is not happening. That's okay, though...June is so close now - Next month, actually! :)

For my early followers, remember when we had to have the STD bloodwork done last summer for the NEDC and the Phlebotomist wrote Aaron's name on both of our vials and we had to have it done again?! Well, make that 3 times now! Since the test results are only valid for 12 months and we had it done in June '09 and our transfer isn't until July '10, the NEDC said we have to do it again between now and then. We plan on doing it sometime this week. And more needles are coming soon when my shots begin...I should be a pro at getting pricked by the time this is all said & done. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Our Closed Adoption Process

I realized that I never announced on the blog that we decided to pursue a closed adoption and what that process will look like. Originally, we had been okay with an open or closed adoption, but have always preferred a closed one. Our only reason for considering an open adoption was our concern that embryos who were only available through an open agreement may not be adopted as quickly (We assumed that most adopting parents would prefer a closed adoption). However, there is a need for both, so turns out, it really didn't matter which one we pursued. We made this decision back in early February. For an anonymous/closed adoption with the NEDC, here is how it works...

6-8 weeks prior to our FET (frozen embryo transfer) in July, we will be emailed a really large PDF document with all of the profiles for their embryos who have been given in a closed agreement. All of the couples adopting anonymous embryos in the NEDC's July cycle will receive the email at the same time! Each couple then submits their 1st & 2nd choice (and even a 3rd or 4th if you'd like) and "it's first come, first serve"! In a traditional adoption, you receive a referral for a child(ren) and there really is no "selection" process. An embryo adoption is different in that you choose your children (at least with an anonymous adoption at the NEDC). It is intimidating and daunting having to "choose" our children and "not choose" others, but at the same time, this is how the process works. And, Aaron and I both know that God is ABSOLUTELY SOVEREIGN over our lives and we can't choose or be given any embryos that God hasn't already determined for us to adopt. Thankfully, we can rest in Him!

So, our profiles should be coming soon - either sometime at the end of May or early June! Yippee!

Note: The profiles will tell us the genetic parents' race, physical characteristics and when the embryos were frozen. Profiles will not tell us the embryos' physical traits or gender. Gender will not be known until a normal 20-week ultrasound, hair/eye color and other physical traits won't be known until Lord willing, after their birth. :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

LIFE

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in our local Pregnancy Care Center's "Walk for Life." As soon as I walked onto the sidewalk across from their campus, I was faced with a group of people (mostly college students) holding posters and shouting the following (the shouts are in italics):
  • Abortion is Not Murder
  • No Hangers
  • My Mother is Pro-Choice
  • I am a Choice
  • Honk if You Respect Reproductive Rights
  • Ignorance is Not Sex Ed
  • Pro-Life - It's a Lie - You don't care if women die!
  • Anti-Women, Anti-Gay, Hating bigots - go away!
  • My Body, My Choice!
That is just a sampling of what I saw and heard. I cried. It broke my heart. And I know that Jesus' heart was breaking as well. The irony of pro-life people being called haters is that, we weren't the ones yelling and spewing anger...they were. Their arguments also didn't make any sense...
  • Since when is taking someone's innocent life not murder?
  • I was not supporting women harming themselves and killing their children with hangers.
  • Aren't they glad that their mother's "choice" was to birth them? If she had aborted them, they wouldn't be here today!
  • I respect reproductive rights such as appropriate birth control to prevent conception (only in marriage; abstinence before marriage).
  • I am most definitely not ignorant about sex education. I'm all for teaching teens about sex and its consequences (and encouraging no sex before marriage, which is the only context that God allows and smiles upon it).
  • Yes, I care if women die, but I also care if baby boys and girls die. (And since when do most pregnancies kill women? God designed women's bodies for pregnancy!)
  • Again, I wasn't hating or screaming at anyone. I was loving the sinner, but hating the sin.
  • An unborn baby is not part of the mother's body. Yes, he/she is attached to the mother's womb, but has its own body. So, it's the child's body, and since the child cannot speak up for his/her own "choice," we must assume that he/she wants to live. (and I'm not speaking that suicide is okay...that's another issue entirely)
Life issues have become even dearer to my heart, since pursuing embryo adoption. Aaron and my children are the very ones that the world hates and wants to kill. And our children have never been in a womb since their conception, so they're clearly not "part of a woman's body." Thus, they are already their own unique person. Abortion and embryonic stem cell research is a satanic evil that continues to grow more and more accepted in our world. We must speak up for life! And going along with speaking up for life, means caring for these children before and after birth...This is why all adoption (domestic, international, and embryo) is absolutely necessary today.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Phone Consult with the NEDC Embryologist

At our NEDC mock transfer/consultation appointment, we were supposed to meet with the doctor, nurse(s), patient coordinator, and the embryologist. However, the embryologist wasn't there that day. She called later that week to set up a phone consultation to go over what she would've gone over with us at our consult appointment. Basically, she just wanted to go over the different stages of embryonic development and at what stages they could be frozen in - it gets technical... 2 cells (or 2PN, pronuclear) are frozen on the 1st day of fertilization, 2-3 day embryos are frozen with around 4 cells, and 5-6 day blastocysts already have too many cells to count! All are human beings and deserve a chance at birth - they're just at different stages of development. It was wonderful for her to take the time and explain what the jargon meant this past Friday, so that when we receive our profiles at the end of May or early June, we will understand what we are reading!

The coolest part of our phone call though was when she asked if we had been placed in a transfer cycle yet and I told her "Yes, July, though we don't know the exact date yet." And she replied, "We actually just decided those dates yesterday - July 20, 21, & 22." Yay! I was so surprised to hear that and am glad that she wasn't there on our consult appointment, so she'd have to call me later - otherwise, I wouldn't have known the transfer dates until our patient coordinator called us sometime in late May!

Ashley was also glad to hear the dates when I told her - It's so cool that we've been following each other's journeys via our blogs and will have our transfers at the same place & during the same week - maybe even the same day?!

We won't know if the date will be on July 20, 21, 0r 22 until we have been matched with our embryos - the embryologist explained that the embryos' stage of development determines which date you get - due to the thawing and transfer protocol.

July can't come soon enough!!!