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Friday, January 28, 2011

The Remaining 8 Embryos...

You may remember reading a post back in October that said we had chosen to adopt a profile with 12 embryos. We chose this profile because each profile has certain fees associated with it (ie. shipping, storage, genetic parents' STD testing, etc. ). We knew that it would be extremely likely that we would only have to thaw embryos from one profile of 12 and thus avoid paying fees associated with more than one profile (turns out, God was super kind and this profile had no fees at all!). Knowing that we only had one more embryo transfer attempt with the NEDC, we knew that if I didn't get pregnant this 3rd time, then the remaining embryos would automatically be released to another adopting couple. However, if you do become pregnant and have a live birth, your 3 attempts start over again, so the NEDC will reserve any genetic siblings for you to transfer in the future. In early December, after finding out the exciting news that we were pregnant with twins, we discussed what God may lead us to do regarding the remaining 8 embryos that were not thawed for our November transfer. I know many people struggle with this because they feel a bond with the genetic siblings and feel called to adopt all of them. However, for us this just wasn't the case. We emailed the NEDC in December saying that we would like to release the remaining embryos back into the pool for another couple to adopt. Our reasons were as follows:

1) We didn't want their lives to be on hold any longer than necessary. Every day that we reserved them for our unknown future was another day they would be left frozen. We felt it served them best to allow them to have a chance at birth asap.

2) Realistically, we don't know when we could return for them. Our adoption funds are depleted now and I would probably need to go back to work to fund another adoption and the plan for now is for me to stay at home with the twins.

3) It is quite possible that after twins, our family may be complete...maybe not. We are leaving that in God's hands. But, if we feel that our family is not complete, we will then seek the Lord in what direction to build our family (another kind of adoption or if we pursued embryo adoption again, we would just choose new embryos that aren't genetically related to the twins). For our first two adoptions, we used all of the embryos in each profile. For this 3rd adoption, I knew we would probably have embryos remaining so I specifically prayed for multiples so that the decision to not keep them would be easier for us. God answers prayer!

A part of us is sad that our children will potentially have lots of birthed genetic siblings that they will never know, but the twins will be part of our family and that will be what is most important.

I want to say that these are not black and white reasons for every family to release their remaining embryos! These are simply the reasons that we felt God leading us to do such. Also, I know for Snowflake adoptions, this is more difficult because you always have an open adoption and the genetic parents are often not comfortable with releasing their embryos to multiple families. However, with a closed adoption at the NEDC, it is just that easy. We simply release them and they could be adopted for the next transfer cycle. I also know that for the NEDC couples who have open adoptions that this is still not the right choice for them or their genetic/donor families either (for the same reason I gave for open adoptions with Snowflakes). It is often not the right decision for a closed adoption either for various other reasons. No matter what God leads each embryo adopting family to do with any remaining embryos, we rejoice that these frozen lives are getting a chance at birth when they would often have been discarded or left frozen indefinitely.

Friday, January 21, 2011

12 Week Update

I had my first OB appointment last week at 11 weeks, but all the doctor did was an exam and take a lab test. Today, I had my 2nd OB appointment at 12 weeks and an ultrasound! Both babies appeared to be doing well and were moving around (Baby A was quite the wiggle much so that the tech had a difficult time getting his/her heart rate). Baby A gave us a nice side profile, but Baby B gave us a direct facing (the alien look-lol). Also, I've included my first belly pic at 12 weeks...still don't look very pregnant, but a little bigger. I'm definitely feeling my pants tighten, so I've begun using the rubber band trick, but I'm not big enough for maternity clothes yet. The NEDC nurse called on Tuesday and told me that I could stop all meds and shots, because their placentas had now taken over and were producing the proper hormones - Yay for no more shots 2x a day! I'm now officially out of the NEDC's care and solely in the care of my OB office. My next OB appointment isn't until February 17th and my next ultrasound won't be until I'm 20 weeks (the longest I've been without an ultrasound) where we will also hopefully find out their genders. My OB told me today to enjoy my month off until February 17th because that would be the longest they would go without seeing me being pregnant with twins. Once I hit 20 weeks, he says I will be coming in a lot more frequently than a singleton pregnancy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Is "Mommy/Daddy-to-be" a Pro-Life Phrase?

This is Aaron again sneaking a post in...

To transform the disregarded into the treasured. That's what I love about how embryo adoption demonstrates the Gospel. For most of their lives, our children have been disregarded by most of the world, including our government. We couldn't even file for adoption tax credits this year because our children weren't recognized as being alive when we adopted them. They were merely seen as cells, as property to be transferred, as spare parts, and as research potential.

In contrast to this chilling view of life, I can't wait to tell our precious children (our eight in Heaven and our two on earth) how much I love them and have loved them since I first knew them on the microscopic level. As passionately as I feel about this, embryo adoption has humbled me into repentance regarding how I used to talk about life before birth.

I'm as pro-life as they come and never thought that I could be sending mixed messages about life to a world that doesn't believe the Bible. However listen to some of the things that I used to say to people who were expecting the birth of children:

1) "You're going to have a baby!"
Translation to the world: "You don't have a baby inside you yet."

2) "You're going to make such a good parent."
Translation to the world: "Your baby in the womb doesn't make you a parent already."

3) "Here comes the Mommy-to-be/Daddy-to-be."
Translation to the world: "She's carrying a baby-to-be."

4) "When the baby gets here..."
Translation: "A baby isn't here yet."

5) "You're going to be a grandfather, going to be a big sister, going to be an aunt..".
Translation: Because "going to" is in the future, you're not these things now.

The message of these cliches never weighed on me until we first adopted our children as embryos. Since then, I seem to hear statements like these every day and it makes me cringe every time to know that my language used to effectively "skip over" life before birth.

I've repented for this and am trying hard to rephrase my speech to honor life before birth. Will you join me in communicating the presence of life in this way? As Christians, we need to make sure that the words out of our mouth match those on our bumper stickers and slogans. Here are some ways that I think we can start doing this:

1) Avoid these types of sayings that I've listed above and graciously correct people when they use them. Just as we are careful to gracefully correct racist speech in our families, churches and workplaces, let's do so for non-life-affirming speech.

2) Recognize adopting families (embryo and traditional) as parents before their children arrive in the home or out of the womb. I know from experience how much adopting families care for their children before they ever see them. Let's be vocal in honoring the hard and expensive responsibility of adopting children by recognizing parents as such, even if their kids haven't slept it to their new beds yet.

3) On Mother's and Father's Day, let's recognize all children, including those who have been sent to Heaven through miscarriage or some other death before birth. Mother's Day can be a hard day for the woman who has lost her children. Remembering them as real children (and treating the Mother as a real Mother), doesn't pour salt on the wound. It actually honors the parents and the children.

4) This requires special grace and wisdom, but on Mother's and Father's Day, honor the lives of children who have been lost through abortion. Don't honor the sin of abortion, but use the uniqueness of the day to bring awareness to the fact that after conception, no one can choose not to be a mother or a father. Let non-Christians know of God's forgiveness and the hope of seeing their children in Heaven. Let them know that God uses sin sinlessly and that their children have a marvelous future that they can still be part of. Let Christians who have aborted children in the past be reminded of God's grace and forgiveness and that their children await them with smiles in Heaven.

5) Lastly, let's teach our children on earth about the value of life by always referring to lost children as brothers or sisters who are in Heaven. What a testimony it would be to a teacher to hear a five-year old respond to the question, "Do you have any brothers or sisters?" with "I have a baby sister and another one in Heaven."

I say all this humbly, realizing how I've minimized life in my own speech so often. I'm thankful to my own children in Heaven and my two on earth for teaching me to know better from now on. I love you guys and you are quite precious!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 in Review

2010 may very well have been the most eventful year of our marriage (or our lives) thus far! Here is what God did over the past year in the Wilson home...

1) Got a call on January 14th from the NEDC to schedule our mock transfer for March 29th.

2) Started taking meds and had the mock transfer in March.

4) In June, we looked through embryo profiles and chose the ones we wanted to adopt.

3) Found out that Aaron was being transferred to Gastonia, NC on July 19th.

4) Had our 1st embryo transfer on July 20th. Received a negative beta on July 29th.

5) In August, Aaron took on his new store in Gastonia and we looked through more embryo profiles and chose new embryos to adopt. He stayed in an extended stay while looking for housing and I stayed in Columbia with his family.

6) Bought our first house in September.

7) Had our 2nd embryo transfer on September 19th. Got 2 positive HPTs at 10 and 11 days past transfer. Very weak beta on 12 days past transfer. Entirely negative 2nd beta.

8) In October, we chose more embryos to adopt.

9) Had our entire house painted in November.

10) Had our 3rd and final embryo transfer on November 16th. Took my first HPT after my beta was drawn on November 29th. HPT was positive and the beta result was 1123! 2nd beta on December 1st was over 3000!

11) Had our 1st ultrasound at 6w0d on December 9th - saw TWO fetal poles and yolk sacs, but no heartbeats yet.

12) Had our 2nd ultrasound at 6w5d on December 14th and saw TWO heartbeats!

13) Had our 3rd ultrasound at 9w0d on December 30th and saw TWO growing babies with beautiful heartbeats!

Aaron and I have experienced more grief and joy combined this year than I can even begin to explain. Through the loss of our 8 children, we learned to trust His goodness and sovereignty while we just didn't understand... And like I previously posted here, this song rings more true now than ever...truly "behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face!" And I know that we are by no means "out of the woods" yet with this pregnancy, but we're praying and hoping that 2011 will bring the birth of TWO healthy babies!