Sunday, November 23, 2008


Our babies are now safely in the arms of Jesus. They will always be in our hearts but it was not to be that we would hold them here and tonight the Lord called them home. We miss them so much already. We'd appreciate your prayers as we grieve our loss and celebrate their brief little lives. We'd also appreciate your prayers that the miscarriage would complete itself naturally so that we can avoid surgery.

I have moved my blog to another server where I can control the readership a little more. If you would like the address and password, please let me know via email (you can click the link on the right). In your email, please tell me who you are.


Our babies are now safely in the arms of Jesus. They will always be in our hearts but it was not to be that we would hold them here and tonight the Lord called them home. We miss them so much already. We'd appreciate your prayers as we grieve our loss and celebrate their brief little lives. We'd also appreciate your prayers that the miscarriage would complete itself naturally so that we can avoid surgery.

Please also pray for us in our grief. Our heads know that this was God's plan all along but our hearts can't stop breaking. This has been a day of immeasurable loss and pain.

We spent 7 hours in the emergency room. They knew the test results after hour 3. The rest of the time we just had to sit and wait for a doctor to be available to read them to us. The wait was agonizing. Too long and yet precious too short for when the word came, there was no turning back time.

I came home and the floodgates opened even more than they had at the hospital. Taking a shower and watching all the blood and discharge was horrific. I can't help but scream at the fact that our babies were washed down some drain somewhere like waste. Oh God, it just shouldn't be this way. They're our children. They don't belong in some dirty, watery grave. They belong in our arms. And even acknowledging that God called them to an early homecoming, why did it have to be so undignified? The thought that sometime in the last few days I watched them wash or flush down the drain is almost too much for my heart to take.

It's now 3:30 am. I'm exhausted. And yet I can't make myself go to sleep. There's something about ending this last day I had with them that I just can't do. It's just too permanent. So, I'm busying myself with cleaning my kitchen, which now won't be used to host a festive Thanksgiving.

Oh God I miss them so much.

I'm trying to find something spiritual in this. I'm trying to rest in God's will. I'm trying to think about this in light of the coming season and the fact that God lost His child too and how I now have a fresher understanding of what that loss must have meant. I'm trying to think of the prospect that one day He'll use this for good, maybe even to minister to someone else. The thoughts come but they seem so empty. I just can't make sense of them right now. Right now I just ache to my very core. We have 10 more embryos. I have no idea when we'll try again, but the thought of ever going through this again, much less anywhere close to that many more times, is absolutely crippling. God, steel my heart!

I packed up the journal I'd been writing to them and the few cards we'd received and stowed it out of sight. I had to fight not to throw up at the sight of the bag from the Maternity store with the sleeping bras I'd bought two days ago to help with my increasing discomfort. Out that went too. Tomorrow we'll find a place back in the garage for my cradle my grandpa built for me as a baby, which we'd pulled out for visits with our godson and which we'd left out in anticipation of our own babies soon occupying it. The hope chest...well, it doesn't represent much hope right now. Guess off to the garage it goes too.

We knew there was a risk that this would happen but we had so much faith and peace that everything was going to work out and we'd meet our babies in 9 months. I really didn't think this would happen. Not this time. I feel so tricked and abandoned.

I love you, my sweet babies. Jesus, take care of them. I know you love them more than we do. Babies, go find your great grandpa and grandma and give them that kiss and hug I've wanted to give them for the past 11 years. I can miss you all together now. At least I know you're in good company and care, both with each other and with the God who made us all.

This blog will be going private, soon. If you would like an invitation, please use the email link on the right to request one. I have reserved another blog here where I will post Embryo Adoption Information, but it will have some of the personal parts of our story removed. All of the EA stuff will remain here too, but everything here will not be there.

Goodbye babies. I love you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Down to the wire with the kitchen!

My BIL came down this last weekend and he, DH and my brother got all the cabinets installed-yay! Now my bro and DH are working on the counters. They were just installing the last piece and one they installed already broke, so we're stalled again til tomorrow! Bummer! I know that's got to be frustrating for them, too! They're working so hard and I know they're frustrated! Too bad Home Depot isn't 24 hours!

We're trying hard to get it all wrapped up this weekend because we're still on tap to host Thanksgiving, and my parents come on Tuesday, and I want to get my carpets cleaned between now and then, too! Phew!

Nothing much is new on the pregnancy front. My morning sickness has kicked in but isn't unbearable yet. Let's just say Saltines and pop are my friends!

Hope you all are well!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Beta # 2

We had our second beta draw this morning and the number was 428. It needed to essentially triple by today, so 428 is well above that! We're excited! The doctors are confident enough that they won't do anymore draws. They'll do an ultrasound next week and then another a couple weeks after that. Possibly by next week and definitely by the second one, we'll be able to see the heartbeat(s)! And the nurse today changed my due date to July 22 instead of 21. Thanks for celebrating with us!

So far I feel pretty much the same. I have some heartburn and I'm more tired and hungry than usual but otherwise I feel like myself! We praise God for that, too!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Long Awaited Announcement!

We have finally received the news that we have hoped for for almost 5 years. What a precious never-before-seen sight for our sore eyes.

We received this Monday night, just one week post-transfer.

I wanted to come and post here right away but we just finished this morning telling our immediate friends and family by phone and visit. We're over the moon.

We had our first beta draw this morning. The doctor just called a little while ago and said that the number was 117. He actually said that's "very pregnant." We had a little scare today too but he is confident it's nothing. He did tell me to rest the rest of the day but he's sure everything is fine. We have another beta on Monday. I am eager to see what that will be!

We're over the moon. We're overwhelmed. We're excited. We're humbled. We're grateful. We' many things that I can't even put in to words right now. We know these precious little ones belong to the God who created them and we are just so thankful that He has allowed us to be their parents. Words can't describe the depths of our gratitude and praise.

We'll know sometime around Christmas or just after if it's one baby or two. Right now the estimated due date is July 21. It could change-we'll know more once we get to Ultrasounds.

Thank you for rejoicing with us!

And without further ado, the ticker. Don't ask me why it says I'm more pregnant than the babies are old. Apparently they calculate all pregnancies this way-starting from the last period, which is actually before conception. It makes no sense to me. But this countdown does take us to the right due date.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Cat's Out of the Bag!

This has been a LONG couple of days. And this is going to be one of those "good news, bad news" kind of posts.

The bad news is that DH had a severe reaction to a medication last night that made him so violently ill that we finally decided that an Emergency Room visit was in order. They pumped his stomach to get the medication out but the tubes were also pulling up blood. They did a CT scan and an ultrasound to check for internal damages and when they couldn't find a cause, they decided to admit him. As of this afternoon they decided that the most likely cause of the continued bleeding was some tearing in his esophagus so when he was able to make it through a fluid breakfast and solid lunch without further incident, they released him. We got home around 4:00 this afternoon, with an appointment scheduled with our regular doctor tomorrow morning. He's very tired and sore, but otherwise seems to be ok. I wasn't completely satisfied with the hospital though so I'll be glad when we talk to our Primary Care Physician.

The good news is that I was unable to go with Todd to the emergency room or be at the hospital until this afternoon. My sweet brother came over and picked him up and took him last night and stayed all night with him. Attempts to cryptically (but honestly!) explain/excuse to family why I couldn't be at DH's side failed so we decided to tell and the cat is now out of the bag. We had our first Snowflakes Transfer yesterday morning. Doctor ordered bed rest for a minimum of 24 hours following the transfer (standard procedure) so when DH got sick at just shy of 12 hours into that 24 hours, there wasn't much I could do to help except lay on the bed and communicate with my brother by phone.

We thawed two embryos. Both survived the thaw and we transferred both. The Embryologist said the embryos looked good and so far as we could understand, everything went as planned. We're very excited, though DH's illness rather overshadowed things and our strongest feeling right now is just exhaustion!

Here is the babies' first picture. The one attachment shows two separate photos. Each photo shows one embryo. The part clustered in the middle is what will become the baby (God willing) and the ring around the outside is what will become the Placenta. The "bumpy" mass in the middle represents how these tiny little ones already have innumerable cells. In younger embryos you would be able to see each cell individually but these have grown so much with so many cells that they're all smushed together and inseparable. The photos were taken right after they were thawed so the inner cells were still shriveled up like raisins. They eventually did expand and fill up the whole "ring." These photos were taken with the Embryos under significant magnification. Right now they are still small enough to be all but invisible to the naked eye.

And since the cat is now out of the bag I can post about our last few days.

We spent most of last week and weekend relaxing. The doctor basically told me last week to rest as much as I could, eat right, and do whatever I could to get to a state of relaxation. So I enjoyed some pampering. I had a few chiropractor visits. I had my hair cut and colored (to get all the highlights out so they don't grow out and look weird by the end of pregnancy!), and took lots of naps! It was a nice, peaceful week. We did work on the house some but DH ended up getting sick (just a regular cold--before all this hospital stuff) and so things got put on hold on Saturday so we could both rest--hoping he would get better and praying I didn't get whatever it was (and so far I still haven't, thank God!)

Sunday afternoon I had a light massage. Sunday night we had dinner with my dad, who had just arrived to town to MOVE HERE =) and my brother and his girlfriend. Then we got gussied up and went to the Melting Pot for dessert-my favorite! We had a lovely, romantic evening.

Trying to take a picture with the Fondu pot

Better! Thank you waiter-dear (bonus points if you get the reference!)

Then we picked up the dogs and went to my brother's house (where my dad is staying) and hung out. We came home Sunday night and just snuggled and watched movies. We opened the Pregnancy Journal I'd purchased in hope and faith and each wrote letters to the babies. We prayed and then DH gave me another massage and we turned lights out at 2:00. Naturally, I couldn't sleep--I think I finally drifted off about 4:00am!

We woke up and had a breakfast date at our favorite breakfast restaurant. I couldn't hardly eat anything but I did get a few bites down. I was starting to get really excited and my stomach was doing cartwheels!

Then we were off to the clinic. I meant to bring a sign with the date for this photo but I forgot. We tried to get the sign on the window in the picture but try as we might we couldn't.

Once inside there was another couple there for an FET so we made friends. She was so sweet and helpful and talked me through a lot. To our surprise, we had a different doctor than our own and he was very unpleasant. He told us absolutely nothing before, during or after the transfer so the other lady was really sweet in filling in the gaps for us and giving us advice and letting us know what to expect. We've since learned from several other friends who used this doctor that he pretty much skipped Bedside Manner 101 (and 201 and 301 and 401...) but he IS very skilled and they all have successful transfers by him so we're trying to focus on that.

While we were waiting DH put his hand on my belly and prayed for the babies and me and the doctor. Then we just waited and did the potty dance with the same nice lady, now in the next bed.

So far as we know, the transfer went fine. Dr. Meanie didn't tell us anything despite our questions but I'm just trying not to think about him because like another friend who just had a transfer said said last week, I'm on a beach, I'm on the moon, I'm not stressing :D

We tried to get a picture after the transfer. This is my pathetic attempt to prop myself up from being upside down. I look drugged, hot and tired, but I never did feel any different from the Valium, which I was glad for. Here's our first "Family Picture"

All through the procedure I kept asking for the picture the embryologist had given us, asking for "our babies." I held on to that picture and only let go when DH wanted a glance. The doctor wasn't compliant with our request to let us see or know what was going on with the procedure so we didn't get to see the actual transfer itself but these pictures were wonderful to have to focus on :)

I lay there for a while and then we came home, ordered take out for lunch, ate, and then slept until dinner time (finally turning off the phone after the bajillionth political call!). I woke up and wanted more of the same take out (hey I can say I'm eating for 3 now right?) and for a lot of the night we just hung out and watched football.

Then late last night is when DH got so sick. So I think we really still have a lot to process but I'm hoping we can do more of that tomorrow after we've both slept. It's been a surreal couple of days, all over the spectrum of emotions and experiences.

We would still like to plan to tell the results of the transfer in our own way, at our own time, so please help us by resisting the temptation to ask for results =) We don't know them yet anyway (it's impossible to know this soon) but we'll certainly tell you all when we do, whether it's good news or bad.

Thank you all for hanging in there with us on this roller coaster! I hope you all are well and I'll try to catch up with my blog buddies over the next few days.

We covet your prayers that the babies would grab on and grow and that DH would continue to be on the mend!

Hugs to everyone!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Silence and Bunny Trails

It's 3:30 am and I find myself completely unable to sleep, largely due to the massive amount of hours I slept during the day today, having still been plagued by significant medicine side effects.

I wandered on to the bulletin board of my University and found the third or fourth discussion I've read in as many years about the nature and purpose of marriage. As usual, some young students and alumni were elevating biological procreation as the highest hall of human happiness and indeed, the best purpose of marriage. Infertility is an affliction or a punishment, and those who suffer from it are missing out on some part of God. This particular discussion wasn't so bad, but others in the past have been (my favorite are the posts from unmarried freshmen who pontificate on the purpose and ideals of marriage!) and reading this one recollected the others to me and reproduced and reinforced my general reaction.

These discussions always irritate me. I usually find myself first irritated at the speaker of the "argument" but I am quickly moved to impatience with the general ignorance in Christendom about infertility. I hate that the church has been so silent on it.

But I think the problem goes even deeper than that. We have a general ignorance about adoption too. We talk in flowery words about the beauty of being adopted as Christ's own, and we pick up our picket signs that say "Adoption not Abortion" but I think this is the extent of the average Christian's exposure to adoption, save maybe a little more if they have a friend who was adopted. But then our language betrays how little we either understand or esteem adoption. "Did you adopt because you couldn't have children of your own?" "Don't worry-just adopt and you'll get pregnant." "This is the Jones' adopted daughter Suzy."

How much are we actually doing to understand this precious illustration God has given us here on earth? What do we do to help the young girls in need besides pointing them in the direction of a Crisis Pregnancy Center? Do we try to understand the living picture of Christ's love in action in the dynamic of the families we know who have adopted? Do we take interest in legislation and movements that would support those families affected by it? Do we study what Christ meant when He gave us this example? Do we even understand what we're saying when we claim we have been "Adopted as Sons?" I really don't think so. Because I think if we did, if we really truly did, that would translate to action and adoption would look much different. I realize not every family is burdened or called to adoption issues and I'm completely ok with those folks, because I know God has called and equipped them elsewhere. But I think a lot more are called than are currently active, especially in Christendom and especially as a global organization.

So why is the church silent on these issues? The church is largely silent on things like birth defects, disabilities, persistent or terminal illness and bad things happening to "good people" too. I think it's because it doesn't fit in to our box of God. We can explain forgiveness. Most of us sin and are sinned against every day, so we have lots of practice in this arena. We can proudly embrace the sinner turned from a life of drugs, violence, promiscuity, or even apathy or unbelief in the name of God's grace and forgiveness and changing power.

But what do we do with the folks who don't fit in to our mold? How does that challenge our view of God? We seem to be unable to say "We don't know why God did this or made you this or that way or didn't fix this or that problem." We want an explanation when the only answer just might be "Because He said so." What do we do with that? How do we live that in action? I realize you can't walk up to a person and say "Well, God made you that way, tough." But there is a precious peace that comes with accepting God's plan, even if it's a deviation from "the norm" and realizing that in that, He is still good. Why does that deviation make us uncomfortable? Why are these people "exceptions" to our praxis rather than a part of our daily framework and ever expanding view of God? These folks were known, loved and named in their inmost being, too, and there are no flaws in God's handiwork. What does it say of our view of God when we don't know how to reconcile these "exceptions" with the box we've put Him in?

I wish the church would not be so afraid to speak on God's "bunny trails." The road less traveled is a beautiful one and I pray that you are invited on its precious journey one day. I challenge us all to evaluate those stereotypes and assumptions we take for granted. I challenge us to deliberately expose ourselves to a bunny trail and someone on it. I promise that expanding our view of humanity and God's role in it will expand our view of Him and His vast richness and goodness. I believe that God created so many variations of the human story because one standard model of a healthy married couple with 2.4 children, a dog and a white picket fence couldn't possibly display or contain all that He has to show us and all the ways He wishes for His glory and majesty to be known.

It is now almost 4:00 am so if my thoughts are scattered or incoherent, forgive me!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


It's true that all-things Snow related have come to take on a different meaning in our home, but this isn't exactly what I had in mind!

It looks like it's snowed in my house. There's a layer of drywall dust over EVERYTHING because the guys didn't remember to seal off the kitchen until it was too late! I've just resigned to the fact that the house won't be truly clean until this is done.

But the good news is that the end is in sight, we think. They textured last night and provided it dried properly and meets their expectations, they'll prime tonight. Then we'll paint the ceiling tomorrow and paint the walls on Saturday (I finally picked a color! We're going with color #3, which is a 75% shade of my favorite color). We don't work on Sundays so hopefully Monday night after work they can start putting the cabinets in and we'll maybe be totally moved in to our new kitchen by the following weekend. I hope!

I had the most awful migraine yesterday that I've ever had in my life! I did go to the chiropractor and the good news is that he confirmed that everything is physically fine, so the problem is most definitely hormone related. The bad news is that because it's hormone related, there's not a darn thing I can do about. I've never been hungover but I imagine that what I feel like today is pretty close. Yesterday was a medication change so it could have been worse because of that, and we're due for another change tomorrow so I'm praying I don't have round 2! Other than that things are the same around here!

Baby Brynn and momma Sara are still hanging tight! Soon they'll be full term-a true miracle! And blog buddy Jon is a proud new papa-stop in and congratulate him on the birth of baby Samuel!

Until next time...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Home Improvements and Gymboree

The house is STILL a disaster although we now have a fully drywalled ceiling again! Woohoo!

I've now got 6 different colors on the wall and am still no closer to choosing one. My sister in law is really good at choosing paint colors. Hmmmm, we have Rent-a-Jeff. Wonder if she'd go for Rent-a-Samantha? At this point I think I almost rather someone make the decision for me. I never want to see another version of tan, beige or light brown ever again! This shouldn't be this difficult! I love the two darkest colors in this photo, but we're concerned it will be too dark. So the other colors are our attempt at compromising to get something lighter but still with a depth of richness to the color. (Don't worry, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you-the same colors are repeated several times because I pained them next to each other in different combinations and in different light situations.

I did try to actually be helpful today, but I can't hold up drywall for very long by myself (though I did it for two huge pieces! Got my workout!) and my attempt at drilling the screws in left me with an eyeful of drywall dust-ouch! I did a little mudding too. That was kind of fun and reminded me of many house building mission trips from highschool and college when we stuccoed the whole house by hand, with stucco we mixed completely by hand! In any case, I think they decided that I do best at the current moment as official event historian and photographer. Ergo:

Aye, the mess!!!

I'm also sent to Home Depot. Often. During the rest of the day, I've busied myself trying to minimize the mess in the rest of the house.

I've also decided that Gymboree is evil! Over the years of our IF journey, one of the therapeutic things for me has been to occasionally add a piece to my hope chest. I try to do it just once a year--this year I added a couple more things to commemorate important events. None of what I have in the box is expensive and I usually try to steer clear of the expensive stores altogether. But Gymboree just makes the cutest stuff so occasionally I window shop. I've had frequent exposure to their cuteness because my other Sister in Law has the most well-decked-out little Princess you'd ever see and she could be a little Gymbo model. But Gymboree's prices are stinkin outRAGEOUS! Seriously, their clothes cost more than I'll spend on myself! My SIL is a really good Gymbo bargain hunter between outlets, consignments, sales, and ebay--I'm thinking she'll need to teach me her ways! But for now I generally stay away from their website because it's very easy to get carried away. See no evil, do no evil, right?

But, one of our Snowflake Mommies sent around an email though that they have Snowflake stuff in their new line. It's just as ridiculously priced as the rest of their stuff, but seriously, did you ever see a cuter little dress?

The detail around the bottom is a bunch of little silver snowflakes.

With the little tights and hair bows that match

And for when a little girl is a little older they have this

Suffice it to say, I wanted to click "Check Out" very badly! But on principle alone I can't spend $67.50 on one and a half outfits for any child, especially one who isn't even here yet, much less assured of being a girl! But I just might have to check back in a few weeks and if it goes on clearance, I just might have to consider buying it. Children's clothing marketers are some of the savviest people in the world. They know how to go straight for a momma's heart! Can't you imagine Baby Someday's Christmas Pictures a few years from now wearing that darling little outfit? Ah, to have hopes and dreams of little feet again brings such joy to my heart! Ah well, enough!

A quick update on earlier prayer requests. Blog buddy Sara and baby Brynn are hanging tight. Baby Brynn is doing fantastically but her momma could use our prayers for her own wellbeing as she tries to hang tight for Brynn as long as possible! But God has already done many miracles for this precious family and we rejoice with them in Thanksgiving!

I'm doing much better on the medication. I even upped my dosage earlier in the week and it doesn't seem to have been too terrible. I had a rough week for a lot of other reasons, but I'm really glad that the medicine wasn't worse! So I've been glad for the relief. I add another medication next week so I hope and pray that transition is smooth.

Other than that, it's business as usual around here! But that also means church still comes bright and early tomorrow morning so I best get to bed! I hope you all are well!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What We Wish You Knew: Adoption Terminology Education

I was watching the news last night and they were covering a story about a Corrections Officer who was recently murdered. The reporter said "He was the father of an adopted son, and he and his wife also had a child of their own on the way." This kind of language is something adoptive parents encounter often. I really think it's so frequently spoken out of sheer ignorance and not malice. Language is such a powerful thing and even the slightest nuance can communicate a very different message than the one intended. Another blog I read occasionally is doing a "What I Wish You Knew" series so I thought I'd follow suit and take this opportunity to educate.

So, to that end, please allow me to share the following:

Adoption is a beautiful word that should be celebrated! In most families, adoption is not a secret and it is an integral part of a child's personality. Adoption is a positive word, should always be referred to and with accordingly, and not talked about in secretive, tentative or negative tones and terms.

However, there is a proper time and place for all discussions, including those about adoption. While "Adoption" is a beautiful word, it is not always a relevant word.

Often times folks will refer to a child as "So-and-so's adopted child" just as the reporter did last night. However, I urge you to consider this: parents do not walk around introducing their child as "my biological son Billy" or better yet "my honeymoon son Billy" or "my test tube baby Mary" or "my one night in Vegas twins." Good adoptive parents do not introduce their child as "our adopted daughter Suzy." Biological children are not qualified in introductions and how they came to join a family is usually not mentioned in passing conversation.

Likewise, how and when an adopted child was born to a family is often irrelevant to the conversation at hand. These children are no different than biological children and deserve the same courtesy paid when introducing them. While adoption is beautiful and should be celebrated, often an explanation of which children share the same DNA as whom is offered to point out difference, and that difference is often irrelevant. What matters in most cases is that Billy and Suzy are the children of John and Jane Doe. Period.

However, if distinction must be made, please consider these ideas. First, please refer to an adoption in past tense. A child was adopted. It is not ongoing. The commitment to the child has already been made and the grafting in as part of the family has already taken place and is completed, not in transition. Just as being born is a one time, past tense occasion in a life, so is adoption. A child "was adopted" rather than "is adopted." Referring to it in the present tense implies that something is unfinished. As children who were adopted can struggle with feelings of loss or a sense of "betwixt and between," reinforcing their solid, secure place in a family helps cement the message that they do belong.

When distinguishing between children biologically related to the parents, please use the term "biological children" rather than "own children" or "natural children" or "real children." Children who were adopted are their parents' own, they ARE natural (as opposed to the opposite, which is "unnatural") and they are legally, their parents' "real" children. I tend to shy away even from the term "miracle baby" because all babies are miracles-biologically related to the parents or not. Adoption is a miracle, too, just of a different sort.

The most respectful way to refer to the adoptive parents is just as the child's "parents," with no qualifiers. If a distinction must be made, "adoptive parents" is appropriate. The respectful terminology we've been taught for the adopted child's biological parents is as "birth parents" or "biological parents" (or in the case of Snowflake Adoptions, "Genetic Parents" or "Placing Parents") as opposed to the frightfully-oft spoken "real parents."

Also, the term "giving a child up" for adoption is outdated. The term harkens back to the days of Orphan Trains when children were literally held up. Terminology like this does not account for the intentional decisions made in contemporary times by a birth parent who chooses adoption out of love because he or she thinks it is best for the child. A better term is "place for adoption" or "make an adoption plan" because these terms recognize the intentionality on the biological parent's part.

I believe that honoring adoption by the deliberately choosing our language when referring to it honors all the parties involved in the adoption triad, and is in the child's best interests. Using precise language enhances both our compassion and our accuracy.

If you've said any of these things to your friends whose families were built in whole or in part through adoption, don't fret! These are things we hear dozens, if not hundreds of times and you learn to just sort of dismiss it. But I can tell you that if you make an intentional effort to use the correct terminology, your friend will notice, and will be blessed by it and appreciate the time you have taken to learn more about their family's precious dynamic.

UPDATE: The reporter wrote back! I'm so impressed. My letter to him actually contained much of what is in this post-I just copied and pasted pieces of the letter here. He was very receptive! I am very impressed. To give credit where credit is due, thanks Peter Busch from KPHO Phoenix! I look forward to your future stories about families built through adoption!

Edited to add: I realize that adoption has not always been beautiful, pleasant or respectful of all parties involved and that it is always difficult for the placing parent(s). I know there is a sad time in our history when biological parents had their children stolen from them in the name of adoption, or all but stolen. I don't disrespect the loss experienced by those people at all or legitimize the system that victimized them. I also know that there is a completely different set of rules and language when interacting with a large number of adoptions from this era and the people involved in them and that no semantics will heal those wounds.

But I firmly believe today's system is vastly different and that the majority of today's adoptions in this country are legitimate and that's the framework in which I advocate this specific language.

However, specifically because of the history of the adoption world, I encourage anyone considering adoption to always use a legitimate adoption agency and/or adoption attorney. I'd even go so far as to implore you to choose a service that also has sound services in place to protect and serve biological parents. In our Agency's case, the birth mother gets her own caseworker, whose sole responsibility is to help the birth mother make the best decision for her and the child. Sometimes that means choosing to parent, and sometimes it means making an adoption plan and the caseworker helps with both. We valued that they have staff committed exclusively to helping the birth moms so they can feel as secure and at peace about their decision as possible.

And certainly if someone's specific experience colors certain terms and they make their preference for different language known, the respectful thing to do is to use it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I think they just like to break stuff

Don't get me wrong. This DEFINITELY needed updating, both for aesthetic and functional reasons:

(notice the drop in oven and low yellow fluorescent lights that spanned most of the room)

and it was clear that our we-can't-afford-to-do-it-all-now-but-we-need-to-do-something temporary fix from a couple years ago wasn't going to cut it long term: (partially because you couldn't have the lights on and run the microwave at the same time without throwing the breaker--the home builders ran the microwave electric lines off the DOORBELL! We've decided that our house must have been built by crazy people or drug users--the only two possible explanations for all the nuttiness we've discovered in this house over the years)

So I knew that some demo had to be done. Out with the old, in with the new, right?

But really. I think they look like they're having entirely too much fun here, don't you? I think they just like to break stuff! (DH on the left, Rent-A-Jeff on the right).

And they didn't stop there, either.

(Oh and we were greatly amused to find that the kitchen had previously been painted a "lovely" applesauce color--a perfect compliment to the groovy lemon colored countertops! =P Seriously, who does that?)

So that was our weekend? How about yours?

And I've decided I'm thrilled with having cooked in advance. It's been so nice to not have to try to cook in that mess. I did find a small space of counter today to make the roast and the lasagna that I didn't get to earlier in the week but tomorrow the mess and work start back up again so we'll go back to freezer dining. Speaking of roasts, why have I never tried crock pot liners before?

And there's somehow a cricket INSIDE one of our new kitchen cabinets, which are providing his performance with lovely acoustics!

That's all from our crazy home! Hope you all had a nice weekend. And if you don't hear from me again soon, send in a search and rescue team!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Once a Month Cooking, Home Remodeling, and Transfer Meds

Does anyone do Once a Month (or once a week) cooking? Not the kind of once a month cooking where you eat takeout the other 29 days ;) ....the kind where you cook an entire month's worth of food in one or two sessions and then freeze it?

Because I knew THIS was coming...

I spent the day cooking a bunch of meals for us so that I wouldn't have to try to cook in this mess and so we wouldn't have to resort to takeout.

The days' results?
•2 Meals of Baked Spaghetti
•3 Meals of Chicken Enchilada Casserole
•2 Meals of a Dish my family has always called Chinese Casserole, though there's nothing Chinese about it
•2 Meals of Chicken and Stuffing Bake
•3 Meals of Ham-Tot Casserole
•2 Meals of Chili
•2 Meals of Chicken and Rice

I also have two meat loaves that I made the other day. Tomorrow I'm making a lasagna (enough for 3 meals), a double batch of beef stew, cornbread for the chili, and maybe a chicken broccoli bake. (Fortunately I bought most of the ingredients for these things today so I know where they are!) Theoretically, after these things are done, I shouldn't have to cook until after my kitchen is put back together.

Today's cooking took me about 4 hours, plus an hour of shopping and an hour to package and label everything and organize the freezer. The cleanup took some time but even it wasn't too bad.

I thought about it and I was so pleased with how little time it took compared to how many meals it produced. I typically spend an hour to an hour and a half on making dinner each night! I'm thinking I may endeavor upon this again!

My one complaint was that a lot of the recipes from my book that are freezer-friendly are casseroles--heavy on the cream soup and/or cheese. Great tasting, bad for the diet. It's hard to reheat lighter fare things like grilled chicken. I did find some recipes tonight that are basically frozen marinades and you still cook the night of--I may try those when I have meat that's not already frozen. It'd still be easy to pull a bag out of the freezer, toss it in a dish and put it in the oven. That would allow for some lighter recipes.

Does anyone else do this? Have you found it to be helpful overall? Do you have any recipes or words of wisdom to share?

In other news, my home is a total disaster. So much for all that nesting! We decided to go ahead and replace the kitchen cabinets. We also found some vanities for the bathrooms on clearance. So every free inch of space has some kind of cabinet on it, be it an old one or a new one! The kitchen cabinet contents are in boxes on every table we have and I generally feel like the house looks like a tornado went through it! I'll be glad when this is done because the disorder is stressful!

But the great news is that God was very generous to us in purchasing our home improvements. Through various coupons, sales, clearances and negotiations, we've ended up with 20% to 60% off everything that we've bought, saving thousands of dollars off of what the project easily could have cost and what we were expecting to pay. And my brother is an absolute wizard when it comes to all things handy (I decided he should open a business called "Rent a Jeff") and he has graciously given us his time and talents to spearhead the work! (We help, but we're Tim and Timmitha Taylor when it comes to handyman things!) We're just overwhelmed with God's provision and generosity!

Hopefully this project will be done soon!

One minor prayer request: I'm on my next med for the transfer. It's very unpredictable. At times I'm 100% fully functional, and at other times, it totally wipes me out with a severe migraine and/or total exhaustion. The inconsistency is almost as frustrating as the side effects themselves because I can't get in to any kind of routine! I'd appreciate your prayers for relief from the side effects. There's also another kink in my body's cooperation with timing--we'd love your prayers that that gets straightened out, too. But speaking of side effects, I'm a little dizzy at the moment, so I'm going to sign off!

One last thing before I do, though. Please keep Sara and baby Brynn in your prayers. Sara has a number of complications that are making little Brynn try to come early. She's 32 weeks now so well out of danger she could have been even just days ago, but still much earlier than is best. We're not sure if she's in labor or not--the last update on the blog seemed to imply "maybe." Please keep them in your prayers and pray that Baby Brynn will hang tight a few more weeks.

Night, all! Love and hugs to everyone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Remembrance

Today, October 15, is a day set aside to honor the lives of the precious children lost in miscarriage, abortion, SIDS, stillbirth and infant death, as well as the parents who have lost them. While I am grateful that one small blessing of permanent infertility is that we have never had to endure the pain of losing a child, so many of our friends have and that pain is close to our hearts for them. I am reminded that my mom lost my little sibling in miscarriage 16 years ago. She lost two others as well, but I don't remember anything about those situations because I was so little. But I distinctly remember being in my tweens, waiting for baby to arrive. I remember my parents' pain.

In your prayers and meditations today, please remember especially your loved ones who have lost a child.

I know that these women among my blog sisters have lost children. Dear sisters, I honor you, and your precious children. You're in my prayers today. If you have a chance, I encourage you to pray for them and perhaps even stop by and leave a note for them (click their names to go to their blogs). If you're a blog buddy who has lost a child but is not listed here, I apologize for my oversight. I tried to find everyone I knew had suffered a loss. If you'd like to be included, please let me know.

Amie who lost Marylou Janice late term to a twin pregnancy complication

Angie, who lost Audrey Caroline shortly after birth due to conditions that made her incompatible with life

Suzanne, who lost precious Snowflakes after transfer

Trisha, who lost her sons' triplet brother AJ shortly after birth from complications due to Triplet to Triplet Transfusion syndrome

Lena who recently lost a child in miscarriage, as well as two prior to that.

Christy who recently lost a child in miscarriage, and another previous to that

Sunny who lost a child in miscarriage

Charlotte who lost a child in miscarriage

And my friends D, E and L but I don't know if their losses are public knowledge so I won't post more. Ladies, you know who you are!

Blessings of mercy and comfort to you today, dear sisters!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Preparing the Way

We have a transfer date! We're not sharing when it is (I've been so proud of myself-I've actually been able to keep this secret!!!!), but it is sometime within the next six months.

I'm in Thursday morning Bible Study at church and one of the activities we had to do a couple of weeks ago was to compare the traits of the Holy Spirit with a random word we were assigned. My partner in the activity and I received the word "an organized person." We had a few minutes to talk and ponder and I was reminded again that one of my favorite identities of God is that He is a God of order. Oh how I wish I manifested this particular characteristic with more consistency!

The transfer seems so close, yet still very far away. We're still very decidedly in the double digits (there's a hint--the transfer is somewhere between 10 and 99 days from now!) I have a little countdown clock on my computer that's constantly ticking away, reminding me how much time (too much!) is left. I've started the medications to prepare and that's given this all a new depth of reality. I've begun to want to organize, clean and prepare everything in sight. Is it possible for a woman to have pre-pregnancy nesting?

I've been working on purging old belongings, cleaning more regularly, establishing new systems, catching up on things long unattended to and just generally making sure things are in order. I've even started Christmas shopping and creating a plan to premake meals and freeze them so that if I'm too tired in pregnancy, I can just pull things out and reheat them without DH having to be responsible for feeding us. Part of it is just to keep my mind off of the wait but I'm also enjoying becoming more disciplined in my homemaking.

I've been worshiping a lot to the song "Worship in the Waiting" by FFH (gasp, yes, I, Jen, just admitted to liking a CCM song!) ;) It makes me think a lot about intentionally waiting, and preparing. Waiting in life is inevitable. But how we spend the wait is not a foregone conclusion.

With the advent of Christmas I think about how Mary must have been anticipating the birth of Christ. How do you prepare your heart for something like that? I can hardly wrap my mind around it. How close her heart must have been to the heart of God. I wish for the same!

And I think about how we are to be preparing with our lamps always ready for our precious Jesus to return. In that sense, our entire life is a wait. Are we spending it in diligent preparation for His coming? Are the corners of our hearts redd up and turned out? Is the state of our minds company ready? Do we do the chores of this life with obedience and joy? Are we actively trying to prepare the way for Him? I know for me, I can't say that the answers to any of those questions is yes all of the time, or even most of the time. So I've just been meditating a lot, searching my heart and mind and trying to learn from this waiting period. I think about how eager I am for these babies, and I think about how much more full God's heart is for me and all of His lambs. That sounds so "me focused" and that's not my intent. But it really is humbling to contemplate the love that the God of the Universe has for us and how patiently He waits for our hearts to surrender in abandon. I tend to avoid thinking about it--it's easy to dismiss in the name of piety and selflessness. But in moderation, I do think it is an appropriate part of meditation. "How Deep the Father's Love for Us..."

So while the impulsive, impatient part of me would probably trade waiting for just about anything else, I've appreciated the things that it has taught and is continuing to teach me. God is indeed generous and patient with me!
Hope you all are well!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Totally Off Topic: Amazon Prime

DH and I joined Amazon Prime a few years ago and we love it. You pay an annual membership fee and then all books, movies and music are shipped 2 day air for free, as well as a lot of items from their other departments. It's so nice to have things in 2 days, and to not have to be able to meet order minimums. The buy-in is a little high but we found it to be worth it because otherwise we were always adding a few dollars here or there to reach the minimums for free shipping. I buy books, movies, music, housewares, electronics, appliances and even groceries through amazon--the free shipping comes in especially handy with the heavy stuff. We've used it to buy snorkel flippers, my camera lens and and air mattress-all with free shipping. Free shipping makes Amazon's prices often better than the stores.

Right now they're offering a free trial of their Prime Membership. If nothing else, you could do some early Christmas shopping during the trial! Check it out here! The deadline is October 31 and the trial lasts a month. Perfect for the holiday season! If you sign up now or later, would you pretty please follow my link here to do it? We get a bonus if you sign up (even if you cancel after the trial) which helps us with OUR Christmas shopping =)

Monday, October 6, 2008


Hi Friends,

We're preparing for our first Frozen Embryo Transfer, which will be completed, Lord willing, in the next 6 months.

Our next step is to complete the paperwork with instructions about thawing, transferring and discarding embryos. Fertility clinics are, as a rule, very statistics and results oriented, and the life of each individual embryo is of little consequence to them as attempt to accomplish their goals.

The contract is currently worded with lots of provisions for destruction and selective reduction, as well as an overarching disclaimer of "when in doubt, the clinic decides." We have the right to change the contract, but the process of doing so is very stressful both because it puts us in conflict with the Embryologist's general policies and because we want to make sure that we leave no stone unturned in delineating every possible scenario, leaving no room for loopholes--a difficult process when the language is so scientifically technical and complex. We are committed to giving all 12 of these embryos the chance at being born, regardless of the Embryologist's opinion of their condition or chance for pregnancy. Under no circumstances do we want any of them discarded, nor will we consider selective reduction for any reason.

Despite these wishes, I have heard many stories from IVF and Snowflake Mommies, including our own Genetic Mother, about doctors trying to change those instructions even up to and on the day of the transfer, including while the woman is already medicated and on the table! Suffice it to say, this leaves us feeling very nervous, especially because we differ so fundamentally with our clinic's general policies concerning the value of life. I fear being accidentally persuaded to something we would never do, or leaving the power to for someone else to do something we would never do, out of sheer ignorance to all the ins and outs.

Would you please pray for us that we would have the wisdom to spell out an exacting, precise contract that leaves no room for question or error? Would you pray that we would clearly outline our expectations and that the Embryologist would clearly understand, respect and abide by them? Would you pray that our babies will be honored and protected and that we will do right by them? We know that their lives (and eventual deaths) are in the Hand and Heart of God, but we want to also make sure we are being responsible as we make decisions about them and their care. Above all, may God be glorified in this and all things.

Todd and Jen + 12 (and Lewis!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Babies are Here!!!

We got the news this morning that the babies have arrived at our clinic here in Phoenix! The Embryologist said that so far as she can tell while they're still frozen, they're no worse for the wear from the travel--I don't think I can say the same for DH and I! I could hardly sleep last night. I dreamed about them while I was sleeping and then I was up at 3:00 thinking about them and woke up at 6:00 again for good. My stomach was doing cartwheels and I've been a wreck for 3 days! But by God's grace they're here and safe and now we're ready to rest easily. My BFF said we experienced our first worried-parent episode! Man, that's a powerful force!

Thank you so much for joining us in prayer and thanksgiving!

Todd and Jen + 12

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend Respite

Update on the babies: Still no update :( My cycle is still out of whack, though all the testing says there is no medical reason for it. The doctor's best guess is stress. We can't move forward with anything until this corrects itself. So these last couple weeks I haven't been hiding--just haven't had anything new to share-literally. So we're just in a waiting game. We can't even start talking dates until that happens.

But we did get away this weekend. We drove down to a U-Pick orchard in Southern Arizona. We got a little carried away and ended up with 60-75 pounds of Asian Pears and Apples. Guess we'll have plenty for cobblers, sauces, jams and breads! We also have plenty to share. Then we went to a U-Pick farm and we picked much more conservative amounts of fresh green beans (my favorite!), bell peppers, tomatoes, chilis, cucumbers, zucchinis and squash! I'm looking forward to putting it to good use. It was a long exhausting day though--the drive is just over 6 hours round trip, plus the time actually picking out in the sunshine. I was in bed by 9:00 last night! Today I made my first batch of apple sauce and I'll be making apple bread tomorrow.

Here are a few pictures from our day. I'd love to go down earlier in the season when there are more varieties of fruit left to pick. I'd also love to go in the spring when everything is blossoming and just walk the fragrant orchards!

Hope you all had a nice weekend!

My handsome hubby picking green beans

More green beans in front of us. Squash and eggplant behind us and maybe other things too?

Look at all those apple trees!

And big beautiful Asian pear trees behind us here

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Babies are Coming, the Babies are Coming!

Hi friends,

We weren't originally going to announce this, but I'm terrible at keeping my own secrets, so here it goes.

The babies are coming!

Our 12 Precious Embryos will be shipping here next week via Fed Ex (more efficient than the stork ;) ). They will ship Monday-Tuesday or Tuesday-Wednesday, depending on when a cryogenic transport tank is available. We'd love your prayers that the airplanes and trucks involved would be protected from breakdowns, accidents, detours, paperwork mishaps, weather elements, logistical errors and other failures or delays that could place these precious little ones in jeopardy. The tank they are shipped in has a limited amount of Nitrogen which is ample if things go smoothly but in the event of a significant delay, there would be a risk of the nitrogen running out and of the embryos thawing. The process typically DOES go smoothly so we don't think there's an abnormal rate of risk. We know that these precious babies are in the capable hands of our Great and Loving God--we pray for His guidance and protection as He uses FedEx to bring them to us.

Still no news on a transfer date (and hopefully, I will be able to keep THAT a secret. My body is being wiggy. I've been in a few times for some diagnostic tests and we think we've got to the bottom of things but we'd appreciate your prayers that everything goes back to functioning normal so we can move on to start thinking and talking about an actual schedule for the transfer and all of the preparatory steps involved. Thanks!

Update: The babies' confirmed arrival date is Wednesday, September 24, so they'll be in transit Tuesday-Wednesday. Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, September 8, 2008


Hi everyone,

I hope this finds you well! We had a really busy week and weekend. We've been working on home remodels and found some awesome clearance bargains at Lowes and Costco for our bathroom and kitchen. We also gave DH's office at work a makeover so we did a lot of painting and furniture assembly, too. It looks really good and I'm glad that he now has a peaceful, organized office--that always makes work so much more bearable.

Not much else is new on our end. We're just really busy! Hope you all are well!

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Our contract has been signed, notarized and returned along with all of our remaining money. There's nothing left to do from our end except wait for the babies to get here!

Our GPs emailed to tell us that they had signed and returned their contracts, too! As soon as Nightlight receives them all (hopefully Tuesday!) they can send paperwork to our doctors for review and then ship the embryos!

We're at the end of what we'll share about the process until we have a confirmed pregnancy. Diana sent me a note that said:
Your EA timeline is really racing along!! October (target date, right?) is coming up quickly!! You know what that means, don’t you? Everyone who reads your blog is going to be giving you “the look” come October 1st and saying, “Well???? Well??? Well????” LOL

That's precisely why mum (or hopefully, MOM) is the word from here on out. =) We lost a lot in infertility, and one of the things we're trying to hold on to is the joy of planning how we want to tell family and friends that we're expecting and then getting to share the news with them in celebration. It won't be a total surprise in any event, but at least this way we can hang on to a little bit of the surprise element, and then also have the freedom to tell people when we're ready. Also, if for some reason God wills that the first transfer won't take, we'll have the opportunity to grieve privately without unwitting "look" and "Well?????" spoken in anticipation of good news.

Thanks for your understanding! We've been so public about our journey and we do want to publicly celebrate if and when the time comes, but all in due time!

At this point we don't know how long it will take the doctor to review everything and give his approval for our clinic to receive the embryos, and we have no idea where I'll be at in a cycle when that finally happens, so the time line at this point is still a mystery to us, too! But we're praying that it's soon! And we'd love your prayers that it's soon, too. We'd love your prayers that the Embryos arrive here safely, that they thaw successfully and that the transfer will be successful!

I'll still be blogging, I just won't have specific updates about the process.

Thank you!

In other news, check out this crazy lightning storm we got the other night. I felt like I was in an 80s discotheque! This was through our front window. (Unlike DH, I wasn't crazy enough to go out and stand in it!) At this point in the storm there was no thunder, no rain, and very little wind. It was very eerie!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Small Update

Our contract arrived today. Woohoo! We'll get it notarized and then send it back! The GPs have their contracts too. Once those are sent back, they have 3 days to change their minds and then we can move forward.

I talked to our Embryologist today. He's very nice. We've never met him but our RE was pressing us to talk to him. I was resistant because of language our RE had used about "selecting" and "grading" embryos and the "best ones to use" and I was afraid there would be a lot of pressure to make decisions about discarding or reducing embryos. But to my surprise, Megan told me yesterday that she's talked to this Embryologist many times and that he's very supportive of EA and Nightlight so she encouraged us to contact him. The conversation went very well and he sounded very enthusiastic. I read him the information our GM gave us and he said that everything sounded wonderful! He also said their process of reviewing everything will go quickly. Yay! Still no concrete ideas on a timeline, though.

I posted the rest of our vacation pictures. The link is the same as before but it contains additional images now.

Hope you all are well!

Monday, August 25, 2008

We're Home!

We're home, safe and sound. We're still sick, but we're home. I was able to squeeze in to the doctor this afternoon and they're fitting DH in before he goes to work tomorrow so hopefully we'll be on the upswing soon.

No contracts yet. Things got stalled a bit on the agency's end but I was told they went in the mail this morning.

I'm too pooped to do an update. Jet lag, to-do lists, illness and husband's snoring kept me up until 9:00 this morning. I slept a few hours and then did the grocery shopping and that was about all I could muster. Fortunately, our host was a doll and insisted that we do our laundry before we leave her house (government's paying, why not!?) so all I have to do is unpack things.

But in the mean time, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure. I have a lot of scenic ones but I haven't had time to sort through them yet.


Link to pictures

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hello from Hawaii!

We have one more full day in Hawaii and then we fly home on Sunday.

The trip has actually been pretty disappointing :( I got really sick on our third day here and slept for almost all of days 3 and 4, and parts of every day since. I'm still not well yet. DH got sick yesterday and slept yesterday and today, so we lost 4 out of our 10 days, here. The first two days were pretty slow too as we worked around our host's work schedule. That was fine, but little did we know we'd lose an additional 4 days after that. So, we ended up crossing a lot of things off of our agenda and just sleeping and resting a lot. We're just really disappointed to have been so sick. Even if it didn't mean missing out on a lot of things we were looking forward to, being sick is never pleasant. We've both gone a good long while since getting sick, but of course this had to be the week we finally did. =P

We have done some things, including Pearl Harbor, which was our "must see." We'll see tomorrow how DH feels and hopefully we'll get a few more things done. We have had a nice time, we've just been a little bummed. The good news is, we're under our vacation budget by almost half =P (save spending a small fortune on Kleenex and Cold Medicine).

It's been nice to have DH for 10 days in a row--that hasn't happened for almost our entire married life! I love time with him. And I've loved the time with our hosts. The wife and I were college roommates and we've enjoyed "rooming" together again. And they've been wonderful hosts. The neat thing that being sick has afforded us is a lot of down time to just "hang out," talking, playing games, watching the olympics, cooking, baking and just doing life together.

We'd love your prayers that we have an enjoyable, illness free day, and that our hosts are protected from getting sick (they're both feeling a little "under the weather" today).

I'll post pictures and a recap of our activities when we get home! Aloha!

Oh yeah! Megan emailed to tell us that GP's paperwork is in and that they have issued contracts. They should be at our house by the time we get home. We can sign them and send them back and then move on to the next step. Woohoo!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


We leave in the morning for Hawaii. I'm looking forward to it, but to be honest, we could be vacationing in Barstow and I'd probably be just as excited. There's a lot of turmoil in the lives of some of our friends and that's been stressful and heartbreaking for us. DH is worn out at work. We're still tired of waiting on the adoption stuff. And it's blazing hot here. So, we're just glad to get away, period.

DH is really excited about Hawaii though, and so I'm excited for him. We're staying with my college roommate, so I'm really thrilled to see her. But at this point, I'm almost too emotionally exhausted to even be excited about the trip. The good news is that most of the packing and errands are done so I can keep a relatively easy pace today. I hope I can get some good sleep tonight so I can be fully rested for the next couple of weeks.

We'll be back in 10 days! Hope you all have a great next couple of weeks!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


This is the part of the process I knew would come and which I was dreading a little bit. It's that time when we're waiting and have nothing more to do to speed up the process. We've done absolutely everything we can do and have done all of our preparations. Now we're just waiting on other people and the parts they each play in moving this process along.

And let me tell you! It's difficult not to be impatient. Every day I resist the temptation to call Megan just to see if she might say "oh by the way, everything's done!"

I'm looking forward to vacation next week and hopefully that will take my mind off of things but I had hoped to be able to sign contracts first so that the time we're gone isn't lost but I've decided I just need to let that go.

It's difficult to wait because everything else came so quickly. But our ticker passed 6 months a few days ago and it just reminded me of how long we really have been waiting for this. On one hand, a few more months isn't a long time in the grand scheme of years. But January marks 5 years since we decided we were "Open to Life" (neither preventing pregnancy nor actively trying for it).

It's hard because I want to be celebrating motherhood but it's not here yet. I catch myself looking at maternity clothes and baby clothes and having to literally remind myself "oh, not yet." It's amazing to me how subtly and naturally that transition occurred, even though it did so prematurely.

From a practical standpoint it's frustrating because we can't plan anything. DH has a bee in his bonnet about moving, our families want to make Christmas plans, we have to decide how much to put in our FSA next year, etc, etc, etc. For a major type A planner, all of this unknown is aggravating! I live in a state of "I don't know yet." I wish I could say that life will be the same if I get pregnant so I should just plan accordingly but I also know that we've waited for this so long, and PCOS poses such a high risk of miscarriage in addition to that, that I'm not sure that I'm really going to want to do much of anything but stay put and let baby cook. I'm not planning on being a nervous nelly about pregnancy but I'm also trying to plan for what I know about my personality and be realistic about my expectations for that time when it comes.

I'm sure somewhere in all of this waiting there's a good lesson to be learned. I sort of feel like we've done enough waiting already--how could there possibly be anymore waiting lessons left? (I kid, I kid...sort of ;) ) I know it will all come in due time but today I just found myself missing our babies. How I wish they were here with us already!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Q&A: "Why didn't we 'just' do IVF?"

I've hesitated answering this question more than I already have because it's so delicate and it's my heart's sincere desire to avoid offending my beloved sisters in Christ, many of whom read this blog and many of whom have made the opposite decision.

But the question is repeatedly asked, so I'm going to attempt to answer it here, treading as lightly as I know how. These were conclusions we made for our family. I do think they were the most ethical choices in our world view, but I also freely admit that I don't hold a monopoly on understanding the will of God and I recognize His power and capacity to work and lead differently in other people. That's all I can really say without sounding either judgmental about others' decisions or weak-minded about my own.

I also wanted to explain my decision because I don't want there to be any misunderstanding about my opinion of people who do IVF or the babies born from it. I cannot explain how or why God would give other parents peace about a decision and me uneasiness about it, but I believe that He can, and I have to trust the sincerity of their faith and decision making when they say that He did. I don't understand it, but I can't question the veracity of their faith, either. And regardless of any method of conception, a child is never evil and is loved completely by the God in Heaven who created her. God knows that we wouldn't have our own precious children if not for the decision another family made to pursue IVF.

I've known for as long as I've understood IVF that it was never a choice I could make. The primary reason was the high number of embryos that are created in most IVF procedures. I knew that much, I made up my mind, and that was that.

Until last fall. When our first test results with DH came back, I was really caught off guard. I reevaluated everything I thought about fertility, medical intervention, family size, and the will of God.

I learned that it's possible to do IVF wherein you instruct the doctor to limit the number of eggs harvested, limit the number fertilized, and transfer all successful fertilizations. I believe this is the most life-affirming way to do IVF.

When we learned that, it really caused me to pause and seriously consider the procedure for us. At this point, my DH strongly wanted to pursue this option. We read literature, talked to other IVF mommies, and went to talk to my doctor, whose opinion I value.

My question for myself, for God, and for the experts I encountered was, "if we do IVF with these constraints, what then are the ethical considerations?" I wrestled with this for a long time. The added dimension was wanting to please my DH, who at that point fiercely wanted a biological child. (That loss was not as significant for me, though others were).

What I did know is that I wanted our minds made up and our lines in the sand drawn before we heard the final prognosis and what our options would be. I didn't want to end up in the position of making a decision based on the emotions born out of ultimatums and desperation.

We decided that we would pursue methods that restored our bodies to proper function (as we'd already been doing for 3 years with my PCOS) and methods that would help deliver things to the proper places (thus we would have considered IUI, and GIFT) but our boundary was actually artificially creating life through fertilization. We also chose to refrain from any procedures that would involve a third party for conception (Donor Egg, Donor In.semination, Surrogate). We didn't feel comfortable introducing that in to our marriage.

But beyond that, the conclusion I, and eventually, on his own, my DH (praise God for harmony!) came to specifically about IVF was that even under all of those constraints, there was a certain Agency executed by us in IVF that created a risk to the embryos that was additional to the risks inherent in spontaneous conception. The embryos are created but there's still only a fair chance that they'll actually implant after the transfer. Our position was that we would be creating these little lives without giving them a realistic chance for survival. We felt in that a culpability that we could not feel peace about.

Some people come to the conclusion that embryos are exposed to the same risk when they're created the good old fashioned way, in spontaneous conception after s.ex. We wrestled with that too, and believe me, it was very tempting to adopt that position. In the end we decided that in spontaneous conception, aside from good health and prenatal care, there is nothing the human can do to prevent or aid the embryo in actually implanting and growing to term. We felt that in IVF, by inserting ourselves artificially in to the creation of life process, we were taking on a moral responsibility for these little lives. Without very good, practically guaranteed odds, we just weren't comfortable with that risk.

Now, had the doctors told us that the odds of survival for an IVF embryo were exactly the same or better than the odds for a spontaneously conceived embryo, I can say it's very likely that we would have made a different decision, or at least strongly considered it.

But the rubber met the road that day in the doctor's office in January when the doctor said "Your only choice for a biological child is IVF." We had so much peace and courage about looking him directly back and saying definitively that we would not be pursuing that option. I don't know if I would have had that same resolution if we'd not already made up our minds, because the temptation for a biological child was strong.

Now, some people ask how EA is different. In our opinion, our Agency in Embryo Adoption has changed, and therefore has our moral responsibility. These little lives already exist. We were not Agents of their Creation, but we will be Agents for their Survival. Somebody must be. Their very existence demands that someone choose to fight for them. Now I must be clear here that we chose this route of great love for these children and a great desire to have them, and not out of some social campaign. But just as with traditionally conceived children in need of adoption after birth, someone must make that choice for them. So in our minds, there is a clear distinction between our opinions about the nature of their conception, and their worth as human beings and our (global) responsibility for them.

Here are a few questions from blog commenters--sorry it's taken me some time to respond.

How will you present these issues to your children. In essence, they will only exist because another couple made what is - to you and your family - an unethical choice.

It is true that they will have been born because someone else made a choice different than we would have made. But our children were always wanted. They were wanted by us and they were wanted so much by their GPs that they DID make the choice to do IVF. The teaching point for our children is that from even before they were born, there were two sets of parents who wanted them with their whole hearts and souls and in fact, God used our position against IVF to bring them TO us.

Me again. Have continued thinking about this. Guess it is no different than the case of an adopted child who was born out of wedlock to a single mom and then put up for adoption. The Christian adoptive parents will necessarily teach that out of wedlock sex is a sin, but they are glad nonetheless that it happened (??) because that bad act brought them their beautiful child.

I guess that's a good analogy. However I'll make the blanket statement that I don't think the nature of a child's conception has any bearing on that child's worth. Planned-for children born from consensual married s.ex are no more valuable or precious than children born from unplanned pregnancies, from unmarried s.ex, from, or from artificial technology (which is not to compare or liken any of those things with each other). So I guess the take-home thought is that LOTS of us (myself included--the child of then unmarried teenaged parents) were conceived in "less than ideal" circumstances and we have equal worth.

I guess what I would say to my kids is that God used less than ideal circumstances (for I'm sure any IF woman out there would prefer having a body that works correctly and conceiving the good old fashioned way too), to bring them to us. And I'd say that I hope that they all always have the opportunity to have as many children as they like, the good old fashioned way, with their spouses. And if something else happens instead, we'll love them through that too.

When we looked at EA we were instantly uncomfortable. I think the main reason for me was that it seemed as I read some of the specific families who were looking for a family for their embryos many of their embryos were created out of wedlock. A donor sperm or egg that went to a married couple. We didn't feel comfortable with this so we are choosing to go a different route for additional children.

Wow, that's really interesting. We didn't really consider that factor exactly, but we did pause to think about whether or not we would accept a match using donor gametes. In the end we decided that the situation was the same--these were still precious little lives, in need of homes. We did pray for a match with a family whose embryos were 100% biologically theirs, primarily because we wanted to have as much historical information about the embryos as possible from a medical, genetic and genealogical standpoint, for the children's own future sake, and God honored that request.

But I can definitely see how you would be uneasy with donor gamete created embryos! I'm so glad God gave you such peace about your decision and that you have your beautiful DD!

If you are interested and/or if you have the time could you post about your views on IVF? Or point me toward a resource you might recommend? My husband and I (during our two years of IF and considering alternatives--including EA-- but God opened the womb in His time, instead) decided against it, but never could come up with any really concrete Scriptural reasons. A good Christian friend is now 12 weeks with their 2nd IVF (the first resulted in an early m/c). I would love to hear what you have to say on the topic.

Because these technologies did not exist then, it's difficult to find explicit teaching in the scriptures. Therefore I think where we are left is to take what we DO know and what it is explicit on and infer from there. I think God is explicit about his view of the sanctity of human life. He declared humans as "very good," the only time He used that superlative when describing His creation. He pronounced then and there a greater degree of pleasure with His Creation of humans than with any other of His creations. We are also the only of His Creation created in His image. By nature of the fact that we reflect and partake in the Divine, we are valuable and indisposable.

Jeremiah tells us that even before we were formed in the womb, we were known and loved by our Creator. That tells me that our worth is not dependent on viability or birth but is inherent from the very earliest moments of our creation.

Biology and science tell me that life begins with fertilization. From the moment the egg and sperm unite, the resulting creation is fully human in species, and is wholly complete in essential makeup within 24 hours when the DNA aligns and activates. At no point during pregnancy does the embryo or fetus change qualitatively. It grows larger, but it is in essence, the same being that it was when it was conceived. Since we know it is a life when it is born, I maintain that it was always a life from its creation, and didn't morph in to one at some point in the pregnancy. The ontological change was from non-existence to existence. I don't believe another one happens later on that would take it from existing but not alive to existing and alive.

Because that being is therefore a human life, I believe it is our obligation to protect it. We are told to "do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with [our] God." I think it is just and merciful to defend an innocent, helpless life that cannot protect itself. We are told to Love God with all our heart, soul and mind. Augustine says something to the effect of "love God, then do as you please." I believe I am loving and honoring Him when I ascribe value to the Tiniest of his Creations and then act accordingly.

For us, choosing to refrain from IVF was the way we could find to best do these things and live according to these principles, as regards fertility treatments.

One resource I recommend for Christians at any point in their IF journey is The Infertility Companion. I reviewed the book in greater depth here. They do a great job of outlining all of the various IF treatments, from medications and therapies, to ARTs. They examine the positives and the negatives, and ask though provoking questions and provide a good evaluation rubric without actually making the decisions for you. It was a tremendously helpful resource to us. It is like an encyclopedia--you can read just the sections pertinent or interesting to you and they will still make sense without having read the whole book.

As I said, I don't presume to have the authority on God's will for ARTs, and it's possible that we're even wrong about His will for us. We think we've been obedient and that we are pursuing the path He has laid for us. I appreciate hearing the the stories of those convicted or led in other directions. In one regard, we all think we're right because why would we believe or behave according to principles we thought were false? But at the end of the day, I also know we are all sinners, at the mercy of the Lord Jesus. All each of us can do is to Love Him and surrender to Him, and then act accordingly.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Checking In

I'm home and getting back in to the swing of things, just long enough to get ready to go again. We leave for HI next week!

My trip to CA was nice. I was there for 2 days in January for a trade show but I worked the entire time so it wasn't much of a visit. So besides that, I hadn't been out there in a year, which is unusual for me. We're so closely located that I usually get to go at least a few times per year.

I spent a lot of time with my parents. Unfortunately, my dad is the economy's newest victim, but what that meant for me was that he was home during the day, giving us a lot more time than we usually have when I visit and he works his crazy insane hours.

We did a lot of fun things--hanging out, movies, shopping and a studio tour in Los Angeles. It was fun to just spend some quality time with them.

Another friend from college is now living just over the hill from my folks so I got to spend a morning with her and her adorable little son, so that was great, too.

Another highlight was getting to have lunch with another Snowflake Mommy and her four kids, two of whom are Snowflakes. That was a real treat because I've gotten to speak with her several times over email and the phone, but she's even more great in person so that was neat. She also knows our GPs and has in general been a great support through this for both families.

I took one day and went down to the town our University is in and I connected with a lot of old friends who still live in the area. It was a whirlwind trip but it was really really good for me.

On that same day I was able to have lunch with our coordinator at Nightlight. That was a real treat, too. It gave the process a dimension of "realness" to me. I've felt sort of disconnected from everything, living so far away. Southern California has a built in support system of the agency itself and of the majority of its families who live locally but out here we're a little more on our own. Meeting her, seeing the office, meeting the other workers (including a former college classmate who now works there!) were all really neat opportunities for me. Plus, it was such a night and day difference from our experience with the agency here. Our caseworker here was great but I never really felt like we "clicked" with her and our experience with the rest of the agency...well, you already know that story. Walking in to Nightlight was SO different and I could sit and talk to Megan (caseworker here) for hours! It was really a neat experience.

I think one of my favorite memories of the weekend was going to brunch with "my kids." When I was in junior high and high school, I babysat the 5 combined kids of two families who were/are each other's best friends. I was also their Sunday School teacher, their camp counselor, their Pioneer Clubs teacher, their VBS teacher, and their children's church teacher. The oldest was a bit too old when I met their families and the youngest a smidge too young for me to know as well, but the middle three and I have always had really close relationships, even now. I stayed in touch with them all through college, connecting up with them every time I was home. Well now, the youngest of the three is in her senior year of high school and the oldest is getting ready to enter the Police Academy and is really serious about his darling girlfriend. I always love to see them so I was thrilled that they all made time to come see me and we enjoyed a few hours of catching up. Nothing makes your heart swell more than seeing kids you love grow up to be really good people who love the Lord and who love each other. I couldn't be prouder of them and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I've had to be a part of their lives and for them to be a part of mine.

I shared with them this weekend that I firmly believe God used them and their parents (one set to whom I am also very close) to fashion my heart for adoption. I couldn't love these kids more than if they were my own siblings or nieces or nephews, and yet I don't share a drop of DNA with them. Loving them has always been so natural. Loving my dad has been the same way. So in that regard, (the idea of loving someone as my own, though I'm not related to them officially), adoption has never been scary for me.

My mom and I also spent a lot of time going through my grandparents' old family photos. Some of them were more than 100 years old! She gave me some, and I scanned others, and I have the happy job now of trying to piece everything together. My grandma, though a owner of copious amounts of photos, was a little lax in the documenting and story telling side of things, so I've been pouring over photos with a magnifying glass and clues about dates gathered from wardrobes, lighting and props. It's been great fun and a real joy for me.

I've got another wicked migraine headache tonight. I used to get them 3 or 4 times a week and that went on for 7 years. I finally got some relief after we were married, and until recently, I only got a few a year. But this is the second one I've had this month. I'd really love for them to stay away so I'd love your prayers for relief from this one and for protection from an onslaught of more of them.

I'm back home now and have spent the last two days doing laundry, making a grocery list, paying bills and catching up on emails and orders. I officially announced that I'm closing my business, so I have a LOT of orders that people have placed since the announcement. I'm trying to get all caught up this week so I can spend next week just preparing for our trip. They're coming...slowly but surely, but they're getting done.

S&B (our GPs) wrote to tell us that they signed the relinquishment papers last week. I'm not sure what that means for us because it's not a Nightlight step. Nightlight thinks it must be a step for their clinic because Nightlight hasn't issued contracts yet. Pray for our GPs...this is a big, difficult step. It's sombering to think that any adoption and the family built from it is built from someone else's loss. That really hit me today and my heart was aching for our GPs. So if you think of it, pray for them. And pray for all of the families who choose to place children for adoption. I can't imagine that loss.

I have more to write but my head hurts too much to continue. As it is I've worked on this post for more than an hour, which is long for me. TTFN. I'm trying to catch up on blog rounds. I hope you all are well!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Post Mock Report

I've only got a minute. My Sono-Mock went really well. It was much easier than my HSG (though I did take a Prescription Naprocyn and 3 Advil in advance this time!). I did have some pain and I was uncomfortable when I went to sleep last night after all the meds wore off but I'm fine this morning.

The doctor said everything looks awesome--very fit for a transfer. He also said the procedure went better and easier than it does with most people. It was so nice to hear that something is normal, and in fact, better than average! I went home, finished packing, and flew to my mom's last night. I had coffee with a friend this morning and now my dad and I are headed out to do some shopping.

I don't know that I'll update much this week but I wanted to check in. Thanks for your prayers for my Sono Mock. It was so, so much easier than the HSG, and I'm really grateful for that.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Definition: Sono Mock

Jess asked me to define a Sono Mock, so here it is, as best as I understand it.

An HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) is a procedure wherein they use a catheter to fill the uterus with dye and put you under an xray machine. They're trying to fill the uterus and push the dye through your tubes for it to spill out the other end. Meanwhile, the dye is exposing the shape, size and condition of the uterus, tubes and ovaries on the xray film.

The "sono" part of this procedure (sonohysterosalpingogram) is similar, though they use saline instead of dye and it doesn't need to go up in to my tubes since they're just checking out the uterus, looking for anything that might be complicating to a pregnancy.

The "mock transfer" part is where they use the same kind of catheter they'd use for the actual embryo transfer and they're measuring the uterus, investigating the wall and the shape, looking for the most favorable position to "aim" for during the transfer itself. During the actual procedure they don't "implant" the embryos directly in to the uterine wall. They just transfer them to the uterus, much like would happen if they dropped down in from the fallopian tubes in a good-old-fashioned conception. The doctors aim toward the position in the lining thought to be most favorable, but it's still up to God and the body's process for the embryos to actually "grab on" and implant. The mock cycle is done to give them the best chance we can provide from a mortal standpoint.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

They're gone

Figures that we finally got a halfway decent picture of the four of us and in my ignorance to the new camera, I had it set wrong and the focus ended up misdirected and soft. Oh well, it will have to do. Baby was in the carrier on the ground next to us--he'd been fussy all day and we didn't want to disturb the calm we'd finally achieved by taking him out for the photo.

We spent as much time with them as we could in the last couple of weeks, including last night and this morning. They finally pushed off this afternoon-later than they would have liked but we didn't object to the extra time. I'm missing them fiercely already.

I've felt generally pretty crummy all week, between the sadness and stress of their departure, the fatigue from the work involved preparing them and from not being able to sleep for being up thinking about it, to a wicked migraine, and general monthly girl junk. Today the doggies (we have BFFs dog Molly for the foreseeable future) and I spent the rest of the day resting, watching TV and eating comfort food. A complete waste of an afternoon, but it was nice to just have an afternoon to decompress.

Tomorrow things kick in to gear again. We're going to my ILs out of town, for the weekend, then we get back Sunday afternoon. Monday afternoon I have my sono-mock, and Monday night I leave to fly to California for a week to see my mom and some old friends. During that time, SIL and her family will be here with DH (I'd already booked my trip when they said they were coming-I'm bummed to miss them!) so I need to make sure the house is company ready and generally attend to everything I've been neglecting the last two weeks as I've been at R&Ks house. Then 10 days after arriving home from mom's, we leave for Hawaii. So, there's much to do and little time to do it in.

We'd appreciate your prayers for safe travels for BFFs as they drive across the country. I'd appreciate prayers that I get everything done and I'd especially appreciate prayers for my SonoMock. My HSG was a wickedly miserable experience, and I'm fearing that the SonoMock (similar to the HSG, only with saline instead of dye) will be similar. I'd really love to not go through that sort of trauma again.

So anyway, we're in the middle of a long exhausting haul. It's not even 10:00 yet but I'm ready for bed. Night all

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Life of the Embryo

A blog reader left the following comment on my previous post:

Hey Jen.

I'd be interested to read a post on your moral stance regarding this process. You put quote marks around the word "create" which sort of gave me pause. So these lives have been created, does that mean there are 11 or however many people? Do they each have a soul?

Just wondering what your thoughts are, here.

So I thought I'd take this opportunity to respond.

The life of the embryo is very perplexing for me so I'll try my best to explain what I think.

First, I believe that life begins at fertilization, not conception (the AMA defines conception as when implantation occurs-usually approximately 2 weeks after fertilization). I believe it's important to make this distinction because saying that life begins at conception gives scientists and doctors a free pass on what to do with the embryos in those two weeks between fertilization and implantation. It opens the door for justifiable embryonic stem cell research, cloning, chemical reduction and a host of other life dishonoring practices.

So yes, I believe these are 12 tiny little people.

However, I don't know when ensoulment happens. On the one hand, it's hard to define "human" apart from a soul (isn't that what makes us human after all?), but on the other hand, if indeed ensoulment happens at fertilization, I have no idea where the souls of these frozen embryos currently are. I don't know that I think that soul is suspended in time, but I don't know what alternative there is, either. So, all of that to say, I don't know. And I don't even know what I believe.

Jeremiah 1:5 says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." So I believe that some sort of pre-conception soul exists, even if just in Holy Intent and Idea. Whether every body conceived has a soul, or whether some perish in the womb as never were and never to be ensouled skeletons, I do not know.

However, in the absence of knowing, we must err on the side of caution, or in this case, life. We must behave as though each of those 12 embryos (and the 500,000 others in storage) is a fully ensouled human being, created in the image of God. That is why I believe so strongly in Embryo Adoption, though I could not reconcile myself to In Vitro Fertilization. In this case, those little Embryos (little lives) already exist, and are worthy of our protection, regardless of our feelings about how they came to be.

If we are wrong on this point and in the end all we've done is protect lifeless (or soulless) masses of cells, we are no worse for the wear. However, if we assume that they are not little lives and behave accordingly, and it turns out we are wrong on that, we will have committed sins of great depravity, and that is a risk I am unwilling to take, both for the sake of my own soul and for the sake of those tiniest of persons.


Amanda then asked this in the comments:

I guess my question further is this, so if they are people, and may or may not have a soul, how do you feel about implanting several when you know they probably will not all survive? Especially when you've listed cases previously where someone had 11 embryos and that resulted in one live birth.

It seems effectively to be making the same decisions as in vitro fertilization without the immediate problem of you, personally, having given the order to create life.

Well, we would only transfer two at a time, because I am willing and feel I can safely carry twins if both were to implant. I wouldn't transfer more than that because I don't feel it would be safe for the babies.

If they don't implant, that's up to God. Transferring two embryos at once does not lessen either one's chance of implanting. All Snowflake families make the commitment to act as though all embryos WILL implant and therefore commit to only transferring at one time the number of embryos equal to the number children they would be willing and able to carry in one pregnancy, with a maximum of three. (The eleven embryos were not all transferred at once). Selective reduction is not an option.

At that point, I think the adoptive family has done all they can to give these embryos a chance at a full life. What happens beyond that is up to God. I liken it to the notion that it is a pregnant woman's job to care for her body and for her child and be responsible with prenatal care and her own behavior, but if all of that happens and a miscarriage still occurs, it doesn't follow that it was her fault or that it she should have never gotten pregnant in the first place.

So long as the EA family does all they can to ensure the best chance at survival for the embryos, including safe adoption, placement, shipping, thawing, transfer and storage methods, I think God is honored by that.

Also, isn't Embryo Adoption a perfect way of justifying IVF for people who have yet to undertake it? They may feel it is wrong, but upon learning of embryo adoption, would do it anyway because there is a way to "adopt" out the other embryos, thereby putting more embryos out there?

I wrestle with this too. I do know there are people out there who have chosen to do IVF because they know EA exists. But I also know there are couples out there like us. We were always opposed to IVF as a choice for our family, but knowing EA existed made that conviction a little bit easier to stick to when the doctor said those words, "You will never have biological children." Somehow knowing this existed removed some of the temptation to change our minds. I'd like to think we wouldn't have either way, but I do know that EA played a positive role for us.

Additionally, even if you removed all of those people (who do IVF because of EA) from the equation, there would still be hundreds of thousands of embryos in storage and so a method for saving those embryos would still need to exist. I do admit that it could become a vicious cycle but I don't think that we're there yet, or that the answer is not doing what we can. I know there are people who treat s.ex casually because they know they can place a resulting child for adoption. I don't think we should do away with adoption either, though I know there are people who use it to copulate with relative impunity (though placing a child for adoption is not without its own kind of trauma, either).

There's not an easy answer and I wrestle with it too. At the end of the day, I think EA is a necessary response to an unfortunate problem, though my preference would be that the problem of extra embryos not exist in the first place.

I know many good Christian people who arrived at different conclusions that us, others who changed their minds to or from these same positions after first acting according to the opposite decision, and some who remain undecided. I know it's not an easy decision for any family and I don't pass judgment on people who've made different decisions--this is just an explanation of where we're at as a family.