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!