Sunday, December 27, 2009

Checking in, more thoughts, and thanks for the kindness of "strangers"

Howdy, folks!

I pray you all had a blessed, Merry Christmas!

We got through Christmas and fared a little better than I had expected to. The rest of my birthday ended up going ok-we had a great dinner with my sister-in-law and her hubby, my parents and my brother and that was great fun. We spent Christmas Eve with our church family and Christmas day with my family. Both occasions were also a blessing to us. My sister-in-law was in town briefly, which was a great source of joy for us (the visit, not the brevity ;) ) Their visits are always too short and too far apart.

All independently of each other (and most all without reading this blog), the friends I mentioned from the party in my last post all reached out to us, which was of great comfort to our hearts.

On Monday a package arrived from one of the party guests-the only guest we did not know, as he was the relatively new boyfriend of one of the party goers. We'd not yet had a chance to meet him until the party. We met him and liked him very much but after the party, he was still relatively a stranger since we'd only interacted with him a couple of hours.

When the package came, I thought it was a Christmas ornament for my hubby. (They bonded over this shotgun toting Santa ornament from our game that night). The package was addressed to DH so I gave it to him and went on my merry way. A few minutes later, he came to me with a box and a letter. The letter was a incredibly touching, beautiful letter from said friend about us and our Snowflakes.

Inside the box was this:

One of the hardest parts of a miscarriage or early pregnancy loss is the feeling that the world around you doesn't really know/care/or is affected by the fact that your children existed. They're gone before anyone ever got to know them. There is no funeral or headstone. There are no memories of them. They're just here one day, and gone the next. And life just goes on around you. It's a hard place to be in. Some days I just want to stand up and scream, "my babies were here. I love them. They MATTER!"

I don't think James will ever know what a gift he gave us in acknowledging and remembering our babies with us--all of whom were lost before he even met us. We had given our moms snowflake pendants like mine a couple of years ago for mother's day. Mine was exposed to something that ruined it, and we've not been able to replace it. So on top of the sweet sentiment, it was also a gift to have a pendent again. It honors me when I see our moms wearing theirs...and I feel like I'm honoring our babies when I wear mine. I'd felt quite naked without one, so I am grateful to have one again. So, dear James, thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

This is a season of both joy and mourning for us. We're missing our babies terribly. I miss the girls something fierce, and the loss associated with our newest two babies is something altogether different, and dealing with both simultaneously is difficult.

Due to some fraud committed by the company who used to insure my hubby's employer, and some of that company's clients, we now have a couple thousand dollars in medical bills (from things from this past summer which were supposed to be paid by the insurance)...which has created a stress from the money standpoint but moreover, it's postponed another transfer indefinitely because we don't have the money to pay these bills and pay for another transfer. Considering another transfer is also a couple of thousand dollars, the prospects of any attempts in the near future is bleak. It kills me that not only have we waited 6 years already (January marks the anniversary of when we first started trying), but now we will wait longer through no fault of our own, because someone else (well, lots of someone elses) was unethical. So, I'm discouraged. Waiting is tough.

We're also mourning with friends who both lost their babies in December, too. One is another Snowflake Mommy, Heather, who lost her two babies after their first transfer. And the other is my sweet friend Grace, who lost her babies this week, and who also lost a child last year shortly after we lost our girls. Both friends are very dear to me and my heart is heavy for them. I solicit your prayers on their behalf as they walk in the valley of grief, too.

Dear friends of ours are leaving our church, which distresses me for a variety of reasons, which I won't share here. But it's left me struggling with some questions about the way God directs a family and it's left me heartbroken for one member of the couple, whose heart is torn over their departure.

But, we also have cause for great rejoicing. Over Christmas, one of our very dear friends got engaged (to James, the snowflake giver mentioned above!), and she and her fiancee have asked both DH and I to be in the wedding...which will be in 12 weeks! We are over the moon for them. They have both waited a long time for the "right one" and God has blessed their patience with each other.

Another friend from the same circle is also getting married, the weekend before friend #1. They're a great couple, too. DH is also in that wedding and we are delighted to celebrate with them, as well!

The week prior to that is the main fundraiser for my employer (a fundraiser which I coordinate) and the weekend before that is my mentor's wedding, for which I'm doing the food! So there is a lot of activity and business and cause for celebration. I'm grateful for that--it gives me some distraction. And my heart is full for my friends experiencing such joy in their lives!

Our genetic parents are coming to town this week. We are overjoyed to see them again but doubly excited because they get to meet some of our family members. There's still some chance that they might not come, so we're still praying that they do and then we'll make some fun plans!

I need to scoot off of here and do our end-of-the-year accounting but I did want to check in and update. Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Birthday

Today is my birthday. Birthdays were always a big deal in my family and I've always really enjoyed it. I enjoy getting to spend time with my family, to get a break from cooking and dishes, and getting to choose the activities of the day. So, I usually look forward to it.

This year though, the fact that it's my birthday hit me hard. I'm 29 today. That's not old in the grand scheme of life, but it's old in terms of childbearing. I always wanted to be a young mom. I got married at 22. I figured we'd have our first child by 24, another at 26, another at 28 and finish with a 4th at 30. That was my plan. Oh, how different are God's ways.

I guess the realization of the fact that I won't even have 1 child by the time I'm 30 has me down today. Well, that's not true. I have 12 children, and I'm not even 30 years old ;) But, I haven't gotten to meet any of them and won't have had the chance to by that time.

I know 30 is such an arbitrary number. But, I know at that age is when my reproductive system starts to decline. We still have 4 more transfers in front of us. The fact that I could still be doing this when I'm 35-40 (when risks increase for me and baby) scares me. The fact that my nieces and nephews continue to grow older (the oldest is driving!) and thus farther in age from what our kids will be makes me sad because I don't think our kids will really get that cousin experience. Their cousins will be more like Aunts and Uncles to them. The fact that our friends' children all are getting older too so I won't get the joy of our kids growing up together makes me sad, too.

My grandma died at this time of year 12 years ago, so I'm always missing her. The loss of my grandma was one of the single most impacting things that's ever happened. At least my babies are hanging out with opportunity I still miss every day.

I wish I had something profound to say about all this but I don't. I'm just sad tonight. I miss my babies so terribly. I wish I could understand why God chose this path for us. I wish I knew when and if it would ever change. I try not to indulge the "it's not fair" thoughts and the "why" questions...I just can't even go there in my mind and I just try to stay focused on the thoughts I shared already about being content with God as the ultimate answer to every question. But, my heart still aches, even if I can keep my mind arrested.

I did have a really great weekend. We went out of town to help my in-laws pack up to move and we stayed at their house overnight (it's a vacation home) after they left to come home. The house is as nice as any hotel I've ever been in so it felt like we were on a nice little getaway. We went out for a nice supper thanks to the generosity of my in-laws. We took a walk in the mountain air. We went to visit a fantastic Christmas lights display. We just enjoyed each other's company. It was really the first alone time we'd had since "the" phone call last weekend, so it was really nice to just be together.

This morning we were back at church for a wonderful morning. Then we had a terrific lunch with Skyler's family and another family from church where we gave the kids their gifts. It was the first year in a long time that seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child wasn't too painful to enjoy and appreciate. We then traveled up to my in-laws home here in town, where we enjoyed a Christmas celebration with DH's side of the family. It's the first time all of us have been together in a long time, so that was fun. DH's sister and I are close so I'm always grateful for the time I get with her. So we really did have a wonderful, blessed weekend and I am trying to be mindful of that in spite of my sadness.

But, I also know that my God is bigger than my heart, and my mind and my emotions and my sadness. I guess I'm just bringing this to His feet; I really don't even know what else to do with it, or how to process it.

Anyway, those are my to you all. And thank you in advance for any prayers you might get a chance to offer on my behalf!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

When the Answer is "No"

I started off the weekend with a facebook status that said "Jennifer has homemade vegetable red sauce in the crock pot for tomorrow's 5 cheese lasagna. More cookie baking tomorrow and then fun with friends tomorrow night! Church Christmas dinner on will be a blessed weekend!"

When the phone call came yesterday, I was so crushed and all thoughts of blessing when out the window.

Yesterday was hard. The phone call came in the middle of getting ready for a party I was throwing. The party came and went, and though all in attendance knew of our loss, not a single person uttered a word of sympathy or condolence or asked how we were doing or even mentioned it. I don't think any of those people read this blog so this isn't to call anyone out or to shame's just to say, if you know your friends are grieving, say something. Anything. Silence is the worst choice of all. So, last night really hurt. (ETA: This is not a plug for comments or emails--I meant in a social situation-if you're in the same room as someone you know is experiencing grief, please take a moment to hug them, weep with them, squeeze their hand, say "I'm sorry," etc. We don't expect you to know what to say...we just need to know you care).

The calls and messages did pour in from other friends and family (including so many of you-thank you!) but because we were in the middle of a party, we couldn't really talk to anyone.

But, as much as the actions of these people hurt, I really think that God redeemed it. I’m a person who processes things by talking (or in this case, writing) through them. By the time the party was over last night, DH and I hadn’t had but a few minutes alone, no one had asked us about it, and when they all went home, we were just too exhausted to talk or think. I’d made up my mind that I was determined to be mad at God, and I’d wake up and deal with it in the morning.

Then we got to church. I wish I could describe to you how much I love our church. I intended to go in the back, sit, stone-faced, teach my lesson and slip back out. Ha! Our church loves you whether you want it or not! We received so much love, and so many hugs, and so much support. And that’s when the tears started. I sobbed my way through the music. A good friend took my class so I sat through the sermon (I normally teach children's church during the preaching) and the sermon “happened” to be on my favorite passage in scripture (John 1). I was convicted through the sermon, and then I bawled my way through Sunday School and then we were surrounded by more hugs. We are so remarkably blessed by the great love shown in this local body of Christ. This church does that part of the Body's work better than any church I've ever seen. And we are so humbled to be recipients of that love, and partakers in this church.

And I got to process through those suspended thoughts in a new context, in an environment of support, and in the light of Truth. So, from that perspective, I am glad I wasn't able to process more last night.

When I say mad, what I mean is I felt a combination of anger, forsakenness, self-pity, confusion, more anger, impatience, grief, sorrow, more anger and overwhelming sadness. And I just wanted to throw my little temper tantrum and tell God I was sick and tired of waiting for His timing, that His answers don’t make sense, that He let me down and that while He promised He wouldn’t give us more than we can handle, I felt like this time, He actually did.

Today, I still said those things, but today they were as a confession of a daughter to her Father, out of an attitude of utter helplessness and desperation for rescue. Last night they were of an entitled citizen whose “rights” had been infringed upon. What a difference a day can make!

In one of His points this morning, my Pastor connected verse 5, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it,” with Matthew 5:16: “Let your Light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” I can’t explain it so eloquently as he did, but the net point was “A, therefore B.” I’ve always understood the passages independent of each other, but the connection today struck a chord with me.

And it dawned on me. In the modern context, a light is usually a light bulb. The light bulb doesn’t get to choose when its turned on, the wattage at which it’s turned on, or the sphere which it illuminates. Its job is to light. It serves at the behest of its master. I abdicated my “right” to turn off and hide under a bushel when I gave my life to Christ. My job is to serve as a vessel of His grace and mercy and love. Even when my feelings want to demand otherwise, I must choose to exhibit Christ in all that I do, including my mourning. There's little room for temper tantrums in that.

Skyler, the two-year-old love of my life who I mentioned a few posts ago, is at the stage where his favorite question is “Why?” As much as I adore that baby boy, I tire easily of that question. When the question is asked as the follow up to an instruction, I find myself, more often than not, answering, “Because I said so.”

I have a lot of “whys” with regard to this loss, our last loss, and our infertility journey in general. And yet as I said it again to Skyler tonight, it dawned on me that the answer is always the same to my questions: Because He said so. Because the Great I AM said so. When He is the answer, the questions suddenly become irrelevant.

And do you know what? That’s remarkably freeing. Not in a “check your logic at the door” sort of way but in a “Someone who knows more than I is in charge, and I don’t need to know all the details because I’m safe in His care” sort of way. Scripture tells us that God’s ways are not our ways. And His thoughts are not our thoughts. His mind is not our mind. But darned it all if I don’t try to make sense of things in my insufficient ways, thoughts and mind, anyway. How futile! And how exhausting!

Pastor said something in Sunday school: in the darkness of our grief even when things don’t make sense, the truth of God’s character remains the same. Praise God! His steadfastness and trustworthiness and faithfulness are not dependent on whether or not I feel them or want to acknowledge them.

No other answer matters. Because He said so. It’s not only freeing, it’s convicting.

Then, as Pastor continued and preached about the miracle of God made flesh, I found Him asking me “Is that enough?” Here we are in the season focused on the precious Gift of the Christ Child, and my selfish heart is asking for more. How much I still have to learn.

I do believe that that God gives us desires of our hearts and there is a way to reconcile that with the Sufficiency of His Person. There is a Way Because He is both. I can’t quite reconcile it all in my head just yet to know how to hold on to one and rest in the other, but I know that He knows those details.

So, that’s where I’m at. I still am a mother who just lost two more children, and I grieve. But my grief doesn’t feel overwhelming, endless, or purposeless.

These are some questions we’ve received several times that I thought I’d attempt to answer.

How is this different than last time?
In a transfer, the babies are put in my uterus, but they still have to “grab on” the good old fashioned way. That’s still entirely up to God and nature. In our last transfer, they did grab on, we got pregnant, and then we miscarried. In this case, they just never implanted. We don’t now specifically when they were lost, and we were never officially pregnant in this case. The end result is the same-our babies are in Heaven and not with us. But functionally, the process is very different. For one, there is no trauma to my body like there is with a miscarriage. For that I’m grateful. In one sense, that makes it much easier. The memories I have of the night I lost the girls still haunt me to this day. I have and will have nothing like that with this loss. On the other hand, that makes it tough, too. The babies just left me one day, and we have no idea when. That ambiguity is a little odd.

Are the results conclusive?
Yes. This news was confirmed through a blood test to check for HCG, the pregnancy hormone. My blood was drawn at a late enough point in the process that even if the babies had implanted at the last possible second in the biological “window” of possible implantation time, there would still be measurable levels of HCG by now. The fact that there are none, means there never will be any, with regard to this transfer and those babies.

When will we try again?
We don’t know. We need to process this grief. We need to “detox” my body of all the hormones and let it return to normal. We need to save the money again for another transfer. Then we need to gear up another cycle of hormones in preparation. So, not for several months, at least. We still have 8 babies in frozen storage. And we are committed to giving every single one of them a chance at life. So we must do this again, at least several more times. We just don’t know when the next time will be.

We had our Christmas dinner at church tonight. It was wonderful. I spearheaded cooking dinner for 100 people and worked with my DH and some amazing ladies to get it done. We enjoyed wonderful fellowship. And sweet Skyler gave me all the hugs and snuggles I could want…the best medicine in the world. But, now, I’m exhausted. Tears, trauma and tasks will do that to you! My sweet DH has been kind enough to wait up with me while I finished this so I should wrap it up and go to bed.

Please pray for us. I feel strong and composed tonight, but I also know my flesh and will are weak. Please pray for His strength, composure and peace. Please pray for rest for us. Please pray as we continue to process and mourn. I know the coming days will be difficult.

And please join us in thanking God for His wonderful mercies: Christ has come and will come again, He loves us patiently, our babies are in Heaven with Him, He quiets the questions of our hearts, and He has given us remarkable family and friends. Despite my mid-weekend faltering, the weekend was, and we indeed are, blessed!

Love to you all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another "no"

God's answer was "no," again. We have two more children in Heaven. I'm devastated, but mostly right now, I'm and angry. Honestly, right now I don't think His answer will ever be "yes." And that's really hard to deal with.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pray for a Christmas Miracle

Please pray for a Christmas miracle. My blood test is not too far off and all the home tests are still testing negative. I know God is not a God of numbers and tests and that He can overcome any obstacle if that is His will for us and our babies. But I confess, my heart is struggling with fear, and my faith and hope are small right now. I'm just so afraid God's answer is going to be "no" again this time and my heart is so weary of that answer. Please pray that He would see fit to let us meet these little babies here on earth. I know if that's not His plan that ultimately, it's best. But I just really wish that us getting to meet them here IS His best. We'll know for sure, soon enough. God, grow my faith and trust!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another update about nothing

Still no news...still too soon for any.

I did end up getting sick but the doctor was able to get me in right away today and get me on some antibiotics. Unfortunately there's nothing I can take for the symptoms, but killing the germs and infection mean that it should only last a few days.

We had a nice weekend. On Friday night, we went to see a local community college production of the Broadway version of A Christmas Carol. It was really excellent. Dickens was masterful, to be sure, but stage productions of his work can be so dry and well...Dickensish. Setting his writing to music was pure genius. The gal we went to see is from our church. She's a high school student and she is quite literally, the single most gifted person I have ever met. And what makes it remarkable is that she doesn't even realize it. She's so humble and when she talks about love and God and purity and compassion and faith, its without design or artifice. It's truly a blessing to behold. And such a good reminder. Faith like a child. She isn't really a child. But she has the artless faith of one. Thank you God, for your children, and the way we see You each day in them.

We ended up sleeping most of Saturday-Todd trying to get well and me trying to stay well. We had church on Sunday and decorated the Sanctuary after wards for Christmas and then konked out for most of the rest of the day, again.

On Sunday I taught the Christmas story to the kids in my class. I had a manger to show them and used the language "box of hay" to describe it. A little while later we played a game with a gift package and the word "JESUS" was written on a card placed inside. When we opened the package, I asked the boys why His name was inside the present. They thought for a minute and one said "because Jesus was born in a box?" Such sweet innocence. I got a good giggle out of that one.

Today, I just hung out at home, mostly in bed or in the recliner. Until anyone tells me otherwise, I'm resting for 3 right now ;) I'm needing to catch up on work and phone calls (BFF I still owe you a call!) and household duties.

I did make a couple of soups this weekend that turned out pretty tasty....for lack of much else to write about, I'll post them here:

Taco Soup:
1 lb ground beef
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 white onion, diced
2 TBS garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, any color, diced
8 green onions (green part only), diced
2 small tomatoes, chunked
1 can of tomato sauce (same size can as beans)
2 packages Taco Seasoning (I used Lawrys)
1 TBS ranch seasoning

Sautee beef with white onions, garlic and bell pepper. When browned, add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 35-45 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream, cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips (optional).

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder
6 large red potatoes, skins on, cubed
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
5 cups warm water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
1.5 cups broccoli (I used frozen)
1.5 cups cauliflower (I used frozen)
8 oz ham, cooked and diced
2-3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 TBS butter

Sautee onions and butter in a stock pot. Add carrots, potatoes, and bouillon dissolved in water. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer until potatoes and carrots are partially tender. Add celery and, if using fresh broccoli and cauliflower, these as well. Continue simmering until all veggies are tender. (If using frozen broccoli and cauliflower, just add them in with enough time to cook and tenderize). Pour 1/2 to 3/4 of soup (depending on personal preference) in to a food processor and pulse til chunky, like a chowder texture. Add back into pot and remaining soup mixture. Add cheese and ham and continue heating til cheese is melted and ham is heated.

This made enough for an army and one bowl was very hearty and filling. I've made this before without the ham and it's been good too. Tonight we wanted a little protein since it was all I was cooking, so I added the ham.

That's all for tonight. Wish I had more to me, I'm sure I'm far more impatient than you are!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nothing yet

It's ENTIRELY too soon to have results yet. But that didn't stop me from taking a Home Pregnancy Test yesterday. Of course, it was negative. It would be nigh on impossible to get a positive result, even if I AM pregnant. But I did it anyway. What can I say, patience is not my virtue?

People keep asking me how I'm feeling. I feel fine. Honestly, once the valium wore off and I recovered from my sleep deprivation, I went back to feeling normal. In truth, I wish I was feeling different, because that would be an indicator that something's happening...but again, it's just much too early for that. Though we know when the babies went in, we still have to wait, just like people who get pregnant the good old fashioned way. Have I mentioned how much I love waiting (sarcasm!)

So there you have it. A big fat update about nothing! :) I hope you all are well.

I guess one small request: DH is sick with an inner ear infection. He's a little on the stubborn side and it took him a while to go to the doctor. So I've been trying to disinfect the house from the germs he "shared" in those days before the doctor put him on an antibiotic Please pray that he gets well soon, and that babies and I stay well! Thanks!

Off to make some more Christmas cookies and hang out with DH!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Transfer Update

Thanks so much for all your prayers, well wishes and encouragement as we approached and completed our transfer today. Thanks also for the calls and texts to follow up on how things went. Between getting just a few hours of sleep last night and having to be on Valium today, I was so beyond exhausted that I fell asleep on the car ride home and then went immediately to bed when we arrived here. I didn't even have the energy to send out an update or answer any of the calls or texts. Thanks for your patience :)

The first thing we learned when we got there was the results of the transfer. In one particular grading scale, embryos are graded on 3 points: a scale of 1 to 5 grades how well/much they're expanded (5 is high, 1 is low). A grading of A-C (A being best) grades the quality of the inner cell mass. A second grading of A-C grades the quality of the outer ring, called the trophectoderm. The trophectoderm is what becomes the placenta. So, the best rating an embryo can get is 5AA. After that 5AB, 5BB, 4AA, 4AB and 4BB are all considered very good. The doctor told us that we had one 5BB and one 4BB. This was the evaluation they gave them after the thawing process today. Both survived just perfectly. The embryos were rated years ago by the Genetic Parents' Embryologist who created and froze them. The best rating we had from them was right in that same range so that means the Embryos didn't deteriorate much, if at all, during the freezing/storage/thaw process! Hooray! We are grateful to God for protecting our babies through the freezing and thawing process.

The one on the left is the 4 and the other is the right. The bumpy area is the cell mass. The "shell" is the soon-to-be placenta. The excess area is just fluid. If the babies grow as they should, the cells on the left will eventually fill out the whole ring just like the one on the right, and then they'll "hatch" and then they can grab on to the uterus and implant. Isn't it amazing how complex they are at such an early age? God is truly a God of wonder and miracles and intricacies. I don't know how anyone can look at something like this and think that we were created by chance or accident.

The whole thing is guided by ultrasound. They use a catheter to insert the embryos. It's so cool to watch and then suddenly there's this "puff" of white that appears on the screen like a firework or a starburst. We didn't really get to see that last time because the doctor didn't really communicate with us and didn't make us seeing the screen a priority. I'd heard it described before but it was really cool to see.

Forgive the labeling of the bladder-I hope it's not crass. But I wanted to explain the huge black mass! The full bladder pushes the intestine back and the uterus down and then it's clear so they can see through it (think trying to look through a blown up balloon verses an uninflated one).

The white dot is not ACTUALLY the embryos but it's the puff of air they're surrounded in. Without the air, you wouldn't be able to see them at all because they're too small.

Overall this procedure was so much more peaceful than the other. I came out of it feeling so different. I felt like the doctor really communicated with me and I knew a lot more about what was going on. I was more relaxed and I felt physically better.

The doctor said that the embryos looked really good. He said that the transfer itself went "perfectly." It took less than 10 minutes-he got in easily and to the exact right spot with no trouble. This was especially impressive because normally the doctor will do a "practice round." This doctor didn't think it was necessary since I'd had a practice round before the last transfer as well as the transfer itself, in addition to all sorts of ultrasounds, so he thought he had enough data. He just went straight in and out, with no fumbling around or repositioning. He was so skilled--it really made me appreciate that God directed us out of the the care of the previous doctors and allowed such a skilled one to care for us and our babies. The doctor was even commenting to his nurse and the Embryologist about how perfectly everything went--it sounded almost like this was better than even things normally go for folks. He said that he thinks we have a "very good chance of getting pregnant."

After it was over we went to this charming 87 year old Mexican restaurant in this old farm house. It looks like a cross between a Tea Room and a Cantina. We love to go there when we can. Todd said we're teaching the kids early to love Mexican Food (DH LOVES Mexican seriously LOVES it. I like it a lot too, but he has an inordinate attachment to it, as does his dad).

This is our first family picture with all 4 of us. We forgot to get one at the doctor's office, but the fact that it's outside a Mexican restaurant amuses me so much...especially if you know our family!

My parents live in Tucson so they joined us for lunch. My brother surprised us by driving down (from Phoenix), too.

So now, I am officially PUPO--Pregnant until Proven Otherwise. I'm taking it easy today tomorrow and then I'm back to my normal routine.

Thanks so much for praying us through this! All of our requests were answered, save for knowing the actual results, which we'll have to wait some time for. We are so humbled and grateful that everything went so well, and for your friendship and love and encouragement and support!

Grace and peace dear friends,

Todd and Jen + 2 :)

Sleepless Night

Tonight is a sleepless night...hopefully one of many to come--(so long as they're caused by sweet baby cries ;) )

Our transfer is in about 8 hours. All day long I've been at peace. But now, my mind, heart and body are racing.

We lit the Candle of Anticipation this week for Advent. I've really been meditating on that this week. Our hearts are full of so much expectation. And that expression of hope, and joy, is only rightfully directed toward our Coming King. Our desire for them is only a fraction of what ought be our desire for Him. The stirring in my heart is a constant reminder of that. Through my longing for my children, the Holy Spirit reminds and exhorts, "Do you long for me, Daughter?" By God's grace and through His Spirit, I do. And yet I need the reminder and the redirection of my focus, for I am weak and easily distracted. I praise God for His mercy in binding my heart to Him and His.

Last night was as close to perfect as it could have been. I worked in the morning. Then I headed toward the gym and got in the pool--I'd forgotten how much I loved doing that! I cut my finger pretty severely on Thanksgiving and have 11 stitches. I still can't get my hand wet so I had to gimp around the pool with the one hand wrapped in a grocery sack and suspended up in the air--I giggled at the sight I must have been. I enjoyed the jacuzzi next, and then went and got my hair cut and styled (SO relaxing, and I like my sassy new 'do). Then DH and I had a wonderful dinner of salad, cheese and chocolate fondues at the M.elting P.ot...yumm! We hit the jacuzzi again on the way home and then drove through this little street nearby that gets all decked out for Christmas. We came home, snuggled with the puppies. We prayed and then I fell asleep as DH read to me Psalms about God's love and mercy and protection and provision and administration of His will. I was so perfectly relaxed, which was such a wonderful answer to prayer. Between the pain I've felt from my finger, and the yucky way my meds have made me feel, I was stressed about being able to relax (ironic, isn't it?) But God answered that prayer so generously!

Now, 5 hours later, I'm awake. I've been praying for our babies, and for my sweet husband. I am already, so, so blessed. I need to remember that. I have the most amazing husband in the world. And if God desires for us to remain just a family of 2 on this earth, that will be enough for me. Dwelling with my sweet husband within the Will of God is far beyond living outside it with a whole brood of children. May the desires of our hearts be answered only so long as they reside in within the desires of His heart!

On that note about my wonderful hubby, I thank God for another year in my hubby's life and another year of hubby being in my life. We celebrated his birthday on Thanksgiving day. It was his birthday, but those of us in his life are the ones who received the gifts. Happy birthday, sweet Hunny of mine!

I am going to go and attempt to get a little more sleep. Thank you all for checking on us and for the many emails we've received. My bum finger has prevented updates for the past week as typing still hurts and I do it as little as possible (plus, I'm really funny and say goofy things when on mass doses of Vicodin-not that my family knows that from Thanksgiving day or anything ;) ).

We instructed the clinic to thaw one vial of two embryos.

If you are so inclined to join us in prayer and interceded on our behalf, these are our specific requests for the transfer:

•That both embryos survive the thaw
•That if one or both embryos do(es) not survive, the death(s) would be evident beyond a shadow of a doubt, eliminating any "gray areas" and guess work
•That the embryologist and doctor would respect our wishes to transfer any embryos with *any* living cells and not discard what they might think is "questionable" (hence the previous prayer request). Our doctor has not given us any indication to believe that he will not respect our wishes, but the contracts are a bit ambiguous and we know other doctors in other clinics have exploited "gray area" situations.
•That the transfer would go smoothly for me and for the babies and the doctor would be able to clearly see and access everything he needs to
•That the transfer would be successful: we pray specifically that all embryos transferred will burrow in deeply in the correct place, and that we would become pregnant, carry a full-term healthy pregnancy and give birth to (a) healthy child(ren).
•That the physical challenges I am is experiencing from the barrage of medications would lessen
•That we would be able to travel safely to and from Tucson (about 2 hours from here) on Wednesday
•That God would protect us from fear and grant us acceptance of His will, regardless of the outcome of the transfer. We have longed for children for so many years, that between that and last year's miscarriage, it's difficult not to get carried away sometimes with fear and worry.

Thank you very much! We rest in the knowledge that the lives of our babies are in the hands of their Creator, and that He loves them more than we ever could.

I'll leave you with my prayers for God's richest of blessings in your lives and for our one picture from last night. I think we now have half a dozen pictures like this, where the only thing that changes is our clothing but nevertheless, I like it a lot!

Nighty night! Or...good morning!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lucy and Mary

Hi Friends,

Hope you all are well! We are doing well. We are on track to proceed with the transfer for December 2nd. We have one final ultrasound on Tuesday, wherein they will check to make sure my uterine lining is thick enough for (an) embryo(s) to burrow into. I finished the really awful drug and the new set has been much easier, undoubtedly because it's something the body is supposed to produce, rather than something artificial designed to stop the body from working how it should. Assuming the ultrasound goes well, we will start the last round of meds this week, including the big honkin needles that we'll inject in my bum every day; about this, I'm still freaking out. Thankfully, a sweet nurse friend at church has volunteered to help me with them as often as I need her. Another good friend has also offered to help, but mostly because I think he likes being a pain in my butt. We passed on his offer. :P

College roomie and her hubby and daughter stayed with us this weekend, which was great fun.

We had a really wonderful morning of fellowship at church. I'm teaching the 4s and 5s. I've been out of the classroom a long time, partially due to some experiences at our last church, partially due to overall burnout, and partially due to IF stuff, when my heart was just too broken to minister to other children while missing my own. But, praise be to God, my heart is really at a place where it can handle being with the kidlets regularly, and I am so grateful. I have 4 little boys in my class, which also concerned me a bit at first because of course, I am a girl, so it's easier to know how to teach things in manners they would enjoy. But I've enjoyed tapping in to my creativity to reach out to these boys--I pray something is getting through to them. They are certainly teaching me! I'd forgotten how much I really loved doing this.

The love of my life is tall, blond and handsome. But a short, dark-haired little cutie pie has me wrapped around his little finger! We've been spending a lot of time with some friends from church (the husband being said enjoyer-of-being-a-pain-in-my-bum!) and they have 3 darling children. Their middle child and I especially have a special bond. God has used him to teach me and remind me of so many things.

In my younger years, I was around children constantly. I taught Pre-Kindergarten. My degree is in Children's Ministry and at one time I was involved in every Children's Program the church I attended at the time offered. I lived and breathed being with children.

But for several years now, I've had to protect my heart and I stayed away from children and activities related to them. My longing and grief was just too great. As God has healed my heart, children have again become a source of joy again I had forgotten how much you can learn about God (and about ourselves) through the eyes and heart of a child, especially the eyes and heart of this particular precious little one, who loves unconditionally, trusts wholeheartedly, and is full of the faith and joy of a pure and innocent child. His sloppy "puppy dog" kisses, his big hugs, his little smile that lights of the room and his great big, joyful heart serve constant reminder of Him who is our Greatest Love. I'm so grateful for the opportunity God has given us to grow nearer to this dear family.

We had Hymn-sing Sunday at church this morning. Call me old-fashioned, but Hymn-Sings are always my favorite Sundays. So many hymns have such rich, God-centered, God magnifying theology, unlike much of the more contemporary, Jesus-is-my-boyfriend type music. A sweet high school gal with the voice of an angel sang a song with the "punchline" (sorry, I don't know the musical term!) "How can I keep from singing?" today. This is how my heart feels after a morning in fellowship with our dear church family, especially on Hymn Sing Sunday. If any of you dear readers lack a church home, please earnestly consider seeking God to direct you to one!

One reason my heart sings tonight is that today (Sunday, though this post may show up as Monday) marks my baby girls' first birthday in Heaven. What blessed lives they must live! A year ago today was one of the darkest days of my life, as I lay in a hospital bed, bleeding, distraught and helpless as they slipped away from me. To think of the actual evening is overwhelming. So much went wrong with the course of events and the "care" I received. But what happened when our girls woke up in Heaven was absolutely perfect. They saw the Face that the rest of us can still only long to see. The only Home they've ever known is flawless. They'll only ever be with their Perfect Father, rather than suffering the mistakes we were bound to have made as their parents on earth. I miss them so much, but they are in a place where they miss nothing. And my soul rejoices for God's mercy and goodness toward them! Thank you, Sweet Abba, for giving us those sweet babies for a time, and for loving them more than we ever could. Thank you for preparing your Home for them and thank you for healing my heart to a place where I can truly rejoice that they are with you.

The other reason I sing is that until just before bed tonight, I had even forgotten that today was the 22nd. That sounds terrible. I've thought about the approaching day many times over the past month and week. And I expected it to be a tumultuous, upsetting day. I had sort of braced myself for the worst.

It sounds terrible to say that I forgot the date, but I think it's truly indicative of the miraculous healing God has done in our hearts. So many times over the last year I've mourned our girls. But now, including today, I celebrate them with my whole heart, and moreover, the Creator who made them. Because that mourning has been laid to rest (admittedly, maybe just for now; perhaps God will unearth new dirt in this territory another time), it didn't occur to me that today was a day to be sad. I also don't miss them anymore today than any other day so in that regard, today was just a date on the calendar. I will always miss them. But they are with our Perfect God, and for that reason alone I can't truly want what's best for them and still wish them back here with me! I guess you could say I'm a bad mommy for forgetting the date, but my God is good and I believe that this "forgetfulness" was His gift to me. And what a sweet, sweet day of fellowship and love He gave us instead.

And I am so thankful for a sweet friend who did remember the date, and sent me a sweet note. Thank you, sweet friend, for remembering and honoring them.

Goodnight, Baby Girls. Happy Heavenly Birthday. I love you. And I miss you. I can't wait for the day when we will see you. Continue to rest with Sweet Jesus until we can hold you.

Thanks, dear friends. Love to you all!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


God has been so generous as to give us a sense of renewal and freedom in the past few days. I can't explain it, but I feel like so much is changing for the better.

Monday was the 1 year anniversary of our last transfer. I thought about our girls and was thankful for the short time we had with them here. I remember the journal I kept-I am hoping to get it out and read it this week. I thought about the joy and the anticipation of their arrival and I am finally starting to feel that stirring in my soul again. By God's grace, it no longer feels like there is this unspoken place of fear or dread. I'm finally starting to feel hopeful about the next transfer. I still have worries about the medications and the money and the thawing and transfer, but they're now reasonable in scope, and extend only as far as personal responsibility does. The gripping fear has been replaced by the Peace that passes understanding.

My dear friend Amie has just given birth--congratulations, sweet friend!

The last few days have been an adventure around here. Yesterday, we made the decision to cancel all cable TV. We were paying entirely too much to get 200 channels, when we realistically only watched 3 or 4. Our favorite shows are all available online for free on their network websites, and the rest of the time, we just would turn the TV on for something to do, something to fill the air space, something to pass the time. It was so refreshing last night... we just up and decided to go out and have frozen yogurt...because we could. Because we're no longer operating in 1 hour increments ("let's wait until this show is over, dear....") . It was nice. We had a spontaneous date night. We both got some reading done. I vacuumed for the third time this week (huge for me!). The house was clean when we went to bed. This morning I already have dinner in the crock pot and we planted our garden (spinach, green onions and lettuce-3 of our favorite veggies). Already, we've regained so much time and accomplished so many things.

We really thought we had the Piggy Flu this week. I had breakfast with a dear friend last week and the next day (or two days later?), she was diagnosed with the Flu. Three days later, DH and I both started feeling the symptoms often associated with it. We both slept most of the day Tuesday and rested much of yesterday. Today, we're both venturing back to work. I really think that God just protected us. There's every reason this should have turned ugly. Instead, He gave us much needed 2 days of rest. We're both a little tired and sniffly still, but we're leaps and bounds better than we were.

We paid off about 1/3 of our debt today! We made some bad choices and got into bad habits last year, and incurred debt--some for good reasons, but most just from carelessness. God is teaching me a lot about peace and trust. We had to dip into and drain much of our emergency fund to pay the debt. At any time before, that would have created a lot of stress and worry in me. But now, there's a freedom that comes in trusting Him to provide for us. We're still convicted about personal responsibility and therefore left a little in reserve, but for the rest we have to rely solely on Him who clothes the lilies and feeds the birds. It's remarkably freeing. I've always struggled with trusting with abandon, getting too wrapped up in notions of what part I thought we had to play in this. How marvelous that He overcomes my worries and thoughts and fearful heart!

I'm finally starting to feel a bit better, though this week we stop one medication, to start another next week. I would sure appreciate your prayers that the transition is smooth and I don't have another long adjustment period!

We received the contracts for the new clinic. There was a little bit of ambiguous language in them, that if I were litigious, would give me cause for concern. But after talking to them and to another Snowflake Mommy (who was one of their patients), I think this is another area God is growing me in trust. I can't dot every "i" and cross every "t" and itemize everything line by line and think of every "what if." I just have to trust that our babies are in their Creator's hands, and that He brought us to this doctor for a reason. I have to trust their heart and their words and believe they mean and will honor what they say, even if the language in the document isn't as specific as I would like it to be. That's difficult for me. But, I can't approach this with the fearful heart of a mommy. I have to be patient like a trusting daughter. And again, the freedom, the burden lifted from my heart, is remarkable and can only be attributed to Him who tells us to come to Him, all we who are weary and heavy-laden. I rejoice knowing that our children are in far more capable hands than my own!

I would love to write more but if I don't stop now, I'll be late for work. Love to all of you, dear friends!

27 days and counting!...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Epic update post!

Hello, Jen here, breaking radio silence again!

So much has happened in the last few months...and yet, everything is the same!

First, to update the prayer request from my previous post. I'm sorry I never came back to update it. We do have insurance again, Praise God. It's considerably more expensive, so DH's boss is looking for another provider but at least this company picked us up and backdated everyone, so no one has a lapse. We're still not out of the woods with the FSA money. We've been able to drain it considerably since my last post, but there's still a lot in there. They did some fishy things this past week that lead me to believe that the money is precarious, so we're just praying that it holds out a little longer until we can drain the rest.

We had the opportunity to take a vacation in September to see our friends in Illinois and Michigan. It was a nice trip and we had a lot of good time with our friends. We learned one vital lesson: Our marriage and our stress level would both be better off with a GPS, especially when driving in Chicagoland. Construction everywhere, random detours, ridiculously inadequate public transportation, inexplicable traffic and the pervasive belief that traffic laws and signals are just suggestions led for many an adventure. We're now the proud owners of a little electronic friend known as the GPS.

We spent copious amounts of time chatting, playing silly games and hanging out. A few times, we went in to the city in Chicago. DH went up the Sears Tower (I, fearing heights, stayed safely on the ground). We went to the Museum of Science and Industry (cool enough, but overrated, in my opinion), the Field Museum, Millennium Park (I LOVE the Bean!), ate breakfast at Ann Sather (you MUST do this!), took the El and the Metra, took an architecture tour down the Chicago River (also a MUST do!) and generally enjoyed being in one of the most fascinating big cities in our great nation. In the 'burbs, we went Apple Picking (so much fun!), to Lake Geneva, and shopping (I even got to set foot in Packer Country!)-too fun.

I also got to take Todd to see the house my grandpa built, which is just a town over from where our friends live.

Up in Michigan, we went to a fantastic little Cider Mill (where the guys spent an almost inordinate amount of time being fascinated by the gigantic cider press, which I admit, WAS pretty cool). We played in the corn maze, launched rotten fruit from sling shots, and enjoyed yummy cider and apple donuts. We had hours of silly fun playing a goofy video game and we just generally relaxed. We were grateful for another wonderful vacation-one we'd not originally expected to be able to take. (Thank you God for free airline tickets and friends willing to put us up in their guest rooms).

We came home with the conclusion that 1) We really truly enjoy each others' company. We knew this already, of course, but it's always such a joy for me to be able to bask in Todd's company for extended periods of time; 2) we miss our friends and 3) I really love the Midwest. Someday, we think we'll repay the snowbirds the favor that they pay Arizona every year. They come here in the Winter to escape the Midwestern cold. I'd like to go there in the summers to escape the Phoenix sun.

Lest I bore you with any further details of our wonderful vacation, I'll move on.

One piece of news that overjoys me greatly, is that our dear friends, who we visited in Hawaii last summer, just recently left the Air Force and have accepted a job here in Phoenix. The wife and I were dear friends and roommates in college and we've been amused to find out that our husbands, 1) like each other and 2) are remarkably similar. Our friendship dates back 10 years--it's such a ministry to my soul to know that someone I have a history with will be living here soon! Sometimes I feel like my life is rather fragmented or compartmentalized: My gypsy childhood (we moved countless times and I attended 7 schools by third grade), junior high and high school (where were finally in one place for longer than 10 minutes), college, and married life. It's rather amazing to have two of those worlds (and moreover, the two best worlds) being bridged. I can't wait for them to live here. I'm so grateful that God is giving us this opportunity to have close fellowship with them again!

Our big conference at Right to Life (for which I was the coordinator) came and went. It was amazing. God really brought us some gifted minds to share some incredible things with us. Not the least of whom was a dear friend and mentor from college, and Dr. David Prentice from the Family Research Council, who gave us wonderful teaching on Stem Cell Research, and taught the RTL Audience about Snowflakes! 300 more people heard about the program because of him, and I'm so grateful.

I also started a second job. I'm now the Administrative Assistant for our church. It's been wonderful-and I love it! Our church is small so the only two people on staff are the Pastor and I. It gives me a great opportunity to learn closely from the life of someone I truly respect, and to be really involved in the little details of my church-which I love. It's been great blessing for our family to have the extra income, and my gifts lie in organization and administration, so it's a great opportunity for me to use them.

My weight journey has been a little frustrating. I lost about 23 pounds. Then I put on a few during vacation (to be expected) and between vacation and the conference and adding the second job, I fell out of the gym routine. I'm back to within 5 of where I was, and we still have some time and overall, I'm still much better off than I was 6 months ago. I'm not where I wanted to be in terms of the number on the scale, but I feel so much better and ultimately, that's what matters. My metabolic numbers have improved, my inches have changed, my muscle composition has changed, my activity level has increased, and my diet has changed drastically. I plan to start the gym routine again tomorrow after work. I'd appreciate your prayers for diligence in getting back into things. By God's grace, I'll get a few more pounds off, before...

OUR TRANSFER! Our transfer has been scheduled for December 2nd. We had hoped to schedule for October, but things with my cycle didn't cooperate. We know God's timing is perfect though, so we don't mind the extra couple months. We'd appreciate your prayers-there are a lot of changes this time, namely, we're with a new doctor, which is a good thing, but which also means we have to go through the Contract Stage again, which is very stressful. This doctor has a different medication regimen too, which has already begun and has impacted me more strongly than before. (DH is taking it like a trooper, but I'm an emotional wreck half the time!) This regimen also involves self injections, which totally freak me out, but God has given us a friend at church who is a nurse who said she will help us! (I'd still rather skip the needles though!)

The doctor's office is in Tucson (about 120 miles from here). Quite a few things need to happen medically between now and then. We humbly ask for your showering of prayers over and for us and for our babies. Please pray for the medical ducks to fall in a row, for the medications to go easily, for the travel on the multiple trips between here and Tucson. Please also pray for the contracts and doctors to be life-honoring. Please pray of course for the thawing and transfer, and for our peace to accept whatever God's already-known outcome is.

People keep asking me how I feel. Honestly, I don't know. I'm more overwhelmed by the process itself this time than last time, such that I've not thought a ton about the transfer itself. I don't know if that's God protecting my heart, or if it's fear, or patience, or peace or fatigue, or what. I'm of course fearful, but the fear doesn't really feel tangible, if that makes any sense. Nor however does any excitement. I'm just taking things one day at a time, asking God for the grace to deal with what comes. I am logically excited, but I think He is protecting my heart...for which I am grateful. I guess I could describe my feelings as cautious excitement, if there is such a thing. I don't want to lose again, but I also don't want a heart burdened with fear and grief, so I try to approach the issue lightly.

So that's the last couple of months in our household!

A couple of random, off topic things:

If you're a Parent and you like Parent's Magazine, you can get a 1 year subscription now through October 31st from Amazon for $5. We've purchased a couple other $5 subscriptions from them and it's always been legit :)

Second, if you're doing Christmas shopping and you use Amazon, would you consider coming to my blog and clicking the Amazon link on the right to get to the site? We get a tiny little percentage if you do (from Amazon, not your pocket). I do a lot of shopping on Amazon, so if you have an associates link, be sure to share it with me and I'll gladly click!

That's it! Until next time! I pray this finds you all well!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Prayer Request

Hi Everyone.

DH receives insurance through his employer. Legally, the company he works for (the one he shows up to every day) is actually just a leasor. Legally, Todd is an employee of ABC Payroll Company, who then leases Todd to 123 Dealership. Every person at the dealership is the same way. It's set up this way, basically because by having everyone at 123 Dealership, plus 456 Restaurant, and XYZ Bank, etc, they're all 1 large group under the same employer (ABC Payroll). This basically means cheaper, better insurance than any one of those small companies with their small number of employees could get on their own. We just found out that the Payroll Company self funds their own (our) insurance. It's all administered by a benefits administrator (3rd party company). So there are 4 parties involved--the employee, the dealership, the payroll/insurance company and the benefits administrator. Typically when an employee has a question, we call the benefits administrator.

A few weeks ago we went to the doctor, who asked us to call the insurance and find out why they (doctor's office) had not been paid. We called the benefits administrator, who said we had to call the payroll/insurance company because they had done all they could and the checks were just sitting on the payroll company's desk, waiting to be signed.

We called. And called. And called. And called. The HR person at the dealership called. And called. And called. The owner of the dealership called. And called. And called.

Finally we find out that something hinky happened at the payroll/insurance company, basically leaving them unable to pay claims (even though they've been taking money out of our paycheck every month). We received word yesterday that they dropped everyone and we no longer have insurance. God has been good in that the owner of the dealership has already found a company who will insure our group immediately so benefits from here on, out should be ok.

The prayer requests are these:
1. These claims go back to April. Technically, we were insured through yesterday (August). They've taken several hundreds of dollars from our check each month. So we're not sure how that will work out. We're out the money for the premiums, and now we might be in the position of having to pay everything the insurance didn't, so basically we'll pay for everything twice, which we can't afford to do. DH's boss said the payroll company is going to try to settle with the providers-please pray that they do so that we're not on the hook for the outstanding bills.

2. They shut down our flexible spending account, too, which is money that's been pulled out of DH's check every month since January 1. In an FSA, the money is pulled out pre-tax, and then you can use it for medical needs including copays, over the counter medications, prescriptions, out of pocket expenses, etc. We incur the charges and pay up front, and submit receipts for reimbursement. You have the entire calendar year to use it up. You don't have to spend it at the rate you save it, or vice versa. So while we've paid in $2400 to date, we've only used about $1600. We would, theoretically, have til December 31 to use the other $800, plus any money that would have been taken out of future checks. Since there are no future checks, (at least through this payroll company), future money is not at risk. But that $800 is. That's about half the cost of the transfer we were planning to do in October and it's a sum we can't quickly recover. We have the other half in savings already, but this FSA WAS our savings account for the first half. We were fully funded for the costs of the procedure. Would you pray that we get that money back? It would most likely mean that we don't do a transfer this year, which would be very upsetting for me.

3. Please pray that we (all employees) are actually able to be enrolled in a new company, with no lapse in coverage. Please pray that the payroll company would act ethically and honestly in all things. Pray for wisdom and patience for DH's boss, who has to deal with this whole mess through no fault of his (or any of his employees') own.

Thank you very much!

Update: After I posted this, the lady from the payroll company, who we've been trying to reach for literally, almost a month, finally accepted our phone call and said the FSA money is safe. They're switching who manages it though, so it will take a few weeks til we can access it. I'm still a bit nervous til that actually happens, but I feel much better. Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, July 31, 2009


Hi everyone,

DH and I have just returned home from one of the best vacations we've ever had.

A few years ago, after DH was working entirely too hard for entirely too many hours, we decided to make it a priority to take a vacation every year. It didn't have to be fancy or extravagant, but we had to carve out a couple of days where our only priority was spending time together-no work, no household duties, nothing--just time together. So we have a little budget category for vacation that we save for.

This year, with the significant change in our income, it was tempting to eliminate that category from the budget all together. But knowing how much that time away refreshes us and draws us closer, we wanted to try to do it if at all possible. But we couldn't take the long-length, long distance trips we've taken the last couple of years.

It so happened that one of our groomsmen from our wedding, who now lives in Michigan, was going to be in San Diego. We wanted to get over to see them (San Diego is much closer and more doable than Michigan) so we decided to roll it in to one trip and do our vacation there. We had to do it on a very tight budget, but it ended up being one of our favorite trips we've taken. And it accomplished its purpose perfectly-we came home rested, closer together, and ready to go back to "real life" again with a renewed energy, direction, and united front.

We got creative so I thought I'd share our tips on how we tried to keep costs to a minimum:
*Picked a destination within driving distance. Gas prices are not at an all time low, but they're certainly more affordable than they've been in recent years. We spent about $100 in gas-much less than 2 round trip air tickets. We do have two free plane tickets, but we're saving those to visit friends later on where we can fly and stay for free.
*Planned our trip for weekdays-hotels are less expensive and attractions are less crowded, maximizing our bang for our buck
*Scoured the internet for days searching for the best rated budget hotel that was off the beaten path, and that offered a refrigerator in room. We found one that was clean, quiet, safe, and well reviewed that was less than 20 minutes from all the places we wanted to go--far enough that we didn't have to pay "convenience" pricing.
*I packed our mini (4 cup crock pot), steel cut oats (79 cents per pound), cinnamon, jam, juice, yogurt, flax seed, clif bars, cans of tunafish, bread, light mayo, relish, string cheese, carrots, fruit, nuts, bottled water, pop and gatorade, rice cakes, and goldfish crackers, along with a sponge, soap, a can opener, a measuring cup, a couple of tupperware containers, plastic bowls and silverware, a dish towel, napkins, ziploc bags and a big cooler. Though the hotel offered a free breakfast, it consisted of coffee and pastries (we called ahead to find out). That lasts about 10 seconds in terms of sustenance and energy, not to mention is full of empty calories. Every night before we went to bed we turned on our little crockpot full of oatmeal and in the morning we had a full, protein rich breakfast of steel cut oats with flax along with fruit and juice. We carried Clif bars with us all the time so we wouldn't need to buy snacks at expensive attraction and beachside shops. We made sandwiches and packed our lunch every morning and put it in the cooler in the car. We'd use the icemaker at the hotel to refill the cooler. All the other groceries stayed in the fridge in the room. We chose Tuna because it's also high protein, and it's very affordable. At the themepark we left it all in the cooler in the car and went out at lunch and ate out front and then reentered the park. We ate tunafish sandwiches on the drive, too-more nutritious than fast food stops, as well as faster since we didn't have to detour anywhere to get it. Though we had high protein meals, we also had some snacks available so if we wanted them, we had them. We didn't have to buy a single beverage, anywhere. That alone saved a ton.
*We scoured the internet for coupons on the attractions we wanted. In the end we decided on Sea World, and I was able to find a coupon code for $15 off admission each if we bought the tickets in advance and printed them at home.
*We did allow ourselves to go out for dinner each night, but we looked up restaurants in advance so we knew the menu and price range and could plan accordingly. We did not allow ourselves to go to restaurants that were any more expensive than something we would choose at home if we were living "normal" life.
*We chose one paid attraction (Sea World) and then filled the rest of the time with free attractions-walking around a beautiful historical hotel, watching Sea World fireworks another night from a neighboring parking lot, visiting the beach, playing card games, swimming in the hotel pool, etc, etc.

Overall, we had a wonderful, relaxing, refreshing time at a fraction of the cost of the vacations we've taken previously. Just because we couldn't go "all out" didn't mean we couldn't make some great memories. And hey, who else can say they travel with their crockpot?

The color in these looks funky-not sure why. These, and other pics, are also on my FB page and they look fine there. If you're my FB friend, look them up there!

Before our trip, our best friends were here from Chicago. It was bittersweet because they were here to clean out their house and move their stuff because their house here finally sold and they finally got a home in Chicago so they no longer need to live in limbo. This really cemented the move and removed the possibility of returning to live in at least the near future, which was tough for me and K, especially. I think the guys came to terms with it a long time ago. But in any case it gave us an excuse to have 2 weeks with them, which was great.

Visiting this great little homemade ice cream sandwiches shop--definitely not diet friendly, but very fun...

Lastly, our embryos arrived safely yesterday in Tucson, meaning we are forever done with the awful clinic here. It's a huge sigh of relief to know that neither me or my children are in their (incompetent) "care." We're still proceeding full speed ahead with plans for a November-ish transfer and this was the last detail to take care of. Now all we have to do is wait!

Thanks for checking in. I pray you all are well!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Hi everyone,

Our girls should be 2 days old (ish) today. Our due date was July 22nd. God has given us special grace. This week was not nearly so difficult as I expected.

Last week is an entirely different story. I think the anticipation of this week became the straw that broke the camel's back. I was at a party with a lady's small group we used to have at church and 90% of the conversation was about pregnancy, childbirth, co-sleeping, homeschooling, potty training, and all sorts of other things that flow abundant from the mouths of mommies to 0-2 year olds, all of whom my dear friends now are. It was difficult to see that in the years since our precious group met, all of my friends have moved on to give birth to one and sometimes two children, while we're still waiting. I struggle so much with comparing and asking the "what about us?" I knew that if I stayed at the party, I'd go on a downward spiral and I just couldn't go there. Not again. God saw fit to protect me from that and I made a quick exit. Each time, it hurts a little less, though I miss them all the more. I did come home and have myself a good cry and a lot of fretting with God, but He protected my heart from plummeting to the absolute depths of my grief. I don't know if that makes any sense or not.

What that evening did though I think was open the floodgate a little early, which made this week so much less overwhelming. I'm grateful that He saw fit to not let the waters build up too strongly before releasing them. Honestly I stressed so much about the approach of the due date that when it finally came, I could make it through it because it wasn't as bad as I thought.

As much as I miss and love our daughters, I am relieved that their due date has come and gone. While we were still in the time of "their" pregnancy, I always felt like I couldn't move on. I felt like that was "their" time and any thoughts of moving toward another transfer would be either betraying or attempting to replace them. And not that I've moved on from them now. In terms of love for them and memory of them, I never will. But I do feel now like a book has closed and we have opened a new one. A "this-is-our-new-normal, without-them book," rather than a "we-should-be-waiting-for-them, not ________" book. The feeling that I'm no longer stealing time away that should have been being spent differently is really freeing.

But dear friends, I am so blessed. In my loss, God has given abundantly to me.

My dear sweet husband. How I wish you all could know him! He is truly the sweetest, kindest, most gentle, loving, faithful man I have ever met. In his grief he has shown even more of his tender spirit, and that has been such a gift to me. Though I grieve to see his heart ache like this, I am blessed to have been witness to another part of his soul. What an amazing husband and papa he is.

My dear friend Amie. Amie sends me notes when I need them most. Amie has the kind of walk with God that I long to have. She is so in-tune with God's compassionate heart and she is so sensitive to His promptings when He puts people on her heart. Around Mother's Day, she sent me this note

Spent extra time praying for you today as you mourn your babies. We heard an amazing sermon today that was such a blessing. Our family visited Marylou today and left some flowers by her grave, we took two aside and threw them into the wind on the lookout view over the cemetery in honor of your twins and prayed for you as a family. WE love you!

I hope one day I will be able to minister to you to even a fraction of the degree that you have blessed my heart. Thank you for everything. In every interaction with you, I learn more about the heart of God.

Dear Cindy-You are so generous to me with your friendship and mentorship. Thanks for picking up the pieces, so very many times and for being so tireless with your mercy and love.

My friend Erica. Erica is another who has the gift of compassion and mercy. She reaches out to me so faithfully and is such an example to me in so many ways.

Heather. Dear Heather! Fellow mommy at heart! I can't wait to meet your little Snowflakes. How blessed I am by your friendship. Thank you for continuing to reach out to me even though I've been lousy at reciprocating.

Grandpa and Grandma-thank you for your constant reminders of love. Thank you for remembering everything, always. I have a box full of notes and cards that I will always treasure. Thank you for loving us through your gifts of time and encouragement.

T-Thank you for being the sister I never had.

Grace and Niki, my due-date sisters. I miss all of our angels. And I love you both. Thank you for your friendship. Though I hate that any of us are going through this, I am grateful God gave us each other!

Jessica-your friendship, your love for others, your compassion, your wisdom and your wit teach me so much! I hope that I can be as intentional of a mom as you are. You are truly one of the most gifted women I know.

My sweet godson. He truly is balm for my soul. I love his little laugh, the joy in his heart, seeing the world through his eyes. Thank you, sweet friends, for honoring us by allowing us to share in his life.

Diana-our journeys are different, but so similar. Thank you for being so consistent in your friendship, your sweet emails, the things you remember!

Sweet PJ. You have the Lord's Shepherd's heart. It's beautiful and we are so thankful for it. Thank you for dedicating your life to the Lord's service and to our church family.

All of the friends and strangers who have reached out to us through this blog. Thank you for the notes of encouragement, the admonishments, the resources, the prayers and the wisdom. The internet has been used for a lot of awful things, but I have seen through this blog how God can redeem it and truly use it for His name's sake.

I always hesitate when I consider posting something like this because I don't want anyone to feel left out or under appreciated. I truly hope I don't communicate that to anyone. This season of loss has forced me to focus on how much I've truly been given and I want to shout from the rooftops what a great God we have, and publicly praise Him for these gifts He has bestowed upon me. All of you are an example to me. In some respects I feel like putting off parenting until I have learned all that God has to teach me through all of you. However, I know if I did that, I'd never be done. Christendom is a better place because of you. I am a better woman because of you.

Thank you, sweet Jesus, for using the loss of my girls to give these generous gifts to me. Grace and peace to you, dearest friends!

Monday, July 6, 2009


I started this post on 6.26.09. I didn't have anything else to write, but I wanted to make sure the sentiment was shared.

First, thank you to everyone for your kind words about Mother's Day. I really wasn't trying to be a brat about it or make anyone feel bad. In my head I was just playing back a recording of how things had been--matter of fact, recitation. I didn't mean it as a guilt issue at all! I apologize if it came across that way.


Today, July 6, 2009

Dear friends,
My heart is in despair right now. The grief of missing my girls overwhelms me and the pain grows only stronger as their due date approaches. Time had quenched some of the fire, but the knowledge that I should be preparing to hold them in my arms but instead have an empty belly and empty arms, breaks my heart right now. I am crying out to God but I confess the hurt and loneliness feels new all over again. In recent weeks I felt like the mourning season was coming to an end and now I feel like it has just begun. All I did today was read and pray and cry and sleep. I've half heartedly attempted our household bookkeeping tonight, but I only go a few minutes before the tears start again. Oh, how I miss them!

Several people have mentioned that they wanted to say something, or ask me how we're doing or ask me about the girls, but didn't know if they could, or should.

I can't speak for every grieving mom, but for me, someone mentioning them helps. It helps me to know they and we are not forgotten. So please, always feel free to ask if you want. If you don't want to ask for your own sake, that's ok, but know it's always ok with me if you do want to. Silence hurts worse than any questions...

I love you all.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is anyone still out there?

Hello, dear readers! The author of my favorite book often referred to her audience as "dear readers" and I always thought it was so endearing.

First--in demonstrating how to use wordpress for someone else, I accidentally deleted my blogroll. Can you please post your link for me here in the comments?

I didn't intend to take a break from blogging--it just sort of happened. But it's been good overall. I've been at the gym A LOT (aside from this week, I go 5-6 days per week). The exercise has been good but now it makes me a little nuts to sit at a computer long enough to blog!

The spring time was a little difficult too. As I write this, I should be 8 months pregnant. Mother's Day was awful. Nearly every person we know seemed to forget it was Mother's Day for me too. We're sort of dreading Father's Day for the same reason. The excessive commercialization and marketing of the two holidays, combined with the utter silence from our friends and family just made us feel very lonely. Every commercial, radio advertisement and business gimmick was just a brazen reminder of what we'd lost. I'll be very grateful when this weekend is over. Overall I've actually been doing well but these holidays resulted in a significant setback.

I had to make the conscious choice to not dwell on the negative thoughts and feelings. That included, for a time, not blogging. I finally feel like I'm coming out of that funk and it's no longer so detrimental or exhausting for me to sit and process the more difficult thoughts.

The weight loss journey is going well, albeit slowly. I'm down about 20 pounds, 2.5% body fat, and 6.25 inches. I exercise a ton (I do weights and swim 1/2-3/4 of a mile 5-6 days a week!) I checked out every book on nutrition I could possibly find and have been reading a ton. I really want to make this a lifestyle change, and I want to know why and how certain foods are better for me, better together, better cooked certain ways, etc.

The new doctor in Tucson is AMAZING. We're shifting my care to him. I feel so much better about entrusting the babies and myself to him than I did with the other "doctors." I really feel like he was an answer to prayer and I'm so grateful that God provided him.

We discussed my weight loss with him. He's willing to do a transfer sooner (fewer pounds lost) than I was. He was comfortable with 35, I want to get to 50. But the weight is coming off so slowly and we also have to factor in that we have to do the transfer this year because of our FSA money. So I'll continue my weight loss plan faithfully from now through August 30. Then he wants me to stabilize for 2 months so my hormones and chemicals that change during weight loss can level out. In October I'll start the medication regimen. Then we'll do another transfer at the end of November. That gives us December to work with in case November has to be canceled for any reason.

At my current rate of weight loss, that should put me right about 40 pounds down. I'm comfortable with that :)

This summer we'll be moving the babies to the Tucson clinic, so I'd appreciate your prayers as we make those arrangements and as they travel.

DH and I are coming up on 6 years of marriage at the end of this month! While we'd hoped to have a house full of kids by now, I've been so grateful for the time we've had together that so many other couples miss out on. He truly is my best friend and best companion and I enjoy time with him so much. That's been a real gift for me and though infertility has been difficult, the exclusive attention of my husband for so many years has been a treasure.

I lost the diamond out of my wedding ring last week. We've yet to locate it so I went in to the local jeweler to see what our options were for costs of replacement, repair, etc. In talking, he noticed my other ring (my snowflake ring). I commented that it was the ring my hubby gave me for our adoption and that we did what is called a "Snowflake Adoption." His face lit up and he said "you did? Really!??" He was so excited because he and his wife have been researching it and had hit a dead end. A snowflake adoption outside of California has three components-the Snowflake Agency, your own state's adoption agency and the medical provider. They had gotten what they needed from Nightlight, but had hit a brick wall on the other two fronts. So we talked about cost, procedure, doctors, etc. I walked out of the jeweler and wept. I lost a rock. A stone. A lifeless, tiny piece of earth. But I gained a chance to try to plant or water a precious seed that just maybe, God will grow. He may use this family to provide a home for some precious children, and provide precious children to this couple who long so much for a child. Or He may use them to spread the information to another family down the road. Who knows? God does. But I'm absolutely confident that our meeting was a divine appointment. Pray for that family that God would make the information they need readily available and that he would make very evident His plan for them.

My sweet sister in law and her family are in town and staying with us this week-it's been such a joy! She went to fetch the kids from grandma and grandpa's house so I want to scoot off to the gym in her absence and therefore need to cut this short.

If you're still out there, thanks for reading and for your patience. Please remember to leave me your blog address so that I can find you again!

Grace and peace to you, dear readers!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I'm so grateful that the truth is getting out there through such a major national platform!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

News Story

Our news story aired last night! The reporter emailed us in the day time while we were on the road home from California. My sweet brother came over to our house to turn on our recorder so that we could see it and I could post it here.

(direct link)

Overall, I was pleased with the story. I thought it portrayed Embryo Adoption in a positive light and I appreciated that it was more than a 30 second sound byte.

I had a few crtiques/corrections.

1) I hate that the camera adds 10 pounds.

2) I was discouraged that though I know they talked to Dr. Pomeroy (our Embryologist from our last cycle), they didn't show anything expert or relevant to his position as an Embryologist, and in fact, any person off the street could have said what he said. And what he said wasn't even that great-families choose Embryo Adoption for lots of reasons. Boiling it down to "desperation for a child" is such a narrow, insufficient description and I felt like it was said in a negative fashion.

3) Contrary to what the reporter said, we DO know what will happen to our embryos if we end up with a full house and still have embryos left. We actually even answered a question about what would happen so I'm not sure why she said what she did. We have already committed to returning them to the Genetic Parents in a situation like that. All Nightlight families make the same commitment.

4) The Anchor woman's synopsis about Embryo Adoption requiring a homestudy was correct. However, Embryo Adoption is not the only method for receiving donor embryos. Couples can go through clinic programs too (call Donor Embryo Programs), that are often anonymous and less invasive in to the Adoptive Family's background. I obviously prefer adoption over donor programs but realize that not every family (either Placing or Adopting) will choose it and yet their embryos need homes and a chance at life too, so I think it's also important for people to know that donor programs exist, if the adoption arrangement just won't work out for them.

5) I included Pop-Ups on points 3-4 on the youtube itself. I wish there was a way to correct it on the broadcast or from the news-end of it but in the absence of such an opportunity I just pray that no one got the wrong impression about #3 and our commitment to our babies, and that word quickly spreads about both opportunities described in #4.

All that being said however, I was still pretty pleased with the broadcast. I felt like it painted a positive and largely accurate picture. I am glad for the generous amount of time they gave it (the entire news broadcast itself was only 35 minutes including commercials) and mostly I'm grateful for the exposure it gave Embryo Adoption. May God use it to reach many more families!

Nightlight Gala and Placing Family Blog

Todd and I had the privilege of attending Nightlight's 50th Anniversary Gala this weekend, where we had the privilege of learning more about their ministry, of partaking in it, of spending quality time with our Placing Family (despite Satan's best efforts to the contrary), of basking in good fellowship with other friends, and with making new friends as we met the Director of Nightlight (a personal hero for us!), and other Snowflake Families, including another placing family and several adopting families. We are grateful for the gift God gave us in being able to attend. May God continue to richly bless Nightlight and vastly expand its reach.

You may have noticed a new link on the right. Our Placing Family (Genetic Family) has begun a website. It is here. Both they and we have a heart for being transparent about this issue, and for giving interested parties access to both sides of the coin. She invites anyone who is interested to read, and please feel free to share the link with anyone who might be interested. For those of you who read who are our personal family and friends, please realize that this is her blog, with her experiences and emotions. Some of them are negative, and could unintentionally be hurtful to or difficult for Todd and I. Sheila and Beau have been very respectful to us and we have had many lengthy conversations about the kinds of things we share on our blogs. We have pretty much given them carte blanche to tell any part of their story that involves us that they want, including the tough stuff. Please resist the temptation to be defensive for us, and continue to pray for all 4 of us as God takes our story to far greater reaches than we could have imagined. We have a mutual trust and respect for each other and for our respective children, and both a joint and individual dependence on the Lord and ultimately, that's all that matters. God will work out the details. May God continue to strengthen and protect all of us, and take this story wherever He wills.

Lastly, if you did not see the post from a few days ago, we have started a new blog. This blog will continue to exist for Adoption and Infertility related posts. However our personal updates are now on another blog. Please email me if you did not get the link and would like to have it. If you are a stranger, please in your email give me a few details about who you are and please forgive me if I do not feel comfortable in responding.

Octomom and Obama

This blog post is a little bit outdated because the stories are now weeks or months old. I haven't blogged about either issue because they're both very upsetting. Every time I sit down to do it, I just can't bring myself to compose a really coherent post. But I am asked often about my thoughts on both and in fact, the question about my thoughts on Octomom is what led to the news interview.

I digress.

The two issues at hand are that of the woman in California who gave birth to Octuplets after a Frozen Embryo Transfer with 6 embryos (2 of which split), and the decision by President Obama to rescind the ban on the federal funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

The most frustrating part of the story about Ms. Suleman is that there were options other than the one she chose that put both her and her babies in danger. Ms. Suleman says that she transferred 6 embryos at once because her only choice was to do that or to destroy them. That's simply not true. First, if they were her embryos (legally), then no one had the power to do anything with them except her. So they were in no danger of destruction unless she herself chose to destroy them. A clinic cannot destroy embryos without the legal "owner's" consent.

Second, she could have still gone on to transfer all the frozen embryos, but there is no reason that she had to transfer 6 at one time. She could have transferred 1, 2 or 3 at a time, and left the others in frozen storage and then come back and transferred more a later time for future pregnancies. Frozen embryo storage is actually very reasonable in cost: $300-$500 per year--a small price to pay for increased safety for you and your children. There is just no reason she should have put herself and all the children at risk. A pregnancy of 8 is not healthy for anyone, as evidenced by the fact that she could not carry to term and the children were born in to NICU.

Third, if for whatever reason she couldn't have come back in the future for additional transfers, she could have placed her remaining embryos for adoption. There would have been no cost to her, and she could have determined what she wanted in terms of openness or closedness and in the characteristics of the receiving family. Of course it would have been a difficult decision, but it would not have resulted in the destruction of her embryos, which is what she said she feared and why she said she chose to do what she did.

It frustrates me that she made such a risky decision without all the facts about her options. Her doctor should have taken better measures to educate her about her choices. No one should be backed in to a corner and forced to make a decision sheerly out of lack of information.

We ourselves could have suffered a similar fate, because no one really told us that Embryo Adoption was one of our choices. By God's providence alone we went to college 6 miles from the agency that invented it and 10 years ago he tucked news snippets about this new thing called Embryo Adoption in our heads and hearts, and brought them to the forefront when it was time to reveal that plan to us, all these years later. But at no point did any doctor or fertility clinic offer that as one of our options, nor did many of the numerous books I sought out. This issue needs more exposure, period. Families on both sides of the coin need to be educated that this is one of their options. The amount of agencies and clinics that offer it needs to be expanded. Public awareness needs to be raised.

I'm also angry that her doctor would even agree to transfer that many embryos. It was hugely irresponsible. A pregnancy of that many babies isn't good for anyone-the mother, or the children, not to mention the children Ms. Suleman already had who were placed at risk of losing their mother to illness or death. Ms. Suleman said she would carry whatever embryos implanted and for the sake of the lives of the babies, I am grateful that she did not choose a selective abortion (aborting some of the babies to "make room" for the rest). The doctor absolutely should not have agreed to transfer more embryos than could be carried in a healthy pregnancy if all "took" (which they did in this case, and then some!)

I do commend Ms. Suleman for refusing the temptation to abort some of her children. Despite the bad decisions that created the situation to begin with, I am grateful that she chose life for all of her children. I am sure the decision had to be difficult especially because she was carrying 8, so I think that makes her decision that much more remarkable. Well done in this regard, Ms. Suleman.

But back to the doctors. Sheila (our Genetic Mom) and I were talking recently about our clinics and we've come to the conclusion that they hold an inordinate amount of power. Ms. Suleman should have been educated on all her choices. She made a very dangerous decision out of a position of ignorance, and I fault her clinic/doctor for that.

Beyond that, clinics need to assume more responsibility for educating their patients and take less power in the decision making process. In both Sheila and my contracts, the default language for embryo creation, transfer and destruction is "When in doubt, the clinic decides." Language is often vague and technical. Unless a client really pours over it and understands it backwards and forwards, and understands all of the nuances and implications, and exercises his or her right to alter the contract, he or she could be setting him or herself up to allow something he/she morally wouldn't, without even realizing it. I really believe contracts need to be written with the default power in the hands of the client or even with language "when in doubt, we'll stop and ask."

In no other medical situation would a patient just resign himself to "whatever the doctor decides." Sure, if you're on the table and a split second decision is the difference between life and death, the doctor is not going to wake you up to consult you. But in the majority of cases, embryo transfer protocol included, the majority of decisions and decisions about "what ifs" can be made well in advance, and along the way, with input from the patient. If you needed treatment for an ailment, a doctor would review all your different options with you and then you would explore them and make a decision together. There's no reason Embryo Transfer procedures shouldn't be the same.

So while I am frustrated that Ms. Suleman seems to be so glib about what could have been a fatal situation, I place the majority of blame with her doctor/clinic for failing to educate her that she had other life-affirming options.

The other issue assaulting embryos has been President Obama's decision to rescind the ban on federal funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research. In ESCR, cells are harvested from days-old embryos, thus killing the embryos. Under the Bush administration, federal funds could be used to research on on colonies of cells that had already been established for research, but funding could not be used to create or expand new lines. To clarify a common misconception, Embryonic Stem Cell Research was never banned-it just could not be federally funded. It has persisted in the private sector for many years.

I can't even begin to describe to you the feeling that comes with being told that basically, were it up to the President, your children would be dead in some laboratory somewhere, having been put there against your wishes and using your own money to do so.

It is patently wicked for one person to kill another, and the government has now compounded its own wickedness (can there be degrees of wicked?) by not only allowing the killing, but funding the massacre. The amount of children who die in laboratories will now increase, and my tax dollars are helping that process, and there's not a damn (word not profane-this really is evil, from the pit of hell) thing I can do about it. It makes me ill. Shame on you, President Obama. May God have mercy on you, on us as a country, and on those precious babies.

Beyond the life issue however, Embryonic Stem Cell Research is also a colossal waste of money. It has existed for many years and has never produced a single cure or treatment for any disease. At any time, but especially during a recession, it is fiscally irresponsible to spend so much money on "research" that has no promise. If ESCR were all its cracked up to be, investors in the private sector would be clamoring for their piece of the pie and the ESCR researchers wouldn't have to begging at the door of the Federal Government for handouts. The lack of interest from the private sector is very revealing.

Meanwhile, Adult Stem Cell Research, Cord Blood Stem Cell Research and Pluripotent Stem Cell Research has all been exceptionally promising and none of these methods are fatal to the cell donors. Adult Stem Cell Research has already yielded treatments for dozens of diseases including Type-1 Diabetes, spinal cord injury and Parkinson's Disease. And in fact, in some cases, Embryonic Stem Cell Research has been damaging-even causing tumor growth and cell mutations in some test patients!

The President has forged ahead with his morally and fiscally irresponsible insistence on the pursuit of life-ending and financially wasteful Embryonic Stem Cell Research and the reasons for it are beyond my comprehension.

Moves like President Obama's are exactly why patients need to be educated about their choices (they can do more besides just donate their embryos to science!) and why families (both placing and adopting) need to know about adoption. Especially because the Government will not protect these precious preborn children, we must.