How it all began....

Paul and I were married in July of 2005 and every day since then has been a complete joy! We moved to Central Florida and found an amazing church home at Family Bible Church ( There we met so many life-long friends. In August of 2007, we had our precious baby girl. Her name is McKenzie Renae. She was so beautiful when I saw her for the first time! After the delivery, we had a couple hours to talk and laugh with friends and family before something went terribly wrong. The next thing I knew I was being sent into emergency surgery. The doctor tried everything, but my uterus continued to bleed. So, after I was given 3 units of blood, her only option was to remove my uterus in order to save my life. Although I would have liked for things to turn out differently, I am so thankful that I am able to be with my family and friends. Of course, everyday wasn't all roses as I coped with the idea of not being able to have any more children. Paul and I had always thought we would have four children. After our McKenzie turned one I started to research other options for growing our family. It was solely a God-thing that caused all the pieces to fall into place.

One morning Kari called me up to ask if McKenzie and I wanted to go play at the park with her and Joselyn. It was there that Kari first expressed to me that she and Jon were interested in becoming a surrogate for Paul and me. I was blown away!! I let a few months go by and started to convince myself that it was a nice gesture, but she probably wasn't serious. Little did I know that she would be the "kick in the hind-quarters" that I needed to turn this dream of having more children into a reality! After those couple of emotionally low months, I was given the inspiration I needed to dive into the web of IVF. She assured me that this was something that God had placed into their hearts and they were the people for the job! Kari and Jon continue to amaze us with their eagerness to be a part of this adventure. As a matter of fact, one of the things Kari told me to get me out of my slump was, "We can do this together. This can be our little adventure!". So that is exactly what it has become! I can't wait to see what the future holds; and I hope it holds a new little baby...possibly two...Kari says three would be pushing it! hahaha

How I became "Kari the Carrier"

I remember exactly where I was standing when I was told that Andrea had a few complications post delivery and that her uterus had to be removed in order to save her life. The shock wave hit me like a ton of bricks. I was standing outside the church after a Wednesday night service when Jill broke the news to me. I immediately welled up and started crying, feeling broken-hearted for them. I couldn’t imagine the possibility of not having another child again. Over the next several months, every time I sat next to Andrea in church, a strong compassion would rise up inside of me. I felt like I wanted to help her in any way that I could, and that is when the surrogacy seed was planted in my heart. I never said a word about the idea to either her or my husband Jon, but the seed continued to grow week after week. I believe with all my heart that the supernatural compassion I felt in those moments was from God, preparing my heart for something special.

I decided to ask my husband about what he thought about me becoming a surrogate for Paul and Andrea; his response was an immediate “yes!!!” He was completely supportive and even encouraged me to speak to Andrea about it right away.

A few months later, I was at home with my daughter, Joselyn, and was thinking about going to the park. I called Andrea up and asked if she wanted to bring her daughter, McKenzie, to play with Jos. As the girls were playing, I asked Andrea how things were going and about their plans for future children. She began to tell me about a possible carrier she had in mind and a second person as another possibility sometime in the future, but nothing was definite. The next thing I know, I had said to Andrea, “Keep me in the back of your mind for a possible candidate to be your surrogate too.” I had not planned to turn that play date into a lifelong friendship, but that is what it has turned out to be. The moment I realized that my offer was a real possibility, my first feeling was kind of a “reality check.” However, soon after, and I believe it was by the grace and peace of God, I began to become more and more excited about the idea. I knew that I would never have offered if I wasn’t ready to follow through, so the decision was solidified in my heart. I left for the month of December to visit my family in Montana for Christmas, and during that time I was telling everyone my plans. I was already 6 months pregnant with my son, so I got some pretty funny looks as I talked about being pregnant again so soon. By the time I came back home, I had talked about being a surrogate carrier so much, it was already a done deal for Jon and me. The next time I saw Andrea, I asked when we were going to get this thing going; tears fell and the rest is history in the making.

I believe with my whole heart that this is a God-inspired bond between our families. I have an overwhelming sense of peace and knowing that this whole process will go quickly and smoothly, and I am looking forward to telling you all about our journey together. I am also more and more confident every day that God is a good God and he WILL provide for us. The hard parts are all done, now it is just a matter of walking through the steps and trusting Him…can’t wait to meet the new Miller(s)!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I think this emotional roller coaster is going to make me puke! - post 25

Post retrieval-

Well, since Friday (2/5/10) was the retrieval, David, the embryologist, said he would stay in touch with us over the weekend with the progress of my eggs and our embryos. I was so excited and nervous that I could hardly fall asleep, and when I finally did, my mind would wake me up every so often thinking of every possible scenario. Finally (after what seemed like forever), I got a call from David the next morning at 9am-just like he promised!

We were under the impression that we were going to have 12 eggs to work with, but apparently when he measured them there were only 8 that were “genetically mature” (meaning they were large enough to make an embryo). Those 8 were then combined with Paul’s sperm using a process called ICSI (ICSI is a procedure that uses a needle the size of one sperm to inject one sperm into one egg. Bare with me for the next bit of details if you are not planning on using IVF in the future…..ICSI is usually a process reserved especially for men with fertility problems-which Paul did not have. However, since we thought we could save some money by skipping out on an extra FDA screening on Paul we decided to freeze Paul’s specimen. We were not informed that simply freezing a specimen would pretty much guarantee the use of the procedure. So, instead of paying another $200 or so for a second blood test, we paid $350 to freeze his semen, $200 for blood work, and $1650 for ICSI. I guess this is where the phrase “hind site is 20/20” can be inserted.) As I talked with David I got more and more nervous because the 8 eggs that I thought we had was now decreased to only 3 fertilized eggs and 2 “possibly fertilized” eggs. He said that he would know by Sunday (2/7/10) whether or not the other two were going to show any more of the signs of true fertilization. This conversation was so crazy for me. In one way I was excited because we had three fertilized eggs to work with, but on the other hand I couldn’t help but think why did the other ones not work? 12 to 3 is a big difference….

When David called on Sunday I learned that the other two did not make it. They were no longer showing signs of progression. This hit me like a ton of bricks, but I was encouraged by everyone around me that at least we had three more to work with! On this same Sunday morning call, he also informed me that instead of a Wednesday transfer, we were going to have the transfer on MONDAY (2/8/10)!!! WHAT?! Monday? Ok, so that was pretty exciting, but once again I got knocked backwards…the three fertilized eggs that I thought were certain were not so certain any more. Only one of the three was showing signs of division. Revert back to your high school biology class for a minute. The fertilized egg is only that. It must start cleaving or dividing to show that it is a thriving organism. 1 of the 3 was already a 2 celled organism on Sunday, so if the other 2 were going to divide they would have to do it before Monday morning. He gave me a glimmer of hope that they might still come around, but come Monday morning at around 11am (one hour before we were to arrive at the clinic for the transfer) he called to tell me that the other two did not make it. I lost it. I cried and cried…Now, not only do we not have any embryos to freeze for the future or for another round of IVF if this round doesn’t work, but now we only have one chance at a pregnancy. We were planning on transferring 2 embryos into Kari’s uterus because we weighed out all the pros and cons of 1 vs.2 embryos implanted and decided that 2 embryos matched all of our desires/concerns better. If you were able to understand and keep up with everything in this post, now do you see why this process could make someone crazy??

2/5/10- Andrea’s Retrieval: 12 eggs retrieved
2/6/10- Only 8 genetically mature, only 3 fertilized, 2 "possibly fertilized"
2/7/10- "Possibly fertilized" did not make it, only 1 fertilized egg has divided, waiting on other 2
2/8/10- Kari’s Transfer: Only left with one 7-celled embryo to transfer

This embryo was affectionately referred to as “The Little Embryo that could!”

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