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)!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Retrieval finished! - post 24

Our Friday (2/5/10) morning started at 5:15am. We got showers and got out the door since we have about an hour commute to the clinic. I thought we were going to be late, but we got there a few minutes early. Whew! We were called back by a nurse named Angela who led us to a whole different side of the fertility clinic that we had never seen. There was such a joyful atmosphere the moment we opened the door to the room. One of the other nurses even greeted me with an excitable, “Hey Andrea!” That may not seem like much for some people, but this means the world to me. I got into my hospital gown and signed a few release forms while they checked my vitals. Shortly after the prep work I met the anesthesiologist who was so nice. I got to learn a lot about the team of people that were going to see me through the operation. It was obvious that my nurse, Angela, was pregnant and turns out she is due in April. The cool thing about that fact is that she is actually a gestational carrier (like Kari) for another couple that has the same situation as Paul and I (they had an emergency partial hysterectomy directly after the birth of their son, who happens to be the same age as McKenzie)! Angela was so excited to meet us because she knew that their situation was pretty uncommon and to meet another couple in her clinic involved in the same thing was very exciting. She gave us her email address and phone number and told me to tell Kari if she ever had any questions or just wanted to talk she would be there for her. How awesome is that?

After I got my IV in and was ready to go, Dr. Trolice poked his head around the corner and said, “Are we ready? Let’s go!” I kissed my husband and was wheeled off to the operation room. I was fine all morning, but just like my last retrieval, as soon as I got on the operating table in that freezing cold room that reeked of alcohol, my heart began to pound. It wasn’t long after that happened that I saw the anesthesiologist injecting my IV with a white liquid that made me drift away to la-la land. Next thing I knew I was waking up to the anesthesiologist handing me his fancy phone to show me a picture of his 5 year old daughter that they conceived through IVF too. I was glad to “see” it (my eyes were so blurry I couldn’t even tell you what she looked like), but I remember dropping his phone twice! Oops! Guess I had an excuse? I ate a few crackers, drank some juice and laughed so hard at the embryologist, David. He is such a funny guy! You can tell he loves what he does. He has been doing it for 24 years! They sent me home and just told me to take is easy for a little while. I had some slight cramping, but nothing worse than a menstrual cycle. We should expect a call sometime Saturday morning with news on how the eggs/embryos are doing.

While I was in surgery Paul was able to watch everything on two monitors in a waiting room. One monitor showed an ultrasound view of my ovaries with the needle and probe, while the other monitor showed a microscopic view of the eggs as they were retrieved. As each was taken out he was able to watch the digital counter increase. They were able to retrieve 12 eggs. It’s not as many as we were hoping for, but you only need on good one. Check out the pictures and video (if I can get it uploaded...)!

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