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)!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Time for 16

Well, I have to apologize for not giving any kind of updates over the past several weeks. We were so excited when we started taking birth control pills that when they told us there would be a little delay before starting the medications we got kind of bummed. Waiting is kind of like being told what your Christmas present will be, but you have to wait 2 months before you can open it!
When Kari had her biopsy done in November we were told that it may take up to 2 weeks before the results would be in due to the Thanksgiving holidays…little did we know that it would take nearly 6 weeks! It turned out not to matter that it took that long anyway. Cindy, our nurse, called to tell me that the clinic closes for 2 weeks during the Christmas holidays and also for a week at the end of January, so instead of having a January 1st retrieval week we are now looking at a February 1st retrieval week. Oh well…at least we had an awesome Christmas vacation! We are thankful that we got to travel and spend time with the family (my brother and sister-in-law even came in from Germany)!

When the nurse informed me of the delay, I asked her if she knew what kind of medications we would be using so that I could do some research on prices with the different fertility pharmacies. Let me tell you, it is sooo worth it to call around for the best price. I called 6 different pharmacies and all of them had very different prices for the same medications. On one medication alone I saved just over $300 because one company had it so much cheaper. Cindy told me that some pharmacies merge with different brands so they are able to offer better prices. Also, another awesome blessing was being informed of a program through Fertility Lifelines. We applied for their program and got approved for $3000 worth of FREE medication! Wahoo! Thank You Lord for favor!

Finally, we were told that Kari’s biopsy came back with an excellent report. She has great uterine lining (haha), so no problems there. Also, we received the psychological report for Jon and Kari…that report…not so good…just kidding! They passed with flying colors and there are no hold ups there either. Dr. Burnett got a chance to figure out what Paul and I have known for a while-they are the most awesome people you will ever meet!

One of the last requirements that the clinic has before we begin the medication is the legal contract. This could seem like a daunting task to complete without a patient and very knowledgeable lawyer. A few calls and emails back and forth with our lawyer to discuss questions and concerns produced a contract that met the needs of both couples. Since all four of us are so easy going and have the same beliefs about this whole process there was nothing that we didn’t agree upon. The contract has been completed and that makes us one more step closer to the final result!

Now, to catch you up on our latest appointments:

Kari and I talked several times over the Christmas holidays and we were like giddy school girls counting down the days until her first appointment back. Finally, January 5, 2010 came! We showed up for the scheduled ultrasound to check out her ovaries, once again. Of course, they said everything was perfect and doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing. Later, we were escorted into the meeting room with Cindy, the nurse, to discuss our calendar. This is the real deal! We have been waiting for this “calendar” for a long time! It will list out what day to take how much of each medication. It can be a bit overwhelming to throw it all out there, so Cindy decided to give us a little bit at a time. Right now, Kari has to take one injection of Lupron every morning and continue with her birth control for a few more days. I am supposed to start taking my daily shots of Lupron the following week along with a few more days of my birth control. Last time we did our mock cycle there were so many appointments and things to be doing that the time flew by! We know these next few weeks with our real cycle will be an absolute blur, and we are excited about that!

I have to put out there that we have an amazing support group of friends and family that have helped us out by watching our children while we go to all of these appointments. We couldn’t have gone through this process as easily without them all. Thank you guys soo much! You are such a blessing!

While we were meeting with the nurse she asked us if we had ever done the trial transfer. “Trial transfer?” Oops. Someone forgot about scheduling that for us and apparently we can’t move on until we complete that. During the trial transfer the doctor places a catheter the size of a spaghetti strand in the uterus to measure the depth of the uterus. They need to know exactly how large the uterus is so they know where to drop the embryos off during the real transfer. So, of course, we scheduled the procedure for the following day. It’s these kinds of “oops” and “by the ways” that make this process so much like an emotional rollercoaster.

On Wednesday, January 6, 2010, we showed up for what we thought was just the trial transfer, but ended up being the hysteroscopy too. The doctor used a fiber-optic endoscope to look at her uterine lining on a video monitor. They were looking for polyps. Guess what? All the doctor could say was that everything looked absolutely perfect over and over!

Well, now that you have been caught up with all of the happenings I should be able to post more regularly. Kari took her first shot of Lupron on Wednesday and said she was so glad to find out that she had been making a whole lot out of nothing. I was so glad to hear that it wasn’t that bad since she has to have at least 3 weeks of those particular shots. All I can say is that girl must really love me to endure all the poking and prodding that she has been and will continue to go through (not to mention the 9 months of the pregnancy)! I’m telling you, you won’t find another girl like her in the world! I love you, Kari!

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