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)!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Kari-The Perfect Carrier - post 20

Ok. So, today (Thursday, January 28) was our appointment and we are doing GREAT! Kari and I went to our separate rooms for our ultrasounds. Shortly after her exam, Cindy and Dr. Trolice came into my room raving about how perfect she looked! Again, they said her uterine lining was “absolutely perfect.” Of course, that was very exciting to me. After my ultrasound was over the doctor informed me that I already have a few measurable follicles, which is a good thing. Kari and I are to continue with our same protocol and I have another appointment on Saturday (January 30th).

Cindy says that follicles tend to grow about 1-2mm every day, so if everything continues like it has, we are looking at a retrieval on Wednesday, February 3! There is a possibility that my follicles could grow a little bit faster, so it could even be on Tuesday. Y’all I can’t even believe that this time is here. I think today is the first day that it finally sank in. I got chills while we were making the last minute changes and adjustments to our calendars in the office. I told Kari that I used to have this GIANT to-do list and now there are only a few things left to complete. To me-“the list lady”- this feels like a huge accomplishment.

What’s left? I had to place one last order for some medication that we are running low on. Kari needed more patches (right now she is putting 4 estrogen patches on every other day…I think she feels like one big sticky pad) and I needed 6 more vials of Leuveris. We got Kari’s life insurance coverage squared away, and all of our wills are in line as well. These are typical measures taken in a situation like ours. Aside from those things, all we have to do is make some good eggs, make some good embryos, and transfer them to that “perfect” uterus (haha)! Do y’all realize that you are reading a miracle in the making? Whew! Right now, all I can say is Jesus is THE MAN!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another appointment down - post 19

Today my appointment went by really quick. I went back, they took a blood sample, and I was out of there. After the results were in a few hours later, the nurse called me to let me know what changes needed to be made. Apparently, my estrogen levels were reading low today. They would have liked to have seen my estrogen level around 300, but I measured at 106. I don’t have a clue why this is, but Cindy didn’t seem too worried about it. Remember that medication that I thought I bought for nothing? Well, turns out I get to use the Leuveris after all. Leuveris is a luteinizing hormone (LH) normally used in combination with Gonal-F to stimulate the follicles in the ovaries.

As soon as I got off of the phone with Cindy I was supposed to give myself another shot (that makes three per day now)! I was confident (at first)….I mixed the medication and went to give myself the injection, but I must not have gone in fast enough because I simply pricked myself instead of going all the way through the skin. As if that wasn’t bad enough I decided to mimic that same action for a second time. Now I have two tiny pricks on my belly that are bleeding and I am still holding this large needle. I was giving up and calling my mother-in-law, but at the last second I decided that I should switch the needles out (I had to mix the medication in three different vials maybe the needle had dulled). It worked. Y’all, the shots are not that bad, so I hope I am not giving anyone the wrong idea about them. I still can’t figure out why I get all worked up. You would think by now it would be old hat.

So, the only changes I have to make to my calendar are to decrease my lupron from 5 units per morning to 2.5 and add in the leuveris injection. I continue with the Gonal-F at night and then Kari and I are due back for another check up on Thursday the 28th. They should be able to give us our retrieval date that day too!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shots...Shots...Shots....- post 18

On the 12th of January I started taking my first lupron shots. Either these needles are much smaller than the ones I used in the past or I am becoming more comfortable with the thought of having daily shots. My mother-in-law gave me my first shot and I decided to be brave the next day. It's probably because I had no choice, Paul was at work and I didn't want my mother-in-law to have to drive across town early in the morning just because I am a little wimpy. I gave MYSELF the second shot! I did great...if I do say so myself! I have given all of my lupron shots to myself for the past two weeks. There were a few days that I "freaked out" and it took me almost 10 minutes to talk myself into going through with the shot. It sure is annoying to count to three 20 times in a row and not go through with it! I have no idea why I was like that, it doesn’t even hurt (unless it is cold…make sure to let the medication get to room temperature or it will sting). At one point, McKenzie was even helping me count to three! Y’all would have gotten a kick out of that sight.

As of January 16th, I no longer have to take my birth control pills! To me, even though it is just a tiny pill this is a big relief! Not only does it mean I get to move on to the next step of the process, but now, hopefully, my hormones can level out a little bit. I guess you could say I tend to be a bit moody when I am on them, but I think I am back to my old self again. YAY! My husband is so patient and kind and has been so supportive through everything (even when I turn into the one-eyed, green monster). I love him so much!

Kari had an appointment on the 15th to check her estrogen levels and her ovaries. Everything was great, so she started on her patches like she did in the mock cycle. On the 22nd, I had an appointment to check on my ovaries and to check my thyroid, estrogen and LH levels. My thyroid level was great and my LH level was high enough that I don’t have to take the Leuverise. I am glad that my body is cooperating, but it is kind of a bummer that I already paid $100 for that medication and now I don’t need it. You can’t return it or get your money back. All you can do is keep it for your own pleasure or donate it to your facility. Guess I will be doing the latter. Glad to help out the next couple :)

I added a second shot to my calendar on Saturday the 23rd. In the morning I take the lupron and at night I take a shot of Gonal-F. This medication is to help the ovaries make more eggs. I have another appointment on Tuesday (January 26). Throughout this whole process it is very important to monitor the ovaries and hormone levels regularly (thus the appointments every few days). In a sense, the doctors want to have complete control over our body and the timing of its natural cycle. They want to make sure that we don’t prematurely ovulate and also make sure that we are responding correctly to the dosage of the medications. So, I will have more information Tuesday and we are confident that everything will continue on the same path of “perfectness” that we have had from the start. We are still on schedule with a February 1st week retrieval. It’s almost here! Can you believe it?? We have two couples that are friends of ours that are due to have their babies around the week of February 21st. So, we are hoping that around the same time all of us will have so much to celebrate; two new babies born into this world and one (possibly two) just beginning their lives! God is so good!

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