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, February 4, 2010

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love ya Tomorrow! - post 23

Good news! The retrieval will be FRIDAY! It feels good to type that and know it is truly going to happen. Everything went so well today (2/3/10) at my appointment. My ultrasound proved to the doctor that he made a good decision to wait the extra day. The grouping of the small follicles grew like he wanted, so he is fully expecting at least 16 good sized eggs to be retrieved. Quantity is good, however quality is better. It only takes one good egg to fertilize and make a good embryo to implant.

Tonight I will take my trigger shot of HCG at precisely 8:30pm. My blood work came back showing my estrogen level at 3100. The doctor was a little shocked because beforehand my estrogen level only rose about 600 points per day and today it went from 1900 to 3100. I was supposed to be measuring around 3000 by now originally, but they didn’t think that I was going to get there. They were planning to give me a higher dose of the trigger shot, but now they won’t have to! Cool! Although today is my last day for injections, I guess they wanted to end them out with a bang. I thought that I wasn’t going to have any intramuscular shots, but I was wrong. Tonight I will get to have a tiny taste of what Kari will have to go through for about 3 weeks (except her shots will be in an oil suspension – much worse than what I will have to endure). Paul will definitely have to give me this shot because it will be given in the back of my hip. Cindy drew a smiley face with a marker on one of my cheeks so that Paul would have the perfect target to throw the “dart.” 36 hours after I get my shot I will be in the clinic about to have my eggs retrieved. It’s crazy how this stuff works.

Since we have been postponed a few days for the retrieval, we are expected to have a transfer on Wednesday, February 10th.

So, I am writing this part of the post on Thursday night. I am pleased to tell you that the IM shot was actually not as bad as I was expecting. I did ice the area for about 2 minutes before Paul gave me the injection. I didn’t even feel the needle go in. I even had to ask if he had done it yet. It was about that same time that I was able to feel the medication stinging a little bit. It didn’t last that long because I only had ½ cc, but I am sure when Kari does her shot tonight with 1 ½ cc of the oil suspension she might have a little more pain than me. It did, however, cause a slight stinging sensation to run down my leg and I could feel a sort of “heaviness” for a few minutes where the needle was inserted. Other than that, it was all good.

Kari and I were talking on the phone today and (after we got past the talk about the shot she is getting tonight) we got into our high-pitch, girlie, giddy voices. We simply can’t believe this time is actually here! All the waiting (which the hardest period will come while we wait the two weeks for the pregnancy test) is almost over. Tomorrow morning is it! We will arrive at the clinic at 7:30am for an 8:00am procedure. Paul will not be able to go to the operating room with me, but he will be in another room where he can watch a digital counter display the number of each egg as it is retrieved. The procedure itself only lasts about 20-30 minutes, but I think it takes about an hour to wake up from the sedation. We were told that the embryologist, David, will be in contact with us everyday up until the transfer to let us know how the eggs and embryos are doing. I like the fact that I will be getting a call everyday. It kind of puts my mind at ease to know I will be informed every step of the way as our little babies grow. If you get to read this before Friday morning, keep us in your prayers for an absolutely perfect retrieval and the BEST quality eggs anyone has ever seen! Haha! We are so blessed by our little girl and we know that we are about to be totally blown away by what is in store for The Miller Family! BTW-pray for Kari and her shots too.

Almost there! - post 22

My last appointment was on January 28th, and our nurse Cindy said that would be the last time that I would see her before "T-day" (transfer day). She gave me a shiny new shots/meds chart and told me she would call me to put dates on it once we got the go ahead with Andrea's little follicles. So Andrea's little pip-squeaks liked their current home a little longer than we expected, so we were delayed by two days. It is kinda like the anticipation of getting to the top of the hill, but when you get there, you realize there's a whole new hill! Ugg! We are now very patiently waiting ;) for Friday to come.
Cindy called me on Wednesday and told me to start my new regiment of meds and shots on Thursday. So now for me, the feeling of Christmas has now turned into the feeling of my first day at a new school--exciting, yet I'm a smidge nervous! After Cindy called me, I went and got all my Rx stash out of my closet, including my "new" needles. YIKES! Jon and I watched a video on how to stab me in my behind, and I figured since the lady in the video didn't even flinch, it will be a piece of cake! Jon's actual comment was, "that lady didn't even flinch! I bet it is a fake person." But then she moved. Nope she was real.
I am no longer taking the Lupron shots in the stomach anymore, which is kinda nice because I think I was having a slight allergic reaction to the needles. I've got big red bumps all over my tummy. I'm wondering if my hind-end will look like a war zone after I start with the big dog needles! I'll keep you posted on that first shot is tonight *que scary music*
Overall, this process has been a wonderful and crazy journey with Andrea, our families and our awesome nurse Cindy, whom I'll miss dearly after all this is said and done. I am hoping that my new shots are not as terrible as my over-exaggerating mind has made them out to be, and I can't wait until next Wednesday "T-day" da da dum.....God is so good!
UPDATE Post big butt shot...
I sat on an ice pack for 10 minutes and warmed the needle in my hand. I leaned on the couch and jon played darts with my behind and guess what...I DIDN'T EVEN FLINCH! Yeah, that's awesome. Really, the shot was not as bad as I had made it out to be. The only thing is that today I'm a little sore, but other than's all good. I'll be able to do this for three more weeks no problem, and what's more amazing is that by the end of this three weeks...we'll know if I'm prego! Yay!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another Appointment? - post 21

I really don’t even know where to begin. My mind is racing with worries, excitement, money concerns, medications, appointments, family, friends and everyday life that exists outside of the IVF realm. I seem to have days like this every so often that end up making me break down and cry. I have to keep reminding myself that I am ramped up on hormones and that the overwhelming feeling to let the tears come pouring out is mainly contributed to them. However, I believe this process is so full of ups and downs that even without the hormones it could break a person with stone cold emotions.

My last post left off telling you about our appointment on Thursday, January 28th. Like I said, everything was right on track for a retrieval towards the beginning of the first week in February…well, did you notice that it is now Tuesday (February 2) and I am not typing in all CAPS with excitement? Yep, you guessed it! We have been delayed, once again.

I went to the office on Saturday and after the ovary check they told me that I must just be a slow starter (as far as my eggs are concerned-they are taking a little longer to get jump started) Cindy says this could be due to the fact that I was on full strength birth control for nearly two months and my ovaries just needed a little more time to “wake up.” Dr. Trolice was not concerned in the least, but told me he would like to monitor me again on Monday (2/1/10-Happy Birthday to my sister, Caty!) for a possible Wednesday retrieval. Well, Monday came and it was almost the same story. My follicles are growing and doing fine, but they just aren’t growing at the rate he thought they would. So, now he wanted to bring me in again on Tuesday morning leaning more towards a Thursday retrieval. Not necessarily what I wanted to hear, but ok. At this point, I am fully expecting Tuesday to be the last day of monitoring so that we can get this retrieval over! That was my up….and then I came down…Today (Tuesday, February 2) was a little hard for me to get through.

I could tell that there was something on the doctor’s mind when he was measuring the follicles. He didn’t say anything bad, but it was the fact that he didn’t say anything great either. He measured two follicles that were 20mm and one that was 19mm, which is exactly what he was wanting. However, there were only about 5 or 6 more that were measuring above the 15mm mark. Apparently, the eggs will not fertilize if they are not at least 15mm in size. The problem with my scenario is the fact that there is such a split between my egg sizes. I had one grouping of 6-8 follicles (15mm+) that was in a good size range and I had another grouping of 8-9 follicles (12-14mm) that could be of size if they were given the chance to grow for another day.

The decision the doctor had to weigh: 1) does he give me the trigger shot tonight for a Thursday retrieval so that he doesn’t run the risk of losing the 3 largest lead eggs or 2) does he allow me to stay on stimulation medication for the 12th day in a row in order to give the group of smaller eggs a chance to get to 15mm so we have more eggs to retrieve on Friday.

I think it would have been a tougher decision for him to make if my blood work did not come back with great progesterone and estrogen levels. From what I gathered, my hormone levels were high enough that he wasn’t worried that I would lose the lead follicles if we postponed the retrieval one more day. So, that means another appointment tomorrow (Wednesday, February 3) with a hopeful retrieval on Friday! If the follicles continue to grow like he is expecting he should be able to retrieve between 15-20 eggs! This time has been so exciting, but I think I am totally ready to move past this phase of it. I'll let you know what tomorrow holds.

People interested in our IVF...