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)!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

If at first you don't succeed... - post 29

Well…’s been a while, huh? It’s amazing how life keeps moving even when you think it should stand still, so you can have a minute to breathe. We found out that we were not pregnant on February 22, 2010 and that evening we had company come in for a pastor’s conference at our church. Of course, we didn’t have to house them if we didn’t feel up to it, but I knew that it would be the best thing for my emotions to not sit and dwell on the negative. For everyone thinking, “You have to give yourself time to grieve”….I did and I still am. We lost our baby, so sometimes I feel like I go through every emotion in one day or even one thought process! However, it makes life so much easier when you realize that God is a GOOD god and He is not the reason that this baby didn't live. It wasn't His plan and never will be His plan to cause us harm or grief. Anyway, we enjoyed our visitors so much, and I was so excited to be able to attend the conference too. It was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. To God, I am the most important thing on His mind and with every emotion I feel, He is right there with me. I am glad for the way that I was able to step away from myself and see that my circumstances are not the end of the world! After the conference ended, I packed for McKenzie and me, to go to my mom and dad’s house for the week. They just found out that they are selling their house (it took just over a year) and needed help packing up 22 years worth of memories. I will admit, it was bitter-sweet because that was where I grew up. It was really fun to watch my daughter running around and climbing the same trees that I did when I was a little girl, but it’s all worth it because they are moving closer to us (maybe even in our neighborhood). McKenzie is so blessed to have both sets of grandparents close by…she won’t be spoiled at all (sarcastic tone)! I came home for a couple of days and then went back to get the second load of things before they closed on their house on Friday, March 12. Today is pretty much the first day that I have had to sit back and reflect on everything that happened, so here goes…

On Monday morning (Feb.22), we loaded up into Jake and Rachel’s SUV and went by to pick up Kari. We all talked and laughed on the way to the clinic. I guess I was a little nervous, because even though we were running late for our appointment we had to stop so I could use the restroom :) (sorry if that was TMI). We got back on the road and surprisingly made it on time to the clinic. It must have looked so funny to see all of us pile out of the car and use the front door as a photo opportunity, but if you know me at all, you know that I am a picture taking fool. Even though we knew it would only be a blood draw appointment (which would only take about 10 minutes at the clinic and wouldn’t even tell us the result right away) we all wanted to go. Kari seemed very nervous while we waited and I must admit, every time the nurse opened the door to call someone back, my stomach dropped. Finally, it was our turn. All of the nurses were so sweet and told us how excited they were for us, they drew her blood and that was it…We were getting ready to leave and Kari and I had been discussing if we were going to take one of the at-home pregnancy tests. Secretly, we decided to pee on the stick before we left the office. We waited and waited only to see that the stick read “NOT PREGNANT.” The two of us were somewhat silent as we gathered our crew and got back in the car. Even though we didn’t know the final outcome and we wanted so badly to hang on to the hope that the pee test was wrong, we spoke our sentiments over text messages in the car ride. It was too difficult to speak out loud in the car. It felt like a moment meant just for Kari and me. Our tone was somewhat comical though, considering the circumstance.

We drove around the area trying to waste time and finally decided to stop and eat an early lunch. We finished and started to head back home and then the phone rang…

The nurse on the other end asked me how I was doing and I said “good?” thinking that it was some sort of signal that everything turned out ok. She put the doctor on and all he said was, “I’m sorry, it’s not good news.” I was silent. I couldn’t speak. The car was silent and I couldn’t hold it back any longer. The tears started falling and the doctor asked if I had any questions and all I could think was OF COURSE I DO, BUT THIS LUMP IN MY THROAT WON’T LET ME ASK! I was sort of angry at this, but I know it was just my emotions getting the best of me. It stinks to be told “NO” about anything. I felt bad for our friends that had to endure the sound of sniffling as we drove the last leg of our trip, but thankful for the support they gave us. Even though you try to prepare yourself for the “what if,” you are never fully prepared.

I do have to say that I am very proud of myself. The night before our appointment I was lying in bed next to Paul crying to him about how I didn’t want to be devastated if we found out that it didn’t work. I can truly say that I was very sad (a little angry, somewhat hopeless-feeling), but not devastated! It is NOT the end! Thanks to encouraging family and friends that continually reminded me of the promises of God and the hope in Him, I am ready to start again! Wahoo!
Kari says, let’s get this show on the road! I love that girl! I only hope that everyone can find a friend like her in their lifetime. I am ready to get the show on the road too, but I never did call the doctor back with my questions. Like I said before, it has been a VERY busy couple of weeks. I’m thinking on Monday, March 15 I should have a chance to call and speak with him. I know that we have to set up another consultation to address everything that went on and what changes we may make for the next time. Since we weren’t able to freeze any embryos we are going to have to start from scratch…meaning we will probably have to pay the entire IVF fee again ($10,556 just for the IVF, not including the medication or pretests). I am hoping for miraculous things and since we have already experienced a miracle in finances for the first time, there is no reason not to expect it this time too. Paul has always said that the money is the easy part!

I wish I had better news to share, but…..maybe next time. I’ll update everything when I talk to the doctor.

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