Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Creating a Family

There are SO many ways to create a family - from "the old fashioned way," to adoption, blended families or, as is the case with us, through fertility treatments such as IVF (in vitro fertilization) or FET (frozen embryo transfer).  There is no right or wrong way.  Everyone's story is different and, I believe, the plan that God had for them.  Given our long road with struggles and, ultimately, three amazing blessings, I want God to use me and our story to encourage and offer hope to others.  To do that, I have to be open and honest...

With Hayden, they transferred two embryos and he "stuck."  I believe his sibling is in Heaven being rocked by my Grandma Water, along with the other babies that I miscarried.  We had four frozen embryos left to use to complete our family.  When we decided that it was time to expand our family, I thought that the lab would end up having to thaw all four to get two embryos that were viable for transfer.  We were VERY lucky in that the first two they thawed were viable.  They transferred them both and the result was Dawson (our precious boy) and Ansley (our sweet girl).  We were absolutely thrilled!  This left us with two frozen embryos.

Our yearly decision time with the embryos is April.  We decided to postpone our decision until after the twins were born.  After an eventful pregnancy and two miracles who came six weeks and two days early, but were (and are) healthy and home (that's another post), we received the notice from the doctor.  We had four options: store the embryos for later use by us, destroy them, donate them to research (for new lab doctors to "practice" on - they wouldn't let them grow or anything like that), or donate them to an anonymous couple so that they could create/complete their family.  We prayed and prayed about it.  It was either option one (us) or option four (another couple).  We knew our family was complete, however, I had a hard, hard time with option four.  I felt they were biologically our children (I believe life begins at conception) and all the lab would tell us is, after a year, if the donated embryos resulted in a successful pregnancy and a successful birth(s).  I looked at our miracles and how beautiful they are, how lucky we are.  Was this the right decision?  Was my crazy pregnancy and tough delivery, followed by a two week NICU stay, keeping me from making the "right" decision?  I prayed some more.  I asked God for clarity and peace.

When the twins were about three weeks old (home one week from the NICU), I was texting a friend and she was talking about their fertility struggles.  They were about to embark on IVF.  I thought about their journey with secondary infertility and another close friend who would have to use donor eggs (or donated embryos) due to her eggs not being viable from the chemo and radiation she received when battling (and beating) breast cancer.  I have prayed for these friends everyday.  I know how desperately they want to complete their families.  I know firsthand the struggle of infertility and the roller coaster ride it is.  Then, my "ah ha" moment.  I would do ANYTHING for these two friends. I would do ANYTHING for any of my friends.  They have so much love to give and want nothing more than a child to give that love to.  All at once, I felt overwhelming peace.  There was a couple out there who needed our embryos.  Yes, they were biologically ours, however, they were also growing in the heart of someone else.  I had to trust God.  He wanted us to donate them. 

The next morning, I called  the lab and told  them our plans.  The doctor told me that they were seven day freezes (that means that they fertilized and were frozen as seven day old embryos).  They don't even do seven day freezes any longer.  The doctor told me that they were the best quality for seven day that she'd ever seen.  She also told me that the list was long of people who needed embryos to complete their family and it would be an enormous blessing to them.  This lab, these doctors and nurses, they had been (and are) a blessing to US.  Their expertise and dedication allowed us our family.  I couldn't deny someone else the chance to have their own miracle. 

Chip and I filled out stacks and stacks of paperwork.  We had to get forms notarized, do special blood work and provide our medical history, along with that of our children, siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  And now... we wait.  Everything has been signed, sealed and delivered.  It's in God's hands now.  We can call in a year and find out if it was a successful pregnancy and how many babies were delivered.  Honestly though, I think I already know what the answer will be...

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