Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Flower Power

Apparently Missy kitty needed a little flower love to surround her.
Last night our community group spent a while making all of these tissue paper flowers to help decorate Mars Hill Lake City for Easter! While we were working on them, the kitties kept their distance because of the crinkling sound. Tom and I gathered them all up into one big pile after our friends left so that we could take them all down to the second bedroom and close the door to keep both kitties from playing with them. We turned around to start the hauling process and found Missy in the middles of them! Thankfully she was gentle and hadn't damaged them!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Adding to the Chaos



"God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me."

- Sarah (Genesis 21:6 ESV)


Stacy is Pregnant!


This Monday she went in for an official blood test. Since then there have been two more tests to track progress, and the doctor is pleased with how things are looking!

There are still a lot of unknowns. The next milestone is an ultrasound, coming up in a few weeks. Until then, we will not know whether both of the embryos survived. Because of the oddities in the way the 40 week gestation is measured, Stacy is actually beginning week 5 (even though the transfer was about two weeks ago). This mean that while things are going well now, there is still a higher risk of miscarriage. Normally it seems that people wait until around the end of the first trimester to announce things, but this is been anything but normal. We are elated that it has gone well so far, but still fearful that the children will not survive. Ultimately, the outcome is completely in God's control, and no amount of worry will make a difference...


"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"

- Jesus (Matthew 6:27 ESV)

.


If you're looking for the back side of this story, check out the following links.

Embryo Adoption

Before the Transfer

After the Transfer

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Yesterday

Yesterday went as well as we could have imagined! We got to our appointment on time, started acupuncture, and got a visit from the SRM embryologist. He gave us a picture he'd taken of two embryos after they had thawed and excitedly informed us that both had survived and looked very strong and healthy!

A nurse and doctor came in and explained the process while the embryologist pulled our embryos out of the incubator and set them under the microscope. (He was in the lab just on the other side of the wall for the room we were in, talking with the doctor and us through a window, and showing us everything on his microscope.) He clarified with us based on the label on their dish that they were our adopted embryos.

It was amazing to see how much they had grown since the picture he'd taken an hour or so before! I asked the doctor how big they actually were. She said it would take 10 of them lined up to make a millimeter, or about 260 to make an inch long line.

The doctor squirted them in with the nurse's ultrasound guidance, then told me to sit still for 15 minutes. We had another round of acupuncture, scheduled a follow up appointment, and were on our way!

We don't know yet if they have implanted and won't for a few weeks. I'm supposed to avoid anything strenuous for a few days (no gym), but then can go back to my "normal" lifestyle. Now we're praying for God's will to be done, for the babies to live and grow.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day.

From a cryogenic freezer in Seattle, a doctor will remove two embryos, the children we are adopting, and begin a thawing process. The embryos have spent a long time like this, possibly years, stuck in a cold-induced stasis begun 5 days after their fertilization.

Stacy and I have wanted to start a family for years. The process of hope, grief, sadness, and then resting in joy and peace from God has been long and hard. It has not defined us, but it could have, and occasionally, especially at first, has. Adopting kids in this way is an amazing opportunity to try and become parents, affirm the value of human life in any state, and hopefully better articulate the amazing gift Christ gives when he adopts us, however undeserving and rebellious, into his family.

In the clinic, the doctor will carefully observe the embryos. Hopefully their cells will resume activity, paused when they were plunged into storage at almost -200°C; revitalizing and starting again to grow. There is also a chance that the freeze, storage, or thaw was too hard on the kids and they don’t wake up.

Tomorrow, children in my care may die.

Juggling the preperations for tomorrow has been crazy. Corporally, this has included helping Stacy with meds (Sub-cutaneous & intra-muscular injections, patches, making sure the right amounts of the right thing are taken on the right day, etc), clarifying ethics with the doctor, and scheduling appointments.

More significantly, for the last 4 years we have built emotional walls to protect us from stuff people say and our own fears and desires. Those walls are coming down in the next two weeks. They will either be rebuilt through the pain and grief of a failed cycle, or with the guarded hope of a positive pregnancy test.

If the newly awakened embryos don’t die, the doctor will implant them. The process is pretty straightforward. We show up midmorning, Stacy has acupuncture (acupuncture is scientifically proven to increase the success rates of embryo transfers and IVF), the doctor transfers the kids into Stacy, and then it’s back for another session of acupuncture. I am taking the whole day off, so hopefully we can relax together and let some of the stress roll back off.

The next 10 days begin an agonizing wait until we hear the results. Just like the natural process, there is no guarantee that the embryos will find a safe landing zone to implant and begin their 9+ month stay in Stacy. The uncertainty, fear, and hope are tough to balance. A blood test will let us know whether Stacy is pregnant, but even if the answer is yes, it will be weeks until we know if both survived.

Tomorrow, while not providing relief, or explanation, or finality, is definitely a big day.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Vancouver Olympics 2010

We decided to take a drive up to Vancouver on Sunday to see the Olympic sights. Neither of us had been to Vancouver before, and we both wanted to see the excitement since it was so close to home!

We found parking close to the Olympic Village and walked several blocks to a subway station where we took the train under the water and ended up near BC Place. While we were walking to the train we passed Shannon Bahrke on the sidewalk! (Yes, I recognized her because of her pink hair!) Walking a few blocks south, we found a huge television over a closed street with a crowd of people watching the end of the USA vs. Canada hockey game. We ate our lunch while it finished and went into overtime. When Canada won, we realized how thankful we were to not be wearing any USA motif. Everyone started yelling, ringing bells, and running around. The people who lived in the buildings around us opened their windows to participate in the excitement.

Once the game was over we decided to walk to BC Place and see what it looked like and check out closing ceremony tickets. The street were filled with screaming people running around with pitchers of beer, cars honking, and people waving flags. It turned out the only tickets left for the ceremonies were $450 each for obstructed view seats! We decided to keep walking.


We decided to find the Hudson's Bay Company and visit the Olympic store on the bottom floor of the building. We had to walk through crowds of people again and past hundreds of Vancouver police blocking roads.

From there we headed down towards the waterfront in search of the torch. Along the way we found a few other cool looking buildings and the Olympic rings our on the water! We found the torch but couldn't get very close because there was a 2-3 hour line to get to the viewing platform.


By the time we were done on the waterfront, our feet were getting really tired and we still had to get back to our car and back through the border. We thought we may end up sitting in a line to get out of Canada for hours, but it turned out to just be 15 minutes! We stopped in Ferndale for our inaugural Sonic Drive In dinner. The food was excellent, and I think their diet cherry limeade is the best sugar free drink I've ever had! We even made it home in time to watch most of the closing ceremonies on television.

Kelly's Shower

I spent last Thursday and Friday getting ready for my sister's bridal shower. I wasn't sure how I was going to get everything set up, our condo cleaned, and the food finished, but it all happened! Below are some of the pictures and a couple recipes I used! We had fun with the 15 people who came, and enjoyed super yummy cupcakes from Pinkalicious.




Punch:
  • 2 frozen cans of lemonaide mix
  • 1 bottle lemon-lime soda
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
Mix lemonaide according to instructions on the can, add soda and frozen raspberries to serve!

Antipasto Skewers:
  • Mushrooms
  • Artichoke hearts in oil
  • Tortellini
  • Small tomatoes
  • Salami
  • Havarti, cubed
  • 1 bottle Restaurant Recipe Italian salad dressing from Paul Newman
Slice mushrooms in large sections, marinate overnight in Italian dressing. Boil tortellini, cool, and toss with 1/4 cup Italian dressing, refrigerate overnight. Drain artichokes, mushrooms, and tortellini before serving. Alternate these items on bamboo skewers, serve.