We were married in November 2005. A little over a year after being married, we started talking about having kids. Like most couples, we assumed our problem would be making sure we had kids on OUR timeline. Many months after we started officially trying, doctors told us the doom and gloom: it would be very unlikely we could have kids without assistance. This completely rocked our world. We never discussed this in premarital counseling. We didn’t know how to deal with this.
Unfortunately, we did not seek God when we started down the next path. Looking back, our faith was not nearly as strong then as it is now. We proceeded ahead with some minor fertility intervention, but almost as promptly, we started looking into domestic infant adoption. My husband was much more interested in that than fertility treatment. And, because I wanted to be a mom more than I wanted to be pregnant, I went along with it. I think I held the fallible belief that if we started the adoption process, we’d get pregnant. And we did. And we miscarried.
Surprisingly, at the time of the miscarriage, I was much more interested in adopting than getting pregnant. God had tugged at my heart strings. And, little did we know, the same month I miscarried, our birth mom was just learning she was pregnant with our son.
While on the wait list, we went through 9 failed adoption leads. One was as close as I believed we were going to be driving to pick up our son at the hospital in a few hours. Then the birth mom chose the other couple. I was devastated. I felt like we were being punished. I felt so distant from God, and yet, I couldn’t get enough of Him.
During this waiting time, we pursued IVF. Again, looking back, it seemed like a good idea. I’m just not sure if it was a God idea. It failed. We weren’t getting any answers as to why we had difficulty conceiving, or why we miscarried. Theory upon theory was put to the test, and we passed each one. We know now God had set us apart for adoption.
Two weeks after our IVF failed, our son was born to us through the miracle of domestic infant adoption. He now is 2 years old. It is an honor and privilege to be raising him, and we know we could not possibly love a biological child any more. We maintain a healthy and open adoption arrangement with his birth family.
As we started thinking about #2, we knew we wanted that for any other child who joined our family — the ability to connect to his/her genetic roots. We had intended on doing domestic adoption again, when God started planting the seeds for embryo adoption. It was something we had briefly considered when in the process the first time around, but because I wanted certainty of being a mom more than taking a chance at a possible pregnancy, it was not the option we chose.
But this time around, God started laying the right people in my path, and the right people to lead us to NEDC.
And then, God spoke.
Last December, while on vacation, I went on a hike. I’d like to say it was up a big mountain, but it was mostly a large hill. In any case, I got to the top, pulled off my headphones, and just tilted my head back. I closed my eyes and let my face meet the sky. It was a cloudy day. In that moment, I asked God, out loud, if we were ever going to conceive and carry a child to term.
The clouds parted. The sun came out. And a soft breeze swept my face.
“Yes,” He said.
I was a little startled, but I smiled.
I trotted back down my large hill, went back to our hotel room, and told my husband I believed we were supposed to do embryo adoption.
We made all the necessary doctor appointments, signed all the right paperwork, filled out all the right forms, and then got on the NEDC wait list. That’s when I learned how “long” the wait was going to be. It was February. I was told our first consult could be in September, maybe. I was discouraged. So, being stubborn, I stayed on the wait list but also explored other facilities.
God closed every other door. It would be in the form of not returned phone calls, hurdle after hurdle to jump, no email responses, no promised paperwork in the mail, etc.
And then NEDC called. It was April. Late April. They said they had a cancellation and I could come in June 6. (Apparently, this happens a lot with NEDC).
I was so stunned, I told the coordinator I had to call her back. I immediately called my husband and said I thought this was it. I called the coordinator back and, in tears, told her the timing of this could not have been more perfect. After closed door after closed door with other facilities, God had confirmed what I’d suspected all along — He wanted us in Tennessee.
So we went.
Our appointment in June was brief, but informative and exciting. For the first time, we heard probable medical theories as to why we had difficulty conceiving. Something about my thyroid disorder affecting my egg quality. It didn’t matter what it was; the reason behind it was the same — God wanted us to adopt.
A few weeks later, we were matched with our embryo donors. It was an arduous process for us. We had prayed specifically for these people for many months now, and we just knew that we’d recognize them when we encountered them. The first 3 profiles came through. We declined them all. The next set came through. We declined the first two, and then we saw “our” couple. We “accepted” them only to learn they “accepted” us back the next day.
A bump came a few weeks later when we learned they only had 3 embryos (their profile said 9). NEDC wants us to be matched with at least 6. We were surprised. God was not.
We decided to continue the match with this couple, but also proceed with getting a second match. Again, an arduous process. The first set came through. We declined each. Then the second set came through, and we found our second couple. They had 4 embryos. We were set.
I desperately wanted to get to know these donors before flying to Tennessee. Thankfully, each was open to communicating freely. It remains so to this day.
We flew to Tennessee in September 2010. They thawed the 3 embryos from our first couple. 2 survived the thaw and were transferred.
I wish I could say it was a beautiful experience. In the ethereal sense, yes, it was. In the practical sense, it was very painful. I had to have a full bladder, and with a history of UTIs, this is most excruciating for me. And, my bladder wasn’t completely full, so they had to fill it up for me (ouch). Then, they may have well sat on my bladder, that was the amount of pressure I felt. Then, they squirted alcohol inside my vagina. (Think pouring alcohol on an open wound). I was squeezing every nurse’s hand I could find. I was fidgety. The nurse kept telling me to keep still, they were transferring the embryos. Tried as I might, I was like a flea on a hot skillet.
Then, it was over. I was wheeled into the recovery room where I was graciously given a bed pan that I proceeded to lay on for the next hour.
We were given a photo of our two embabies, and immediately texted it to all our family and friends waiting anxiously back home.
I was on bed rest for the next 48 hours, and then we flew back to Oregon. I took it relatively easy over the next 2 weeks, although I did pick up my son and carry him. I firmly believed this was going to work or not work regardless of what I did. I believed God was that much in control. (For that same reason, I declined to do things other women have done, such as acupuncture, eat a pineapple core, etc. Those were just not for me).
The night before we learned the results, God spoke again.
I was on my face in prayer, and I kept hearing God say the same thing I’d heard from Him throughout the process, “Trust Me.”
But then He said something else that night. He said, “You will get good news tomorrow.”
I paused. Did I just hear that right?
The next day, I went in for our blood test. I was a nervous wreck. I had told NEDC to please just call and leave a message on my cell phone, whatever the results were.
At 11 am our time, I saw the voice mail come on my phone. I was at work. I couldn’t wait. I called my husband and told him to meet me in a parking lot nearby.
On my drive to the parking lot, I was shaking and crying. I had a conversation with God and it went something like this:
Me: Jesus, was that really you that I heard last night?
Jesus: Yes. You will get good news today.
Me: Because, you know if it’s not, I’m going to question everything I’ve ever thought I’ve heard from you.
Jesus: I know that.
Me: Jesus, are you really here, talking to me right now?
I pulled into the parking lot and my husband got in my car. I’m shaking. I dialed into my voice mail. I turned down the speakerphone volume, thinking bad news sounds better when it’s quiet.
Then, we heard: “Britney, this is Nurse Mary. It’s good news.”
And here we are, now 9.5 weeks pregnant. It is surreal. It is a miracle. It is how God led us.
It has not been an easy journey to get here, and it has not been an easy 9 weeks. At our first ultrasound at 6 weeks, the baby’s heart rate was just 90 bpm. Depending on who you believe, that is on the lower side. We were concerned. We prayed. God told us to chill out. We had another ultrasound 4 days later, and it had climbed to 121 bpm. At our 9 week appointment, it was 174. God is good.
We know it is still early in the pregnancy, but we are praying believing with great faith and expectation that God has told us we will carry this child to term and deliver a healthy baby. We have no other choice but to hold fast to that.
So in the midst of nausea and vomiting, constant fatigue, getting up 5 x/night to go pee, I remember those words. God brought us here, and God will carry us through.