Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Back Story

I feel like I'm writing a prequel to this really great story that is still being written... a story that's being written
by the Greatest Author; the One who knows the ending, the beginning, and everything in between; and the Creator of all things! But I am sooooooooo excited to be a part of this little story, and I am ready to share it with the "world" (or my little world who will stumble across my little blog at any rate!)!

 This is going to be long... here goes...

 Eli & I left some of the best friends we could have ever imagined in St. Louis when we moved back home to Kansas. In fact, it was kind of a lonely 1st year back here, we were close to family, had a church home and served there in the youth ministry, but missed our small group. I think that sometimes God gives you empty spaces in your life so you'll appreciate what He fills them with all the more. In September 2010, we decided to start a grow group with a fun young couple who'd been serving in the youth group with us - Adam & Natalie Johnson!  Our group has grown to 9 families that are our family. It's the most amazing thing to see what doing life together can really look like. I wish I could get everyone in a small group (grow group, life group, community group) for this experience. You celebrate a lot of joys together (new babies, promotions, weddings, moves, graduations, birthdays), but you also have someone to go through all the harrowing times with.

Celebrating New Year's Eve 2013
Adam & Natalie's first miscarriage (@ 11 weeks) actually started at one of our Thursday night meetings. They left for the hospital, and we prayed together like we'd never prayed before. We grieved with them and tried our best to comfort them by bringing them meals, always knowing that only God could heal this hurt.  Not long after this, Natalie visited St. Jude's hospital where as a little girl she had been treated and had beaten cancer!  We were having dinner one night (summer 2012) and Natalie told us that their take on her situation was basically "It's a miracle that you ever got pregnant.  Maybe you should consider surrogacy."  I think I pretty much immediately blurted out, "I'd be your surrogate."  Eli probably raised his eyebrows, and we left it at praying and waiting and seeing.

That night and lots of following nights, Eli and I talked a lot more about my crazy offer.  Thankfully God blessed me with an amazing husband who was willing to support me and shares my love for Adam & Natalie, and he didn't totally freak out about the idea.

Some time passed, Natalie's OB told her she could try again, and one day, Natalie was telling me she was pregnant again!  It was truly another miracle and we rejoiced and prayed and prayed.  There are so many horrible things about what happened to my sweet wonderful faithful friend that awful day in June 2013, but while at a Nazarene District Assembly with her worship leader husband and our pastor and his wife (who happens to be her aunt and uncle), Natalie had her 2nd miscarriage (@ 14 weeks), just hours after announcing to our church via video their good news.  This time, Natalie's life was really in grave danger, and by the grace of God, she survived though her baby boy did not.  When they made it back to KC, we went out to dinner and I remember eating on the patio at a restaurant while Adam told us how narrowly Natalie survived this one and insisting that he would not allow her to go through this again.  At this point, I reiterated that my crazy offer was still there.

Carriage Ride on the Plaza
For the next couple weeks/months, we prayed, talked, prayed, talked, prayed, prayed, prayed.  I remember one night praying to God, "God, is this just my crazy plan or is this from you?" and very clearly getting the answer spoken into my heart, "Katie, no one would think of this on their own."  HA!  That was so comforting and reassuring to me.  Yes, my pregnancies had been healthy and relatively easy, I'd had plenty of energy and no problems; but at the same time I needed that word from God that this was His will.  He reaffirmed this for me in so many ways - through friends & family, through Pastor Joel's sermon on Ruth (of all things!) through His Word and in my prayer-time - that Eli and I went back with a resounding "YES!"

And so that's when it all began...

Now, fast forward through Natalie getting the green light to go, my OB giving me her blessing, trips to the doctor for blood work and interviews, an afternoon with a counselor making sure all of us were mentally and emotionally fit for this journey and had thought through all the worse-case scenarios (yuck!), lawyer visits, a lengthy contract with more scenarios that you hope you never go through with friends, and now here we are.

I'm going to be a "gestational carrier" for a baby that is genetically 100% Adam & Natalie's - in other words, Natalie's egg, Adam's sperm, my uterus, Eli's patience.  ;-)

Natalie has been taking all kinds of hormones and shots and yesterday (May 14, 2014), our wonderful Dr. Milroy of the KU Med's Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine retrieved 8 eggs from her.  Adam made his biological contribution (lol!) and now they have 4 fertilized embryos growing.  After 3 days, they will freeze them, and in about a month, Lord willing, 2 of those will be implanted in me.  (The stats on 2 embryos are very good, roughly a 75% chance that 1 will make it, a 25% chance that both make it).  I'm game for twins, in fact, I'm hoping for a boy and girl for them, though I know God already has a plan in mind!

OK, this is where you my faithful reader who has made it to this point comes in.  We need your prayers.  This is a crazy cool medical miracle that God is working on, and we covet your prayers for this process and the future baby(babies) of our best friends.   My prayer has been and is "O Lord, God, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to Adam & Natalie" (Genesis 24:12).  Please when you think of us, pray for us.  I appreciate you so much!

Check out Natalie's video-blog for her side of this amazing story.


Karen H. said...

Oh wow! Many prayers for all of you my sweet dear friend.
-Karen Hartley

Cindy Trivilino said...

Such a beautiful story of love, friendship and God's amazing love and power. We are praying for all of you!!

Cindy Casey said...

The only thing that comes to mind...LOVE! Love of God. Love of friends and family! Love you all!!!

Wanda Wilson said...

What an amazing story! Love and prayers to you and Eli and for Adam and Natalie.

Becky said...

Oh wow, such a precious story / journey for some wonderful people. You can count on my prayers for healthy, happy babies! Gods blessings on your lives and endeavors and may your quivers be full!! Psalm 127:5. Xoxo

Dara Stambaugh said...

Katie & Eli,

God works in just great and mysterious ways! What a blessing you are giving to your dear friends and what trust they are putting in you! My prayers are with you always but will be even more so now!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Natalie and Adam!!! You do have awesome friends Eli and Katie and wonderful people. What an opportunity, for you all. We have an awesome God,and with the power of prayer all things will work out. Again congratulations and god bless!