Stacy and I met online. Years ago, when we were in some of the harder days of infertility, Jennie Allen wrote a blog post about me, encouraging women to pray for me and lift a sister up. Stacy saw her post, was in a similar boat and could relate, and just like that, we became friends. Seven years later, and she’s been a cheerleader and supporter through our long waits of IVF, the needles and procedures of FET, loss, and joy.
Recently, in this post, I talked about faith in every chapter of IVF. I mentioned Stacy and how her faith in this whole process, including the unknowns in what she’s recently gone through, has really blown me away.
What made you decide to try IVF?
We tried to have children for 10 years (Clomid, IUIs, 1 ectopic pregnancy) before pursuing IVF. It was very important to us to be able to pay for it out of pocket, so we saved up and it was our 10th anniversary present to each other. When we went for our first visit in February 2012, we found out our insurance had added one phrase effective January 2012, and IVF was covered in full. We only had to pay for our meds. God is so good!
Did it work?
In May 2012, we had our egg retrieval and had 7 embryos make it to blast. We transferred 1 embryo and became pregnant with our first daughter, Hannah Leigh, who was born in February 2013. We moved from Cincinnati to Danville, VA in the summer of 2013, so when we decided in 2014 to try for a second child, we had our remaining 6 embryos transferred to Duke. We transferred 2 embryos (ours were frozen in pairs) and became pregnant with twins. Unfortunately, I lost 1 baby around 8 weeks gestation and developed a large hematoma. I was placed on bed rest for the next 8 weeks to protect our baby while my body absorbed the hematoma. In June 2015, we had our second daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth. In the summer of 2018, we decided to try for another child. At this point, we live in SC, just south of Charlotte, so we decided to travel to Duke for treatments again. We love the doctors and nurses there! I turned 40 in May, and we transferred 2 embryos in early September. We were now pregnant with twins again! I gave birth to twin boys, William James & Samuel Wade, 13 days before I turned 41.
Talk a little about how it felt knowing there were remaining frozen embryos:
After the boys were born, we knew our family was complete. We had always prayed and longed for 4 children. But, we had 2 embryos left…and that was something we never imagined. We knew that no matter what we did, we did not want the embryos destroyed, and if we weren’t going to use them, we needed to figure out what to do. I did some research on embryo adoption, and we quickly decided a national bank was not for us. I reached out to a few close friends who were trying to have babies, and offered our embryos to them first, but they both declined. I then contacted a few friends I knew in the adoption world to see if they knew any Christian agencies that handled embryo adoption. We used Quiver Full Adoptions Inc in Greenville, SC.
What brought you to thinking of embryo adoption?
We believe life begins at conception, and destroying them was not an option, so embryo adoption seemed like a perfect fit.
How did you know this adoptive family was the family God had for you?
We spoke with 1 other family, and reviewed the file of another before being matched with the Fullers. From the first time we spoke on the phone, the conversation flowed easily, their beliefs were in line with ours, they were open to an open adoption (before we even knew what that meant) and we felt so comfortable with them. After we got off the phone, we both said God had answered our prayers for these embryos.
I’ve loved seeing your theme / heart of thankfulness as you tell your story. What are you thankful for in all of this?
I’m thankful for the relationship we have with all of the Fullers. We don’t just want a relationship with our genetic children, but also with Ariana, Casey and their adopted son, Seamus. We’ve spent time together, we talk, text or FaceTime frequently, we share all our life together, not just things about Finn. Ariana (the adoptive mom of our embryo) has become one of my dearest friends!
What relationship do you plan to have moving forward?
We have an open adoption. Finn (and the other embryo) will know their genetic siblings and us. Right now we only live a few hours apart, however that will change with Casey’s Army career, but we will make it work. We think of all of them as an extension of our family.
How have you seen God’s hand at work in designing your beautiful family?
Like I said before, I never imagined we would be in this place, however God’s plan was greater than we could have even thought possible. Everyone always tells us how wonderful we are, but it is all God.
How has your faith been strengthened through all of this?
We would not have made it through this without our faith. God has walked through the entire process with us. One of the hardest parts was the psychological evaluation – they ask a lot of hard questions that you don’t think of. We left in tears, but prayed that God would continue to guide us if this was His will. It was also very difficult seeing a picture of Finn when he was born. He looks so much like my kids, and it took my breath away. I shed a lot tears that day. Later that night, Casey had time to send some other pictures and one was of Ari holding Finn. When I saw her joy, it took away all the pain I had felt.
How can we pray for you and your family?
Pray for all of us on this journey. It has gone so well so far that sometimes I worry it’s too good to be true, but I know that’s just Satan. I know God has intertwined our two families for life, and I look forward to living our lives together.
I just love this story because it’s an aspect of IVF that I think a lot of people are unaware of, and a unique way God is at work. Thank you so much for sharing, Stacy. May God bless your faithfulness as you stand in a place you didn’t ever see yourself being in, and for choosing to walk forward in faith.