San Diego Trip: 5 Life Prospering Aha! Moments

We recently returned from San Diego to visit one of my sister’s and her family who live out there.  We had a great time.  It was relaxing (as much as it can be with two year old twins).  It was enlightening.

And it was a trip in which I encountered a few life cultivating Aha! moments:

1. My parenting vs my sister’s parenting is quite different…for good reason. I have twins. It has to be different.  

Gadsden and Davny running to catch a seagull

Scene: My sister’s home and all throughout San Diego

I don’t know how many times I’ve compared my parenting to others when I tell myself not to because when I do I immediately set myself up for failure.  It is never possible for me to be like other people because I am not other people.  Everything about me, my family, and my situation is uncommon and that means that my methods have to be uncommon.

I want to be more nurturing with my children and “chillax” already! like my sister, but I can’t.  Why?  Because I’m constantly in survival mode with my two-year old twins.  When one kid isn’t doing something dangerous or destructive, the other one is, or they both are at the same time.

I like staying at home because I can keep them under control and I prefer to be within a 5 minute driving radius from their beds because my son will fall asleep in two seconds in the car, but that means he will not take a nap when we get home, even if he only slept for 5 minutes.

The only place I can go shopping with them by myself is the grocery store because they have carts that contain them.  I give them an ipad and iphone during Daily Mass (I know…sneer, sneer!) because I’m alone with them and I want to concentrate on God’s Word, not two toddlers trying to take a bath in the baptismal font, climb and play on the piano, the altar, the pews, the kneelers, the choir section, etc.

Going out to eat, to the zoo, to a museum, to anywhere that doesn’t have floor to ceiling padding?  Forget it unless I have one other person with me to chase after them.  It. Is. Exhausting.

I’ll be honest, I look forward to their bedtime.  That is when I finally get to relax!

2. Watching my children’s love for others.

When Daddy’s around, I don’t exist. This was waiting to catch the train to San Juan Capistrano.  By far, the coolest thing we did in San Diego!


Scene: Any place with people we adore.

Lately, both Gadsden and Davny want to be held, hugged, coddled, pushed in a stroller, pulled in a wagon, etc. by everyone except me.  It broke my heart for a while because I thought that I wasn’t being a nurturing enough mother to them and that’s why they wanted other people.

Then I realized that No! it’s the devil talking in my head again.  It is good that they want other people because they are practicing exactly what I do.  They are loving others as I love them!

They have observed my affection for them along with my family, friends, and neighbors and want to give that kind of love too.  The love of Jesus!

Jesus always and forever will love his mother, Mary, but as a young child he didn’t cling to her.  He loved as she did.  With absolute sincerity freely given to anyone and everyone.  That is exactly what my children are doing.

I will praise their fondness for others, not hinder it for my own selfish reasons.  They are children of God and that is what He wants.

3. God gives each one of us different fears to fulfill His plan through us in our own unique ways and in our own unique timing.

This excerpt (I added in the words in bold) from a Franciscan Media article about St. Rose Venerini sums it up more eloquently:

Whatever state of life God calls us to, we bring with us an assortment of desires, fears, experiences, interests, gifts and [blankety blank] however small they seem to us.  All that we are is meant to be put to service wherever we find ourselves.

How did I stumble upon this Aha! moment?  By a casual exchange on a hiking trail near my sister’s home in Solana Beach.

Scene:

Two young ladies, most likely in their twenties, spot me running through a canyon trail.

One of the girls: Wow!  You are running this trail?  How can you do that?

Me: I’m trying.

I proceed to run on and turn around at the dead end.  I pass by the girls again, but this time one is climbing and scaling the canyon for a photo opportunity.

Me: Now that is daring!  I would never do that!

My fear of heights dissuaded me from climbing up the wall of a canyon to obtain an amazing cliff hanging photo.  Those two girls did it without hesitation.

On the other hand, their apathy for running prevented them from taking the long trail filled with animal life, beautiful flowers, and a spectacular water view.  I ran it without a moments thought.

I may have missed out on a unique photo opportunity, but they missed out being immersed in a lively natural habitat and interacting with other people on the trail, in which I heard a few simple words come out of a young boys mouth that changed my way of thinking about fear.

4. It’s only the end if you want it to be.

Scene:

Sign: Danger. Unstable Cliff Area. Do Not Enter.

 

This same trail goes up to a lookout point that oversees the lagoon, which is blocked off by a scant wooden post fence that is easily able to climb through and continue a trail of your own, if you so wish.  Although the terrain is quite steep and unstable, as the sign on the fence clearly states.

At the top I overheard a brief, but profound comment made from a son to a father.  Son looks at the fence and says:

Dad, it’s only the end if you want it to be.

The father was definitely not interested in going beyond the boundaries.  He remained on the safe side where I was, but that boy’s words stuck with me.

He was only speaking of a physical roadblock, but I thought this statement could be applied to any fear I have in life.  It is only the end if I want it to be.

These fears and desires that are unique to each one of us can change gradually overtime or as quickly as hearing simple comment like the one I just heard.

What prevents me from moving forward when God is with me?  He casts aside all anxiety. He is not the God of dismay and angst.  He is the Doer, the Giver, the Shaker, the Creator, the Comforter.  He is Love and Hope.  He removes the barriers and provides me with what I need when I need it.  He has done it time and time again, without fail.

So again, it is only the end if I want it to be because God is infinite and with Him we have infinite possibilities.

5. Homeschool + traveling = Roadschooling!

Birch Aquarium: Capturing this moment on camera with four kids ages 3 and under….Repeat-twice-less!


Scenes: Birch Aquarium, San Diego Zoo, Train ride along coast from Solana Beach to San Juan Capistrano, Mission San Juan Capistrano (scroll to bottom for more photos)

With each adventure we embarked on in San Diego, I began to see how God was distinctly shaping my vocation as a wife and a mother.

Ever since the twins were born I’ve had an inclination to homeschool, but with the normalities of the culture we are submersed in there is a constant battle between putting them in private school and homeschooling.

The thought of teaching them myself scares me beyond measure.  I am no brainiac, I have no desire to teach, and they might turn out to be just like me.  Not only that, but sending the kids off to school sounds like a daily vacation in which I could get many things accomplished such as cleaning, doctor visits, exercise without interruption, grocery shopping without tantrums, Daily Mass without my son wanting to join the consecration on the altar, Eucharistic Adoration, Spiritual Direction and confession without scheduling Matt or a neighbor to be home, need I go on?, and oh, yeah…I have zero patience (my family will be the first in line to tell you that one).  But…It’s only the end if I want it to be.

I realized that this desire to homeschool wasn’t from me, it’s from God, and it wasn’t for me, it’s for my children.  But it doesn’t end there.  He wants me to take homeschooling further than I ever dreamed.   He wants me to take it on the road.

These experiences in San Diego proved that to be true.  The excitement on their faces, the absorption of knowledge, the embedded memory that can’t be obtained just by reading about it or looking at it through a picture.  They are immersed in the adventure, they become a part of the history, and that is the greatest education of all.  The best teacher in the world can’t top the actual experience.  I believe that is why I love to travel so much.

My husband’s new career has a lot of flexibility with schedule and travel, as well.  This is something that he will be doing for the rest of his life, so we have ample ability to go anywhere (as long as he has cell service) during our children’s educational years.

After some contemplation I realized that not only will this roadschooling teach our kids, but it will help us bond as a family, it will teach Matt and I more about the world, but mostly we will have the ability to help other people along the way.   People we would never encounter here in our safe and comfortable community of McKinney, Tx.  We can show people throughout the United States and the world our faith through the love that we share as a family and through the experiences we encounter.

We may be a small family, but we are easily mobile and we have great love.  With that great love, we can take it with us wherever we go and change the world.

 

In front of Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano: One of very few selfies with my daughter
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Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano Holy Doors of Mercy (Not even one minute after the photo taken above, Davny decides to entertain spectators with a tantrum.)
Birch Aquarium

 

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Birch Aquarium
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San Diego Zoo

kara scow

Palm Sunday Mass Reveals A Eucharistic Phenomenon

Happy Thanksgiving!.png

Because the healing retreat that I went to the weekend before Easter didn’t end until 11:30 am on Palm Sunday, many of us ladies attended the 5:30pm Mass at St. Gabriel’s in which a section in the first few rows on the right of the main aisle were reserved for us.  I had never sat in the front row (even at a Daily Mass) before nor was I about to sit there that day, but I was left with no choice because there weren’t any seats left in the other rows.  

I hadn’t a clue about the graces I would receive.  I wonder to this day, was I awarded such marvels because I sat in the first row or because I attended a spiritual retreat or both?

An overwhelming sense of love for everyone in that church filled up inside of me.  I could feel it illuminating out of my very being.  My soul was ablaze!  I wanted to hug, really hug everyone I saw, especially all of these women that I now held a special bond with due to the retreat.  

At the beginning of Mass, I saw my Spiritual Director take her seat a few rows back and the Director of Worship for St. Gabriel, a woman I highly esteem and admire, sat directly behind me with her beautiful granddaughter.  Seeing them and knowing that they were so close to me during the mass that begins Holy Week sent the intensity of my aflamed heart into a mountainous bonfire!

I closely felt Jesus’ presence in that church.  It was as if I were watching him ride on his colt among the massive crowd, waving our palms at him, and lining his way into Jerusalem for Passover two thousand years ago.

Later, as the consecration was underway, Father lifts the host. I look up.

Jesus, I want to be awed.

As I’m looking down to pray “My Lord and My God” something catches my eye.  It’s a soft glow, it’s a white blur, it’s a haze around the host.

The host is illuminated!  Wait, am I seeing things?  Did anyone else see that?

Then, Father raises the wine.  I look up.

Jesus, I want to see.

As I look down again, I see a fog, not a white fog, but a dark red, the color of blood, fog hovering over the chalice.

What the heck just happened?  What did I just witness?  Something spectacular.  A supernatural phenomenon. Something only possible by the Mystery of Faith.  

Jesus, I am in awe!  Jesus, I see!  Praise Jesus! Thank you Jesus!

I know it sounds ludicrous, but I kid you not.  It happened.  I saw it with my own eyes.  This was a sign from God.  This was His gift to me!  Somehow, I had won His favor again!

And this gift, all of His gifts to me so extraordinarily prevail over the bad, the ugly, the evil temptations that the devil throws at me, the poisonous thoughts the he places in my mind telling me I’m an unfit mother, a stupid, unintelligent housewife with no autonomy, a worthless human being who contributes nothing to society.

God will incessantly and perpetually give me the graces to conquer and trounce this relentless wickedness.

All I have to do is trust.

Jesus, I trust in you!

kara scow

Healing Retreat Brings Fiery Tongues from the Holy Spirit

 

Heart pounding. Harder, harder, harder. Eyes shut. Fluttering rapidly. Faster, faster, faster.Sun shining. Brighter, brighter, brighter.Adrenaline pumping. Rushing, racing, shooting through my veins! (1)

The weekend before Easter, I attended a Spiritual Healing Retreat with many women in our Parish.  This was something completely out of my comfort zone, but I felt called to go.  And I’m so glad that I did.

What a profoundly beautiful and sanctifying experience I obtained from that retreat.  It was truly inconceivable mercy!

Friday night and Saturday mostly consisted of scriptural teachings on healing, and I was enlightened by two lessons.

The first being something that has been repeated to me many times, but this time it finally sunk into my thick skull.

I am not worthy.  But Jesus did not die for the worthy.  He died for me.  The unworthy.  The screwup.  The hot mess.  He suffered for me.  He died for me!

I can’t even begin to describe the overpowering sense of realization in that moment!  A newly discovered color had just emerged into my spectrum!

The second was finding that I could discipline my children while maintaining that motherly love of Mary.  When they are disobedient, be strict and correct them, but follow up with an “I love you no matter what you do.  This is why I did [blankety blank] and had to take away [blankety blank].”  Saying “I love you” alongside the disciplining allows me time to think, calm myself down and toss out the urge to be angry or frustrated.  As a mother, this was a huge breakthrough for me, but these enlightenments didn’t hold a candle to the last day of the retreat, which occurred on Palm Sunday.

It was our final session and we broke off into prayer groups of 10-12 standing in separate circles with one chair in the middle.  Each person was to receive a turn at sitting in the middle while the rest of us women laid hands on that person and prayed for them internally and verbally.

The first two ladies’ prayer sessions were fairly uneventful.  I suppose the Holy Spirit was just warming up.

But then, He began to breath fiery tongues upon us like it was Pentecost!

It was mind blowing.

My roommate sat in the middle.  I began to feel something stirring inside of me.

Heart pounding. Harder, harder, harder.  

Eyes shut.  Fluttering rapidly.  Faster, faster, faster.

Sun shining.  Brighter, brighter, brighter.

Adrenaline pumping.  Rushing, racing, shooting through my veins!

It was unfathomable.

The words and prayers that spilled out of us were something not of this world.  Something only God could bring to light.

Cast out her anxiety.  Toss it away and never return.  Worry be gone!

Make her fruitful.  Bless her fertility.  She will be the mother of 12 kids!

Then it was my turn.

First, silence.  Then….

The word redeemed is coming to mind. You are redeemed!  

Fill her with the necessary knowledge when she’s with her family this Easter.  

The Serenity Prayer just came to me.  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

I suddenly sensed the sun shining, beaming, completely enveloping me.

I felt the need to move so the sunlight could shine on you.

I was keenly aware of God’s warmth.  It was awesome!

A friend from my bible study group sat in the middle.

My eyes began moving rapidly underneath my closed eyelids.  I felt intense supernatural energy.

Let it go.  You are carrying a cross that isn’t yours to carry.  

Another lady.  I voiced all that consumed my heart and mind.

May God bless you with heroic patience and motherly love.

And another.

Look at the water.  The light reflecting off the lake will renew you.  You are renewed in it!

Finally, the last woman of our group sat in the middle chair.  We laid our hands on her.

I see a woman standing in front of a wave.  A giant cowabunga wave.  She is unafraid.  Then she is surfing the wave.  Riding it, gliding down, arms spread, fearlessness in her eyes. She seems to be saying, “I can conquer anything because God is with me!”  She is surfing in the image of Mary!  She is the Surfing Madonna!

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Her new nickname is now Surfing Madonna.  

If you’ve never heard of her, she is captured as a mosaic image of the Virgin of Guadalupe surfing a wave.  It is located on a wall in Solana Beach, CA (which is where one of my sister’s lives) outside of a local winery, hence the reason I know of her.

And all of this Holy Spirit action happened in one morning.  The rest of Palm Sunday brought me more unimaginable graces which I will reveal in my next post.

kara scow

My Bout with Spiritual Warfare 


I began writing this post over a week ago and the post turned into a novel. So to keep my ADD readers from going AWOL and to practice the art of brevity I’ll keep that post to myself and label it as a few diary entries during Holy Week.
To those who are unbelieving, this sequence would simply seem like a coincidental occurrence of bad events. I see it as Spiritual Warfare. What is it? The devil on attack. Yes, I said the devil.
Many cringe at the very sound of his name, but he is real and God is his number one enemy. God could crush him in one tiny wisp of a breath, but he doesn’t. Why? Because he is leaving that battle up to us. He wants us to choose between good and evil. He wants us, mere human beings, to defeat him.
The devil’s favorite time to pounce is usually right before or during a very spiritual period, in which you are receiving many graces from God. For myself and for my family that time was most definitely during Holy Week, but it is also now, and forever. We are a family of continual conversion, therefore, our Spiritual Warfare will go on and on.
To update you, my husband completed his RCIA and received full communion (Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion) into the Catholic Church on Easter Vigil Saturday.
It’s a big deal and the devil knew it!
He was about to lose another soul and he was scared.


The following are actual events that occurred before, during, and after Holy Week:

3.18

Day Before I leave for my Spiritual Retreat

Davny trips and falls head first into the brick mailbox that we installed that same day! Her bump protrudes out to a magnitude I’ve only seen on cartoons. I take her to the ER. They give her a CAT Scan. She is fine!

Thank you, Jesus!
3.19-3.20

Spiritual Retreat and Palm Sunday

Some amazing events occurred, but I’ll reserve them for a future post.
Holy Week
3.21

My Twinados strike the playroom and they cause a destruction I’ve never encountered before. An F4 level of destruction. And no nap. My patience is thinning with every tantrum. Then, my neighbors come to the rescue and surprise me with an impromptu birthday celebration. Their kids entertain mine.

Praise God!
3.22

Matt and I plan to put the kids to bed early to watch Passion of the Christ as we eat dinner. We succeed in getting them in their rooms by 6:15 with a 20 minute “reading” time. Upon return, to tuck them in bed, books are torn all over the room. Strike 1.
Lights out. Matt is on the phone. Coffee table in front of the TV is set with dinner and wine is opened. Twenty minutes later I hear a blood curdling scream from Davny. Nothing out of the ordinary. I wait. Screaming continues. I go up. Gadsden says, “Dirty Blankie”. What is going on? I turn on the lights. Giant blood stain is on Davny’s bed along with a blood smeared sound machine. What the? I turn around. Davny’s head and face are covered in blood. Strike 2.
Oh my dear Lord, please be ok.  I rush her downstairs to clean off the blood. It’s from a gash on her forehead. Not deep. Not big. No stitches needed. Phew.

Alleluia!

We conclude, by the evidence presented, that Gadsden threw the sound machine at Davny’s head. That was the end of anything but stuffed animals given to them at bedtime.
I give Davny a bath to wash off the rest of the blood. Matt is attacking the stains on the blankets and sheets in the laundry room. I assume Gadsden is with him. I hear “NO GADSDEN” from Matt. I finish up Davny’s bath and ask Matt what happened. Gadsden was playing Sommelier with our wine on the coffee table. He poured wine in our glass, but spilled some on the floor. Strike 3.

Most of it actually ended up in our glasses. Only 2 years old and he already knows how to pour wine. That’s my son!

Praise Jesus!
3.26

Easter Vigil Saturday

Matt’s family and my family arrive to witness and celebrate Matt’s full communion into the church.
3.27 

Easter Sunday

Gadsden trips and hits his head on the stairs. It leaves a giant bruise and bump on his forehead. He’s fine.

Thank you, Guardian Angel!
3.28-4.2

A week of uninterrupted fun with Matt’s family in town!
4.3

Divine Mercy Sunday

Matt’s family returned to Montana yesterday. Matt left for a work trip this morning. I take the kids to the park. We explore next to a lake and hike up and down the stepped spillway. Davny wants to walk through a marshy area. I tell her no. She throws a tantrum. I proceed to carry her up the stepped spillway and back to the stroller. We are at the top. Gadsden is behind me. I set Davny down to talk to her and try to calm her down. I look back. I see Gadsden near the edge. He teeters. Oh no, Gadsden! He falls over the side…
I run and jump over the edge. It’s a 10 foot drop. Thankfully the bottom is all grass. He’s crying. I don’t know what to do. Now, Davny is near the edge crying. I have one hurt from the fall and one about to do the same and there is only one of me. I run back and forth.

A man and his wife in a nearby house witnessed the entire episode and they run to help. Gadsden isn’t really moving, but he’s crying. Please, nothing be broken. Please, not his neck. He’s not moving his neck. I’m frantic. I carry him up and lay him down next to the man. I call my neighbor. By God’s grace she is driving home with her daughter and is nearby. She arrives. Gadsden is up and moving now, but still crying. I think he is going to be ok, but I’m not sure.

We try to put our gigantic stroller in the back of her car. We can’t. She takes Davny in the stroller. I put Gadsden in the back of her car. Her daughter rides with me. We drive to my house so I can grab my purse. I put Gadsden in our car. We go to Urgent Care. It’s closed.

We go to the ER at Baylor. We wait. They do a full body examination. No bumps, no bruises, no broken bones, no signs of concussion. Nothing.

Praise the Lord!

They want to be sure, so they request a full chest X-Ray. We wait another hour. The X-Ray is done. We wait for the results. The PA does another examination to make sure he hasn’t developed any signs of concussion. Nothing. The X-Ray results are normal. Phew! We are discharged.

My saints, my angels, my Lord and my God, Thank you!
We get home. My neighbor is there. It’s late. Davny is asleep in bed. I give Gadsden milk. He doesn’t want any food. I’m talking to my neighbor. Gadsden throws up. Uh oh. That’s not good. Could he have a concussion?  We clean it up. I put him to bed and monitor him. All is well….
4.4

The next morning, I go upstairs to get the already awake kids. I smell vomit immediately when I enter the room. Oh no. Vomit is all over Gadsden and his bed.

Holy cannoli! He does have a concussion! He could have died! I don’t want to go to the ER again.

I strip the room and wash everything, including the children. Gadsden feels warm. He has a fever. It occurs to me that he could have the stomach bug that’s been going around. I text my neighbor. I make an appointment with our doctor. Neighbor comes over. We go to the doctor. He has a stomach bug. I am actually happy that he’s sick. I can handle sick.

Thank you, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!


 

So what do you think?  Spiritual Warfare or just random bad coincidences?

My Gift from God because I said “Yes”!

They lived their last moments with me holding them.In the warmest, coziest, safest place that is closest to my heart and soul.

Many of you know my story.  I was infertile.  My husband, Matt and I, chose to do IVF.  We had boy/girl twins.  Upon rediscovering my faith in the Catholic Church, I found out IVF was a mortal sin.  

Matt and I asked ourselves: What do we do with our three leftover embryos? We don’t want five children, do we?  Could we handle that many kids?  What on earth did we get ourselves into?  

We decided that this decision wasn’t up to us.  It was God’s will to give us all of these children.  They are not property.  We don’t own them.  We can’t discard them.  They are human.  They are alive.  They have souls.  They deserve a chance at continuing their already created lives.  

It was our responsibility as their parents, their guardians, their protectors, to un-interrupt the interrupted, to rescue our children from their stagnant state that we had put them in.

We said “Yes” to resuming God’s will for us, despite our fears of raising a big family.

Today, on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I read this reflection and it dawned on me that I had said “Yes” to God’s will too.  Just as this woman, just as Mary, just as Jesus, and I experienced the same gift from God that this woman experienced: a little more time with our children.

None of our remaining embryos survived, but instead of “living” their lives indefinitely in a cold freezer or tossed out to die in a trash can or experimented on in a lab to be killed in a petri dish, they passed away inside of me.  

They lived their last moments with me holding them.

In the warmest, coziest, safest place that is closest to my heart and soul.  

In my womb.

God granted me this beautiful gift.  Why?  

Because I won His favor.  

Because I said “Yes” to His will.

 

 

Benedicamus Domino, 

Kara

I’m Not Pregnant: 5 Insights that Uplift Me

I need God. I need Him like a flag needs the wind to wave it's magnificent colors for all to see. To wave....wave goodbye. We love you. We'll see those waves, your waves in heaven..png

Yesterday, around 3:45 pm Matt arrives home and asks if I found out the test results. I say no. At 3:50 pm I notice a missed call from my IVF clinic at 2:37pm. I wonder why I missed it because I have been by the phone all day waiting for this call. I hit the number to call back.

Heart pounds.

Matt tries to quiet the kids so I can hear the results (they always scream and cry when I’m on the phone, which is a rare occasion).

Nurse: Hi Kara, how are you?

Me: Good. Other than I’m nervous, anxious, praying, praying, praying for good news. How did I miss this call? How are you?

Nurse: Good. We received your results.

Me: Uh oh, she sounds sad. Is that pity that I hear in her voice?   Inhale. Exhale.

Nurse: Your results came back negative…..everything else is blah, blah, blah, blah…..

Me: What is wrong with me? No, stop. It’s not my fault. The embryo was flawed.  It was not God’s will. Another loss.  Our last child.  Oh, ok.  Tears.  I look at Matt. He is still shushing the kids.

Nurse: You have the option to come in for a follow up consultation. Would you like to do that?

Me: No, no need.  One minute I’m pregnant. The next, nothing. This one was supposed to survive. We had everything planned.  

Nurse: I didn’t think you would.  Blah, blah, blah….I don’t recall what else she said.

Me: Thank you. Goodbye.

I look at Matt and shake my head with tears flowing. He hugs me. Our hope has vanished. 

Matt: Maybe you missed that call because I was supposed to be here when you received the news.

Me: Yes.  He’s so right. We had so much hope for this one. I thought for sure she would survive.

Matt: Me too.

We hug. We can’t let go. I realize I’m going to be late for my appointment. 

Me: I have to go. If I stay here I’ll keep crying and I don’t want to. I need God. I need Him like a flag needs the wind to wave it’s magnificent colors for all to see.  To wave….wave goodbye. We love you.  We’ll see those waves, your waves in heaven.

As you can see our news was a big upset, but, after a little reflection, it made me realize a few insights on this outcome that lift up my spirits.

1.  Our twins really are rare miracles

Out of the 14 embryos we created by IVF, only 6 survived until day 5.  For each cycle of IVF, the embryologist chooses the embryos that look like they have the greatest chance at survival, but the first one he chose did not live.  We decided to implant two on our second cycle and the two he chose sustained a pregnancy and were born together.  None of the three remaining embryos survived very long after their implantation.   Our twins were the only two that continued their lives by God’s will.  Not only that, but God chose for them to be born together.   What does that mean?  What does that entail for their future?  For God’s plan for them?  A sacred bond, constant support during their joys and hardships, lives lived with each other and for each other, always.

2. We are meant for something else.

Matt and I have our 10th year wedding anniversary coming up in September, so we made a promise that if we did not get pregnant, we would make a returning trip to Italy to recreate our honeymoon and see Italy in brand new eyes.  Eyes that are open, eyes that aren’t tainted by the secular world, eyes that are filled with love, eyes unblinded.  This trip might mean more than we realize.  It will make our marriage stronger by bringing us closer together spiritually. Experiencing this holy land in a new light, what we once had seen before will look drastically different. We are drastically different.

Also, maybe I will play a more significant role in the Pro-Life movement as a spokesperson for IVF.  God has something in mind for us that does not involve more children.  What will it be?  I’m excited at the prospect!

3. Comfort in closure.

Matt and I are now at peace.  We gave all of our children a chance to continue their lives and that brings us comfort.

No more visits to the IVF doctor, no more pills, no more shots, no more being pumped with synthetic hormones, no more being poked and prodded for blood samples, no more sonograms, no more screaming kids in a doctors office that makes me feel guilty.

4. To be grateful for what we do have, and stop worrying about what we don’t.

We have so much thanksgiving to give to God because we are filled with many blessings. We have two children in perfect health. We have our own health. We all have each other to support, to learn from, to forgive, to be forgiven, to be an imperfect, but faithful family. Mostly, we all have love to share.

Yes, we wanted a larger family and we truly believed we would achieve such a thing, but that is not God’s plan for us and we accept it. No more pursuing fertility treatments to get pregnant. We are just going to be as God wants us to be. Ourselves.  In our own flaws.

5. We do have a large family….up in Heaven

We may not have a large family here on earth, but with our 12 children up in heaven we are right up there with the largest of Catholic families!

We look forward to meeting them up there when the time comes…but we aren’t ready yet and won’t be for quite some time. We have much to do for God here on earth before we meet our eternal destination. We hope God agrees.

We thank you for all of your prayers.  They will not go unanswered.  The answer will just be different from what we expected.

Frozen Embryo Transferred Today!

So today we implanted our very last embryo conceived by IVF!  We have so much hope and so many prayers in place for this last child.  She (or he) was thawed yesterday and developed very well overnight, so her outlook is good, as of now!

Our first pregnancy test is the morning of March 11.  I will send out an update when I know the results.

If she (or he) survives, her due date will be November 18!

Thank you all again for your prayers and support!

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My husband, Matt, and I with a picture of our embryo (pink pic is from last night and the yellow is from this morning), waiting for the transfer.  She (or he) is growing beautifully!