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!

IMG_6119
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!

 

FET Update and Spiritual Works of Mercy: IVF Edition

After my appointment on Wednesday I received word that all is a go!  I am scheduled to transfer our last frozen embryo, our last child conceived by IVF, early morning on March 2nd!  I’ll keep you updated!

Knowing that we will never need to rescue another of our own children from his/her frozen enslavement brings me peace, but not completely.  There are still over 600,000 embryos in the U.S., waiting to continue their lives, stagnant in time, hoping to be loved and nurtured by their parents.  So what do we do about that?  We can stop this very large number from increasing through our actions and our prayers by using the Spiritual Works of Mercy!

 

Spiritual Works of Mercy- IVF Edition

Admonish the Sinner

If someone you know is thinking of doing IVF, then tell them why it is wrong and the moral dilemmas they will be faced with if they go through with it.  This is a great site that explains why IVF seems like good intentions, but in reality it is extremely immoral.

Instruct the Ignorant 

Teach everyone about the immorality of IVF.  I guarantee that most people don’t know the truth.  If you are the ignorant or would like to show someone more information on the immorality of IVF, watch this IVF video by Father Tad Pacholczyk for great commentary.  If you’ve been through IVF and know the implications, your story is your most powerful weapon.  Here is mine.

Counsel the Doubtful 

Infertility is hard, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s not easy to be around friends and family who pop out babies left and right while you suffer.  This makes it all the more difficult to stay the course and remain on moral high ground.  IVF clinics are showing up like Donut shops and they claim to offer you that child that you so desperately want to hold and love.  It’s enticing, but at what cost?  Not just financially, but ethically? If you or if you know someone who doubts the unethical actions of IVF then please watch Father Tad’s video above.  What other option do you have?  NaproTechnology.  Watch this video by New Hope Infertility for a detailed explanation.

Comfort the Sorrowful

Do you know someone who is struggling with infertility or who has lost children through IVF or is dealing with the moral dilemmas that IVF brings?  Be there for them.  Listen.  Offer help in any way.  Hug them. Let them know how to be patient and wait for God’s plan or to seek forgiveness through confession.

Bear Wrongs Patiently/Forgive All Injuries 

Forgive anyone that might have coerced you into doing IVF or who was involved in the act, such as the nurses and doctors at your IVF clinic.  If you are the one who needs to be forgiven for undergoing IVF when you knew that it was wrong then please go to confession.  If you need to forgive someone else for having gone through IVF when you specifically told them it was wrong, don’t hold it against them.  We all do crazy, stupid things when under duress and through desperation.  It’s what we do with our mistakes that make us good and holy.

Pray for the Living and the Dead

Pray, pray, pray for all of the embryos that are still frozen.  That they will one day continue their lives, be born, participate fully in God’s creation, or that they are released from their stagnation and die in peace.  Pray that their parents realize the unethical depth of IVF, seek moral guidance and do what is right.  Pray for those contemplating the act of IVF and that they alter their decision and choose a route that does not create life outside of their marriage, nor manipulate, or destroy it in the process.  Pray for all the children that have been eradicated due to IVF’s abuse of life.  Pray for the salvation of their souls, their parents souls, and the souls of the employees in the IVF industry.

 

Please forward this post onto anyone who may be contemplating IVF.  I hope this changes their mind.

Last Frozen Embryo Transfer Update

Just wanted to give an update on the cycle of our Last Frozen Embryo Transfer.

After my doctor’s appointment yesterday, once again, our scheduled transfer date is pushed back a week due to insufficient thickness in my uterine lining, therefore, our new transfer date will be March 2nd, give or take a day or two.

All is well otherwise!

In the meantime, I am encouraged by pregnant Mary’s words when, after the annunciation, she visits her cousin Elizabeth, and John the Baptist leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb upon encountering the presence of Jesus Christ, and Mary says this:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;my spirit rejoices in God my savior.For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.The Mighty One has done great things for me,and holy is h.png

I will pray this everyday because that is exactly how I feel, no matter the outcome, always accepting and being ever grateful for His will.

Benedicamus Domino,

Kara

Path to More Children: Our Last Frozen Embryo Transfer Cycle Begins

Yesterday was Day One of our very last Frozen Embryo Transfer Cycle, in other words, we initiated the phase to release our final child conceived by IVF from her frozen chamber.

It is our closing round of making a wrong a right by continuing the life of a child suspended in time.

It is the beginning of the end.

Her enslavement is also our own enslavement.  Our conscience will not be at peace until all of our children are free.  Every single one of them deserve a chance at life.  My heart is glad that this is our last child and we are putting this IVF business to rest.

I call this child “her” not because we know by any scientific data that she is a girl, but because I feel that she is (I could be wrong.  I usually am with guessing gender). God saved his masterpiece, Eve, a female, as His final creation, and I think He is doing the same for us.

But I noticed something else.  How the core of Mary’s story resembles our own journey through IVF.

“The first Eve disobeyed God and thereby brought sin and death into the world. The New Eve, Mary, obeyed and believed God’s message which was given to her at the Annunciation ( Lk .1 :26-38 ), and brought salvation and life to the world in her son, Jesus, who crushes the head of the serpent. Mary, like us, shares in this victory (http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/meditations/neweve.html).”

In doing IVF, a sin, similar to sin that materialized through Adam and Eve, we were presented with a grace, Mary.  As she was announced to and accepted to save humanity through her son, Jesus, we were given a path to salvation through my children conceived by IVF.  As Mary did, we are crushing the head of the serpent, the badge of sin, with our actions in continuing the lives of our children, instead of leaving them to indefinite stagnation or donating them to science or disposing of them.

We are combating the manipulation and destruction of humanity in IVF with good…with life.

As of today, I begin taking estrogen then will go back for a sonogram to check my uterine lining on February 17.  If all looks good, I begin the progesterone “bum and bummer” shots, then we are a go for the Frozen Embryo Transfer to take place on February 24.

We have so much hope for this last child conceived through IVF.  I continually pray for her survival and to give her the strength and health to be born.  To grow alongside Gadsden and Davny, participating in the many blessings we share in our family, and to live a long, loving, virtuous, healthy, and joyous life.

I ask you to pray the same.  Thank you!

Benedicamus Domino,

Kara

is ivf a modern-day form of slavery?

Title:  'Hagar and Ismael Seeking Water' Painter: Hermine F Schäfer Year:  1964
Title: ‘Hagar and Ismael Seeking Water’
Painter: Hermine F Schäfer
Year: 1964

A year ago, a women’s bible study would have never been a blip on my radar screen.  I considered it a laughable task that “religious freaks” did in their spare time. Today, I’m a proud member of that bizarre group of people who study the bible.  It’s part of the very essence I’ve been missing in my life.  Learning about the Word of God gives sustenance to my embodiment like a husband does to his wife or as a mother’s milk nourishes her newborn child or like peanut butter is the perfect accompaniment to chocolate.

Not only am I absorbing the valuable works of the Bible, I’m meeting Catholic women who are going through struggles, sorrows, love, happiness, and frustrations that are not similar in structure to my own, but are of the same spiritual and emotional substance.  And, predominantly, these women hold the same fiery and uncontrollable fervor for Jesus Christ as I do.

I feel so much warmth and comfort in attending because I’m not alone walking down the path to strengthen my faith and truly grasp the Catholic ideology.

We are currently delving into the women of the bible, and this past week, we reviewed Sarah and Hagar.  I couldn’t help but notice how both of their stories mirror my journey through IVF, and in seeing this correlation it brought to mind, am I a modern-day Sarah?  Not only that, but in learning about Hagar and her son, Ishmael, I have to ask, is IVF a modern-day form of slavery?

To further understand this, let me briefly take you through Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael’s biblical history.

Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael

Sarah was the wife of Abraham in which she remained barren for most of her long life.  God promised her that he would give her a child, but because she was well into her “Golden Years” she decided to take matters into her own hands, and asked Abraham to sleep with her trusted maidservant, Hagar.  When Sarah made this demand, she fractured her alliance with God and sacramental promise to her husband.

Back in ancient times, using a slave as a surrogate mother was common practice for wives of masters who could not bear children. Hagar, as a maid with no rights, had to accept this situation willingly.  Although, upon realizing her pregnancy, pride took over and she became boastful in front of Sarah, which made Sarah angry and jealous.  Soon, Hagar bore a son to Abraham named Ishmael.

Despite Sarah’s impatience and self-reliance, God kept his promise and gave her a child, Isaac, when she was 90 years old.  

Over the years, Sarah’s envy of Hagar increased, which led her to banish Hagar and Ishmael from their home and into the desert.  When Ishmael was dying of thirst, God sent an angel to save him and Hagar from death.

Sarah and Kara

As Sarah’s desperation for a child increased in her late age, her reliance on God decreased, therefore, she acted on her own and brought her husband in on the misdeed of infidelity to obtain what she wanted (eerily similar to Eve convincing Adam to eat the forbidden fruit resulting in their disloyalty to God).

In a sense, I acted in the same way.  We live in an instant gratification, Veruca Salt world, and  waiting for God to fulfill my longing for a child was not my intention, then.  I saw my fertility incompleteness as something that I could fix, and if I did nothing, then nothing would be what I received, so I convinced my husband that we should create a child through IVF. This led us to proceed beyond the bounds of our marriage resulting in both of us committing adultery to our conjugal bond.

Comparably to Sarah, regardless of my “do-it-yourself” moment, God nonetheless granted me the gift of children.  Through His gift of mercy to Sarah and I, God was able to break through the barriers of our stubbornness and eventually we realized that in doing it our way, we were getting in His way to satisfy our needs.

Slavery and IVF

Going a little deeper, Hagar, slave and maid to Sarah, considered property to her master, Abraham, was involuntarily pulled into this sinful act of conceiving a child outside of marriage.  As a result, she gave birth to her son, Ishmael, who would thereby be a slave.

So how are IVF and slavery related?  Think about it.  IVF disregards the humanity of children at their embryonic stage by treating them as property, therefore, they are slaves to their owners.  

Additionally, if these children are not immediately transferred into their mother’s uterus then they become “leftover”, which entitles them to an indefinite banishment in a freezer, much like a cold desert.  

On the other hand, if their owners deem them no longer necessary, their human lives face the fate of destruction with no rights of their own, no protector, and no one asking them if they would like to continue being.   

So what do you think?  Is IVF a modern-day form of slavery?