Our Frozen Embryo Transfer

This morning I woke up to a message from a friend who shared a story from the gospels (here, here, and here) where Jesus heals a paralyzed man. Friends of the paralyzed man want to bring him to Jesus, but they can't get through the crowds. With ingenuity they hoist their friend up into the rooftop of the building where Jesus was speaking, make a hole in the roof, and lower him down on a mat. When Jesus sees the faith of these friends, he looks at the paralyzed man before him and says, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

Now in those days it was clearly known among the Jews that only God could forgive sins. There were Jewish teachers in the crowd- who did not yet understand that Jesus was God- and the passage says that Jesus immediately knew they were scandalized, thinking something like, "Who does Jesus think he is?! Only God can forgive sins!" So Jesus decides to put his divinity on display.

"What is easier to say," he asks them, "'Your sins are forgiven' or 'get up and walk'?"

(No answer from the crowd of course… probably easier to say you've forgiven someone than to heal them!)

Then he looks at the paralyzed man again and says, "Get up, take your mat, and go home."

Miraculously, he does!

Here's my favorite part of the story: the crowds who had witnesses this incredible healing are so awed and moved that they do the only thing you can do when you witness a miracle: they praised God. 

Now when my friend shared this story with me in a message this morning, she made a remarkable comparison: you, she wrote, are like the paralyzed man and with our prayers we have carried you to the feet of Jesus. 

To that I can only whisper, "Amen" and swallow the giant lump in my throat. I have been greatly humbled by the prayers of so many- by your prayers- that have brought me before the feet of Jesus. As I read that biblical story this morning the deep cry of my heart was that God would perform a miracle inside me by bringing these babies to life so that everyone who bears witness to my story would be moved to praise him. 

I must trust that God knows best how to make his glory known, but I pray passionately that this is it: a demonstration of his divinity, a proof of his power, and a testimony to his tender love. 

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for carrying me to Jesus. Oh God, hear our prayers!

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you've already seen a glimpse into how wonderfully our transfer day unfolded. My intention was to come home and write immediately about the transfer itself but beautiful things kept happening throughout the day so I waited until this morning, wanting to share them all with you.

The Sunday before our (Wednesday) transfer, I once again found myself on the floor of a beautiful woman from my church name Abby. I wrote last June about how she invited me to come to her house to have hands laid on me and prayers spoken over me that I would find healing from infertility. When we announced our impending transfer the first thing she did was ask if I would return to be prayed over. Absolutely yes! Once again I was deeply moved by the prayers of these women, carrying me to Jesus, asking that he would make my body a vessel in which these embryos could thrive. They prayed for me, for the thawing process, for the transfer, and for these babies who we know are precious in the sight of the Lord. I left with joy in my heart.

Later that night I texted the women in my small group to help me cope with pain from my progesterone shots as I helped in Arie's preschool class the next morning. They responded generously and subsequently decided that they also wanted to carry me through our transfer day. They each took a block of time to cover in prayer. And let me tell you- I felt those prayers! The peace of Christ dwelled within me richly.

The evening before our transfer we were blessed to have John's mom arrive so she could take care of Arie while we were away. My mother-in-law is the only family member we have "nearby" (about an hour+ away) and she spends half the year in Arizona so when she's gone, childcare has been a concern for our fertility procedures. We've had wonderful friends step up to help us, but for this intimate experience I was thrilled to have her come stay with us (as was Arie!). We were able to have a normal morning (with the exception of my progesterone shot which is still firmly in the "abominable" category) before heading out to my first appointment.

Earlier in the year I was seeing a chiropractor for supplemental fertility care, but I've since switched and been seeing my friend Kelly for something called "sacral cranial therapy." I had a session with her immediately before the transfer.  Kelly is someone dear to me: John and I went to college with her and her husband and after Arie came home they became his Orthodox godparents since when Arie was baptized in Russia it was into the Orthodox church. Along with her expertise in SCT and other holistic therapies, Kelly has a gentle and joyful way of making the Orthodox faith accessible to people like me who know so little about it. John and I were deeply touched and spiritual fed when we saw what she brought with her for my session: a beautiful icon of Joaquim and Anna, known in the Orthodox tradition as the parents of Mary, mother of Jesus.

As their story goes, Joaquim and Anna endured a long struggle with infertility before giving birth to Mary and are today known as the patron saints of fertility. (Disclaimer: this is my limited understanding but again I'm not Orthodox so I welcome corrections!)

As Joaquim and Anna looked on, Kelly took a bottle of holy water from her church (water that has been blessed by a priest for use in baptism or to bless a person, place, or thing) and made the sign of the cross on me: three times on my forehead and three times on my womb. "I was thinking, " she said with a sly smile, "if you have twins that would be very trinitarian of you!" There's a little joke for my theological friends. ;-)

I left the session feeling open and ready to receive the new life of two babies about to be transferred inside me.

Our fertility center does not give patients an update on the embryos' thawing process unless there are no embryos left to transfer. As we arrived I was eager to hear how it went! In my heart I felt that they had thawed two and they had both survived so I wasn't nervous about it, but I knew there was at least the possibility we had lost one or two. Even with the unknowns, I walked into the clinic filled with excitement!
I'm hoping this is my last pre-pregnancy picture!
John and I were welcomed back to a big room with hospital beds portioned with curtains and instructed to get dressed: I changed out of my clothes and into a clean gown with a hair net and sock covers, while John was able to simple slip his getup on overtop of what he was wearing.
Some people wear lingerie when they get pregnant. Others wear hair nets
and sterile gowns. 
Just as we finished changing a nurse called through the curtain and we invited her in. She handed up a stack of post-procedure instructions, had us sign a few papers, and they gave us the thing I had been most excited to receive: a picture of our embryos!

I'm sure to you they look like little blobs, but to me they are the most beautiful babies in the world (well, in addition to Arie!)! I could not stop staring at them. It was even hard for me to pass the picture to John so he could have a look! On the back of the picture was written the new I had been waiting for: 2 embryos thawed and they both survived. An answer to one of our heartfelt prayers!

Next we were escorted into a sterile room where we met a smiling Dr. Colbert and began the transfer process. It went so quickly neither John nor I had time to even process what was happening. Our transfer was at 10:30 and we were back in our partitioned "room" to change by 10:39! It was crazy. One minute I was walking around with an empty womb and the next minute I was pregnant! We were able to see the embryos leave the catheter and enter my uterus on the ultrasound screen; if it were not for that image I probably would not have been able to believe they were inside of me!

Based on new research, our clinic changed their bed rest requirements last week from 2 days of bed rest to none! I was thrilled by that. I still have to take it easy and avoided lifting anything over 10lbs but other than that it is life as usual. Since my butt still hurts from the progesterone shots I'm taking it pretty easy anyway. I feel thankful to be a stay at home mom where I can let some things "slide"(my house is not the tidiest right now!) for the time being until I'm feeling better. Props to you women who do IVF while working outside the home. You are heroes in my eyes!

John and I picked up my favorite comfort food on the way home: Thai! Specifically, Thom Kha soup- yum! I reclined in the car while he went into the restaurant and read through all your notes on Facebook and Instagram. You guys! It was incredible. I was overwhelmed by your support and prayers. You are truly a gift to me!

We had a yummy lunch at home, put Arie down for a nap, and said goodbye to John's mom. I was warmly contented by our perfect morning so I lay down to rest my sore butt and envision those little embryos getting cozy inside. "What a perfect day!" I thought to myself. Little did I know there were more blessings on their way!

Right before Arie woke up from his nap the doorbell rang. There are only about 10 feet from our couch to the front door however due to my butt situation is takes me a long time to get there! By the time I finally opened the door I saw the back of a man's head bobbing down our steps. "Hi!" I called to him.

"Oh!" he turned around. "I have a delivery for you!" He handed me the most beautiful flower arrangement: pure white and adorned with delicate, sparkling snowflakes.

"Oh wow!" I cried as I accepted the gift. Turning inside I searched my brain to think who they could be from. Clueless, I unfolded the small card perched inside.

"Sending prayers, "sticky vibes" and all our love."

From our embryo donors.

I could barely call John over because I was so choked up. I can't tell you what it feels like to have someone give you the most precious gift of a child and then to continue to shower you with such love. When I gaze upon those delicate white petals I can hardly process the goodness I've been shown. Our donors are such a picture of divine grace in our lives.

A few hours later my friend Stacy stopped by with a meal for us: a hearty beef soup, exactly what a body needs when it is working hard to embrace two new babies! :-) We sat and talked for a while, processing all the goodness of our days.

After dinner I got Arie in the bath when I heard a loud engine outside. Arie stopped his splashing and looked at me with big eyes, "Is there a tractor at our house Mom??" I looked out the window to see a group of our church's youth group students armed with leaf blowers and rakes working on our yard. By then I felt like crying!  It is completely overwhelming to be shown such great goodness in one short day. I remembered looking at our leaf littered lawn as we pulled out of the driveway that morning and wondering how we were ever going to get them cleaned up. I don't know if I've mentioned my butt situation yet, but I've got some vicious pain back there and the idea of raking… yea, that wasn't going to happen. What relief to know that it was done for us! Thank you students!

I went to bed last night with a  full heart and- for the first time ever- a full womb. I pray these babies implant and thrive so I can tell them the story of their conception day. It truly was a beautiful one.

Thank you for walking with us through this journey and even more for carrying me to Jesus. I am indebted to you. From your comments on my pictures and posts to your private messages to your acts of kindness… you bring me joy and you inspire me to be a more generous person myself. Sending much love from this side of the screen.



  1. Got teary eyed reading today's post. Praying you have sticky babies!

    1. Glad I'm not the only one ;-) Thank you for your prayers!!

  2. All I have to say is butt situation.

    1. I was hoping that would make someone laugh ;-)

  3. Wow!! Beautifully said! What a beautiful story God has written for you all. Praying still!

    1. Indeed! Thank your for your continued prayers Christine!

  4. So excited to hear that Dr. Colbert has officially changed his bedrest recommendation. I was planning on ignoring it anyway (based on the research) and now I won't have the guilt of "why didn't I listen" during the 2WW

    1. I felt the same Becky! I knew about the research before they changed their recommendation and felt torn. It was great to hear they changed their recommendation!

    2. I'm glad to hear they changed it too. I felt conflicted as well when the Fertility Center said 2 days of bed rest. I did take it easy and probably rested more than I intended to as I was quite tender from the egg retrieval. Listening to one's body is probably better advice than any required bed rest.

  5. aww! what a lovely day!! excited for you! :)

  6. "Some people wear lingerie when they get pregnant. Others wear hair nets and sterile gowns."

    I had quite a giggle over this one.

    Stick lil snowflakes, stick and implant and GROW!

    1. Haha glad it made you laugh! I was giggling when I wrote it. ;-) YES: stick lil snowflakes!!

  7. What a neat story and journey to read about! I just found your blog through a friend on facebook who liked your page. I have been very interested in the embryo adoption/donation process as my hubby and I found out 3 years ago from a top fertility doctor that we can't have our own kids naturally. God has other plans for us, and we are totally ok with that!!! So we've been praying and feeling lead to go through the route of embryo adoption. I do have some questions for you about the process and would love to connect with you.

    Praying for you and the next step of your beautiful journey Praying those embryo's stick and implant to form miracles!

    1. Hi Shanell! Embryo adoption is great option and I feel so thrilled to be able to do it! I'd love to connect- send me a message via my FB page Facebook.com/addingaburden Look forward to hearing from you!

  8. Absolutely beautiful! Bob and I are lifting ALL of you up in prayer daily!

    1. Thank you Hannah and Bob! Your prayers carry us through this!


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