potential match!

Things are coming along! On Monday the owner and president of Gifted Journeys, our surrogacy agency, Wendie, was in Minneapolis for business. We got to spend the afternoon with her and it was fantastic! She’s amazing and we had the best time getting to know her 🙂

We also have a potential match! The intended parents were shown our profile before we saw theirs and they thought we looked like a perfect fit! We also thought they looked great! So the next step will be their fertility doctor receiving my medical records and clearing me. As soon as I’m approved by their doctor we will set up a Skype date with them and “meet” face to face. If that meeting goes well and we all click like I think we, Aaron and I, will head to California to have our psychological evaluations, and medical screenings done. From what I can tell the psychological evaluations consist of sitting with a therapist and answering a bunch of questions to make sure we can mentally handle this process. The medical screening will be a bunch of labs and blood work. FUN!

That’s where we are at! Now we wait… 🙂


when moments are all you have

Sometimes in life, you feel invincible; like when both my daughters were born. Amanda carried them beautifully and like she was a living textbook. Every marker and milestone far above the charts for what is considered a healthy pregnancy. Development, labor, and delivery all went off perfectly without a hitch and I held each perfectly pink little girl in my arms feeling nothing but the deepest joy and wonder at what is perhaps life’s strangest and most beautiful miracle.

And other times in life, our temporal nature is crushing.

My wife slipped into the delivery room with a stupid grin plastered all over her proud face: her sister was about to deliver after a long, uncomplicated, long labor that was long. Did I mention it was long? Nothing record setting or anything of that nature, but compared to the small handful of hours that my wife labored for in each of her pregnancies, it was a long labor by my standards. We had ordered several meals at the hospital. My wife’s family is a funny bunch that way: if there’s a baby on the way, it’s a party; we order food, we sit around and chat, we hang out–we celebrate that new little life in style because a birth is such an incredible and amazing thing and we love any excuse for a party anyway, full disclosure. I was taking pictures of the day for posterity because births are amazing.

With untouchable hopes and even loftier excitement, the family settled in as best we could when push came to shove and the actual delivery started. My wife disappeared behind the double doors of the delivery wing and we waited. In the meantime we shared congratulations, and grandpa paced lightly, chatting about the excitement of having another grandson in the family.

When my wife returned from the delivery room in broken sobs, I felt for the first time in my life a feeling surrounding birth that was unfamiliar and cold: uncertainty. Through her make-up streaking tears I was able to put together that the unthinkable had happened. My nephew was born and didn’t cry; he didn’t do anything. The family was hit with the news like a sledgehammer. We did the only thing we knew to do and began to pray. We asked for God’s providence and protection; we pleaded with Jesus for a miracle.

I knew that we still had reason to hope as long as the nurses kept running. I counted their steps and carefully tracked their tempo as they rushed in and out of the birthing suite. I did the only thing I knew how to do in the moment and kept taking pictures.

My camera was stolen somewhere in the mix of sleeping in the hospital parking ramp in the back of my van and likely leaving the van unlocked on the trips in and out of the maternity ward. Fortunately, I had uploaded all the happy pictures to my laptop that stayed on my person for the duration of the hospital visit in a backpack when it wasn’t in use. I only lost one picture that I would have had any interest in keeping anyway, but I argue with myself about that sometimes and I lose every time because I’m good at arguing. My last picture taken on that stolen camera was that of the nurses running into the delivery suite with the huge life support cart that ironically houses a pink little human-shaped burrito. Bristling with oxygen tanks and vitals-reporting apparatuses, it’s a terrifying contraption; a thing I would have had nightmares about as a child. But I liked that picture that exists now only in memory because of what it represented; because the nurses were still running. Because that picture captured tangible hope.

After six harrowing minutes of compressions and drugs, my nephew’s little heart made its first faint little beats to mark its life’s rhythm. For us, they more resembled a sudden peal of thunder when they broke through a silence we didn’t know would end.

Why write this? Because he has zero developmental deficits and an extremely advanced sense of stubbornness, well beyond his years. Because he has a fierce little personality and isn’t at all afraid to flex his little will and let you know. Because if he had been born in any less capable of a facility or had to endure precious moments spent awaiting critical care in an ambulance instead of having a flood of medicine’s finest doctors and nurses immediately rain down on his little body to give it the gentle push it needed to get going that first time, then this story might not have the beautiful ending that it does.

When I chase that baby around my mother-in-law’s kitchen, he screams in either terror or glee pretty much at the flip of a coin; but I don’t care because he is screaming.

All of that said, our decision to have our surro-babe in a world-class medical center with one of the United States’ leading NICU’s just down the hall was made well in advance of even which agency we were going with; it even preceded our certainty that surrogacy was a road down which we would one day travel.

This may not be our child, but by no means does that mean surro-baby will receive anything but our very best efforts to provide a safe and seamless ride while in our care.


dad, how ya gonna have a baby and not give it any milk?!

That was Eva’s pressing question; and she was more than a little agitated with me when she believed that was what I was suggesting.

Amanda pointed out to me a few days prior to this conversation that we would have a stranger visiting our house to evaluate us on our ability to provide a safe place to grow a little human and our resident little people had no idea what that was going to be about or why and that it might be a good idea if they could at least have a ballpark conversation about the topic. Fair point, Wife.

I thought about it for a couple of days. What an odd idea to translate to a kiddo, surrogacy. In the moments of pondering what to tell my almost 4 year old and my 5-going-on-25 year old is when I came up with our blog name, a borrowed oven. Though effective, they were clearly unimpressed at the cleverness of my analogy and went straight to doubting my ability to consider a child’s needs (ha!):

Naomi: Wait. So mommy’s having another baby, but we don’t get to give it milk?!

Eva: Dad!? I’m worried. How can you have a baby and not give it any milk!?

Ever the hospitable preschoolers, they skipped over all the “why can’t we keep it and snuggle it” thoughts that I anticipated they might have and went straight to meal time; not all that surprising.

Me: Girls, we don’t have to worry about that because the baby’s parents will figure out what to do; they will give the baby milk that mommy can send or–

Before I could get into the wonders of formula with these master inquisitors, they promptly cut me off at that pass…

Both girls in an explosion of concern: If mommy makes the milk here– But how can the baby drink if it’s far away? Does mommy have to leave with the milk?! How long will she be gon–

Me: *laughing* It’s fiiiiiiine. If baby’s parents want mommy to give it milk, she will send it in the mail.

Naomi: *super dubious* …I don’t know…

Me: *laughing a little harder* It’ll be great. Eva, do you have any other questions.

Eva: *barely paying attention/doesn’t look up from her cereal/a little condescending* No. As long as the baby is going to get enough to eat, we can let someone use mommy’s tummy to have it I suppose.

And just like that, we have the blessing of our children: as long as the little mouth will get fed, they are okay with us facilitating its entrance into existence. My kids are so funny. If laughter makes you live longer, I might be immortal.


starting the journey

The whole idea of surrogacy was planted in my heart about 10 years ago when I met a gal from our church who was a surrogate to two little surro babes. I just remember thinking how amazing it was. The thought that I may want to do that for someone else at some point kinda stuck, and has continued to grow over the years. I have mentioned my desire to be a surrogate a few times to Aaron but I knew this had to be a decision we were both comfortable with. When I asked him about it again recently (about a month ago) he said he would love to talk about it.

At that point I started doing a ton of research. I read blogs, watched youtube videos, read reviews of different agencies. I was overwhelmed with all the information. I literally didn’t sleep for a week because my brain would not shut off long enough to sleep. As we talked and researched and I applied to a few different agencies my excitement just grew.

We finally settled on Gifted Journeys as the agency we wanted to work with. We were immediately impressed with how special and cared for they made us feel. Some of the other agencies got really clinical really quickly. GJ (gifted Journeys) asked amazing questions on their applications and I felt like they really wanted to get to know me and my family. They definitely stood out to me, and we felt a lot of peace about going with them.

After we finished the application process the next step was a phone interview. This basically was just a phone call to go over the whole process with us and answer any questions we may have. Phone call went great! After the phone call we got a whole packet of information and forms we needed to sign and send back. After I finished those, I needed to get all my medical records and send those over to them so have their doctors look over then and officially approve me. Getting my medical records proved to be a little tricky since I’ve been seen at 3 different clinics between when I got pregnant with Eva and now. Having to contact each clinic and the hospital, fill out all of the release of information forms, and figure how to get all 4 of the 100+ page documents and get them over to the agency was kind of a headache but I got it done, and got approved!

Now we wait for a match! We were sent a potential match last week but the IPs (intended parents) wanted to transfer two embryos and at this point we only want one embryo transferred. I LOVE babies, but we decided we are aren’t comfortable with the risk that comes with a multiples pregnancy. So we are back to waiting. I don’t like waiting very much, especially when I’m this excited about something. But I have a feeling that waiting will be a common theme throughout this journey so we are buckling in for the ride.

We just wanted to thank you all for all the love and support we’ve received so far. Surrogacy isn’t something that’s talked about very often and we weren’t sure what kind of reaction we were going to get from friends and family. It’s been overwhelming to see all the love. We are so blessed and thankful to be surrounded by such amazing people. Thank you all so much. Please continue to pray for us as we start this journey. Pray for the intended parents (whoever they are). Pray for the little miracle that God is designing for those parents. Pray for our family as we walk through this new season of life.

We are so blessed and excited to be able to help create life! Stay tuned for updates 🙂