Sunday, September 19, 2021

Help us Hope for Tomorrow (Surrogacy Gofundme)

Greetings!

I will never get tired of sharing my thanks for the tremendous support Jacob and I have been shown this past year. You have been sharing the posts about us ever since we were first announced to be missing - and that’s the reason we were found! Thousands of compassionate people around the world, and two heroic men who came looking for us once they heard the news, despite having just worked a 12-hour shift. We would have died out there if it hadn’t been for their heroism, and your viral post-sharing to get them the news in the first place.

 

Then, you shared our original gofundme 42,000 times, and more than 5,000 of you donated!

 

Faced with well over $2 million in medical expenses, not to mention lost income, your support has been breathtaking. Between your generosity, medical insurance, and some limited government assistance, we’re going to be able to move forward without medical debt. What a tremendous blessing! Like I said, I will never get tired of sharing my thanks!

 

Also so many of you sent us checks and personal cards in the mail, brought us meals, and have supported us in so many ways. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

As we prepare to move forward into our next chapter of life, I would so appreciate if you guys could also share our new surrogacy gofundme page. Babies! 🥰

 

This is the link:

 

https://gofund.me/4a27b306

 

Also, if anyone would like to donate by sending a check in the mail or a Venmo transfer, here is that information as well:

 

Venmo: @Jacob-Hyland

 

Address:

Jacob and Jamie Hyland

PO Box 1512

Maple Valley, WA 98038

 

Again… thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

Also, I really appreciate the kind words many of you have given me about my artwork. I take a lot of comfort in being able to paint, it helps me dream and imagine and nurture hope in my heart. Babies! 🥰

 

Here is a painting I was originally planning to use as the gofundme cover page, but I ended up choosing my other painting instead. I still like this one though, and seeing my paintbrushes and palettes in the background makes me feel cozy. ☺️ 

 


Uriel always loved. Always remembered.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

When you aren't living God's "Plan A" for your life

What is God's "Plan A" for your life? This is a loaded question, implying that God's plan doesn't always happen. I believe this implication is accurate. It wasn't God's plan for Adam and Eve to eat the fruit, but He sure whipped up a "Plan B" following that event. My little family taking a camping trip seems entirely within the will of God, but it sure wasn't His will for our children to die and my womb to be lost. Yet we're pressing forward anyway and God has not abandoned us or stopped making plans for us.

What I'm saying is that it is possible to know God's will, and it is possible for it to be sabotaged to some extent, and God will pick up the pieces and move forward with you anyway. I'm going to start with this scripture:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2

God's will for your life is very personal between you and Him to work out, but there are some overall guidelines that are applicable to all. I'll cite my scripture references for this at the end of the post.

Second, we know that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Of course, it doesn't say all things that happen are good, just that He will use them for good. What if a person was undergoing surgery and the doctor made a mistake, causing the person to be permanently wheelchair-bound? That's not good and that's not God's plan. But unless there is a miraculous healing, God will use that situation for good, if the person is a steadfast believer (loves God and is called according to his purpose).

Some people will say it was God's plan for that person to become disabled. I disagree. In John 10:10 Jesus says, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

I think losing the ability to walk would fall in the "kill, steal, and destroy," category, not the "abundant life" category. But that doesn't mean God can't meet that person where they're at and establish areas of abundance in their life despite all that's been stollen from them. Why doesn't God just miraculously heal their legs, though? Why doesn't God restore "Plan A" when He can? Well, sometimes He does. And when He doesn't, we either need to learn to live with it, keep contending in prayer for the miracle, or both. That's certainly where I'm at in life with my situation.

Anyway, so, here are some overall guidelines for a scriptural understanding of God's will for a believer's life:

His plan for us is abundant life! His plan is for us to seek Him diligently with all our hearts, know Him intimately and experience the richness and fullness of that. Knowing Him intimately is literally the definition of eternal life! From this place of intimacy and a renewed mind, we can follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our specific circumstances. It is God's will for us to be in perfect health: spiritually, mentally/emotionally, and physically. The plan is for us to have endurance, strength, energy and vitality. He wants our souls to prosper, for us to be radiant and unashamed, to make our boast in the Lord and praise Him continually. He wants us to walk in the truth. He wants us to know the fear of the Lord, which is not to be scared, but is to have an awe, a wonder, a respect and high regard. He wants us to have the capacity to be content in whatever the circumstance, whether need or plenty, by the strength of Christ. We are to be led by the spirit and operate in the fruits of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He generally desires for us to seek a quiet life where we work with our hands (I think that describes 99% of all work, both in the home and out of it).

The Lord tells us that children are a blessing, that we as believers should serve one another humbly in love, that we should seek to outdo each other in giving honor. We are warned against biting and devouring (bickering and putting each other down), lest we be destroyed by each other. Rather, we are commanded to encourage and build each other up, bear with each other and forgive, and to let love be genuine. We are to look out for the interest of others, valuing them above ourselves. We are told to choose our friends carefully, to walk with the wise and become wise, to accept discipline and advice. It is God's will for us to seek peace and pursue it in our relationships. We are told to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, whatever that may be for each of us.

Ah, God's wonderful will for our lives. Isn't that all so beautiful? Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in that type of atmosphere our entire lives? But regardless of past or present experience, this is not only a worthy goal or a nice idea, it is literally our inheritance and our responsibility as believers to pursue this type of relationship with God and others.


Now, what are the circumstances that can take us out of this "Plan A"? Well, God allows us to be effected by our own free will, by the free will of others, and also by chance to some extent. 

We enter this world as small and helpless little humans, totally dependent on our parents or guardians to care for us and protect us. Gal 5:13 says, "serve one another humbly in love." Not all of us have experienced parenthood, but we've all experienced childhood. Whether we had great parents or not-so-great parents, many of us have experienced situations in which the adults in our lives didn't know how to love us like this, and thus, even from our early years God's "Plan A" for our lives can be disrupted. Even in childhood seeds of insecurity, fear, selfishness, anxiety, wrong priorities, and a host of other issues can be unwittingly nurtured by parents who don't know how to serve their children humbly in love and impart security, character, and wisdom.

As parents, we must do our best to nurture good seeds instead, whether we got that nurturing from our own parents or not. Because God has the ability to restore us to His plan of a functional person with His peace indwelling, and He also uses other believers to invest in us and help to equip us. We must not take lightly our job to serve these little ones humbly in love, and also to teach them to serve others humbly in love as well. We do this first and foremost by example. We need to be attuned to the needs of our children, both physical and emotional, and value their needs above our own. As they get older, we need to teach them to recognize the needs of those around them (even our own needs as their parent sometimes) so they don't think the world revolves around them. This also we can teach by example as we "look out not only for our own interests but for the interest of those around us."( Phil 2:3-4) As we serve other members of our community, our children see this and can also participate.

We need to be slow to scold and quick to listen, sympathetic and helpful as our children sort out their little life dilemmas and desires. But we also need to give them the security of firm boundaries. We should encroach upon them as little as possible, but for the sake of safety and a standard of character there does need to be a few boundaries which are maintained with firm, gentle, loving and humble discipline. We should be stable and trustworthy, quick to affirm and accept our children in both their victories and their struggles, allowing them to live their own lives and own their own personhood, allowing them to make mistakes in safe environments, helping them brush off the dust and move forward without too much fuss. We need to be worthy of their trust, people they know they can come to, openly and honestly, without fear of being shamed for their humanity. Proverbs 13:20 says "Walk with the wise and become wise," and we should be that for our children. Too often parents and children get caught up in petty power struggles and are never able to develop this kind of relationship.

It is possible to be this kind of parent, but only as we submit ourselves fully to Christ and allow Him to heal our hearts and renew our minds. Some of us had parents who totally failed us, but most of us had parents with varying levels of success. Either way, we need to put whatever effort necessary into co-laboring with Christ so that we can become the parents God desires our children to have. Let each generation honor the generation that came before for their investment, and seek to invest even more yet into the next generation.

I got off on a mini parenting-tangent, but the point I want to make here is that sometimes God's "Plan A" for our lives can be sabotaged by the sin or mistakes of others. Whether that be parents, a drunk driver, a gossiping classmate, a back-stabbing business partner, a murderer, a crooked politician, persecution and imprisonment in an anti-Christian nation, an arson... or whatever. We are effected by the free will of other people.

Second, we can definitely sabotage God's "Plan A" with our own free will. We can choose pride instead of humility and burn a bridge with someone who might have ended up being a lifelong friend. We can play loose with our love life and end up with repeated heartbreaks. We can feed ourselves on trashy media and skew our view of the world and what's important. We can choose to embrace our human sinful nature in so many ways. We can walk in selfishness, blowing people off and always looking out for #1. We can build up a stronghold of self-righteousness, never willing to truly confront the flesh or the enemy's whispers, because we are so convinced of our own perfection. 

Whether we do these things out of ignorance or foolishness, it still results in bad fruit. Some of this bad fruit can be remedied if we come to repentance, though. We may never regain that friendship we lost, but the Lord can bring new friendships and rich fellowship. The place of romance and sexuality in our lives is a garden of sacred ground, and if it has been trashed the Lord is fully capable of washing it clean with His blood, every shame and every haunting flashback cleansed from your soul. You can feel clean inside. And the Lord can pick up the pieces of whatever situation you find yourself in and guide you forward. Some people are dealing with marriage to an unbeliever, some people are dealing with single parenthood, every situation is different but if you yield it to God He will come through for you with "Plan B". Similarly with all the other examples, no matter what ways one may have previously engaged in destiny sabotage, God will work with them moving forward if they yield.

And thirdly, we live in a fallen world. Sometimes circumstances can happen by "chance". One can be in the wrong place at the wrong time and have a tree fall on them in their car. They can eat healthy, exercise regularly, live in a toxin-free area, and still get cancer. It's much less likely, but possible. An earthquake could come through, or there could be a detrimental misunderstanding, or various accidents. Being in the wrong time at the wrong place can just happen sometimes.

But, no matter what has happened to throw off "Plan A", God is a master of "Plan B, C, D, E, F, G, H..." and so on. For anyone who loves Him and is called according to His purpose... i.e., is willing to diligently seek Him and yield themselves to Him... He can pick up the pieces and work things out for good. In most circumstances, I'm gonna say "Plan A" is better. But that doesn't mean "Plan B" can't be good.


This is my stance, this is my belief, this is what gets me out of bed in the morning. I do believe that the emotion of hope needs to be nurtured, for faith is the substance of things hoped for. Some promises will be fulfilled in this life, and some will be fulfilled in the life to come, but either way we are called to faith, hope, and love. Yet if my hope is largely built upon logic and theological belief, I say that's a good place to start. Emotions come and go, but building on the rebar of truth is the only reliable place to be.

I am resigned to the pain of this life, but I am not without hope, for I know what scripture says about God's plans for a believer's life. I know that throughout history we have seen Christians die in prison camps or thrown to the lions because they refused to give up their faith, and God has definitely used that for good, and I know He will use whatever misery I endure for good too, but I know His heart for me is not misery. And even in my misery, there is the richness of knowing that I am held in the palm of His hand and my eternity is secure. No matter how many times God's plans for me may be sabotaged here on earth, this is temporary.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. -Hebrews 11:13-16

I have come to terms with the idea that I may not receive the things I hope for in this life. But that isn't going to stop me from pressing forward with hope. And I will always continue to pursue the presence of God, which is my deepest desire.

How lovely is your dwelling place,

Lord Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,

for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh cry out

for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,

and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may have her young—

a place near your altar,

Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

                                     Psalm 84:1-3

This scripture has long been one of my life verses, my deepest desire, the thing I will always pursue. To dwell in the presence of God is first. And second, second is to establish my nest and raise my young in His presence. 

With that, I will conclude this post. 

Uriel always loved. Always remembered. In Heaven one year today.


Scriptures

Personal

 

John 17:3                                Eternal life is to KNOW Him (intimate, experiential, relational knowledge).

Jeremiah 29:13                        Seek God with one’s whole heart.

Philippians 4:11-13                To be able to be content whatever the circumstances, whether in need or in plenty, through the strength of Christ.

3 John 1:2-3                            That you may prosper in all things and be in health, with a prospering soul, walking in the truth.

Psalm 34                                 Boast in the Lord, be radiant and unashamed, bless His name and praise Him continually. Seek the Lord and learn the fear (respect, regard, awe) of the Lord.

Isaiah 40:29-31                       Endurance, strength, energy and vitality.

Galatians 5:3-26                      Be led by the spirit and operate in the fruits of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

1 Thessalonians 4:11              Seek to live a quiet life and work with your hands.

Romans 12:2                           Don’t conform to the patterns of society, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. This will allow you to know God’s perfect will.

John 10:10                              Abundant life

Psalm 34                                 Not lacking any good thing.

Deuteronomy 30:19                Choice before you, life and death, blessings and cursing.

Romans 8:28                           God uses all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

 

Social/Community/Family

 

Psalm 127:3                            Children are a blessing

Galatians 5:13-26                    Serve one another humbly in love, love your neighbor as yourself, don’t bite and devour one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:11              Encourage and build up one another up.

Colossians 3:13                       Bear with each other and forgive.

Romans 12:9-10                      Let love be genuine, seek to outdo each other in giving honor.

Philippians 2:3-4                    In humility value others above yourself and not only look out for your own interest but the interest of others.

Proverbs 12:26                        The righteous choose their friends carefully.

Proverbs 13:20                        Walk with the wise and become wise.

Proverbs 19:20                        Accept discipline and advice, be wise.

Psalm 34                                 Seek peace and pursue it.

1 Corinthians 15:58                Give yourself fully to the work of the Lord.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Process of Surrogacy

First, a note - it seems the subscribe by email function is working after all, yay!

On to my post here -

This scientific undertaking operates the same way as traditional IVF, except the baby is planted into the womb of the surrogate rather than the womb of the biological mother.

The first steps are to create embryos - tiny babies who can be frozen at 5 days old, then thawed and transferred into a womb. The national average gives each transferred embryo a 58% chance of survival, but ORM Fertility has a higher success rate. Each time we transfer a tiny baby, there will be a 76% chance of survival.

In order to create these embryos, my ovaries need to be stimulated with daily injections in my tummy for two weeks, causing many eggs to mature. Harvesting them is done with the aid of transvaginal ultrasound. My husband’s sperm is then released onto the eggs in a test tube, just like what usually happens in the Fallopian tubes. 

It is possible we may be collecting 15-20 eggs, but we will not be fertilizing all of them. We believe in life at conception under all circumstances, so having “leftover” embryos isn’t an option for us. So most will be frozen as unfertilized eggs, with the opportunity to become embryos in future if needed.

The science also exists to do genetic testing on embryos - which can reveal if any of them are at higher risk for Down’s syndrome/miscarriage. We pray that all our babies are healthy, but we are committed to each life no matter what. So we will not be doing genetic testing, as the fertility clinic will not transfer any embryo that “fails” the test. The science of genetically testing an embryo actually reveals the baby’s gender as well, which is fascinating. But no matter, I’ve always loved surprises when it comes to that.

After these babies are created and safely tucked away in the freezer, it is time to make preparations with a surrogate. Each state has different laws that govern surrogacy. In Washington, it is illegal to move forward without a legal contract written by the intended parents’ lawyer and reviewed by the surrogate’s lawyer. Also the lawyer writes a pre-birth order in the second trimester, which is how legal parentage is established upon birth. 

Once the contract is in place, the surrogate needs to take daily injections for 10 weeks to prepare her womb to receive the transferred embryo. This guarantees her uterine lining is receptive. Another option I’m going to ask my fertility doctor about is natural cycle transfer. She initially said it isn’t an option, but I hope she’ll reconsider. There is *one* day each month where a woman’s uterine lining is naturally receptive to an embryo, about 6 days after her natural ovulation. Taking advantage of that could seriously reduce the number of injections/medications my surrogate would need. And injections aren’t fun, so the less the better! There would be some cost savings on injections, but also some cost increases on extra monitoring to find the exact right day of her cycle. If that one right day falls on the weekend, we would have to wait until the next month and hope it fell on a weekday. This is why my fertility doctor said they don’t do natural cycle transfer, because they don’t have enough staffing for weekend visits. But I’m going to tell her we don’t mind giving it several cycles if that’s what it takes. I hope it can work out!

Another consideration is the number of embryos to be transferred at one time. For our first journey, we are only planning to transfer one embryo. It’s possible for this baby to split into identical twins, but very unlikely.

Once I have a pregnant surrogate, my fertility doctor would monitor her for the first 10 weeks, prescribing progesterone suppositories, then release her to the care of a midwife. Everything would operate like a natural pregnancy from that point on. Sometimes a surrogate can use her personal insurance to cover the pregnancy care with a midwife or OB, but often the intended parents need to purchase a separate policy. 

Meanwhile once I have a pregnant surrogate, I will be taking artificial hormones to help me re-lactate. The nursing relationship I had with my little boy was precious, and I want to give that to each of my children.

So that’s a summary of what our next chapter in life will look like! We haven’t created our embryos yet, but we are established with ORM Fertility and are taking steps in that direction. We have a dear friend who will most likely be our first surrogate, but the details and the timeframe aren’t quite established yet. 

I am happy to share about this new season. As heartbreaking as it is that I can’t be pregnant, it is a relief to have this option. When my fertility doctor was checking on the condition of my ovaries with an ultrasound, I asked her to see if there was any portion of womb. Sadly there was nothing. This doesn’t mean God may not yet perform a miracle, but so far nothing there. So we will continue taking these steps towards surrogacy. Jacob and I miss Uriel so much, every day, and that empty place in our hearts will always be there holding his memory. But as much as we miss our son, we also miss being parents. One pain is forever, the other pain is temporary. I don’t know how quickly this surrogacy journey will get rolling or whether or not there will be setbacks along the way. I can only take one step at a time. I do not know how long it will be until I can hold my next baby in my arms. And though he or she will not be growing in my womb, this precious little person is already growing in my heart. 

Here is a watercolor/digital artwork I painted, imagining the day when I get to hold and nurse my next baby.

Uriel always loved. Always remembered.

Monday, August 16, 2021

August 2021 Brief Update

When you read a novel, sometimes 6 months passes in a single paragraph, because there isn’t much to say. But the plot development and character arcs ruminating in that 6 months will become evident as the story progresses. 


I haven’t posted here in 6 months, but my journey quietly goes on one day at a time. Surgeries have become a less frequent occurrence, bending most of my my fingers has become easier, and slowly I look up and realize I’ve gone several days or now weeks without pain medication as my body heals.


Jacob’s hand is still in constant pain as his next surgery keeps getting delayed, forcing him to live with the web-spaces between his fingers constantly ripping open. But he presses on like a champ.


I try to keep myself busy… working in the garden outside, riding my bike, accomplishing projects, a little bit of babysitting, reading books, painting, marking up my new Bible, etc. We watch some TV or the news most days.


Other than God Himself, our greatest solace in this time is that we have each other. Perhaps one day I will share our love story. My husband is so loving and affectionate and we take care of each other. It is truly wonderful to have such a best friend, ally, and lover.


We’re blessed with friends and family too. We have Bible Study each week, we live near Jacob’s family, and we have periodic visits with my family.


We are still praying for a restoration of my womb, but in the meanwhile we are beginning to pursue surrogacy. We are working with a fertility clinic to begin the first steps of the process. I’ll share more about that later.


I’m going to try and post here on the blog more often. I never did figure out how to get the email notification option set up properly, but I’m trying to find someone to help me with that. I’ll mention it if it starts working. 


And to conclude this short post, here is an image from my Bible. This is one of my favorite psalms. 



Uriel always loved. Always remembered. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Prayers for my Womb

In this post I would like to share a prayer request, along with part of my story and some of my thoughts on childhood and life.

Since the time I was a teenager, I have daydreamed about being a homeschool teacher. Childhood is a magical time, a time of play and discovery and fun. I love living education, where history is learned with true story books, costumes, etc; and science is learned with hands-on experiments. Oh, I spent so many pleasurable hours daydreaming about being a homeschool mom. I have planned out in my mind all the curriculum and resources to use, I have imagined so many field trips and creative projects. “For the Children's Sake” by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay is a book that grabbed my heart deeply, it was a launching pad for my vision to soar from. With the head start from this book, I dreamed not only about how I would educate, but also how I would parent. I researched, I gleaned wisdom from the mothers and fathers I admire in my church, I read scripture and prayed for wisdom. All children are individual human beings who make their own choices and live their own lives, and we must respect this... but there are ways to establish a place of stability, to impart the security of knowing their own value. And there are so many ways to let kids be kids. Tree houses, playing with sticks, making mud pies, hide-n-seek, snowball fights, exploring the forest, clue hunts, science projects, painting, play-dough, fort-building, cardboard fun, baking cookies, pillow fights... and so much more.

Jesus came so that we may have abundant life!

I married a man with the same vision as myself for parenthood and life. Jacob pursued my hand as a valiant knight courting a princess. He won my heart with his love for God, the way he always treats me with utmost honor, and his contagious laughter. We read “For the Children’s Sake” together and discussed what raising little ones looked like. I cried tears of joy that the Lord gave me this amazing man to be my counterpart in the shared task and joy of raising up our brood. Between five to seven children was our agreed on number.

We didn’t lose any time, eleven months after our wedding I gave birth to our son, Uriel. And he didn’t lose any time entering the world, arriving two weeks early and being born in less than two hours. The midwives didn’t even make it to our home in time and that baby boy was caught by his exuberant Daddy.

I nursed my little boy and daydreamed about future births. Oh, how I love to give birth! As he grew into a toddler, I often daydreamed about birthing his future siblings.

Even before we were married, Jacob and I both felt in our spirits the Lord’s promise to us of parenthood. We’ve received multiple prophetic words about children, about a fruitful and healthy womb, about a full quiver of arrows. 

We had a setback last winter, a false pregnancy. They call it a blighted ovum, where the baby passes away very early on and yet the mother’s body continues to grow a placenta and everything, releasing all the pregnancy hormones and acting normal. I was 11 weeks in before my body switched gears and flushed out my uterus.

We grieved our child, the little one I named Violet, and we waited several months before conceiving again. 

I was 14 weeks pregnant when we traveled to our land in Okanogan to drop off some supplies and have an overnight camping trip. We’d recently had our midwife appointment and heard our baby’s whooshing heartbeat on the Doppler, and I was looking forward to feeling kicks in the next few weeks.

Uriel was almost two years old. Our precious son. Happy, curious, smart, adventurous, affectionate, an all-around joy and ray of sunshine in our lives. He was thriving and we were enjoying parenthood tremendously. He was learning all the time, and I was also looking forward to starting all the homeschool projects that I’ve always dreamed of, once he got a little bit older.

We were looking forward to the birth of our next little one, and many more to follow.

This is the part of the story where tragedy struck. After the fire, along the shore of the Columbia, we lost our children. Uriel and the little one we would afterwards name River, for it was near the bank of a river where she went home to be with Jesus and her older siblings.

God is not the author of death, but of life. We live in a sinful and broken world, tragedy happens and God does not always supernaturally intervene. But He does always pick up the pieces and see His people through. He takes any situation, He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. 

This doesn’t mean He never intervenes, whether that be during a situation or afterwards. We believe He is the God of the impossible, the God of resurrection power, the God of the miraculous. And we shall see what He yet may do.

The tragedy didn’t stop with the loss of our children. On September 18, at the hospital, Jacob and I lost something very important to us. During an 11-hour surgery, we lost my womb. I had developed a deadly infection out in the wilderness, and the gynecologist team tried so hard to save my womb. A D&C, a slew of antibiotics, and they were cautiously optimistic it would eradicate the infection. They communicated all this to me, and I wasn’t worried about it. They let me know they needed to double check during my next surgery, and I agreed. What they found was horrible. There was a puncture in my uterus containing a bubble of infection, ready to burst both into my uterus and also out into all my other organs... if that happened, it would have basically been a death sentence for me. Trying to save my womb would almost certainly have popped the bubble, and just leaving it alone would have resulted in it almost certainly popping on its own within a few days. My life was on the line. So they performed an emergency hysterectomy. The gynecologist team knew how important my uterus was to me, the head of the team was in tears as she made the decision. Half the team was in tears. They contacted my family before doing it, and I had signed a consent form with a contingency plan allowing a hysterectomy, but it still hit me like a ton of bricks when I woke up and my womb was gone. 

My dad was the one who told me the news, and then he instantly reminded me of all God’s promises to me. “God will still fulfill those promises!” he said, “Think of Abraham and Sarah. God will fulfill His promises.”

Jacob and I have cried together many times for all we have lost, but we stand together believing that God will fulfill His promises. I still have my ovaries, we can still have biological children together through a surrogate. Both our sisters and another dear friend have already volunteered. We could also adopt children, which is something we had in the back of our minds already anyway. There are options.

But our dearest prayer is for the restoration of my womb. Those promises certainly could be figurative... but I want to believe that they were literal. Literally my womb. Because we serve the God of the impossible, the God of resurrection power, the God who could grow a new uterus in my body as easily as He raised Lazarus from the dead.

Pray also for my heart, as I grieve my son who has not been raised from the dead. I don’t get to watch him grow up, I don’t get to take him on all the adventures I dreamed of. But he lived a very full life for the time he was here for, and his memory will always be a treasure to me. I’m not ready for another child at this time, all my heart is so wrapped up in my precious baby boy who passed away too soon. 

But the Lord is beginning to touch my heart and prepare me to love more children. The day will come when I can be Mommy to a new baby. Jacob and I are starting to research and learn more about surrogacy. Perhaps we will have little ones both from the wombs of others and my restored womb as well. We miss being parents.

We are so grateful for all of you who have been upholding us in prayer for so long! Please continue to pray for Jacob and I as we grieve, and please join us in the prayer that my womb be restored.

Thank you also sooo much for your generous donations! We never expected any of this and we are blown away. It is so amazing to not have to worry about finances in a time like this.

One way or another, the Lord has promised us children, and so I believe I will one day be the homeschool mom I’ve dreamed of for so many years. Jesus has come so that we may have abundant life. Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. A full life, rich and full childhood. Education and play, creativity and delight. God is good, and the future lies before us yet to be discovered.


Uriel Always Loved. Always Remembered.

Reflections on Heartbreak

 Originally posted on FB...

In May of 2019 we walked the land and went to the river. Jacob’s young cousin came with us. This is the terrain where we fled from fire four months ago. The rocks, the sagebrush, the steep gullies, the fence we crawled under - in the dark, guided only by the light of our headlamps. Thank God we had done this treck before, thank God we knew the way to the river. Jacob had walked it once before long ago, and then we walked it together about a year before the fire as you can see in these pictures. Uri was so content. That boy was always with us. He came on all our adventures with us. 


When we were lost out there, waiting to be rescued, Jacob’s cousin insisted that he knew where we would be. Because he had been there with us, because he knew where we would go. And he was right, entirely right. Except that went a little further this time because we were hoping we could walk to the dam... but it was further away than it looked and we didn’t make it anywhere near there.


We knew Uri was fading and that is what drove us to keep going in a desperate attempt to get to the dam, to a hospital, to someone who could help our son. Well beyond the point of exhaustion, we kept going. Every time we collapsed, we got back up and kept going. If only, if only... but in the end when we saw he was truly slipping away and the terrain blocked us from going any further... we collapsed and cuddled him close for his final breaths. 


We’re back home now, and the house is so quiet without him. Our boy has been gone for four months now. I can hardly believe it. Here I am, a mama with empty arms, discovering what it means for a broken heart to run its course. A process of grief that will never end this side of heaven, yet will not always consume me as it does now. Looking back at the day we walked to the river in daylight, I see that Jacob was wearing his shirt that says, “We were made for such a time as this.” Such keen words! There is such turmoil in the world today. Disasters, covid, riots, politics, loss of jobs, fear... such turmoil. 2020 effected everyone differently, some have been affected more and others less. And yet somehow, in the midst of both personal and corporate troubles... we were made for such a time as this. We are not alone. God has not abandoned us. We bless His name, we seek His comfort and help. It is an encouragement to remember... we were each created by God to face the times we’re living in. Just as those born in the past were made for the times they lived in. We each take our place in the tapestry of history. Every generation has known hardship, some more and some less, but we are not unique in our troubles. Indeed many generations have endured far worse.


For my part I can see myself objectively and I know that many mothers have suffered as I, or far worse. That does not devaluate my misery, but it does give me some perspective. I must cry. I must weep, wail, scream, look at his clothes and toys and fall to my knees and moan in agony. I must. There is no other way. The need to grieve is imbedded in my very humanity. I feel it in my core and I see it throughout history. There are no shortcuts. The joy that comes in the morning must be preceded by the grief that endures for the night, and I am yet walking through my night.


And in this night I traverse, I do not fail to see my many blessings as well. My greatest blessing, first and foremost, surpassed by nothing but God alone, is my husband. Friend, ally, and lover. I am a cherished wife who holds her husband in the highest regard. What better blessing can there be than that? We walk this road together. And surrounding us is our family, who loves us so fiercely and has sacrificed so much to take care of us. And then our circle of friends and our circle of church community and the greater circle of people all over the world who have reached out to bless, pray, and support us. Truly blessed. And beyond all else, a God who walks closely with us and upholds us in our grief and frustration. A God who sees far further than we can imagine, who is already choreographing great things for the days ahead. And with that, I will conclude this post.




Uriel Always Loved. Always Remembered. 


Memories of my Beloved Baby

These are pictures I originally posted on FB in the group for honoring my son’s memory. I appreciated all the kind comments. The last picture is accompanied by a composition far too long for a screenshot, so I will copy it into another post.


Uriel Always Loved. Always Remembered.

Help us Hope for Tomorrow (Surrogacy Gofundme)

Greetings! I will never get tired of sharing my thanks for the tremendous support Jacob and I have been shown this past year. You have been ...