Lauren & Jason

Our Plan B is God’s Plan A – This phrase has been our motto while we have traveled through our adoption journey. I am humbled to be able to share our story with you.

February 2016 my husband, Jason, and I became pregnant. Although we were not planning for our sweet little one, we were more than prepared in our lives for this next step. I was apprehensive as I was diagnosed with Lupus Anticoagulant. It is nothing related to Lupus, but it is an antibody found in blood that can cause pregnancy complications. I had known miscarriage would be in my future based on this diagnoses. Little was known about how life would or could be with this antibody, however.

Our first appointment at eight weeks, we hear the heartbeat and see the baby. We were more than ecstatic to be able to see a tiny human moving around in ME! ME! We were referred for a consult to a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist (high risk OB) because of the Lupus Anticoagulant. It was a reassuring meeting at twelve weeks. Since I had not had a miscarriage or a still birth prior there was no need for me to be monitored as high risk.

At my sixteen week appointment my OB placed the doppler on my belly and moved it around. A few seconds passed, no heartbeat. My cheery regular OB stated that it may be difficult to hear the heartbeat as the baby may be moving.  A minute had passed, which felt like an eternity and still no heartbeat. We were moved to a room that supplied an ultrasound machine. My doctor squirted the gel on my belly and started with the probe moving it around. She was quiet, I was quiet, my husband was quiet holding my hand. The doctor confirmed our worst fear, there was no heartbeat. Baby was still.

I made it home, unable to comprehend what was happening. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t speak. My baby was no longer alive and I was carrying he or she inside me. My surgery was completed and I woke up with an empty womb.  I would be dishonest if I told you I wasn’t angry. I can tell you I completed the five stages of grief in a continuous circle. I leaned on God more than ever to allow me to make it through the darkest of times. And in those dark moments when I spoke to Him my tears would dry, my sniffles would stop and I felt peace.

We received the pathology results from our sweet little one. We were having a boy and there was absolutely nothing wrong with him. We do not have an explanation for our loss other than it may have been related to Lupus Anticoagulant, but little was explained.

Four weeks post surgery I developed left side pain. Excruciating side pain. Long story short I had bilateral occlusive pulmonary emboli, which means both my lungs were filled with blood clots. I was placed on an injection of heparin known as Lovenox once a day for a duration of six months. My new norm was a once a day injection and chest pain. My clots had blocked blood and oxygen flow inside my lungs. Parts of my lungs had died. I was told lung function may return, it may not. Although lungs are known to regenerate, the oxygen and blood were blocked for so long I most likely have permanent damage and scar tissue.

Fast forward to another four weeks. I was back in the hospital with severe side pain, shortness of breath and unable to sleep lying down due to the pain. They found more clots. I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called Antiphospholipid Syndrome. So in the most simplest definition, my immune system is attacking itself. Auto means “self”, so literally my body is attacking itself, including my unborn babies. I will have to inject a blood thinner every twelve hours for the remainder of my life.  My diagnoses is not who I am, it is just part of my story.

But HE is good! Because I am here, able to share our story with you!

October 2016 we became pregnant again! This time planned. Due to my circumstances we were high risk. I had an appointment every week with an ultrasound. Jason was at every appointment with me. Week sixteen I knew something was wrong. I was heading into my appointment and Jason was terribly ill with the flu. I would not make him come into the appointment with me, but I was terrified. I had the ultrasound tech always tell me before I opened my eyes if there was a heartbeat at every appointment.

My eyes were shut and I asked the tech if we had a heartbeat and she quickly responded that there was. I opened my eyes with relief and stared at the large flat screen in front of me. Baby did not have heartbeat and baby was still. I was flooded with emotions and sobbed immediately. WHY did this happen again? We did everything right! I did everything so very right!  We lost Holden Grace January 3, 2017.

“He gives me new strength. he guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Even if I go through the deepest darkness I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me. Psalm 23:3-5

My high risk OB could not tell me what went wrong. Her response was maybe it was “too soon”. She did not explain what the future would hold or how we would have handled the pregnancy differently. I realized at that moment she did not know what to do with me or my condition. I threw myself into research. I have a 30% change of carrying a baby to term and there is the potential risk to me. With the levels of severity associated with Antiphospholipid Syndrome I have the highest tier.

My heart could not handle another loss. I knew it was time to move forward. Through the heartache and heartbreak, adoption gently nudged in my mind. Almost immediately I knew adoption was exactly what was meant for our family. I wouldn’t be honest if I said Jason was as committed as I was initially, but we prayed. And we prayed. AND WE PRAYED SOME MORE!

Adoption is exactly where we are meant to be. I have never felt so much peace with a decision and can only thank HIM for guiding us. With that peace we dove right into the adoption process. I found so many adoptive and waiting families on Instagram. One particular adoptive mama wrote a blog detailing each and every step. Because of her, we signed with Christian Adoption Consultants and began our home study. Thank you to her for her shinning light! I was apprehensive about our home study approval. Would the court not deem me as a fit mother because of my autoimmune condition?

And you know what? God is good! We are home study approved and have been a waiting family since May! My husband and I are immeasurably blessed and waiting for our rainbow. I know HE will bring a perfect baby into our arms. Through the grace of God Our Plan B is HIS Plan A and “we are filled with joy” Psalm 126:3.

We would love any support, prayers and shares of our story! If our story can help one woman, one couple, one family to find peace through the storm it would be an absolute honor.

To financially support Lauren & Jason click here. 

**More opportunities to support Lauren & Jason coming soon here.

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Ellie & Scott Lawrence

“Jesus Knows.”

A simple phrase I have found myself repeating during the last several years.

Allow me to share part of my story to give you a frame of reference for what that phrase means to me. My husband Scott and I just celebrated 6 years of marriage. In my perfect world, we would already have 2 (maybe 3) kids. We began trying shortly after our 3rd anniversary. I thought I would be just like everyone else and get pregnant quickly. It didn’t take long for me to realize my story wouldn’t be “just like everyone else” — Or that “everyone else” didn’t necessarily have it as easy as I assumed they did.
Infertility was something to which I was previously naive. I never imagined it would be the road on which Scott and I would find ourselves. Months went by with pregnancy tests screaming a big fat NEGATIVE at me. About one year into our journey, we decided it was time to get things checked out. We both dove right into the world of tests, blood work, the dreaded HSG test, and ultrasounds. As we got all of our test results back, we found ourselves in the unexplained infertility category. I never even knew there was such a thing (like I said, naive). Our doctor recommended we try IUI a few times before moving on to more intense treatments. We took some time to pray about it and felt an incredible peace about going the IUI route.

I will never forget getting the call about our first IUI results. I was at work, checking my phone every two minutes, anxiously waiting for my results. The phone rang and my heart sunk into my toes. I anxiously answered, only to hear the nurse say “Ellie, your results were negative. I’m so sorry. Call us when your cycle starts back up and we will do another IUI.” That was it. Months of emotional frenzy had been interrupted by a few short weeks of hope and even for a brief moment, excitement, only to come to a screeching halt with a 13 second phone call. I went into a nearby room, fell on the floor and sobbed. Every emotion you could imagine came out. I was angry, confused, and devastated. Scott was out of town, so I had to break the news to him over the phone. Let me tell you, THAT WAS THE WORST. In that moment, I needed my best friend. I needed him to just bear hug me and let me sob into his shoulder. Well, he was in Texas so that wasn’t possible. We just wept together over the phone. Devastated. In that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit say “I see you, Ellie. I am still good, always good.” Jesus knows, friends. Jesus knew that is exactly what I needed in that moment to somehow pick myself up off the floor.

With our second IUI, I felt a little more prepared to receive the results. I remember thinking this could be the most amazing phone call of my life or another call with heart shattering news. Thankfully, I wasn’t working that day. Scott and I were together, the details of this call are more of a blur to me. Once I heard the words “negative,” I was quiet. I hung up the phone, and we just wept. We began asking all of the questions. What went wrong? Everything looked so good on paper. We felt so isolated in that moment, like we were the only ones feeling that pain — right where satan wanted us. I would be lying if I said I didn’t allow myself to unpack and settle into that sadness. I allowed that negative result to control the next few weeks of my life. I sunk into a sadness I had never experienced before. Yet, it is in those moments where Jesus comes in and rescues us. Jesus knows, friends. He met me right where I was in my sadness…right in the middle of my ugly-face crying. I experienced Him like I never had before. After the second failed IUI in January of this year, I knew I couldn’t handle another round of medicine (which literally made me a crazy person) and another potentially failed IUI. My heart couldn’t handle it. Scott and I spent a week praying and seeking God for what was next. We didn’t feel Him leading in any specific direction. We decided to take 3 months and just stop everything. Let me tell you, GAME CHANGER! I called it our sabbatical.

(Side note: If you’re in the middle of your infertility journey, I can’t encourage you enough to take a sabbatical. Pray about the amount of time. Obviously there is no magic number for the length of your break but trust me…the break is necessary. It was for me.)

Taking this break allowed our hearts and minds to shift focus from our infertility and to our Sustainer. The One who had been working all along, behind the scenes, in order to redeem our story. Jesus revealed more of Himself to me in those 3 months, restored my joy, and gave me a renewed hope. During those 3 months, we prayed about what would be next. For us, it was either more fertility treatments or adoption. We have ALWAYS wanted to adopt, but I’m almost embarrassed to say it wasn’t our first option. We just didn’t realize it was God’s first option for us.

Three months had gone by and we didn’t yet have any specific direction in mind, we just were finally at a place where we wanted what God wanted. We began casually researching different agencies around the country to wrap our minds around the adoption process. Our hearts and hands were completely open. We eventually found out about Faithful Adoption Consultants and couldn’t stop reading about them, scouring all of their social media posts, and experiencing overwhelming joy over each picture of a family, matched to a precious baby. We set up our initial phone call with them at the end of April, and prayed for clear answers from God. We hung up from the call, Scott and I looked at each other, and for the first time in a long time, we had tears of joy! Jesus knows.

Here we are 3 months into our adoption process.

Our home study was approved this week.

Our profile book was approved this week.

More than half of our money is raised.

We are only a few weeks out from being active! IS THIS REAL LIFE?

ONLY JESUS, FRIENDS. ONLY JESUS!

I would be lying if I told you I didn’t have fears in this process. I was telling a friend the other day that I feel like the “what if’s” and anxieties of adoption are the same “what if’s” and anxieties I would have if I were able to get pregnant. Anytime those fears creep in, I take a deep breath, say out loud “Jesus knows. He knows.” There is so much power and peace that comes when we say the name of Jesus. So, when those anxieties creep in, speak His beautiful name, out loud! I am excited to watch this journey of adoption unfold. It is so surreal that we are even in this process. Just today, I asked Scott “Has it hit you yet that we are going to have a baby soon?” We both just looked at each other and grinned like little kids on Christmas morning.

Jesus knows exactly where you are.

Jesus knows the tears you cry when you see that negative test.

Jesus knows the fears and anxieties that come along with adoption.

Jesus knows you by name.

Jesus knows every single detail about your body.

Jesus knows your dream is to hear a little one reach out and call you Mommy.

Jesus knows your deepest fears and greatest joys.

Jesus knows every single detail about the beautiful babies He has created just for you.

And you know what?

JESUS KNOWS AND LOVES OUR FLAWED, SINFUL, FEARFUL, ANXIOUS SELVES.

Rest in that today.

Jesus knows!

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If you would like to support Ellie & Scott, please visit the links below.

www.adopttogether.com/scottandellie  (tax-deductible)

www.youcaring.com/scottandellie (regular)

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