If you have been following our journey, you know that this past weekend was a BIG one for us!! Last Thursday, Jessica and Justin flew to Ohio so that we could receive our “clearances” for the journey. The clearances required are a physical clearance for Jessica (including blood work for her and her husband) and a psychological clearance for all four of us – myself, JJ, Jessica and Justin. Some of the “hoops” we must jump through for this process seem extreme to the average person, but they are all in place to protect all parties involved.
In preparation for this weekend, I (having perfectionist tendencies) had just about everything planned out…
Thursday – Their flight leaves Houston at 8:05 am…a short layover and Atlanta and they will get into Akron at 2:02 and our appointment is at 3:00…perfect! I’ll pick them up, we’ll go straight to the appointment and meet JJ there since he’ll work all morning. Once the appointment is over, we will come home and have lasagna that my mom prepared for us while we were at the appointment and my mom will get to meet Jessica and Justin.
Friday – We will go to our 10:00 appointment for Jessica’s physical exam, then we can grab lunch and I’ll show them around and then relax at the house until JJ gets done working and then we have dinner reservations. Since it was Jessica and Justin’s 5 year wedding anniversary, we wanted to take them out to dinner!
Saturday – We would play it by ear throughout the day and they would fly home that evening.
It will all work smoothly and just as I explained, because…why wouldn’t it??
Have you ever heard of the saying, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.”???
I could not have been more wrong and that saying could not have been more true. Here is how Thursday really went…
8:02 am EST/7:02 am Jessica’s time (Texting):
Me: Ok! Let me know when you make it through security and to your gate! can’t believe today is here. Feel so bad you’re running on so little sleep
(Jessica and Justin had been at their local ER until 2:00 am that morning with their son and running on 2 hours of sleep)
Jessica: I will.
Great. They have an hour to get through security, they’re good. Everything is going smoothly.
As the time ticked by and I hadn’t heard from Jessica that they had been through security, I started to get a little nervous.
8:36 am in Ohio/7:36 am in Texas:
Me: Everything good?
8:54 am/7:54 am:
Jessica: They just told us our flight is full!
We are about to talk to customer service.
No…this can’t be happening!! This is not how I planned it.
Apparently, airlines do this all the time to ensure full flights; however, I have never had this happen to me, so I didn’t understand why it was happening to them. Southwest overbooked their flight and told them there was no more room. Actually, there was another couple ahead of them that had already been booted from the flight. So, being second in line…I was thinking the worst – They are not getting on this flight. I immediately started thinking of Plan B. I called our counselor and told her what was going on. I told her that I thought at this point we would never be able to make the 3:00 appointment because Jessica and Justin were standing in the Houston airport watching their plane take off. What did her availability look like the rest of the time they were there?
Helen, our amazingly sweet counselor, informed me that she had one afternoon appointment scheduled for Friday but would call to see if the woman would reschedule.
After what seemed like HOURS, I receive a call back from Helen that the woman was willing to reschedule and we could have an appointment on Friday at 2:00 pm.
Praise the Lord! Thank you Helen and thank you woman, whoever you are, for being so accommodating. Now we just need to get them to Ohio before tomorrow morning at 10:00 am, the time Jessica’s physical exam was scheduled for.
I get a call from Jessica that they can be in Akron by 8:20 pm; however, they must take 3 flights to get there. They had another option to take two flights and get to Akron by midnight. To get in earlier, they picked the 3 flight deal – going from Houston, to St. Louis, to Atlanta, to Akron. Crazy, but they did not have much of a choice at that point!
So now, my plans to have my mom there with Avery for the day while I went to pick them up and head to the appointment and them come home to some delicious lasagna was down the drain. My mom headed out after lunch and Avery and I played on the swing set and in the sandbox most of the afternoon. It actually was a beautiful day and was nice to have some quality time with Avery. JJ was able to take advantage of the beautiful day and put in a full day of work (a full day of work to my hardworking husband is about 16 hours), rather than end early to head to our 3:00 appointment.
Still… I thought.
Why couldn’t they get on that flight? That’s the ONLY thing I had people praying for today was that they had smooth travel. That there were no delays so we could get to that 3:00 appointment. Why would God let this happen?
Jessica called me and told me that we would be receiving a refund for the flights.
Wow! Well, that’s really nice…at least after all this, it’s basically like we flew them here for free.
Well, no actually…we were being reimbursed for the flight, plus some. Because of the amount of hours between their original arrival time and their new arrival time, Jessica and Justin were also being compensated for their troubles as travelers. With the refund and their compensation, Southwest was giving them checks that more than doubled what we spent on the tickets. Jessica then told me that her and Justin talked about it and they not only were going to give us the refund check, but they also wanted us to have the money they were compensated.
I was in tears.
A prayer of mine and JJ’s has been that God will provide for us financially for this journey. I’m sure you can imagine the amount of money that would go into a journey such as this and although it is certainly our choice to move forward with such a journey and pay for such a journey, it is the part of the process that is not so “exciting”, and honestly, overwhelming at times. When Jessica said they wanted us to have the money, I just thought about all of the “fees” and “expenses” we have typed out in our little Excel spreadsheet titled “Surrogacy Budget” that we could put that money towards. I was SO incredibly thankful and that was SO incredible admirable of them to do.
In 2 Corinthians 9, God’s Word encourages generosity…
“7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
We were just so incredibly humbled by Jessica and Justin’s generosity and by God’s amazing grace and love. Here I was, stressing out about the weekend and having everything planned out and “just so” for their arrival and there God was, kicking them off flights and rearranging our appointment times so that JJ and I could catch a monetary break and bless us abundantly! Sitting here, typing this, and thinking back…my heart just explodes. I am in awe of God’s mighty power and His plan for our lives.
I have shared Romans 8:28 before and it continues to ring truer and truer for our journey together…
“And we know that in all things God words for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Jessica and I talk all the time about how God is constantly reassuring us. He is constantly telling us “This is where I want you.” “Trust me.” “Listen for me…I am guiding you through this.” “Be patient…have faith in My plan.” It does not surprise me that He was doing it again for us this past weekend.
Jumping back to their crazy travel day, they land in Atlanta and see that their flight into Akron has been DELAYED! So after their 2 flights to Atlanta, so that they could get to Akron by 8:20, they end up on the flight from Atlanta to Akron that will get them there at midnight anyways. This last hiccup in their travel day, I truly feel like was the devil.
The whole trip, he was trying to get in between us and our trust in God. He had Jessica and Justin at the ER with their son until 2 am for what was thought to be an emergency situation, but ended up he just needed an antibiotic.
God is in control. God will conquer evil.
They weren’t able to get on their morning flight. Our appointment was able to be rescheduled for the next day AND we got reimbursed plus some!
God is in control. God will conquer evil.
They flew a crazy flight schedule, but were delayed again their last flight of the day. They were still able to get into Akron by 12:30 am and we made it to all of our appointments the next day.
God is in control. God will conquer evil.
Step aside, Satan. We follow the one true King and He watches over us.
Once Jessica and Justin were safely on the ground in Akron, we headed to our place and were all in comfy beds by around 1:00 am. The next morning, we headed to our first appointment of the day where Jessica would have her physical exam. We met briefly with Dr. Maseelall before Jessica’s exam. She spoke with us about the process and then asked to speak with me privately. One thing I love and respect about Dr. Maseelall is how real she is. She is the one that told me if I were her sister, she would tell me to do IVF within 6 months because of my poor numbers, so I trusted her to be honest with me about her opinion on Jessica as our carrier.
She explained some things she would be looking for during the exam, things that could show Jessica is a good candidate or things that could show Jessica is a bad candidate. She also explained that she would be performing a “mock transfer”. This is basically her going through the motions of transferring the embryos without actually doing it. She explained this would allow her to determine if Jessica was going to be a “hard or easy transfer”.
Jessica invited me into the room with her during the procedure, which was really nice because there is such a fine line between staying involved and hovering, and I certainly don’t want to be a hover-er!! 🙂 The procedure and exam didn’t take much longer than 5 minutes and we quickly found out that Jessica would be given the ideal label of “easy transfer”!! I followed Dr. Maseelall out of the room once it was over. She turned to me almost immediately in the hallway and said the exact thing I was hoping she would say, “She looks great. I know I can do it.”
Praise the Lord!! She has passed the exam with flying colors. Now we must wait about a week for her and Justin’s blood work to come back before she is given the complete clearance.
We grabbed a quick lunch at Swenson’s (if you’re local, you know I had to take them there) and headed back to the same office for our psychological exam.
By this point, Jessica and Justin had still not met JJ. He was sleeping (as was Avery, so one of us had to stay at the house) when we got home from the airport and he was up and gone for work by the time we all got out of bed the next morning. They had begun teasing me that they weren’t sure that I even had a husband and that they were anxious to see if this so-called “JJ” shows up for the psych eval! 🙂
JJ did show up for the appointment and was finally able to meet Jessica and Justin. We all headed back into an office with Helen and then were quickly separated. JJ and I were interviewed first, while Jessica and Justin took the PAI personality evaluation. Helen asked us questions about our relationship history, our families, my illness, our stresses, how we met Jessica and Justin…basically everything about us, getting to know us personally. When we shared the story of my illness and how we were led to Jess and Justin, Helen had tears in her eyes. I just knew she was a Christian, as she nodded her head listening to the two of us share our faith and the prayers we had prayed that God would bring us a couple.
Once our interview was over, we switched. It was time for Jess and Justin to be interviewed and for us to take the PAI. This test consisted of over 340 true/false questions testing your personality. There were questions on there from “I like to drive fast.” to “Sometimes I lose all feelings in my extremities.” Once their interview was through, the four of us were brought together and interviewed together. This didn’t take long as Helen did not have any red flags raised during either of our interviews.
Again, we have been cleared…but must await the results of our tests before given the complete clearance!
Once the appointments were over, we headed home to rest for a bit before our dinner reservations. My friend, Rachel, came over Friday night to watch Avery while the four of us went out to eat at 91 Wood Fired Oven. The conversation between the four of us flowed easily and it honestly felt like we had known them forever. It made me wish they lived closer. Not because Jess will hopefully be pregnant with our child(ren) and I will want to “hover”, but because they’re great friends and we would enjoy seeing them much more often. We laughed and laughed…had our waiter laughing and even had other tables turning and staring at us. Jess and Justin claimed it was because of their southern drawls that we were grabbing others’ attention. It was a great night!
We headed home and all headed to bed soon thereafter. On Saturday morning, Jessica and I went through the endless amount of drugs that she will need to inject herself with and prepared them for her plane ride home. Estrogen patches, Lupron, Progesterone Oil, Syringes, Needles, and Alcohol pads were stuffed into a single carry-on bag, along with a doctor’s note from Dr. Maseelall that Jessica was allowed to travel with all of these prescription meds. It was actually quite a relief that Jessica did not seem overwhelmed by the medicine. She has shown quite bravery and confidence through this journey thus far.
My parents came by Saturday morning to meet Jess and Justin and to basically thank them for their hearts. We then took them to Chipotle for lunch, because…why wouldn’t we!? And then to the Hartville Hardware…because seriously, who can come to Hartville, OH and not go home saying they have been to the largest family owned hardware store in the country!?
Before we knew it, it was time for them to pack up and us take them to the airport. We all worried about them getting through security smoothly on the drive to the airport with their bag full of drugs. I walked in with them and waited for them to make it through, just in case they had to turn around and give me the bag back…they made it through just fine. All TSA needed to see was the dr’s note. We were all worried for nothing.
I waved goodbye one last time and walked back out to the car. This weekend, God used our circumstances to remind us to be hopeful, to be patient in His plan and to have faith that He is in control. As JJ, Avery and I headed back home, JJ and I looked back at the weekend and just tried to let everything sink in. This is real now…this is really happening. We picked a transfer date. We will be signing contracts.
This. Is. Happening.
God is in control!