The Sierra Sage
by Katie Coombs
On her radio show, and in her writing, Katie attempts to restore the greatness of the country one family at a time. Discipline is the foundation of success in all areas of life. Accountability, work ethic, responsibility, and ethics come from the home.
Parents have to be leaders not friends. The decisions we make must not just be for ourselves but for our family, the community, and society as a whole.
Parents can't sacrifice their authority for kindness. They must use their common sense to arrive at logical conclusions. Not religion. Not political affiliation. Not following the latest trends.
My Final Comments on 2015
For my 6 month old son Miles and our family, this has been a miraculous year. He overcame incredible odds to be delivered by a surrogate after I went through In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) which resulted in two embryos that we could attempt to use. My husband, Chris, and I already were raising a blended family with 6 children and we wanted one or two more children if the stars would align. We had a 10% chance of ever meeting our own biological child and he came in to the world 6 weeks early on Father’s Day. His first Christmas was a beautiful and rare white Christmas and the sky even provided a full moon which we haven’t seen since I was 5 years old and he won’t see again until he turns 19. We wanted one more miracle for him and our entire family.
Chris and I spent the entire pregnancy with Miles and the last 6 months trying to decide what to do with the other embryo which we knew was a female. We were so torn leaving just one embryo frozen in time but at the same time we didn’t know what to do with her as we already had our blended family of 7 children and were still adjusting to our wonderful new life with Miles. The whole family changed after his birth – brighter, more aware, grateful, and happier all of the time because he is so happy. Ultimately, we decided we should give our final embryo a chance at life and found another friend that was willing to carry a baby for us. It was hard to believe we had one friend that would be a surrogate for us but then discovered we had two. How blessed we are to be surrounded by so much compassion.
We started down the long road of pre-testing and legal documentation in September and everything went very well. We were a go and all looked great! We transferred our embryo on December 2nd, and like Miles she thawed perfectly and was rated a “good” embryo by the embryologist. Good is the best you can get. She was actually already hatching which is a huge hurdle when an embryo has come from a 42 year (that’s how old I was last year when she was created). The lining of the egg is thicker when you are older but she was already making her way out. Because of our previous success and the hatching, our doctor felt very positive and said he thought was had a 72% chance of success. With Miles, we were only given a 30% chance so I was feeling so upbeat about our last embryo. The long 2 week wait started that you have to endure to find out the pregnancy news. We were so confident and our surrogate was taking her shots and resting and doing what has to be done.
During this time, we looked at a house that was just perfect for all of us and although they received 4 offers in 3 days, it was a little help from Miles that led us to being the ones that got selected as the buyers. The first time we looked at it, he had accidentally left behind his favorite bear “Gee” and when we went back the second time, we found him on the kitchen counter. The owner had discovered the bear and wanted so much for children to grow up there after raising her own children there. When she saw our last name on the offer, she knew it was Miles from the series of columns I had written about our entire surrogacy experience. Miles had provided another miracle and we were so hopeful we could give him his baby sister in return. We didn’t tell any of our other children about their sister as we wanted it to be a Christmas surprise. I started dreaming of Miles being a big brother as he has the same old soul that I see in my oldest son, Drew, and Drew is such an amazing big brother to all of his siblings.
The results were due on December 14th and we already had determined a long time ago that our daughter would be named Charlotte (Charley for short). At about 4:00 p.m. on the 14th we got the call. Big Fat Negative. That is what they call an unsuccessful embryo transfer in IVF world. I was surprised at first - really just shocked. It just seemed a like a done deal when it all went so well. We wanted her and Miles was supposed to be her big brother and grow up with her. Our surrogate was equally devastated and defeated. Mother Nature decides in the end and it is something so much bigger than us. We have no control and as a family we grieved our sad news about our daughter/sister that was not to be. Charley will have to watch over Miles and the rest of us from a place that isn’t here. We are so grateful for Miles and know that we overcame the odds just to have him. I don’t know if our journey is completely over yet. First some healing and then we will decide. We are left with three options – donor egg, donated embryo, or adoption and will consider each one before giving up on Miles’s being a big brother and having someone close to his age to grow up with. I had been wearing a turtle necklace that my husband got for me and my surrogate (the turtle is the sign of fertility for women over 40) and yesterday I slipped it off with a few tears and hung it next to the turtle necklace I wore while we were waiting for Miles. Goodbye to our little Charley and on to the next journey - whatever that might be.
My mother-in-law, Susan Coombs, sent us the following message once she heard the news about our results. “I have wondered for a long time what your decision would be about the second embryo. I am sorry the embryo transfer did not thrive and I can feel your sadness. Mother Nature has a mysteriously wonderful plan for the manner she takes us through life. For myself, I am grateful to be able to know the answer to my question about the embryo. For little Charley, I am thankful that her journey has ended with love and reverence.” It is those last few words that stopped me in my tracks - love and reverence. In a world so divided, it is exactly what we need to show everything from the tiniest embryo, to the next door neighbor, to the strangers we meet, to the people who protect our streets, to the refugees looking for safety, to the person who cuts us off on the freeway, and to the people who have different political and religious beliefs than our own - love and reverence.
If we can make that our goal for 2016 we will all be able to face the ups and downs of life together. I’m wishing you a very Happy New Year and hope that the things you are looking for in your life present themselves to you this year. No matter what happens to you each day, I hope you feel the love and reverence that we tried to show an unborn daughter, which is nothing more than the belief that we truly can live a meaningful life.