Percy likes putting together floor puzzles of the alphabet.
Valor likes puzzles with geographical themes.
I like the kind of wordplay puzzles that reveal a pregnancy, or reveal a name of a child. Some of our long-time followers have solved these puzzles.
I’m not sure when I’ll write one of those puzzles.
The last embryo transfer cycle ended almost identically to last time: with slightly elevated hCG levels that produce pregnancy test results that appear negative except that if you hold the test in the right light you can sort of imagine there is a second line faintly there. Abby has taken these home tests, and also done blood tests, so we have the benefit of comparing scores with lines, and understand exactly how sensitive these home tests are. They indicate that Luke and/or Leia Gjertsen may have briefly implanted in the uterus, but miscarried almost immediately. If we were not so precisely aware of the timing of everything, this is the sort of pregnancy that would not ever have been detected.
Abby read to me a passage from Isaiah last Friday after the first disappointing test:
And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God.”
—Isaiah 49:3-4 ESV
Lest that sound full of self-pity, here at the House of Gjertsen we do not discount the “recompense,” however mysterious, in verse 4. God has unmistakably led us to pursue adoption in this manner, and yet for some reason has sovereignly orchestrated three unsuccessful pregnancies. We cling to the hope of that future reward. Abby is mostly sad that six embryos we wanted to save have died inside her. I’m sad over the loss of life (though I reckon they are all in the presence of Jesus) and feel the weight of financial loss (this is by no means cheap). But more than that, I’m sad and a little confused because I feel like this repeated outcome may invite people to question whether God is in this plan to adopt.
Every day, God gives us reason to celebrate that adoption is not “Plan B,” but “Plan A.” Every time we sin, we recognize that we are not naturally heirs of a perfect God, but that in love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace! That’s the story we’re trying to tell each time we drive back from Knoxville.
Ordinarily, after 3 unsuccessful attempts the NEDC would turn us away as bad candidates, but since we heard Bitty’s heartbeat at 6 weeks, the NEDC is not counting that attempt as unsuccessful. So, by that interesting logic, we have one more chance to adopt in this way, in September. Maybe it is the valor and perseverance that God is working in us that causes us to hope that this final attempt will work. But I can’t think about it without wondering what I’d be writing right now if this were our final attempt and we had “spent our strength for nothing and vanity.”
Hopefully I’d be thinking something along these lines from Oswald Chambers:
We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.
It’s puzzling, but we’re wrestling through it.