Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Human Pin Cushion

I felt a bit overwhelmed yesterday afternoon, after meeting with the nurse practitioner (NP) who looked at my NFP charts with me.  Although I have been using Billings, apparently the Creighton model is only a step up. Luckily, I had enough information.  I was relieved by that.

The NP told me that it looked as though I may have some issues with my luteal phase (it varies by more than 2 days in some cycles).  Additionally, I may not be ovulating.  So, in order to determine what my hormones are doing, I will be undergoing a month of testing.  Starting on day eight of my cycle, I will also have my estrogren (estradiol) tested (every other day).  Two days after my peak, I will begin having my progesterone tested, along with the estrogen (every other day through peak +11).  Then, 11 days after my peak, I will have about 10 different hormones tested.  It is crazy!  The NP told me that I will feel like a "pin cushion."  I'll say!  I really hope and pray that this testing is worth the money and gives me some answers.  I guess even if the tests come back as normal, the answer will be that I need to look at something else. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In Christ Alone

We sang this song during communion today at Mass.  The words are very powerful, and they made a big impression on me, so I wanted to share the first verse (my favorite).  The tune is also very moving.

In Christ Alone
by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

In Christ alone
My hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song

This cornerstone
This sold ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love
What depths of peace
When fears are stilled
When strivings cease

My comforter
My all is all
Here in the love of Christ, I stand

Saturday, February 12, 2011

No One Cries the Wrong Way

I recently started reading No One Cries the Wrong Way:  Seeing God Through Tears.  Although much of the book focuses on the death of a loved one, it has an entire section on dealing with suffering.  It is a good reminder that God doesn't cause suffering.  Also, since infertility is a type of loss and does cause grief, I have found the segment on dealing with grief helpful.  I think that because this book doesn't focus on infertility, I am able to ponder how my suffering fits in with the rest of the world's.  There's a lot of pain out there.  It makes me wonder how many people are hurting so deeply, yet they are unable to talk about it.  It makes me want to love my neighbor more completely.  Just as many aren't aware of the suffering I have been experiencing, I do not know of theirs.  I cannot let my pain cut me off from the rest of the world.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Friend...Future Patron Saint of Fertility?

Last Monday, one of my college friends (I'll call her "B") passed away after a long fight with cancer.  She was my age.  She was/is an amazing person.  So many people have become better people because of her.  I know she is a saint.  She may even be a "Saint."  That is why in conjunction with staying on the safe side and praying for her to be at peace in Heaven, I am also asking her for a favor. 

I told another friend of mine about this favor that I am asking of "B".  I explained that it is something that "B" also struggled with:  infertility.  Wouldn't that be wonderful if my friend who I believe is in Heaven could help my husband and me to conceive again?  But, if we cannot, maybe some others in this online Catholic community can.  I will send up a petition on your behalf.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I had a really hard evening after my monthly visitor reared her ugly head. 

DH was out with co-workers for some drinks, so I didn't tell him until after he got home, which was after midnight.  I have been accused of trying to guilt him out of his infrequent nights out with the guys, so instead of being a bummer before his celebration, I was a complete and utter wet blanket afterwards.  This was also an undesirable situation, to say the least.

I was completely too overtired and hormonal to be thinking clearly enough to express my emotions in a healthy manner to DH or to myself.

I guess I did the worst thing, which was to claim and believe that this is all harder on me than it is on him.

I know that guys are different.  They process emotions in different ways than ladies do.  I think I need to read up on a guys' perspective in dealing with his own/his wife's infertility.  It would probably be helpful to me.

Long story short, I decided to go to Reconciliation the next day.  I was caught in an unhealthy thinking pattern.  I had actually known the previous weekend that I was in need of going to Reconcilation, but I just ignored that little voice.  I should have heeded, because now I can see why I needed to be in better spiritual health. 

Father was so kind to see me on a moment's notice, even though he was really busy.  I don't like to ask favors of people, but I felt certain that if he was available, I needed to be absolved sooner rather than later.  Jesus (via Father) had a lot to say to me, and it was all very wise and loving.  Probably the best thing he revealed to me was that my sin wasn't despair, as I had thought.  It was PRESUMPTION.  That is why this has all been so very hard for me.  He told me that it's not that we need to give up trying or hope or any of that.  It's just that we need to be okay with the gifts that God is choosing to give to us--in God's timing.  (He told me this much more eloquently than I can.)  Of course, I still desire having more children, but for some reason, hearing these truths from him seemed to click this time.

Maybe my peace with this will wear off after a while.  I guess that's quite likely.  I will cross that bridge when I get there, I suppose.

I just feel like I've been trying to get to this place of acceptance for such a long time.  Thank you, God, for your gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Better Luck Next Month

Well, I'm officially not pregnant again this month.

It's difficult to not not want to quit trying.

I realize these thoughts of giving up are only a certain evil one trying to get me to abandon the pathway God desires for my life.

In a couple days, I'm sure my tune will change.  I'll become "gung-ho" again and I'll make an appointment to speak with an expert on the Creighton Method of NFP.  Maybe after she looks at my charts that I've been documenting for the past 10 years (using Billings), she'll see that it isn't because we don't understand when I am fertile.  Maybe she'll notice something looks "off" with my cycle.  But, I have had other experts take a look-see, and they say it appears to be normal.  They tell me to feel at peace and confident that it appears all is working as it should.

We also need to have my DH checked.  But, this is tricky, too.  You see, as a Catholic, he cannot just go into the little room, look at por.nography, and do the deed.  I would never want him to.  But...this is what is expected of a man.  In order to use a method that is in line with Catholic teachings...and quite frankly...with human decency, we will have to get a little creative.  As far as I know, there is no offering of post-coital testing in this area.  Maybe I should get in touch with the Catholic doctor.  That's another item for my to-do list.

Swimming against the current is such a heavy burden.

I know that it will all be worth it one day.

At the moment, I just dread it. 

Lord, give me peace.

Not the Same Thing

I found a wonderful blog/apostolate that had a link to a Catholic Answers episode about the topic of infertility.  I listened the podcast last night, because I really enjoy that radio show. 

The episode was quite good, and I look forward to seeking out some of the resources the guest spoke about.

However, I was disappointed and a little annoyed when the last caller came on the show.  She wasn't infertile.  She made a good point that it is also a struggle for women who so easily become pregnant--that even their NFP instructors/mentors look at their charts and are baffled as to how they conceived.

I don't want to in any way diminish the pain and struggle that these women are going through.  I don't understand what it's like.

I want to reiterate that I think the caller made a good point.

But...why did she have to do that?

Why did she have to take that episode and try to change it to her subject?  It's because she doesn't understand. 

I know that women who have lots of children face their own battles with people making rude comments, such as, "You do know what causes that, right?"  There was a clever YouTube video that came out around Christmas that tried to make light of the comments larger families are constantly bombarded with.  It was a play on the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  Each verse began, "On the __th day of Christmas, a stranger said to me..." 

These families don't have the option of people not knowing about their uber fertility.

I guess that's one good thing about infertility.  It's not quite as obvious.  Although people may suspect your infertility, they may also think, "Well, maybe they don't want to have children" (or anymore children, in my case).  Which does bring me to another thought that I struggle with at times:  I don't want people to think that my husband and I contracept.  But, I'll save that for another entry, since this one is already too long.

My point is:  just because you are struggling with increased fertility, it doesn't mean you understand what it's like to be infertile.  It is not the same.  I'm not trying to mean.  I just want people to know that, often times, it is not healing for someone with infertility to hear someone else with intact fertility complain about how blessed she is with her abundance of children.  I understand what these individuals are saying, and I don't want to ignore their crosses, but they NEED to know that they should NOT bring that up in a conversation about infertility.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Whoa! I'm Not Alone!

I guess I should have done a small Google search before beginning this blog, for I am most certainly NOT alone in my struggles.  There are a lot more Catholic women who are experiencing infertility out there than I imagined.  Since most of the Catholic friends I know have been blessed with multiple children or at least stories of how easily they become pregnant, I felt as though my situation was fairly unique.  It is with relief and also sadness that I found out that it must not be.  It makes me wonder about the numbers of women who do not have blogs--who have remained silent in their suffering.  How many? 

Before today, I was one of them.  I am not sure where this blog is going.  Maybe I will decide to make it my own private journal.  I just know that I have always done well when I get my thoughts and feelings out through writing.  It makes the whirling, circular thought patterns halt.  I can say, "There.  I acknowledged that emotion--that point.  Now I can move on to the next."  Otherwise, I just get stuck sometimes.  At any rate, I know that getting this out is good for me right now.  After I get it all out, maybe it will be enough.  Or...perhaps the material will continue to come. 

Maybe I will join the Catholic Infertility group on Yahoo! groups.  Maybe that will be the outlet and bonding that I desire.  Only God knows.  I should try to take this day by day.  I don't have to commit to anything, which is nice.

God, I will go where you lead me.

It's Happening Again

I'm starting this blog because I feel like it's happening again. 

Not only is it probably going to happen again, but I don't really have anyone to talk to about it.

No one wants to hear about their friend's infertility woes.

Few of my friends understand anyway.

Many of them are abundantly blessed with several children of their own.

A little bit of background:  My husband and I have one beautiful son.  We have been trying unsuccessfully for over a year to conceive again.  We just began the process of looking into if there might be something wrong. 

Here is the trick:  We are both Catholic, and we are not interested in exploring every fertility opportunity our modern world provides.  I am not here to pass judgment.  I know plenty of individuals, some of them rather close friends/relatives, who used methods I will not pursue.  That is the road they chose to travel.  We do not want to follow them.  We would prefer to stick strictly to what the Catholic Church allows in terms of fertility treatment. 

This is where things get sticky and where I lose potential advocates.  I cannot talk to these friends/family about my/our infertility without appearing that I am judging them for their decisions.  In addition, I am afraid that I don't want them to give me advice on what they think I should/shouldn't do in evaluating/treating my/our infertility.

I know that I am not alone.

Literally, I am accompanied on this journey by my Creator.  Also, I know that there are other Catholics out there who want to abide by the guidelines set forth by the Catholic Church, and you also need someone to talk to.  It is hard in this day and age when all you hear about are your friends who are easily having babies...or others who are using in vitro to become pregnant. 

I understand that this is a suffering that God is allowing in my life, and through this suffering, I am being sanctified.  I understand that.  But, I still hope to one day be able to have more children.  The alternate option of closing myself off to life is not tempting as it may feel to me at times.

So, that is my mess of an introduction.

It feels very raw, but the emotions that come out of infertility are so incredibly raw and heart-wrenching, and if you are also experiencing it, you know what I mean.