Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I look for you everywhere

Dear Baby,

You were so content riding in the cart at the grocery store. You kept looking at me and that now familiar sense of love and joy washed over me. You have your dad's eyes and long eyelashes. You have his sly, mischievous grin. Your calm, cheerful demeanor is your dad's too. Maybe you'll grow to be sensitive and determined like me. Maybe you'll be generous and thoughtful like your dad. Maybe you'll be freakishly picky about all things food like both of us. Maybe you'll have your dad's math skills and my reading skills (we can only hope it's not the other way around!).

But you're not in my cart, baby. You're in that other woman's cart. And those traits that remind me so much of my husband could have come from your mom for all I know. You're not mine. You're not my husbands. Why do I keep seeing you everywhere?

It's been 32 months since your dad and I opened our hearts to your arrival- 43 months since we've been married. You see we were worried in the beginning that we wouldn't have enough money to provide for you the way we wanted to. We worried that I wouldn't be able to stay home during the day and take care of you. Because of all our worries, we tried to avoid pregnancy those first 11 months of our marriage. Now we wonder if we hadn't of been so cautious and plan obsessed, would you be here today?

You see my dear baby, around the 11th month of our marriage, your dad did the math and said he thought it'd be okay if you arrived in nine months- that I'd be able to quit my job and spend my days taking care of you. My heart nearly jumped outside of my body with excitement. I went right over to my friend's house and told her you might be here soon! She was so excited to meet you too and told me what a good mom I was going to be.

I thought about how much fun you were going to have playing with all the kids in our neighborhood, how so many of them would be around your age. I thought about how I needed to take better care of myself to give you the healthiest start possible. I went to W.hole foods and bought the most expensive pre-natal vitamins I could find. I stopped drinking caffeine and alcohol. I ordered Dr. Sears' 'The Baby Book' and read all about pregnancy and childbirth. I even decided I would try to have a natural birth. I had always said I would have all the pain medication they could give me, but with the thought of your impending arrival, I had a new love in my heart- like nothing I had experienced before- and I thought for the first time, "I can handle the pain", because I so wanted you to have the very best start possible.

That month, I wondered a lot about whether or not you'd be making your debut soon. I googled every little thing I noticed going on with my body and without fail- every time-  I found at least 10 sites or message boards that said A B or C was an early pregnancy symptom! My anticipation only grew greater!

On a hot July day, I drove to W.algreens in a flurry, and awkwardly bought my first pregnancy test. I remember feeling worried about what people would think- if they could see I was married or if they thought poorly of me. I don't really know why I was so worried about other people, I guess was still a little immature.

I got home and ripped open the package with an indescribable euphoria. So many thoughts raced through my head. "How would I tell your dad?" "Did I still have time to go to his favorite bakery and buy a special cake with the announcement written on it?" "How long did I need to wait to tell everybody else?" "Crap, I think I did have some alcohol in the past 2 weeks, could I have hurt you?"

I followed the instructions and waited a few minutes to read the result. Only one line. That meant 'not pregnant.' But it just couldn't be right! What about all that stuff I read online? I threw the test in the trash and took another one. Same result. "Maybe it just takes longer than it says," I thought as I pulled the first test out of the trash to see if the result had changed. There was a faint line. I could swear. I quickly began googling and all the message boards said 'Congratulations! I had a faint line and my son/daughter was born 9 months later.'

But it only took a day or two for my hopes to be shattered- my period had arrived. I let a month or two more pass before I called our fertility care practitioner (the lady trained to read the charts of my cycles and see if anything problematic might be going on). She said it was normal for things to take a few months and recommended a couple supplements, which I purchased immediately. At the end of that month I knew something was wrong and went to my doctor.

I don't want to bore you with all the details, my dear baby. The doctor thought a few things might be off and gave me some medicine she thought would help. When it didn't help your dad and I argued about what to do next. Your dad was really worried that my doctor was missing something. He thought that if we could just find that missing puzzle piece, you'd be here any day.

We went to see a specialist who does many things that aren't in line with our beliefs. She was supposed to be the best. We thought we could get her help with finding out what was taking you so long and then go to a Christian doctor for treatment. We could never bare the thought of having you frozen and graded and treated like a product. You mean too much. I spent that month getting poked and prodded nearly every day. I hated all the examinations but I wanted answers. I wanted you in my arms. So I asked them for more tests. I knew there was a problem. They'd find it. We'd fix it. And you'd be here.

We met with the doctor in January and she told me in no uncertain terms there was nothing preventing your arrival. She said you'd be here within the year. And then she offered us chemicals if we wanted to "hasten your arrival." I wanted you here pronto, but what she was saying made no sense to me. I knew in my soul she had to be wrong. I started to cry. She clearly thought I was silly and told me to go see a therapist. I told her I knew there was something keeping you away. She said it just wasn't so. We left- your dad with renewed optimism- and me with a broken heart.

You weren't here and I knew there was a reason. I went back to my other doctor. I kept asking for more tests. Eventually, my persistence paid off and the doctor realized I might have endometriosis. She sent me to a surgeon who agreed. I was so excited we were closer to an answer! I knew you'd be here soon now. I lamented to the surgeon that I just didn't know what I'd do if I didn't have endometriosis because I just had to know what was holding you back.

Surgery was only a couple weeks later and your dad sat with your grandma in the waiting room. He would never admit it, but your grandma said he was really scared. Your dad really loves me and he thinks he needs to hide his feelings to be strong for me. The surgeon came out and told your dad he had never seen so much endometriosis in someone so young. As soon as I woke up, I asked what they found and when we could again open our hearts to your arrival. The doctor said we need only delay a couple of weeks.

Six months went by and still no you. I wrote a letter to a doctor far away to see what he thought. I found out I would need another surgery. I wasn't scared because I just wanted to meet you. But then I needed 4 more surgeries. And I started to get scared. I began to fear the pain. I began to fear what might happen to me. I wondered if I'd die of complications from the anesthesia. There were days I could barely move I was in so much pain. I was angry at everyone. I was angry at the doctors for not giving me enough medicine. I was angry at your dad- for just trying his best to help me. I was angry at every pregnant woman I saw for having what I couldn't. During this very dark time, I found it especially difficult to pray. I tried to make a habit of asking Mother Mary to pray for me every time I walked past her statue in our living room. It was during the most painful period of my recovery that I walked passed Our Lady and I heard you cry out to me, "keep fighting for me, mommy."

How could I give up now? Every month I stick myself with needles and let strangers prod me with strange devices. I miss hours- sometimes days of work- to do seemingly trivial things the doctors tell me will help you get here.

Most of my days are spent fighting for your classmates. I don't know how to tell you this, but there are some mommies and daddies who don't think there children should be born. Even when they're already on their way, the mommies and daddies think about hurting their babies. I feel sad when I hear their reasons because a lot of them sound like the reasons we avoided welcoming you into our hearts. But I swear to you, baby, we would never hurt you. Most of the time, I feel powerless to help you get here. But Our heavenly Father has given me a little bit of influence when it comes to your friends' arrivals. When I talk to these pregnant women, I wonder if they aren't carrying your future spouse. I wonder if they aren't thinking about ending the life of your best friend or teammate. A lot of the time I want to tell them, "you will never regret your child's life! But if you end their life, you will forever regret the hole in your heart only this baby can fill." I'm not allowed to say those things though. So I try to listen.

And a lot of the time, I hear your voice, "keep fighting for me mommy." And because I know you will care about your peers, I know you want me to fight for them. And even though I have no more say in when you get here, I can fight for you. I can love the mommies and daddies I meet and help them to love the babies they haven't yet met. I can see you in their eyes and in the eyes of the babies I meet. I will keep fighting. I will keep loving. I am already your mommy. I care my sweet baby. I care. Even if I can't show it in the way I want to. I care. And I will answer our heavenly Father's call. Maybe you know when you'll get here. Maybe you don't. Could you pray for me? I am praying for you. I am holding you in my heart. I am seeing you everywhere. I love you.

"I look for you everywhere the stars, the trees, the whispers in the wind the reflections in the water the sunrising and sunset. And I will keep looking."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Opinions needed!

I had my CD 4 ultrasound today. It is intended to make sure my LUFs from the previous cycle have resolved before I take any other fertility drugs. As usual (thank God! and progesterone!) the LUF from last cycle is gone. However, I have over 13 follicles already and 2 are already over 1 centimeter. The US technician was surprised I wasn't on Clomid based on how stimulated my ovaries looked. Does anyone know what to make of this??? (FYI I had wedge resection for PCOS in 2012). My doctor is likely swamped with more urgent things and hasn't told me what to make of the US and cycle review yet. I worry about what this means for the quality of ovulation and if PCOS is back with a vengeance. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Anger and a little insight from another blogger

We are all quite familiar with the 

Kubler Ross 5 Stages of Grief, right? I'm confused about the path I've taken. I feel like I've moved through all the stages except anger, which is supposed to be the second stage. But I think it's safe to say, I've finally made my way around to it. I'm so angry at people for pulling away when I need them the most. 

I was reading Amanda's post (she blogs at truegoodandbeautiful) on 'How TO support a loved one facing infertility' and she has such amazing insight. I was particularly struck by by this:

3. Asking us how they can help.

"This really takes boldness, and I really appreciate it when a friend asks this. Infertility is like being on the cross with Jesus. I am totally linked to him. I am well aware that we are asking a LOT of our friends and family to be near us in the struggle. It’s like when Jesus was on the cross - only Mary, John, and a few women stood nearby. It took tremendous amounts of courage to stay by Jesus on the cross and in turn, it takes a lot of courage to ask people to stand with us while we hang on the cross. Most people won’t have the emotional ability to stay with us, and I know that. But those willing to try and stick near us...I treasure with all my heart because they are far and few between."

People often lack the emotional ability to stay with us. This captures in such a clear and simple way exactly what I've been struggling with-exactly what I've felt so angry about. I don't think I have the mental energy to say much more about it right now but I wanted to share it with you nonetheless. I do want to acknowledge that Amanda certainly seems to have a level of acceptance about this that I don't have right now... One day.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

One easy way to make another's day

It's funny how God can use our greatest defects and turn them into something really beautiful. I'm definitely prone to selfishness (who isn't?) but I really really do struggle with this. I'm very sensitive, which can be both a gift and a curse. When I'm at my best, I'm adept at picking up on the needs and feelings of others and noticing what goes unnoticed by most, but when I'm at my worst I'm so focused on my own upset, my own needs and emotions that I don't see anyone else.

My sensitivity contributes to a strong capacity for self-reflection and introspection. I've been noticing lately how very desperate I feel for affirmation and approval. I literally feel like there's a bottomless pit of need within me, crying out for praise and validation. Even when I do get the accolades I think I'm craving, I rarely feel better. This need for affirmation is not bad in itself. God put this need within all of us and big needs as an adult almost always reflect unmet/inadequately met needs from childhood. This need for affirmation becomes a problem when it leads me to focus on myself instead of God and others. The past few weeks, I've definitely been guilty of this.

I was having a particularly desperate night on Sunday, when I went to pick up some take-out. The teenage boy at the register was very helpful but serious. I had a long list of things I did not want on my food and he went over the order backwards and forwards to make sure he had it right. He must have said something slightly wrong (which I didn't notice) because he apologized and said he was having an off day. I stepped outside of my own grumpiness and told him with a smile how thorough he was in making sure my order was right. He smiled shyly and it was easy to see how much the observation meant to him.

At work, I see a lot of people who are hurting deeply and they often present as angry and jaded. It can be easy to fall into doing the bare minimum with them, but today I pointed out to a client how happy her baby seems when he looks at her, and her abrasive scowl quickly became a beaming smile.

What's important about all of this, is that people just long to be seen- to be noticed. They don't even need praise most of the time. Simply noticing is enough. I'm going to commit myself to pointing out all the little positive- however seemingly trivial- things I notice about the people I meet.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What you can say instead of "everything happens for a reason"

"A response rarely makes something better. What makes something better is connection." The way to build connection is through empathy. Empathy is defined as "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another," while sympathy is understood as "feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune."

"Everything happens for a reason" is neither empathetic nor sympathetic. The response misses the mark in terms of conveying any understanding and falls short of demonstrating sorrow for another's pain. Instead, it tries to rationalize someone else's pain.  To rationalize is to "attempt to explain or justify with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate." In the world of mental health rationalization is viewed as a way of protecting the self against emotional pain. It serves a purpose, but ultimately does more harm than good because it prevents the person from confronting reality and working through the emotions that reality evokes.

Emotions are a form of energy and when they are acknowledged and felt they move through the body and mind, much like a wave they rise and fall. But when they are protected against through rationalization or another defense mechanism, they get trapped within the body and wreak havoc on our health- both physical and mental. The person carrying around unresolved anger (say over the death of a friend) may lash out at the store clerk for making some minor mistake or yell at his wife for cooking the wrong thing for dinner- such "expressions" of anger will never lead to feeling better because they are only a distraction from the real issue- from the true source of the person's emotion, which has been denied or rationalized.

When people say "everything happens for a reason" they're unknowingly suggesting we engage in something that is known to be psychologically harmful. They're also protecting themselves from having to empathize or 'experience with' the hurting person. Perhaps the other's pain is just too overwhelming and unbearable for them to face so they rationalize it away- warding off their own feelings of vulnerability and building a wall around their hearts to the suffering other's vulnerability.

Of course I'm not suggesting any of this is done intentionally, instead it's an automatic unconscious response learned over a lifetime. We can do better but we have to know better. And we have to be intentional about responding differently. The truly helpful response is empathic.

"Empathy is a person's attempt to understand and express the thoughts and feelings of another person" (Rogers, 1959). Here are some basics about how to convey empathy (right out of a textbook).

Lead in phrases:
It seems like you are...
It sounds like...
I get the feeling that you are...
You look...
You seem to be...

Identify the:
Want or desire-- what the other wanted or had hoped for "It sounds like you really wanted that job."

Feeling--sad, mad, happy, afraid, or other variations "you must be sad."

Both the wants and the feeling-- "It sounds like you wanted that job and are sad you didn't get it."

Accompanying behaviors:
voice tone
facial expression
posture and body movements can all convey empathy

Remember, the inclination to rationalize or ward off pain (our own or another's) is a learned behavior. It's taken years to develop and can take years to undo. It is possible to offer others connection instead of rationalization. By making an effort to notice the emotion behind what someone else is saying, we offer them an experience of feeling heard and understood in a way that is felt in the core of their being. Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy points out, "we are born to need each other. The human brain is wired for close connection with a few irreplaceable others. Accepting your need for this special kind of emotional connection is not a sign of weakness, but maturity and strength."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

"Everything happens for a reason:" Why this statement stings so much: Part 2

In Part I, I wrote about how "everything happens for a reason" cuts off connection. I'd like to reiterate that I'm not suggesting people intend harm when they use this phrase. People want to help, but again this isn't about intention. It's about the reality of what this phrase and others like it communicate to people when they're suffering. 

Reason 2: It's bad theology and nonsense psychology.

It is one thing to suggest that God allows suffering; it is quite another to insinuate that He causes it. The statement, "everything happens for a reason," implies that God is a puppet master causing this and that event "for a reason." It implies that God is "testing us" or "teaching us a lesson."

The Church herself names man as the author of sin. Man sins when he rejects God (Catholic Church 386). The Catechism clearly states that Satan acts in the world and his actions can cause grave injuries- both spiritual and physical. "It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but 'we know that in everything God works for the good with those who love" (Catholic Church 295). See??? It is a great mystery why God permits suffering and He can bring good from the most horrible circumstances. He can bring good from evil. He is not causing evil.

"For Christians, by contrast, the Creator of all things is a perfectly good, perfectly just,14 and perfectly loving Father. Suffering and death, and all the evils we experience in this life, have their origin in human sin against God our Father. From a Christian point of view, the finger that the atheist points at God, blaming Him for all the suffering we experience, or using our suffering as an argument against God’s existence, is man blaming God, for what man freely did in disobedience to God" (Cross 2009).

 Yes, there is some truth to "everything happens for a reason;" more often than not, the reason for suffering is the reality of living in a fallen world. Sickness and death exist because evil exists- not because God is willing them. 

Do you think God could ever will the abuse of helpless children? St. Paul tells us, "God is love;" abuse is certainly not a reflection of love, and so we know that God could not possibly be the author of it. If the ends never justify the means than God would not will evil in order to 'make us better people'. 

Parents may claim they are beating their children to teach them right from wrong and 'make them better people,' but this behavior is misguided at best- evil at worst. 

Many of the most severe emotional and behavioral problems (ie Borderline Personality Disorder and Anti-Social Personality Disorder) are directly linked to early caregiving experiences where the parent was both the source of the child's fear and the only hope of relief from that fear. I am no theologian, but I know we are called to love as Christ loved. I know that the above mentioned parenting style is not a reflection of Christ's love, and when we imply that God is causing suffering, we are asking others to accept a heavenly father that is the cause of their fear and their only hope for relief from that fear. 

Years of research in the field of psychology and child development tell us that severely abused children blame themselves for their suffering in order to survive emotionally. Even though their parents are the objective source of their pain, they internalize the hurt and come to see themselves, rather than their parents, as bad and evil. Children simply cannot live in a world where their seemingly omnipotent caregiver is the source of pain. It seems their minds are designed to automatically and unconsciously make sense of the experience of fright without solution by seeing themselves as the authors of their own suffering. 

The human mind is, of course, the work of God the Father. Modern psychology and neuroscience are just beginning to tap into the wonders of how this infinitely complex system functions. As Christians, we know that God usually works within the natural order of things. Natural law tells us there are certain things about human nature, which are immutable. It stands to reason then that God would not ask us to accept as truth something that fundamentally contradicts that which is an immutable part of our human nature. 

Just as small children cannot accept their parents as the source of their pain (even when this is indeed the case), adults are psychologically unable to accept their heavenly Father as the source of their suffering. When someone says "everything happens for a reason" and so suggests that God is causing some suffering for a purpose, the human mind is apt to reject the idea- if only on an unconscious level. We're left feeling confused, disorientated and unsatisfied, because we know on some level that God simply could not be the author of our pain. Depending on the state of our emotional and spiritual well-being, we may be able to consciously reject this most absurd suggestion, or we may feel we have no other choice than to convince ourselves of its truth. In the case of the latter, we are bound to become angry and rageful because we are trying to convince ourselves of a truth so out-of-sync with what is written on our hearts. 

Luckily, the Catholic Church, in all her wisdom teaches with clarity that God does not will our suffering. But for whatever reason, we've developed the bad habit of responding to suffering with "everything happens for a reason" and in doing so we are confusing others (and ourselves) about what the church actually teaches, as well as adding to the suffering of others by suggesting they accept all the psychological absurdities the statement implies.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

"Everything happens for a reason:" why this statement stings so much: Part I

I have a lot to say about what's wrong with this statement. Please know, this series is not meant as an attack on anyone that says it. I'm certainly guilty of saying it at one point or another. This series is intended to not only help people understand why not to say it, but also to shed some light on why it stings so much when we hear it. Many people feel a vague sense of sadness or anger when someone responds with "everything happens for a reason" but can't quite put their finger on why it hurts so much.

Reason 1: It shuts down connection.

"A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, generally directed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease. The word derives from platFrench word for "flat." Platitudes are geared towards presenting a shallow, unifying wisdom over a difficult topic. However, they are too overused and general to be anything more than undirected statements with ultimately little meaningful contribution towards a solution. Platitudes are generally a form of thought-terminating Cliche." -Wikipedia

"Thought-terminating." When I tell someone about our journey and they respond with "everything happens for a reason" they are shutting down the conversation. What does this phrase do other than communicate "everything will be fine" "you don't have a right to feel the way you feel" and "there, there, I have all the answers now just be quiet." This isn't about what their intentions might be. This is about the reality of what that phrase and others like it do to people who are suffering. And the big deal is- they cut off connection. They communicate that the listener is not interested in hearing more about your experience.

Sharing your pain means making yourself vulnerable and making yourself vulnerable means you are taking a risk. "Will I be heard?" "Is this relationship emotionally safe?" We can't know the answers until we try. And so we try. And try. And too often, instead of hearing something empathic from our loved ones like, "I see how much you're hurting right now" or simply, "tell me what's it like for you," we get shut-down/thought-terminated/kicked in the gut by a big fat platitude. 

In the mental health world we know that what is "sharable becomes bearable." The most painful experiences and emotions can be made manageable simply by being able to share them with a empathic person. When I reach out to others and am shut down by one of the above cliches I feel alone in my suffering. When I can share my pain with someone who truly listens, it quite literally allows me to create a place within my own soul where I can cry my heart out. I no longer have to shut down the emotions and the experience because they are made bearable by the empathic ear. 

Just like this amazing and brief YouTube clip explains, "A response rarely makes something better. What makes something better is connection." So please next time your loved one attempts to share their burdens with you, don't try to make it better with a response. Try to connect.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The trick is...


It's all too easy to get caught up waiting for the next big blessing. If I wasn't married, I'd be longing for marriage. If I didn't have a job that I loved, I'd be longing for that. It's easier said than done to enjoy the present moment, but I think I'm getting better at it. A wise friend once encouraged me to imagine I would wake up tomorrow with only what I thanked God for today. This exercise really helped put things into perspective for me. There is so much I have to be grateful for today and I want to enjoy those things while I have the chance. I know I'm not promised tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Best books for adoptive parents

Maybe instead of working all day on my day-off I'll finally check out some adoption books at the library. I suppose I feel strangely avoidant of learning about the challenges of adoption. Maybe I'm not ready for more "challenge." For just a moment, I let myself think, "I just want to be normal. I just want to have a normal life. Why does everything involve so much effort?" And because I'm putting the mindfulness techniques I'm working on in therapy into practice, I won't dwell on the thought, but I notice it. I won't judge it. I won't beat myself for longing for something simpler. 

Things in life have never come easy for me. And maybe that's okay. I think I like where I am right now. And if I have to fight tooth and nail to bring our child home and give him or her the life they deserve, I think I'm okay with that. I notice that longing for normalcy, but I watch it drift away. I want this life- normal or not. 

Best Books for Adoptive Parents

Monday, February 3, 2014

One of those days

I was supposed to take my trigger shot by 3pm today, which meant bringing everything with me to work. 3pm roles around and I go through the usual prep routine and then I can't get the stupid needle through my skin! I've done this at least 10 times before. Why in the world isn't it working?!? I kept trying and was bleeding from like 5 different spots before I called the nurses at PPVI- well, I bypassed their line and asked the office manager to let me talk to one of them ASAP. The nurse walked me through the procedure and told me to be more forceful, etc- all to no avail. I told her I'd done these injections plenty of times and never had  trouble so it must be the needle.

By this time it was 3:45 and I was well passed the deadline for the shot. I had no other needles with me at work so I left early to go home and use a different needle. But as it turns out, K.ubats had not included any needles for the HCG in this months package. I was totally SOL. I eventually got the right needles from W.algreens after K.ubats called them for me, but I ended up doing the shot nearly 2 hours late. The new needle went through with no issue, so beware there are dud needles!!!! I would not have guessed that was possible but I'm relieved to know I'm not losing my touch.

On top of that, while I was walking the 4 blocks from my office to my car, I slid down a 2 foot pile of snow and abruptly landed on my tush and bruised my tail-bone. At least 3 people saw me and only one stopped to see if I was okay, but didn't help me up or anything. I was carrying the prepared HCG injection in a container with ice and everything went everywhere! It was a miracle the injection didn't spill or break.

I also learned from PPVI today that my thyroid numbers are still crappy. My T3 is 67 and the healthy range is 70-150 (I think) and my T3 -Reverses T3 ratio is 2.7 and they want it to be greater than 10. When I first started t3 supplements 2 years ago, I think my ratio was 3, so not only has mine not improved by it's a little worse. They wanted me to increase my T3 dose but last time I tried that I had extreme anxiety (racing heart and pulse) so I am absolutely not jumping to the dose they recommended because that feeling is awful.

My husband was a super-hero and made me a gin and tonic as soon as I got home and went to the pharmacy for me to pick up the new needles. I took a hot bath to calm my nerves and soothe my bruised tail-bone. I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from the K.ubats pharmacist apologizing for not sending the needles and letting me know they were refunding the full cost of the HCG! I was not expecting that.

All these little things seem so embarrassingly trivial. I could be ashamed to admit I let all this get to me. Sometimes though, it's the little things about IF that can really kick you in the gut. And then I think of St. Therese and how all these little things can be transformed into beautiful roses before the thrown of our Lord if we bear them with love and patience. I hope I can get better at that. Today just reminded me how far I have to go on the path to sainthood. Sometimes I feel like IF has made me more selfish. Oh how I have a lot to learn.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A step in the right direction

My mom started reading a book our adoption agency recommended for extended family members: In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You to Know. She says she's really enjoyed it so far and that she's learning a lot. She also bought a copy for my siblings to pass amongst themselves. I'm very grateful for the effort she is putting forth to learn how she can be helpful. The littlest things can make the biggest difference.

I haven't read the book myself, but if you're pursuing adoption my mom reccomends it for your extended family:).

And they have a website! In On

Adopt-A--Blogger (Thank you!)

I feel so blessed that the Holy Spirit led Blessed to Be to choose me as February's Adopt-A-Blogger! Just today, I realized how desperately in need of God's grace I am right now. I've been relying pretty heavily on my own power the past few months and it's left me quite bitter and broken. How quickly God answered my prayer for more grace, love and support!

My DH and I have been married 3 1/2 years. We were blessed enough to find the Creighton Model before we were married and my regular cycles led me to believe I was "super fertile" and would have no trouble getting pregnant so we delayed TTC so I could attend all my bests friends' weddings without having to worry about avoiding alcohol or fitting into my bridesmaids dresses. Yep, I was pretty clueless.

Fast-forward to our 1 year anniversary and we were ready to TTC. I quickly realized something wasn't right and aggressively pursued treatment. After being dismissed- even written off as "in need of a therapist" (which I already had:-))- by several doctors, I was referred to an amazing OBGYN. Only a couple weeks later,  he performed my first laparoscopy and diagnosed Stage 3 endometriosis. The diagnosis was a tremendous relief, but to our great disappointment, this surgery would not be enough to allow us to conceive. I've since had 5 more surgeries to treat severe endometriosis, endometritis and mild PCOS with the wonderful doctors at PPVI Institute. My most recent surgery was October 2013.

After much prayer, God has led us to begin the adoption process, even as we continue treatment for our infertility. We are currently on a waiting list to begin the home-study process and I started Neupogen shots to treat chronic LUFS this cycle.

Like so many of you, all I ever wanted in life was to be a wife and a mother. My DH wrote in his 6th grade assignment that he wanted to be "a dad" when he grew up. My heart aches with longing for the day that I'll be able to share the news that his lifelong dream has come true. For now, God has led me to counseling women in crisis pregnancies, and though I remain tremendously grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord in this way, I yearn for the day where I can "raise up children to God in this life and heirs to the kingdom of His glory in the world to come."

In addition to your prayers for the blessing of parenthood, prayers for our spiritual union as husband and wife are greatly needed! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers. You will all be in mine as well. <3.