Monday, April 28, 2014

My first 'Little Happies'


 Marshmallow Peeps: I reaped the benefits of our secular culture's disregard for the liturgical calendar. Easter Monday all the Easter stuff was 30% off at T.arget but I knew it wouldn't be long before it was marked down even more. Yesterday, I stocked up on plastic Easter eggs for our one-day children at 8 cents a bag and Peeps for 90% off! I got Easter baskets for our favorite neighbor kids and Goddaughter. I saved tons of money and got to teach them that the celebration of Easter doesn't end on Easter Sunday. I am seriously obsessed with these Marshmallow Peeps. Seeing the wall filled with all the bright colors made me so happy and they are just so delicious!


My facewash-Eminence Mineral Cleansing Concentrate: For those of you with PCOS and hirsutism issues this stuff works wonders! I have always struggled with acne (thanks again PCOS) and worse for the past 5 years I've gotten horrible thick black hairs on my chin. I literally have to tweeze it twice a day. Sorry for the TMI, but I know there have to be others that deal with this too. Well, to add insult to injury, I constantly got in-grown hairs and my chin just looked a nasty mess all the time because it was so red and irritated from having to attack the in-grown hairs. Well, about 3 years ago, I found this facewash and it not only helped my acne but cured my in-grown hair issue! I was shocked the problem was unexpectedly solved and then research on the ingredients showed it could help with this. I am also delighted to have discovered that skipping my morning facewash routine has done wonders to clear up my acne. I recently read that the PH of your skin in the morning is 'just right' and you don't want to mess with that by washing your face. So I now wash my face just at night with this stuff and my skin is better than it has been since before puberty. 


Self-help books: So this has to be one of the most shameless things to admit but I'm a sucker for a good self-help book. I swore I would read some fiction on our vacation but I ended up defaulting to my trusty relationship books. As a connoisseur of these things, I highly recommend this book. I've noticed a change in our relationship almost immediately after adjusting my mindset as the book encourages. The main idea is that men are always on the brink of shame and women are always on the brink of fear/anxiety (obviously a generalization but its true for most couples). When a woman's anxiety goes up, a man's shame is triggered and vice-versa. There are simple changes you can make to step outside of this vicious cycle. Since recognizing this, I've been able to have more compassion for my husband and it must be making a difference because his entire demeanor has changed! 


This Pinterest Recipe:

 Do you have Arthritis or an inflammatory illness? Anti-Inflammatory Lemonade: 

1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice (4 -6 lemons) 

4-6 cups of purified water 

1 tsp of ground turmeric 

1 tsp of cinnamon 

Pinch of Himalayan Salt Optional:

 Honey (or to taste) 

Optional: 1 tsp ground/fresh ginger 

A big thank you to Natural News tv. for this great recipe. 

So it doesn't take much like lemonade but on cold mornings I like to drink it warm. I heat water in the microwave, squeeze a lemon into it and add a smaller portion of tumeric and ginger. It doesn't even need the honey. It's really soothing and it's supposed to be great for fighting the inflammation caused by endo or from eating excessive amounts of sugar coated marshmallows;-)


Solitude and the beach: Okay so maybe this is more of a BIG happy but getting to put my feet in the sand and feel the warm air was beyond amazing. We waited almost 4 years to take a big trip (our honeymoon was more of a mini-moon). I'm so glad we could finally get-away. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Be Born In Me

Two week waits are not for the faint of heart! I am in awe of the strength and faith so many of you demonstrate each month during this terribly difficult time. As much as never ovulating was discouraging and depressing, the clarity and certainty of it all gave me time to grieve before the next cycle started. It didn't allow much room for hope.

I am beyond grateful to God for the gift of this hope and I'm acutely aware that this hope will likely not result in a baby.

This dichotomy present in the 2WW is a chance for me to grow in a new way. Romans 5:5 tells us "hope does not disappoint"  but it doesn't tell us "because God will grant all of your wishes" rather it reads "because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."

Merriam Webster lists the opposites of disappoint as content, gratify, and satisfy. If God has promised us that hope truly does not disappoint than there must be an avenue for me to feel content, gratified and satisfied without my child in my arms.

The other day I had coffee with S from waitinghopefully. We spoke about the sense that we both needed to shift our concepts of happiness and contentment. S acknowledged that if she can't be happy now-even without a baby- she doesn't think she'd be happy with a baby. There will always be something to worry about, something more to want, some unfulfilled dream. We talked about secondary infertility and how awful and isolating that path would be. Even if we each get a BFP, we would both want a sibling for our child, and we'd both agonize over whether we'd be able to see that dream come to fruition.

If we want to be content, we have to embrace the path to contentment in our current circumstances. These past 10 days, I have been trying to focus my prayer on asking our Lord to live in me, to dwell in me, to be born in me. For God did not promise I'd be content when I had a baby, he promised I'd be content because his love has been poured out into my heart.

I've been meditating on the song above, which (if I'm remembering correctly) Mrs. Fitz at Romans 12:12 originally posted about. I added some of my reflections in italics.

Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow an angel or a warrior
If God is pleased with me, why I am I so terrified
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven's eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on it's knees - My head certainly doesn't understand why the heck God wouldn't grant us a miracle when I've spent my whole life dreaming about being a mom and made all my life decisions based on that desire to be a mom. 
Holy is He. Blessed am I.

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I'll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

All this time we've waited for the promise
All this time You've waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected - The Lord is present in this most painful and unexpected circumstance of infertility and he will be glorified in it. 
So we might know that Love would go that far?


I am not brave
I'll never be 
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy - These are my favorite 3 lines. I will never be brave. The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy. How true those words ring. What do I have to offer God, but the hole in my heart Infertility has left. 
I'm just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours

During the offertory I like to say a silent prayer telling God what I offer him that day (something I learned from Scott Hahn's talk 'How to Get the Most out of the Mass'). Today, I gave Jesus my desire to be a mother- mentally surrendering it to him. This doesn't mean I won't need to surrender again and again but it's a small step toward inviting Jesus to fill the vacancy in my heart- and living with contentment amidst discontenting circumstances. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A 2 week wait

I had my peak+3 ultrasound today. I had 1.6 cm corpus luteum cyst on my right ovary and a 2.6 cm follicle on my left. Based on the presence of a corpus luteum the doctor thinks I ovulated!!!! This is a HUGE deal and a HUGE step in the right direction to overcoming luteinized unruptured follicle syndrome (LUFS).

I requested a phone consult with the doctor so I could bypass the game of telephone that seems to always lead to frustration and confusion on my end. I actually got to talk to the doctor today which was another miracle. I had questions about my lack of fertile cm and what this might mean for my estrogen levels.

She didn't seem very concerned and said the bigger issue is how your ovaries respond to the hormones not the actual levels- if I understood that correctly. She said the only way to increase the estrogen levels would be through Clomid or Femara, which she does not want me on because I was hyper-stimulated by a sub-therapeutic dose of Femara.

For the duration of this cycle I am supposed to take my usual progesterone shots. The follicle on the left ovary is causing me quite a bit of pain though she said it was not an LUF.

Next cycle she wants me to take an antibiotic to help with CM (I'm allergic to amoxicillin so she's putting me on ceclor).

I asked if I should use the Neupogen next month since I missed the window for it this go around and may have ovulated anyways. She thought I might as well use it since I have it already.

My thought is that if I can ovulate with a $20 medicine, I don't want to waste a $1,000 medicine. I feel so strongly that the Holy Spirit played a huge role in me having access to this medication and if it wasn't to get me to ovulate than it has to be for another good reason- like me being able to share it with someone else who needs it. So I'm going to try just the Cytotec again next month and see how it goes.

So now begins a real 2 week wait- treading the line between hope and realism. I normally medicate my anxiety by enjoying a nice cocktail with our neighbors. Now, I have to try to be healthy the next 2 weeks... I bought myself a frozen Chicago style deep dish pizza at the store to replace my cocktail as a treat:-).

Here's hoping...

Infertility Awareness Week: A Catholic Perspective

Infertility Awareness Week, 2014: A Catholic Perspective

One in six couples will experience infertility at some point in their marriage. Infertility is medically defined as the inability to conceive after 12 cycles of “unprotected” intercourse or 6 cycles using “fertility-focused” intercourse. A couple who has never conceived has “primary infertility” and a couple who has conceived in the past but is unable to again has “secondary infertility”. Many couples who experience infertility have also experienced miscarriage or pregnancy loss.

This week, April 20 – 26, 2014 is National Infertility Awareness Week.

We, a group of Catholic women who have experienced infertility, would like to take a moment to share with you what the experience of infertility is like, share ways that you can be of support to a family member or friend, and share resources that are helpful.

If you are experiencing infertility, please know you are not alone. You are loved and prayed for and there are resources to help you with the spiritual, emotional, and medical aspects of this journey

The Experience of Infertility

In the beginning of trying to conceive a child, there is much hope and anticipation; for some, even a small fear of “what if we get pregnant right away?” There is planning of how to tell your husband and when you’d announce to the rest of the family. It is a joyful time that for most couples results in a positive pregnancy test within the first few months. However, for one in six couples, the months go by without a positive test and the fears and doubts begin to creep in. At the 6th month of trying using fertility-focused intercourse (using Natural Family Planning), the couple knows something is wrong and is considered "infertile” by doctors who understand the charting of a woman’s pattern of fertility. At the 9th month of trying, the month that, had they conceived that first month, a baby would have been arriving, is often the most painful of the early milestones. At the 12th month mark the couple “earns” the label from the mainstream medical community as "infertile”.

As the months go by, the hopes and dreams are replaced with fears, doubts, and the most invasive doctors’ appointments possible. As a Catholic couple faithful to the teachings of the Church, we are presented by secular doctors with options that are not options for us and are told things like “you’ll never have children” and “you have unexplained infertility”; by our Catholic doctors we are told to keep praying and to have hope as they roll up their sleeves and work hard to figure out the cause of our infertility, with each visit asking, “How are you and your husband doing with all of this?”

We find it hard to fit in. We have faith and values that are different than our secular culture, but our childlessness (primary infertility) or small family (secondary infertility) makes us blend in with the norm. We have faith and values that are in line with the teachings of our Church, but our daily life looks so much different than the others who share those values and that makes us stand out in a way that we would rather not. We are Catholic husbands and wives living out our vocation fully. Our openness to life does not come in the form of children; it takes on the form of a quiet “no” or “not yet” or “maybe never” from God each month as we slowly trod along. Our openness to and respect for life courageously resists the temptations presented to us by the secular artificial reproductive technology industry.

Often times our friends and family do not know what to say to us, and so they choose to not say anything. Our infertility stands like a great big elephant in the room that separates us from others. Most of the time, we don’t want to talk about it, especially not in public or in group settings because it is painful and we will often shed tears. We realize it is difficult and ask that you realize this difficulty as well. We will do our best to be patient and to explain our situation to those who genuinely would like to know, but please respect our privacy and the boundaries we establish, as not only is infertility painful, it is also very personal.

One of the hardest experiences of infertility is that it is cyclical. Each month we get our hopes up as we try; we know what our due date would be as soon as we ovulate; we know how we would share the news with our husband and when and how we would tell our parents. We spend two weeks walking a fine line between hope and realism, between dreaming and despairing. When our next cycle begins – with cramps and bleeding and tears – we often only have a day or two before we must begin taking the medications that are meant to help us conceive. There is little to no time to mourn the dream that is once again not achievable; no time to truly allow ourselves to heal from one disappointment before we must begin hoping and trying again. We do not get to pick what days our hormones will plummet or how the medications we are often taking will affect us. We do not get to pick the day that would be “best” for us for our next cycle to start. We are at the mercy of hope, and while that hope keeps us going it is also what leaves us in tears when it is not realized.

Our faith is tested. We ask God “why?”, we yell at Him; we draw closer to God and we push Him away. Mass brings us to tears more often than not and the season of Advent brings us to our knees. The chorus of “Happy Mother’s Day” that surrounds us at Mass on the second Sunday in May will be almost more devastating than the blessing of mothers itself. We know that the Lord is trustworthy and that we can trust in Him; sometimes it is just a bigger task than we can achieve on our own.


Pray for us. Truly, it is the best thing that anyone can do.

Do not make assumptions about anything - not the size of a family or whether or not a couple knows what is morally acceptable to the Church. Most couples who experience infertility do so in silence and these assumptions only add to the pain. If you are genuinely interested, and not merely curious, begin a genuine friendship and discover the truth over time.

Do not offer advice such as “just relax," “you should adopt," “try this medical option or that medical option” – or really give any advice. Infertility is a symptom of an underlying medical problem; a medical problem that often involves complicated and invasive treatment to cure.

Do not assume that we will adopt. Adoption is a call and should be discerned by every married couple. Infertility does not automatically mean that a couple is meant to adopt.

Ask how we are doing and be willing to hear and be present for the “real” answer. Often times we answer, “OK” because that’s the easy, “safe” answer. Let us know that you are willing to walk through this the tough time with us. Frequently we just need someone who is willing to listen and give us a hug and let us know we are loved.

Offer a Mass for us or give us a prayer card or medal to let us know you are praying for us. Just please refrain from telling us how we must pray this novena or ask for that saint’s intercession. Most likely we’ve prayed it and ask for the intercession daily. Please feel free to pray novenas and ask for intercession on our behalf.

Be tolerant and patient. The medications we take can leave us at less than our best; we may not have the energy or ability to do much. Please also respect us when we say "no, thank you" to food or drinks. We may have restricted diets due to our medical conditions and/or medications.

Share the good news of your pregnancy privately (preferably in an email or card or letter and not via text, IM chat, phone call or in person) and as soon as possible. Please understand that we are truly filled with joy for you; any sadness we feel is because we have been reminded of our own pain and we often feel horrible guilt over it as well. Please be patient and kind if we don’t respond immediately, attend your baby shower or don’t “Like” all of your Facebook updates about your children. Again, it is really about us, not you.

Help steer group conversations away from pregnancy and parenting topics when we are around. We like to be able to interact in a conversation to which we can contribute meaningfully.

Do not ask when we are going to “start a family” (we started one the day we got married).

Do not ask which one of us is the “problem” – we are either fertile or infertile as a couple.

Do not say things like "I know you'll be parents some day," or "It will happen, I know it will!" Along the same lines, please do not tell us stories of a couple you know who struggled for years and went on to conceive or to "just adopt and then you'll get pregnant" (this one actually only happens a small percentage of the time). Only God knows what our future holds, please pray with us that we are able to graciously accept His will for our lives.

Do not pity us. Yes, we have much sorrow. Yes, we struggle. But, we place our faith in God, lean on the grace of our marriage, and trust that someday, whether here on earth or in heaven, we will see and understand God’s plan.


Infertility Companion for Catholics

Facing Infertility: A Catholic Approach

Reproductive Technology: Guidelines for Catholic Couples (From the USCCB)

Bloggers who contributed to this article (those with an * have children after primary infertility or are experiencing secondary infertility. They are marked as such so that if you aren’t up for possibly seeing baby/child pictures today, you can meet them on a day when you are, but please do take the time to go and visit them.):

Mary Beth @ Grace of Adoption                                                              
*Sarah @ Fumbling Toward Grace

There is also a “Secret” Facebook group with over 150 members who contributed to this article as well. For more information or to join the group, email Rebecca at

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A new beginning

I really feel like I failed at lent this year. At this time last year, I was still attending daily mass and twice monthly confession. I attended my first Easter Vigil. My spiritual life felt like it was soaring.

Then life hit me with a whole new kind of suffering- my marriage was literally falling apart, the pain and isolation of infertility was at an all-time high, and I felt myself pulling away from God.

It wasn't a conscious decision. I've of course kept up with the minimum required of me as a Catholic but haven't been obedient to that ever-present call to love greater- to love better.

Before the pain of infertility, I used to beg God for my husband's conversion. I would pray every day that he would let me suffer for the good of my husband's soul.

Then infertility hit and I thought, "I can handle this," then some really awful events which threatened the very existence of our marriage, then more sickness and more surgery. And I thought, "I don't know if I can handle this. Please no more, God."

I went from walking toward Christ atop a stormy sea to fighting desperately to keep my head above water while letting the current pull me in the opposite direction of my goal.

At the core of holiness is the call to love. In many ways I let holiness drift out of reach this year as I told God, "no." "I won't go to daily mass. I won't spend that extra time in prayer. I don't want any more of this suffering."

Easter reminds us that despite all there is to fear, we will overcome. Jesus didn't just get-by. He literally over-came sin and death. If I want to stop treading water, if I want to share in the resurrection, I need to allow Christ to suffer in me.

How in the world will I find the strength to accept anymore suffering?

I need a paradigm shift.

We live in a world that wants to dismiss suffering. A world that tells us "it really isn't that bad." A world that leaves us yearning for more, as it responds to our deepest pain with empty platitudes like, "everything happens for a reason." And at the same time this world tells us suffering is the ultimate evil. Evidence of this is everywhere: euthanasia, aborting babies with disabilities or who will grow up poor, constant encouragement to do what "feels" good, the "conscious uncoupling" of love from sacrifice- the list is endless. This world tells us to avoid suffering at all costs and paradoxically tells us to deny the reality of suffering when it cannot be avoided. This is the perfect recipe for confusion and meaninglessness.

Even as Catholics serious about following church teaching, it's all but impossible to totally avoid the influence of the times. While we may know that suffering has divine purpose, we're caught between this world and the next. We can't find meaning in suffering if we deny it's reality. We can't find meaning in suffering if we're focused on running away from it.

“It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater.”

- Pope Benedict XVI

So my plan is to tell this world they've got it wrong. I am suffering. I don't need to feel bad about acknowledging that. Acknowledging reality doesn't mean I'm seeking attention. Let's stop requiring one and other to minimize the hurt and the pain while telling each other we can find meaning it.

Can you imagine if the John had turned to Mary at the foot of the cross and said, "there, there, everything happens for a reason?!"

Of course not! Suffering has meaning but its meaning comes in part from staying present in the reality of our circumstances- from staying at the foot of the cross.

No matter what your cross, stop denying it. Stop minimizing the crosses of others. We are "walking through the valley of the shadow of death." God does give us more than we can handle. And yet we "fear no evil" because Christ has overcome all the ugliness of this world.

"Because he has overcome, we shall overcome."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I'm not crazy. I'm grieving!

As I a sat on my therapist's couch today, one big ball of tension and anxiety, I finally said it. Tentatively. And with this disclaimer, "I'm normally uncomfortable with any kind of attention..." like a true Irish Catholic, I'm terrified of being perceived as self-centered, "I'm hurting so much and I just want people to see it. I want them to know I'm suffering."

Did I really just say this? Was I going to go straight to hell now? I seriously just said I want other people to know I'm suffering. What's wrong with me? 

I know in my heart it's not really about wanting everyone to know. I just want to be able to  bear my heart with those I love. For some reason infertility builds walls around you and the people you used to rely on the most. I want to scale the wall. 

"No one can grieve alone, inside their head, because that’s not how grief works. Grief is a form of love, and it requires company – it needs to see its reality reflected back to itself from the heart and soul of another human being. Just as love does."

"Unrequited grief is as crippling as unrequited love, and it can last a lifetime, because grief is patient.  It will wait until you seek out that supportive ‘other’, that mirror – like other childless by circumstance women. (Yes, there are other ways too, but this has got to be the fastest I’ve found)."

"Grief heals us so that we can fall in love with life again, but we can’t do it alone. It’s a poisonous myth of our individualistic culture."

"Time does not heal grief. Grieving heals grief."

Amen! Thank you to Jody Day at Gateway Women for your words of wisdom. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Thyroid and Adrenals

I just got my saliva cortisol test back and the results were normal. I am so puzzled about what to do about my thyroid now!

My T3 and Reverse T3 ratio is 2.7 and normal is 10 or higher. I have a lot of hypothyroid symptoms which could be explained by my T3/RT3 ratio but I haven't been able to tolerate T3 and being on a low dose for a year my ratio got worse. This led me to think my adrenals were off but they're not. Now I'm stuck about what to do and more importantly who to turn to. The main stream medical community seems to have no answers.