Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Pregnant Practitioner

After one of JJ and I's latest therapy sessions (yes, we go to therapy) our therapist encouraged me to write this post about my experience of going through infertility treatment while both my practitioner and NaPro doctor were pregnant at the same time. Why write about this you ask? Our therapist thinks this will help me transition from practitioner dealing with infertility into practitioner not dealing with infertility yet still seeing the same amount of infertility clients.

I have to say it has been very difficult to tell clients in person (I think this is not ideal) or via email (my preferred method) that I am pregnant. I prefer to let them know in advance via email. Why? Well, because I remember the awkward moment of walking into my scheduled appointment with both my Napro doctor and practitioner and seeing a protruding pregnant belly. Yup, they were pregnant around the same time! I was caught off guard and not prepared by encountering these triggers to a deep pain I was dealing with.

It would be a lot more difficult for the doctor to let her patients know she is pregnant in advance because well how would that work really? I think the only thing the doctor can do is be very sensitive to her patients by not complaining about pregnancy related issues in front of them and ask them how they are doing. It will still be awkward and probably be a trigger for the infertility patient because your blessing is on display right in front of them as they are trying to get treatment to be able to have a blessing of their own.

With my practitioner it was much more awkward since we have an email/text message relationship. Walking into that appt. I was not expecting to see her pregnant but she was showing so it was hard to ignore. So, I smiled and offered my congratulations while inside I just wanted to get out of there. I remember not really wanting to engage in the appointment after that point.

 I think it would have been a courtesy to let me know that she was pregnant and showing when an appt. reminder was sent out. Why? So that I could have time to react in an authentic way and prepare for the appointment as there was an obvious trigger there. In doing this the client has time to react to the pregnancy on their own terms and emotionally prepare for the appointment. It gives someone the space to deal with their emotional reaction and not having to just smile through a painful reminder as you stuff down your emotional response.

After both appointments I remember going into our car and crying while JJ and I drove off. I did not blame the doctor nor think that she did not deserve the blessing of that child nor was I bitter; it just hurt so much. With my practitioner I was not bitter or wishing her ill will. I was happy for her but I was sad for me. The pain of my situation in both instances was ever more before my eyes and I was caught off guard by it. Having some kind of warning would have helped me to work through those emotions beforehand. Both my NaPro doctor and practitioner have been very sensitive to our situation and are wonderful women that I admire. This is just an example of how infertility clients can be better served. 

If I have learned anything from going through infertility and being a practitioner it is that those dealing with infertility and miscarriage need the space to feel free to grieve. As a practitioner we develop a relationship with our clients even more so than a NaPro doctor does. It is simply because we get to spend more time with the clients than a Napro doctor does.

A lot of times my clients get to a point where they are comfortable sharing the pain that infertility or miscarriage has brought to them and up until this point we had a shared experience. Now that I am transitioning out of infertility they may not feel as comfortable sharing their grief with me and that is ok. I would openly welcome them to share their pain but I know just seeing a pregnant belly would already put up a wall and can make you want to crawl into a hole and sleep for a long long time.

 I am going to miss supporting them in this unique way of having a shared experience. I am still there to walk with them on this journey but in a different way now. Hopefully as a source of hope and an intercessor on their behalf. I can help them walk their journey and find peace with whatever God's will is for their life. I can encourage them to persevere in seeking God's will no matter where it takes them and to grow in virtue along the way. That is my role now. Oh yeah and teaching them about their fertility ;)

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Life Update

Blessed Easter!!! It has been awhile since I have written. Life has been pretty busy lately. I am now 26 weeks pregnant and we learned baby Crow is a boy! This all seems to be going by so fast and I can't believe that in about 3 months we will hopefully be meeting our little one and bringing him home. To catch you up on what has been going on I am going to break it down by an acronym we use in teaching the Creighton Model called SPICE which stands for spiritual, physical, intellectual, communicative/creative and emotional. 

Spiritually I have been pretty consistent with my morning prayer time which has been great! I wake up and grab my missal to do the daily readings or I read part of a spiritual book to get some focus. My spiritual director suggested I read through The Secret of the Rosary as well as The Imitation of Christ (this one was for Holy Week) and those have been helpful to focus on. I also have in the mix a book on going through pregnancy from a Catholic perspective which has been so nice to explore pregnancy from a spiritual perspective. There is also a Fulton Sheen book I am going through slowly about anxiety and peace. My nightstand has about 5 books plus my Bible so, each morning I discern what God wants me to focus on each day.

Physically I am feeling OK. I can get tired pretty easily and my back has been acting up off and on. I had back issues before baby but I had been feeling so much better with diet and the right kind of exercise. With baby the pain flares up more often so I have been seeing a chiropractor that specializes in pregnancy. I could be more consistent with my exercise and stretching so that is something to work on. Typically in a good week I go walking 2-3 times a week and do the Dia Method prenatal workouts 1-2 times a week. Some weeks are better than others though. My belly is growing and there is no hiding this pregnancy ;) It is so funny to look down and see that there is a bump there. Baby boy likes to move often so that has been a different experience all together.

Intellectually I have had a lot more trouble remembering things if I do not write them down or feeling spacey at times. This is weird for me because I am usually pretty sharp and quick mentally when it comes to work and now I have to slow down and make sure I am saying the right thing. There are a couple of medical articles that Pa Crow saved for me to read so I am looking forward to reading those and hopefully my brain will function long enough to retain the information!

Communicative/Creative. Communication wise it has been hard to communicate my needs to JJ lately because they can change so quickly. I am working on taking time to evaluate what I need and if I need help (mostly physically like grabbing the laundry from the dryer) to ask for it. Creatively I have been explored making more yeasted gluten free dough. I made hot cross buns for Good Friday, which were amazing, and will be making homemade pizza this week! Another creative venture I am trying to pursue is making all knotted rosaries. Last year at vacation bible school I helped the 100+ kids we had make their own rosaries out of beads and using a knotted technique to keep them on. The rosary makers ministry at our parish taught me briefly and I really enjoyed it. I made one for JJ while I was in Alabama last August and so far it has held up. I have not attempted making any all knotted rosaries yet but, I plan to during third trimester.

Emotionally I can be all over the place. Most of the time as long as I pray, exercise and don't eat too much sugar I am ok and my anxiety/depression symptoms are low or non-existent. I think there is just a lot going on emotionally moving from infertility to welcoming our son into our home soon. There have been a lot of feelings of guilt for not being super happy all the time or when I need to rest due to fatigue and feelings that there are others who "deserve" this blessing so much more than I do. I know this is all normal to go through so I am not too hard on myself  and JJ has been a great support! Most of the time though I just have a huge feeling of gratitude for this blessing but mostly for my relationship with Jesus and JJ :)

So that is where I am at as far as SPICE. Work has been busy since I am trying to get all my clients new and current into their follow ups before I go on maternity leave in late June. Also, Ma and Pa Crow have had more medical appts to go to and I am the scheduler for those and I also go with them to any doctor appts. or tests they need to do. Basically I am there medical liaison. So scheduling has been quite hectic and has kept me busy lately.

Plus we are preparing for our baby shower that will be at the end of this month! We were not sure we wanted to have one but we ultimately decided to. We see it more as a celebration of life and to get together with family and friends before baby boy arrives. So, we are having an optional rosary time with our guests as well as making it a family a event so husbands and children are welcome. I definitely did not want a baby shower where it was just me and a bunch of women because those always made me uncomfortable while dealing with infertility.

That is what is going on and if you made it this far in the post, God bless you! I hope you all are having a blessed Easter octave and basking in the mercy of Jesus Christ. Pax!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Pregnancy Update

I gave this post a simple title so that those who do not wish to or can not handle reading a pregnancy update can skip this post.

Ok so I am still pregnant. I am 17 weeks along now and in the 2nd trimester which is wild! Baby is growing nicely and still has a good heart beat. The 1st trimester was definitely a challenge but in the very beginning I just surrendered to whatever is going to happen to my body. That really helped me not to be too hard on myself when I could not make dinner for most of the 1st trimester or eat much due to the overwhelming nausea. I also could not do laundry on my own or vacuum because I was ordered by my NaPro doc to not lift anything over 10 lbs or carry full laundry baskets up and down the stairs due to the fact I had a couple days of bleeding. Fun times! It turned out that the bleeding was due to some bleeding around the yolk sack of the baby but it was not in a dangerous spot. Also, it resolved itself (really with God's healing hand) about a week later but I was still to be on light duty only.

I have to say my husband has been a complete rockstar through all of this but I am not surprised. I am very blessed to have JJ and he is going to be a wonderful papa. He was taken aback a few times when I ordered him to not eat near me because I could not stand the smell of his food. I don't think either of us realized just how strongly I could react to food smells and textures. Now I am back to making dinner most every night and the nausea is gone. It seriously is magical to be able to eat my normal food again instead of just crackers, chip, toast, salad and protein smoothies.

My clothes are starting to get snug around the belly area and there is a bump forming more and more each day. I am waiting as long as possible before I go buy any maternity clothes. A friend gave me a couple maternity shirts for Christmas that I have been alternating wearing with my other shirts that still fit.

All in all this feels so unreal most of the time. It has been hard to make plans because part of my thoughts are "well what if we lose the baby?" or "I don't care about x,y or z because I just want this baby to stay alive at this point." I think that is what took me so long to decide if we were going with a midwife at a birth center or an OB. We went with the midwife which I am very comfortable with.

Now we are looking into baby registry items, having a baby shower and parenting?! Again, this feels unreal. Each time my bloodwork comes out great or the midwife says I am measuring right on target and we hear baby's heartbeat I am surprised. I always want to ask her "are you sure?" I guess I am still in shock that this is all happening. There is an element of wonder and awe that I have at the marvel of human life and how God as creator designed it to be. It is pretty amazing! In a couple weeks we will find out if baby is a boy or girl and do all the 20 week u/s measurement scans. We have not had an u/s since 11 weeks since we wanted to keep the u/s exposure to a minimum for me and baby.

 I have been experiencing feelings of guilt for not being super into all of the baby stuff because it feels like I am being ungrateful, which I am not, it is just overwhelming at times. The guilt of having this blessing while others still suffer is a whole other subject and post. JJ reminded me that we can only live day by day and moment by moment with what we know and that is that baby and I are healthy and growing so it is OK to make plans for baby's arrival. So, we are making plans together which is how I like it.

 I have been entrusting this baby to God every day asking for His will to be done. Doing that has helped calm a lot of my fears by allowing God to have full control over what happens and decisions that we make. Sorry this post is all over the place, I have kind of been all over the place lately! Thank you for prayers for this baby and me. I am grateful more than you know.