Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Infertility Issue Part 2

So here goes part 2 of my background story...

 During my later high school years I discovered the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and natural family planning and I fell deeper in love with Christ and His Church. I grew up in a family that did not value these teachings, so when I came across them it was a bit foreign to me. As I started to read the Catechism and documents like Humanae Vitae I saw what I had been missing, true love. A love that  challenges me to love beyond myself and not hold back anything from my spouse, even my fertility or lack there of. These teachings challenged me to go beyond myself and my pride(which I have a lot of) and rely on God and His grace to follow them.

My husband on the other hand knew about NFP since he was a kid. My father-in-law can talk a person's ear off about NFP and will often jump right into talking about ecological breastfeeding upon first meeting people. Actually, ecological breastfeeding was one of the first conversations I had with my future father-in-law when my husband and I were just friends.

So as my husband and I were going through our marriage prep. we knew that we wanted Natural Family Planning to be part of our marriage and family apostolate. We took sympto-thermal classes months before our wedding date and got the hang of it pretty quickly. So this was our plan: to get married, use NFP to postpone pregnancy for a year to figure out my wonky cycles, make sure nothing serious was wrong and save up money. After that year was up whether or not we had answers to our medical concerns we would start trying to conceive,  after our first baby we would teach sympto-thermal, home-school our 10 children and live happily ever after. Not a bad plan, right?

Well the first year of that plan happened, the rest did not. After about 6 months I knew something was wrong and my abdominal pain was getting worse with each cycle. After an ultrasound and a  blood test my Dr. told me everything was fine, despite the immense pain I was in on Cycle day 1 and  2. They "ruled out" PCOS. They also said I just needed to relax and after a year I would be referred to a fertility specialist, which we all know what that means, A.R.T. Frustrated with our Drs. we decided to try and change our diet to see if we could remedy the mysterious problem naturally. I researched and read a book called Fertility Cycles and Nutrition. So we changed our eating habits and were eating very healthy home cooked food, I was even making our own bread. That didn't help it actually might have made things worse.

Finally after trying to figure this out on our own for almost two years we found a ray of hope when a couple came to teach NFP at our parish. We wanted to check it out so that we could get started w/ teaching NFP as well. They looked at our chart and they highly recommended that I start charting the Creighton Method and see a NaProTechnology Dr. ASAP. "Creighton what?! NaPro, nano, what?!" I was confused and had never heard of any of this before.

So I politely took the names of the two Drs. nearest to us and was not sure I was going to call. "Maybe there wasn't anything really wrong with me? Maybe it's all in my head and the other Drs. are right that I am fine? Maybe I need a shrink instead? Maybe it's just not God's timing and maybe I am being punished for something wrong that I did? Maybe I am allowing my desire to have children to take over too much?" These were the thoughts going through my head which echo the thoughts of many of my infertile/subfertile sisters.

These thoughts were rapidly cast aside when I got my next cycle and almost passed out from the pain. I remember that pain so vividly, it felt like someone was trying to rip out my left ovary. Sorry for the graphic details but it really felt like I was going to die at times. All I could do was pray that God would get me through it, if it be His will. God taught me so much during those times of pain. I started to use that time to pray to end abortion. I knew that I was not the only one suffering, those children and those families that are wounded because of abortion needed prayers too. I would also pray for my husband and our future children. I am not saying this so that you think I am a holy roller who knows how to deal with suffering so well, it is just part of my journey.

After yet another painful cycle and no positive pregnancy test I decided to call the NaPro Drs. I actually did not call the other Dr. because there was no need to. When I called the first Dr. and the receptionist said "Mystical Rose OB/GYN, how can I help you?" I almost dropped the phone. Mystical Rose may sound like a hippy new age kind of name but it is actually one of the names for the Blessed Mother in the Litany. It so happens to be my FAVORITE name for the Blessed Mother! So I knew that this was the Dr. I needed to go to. I called and made an appointment and we were off a couple of weeks later.     

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Infertility Issue Part 1

Warning: This post is long!

I was going through all our magazines a few days ago as part of my summer cleaning/organizing regiment. I was ripping out the articles that we wanted to keep and then discarding the rest of the magazine. I came across a Family Foundations issue that was from spring 2011. The entire issue was on infertility and I found myself wanting to keep this whole issue instead of taking a couple of articles. It also brought back a flood of memories of what I was going through at that particular time and what I had been going through even before I got married.

I had just gone through intense blood testing. When I say intense I do not exaggerate, blood draws every other day for almost 3 weeks. For me and my tiny veins that is a lot! The results from those blood draws were not good at all and my Dr. was recommending surgery and then a whole protocol of meds. following the surgery and thereafter. I was not surprised by the results as I had been feeling sick for awhile. I was relieved to finally get some answers because I had been to Drs. before who said I was "fine" and the always popular "you're young, you don't look sick." This Dr. was finally confirming that there was something wrong.

I always had a feeling that there was something wrong with me physically. As a child I would get sick a lot, mostly from my stomach. I would not want to eat as a child because I would just feel sick after I ate and that made me a really picky eater (my poor mom). Then when the wonderful gift of puberty hit (insert sarcasm) things only got worse. Now I will go into more personal details, so if you are a guy reading this, sorry. I would get really bad cramps that would make me miss school for the first couple of days of my cycle. I would not be able to eat because I couldn't keep my food in, I would have to take high doses of ibuprofen and lay in bed all day. My pediatrician just told me to take the ibuprofen and asked if I wanted to see an OB/GYN who might recommend the pill, my mom declined the offer. During this whole time I started to think that this was normal and other women just handled the pain better.

I also had this intuition as I became a teenager that when I got married that I would not be able to physically have children of my own. Some people would call it a fear and it probably was for awhile, but I kind of see it as an intuition that prepared me for this road we are now traveling. Even though I had this intuition I still had hope that I would be wrong and I prayed that God would give me the strength to endure whatever He wanted for my life. I know, I was such an analytical serious teenager!

Flash forward  as my husband and I were preparing for marriage we had a serious talk about children and how many we would want. We both wanted at least 5 and secretly wanted 10. I know you think we are crazy and we very well might be. We also talked about being open to adoption whether or not we were able to biologically have children. I was very happy and wanted to marry my husband even more when we were on the same page about children and adoption.

So that is a bit of my background, part 2 coming soon... 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's Been Awhile...

It's been awhile, well over two years since I last blogged. I am clearly not a faithful blogger, sorry for those who have been waiting on pins and needles to read something from us, I know you are out there somewhere. I will slowly be updating on what has gone on with us for the last two years but not all in one blog. I do not want to overwhelm anyone, mainly me.

In a nutshell we have been married for 4 1/2 years and patiently (on my good days)  waiting for God to send us children. Along the way we have had ups and downs physically, emotionally and spiritually. We are committed to our Faith and its teachings about A.R.T.( Artificial Reproductive Technologies). So how does one go through infertility/subfertility and miscarriage and be a faithful Roman Catholic? Stick around as we figure that out! For now here is an awesome picture that I took a few weeks ago. It was a miracle I caught this hummingbird twice, once while he was resting!