Friday, December 28, 2012

Quick Takes on Growing Our Family

Here is a brief update at where we are at with growing our family, I almost forgot we were trying to do that.......

--- 1 ---
On the adoption front we contacted two agencies. One agency is nationwide but their price tag consisted of about $47,000! Yup, that's right you did not read that wrong! We are now taking donations for our adoption fund, just kidding kind of. They also seem to not care very much about the adoptive parents just the birth mother.
--- 2 ---
Another agency only charges for the home study they do for you but they are out of state in MN. The woman from that agency said if we lived in MN it would only be about $400, you are not reading these numbers wrong people. Since we are out of state we would need to do a home study in our state and fly to MN to meet their social worker so we can be listed with them. If a birth mother picked us we would need to spend a few weeks after the birth of the baby in MN waiting to be cleared to leave the state. This all sounded hopeful to us until the woman told us that it was a long shot that one of the birth mothers would pick someone out of state. Hello who would not want to pick us and CA isn't so bad right?! I do really like the agency in MN though. They are completely donor funded and they deal mainly with women who are in crisis pregnancies who have chosen adoption.
--- 3 ---
I am realizing that we probably won't be adopt a hispanic baby in CA or anywhere in the US. There is a really bad cultural stigma/way of thinking, that it is better to abort or raise your baby in very poor conditions than to allow someone else to love and raise your child. I don't know where it came from but that is the sad truth here, there are very few hispanic babies up for adoption. This reality makes me sad not because I have my heart set on a hispanic baby but because I know there are many hispanic babies aborted. This also pushes me to learn spanish so that I can reach this community and let them know that adoption is a noble choice for their child.
--- 4 ---
There are more agencies that were recommended to us to contact by our super cool Facebook group but we haven't contacted any of them. It is a little discouraging because the money varies from agency to agency as does the attitude toward adoptive parents. I feel like I need a fairy godmother to walk us through the process of adoption because I really have no idea what we are suppose to do! Is there an adoption checklist out there somewhere? I am better with lists and a plan. If there isn't one out there I am going to make one, uh-oh here comes my choleric side.
--- 5 ---
On the biological front we are suppose to be back on cycle plans. We forgot to pick up the prescription for clomid in time at the pharmacy so I guess we are not doing that this cycle. Plus we need to find a place to do an ultrasound near us so they can send the results to our NaPro doc. So we are basically hoping that my body will ovulate on its own this cycle, hey a girl with PCOS can dream can't she?
--- 6 ---
Aunt Flow came on Christmas Eve and she brought cramps back with her this time. What is up with AF coming on holidays? I was really liking not having any cramps! I did take Tylenol because I did not want to deal with cramps with all the stuff I wanted to get done before Christmas. I laughed and found it ironic that I had cramps the day before we celebrate Jesus' birth and Mary probably did not feel pain from childbirth. JJ and I asked for her intercession and the cramps went away before the Tylenol even had time to work. That was my Christmas miracle!
--- 7 ---
We are hopeful for the coming year and we are so ready for 2012 to be over! We have no idea whether we will adopt this year, conceive, or both. Hopefully we will grow in love whatever may come. Happy almost New Year!  
For more Quick Takes, visit Jen @  Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Prayer Buddy Reveal and Merry Christmas!

So my Prayer buddy this Advent was.................. Katie from, The Sunflower Diaries  I have been praying for all of her intentions this Advent. I included her in a novena to St. Joseph, lifted her up at Mass and included her in my daily prayers.

Merry Christmas to you all! Since we did not get gifts for everyone this year we did a gift exchange game on the first day of Christmas with our family. I ended up getting a dvd of West Side Story that JJ stole for me from my SIL. All of JJ's family came over except one of his sisters who is out of state; my mom, brother and grandma came over as well. We ate food, played the game and hung out. We are looking forward to continuing to celebrate the rest of the Christmas season, because it just started it isn't over!

 Here are some crafts and recipes I recently did. If I ever figure out how to do more stuff on my blog I will put a separate tab on the side for crafts and recipes.

Front of  Bag

Back of  Bag

My Ornament

JJ's Ornament

Anniversary gift I made JJ

Gluten Free Spice cookies w/ chocolate


Friday, December 21, 2012


By the title of the post you are probably expecting me to announce I am pregnant...sorry that is not the news today, maybe someday. I know of many people who would like me to announce that we are pregnant and believe me I would like to announce that someday. I sometimes feel like everyone is expecting me to announce that, every time I see them or talk to them or when they ask me what's new with hopeful eyes. Since most people know about our struggle there would be a a lot of happy people at that news and we have a lot of people praying that we will become pregnant again. There are a lot of people journeying with us on this road and there are times where I feel like I am letting people down by not getting pregnant. Our parents would obviously want grandchildren from us but how do you let them know that they are hoping for something that may never happen. I guess that is the point of hope, huh? It was heartbreaking when we had to tell our parents we were miscarrying only the day after we told them we were pregnant. So these thoughts of pregnancy and becoming pregnant led me into a deep reflection. Would you expect anything less from a carmelitic heart?

I am pregnant and I am called to be pregnant just like every other woman on earth. You are probably thinking what the heck is she talking about? Has she taken a trip to crazy town? No, I have not gone off the deep end at least not yet. As a woman I am called to be pregnant, it may not be physical but it must be spiritual. I am called to spiritual motherhood and to be pregnant with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are two sources that are the inspiration for these posts. One is JPII's letter to women, Mulieris Dignitatem, and the other is a book called Reed of God by Caryll Houselander. The book is divided into four parts and I will be drawing a little from each part. I cannot recommend this book enough, if you ever get the chance to read it you will get something out of it.

The first chapter is titled Emptiness. Ugh, I know IF can make a woman feel really empty but we must be empty for Christ to take up that space. So what kind of empty are you? Houselander, describes three different types of virginal emptiness that Mary possessed.

" Are we reed pipes? Is He waiting to live lyrically through us? Are we chalices? Does He ask to be sacrificed in us? Are we nests? Does He desire of us a warm, sweet abiding in domestic life at home?"

 I feel like I have been all of these at different times through this IF journey. When I am promoting NFP and NaPro I feel like I am a reed pipe being played and the musician is God. When I am struggling through the sorrow of not getting pregnant every month or when we miscarried Cecilia I identify with the chalice. Now I feel like I am the nest preparing for what is to come. I am preparing my soul and womb with love, not just for my children but for humanity. In a practical way I have been making our home more clean, beautiful, and warm; a place where my husband wants to come home to everyday and where a child will be lavished with lots of love. So which empty are you at this point in your life?

Mary's Fiat was extraordinary and yet ordinary at the same time. Mary didn't have to acquire something before she gave herself to God. She did not have to find the secret treasure, do any fundraising, or climb the highest mountain. God used the exact material she was created with, her humanity.

"She was to give Him her body and soul unconditionally...She was not even asked to live it alone with this God who was her own being and whose Being was to be hers. No, He asked for her ordinary life shared with Joseph. She was not to neglect her simple human tenderness, her love for an earthly man, because God was her unborn child."

This passage speaks to me because with IF the husband sometimes gets pushed aside. The blood draws, surgeries, nutrition, and supplements are mostly concentrated on the woman. I know there have been times where I have been guilty of neglecting JJ and focusing too much on the end goal of children. Since I make a lot of my food from scratch because of my diet restrictions there have been times where I just throw a frozen dinner in the oven for him. Mary had the incredible gift of being the Mother of Christ yet she knew her role as a wife. This humbles me as I have a lot to learn especially because we as women can sometimes have the attitude of "I carried the child for 9months what more do you want? or I am the one having to be on this special diet and giving myself progesterone or HCG injections why can't you take care of yourself? or Don't I do enough for you?" We lose that sacrificial love for our husbands that Mary had for Joseph. Our Fiat is in our saying "yes dear, I will serve you seconds...sure I can do an extra load of laundry...sure I can go pick up your razors from target." Now I am not saying that we are our husband's slaves in any way but that we often neglect their needs. I speak from the perspective of IF but those with children on this earth will have a different experience.

We are called to be empty so that the Christ child can fill up that space in our womb and hearts. If we do not love the Christ child and give of ourselves to him how can we expect to do the same for a child we so eagerly await. When we lost Cecilia I felt incredibly empty, there was no baby to nurture or grow inside me. During that time of sorrow and emptiness I was allowing Jesus to be sacrificed in me and offering my whole self, even my not so healthy body. For every time I touched my empty belly and cried out to God to help me understand why He was asking me to be His chalice. Why must we be emptied out? So that God can fill us up, of course! Which will be covered in part two…


Side Note: Prayer Buddy I have not posted it but I have been praying for you! Which I will reveal who you are on Christmas Eve J    

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quick Takes!

--- 1 ---

We went to a friend's wedding on the feast of the Immaculate Conception! It was beautiful and a blessing to witness their sacrament. Speaking of weddings a dear friend of mine recently got engaged. I am so excited for her and her fiancé. The woman who got married and the woman who got engaged were both in our wedding, so I am especially happy for them both.

--- 2 ---

I finally have my 12 clients I need to have my supervisor visit which will hopefully happen in Jan. or Feb. Most of my appointments have been cancelled lately because my clients have been sick or one was actually stuck in MN because of the snow storm. I did that individual intro. last week and the couple was awesome. I can't wait to work with them!

--- 3 ---

I have been spending my time decorating, crafting and organizing for our Christmas festivities. When we were decorating the tree on Sunday I got a little sad, JJ asked me what was wrong and I told him that I wish Cecilia was here to experience this. This time of year is bitter sweet.

--- 4 ---
The anticipation of Christmas has been stress free in our home since we are not doing gifts. I have been enjoying my time with JJ watching cheesy Christmas movies, drinking hot tea/decaf organic coffee(which I am allowed to drink now, in small amounts), and doing our family prayer while lighting the advent candles as we sing. Yeah, JJ and I love to sing, we harmonize quite well together.
--- 5 ---

Here comes the TMI. This cycle was weird, my cm was less than what it normally is, which worries me. I hope it was just fluke if not this will be another obstacle we face as we TTC. We go back to our NaPro Dr. today so I am sure she will have something to say about it.

--- 6 ---
This weekend we are going down to San Diego! We are seeing our Dr. Fri. Saturday we will have the honor of being at one of our closest friends Solemn Vows for the Augustinian order! He will be doing his solemn vows on our 5 year anniversary, which is awesome! At our wedding he presented us with a papal blessing that he went through the trouble of getting. He is so special to both JJ and I, he is more like family especially to JJ. He and JJ almost started their own hip-hop group and collaborate on some songs. He also gave me a beautiful pep talk/mini-sermon as my friend was doing my make-up on my wedding day. So we are really excited for his solemn vows! Then on Sunday we will head home and attend a Christmas party Sunday evening. So this weekend will be full!

--- 7 ---
Saturday is our 5 year wedding anniversary! I can't believe it's been 5 years, but I also feel like we have been married for a long time because we are so close. I guess tragedy can really bring you closer together, JJ truly is the other half of my soul. It is going to take a lifetime to express my gratitude toward God for bringing us together and to JJ for pursuing me. I did not make it easy for JJ to court me and God did not make it easy for us to get together. I am so glad we fought for us from the very beginning and we did not run away at the first sign of adversity. I guess it prepared us for IF.  Here are my anniversary flowers JJ brought home for me today, a couple of days early.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Remember to head on over to Jen's for more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pho Soup

Last night we had Vietnamese Pho soup for dinner. It was delicious! I came up with the recipe so that I would be able to eat it with my dietary restrictions. This is what you will need :

1 box Pho Soup Starter base(I used Pacific Brand the chicken one) make sure it is gluten free
2 cu. chicken stock
2-3 cups fresh chopped spinach or frozen whatever you have( if you do use frozen add it before you add noodles to soup for about 3min.)
1/2 of a red bell pepper diced
2 small zucchinis diced
1/4 cups chopped green onions(both green and white parts)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 package rice noodles (or if you want to be crazy healthy you can use Kelp noodles) I didn't use the whole package because there was a lot
1 teaspoon rosemary
1-2 cups Asian salad dressing *
A few lime wedges (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Marinate the chicken in the Asian salad dressing and rosemary for a few hours. Then when it comes time to prepare dinner fry your chicken in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. As chicken is frying chop up your veggies. Start the stock/soup starter in a pot to gently boil along with zucchini and bell pepper. When chicken is done chop into 1/2 inch chunks, set aside. When soup is at a gentle boil add rice noodles(they take about 2-3 minutes to cook)** Then add your chicken, spinach and green onion. Cook altogether for about 5min. Add S&P to taste and garnish bowl with lime wedges.

*Asian salad dressing recipe. This was modified from another blogger so that it is gluten free and does not have cane sugar. Combine ingredients and whisk in bowl or shake up in a glass jar. It can last about a week but it usually gets eaten in our house before the weeks is up.

1/4 cup Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar ( I use Braggs) I sometimes put slightly less because cider vinegar is very strong and I am not using as much sweetener as the original recipe calls for.
1/2 cup grape seed or olive oil (olive oil gives a different taste, grape seed oil is more mild)
1 tablespoon Braggs amino acids (or gluten free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons Raw Agave Nectar

** When opening rice noodle package be careful not to cut yourself with the scissors, like I did.

Enjoy! I hope to add more recipes in the future. Since I am on such a restricted diet I try to find the things and tastes that I like and modify them so that I can eat it. Healthy does not have to be tasteless :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Baby Showers and Mother's Day

Every IF gal has to figure out how they are going to deal with baby showers and Mother's day festivities that you will be invited to. To go or not to go? That is the question and if I do go What kind of gift do I bring?...How long do I stay?...Will there be liquor and chocolate available? Is it co-ed or just gals? If you are Catholic and pro-life and most of your friends are then baby showers are pretty much inevitable. If you are a fertile gal reading this you probably are thinking what's wrong witha baby shower or Mother's Day. Well nothing is wrong with them originally butsince struggling with IF it has been more painful than celebratory at times.

This past Mother's day I did not want to celebrate my mom(sorry mom), I wanted to be as far away from Mother's day celebrations as possible. We went to Tridentine Latin Mass which we love but also for the reason that they don't do the whole all the mother's stand up and we pray for them and clap then give them a flower as they process out. I don'tlike this for the obvious reason of what about those trying to become a mother and I think it's disruptive to the Mass. After Mass we went to go eat and watch a movie with one of our friends. When we got that text from our friend that he was gonna go out on mother's day it was a perfect excuse for JJ and I to ditch mother's day stuff, again sorry moms. It was what I needed because I was still physically and emotionally a wreck from the miscarriage. I would cry at mother's day advertisements and my hypoglycemia was out of control so I wanted to just chill. I did get a couple of texts from dear friends who knew about the miscarriage and wished me a happy mother's day, that made me feel special. It turned out to be a great day.

Why is mother's day so hard? Well it is a reminder of what you are not as an IF gal or if you've suffered a miscarriage it reminds you that you don't get to hold the child that you once carried. So when people try and make you feel bad for not celebrating mother's day it makes it more painful because they don't understand or are not even trying.

Baby showers are a whole different animal altogether. I haven't gone to a baby shower in years because it has been confusing and painful. I was suppose to go to the baby shower of a blogger/friend this year but it was too close to when we lost Cecilia that JJand I could not bring ourselves to go. We got two baby shower invitations that week and our new niece was born around that same time so I just lost it, one invite was in the shape of a onsie. Do we regret not going to baby showers? Yes and no. I do want to celebrate new life and am happy when people are pregnant but the ceremony of a baby shower is torture to me. The whole event is about the fact that the woman is "going" to be a mom. Hello she already is a mom! She is pregnant! I don't regret not going because I knew at that time, I would not be able to be there and not ball my eyes out. I also did not want to take the attention away from the celebration of the life waiting to be born.

I feel like I am at a place now to be able to go to baby showers or try going to a baby shower. I don't know how it will be but I am willing to try. Hopefully the next one will be co-ed so JJ can go too. I don't want my fertile family and friends to be afraid to invite me to stuff, I think that would hurt even more. I at least want the option to decide whether or not I want to go. There was one time where I was not directly invited to a baby shower because my mom was suppose to tell me about it. Well at the time my PMS was still really bad and I was going to have my surgery soon so my abdominal pain was very evident. So my response to the situation was something like, News flash people: I am married and don't live at my mom's house anymore! That really hurt, I felt like just because I did not have kids I was not fit to send an invite to. You can guess I did not attend that shower.

It eventually all worked out, I was able totalk to my mom about why I was so upset, she did not understand at the time. I was able to open up and dialogue with my mom about the struggle of IF, which she may not understand but she is willing to listen. Also the baby in question of that baby shower became my goddaughter! Now I get to share with her why nina was not at her baby shower, when she is old enough to understand of course. I also get to pray for her in a special way and I pray she never experiences IF or miscarriage.

Going through IF has made me wonder if I would even want a baby shower if we are so blessed to be pregnant again. I think I would much rather have an after birth celebration combined with baptism. Also what if we get to adopt first, then it would be an adoption day celebration with baptism. There seems to be a running theme here Baptism! I am curious as to how other gals going through fertility issues deal with baby showers or mother's day? Or gals now on the other side of IF did you have a baby shower?

Sunday, December 2, 2012


So I was going to partake in Conversion Diary's quick-takes this week but I have been so busy and lazy to post anything. My life with Creighton as a practitioner intern has been busy this week and next week promises to be even crazier. I was suppose to take Dec. off from doing intro. sessions so I can focus on the paper work aspect and prepare for my supervisor visit hopefully in Jan. but a couple called me this week and I couldn't resist. So I am doing an individual intro. for them this week and I have follow-ups every night this week plus a wedding on Saturday of a dear friend who was in my wedding. Saturday I had Creighton stuff all day. We had an appt. with our practitioner(yes I go see my practitioner still I had been having issues in my chart), then I had clients of my own Saturday afternoon, and in the evening I gave a talk at a Young Adult Group here in L.A. about NFP and Creighton/NaPro. So a few things on Saturday got me thinking and reflecting today.

The first thing is that we have been doing NaPro and using Creighton for about two years now, prior to using Creighton we used the sympto-thermal method for two years. We loved the sympto-thermal method for the time we used it but we needed medical intervention hence Creighton. Our practitioner M pointed out to us how far we've come since we started our journey with NaPro. When we first started all we wanted was a baby and to have healthier cycles. We were so focused on our will and having biological children, we did not want to be labeled infertile or subfertile at all. When we took our first SPICE index (this is a diagnostic tool in Creighton for the spouses to communicate) we thought we were NFP rock stars and that we would get such a high score. Well we soon realized that we had a lot to work on in our marriage.

Our focus shifted from wanting to get pregnant to wanting to get my body healthy. We had long conversations with our practitioner during our sessions about being open to God's will and that it was something we struggled with to know that we might never have a biological child. Every step of the way from the hormone profile to my surgery to our miscarriage I know our practitioner M has been praying for us. Through NaPro our charts as well as our hearts have changed. My last cycle looked almost normal with no intermenstrual bleeding, only one day of TEBB at the end of Aunt Flow, I had no heavy days of bleeding with clotting which I usually have at least 2-3 days of, I had no signs of PMS at all and no cramping where I needed to take medication! My body has come a long way since two years ago.

Our hearts have been changed in that we are more open to God's will and where He has us at each moment. Even though I knew that I would never do IVF, for reasons I will get into later, I still thought of children as my right. I might not have said it out loud but in my heart I struggled with this, telling God that he called me to marriage so He needs to make me pregnant and give me children now. Wow the audacity I had toward my Lord, thank God for reconciliation and the sacraments! We are more open to pursuing adoption earlier rather than later, which in the beginning we wanted to have biological children before we pursued adoption. Now we are going with the flow of where God takes us. It isn't always easy, like this past week JJ held me as I cried and sobbed that I don't get to be in the mommy club and make play dates with friends and their children. I don't get to talk about breast feeding, cloth diapering, or those funny stories of baby farts.

The second thing I was reflecting on was why we chose to use NFP and NaPro to try and conceive rather than ART( Artificial Reproductive Technology) and IVF. Besides the fact that most ART are unethical they are also not healthy for the mother and child. IVF is founded on the principle to create life to destroy it so that one might survive. If you believe that life begins at conception why would you want your child conceived in anywhere other than where nature intended, the Fallopian tubes. Furthermore for every successful IVF cycle approximately 6 embryos(children) are sacrificed in the attempt and what about all those embryos who are frozen and just waiting to be implanted or sacrificed.

I am not judging people for decisions that they have made with respect to ART I am just stating facts of the process. Also, if people have feelings of guilt for decisions they make it is not a bad thing, guilt helps to guide our consciences and moral compass. It also goes back to the fact that we think we have a right to children, we don't. I know this may be hard to hear for some, it was hard for me to hear and digest but it's true. Children are a gift from God not a right or commodity. I know the longing of wanting children and thinking I would do anything to have them, but there are just certain things I will not do. Let's also mention the ridiculous cost of IVF as opposed to NaPro or adoption. A lot of NaPro treatments should be covered under your insurance, if you are blessed enough to have it, because NaPro seeks to repair the body not just get a woman pregnant. There are also adoption tax credits that you can get as well as possible reimbursements you can get from your employer.

Here is the BIG reason why we will not do ART: we are NOT willing to separate the sexual act from procreation! For the same reason that contraception is wrong so is ART. We keep the marital embrace(sex) between us as a couple and don't want a technician making conception happen for us. If it be God's will we want Him to make conception happen by our obedience and yes to our vows by the renewal of the covenant we made on our wedding day.

I know this is a hard topic to read about and it is not easy to write about. I understand that we all come from different backgrounds and values so not everyone agrees with the point of view that I have laid out here. This is a public forum so if you comment please be kind and respectful :) As we begin this season of waiting in advent may we be patient as we wait for a child, a spouse, a job, or whatever you may be waiting for.