Sunday, November 30, 2014

I Have Been...

I have been...

Judge mental 
Not compassionate 


I have noticed I have not been treating myself well these past couple weeks. Since doing the blood testing and learning of my diagnosis I have been seeing myself as less than. I told ya this is hitting on my self esteem and The Lord wants to address this head on. This is opening up a deep wound that needs more healing. I thought I had gotten past a lot of this stuff of acceptance and had peace. I did for the most part but the peace and acceptance I need to have is not with a situation but it's with myself. Can I accept myself for who I am, genetic mutation and all? Can I really? Can I allow myself to sit with this, sit with myself whatever emotions come what may? 

Some of you may be thinking "Kat, it's just a genetic mutation that is treatable. There are lots of women who have had successful pregnancies with this. What's the big deal?!" This is where the big deal lies it's out of my control, there is nothing I did to deserve this, it's in my genes and there is nothing I could've done to prevent it. Instead of that giving me peace it hit me on a self esteem level. I don't talk much about my father because he wasn't in my life much. He pretty much cheated on every woman he was ever with and I have siblings on my father's side who I haven't met yet. I barely met my sister when I was 21 and found out about her when I was 15 or 16. When your father leaves you when you are a small child or was never there in the first place there is always a part of you that thinks "perhaps if I was good enough or a better daughter I could've made him stay or change his ways." The father wound runs so deep that I don't believe it could ever be fully healed this side of heaven. There are just deeper ways that this healing comes at different times. I had made major strides in this healing before I got married and during the first couple years of marriage. 

After speaking with my Dr., confessor and JJ it became very evident that I need some time to allow God to heal this part of the wound. Side note: It was so cool to talk about God with my general practice Dr. and it didn't feel at all awkward! I know my deeper motives that last few weeks for my actions have not been out of genuine charity, it has been out of pride and wanting to be "good enough" for others. I need to reflect on my worth in Christ and not for what I can/can't do. I need to know that I am worth being around because I am me. It was so good to see my family on Thanksgiving my aunts and cousins said how good it was to have us/me there. I don't see my family often because of work schedules mostly but it was so good to be there and be myself, the introverted Catholic that I am, and be accepted for who I am. 

 So my theme for this Advent is "self care" which sounds so selfish to me as this is the season I should be giving so much more than I do. No "self care" doesn't mean watching tv and drinking hot chocolate all the time, although that sounds awesome, it is more about drawing closer to God. Reaching out more for the sacraments, wearing my veil to Mass, journaling and less time online are all in order for me the next few weeks. The closer we draw to God's eternal flame of Love the more our wounds become illuminated. At first this hurts but it is worth the hurt to grow and become who we ought to be. I will be praying for my Advent prayer buddy a lot this season! Happy Advent y'all! 

"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire!" -St. Catherine of Siena 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's Not You, It's Me...

We all know and have dreaded hearing that phrase from a significant other. Recently it's been stuck in my mind as I am grappling and dealing with the fact that our infertility is primarily due to my body's inability to have children. We finally got JJ tested, morally of course, because he wanted to know. So I put aside the fact that I was uncomfortable with it so that we could be at peace with JJ's side of things. When JJ and I got the results back from his testing and the Dr. said all looked good and healthy with him, he could take a supplement that would put him in the super excellent category but overall she was very happy with the results. Don't get me wrong I am too, it is one less thing we have to worry about. I just can't help but think that it's not JJ, it's me. I am the reason we don't have any living children! A bit melodramatic, I know ;) 

On top of that we recently got another diagnosis for me from my NaPro Dr. I have an MTHFR genetic mutation. What is this you say? I am still figuring this out myself and have been reading up and researching it for the past couple days. The Dr. wants me to start on a couple supplements and make sure I don't have anything with folic acid. The nurse on the phone that told me was so nonchalant about it and I was thinking "I have a genetic mutation woman! This is serious!." If I did by the off chance get pregnant this cycle I would more than likely lose the baby, so this is the first cycle that I am actually hoping we didn't conceive. 

Most women don't get tested for this until they've had multiple miscarriages but I had a strong hunch so I asked my NaPro Dr. to check for it. She did suggest doing some in depth genetic testing before so she was open to me testing for this first. For us this is more about making sure I am healthy and infertility is a symptom of something greater going on. No it's not in my head and won't just happen if I "relax". If my genetic mutation could relax that would be great, preferably on a beach in Hawaii with a fruity drink. Since it's genetic that means some of my family members can have it too. This is partly exciting because it is giving us some answers as to why we are still unable to conceive. 

We will also be doing an u/s series next cycle to check to see if I'm ovulating, the quality of ovulation and to check if I have LUFS. LUFS is an luteal phase and ovulatory defect. We wanted to do this because with this new revelation we want to know some more info. so we can be prepared to treat my overall health. For women if ovulation is not taking place regularly then this can effect her overall entire health, unless she is pregnant, breastfeeding or in menopause of course. Again, some exciting stuff that will give us more answers. 

All of this news lately has really challenged my self esteem. I thought I had self esteem issues when I was a teenager, that was nothing compared to this. The temptation to think I am broken and unworthy of my husband can be so great at times. Thank God for His mercy and steadfast love that tells me otherwise! When the infertility is on your end it can really challenge your self-esteem and feeling of worth. The thoughts of "why can't I just be normal?!" and "my poor husband is suffering because of me" can easily creep into my head and heart. The ability to be loved not for what I can do for him or give him but just because I am me parallels my relationship with God. Believing that God loves me not for what I can do or not do but because He is Love and can only give love blows my mind, especially when I think of my brokenness and what I lack. Another challenge to face and another diagnosis to learn about. I just want to respond in grace, suffer well and be present and compassionate to the sufferings of others. I hope this present suffering refines me and helps me to love better. There is no better way to increase your faith than to cling to God in suffering. Sanctification comes through suffering, Christ taught us so by His example. 

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church..." Colossians 1:24 

"I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me." Galatians 2:20 

It is days like these where I appreciate how holy my husband is. As the temptation to berate myself grows, his patient and steadfast love calls me out of myself to be present to him and respond to the love he is radiating out to me. He kisses my forehead and tells me I am "the best wife ever" which humbles me and reminds me how much God loves me. On days where I feel like a big fat failure my husband is there with his cheery smile and silly ways to make me laugh. On days where I feel like I am an unworthy disciple and a bad wife, Jesus is there in the Eucharist to draw me to Himself. On days like these I offer prayers for others and their sufferings but most importantly for their sanctification. This is refinement. Passio Christi, conforta me. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Practitioner Diary Vol. 2

*This situation really happened, as unbelievable as it may be after you read this account, it really happened.

So I am at home on Friday and it's around 4:45pm when I get a phone call. It is a man calling to inquire about fertilitycare and when he and his girlfriend can start learning CrMS. He asks how soon they need to learn if she is already pregnant. I tell him that I usually have them come to an intro. session around 8 months so she can get used to doing observations now before the baby comes. I am thinking this is going to be a typical inquiry phone call when he drops the bomb and says "How soon can we learn if we were going to terminate the pregnancy?" There was a momentary internal freak out when I tried to collect my thoughts to respond. I asked how far along she was and he originally said about 12weeks well later in the conversation I learned that they were much farther along than that around 20weeks because they already knew the gender of the baby. 

He kept saying things like "this is the best thing for our baby," "we are not ready to be parents" and "we don't want to give our baby up for adoption because there is no guarantee that she will be happy." With every typical remark that you hear about justifying abortion I tried to answer him calmly and compassionately. I don't know what it feels like to have an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy but I do know suffering that has to deal with fertility. Every part of my being wanted to scream and say "PLEASE DON'T KILL YOUR BABY! I WILL ADOPT YOUR BABY or FOSTER HER UNTIL YOU ARE READY!" 

Instead I informed him on fetal development and how already his daughter feels pain and will feel the pain of the abortion. I also let him know how this will affect his girlfriend in the long run and the health complications she may have. I talked to him about post partum depression that she will experience and the help she will need in the long run in dealing with this decision. I tried to be a good listener but I also called him out on some of the fallacies he was spouting. There was a point in the conversation where the phone got cut off and I didn't have his number but, he called back which tells me he wanted to talk about this and was not sure about the decision they had made. We left the conversation with me letting him know he can call back at any time whether or not they go through with the abortion and learn CrMS from the other practitioner at our center. 

After I got off the phone with him I wept and prayed. I hate it that people who don't want to get pregnant can get pregnant and people who want to can't. I hate sin. I had been texting our pro-life coordinator and she was texting me resources as I was talking to the guy. I talked to her afterward and just broke down. I asked her how on earth does she talk to these couples on a regular basis! I could not even handle one! Being pro-life is hard and being infertile doing pro-life work is extra hard. I was a little mad at God that I would have to be the one receiving this phone call. Whether it was a prank or not (the phone call took place on Halloween) it felt like a cosmic cruel joke. Why would an infertile gal who has lost a child before have to be on the other end of that phone call?! I had some choice words with God afterward and cried A LOT. 

I know there is spiritual warfare in the work that I do but this took it to a whole new level. Following God's will is not easy, especially when it involves suffering. Our respect life coordinator reminded me that God doesn't always call the most qualified for the task but will give me the tools I need to get through the task. This opened up a new level of suffering for me and I have to say it stings and is painful. It has taken much prayer and daily Mass to give this situation to God and let it go. I think the enemy was hoping I would get so discouraged from this that I would just collapse inward. Well that's not gonna happen because God is bigger and stronger than all of this! These are some of the interesting situations we as practitioners get into and need to navigate which is another reason why I am so thankful for the other practitioners who do the work I do. I pray these parents change their mind and choose adoption or to parent. I pray they see this child for who she is, a beautiful gift and creature created by God.