Friday, March 27, 2009

An "empty arms" week

Like deaths, I think that pregnancy/birth announcements and baby showers come in threes. Those events never seem to spread out over time; instead they coincide. Such is the case with this week.
Two birth announcements from two different cousins arrived within days of each other. Yesterday the faculty held a baby shower for one of the teachers. Emails with baby photos galore. A Bible Study small group that ended with extensive discussion on children (I'm the only one in the group without any kids). All in one week! Granted, none of the new parents nor people involved sent/said those things out of malice. But I do wonder while staring at those little bundles of joy, if the new parents know how blessed they are?
I think of my friend K, who has already buried 2 babies. I think of the fellow support group members who are undergoing all kinds of medical pursuits and adoption. And I think of the extra time it takes to closely follow the Creighton Method, when it seems like every other woman can just snap her fingers and get pregnant. My diocese is participating in 40 Days for Life, which involves peaceful prayer in front of the local abortion clinic. Unlike last time, I cannot bring myself to go pray there. It maddens me to stand in front of a center where women can kill their babies while I remain barren. For some reason this is affecting me more than in the past.
Two weeks ago I watched someone announce her pregnancy to our Bible Study leader. I couldn't hear the words, but could tell by her face. (I used to have this sense when all my friends in college got engaged! scary!) Sure enough, the following week I saw her showing pictures of her first ultrasound. Of course, I'm happy for her, but it still hurt. Those of you who have been there know what I'm talking about. To have gotten to the point where I can tell someone is announcing their pregnancy just by looking at them...well, it's kind of sad. As my friend anticipates the birth of her 3rd child in a couple weeks, I don't know if I can even hold the newborn. That too, brings pain.
Now that this week is coming to an end with the support group meeting tomorrow, I can only hope that by the grace of God I'll keep moving forward. And that a nice lull of baby showers, birth announcements, etc. is coming. :)
Check out Empty Arms: A Heavy Load to Carry for Scriptural reflections on infertility. That's also the website where I borrowed the image. (for some reason I can't get blogger to show my paragraph breaks; sorry about the big amount of text).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Infertility & the Annunciation

Faith & Family Live blogger Arwen Mosher has an excellent insight on the Annunciation, which we celebrate today. Arwen went through 2 years of infertility before becoming the mother of 2 children. Her post definitely strikes a chord.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Women’s Infertility Support Group

Saturday, March 28th


Seton Catholic School Library

(1740 Summerhill Drive, Lexington, KY)

The monthly support group provides women the chance to share their hurt, build each other up, and have access to a wealth of infertility information...all from Catholic perspective. All women suffering from Primary and Secondary Infertility are welcome. You need not live in Lexington to attend!!

This particular meeting is our third...hard to believe!

New look!

Special thanks to Tucked Beneath His Wing for giving me the idea to beautify my blog. I love to scrapbook, so the new background works well for me.

Tucked Beneath His Wing has wonderful insights on infertility; she's trying to write a book of meditations on the topic and posts them on her blog. Check it out!

Friday, March 20, 2009

NaPro News & Adoption Discernment

Once again, another gap of news on the infertility front has passed. It seemed as if many appointments and frantic Creighton Method learning came all at once. Add to that Church meetings and the busiest time of year for Irish Dancers (St. Patrick's Day) and PRESTO! One long gap. So I'll try to condense the update as much as possible.

First of all, we were all set to get the hormone blood test (you get a blood test every other day for concrete proof of ovulation) when the doctor reminded us that he wanted to learn the Creighton Method first. Thankfully, the Creighton instructor squeezed us in a few days after my cycle had started. Mark and I had learned and used the CCL sympto-thermal method when we got married. We like the Creighton Method a bit better, but it does take some adjustment. We have to chart for one more cycle and then visit the doctor for a follow-up. Our instructor has asked me to start taking Vitamin B-6 to help with improving mucus. I'll post on the ongoing progress.

Thanks to a fellow support group member and my Lenten penance, I'm also trying to spend time in the gym. The NaPro doctor recommended exercise & weight loss as a key to avoiding PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome), which I'm already showing some warning signs. I'm surprised at the difference in stamina, particularly for the past few dance performances.

Finally, we met with a second adoption agency last week. The head of the agency had come highly recommended from various friends. After meeting with her for an hour, we could see why. She answered all of our questions and even gave us thoughts to consider. She informed us that South Korea has only a 10-month waiting time. Additionally, we could qualify for that country upon our 3-year wedding anniversary this July. I'll write more later about Korea, in case some readers are interested.

The picture on this post really shows our need for discernment; we have two pathways to follow. The question is which one...or how much of both paths to tread upon.

Confession/Cleaning out the Car

Hmm, confession and car...they both start with C! Today I had the opportunity to go to confession (thanks, Padre!) after a few weeks. Very much needed. I reflected on the drive home that confession is very similar to cleaning out my car. Those of you who have seen my car may notice all sorts of things in the seats: leftover sesame seeds from a bagel, Latin papers to grade, random books & clothing, and Irish dance shoes. I don't MEAN to let the car get so messy, but it just happens. After a long day of teaching or a late-night dance practice, the last thing I feel like doing is hauling my junk back into the house. As a result, what began as a pristine, clean interior turns into "Kristy's 2nd home on wheels." I don't like that appearance, nor do I plan for it, contrary to popular belief.

Essentially, our souls are like my messy car. We have to constantly be on guard against a materialistic, sinful culture. Add to that the normal problems we humans have with relating with each's so easy. And it's more easy to just leave the junk in the car, or the sins on our soul. But when things get really messy, a car wash and interior cleaning is in order. For Catholics and Orthodox, this cleaning comes through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, popularly known as confession.

Confession is often criticized, feared, avoided, and even deprecated. But the sacrament is psychologically and spiritually healing. To hear those words, "I absolve you of your sins..." gives the heart and soul concrete proof that the sins have been forgiven. Not to mention that if you're trying to maintain a clean soul/car, frequent confession/cleaning keeps the junk away. Little junk that piles up is similar to venial sins; huge, enormous junk that even blocks the rear view mirror is like mortal sins. (see CCC 1855 for more info)

So if you haven't been to confession this Lent, make the time to go. Your soul will receive a much needed cleaning and peace. Perhaps the sacrament will inspire you to clean out a messy car or van, as it did for me today!! :)