Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gone and an upcoming funeral

Deo Gratias, I survived the last week of school. Many of my students generously contributed to my Starbucks habit with end-of-the-year gift cards. YES!
This weekend I'm headed to a retreat in Michigan. Early next week we are expecting to hold a wake & funeral for my husband's grandmother, who lays dying at the age of 91 as I write this post. So another gap in posts is coming, but with more updates. Hopefully I will have some adoption news as well.

In the meantime, please keep my husband's granny in your prayers. This prayer is from the final commendation at a Catholic Mass of Christian Burial (fancy wording for funeral); I pray that Granny may see the angels as she journeys home.

In Paradisum deducant angeli
In tuo adventu, suscipiat te martyres
Et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat
Et cum Lazaro, quondam paupere
Aeternam habeas requiem.

May the angels lead you into Paradise
And when you come may the martyrs receive you
And lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
May a choir of angels receive you,
And with Lazarus, once a pauper,
May you have eternal rest.

A "bittersweet" pregnancy announcement

On Sunday a close friend pulled me aside after Mass. I knew what was coming as soon as she said, "I have something to tell you." Such a phrase usually means:

A. I am engaged.
B. We are moving.
C. I am pregnant.

As you can probably guess, the answer is "C." My friend tearfully told me that her pregnancy felt bittersweet, so much did she desire for me to have a baby. The normal tide of happiness, envy, and sadness (yes, for close friends this can all come at once) stopped. My heart felt touched to its very depths that a friend would think of infertile little me amid the joy of another pregnancy.

Although I still wish for my own child, I am so grateful for the love of a friend. And that God seemed to ease the brunt of the news with His loving hands.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Shower Struggles

One of the most difficult events to attend or even prepare for is a baby shower. Again, those aisles of tiny socks and toys provide a painful reminder. Typically, one of two reactions comes forth from shopping for a shower:

1. Hmm, those little pink onesies will work. I wonder if my favorite jeans are on sale? And those flip-flops sure are cute. Must go see!

2. Why can't this be me? Everything is so little and cute. If I had a little girl, I would dress her in that outfit. Oh, why do I do this to myself! *sniff, sniff*

However, when I trekked to Target yesterday, a different feeling came over me as I wandered the aisles of baby toys and car seats: numbness. Neither tears nor anger came to me. Perhaps the numbness is from the lack of sure knowledge of whether or not we will have a baby. My heart felt a bit angry; I wanted to be shopping for my friend K., whose baby would been born last week. So I picked out a few items and walked victoriously to the checkout, glad that I did not have to wipe away tears. Additionally, that trip was one of the first times that I did not grab something from Target's tempting $1 aisle!

I still don't feel ready to attend baby showers, as they are very painful. Thankfully, I will be out of town for the upcoming event and will bring the mom her gift in person. For now, this is my coping strategy. Perhaps when our adoption plans are underway, I will feel differently. After crying through an entire baptism of a family friend in January, avoidance works very well right now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Birth Verse"

First of all, I apologize for the gap in posts. The current week is the LAST week of school, so events are coming fast and furiously. More updates are coming!

My dad sent me this charming website that helps you find your "Birth Verse." Basically it turns the month & day into a scripture citation and gives you the verse. Check it out!

My birth verse (August 23= 8:23): 1 Kings 8:23. Very cool!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Different Kind of Mothers' Day

Every year, a dreaded holiday arrives that brings sorrow to my infertile heart: Mothers' Day. My Mom lives on the other side of the country; I'm sure if she lived closer, the day would be easier.

All my engineered efforts to avoid baby showers and the like do not work on Mothers' Day. Blood Test Buddy shared with me her tears at reading a card for "the Mother to-be." From Wal-Mart to the florist, reminders of motherhood are everywhere. Such reminders scream to me, "See! You're not a mother! You can't have all of this!"

My tactic for the past years has been avoidance. I even read about this in a Catholic infertility booklet. Last year my husband was in Japan on Mothers' Day. I was too scared to attend Mass and sit through a blessing of mothers. So I went out of town to a Pentecost Celebration and escaped unscathed.

This year, some of my First Communion students received the Eucharist at the Saturday evening Mass. I was excited to watch these little ones receive Jesus for the first time!! The Mass also provides a nice escape from the Mothers' Day. One of my favorite students asked for a picture with me after Mass. She looked so joyful, so full of life. I told her that I wanted to have a little girl just like her someday, and her face broke into a big smile..
Yesterday my wonderful husband brought me pink roses (my favorite) in honor of Mothers' Day. Even better, this morning he surprised me with a heartfelt card about my motherhood to the students entrusted to my care. "This is still YOUR day," he wrote so tenderly.
He's right, of course. And this Mothers' Day, I hold all of my infertility sisters in my heart. I hold my friend K, whose 2 babies are in heaven. Happy Mothers' Day to all Mothers out there, especially my Mom. :)
This is still our day.

Psalm 22

A wise and holy priest gave me this psalm to reflect upon for the next few days. The psalm speaks perfectly to my soul: it begins with Jesus' words on the cross, "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken Me?" and then continues. It ends on a hopeful note. Check out the entire version here: Ironically, I cantored this psalm at the First Communion Mass this past Saturday evening. This last line is my favorite:

"…and I will live for the Lord, and my descendants shall serve you."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Speaking of HCG...

First of all, I want to thank all of the commenters for their love, support, and encouragement following the "Big Answer" post. The shock has begun to wane. However, after the pharmacist pointed out the proper needle for transferring the liquid and the other for injecting, I became queasy. The bag is now sitting on my husband's nightstand.

I find it very amusing that Dodgers player Manny Ramirez was just suspended from the MBL for 50 games for using HCG hormones. How surreal to watch SportsCenter on ESPN and find out I'm taking the very same drug that got a player suspended? ha ha ha

Thanks again for the encouragement and prayers. I will keep all of my infertility sisters in prayer as we face Mother's Day this weekend. Oremus pro invicem...let us pray for each other!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Big Answer

On Friday I finally had my follow-up appointment with the NaPro doctor. After the blood test ordeal, I went into the appointment expecting some pills, lifestyle changes (All You Who Hope is on a special diet), etc. Relatively easy remedies with perhaps some direction.

Nope. Excuse me as I vary from writing information and ranting. I hope these results shed some light in case one of my anonymous readers out there has experienced the same thing.

So the doctor went through each blood test. Apparently my Estrogen levels are fine up until ovulation and then plummet afterwards. Remedy: oral estrogen pills.

The progesterone, however, was a different story. The doctor informed me that my progesterone were EXTREMELY low, in fact the lowest he's seen in 8 years. Oh great, I muttered inwardly. Those are the kind of records that one does not want to hold!!

The remedy? Injections of progesterone. AAACK! It has taken quite a long time to get over a deep-seeded fear of needles. Obviously, my recent blood test adventures took quite a toll. Were it not for Miss Betty's blood taking prowess, I would run away from every needle. However, these home injections did not sit well with me. My husband will have to give them to me on P+3, 5, 7, and 9 each month for 6 months. Arrgg!

Of course DH had to joke that he gave injections to calves growing up on the farm. The doctor took out a syringe and injected me with some arm-numbing fluid just to show DH how to do it. Really, was that necessary? It didn't help that the doctor joked that the injections had to be given in the eyeball. Thankfully, the home injections will be given with a diabetic needle, which is very small and relatively painless.

Every other cycle I will get a blood test (thankfully, only 1) to see how everything is working. The doctor concluded that I have some major signs pointing to endometriosis, which includes low progesterone. He remains hopeful that the shots & hormones may correct things anyway. We'll follow up with him in 6 months.

So after the ultrasounds, the condescending looks from the doctors, fruitless Clomid, blood tests up the wazoo, numerous doctor appointments, this is getting real old, real fast. I am still grateful for our NaPro doctor, however, because he treats me like a person ("not like a cow!" he said) and has given us a lot of answers. This cross is just getting heavier. I wish my words could echo that of a blog entitled, "This Cross I Embrace." Right now, my words are more like, "This Cross Stinks but I'll Carry it Anyway. GRR!"

Around Easter time we had made a prayerful decision to pursue foreign adoption (really, I was going to blog about it but wanted to get my thoughts in order!). I had just began to accept that God's plan for our family only included adoption. But this ordeal and the coming 6 months have thrown a huge curve ball.

We have a flurry of activities in the coming week, so hopefully as my anger and sullen feelings begin to wane (we hope!) I can post more about the treatment and the results. Blood Test Buddy and I think we should add monthly massages to our hormone treatment plans.