Monday, February 28, 2011

How do you all do it?

Well, I got another "phone call" last night.  My cousin (a guy), who I love - he's literally like my 3rd brother - called to tell me he and his new wife are expecting.  Thank God he lives 12 hrs away because I'm not sure I could have gracefully processed the information in person.  I had a hard time acting super thrilled.  Honestly, I've been expecting that call for several months, just because he's my age, recently married, and I figured he wouldn't want to wait long to start a family.  So at least I had that excuse to be able to say, "Oh that's great!  Congrats!  But honestly I'm not surprised..."

I truly do love him, his wife is beautiful and wonderful and they'll be wonderful parents!  I'm so happy for them! But it doesn't matter who it is - pregnancy news only serves to remind me that I'm not.

The first 2 family pregnancy announcements I've received, I think I had more of a right to be upset.  They were unmarried mothers in less than ideal circumstances.  So besides being upset that they were pregnant and I wasn't, they also happened to be within the context of relationships that I had a right not to be thrilled about. do you all do it?  When a close friend or family member gives you the "big news," what's your reaction?  I mean, I know a lot of you blog about your reactions after the fact.  But I want to know what you do in the moment.  As they're saying the words.  When you see their phone number on caller ID and just know.  Are you able to fake it?  Act ridiculously excited (at least until you get home)?  Or is it obvious that you're pained?  I'd love to know I'm not alone!

St. Gerard, pray for us!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kids and the Prayer to St. Michael

The Prayer to St. Michael has long been one of my favorites (see my sidebar!).  I've always had a competitive, fighting spirit, especially when it comes to defending what's right.  Now that I'm a pro-life activist, this prayer has infinitely powerful meaning.  We are fighting a war, after all.  It's just such a tough, positive, warrior-like keeps me motivated.

We recently decided it was time to add another prayer to our son's bedtime repertoire.  He's had the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Guardian Angel Prayer, Glory Be, Hail Mary, and Our Father down pat for a long time now.  He's definitely ready for a new one.  So we chose the Prayer to St. Michael.  He followed along and repeated for a few nights and then something went awry.

Apparently that prayer doesn't have quite the same meaning to a 4 year old.  I hadn't thought of that.

We said it 3 or 4 nights in a row and he was just starting to get it.  Then one night my husband was working late so Jack and I were saying the prayer together.  We said the first few words, then he stopped and said he didn't want to say it anymore.  I asked him why and he, terrified, started bawling and said, "Because I don't want to go to Heaven!!!!"

I was heartbroken!

Not because I think he wants to go to Hell, but because to a 4 year old, "I don't want to go to Heaven" is the same thing as "I don't want to die."  He was terrified of dying!  This isn't something we've discussed in very much detail yet, but he has always gotten the idea of what dying is - basically going away and not coming back.  But I think the St. Michael prayer's graphic imaging of "snares of the Devil" and "casting into Hell" were really too much for him!

He started asking me when he'd be able to come back to Earth after going to Heaven.  He told me he didn't want to be away from Mommy (*tear*).  But most of all, he "heard on TV" (not sure if that's true) that there's no food in Heaven!  That one really opened the flood gates.  He just couldn't continue.

We didn't know if it was a one-time thing, but ever since then when we ask him to say the Prayer to St. Michael, he tells us that he wants to say his own prayer instead.  Which is fine - they're usually adorable, though some are just ridiculous stall tactics that go on an on about nothing at all (lots of "um, well, see...").

From now on I think we'll save the Prayer to St. Michael until he's a little older.  Maybe we'll switch to Come Holy Spirit for now.  It's more upbeat and who could be upset with "fill the hearts of thy faithful?"  He's always been a big fan of hearts!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fertile Friends

ALL of my Catholic friends are fertile.  I mean - ALL.  Wait...that was misleading - not just Catholic ones.  Any random denomination of Christian (or not) you can imagine…they’re ALL fertile.  Which makes it pretty difficult sometimes to exist in my circle of friends.  Now, they’re absolutely wonderful people.  And any single one of them is there for me in a heartbeat if I ever need anything.  And I know they try to understand what I’m going through.  But honestly, trying to understand infertility when you’re fertile is like saying you know what it’s like to fly to Mars.  It’s just impossible to really “get it.” 

And I don’t help.  It’s not like I really open up that much about my struggle because, really, who wants to hear all that depressing stuff?!?  They tell me I handle it really well.  (To which the voices in my head reply, “Yeah.  Tell her husband that!!”)  I think most of them, even if they know we’ve been TTC, don’t even realize that I really....“struggle.” 

That is, until………….one of them gets pregnant.

THEN – all bets are off.  I’m a different person.  I surrender.  I retreat.  They might as well assume that I was abducted and will be living on Neptune for 9 months, because I’m certainly not going to concede that they’re pregnant

In fact, some of them are even afraid to tell me they’re pregnant, for fear of…well, I don’t even know what they fear…I just know they approach me with a certain fragility when they have “news.”  I’m sure they’re just trying to be polite and sympathetic. 

But dangit…I hate being that person.  I really do.  But I seriously haven’t figured out how to deal with it gracefully yet.  I haven’t figured out how to at least feign happiness!  I’ve never been much of an actor and Lord knows I’m not good at hiding my feelings.  That must be obvious to my poor friends!

I do tell them congratulations and that I’m happy for them.  And, newsflash: I AM!!!  It’s not that I think others don’t deserve to be pregnant!  I just can’t bring myself to talk about all the mushy pregnancy, birthing, and baby stories.  I can barely even ask them how they’re feeling and how far along they are!  What kind of friend is that?!? 

Recently a couple of good friends contacted me to let me know they were praying for me, God bless them.  I know it can’t be easy (see…I told you they are wonderful!).  The first one texted and let me know she found my blog.  She was shocked at what she read because she had no idea about all the trials, doctor appointments, and procedures I’d been going through.  And she apologized for having been so “clueless” (her word) about infertility.  And this is pretty much my closest friend!  That’s how little I talk about this in the real world.

The second wrote to tell me about one of her favorite authors who, in a book called Cold Tangerines, apparently opens up pretty honestly about her own struggle with secondary infertility.  My friend thought of me and also admitted that she had been totally “clueless” (also her words) about how much pain and suffering went along with it.  She also sent me the author’s blog.  Ummm…yeah…I could have written that!  J

God bless my friends, they do try to understand.  And I’m so thankful for both of those friends opening up and honestly telling me they didn’t before fully comprehend the trial of infertility.  And I know they each have their crosses too – I’m fully aware that I’m not the only person on God's good earth with problems!  But in this particular situation, I don’t have much of a support group here in the real world (which is why I’m so thankful for my blogland virtual support group!).  So it was a tiny relief to know that maybe my friends are beginning to understand just a little bit better.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Prayers for a fellow blogger...

Please say a prayer today for our fellow blogger, St. Rita's Roses.  She had a laparoscopy a few days ago and was re-admitted to the hospital due to complications.  I'm not sure of the details, but she hopes to be back home again over the weekend.  Please keep her in prayer!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Post-Op & Blessings

I'm day 2 post-op and still in a tad bit of pain, but was able to get out of the house and drive today.  Thank God because it's literally 60 degrees here.  I have my windows February!  This weather is nuts.  But I digress.  The pain wasn't bad at all the first day.  Yesterday was a lot worse.  My incisions started aching a bit and the air bubbles were a nightmare (shoulder pain - WHAT?)!  But they've subsided a lot today and I'm finally able to move around like a human being, as opposed to the zombie/mummy mutant I've resembled over the last 24 hours.  Not to mention what a shower can do for you...who knew?

But back to the surgery.  And I'm shocked at the results - NO ENDO!!!  I was really expecting to have some stage of endo, but apparently I'm clean.  Go figure.  And call me crazy, but I have mixed emotions about this.  I never realized it before my surgery, but looking back I think I was expecting to have endo, and thus an answer to my IF.  Now I sort of feel like maybe we're back to square one again?  No problem = no solution.

On the other hand, she did remove the polyp and I had my HSG a couple of weeks ago which could have shaken something loose.  We haven't TTC since then yet.  I guess the next couple of months will tell us a lot.  I have a post-op in 2 weeks (that seems like forever...I'm not good at recovery) and I can't wait to talk to my doc a little more about next steps.

On a totally different whole different octave (yeah, score one for my music-related wit!  {nerd})...sometimes it takes a trip to the hospital to realize how truly blessed you are.  In the pre-op & anesthesia rooms I got asked the same set of questions what seemed like 8 million times.  "Are you allergic to any medications?  Foods?  Rubber or latex?  History of heart problems?  Respiratory problems?  Any implants?  Pacemaker?   Etc...etc...etc..."  After answering these questions about 4 million solid times, I started to get annoyed.  Until the anesthesiologist said, "You're generally pretty healthy?"

Aaaaaand............cue lightbulb.

Dang.  What am I annoyed for?  I am generally pretty healthy.

It got me thinking about people who are in the hospital on a regular basis, either for themselves or for their children.  God bless those people.  I couldn't do it.

Then it made me start to feel guilty that I was "just" there because I can't have another child.  Another.  I don't think I should feel guilty about that, but is it nearly the biggest health problem I could have?  No, definitely not, but it's still a pretty big deal, right?  Fraught with emotion, disappointment, envy, hormones.

Yes, I do believe I have every right to be upset about not being able to have another child.  No, it's not the worst medical problem I could have.  And I'd much rather be going through it myself than be at the hospital, God forbid, because my child has a health problem.  But it's legitimate to want to get this problem fixed.  Right?

Furthermore, I get home from an outpatient surgery, and the number of friends willing to pitch in is amazing.  A neighbor who has a son in Jack's class picked him up from school the following day - even though her son was home sick from school!!!  Who does that??  Then another friend took Jack for the rest of the afternoon because she was watching her grandson so they got to play together.  Then another friend dropped off some flowers and offered to watch Jack too.  Then today, my awesome neighbor saw on facebook that Jack has been sick with an ear infection (didn't even know about my surgery) and asked if she could pick up anything for us from the grocery store!  How blessed am I?  All of that outpouring of support, and not even many people knew I was having surgery!

Truly - nothing to complain about here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Propose a Pilgrimage!

Ok bloggies!  As you might have seen in my last post, on Saturday I visited the St. Gianna Shrine in Warminster, PA.  I've been meaning to go for months, but I guess since it's an hour & a half drive I just kept putting it off.  But because my surgery is on Tuesday, I made the effort Saturday.  And THANK GOD I did!  It was wonderful!  I feel so peaceful about my surgery, knowing Gianna will be interceding for me.  I also stayed for 5:00 mass.  It was a powerful mass, receiving the sacrament in the true presence of a saint.

I know some of you have been there before and some of you know the Society ladies.  I spoke to Kim, who was so fantastic and was great to get to know her and her story.

I also came back with some third-class relics!!  I have a medal and some prayer cards I was fortunate enough to touch to St. Gianna's glove!  (I have about 5 so if anyone wants one, please let me know and I can mail one to you.  First come, first served!)

When I announced I was visiting the shrine, a couple of bloggers suggested going back on St. Gianna's feast day - April 28th.  They have a feast day mass every year.  Last year St. Gianna's son spoke, and Kim told me they hope to have her daughter in attendance this year!!  I got chills when she told me!

Sooo...who's up for a pilgrimage?  I know some of you live nearby.  But all are invited!  April 28th is a Thursday this year...right after Easter.  Again, I live 1.5 hrs away, but my house is open to all if you're up for the trip!  If you're interested, I can give you travel details.

Let me know in the comments.  I'm not sure if we need to schedule a pilgrimage since the feast day is a whole event.  But I will get in touch with the society and find out more details once I know there is interest!  (Or if any of you know, please send me the details!)

Friday, February 11, 2011

St. Gianna Shrine

Guess what I'm doing tomorrow??  I'm heading north to visit the St. Gianna Shrine in PA!  It's only about an hour and a half drive for me, but I've been meaning to go for months.  So with my surgery on Tuesday, I'm finally making it work!  I was thrilled when I found out it was so close to me.  Anyone in the Philadelphia area want to join me???  Their Saturday pilgrimage hours are between 3:30-5pm.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I've officially hit a wall! Plus surgery & adoption

If you've been reading, you know how chaotic the last 6 weeks have been for me.  January is just typically busy for a pro-lifer, with the March for Life activities and all.  But add to that the gruesome Philadelphia abortionist case (he used to work in DE so I've been BUSY), and you have yourself one tuckered out stay-at-home momma.  I have to keep reminding myself that that is what I am first and foremost - a "stay-at-home" mom who happens to volunteer her time to a higher cause.  But my family always comes first.  I'm a volunteer, so I can't afford a nanny for school drop-off and pick-up.  I can't hire a housekeeper to vacuum and do laundry.  I think some people I work with forget these "minor" details and expect me to be completely available!  Although if they came to my house it wouldn't take long for them to figure it out!  :)

Add to that my IF issues...scheduling dr. appointments, pre-ops, procedures, blood work, surgeries, and...UGH.  I have officially run myself ragged.  I am extremely exhausted and feel like I just got run over by a truck.  I have flu-like symptoms and can't pull myself off the couch after a busy morning.

In an effort to not be TOO depressing, I have a date for my surgery!  I haven't mentioned it before, but I'm having a D&C and laparoscopy (finally) on Tuesday!  I was originally just scheduled for the D&C and hystero-something (seriously, this is how exhausted I am), but at my pre-op this morning she said she can also do the laparoscopy at the same time.  I'm so excited about it, because that was the point I quit NaPro.  I was referred to Gianna for it, but it was just financially impossible.  Now I can get it from my in-network doc and I can't wait!  I'll keep you posted on the results.

Finally - and this is completely new - I'm meeting with an adoption counselor tomorrow!  I just found out a friend of mine through pro-life is a counselor.  I've always had questions about adoption, but have never pressed the issue because my husband is so concerned about the financials.  I know it's a totally legitimate concern, I just want to get some details so we're covering all our bases.  I'm meeting with her as a friend, not an adoption counselor - it's completely unofficial.  I'm really excited about what I'll find out.  Unfortunately I don't think she'll be able to quell our finance concerns!

Anyone out there who's gone through adoption, even though I've read about most of your stories on your blogs, I'd appreciate any advice/comments/wisdom!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Apple for my Birthday

Ok, so not just any apple...the BIG one!  Hubby got us bus tickets for a day trip to NY for my birthday!  We were all supposed to go back in December but Jack got sick so we didn't get to go.  So he made it up to us!  Jack was so excited to go to "the big city!"  We were there for TEN hours in the spitting rain and cold, and he was such a little trooper!  We took a lightweight stroller, but ended up just dragging it around most of the day.  The kid (4 years old, mind you) walked the entire day except maybe...20 minutes?  He did better than I did!  I'm still tired!

We started down on the southeast end of Manhattan to get doughnuts at Doughnut Plant in the Lower East Side.  I had heard the doughnuts were amazing, but it was a couple mile walk in the rain.  By the time we got there, we were thinking that these stupid doughnuts better be other-worldly to justify that walk.  Well, they delivered!  We're not talking Dunkin here.  They were obscenely good.  Highly recommend.

On the way down, we strolled through the Union Square Market.  I really wish we could have hit that later in the day so that I could have actually bought stuff.  But I didn't want to carry it around all day!  It was so fun.  Lots of homemade bread, homegrown fruits & vegetables, jarred food, etc.  Luckily there was a DSW nearby because my feet were already soaked and I had to stop for some rain boots!

We then made our way to Chinatown & Little Italy where we ate lunch.  Little Italy is my favorite spot in NYC.  It's so cozy with blocks and blocks of fantastic restaurants and cheap, knock-off shopping.

Mmmm... "bascetti!"
After lunch we headed northbound to FAO Schwartz for a look around.  Then we headed over to the Lego Store, which Jack still talks about as his favorite place in the "big city!"  That's ALL he was looking forward to.  In fact, we left the Lego store around 4:30pm and Jack said, "I want to go home now."  Unfortunately our bus didn't leave until 8:30!

We headed over to St. Patrick's Cathedral for 5:30 mass.  This was my favorite part of the day!  I've been to mass there before, but this time with my family, and getting to spend some quality time there without being rushed, was amazing!  We took some time to walk around and take photos after mass.  There's so much to see...someday I want to go on a guided tour just to know what all of the intricacies mean.

St. Patrick's altar

St. Paddy himself!

St. Michael - it was only after I took the photo that
I learned I was in a "no photo" section.  Oops.

The Pieta (not the real one! :)

I was not expecting a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe!
A wonderful surprise!

St. Therese
Relic of St. Therese
THIS is what I was most excited about!  St. Rose of Lima!  My 2011 patron saint!
I said a few prayers to her!

St. John the Evangelist
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
St. Anthony of Padua
After dinner, we headed over to Times Square to see the fantasticness that is 42nd & 7th.  Jack was dying to go into the M&M (or as he says, "nem-nem") store.  So we made a quick pit-stop on the way back to the bus.

I swear - the outfits weren't planned.
Unfortunately because of the rain I didn't get to take too many photos outside, so this is all you get for now.  But NYC is just a short bus ride away so if anyone wants to come visit, I'll take you up!  :)

It may seem like we didn't do a whole lot, but there was a lot of walking involved!  We spent a lot of time in cafes and restaurants just to escape the cold & rain.  Of course the next day was warm and sunny.  Had it been like that, we would have spent a lot of time in Central Park.  *Sigh*  Next time...

On the bus ride home we asked Jack what his favorite part of the day was.  He easily answered, "The Lego Store."  Then we asked what his least favorite part was.  After a little thinking, he answer, "Church."  Uh oh.  Apparently we have some work to do.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Big 3-3

Yep.  Time to change my profile.  I've been so busy I keep forgetting that it's my birthday!  I keep wanting to just think about how another year has gone by without another pregnancy.  But then I stop myself and realize just how stinkin' blessed I am.  Obviously, I already have so much that I don't deserve and that's what I need to focus on today and always!

And Happy Groundhog Day!!