Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Follow-Up and Healing

I had my follow-up appointment today with my Ob.  Everything looks good physically, thank God.  She said I can resume normal activity, gradually.  I still have to get some labwork to check my iron levels (I lost so much blood I was anemic when I left the hospital), but otherwise I'm allowed to resume exercise (desperately needed), abdominal workouts, and most importantly TTC.

However, she warned me that it is recommended to wait 3-6 months after a m/c to TTC again.  She said the risk of a subsequent m/c is higher soon afterwards.  I asked her why that is and she said it's a number of things - hormones, uterine lining can still be inflamed, basically just that your body isn't quite back to normal yet.

I was initially disappointed but maybe it's better.  Maybe I just need some time to not think about all of this IF, m/c, TTC stuff for awhile.  Even if I wait 3 months, it will put me in Feb/March, which is when Marshall was conceived, and I'd LOVE another holiday baby.  Of course, that's assuming I conceive right away.  And even though the last 2 pregnancies have happened on my first cycle of trying (or even without a cycle, in Marshall's case!), I've learned nothing is certain.  I just desperately want to be pregnant before Baby Frances' due date or I might have to be committed on May 21, 2013.  Prayers.

I heard back from my priest with our options for memorializing our babies - both Baby Gerard (Marshall's twin) and Baby Frances.  Here was his reply:

Hi Nicole, if you would like I could say an actual funeral mass for your miscarried [babies] (I think I can do both at once), because the funeral rite for children has alternative prayers for children who died before receiving baptism (the bodily remains do NOT have to be present). or there is a service in the Book of Blessings for parents of miscarried children, which is a service, not a mass. or we could have a memorial mass for miscarried children of the parish and invite other families who suffered the same thing. let me know what you want and we will talk dates and times. Fr John
I really like the idea of having a memorial mass for miscarried children and being able to invite others who have experienced it, especially since I'm seriously considering starting a diocesan IF/miscarriage support group.  On the other hand, I would really like to have something private for our babies and allow them to be recognized by name.

Any thoughts or suggestions?  Have any of you done anything like this?

I just feel so incredibly blessed to have a priest who is so pro-life and understanding and so willing to work with us on this.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Yeah, I'm definitely going to have one more."

That was said to me during a conversation at the gym.  Right after I found out I was pregnant, I was in a conversation with a gym acquaintance who has a daughter about the same age as Marshall.  She asked if I was going to have any more kids.  Let me just tell you - I HATE THAT FREAKING QUESTION.  Hate it.    Because - like I know!!!  I have gotten bold recently and usually answer, "Well, I've learned that it's not always up to me."  In other words, "Hint, hint, don't ask people that, you moron."  But this time I already knew I was pregnant, but obviously we weren't telling people so I just said, "Hopefully."

Her response?  "Yeah, I'm definitely going to have one more."  Oh, really???  You know that for sure???  It was so nonchalant, like, "Oh yeah, I have my whole reproductive life figured out and I'm going to have my perfect three kids and then probably get my tubes tied and my life will be effing perfect."

Ok, I might have made up that last quote.  But it made me SO mad - even before my miscarriage - and I'm not even really sure why.  I guess because I've learned the hard way that this is soooooo not up to us.  This is not how I expected my reproductive life to go.  I didn't foresee having 4 years of secondary IF, then getting pregnant with twins, then losing a twin, then getting pregnant again right away and then miscarrying.  I mean, I know no one anticipates that.  Most people have a sort of plan, or the way they think their childbearing will go, and for a lot of people, that's exactly what happens.  Good for them.  But what about the rest of us???

I've also learned that there's not a lot of empathy going around for people like the rest of us.  True, it's impossible to understand what we're going through if you've never experienced IF or m/c.  But I feel there is also very little attempt to understand.  There are so few support groups.  I guess that's why our little blogosphere is so popular!

And praise God for it.  I've found so much support from you guys.  Stacy has been like a big sister.  I don't know how I'll ever repay her.  And so many of you have offered prayers and advice.  JoAnna recommended this book and I've just started it. It brings up a lot of emotion, but I think it will be good for my healing process.  If you have suffered from m/c, I highly suggest it:

My hubby also suggested I start The Problem of Pain .  It's a tough read, but I think it will also be good for me.

And for some escape from the real world, I'm halfway through this.

This whole thing has also reinforced my desire to start an IF support group in my diocese.  It's just that now I'll add miscarriage support to it.  Please pray for me in that endeavor.  I have a lot of discerning to do regarding my pro-life work and this new frontier.  I hope I'm on the right path.

Friday, November 16, 2012

After the Fact - Part 2

I actually MISS my baby.  I want to hold her so badly.  (Yes, I just know she was a girl.)  My babies would have been 18 months apart.  But I really tried not to get too excited before my first trimester was up.  I learned that the hard way with Marshall's twin.  But it was still pretty exciting to have babies so close in age, after such a big gap between Jack and Marshall.

While all the ups and downs of my first tri were going on, I found out my sister-in-law, who married my brother in July, was pregnant.  

I also found out that my cousin's wife is pregnant again.  They have a son a couple months older than Marshall and their kids will be 19 months apart.  I was so excited that we would have kids so close in age again (and that mine would be closer together).

I have another cousin who is 7 months pregnant.

All of these people I'll see at Christmas.  If I'm even able to go.  I was seriously considering anti-depressants a few days ago.  My mom left on Monday.  That was the worst of them.  I was unable to function.  I cried all day.  I've been through all of the emotions.  But unlike with IF, when I was pissed at God (and told Him), I've been neutral in my reaction to God so far.  I don't know if I'm still trying to figure out my feelings towards His will, or if I just haven't gotten that far yet.  I know I'm not particularly happy with the fact that He gave me a child and then took it away in such a traumatic and horrible manner.  But I haven't screamed at Him yet either.       Yet.

I was told by a friend that I would be mad at my husband and that it would be difficult to accept his offers to help because he wouldn't know what to do.  Thankfully I've found it to be the opposite.  He was so solid.  He was so there.  I know he felt/feels helpless, but he's doing his best and I recognize and appreciate it.  The other night, he just let me cry into his shoulder.  It's what I needed.  And I know this is affecting him like he never thought it would.

Then there's other family.  Siblings who just don't get it and say insensitive things.  My mom, who feels terrible that she had to leave.  My dad, who I can tell is hurting from it, which makes it hurt for me even more.  Extended family who I haven't spoken to, but who have sent their prayers and condolences.

But one thing I've learned, no matter how badly you may feel for someone who miscarries - you'll never understand unless you've been there.  

And it's awful.

I've talked to our priest about having a memorial mass for our lost babies.  I hope that will provide some closure.  We named Marshall's twin Gerard since St. Gerard was so instrumental in gaining my fertility back, and this baby Frances, after Padre Pio.  We also have one more saint in Heaven, my would-have-been-adopted Baby Jude.  We'll include him in our memorial mass as well. 

I have NO idea what God has planned for this.  I'll be 35 in February and I pray that I still have time for a couple more blessings.  I hope and pray.  In the meantime, I really hope that I was able to release a couple of souls from Purgatory.  This suffering can't be for nothing. It just can't be.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

After the Fact - Part 1

I've planned to write a post this week for two months.  It was supposed to be full of joy and excitement. Instead it's going to be full of loss, pain, and sorrow.

I found out on Sept. 13th that I was pregnant.  I remember the exact date because it's DH's birthday, but that was a complete accident.  I realized that morning that my FCP had told me to take a test on P+14 or 15, and that morning happened to be P+15.  I had zero expectations.  I knew there could be a chance it was positive since we did TTC on my peak day, but it was only my second cycle since Marshall was born, and the first that we would have had a chance to conceive.  So I was in shock when I got the BFP.

I've been dying to post about my first trimester because it has been filled with ups and downs and I've needed your support.  But my mom was coming to town this past weekend and I really wanted to tell her in person.  Since family has access to this blog, I didn't want to take a chance of her finding out this way.

I called the doc and got my blood test and had my first appointment, which was pretty routine since I had just been there a year and a half ago.  I had two ultrasounds, around 6 & 7 weeks.  They were a little unnerving.  In the first, the gestational sac only measured 5 weeks and they didn't see the fetal pole.  TCIE assured me that this is normal and not to worry.  My second ultrasound was at 7 weeks and we saw the heartbeat, but the baby only measured about 6 weeks.  Although my doc was happy and said it was consistent with the first and the heartbeat was strong so I didn't worry.  During the next few weeks my levels were monitored and were always perfect so I felt comfortable.

I had a routine appointment at 9 weeks and she didn't hear a heartbeat, but she assured me that this was normal and she could hear the uterine vessels which meant the baby was growing.  So again - I didn't worry. Three weeks later, at 11 weeks & 6 days, I had another appointment.  Still no heartbeat.  Doc was certain it was because I have a tilted uterus which makes it harder to hear (and I was technically not 12 weeks yet), but wanted to be sure, so we scheduled an ultrasound for the next day.

I was worried, but tried to stay positive.  After the u/s tech was done, I immediately knew something was wrong.  Instead of bringing my DH into the room to see the baby, she said she needed to show the images to the radiologist.  She tried assuring me that "this is routine procedure."  But I'm not stupid.  It's the exact same thing they told us when we lost Marshall's twin.  When everything is fine, they just call in DH and show us the baby.  They seriously need a new procedure.

I was made to wait about 20 minutes before they finally told us to go upstairs to the OB's office and talk to a doctor.  I knew it was over.  After another 15 minute wait he finally called me into a room and told me the baby only measured 8 weeks (I was now 12) and there was no heartbeat.

He told me I could have a D&C, wait for it to happen, or he could give me a pill to speed up the process.  I've never been here before.  I didn't know what to do or think.  He told me to go home and think about it and get in touch.

Just this choice was traumatic and painful for me. In my line of work, "D&C" has a certain connotation that didn't sit well with me (even though I knew the baby was already gone).  On the other hand, the thought of passing this baby at home was something I couldn't bear.  After asking advice from some bloggers (you know who you are, and I can't thank you enough), the next day I elected to have a D&C under sedation.  This was Friday afternoon and I was able to call my doc back and get it scheduled for 9am Saturday morning.

I felt so relieved just having made a decision.  I was unstable enough just having learned I lost a baby, but then the decision of "what to do" just piled on the agony.  So it was a huge weight lifted when I made the decision and had the procedure scheduled. The doctor said there was still a chance I could miscarry overnight.  I told him how terrified I was that I would pass the baby at home.  He said that since the baby had been gone for so long, there would likely not be any recognizable body. For my sanity, I had to believe that.

The relief didn't last.  I started bleeding at 8:30 Friday night.  A lot.  I know I don't have to tell a lot of you how unbelievably horrible miscarriage is.  But it's nothing I could have even imagined.  I was so pissed that God didn't at least let this wait until morning.  It was all such a nightmare, and then He had to go and keep piling on the shit.  But if there was a silver lining to all of this mess, it's that it happened at night when DH was at home, and it happened the weekend my mom was visiting.  At least she was able to be home with the boys.

My poor husband.  He was there for me through it all.  He's usually a pretty unemotional guy, but I've never seen him like this before.  He was visibly distraught.  But he was there.  He was my rock through all of it and I absolutely couldn't have gotten through it in one piece without him.

Especially since he had to drive me to the hospital at 2am.  The bleeding got so bad that I was feeling faint and came close to passing out several times.  He called the doc who told us to come to the hospital immediately.  I was terrified to get into the car because I was still bleeding but I knew we had no choice.

When we got there by blood pressure was extremely low and I had tachycardia (heart rate over 100).  And apparently I was as white a ghost.  They put me on IV and a heart monitor.  Thank God they were able to get my heart rate down rather quickly, and stabilize my blood pressure.

They took me to the OR around 3:30am and I got an emergency D&C.  They told me there was a chance I would need a blood transfusion.  The procedure didn't take long and I was only under an IV sedative.  I had to stay at the hospital all day on Saturday so they could monitor me, and make sure my blood count went up, because there was still a chance I'd need a transfusion.  They finally released me at 6pm and were happy with my count - it was low, but within range of not needing one.

I'm supposed to take it easy this week.  I still get woozy sometimes and I have a headache that I cannot shake.  But physically I'm getting better.  Emotionally it's still rough but I've gotten out the last 2 days (and showered and dressed) and that seems to have helped a lot, although certain things tend to set me off.

We'll call this one the "logistics" post.  I'm sure there will be a few "emotional posts" in the next few days.  But in the meantime, thank you to those who already know my story and have been praying.  I assure you, the prayers are felt.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

So maybe politicians are all the same after all

And I'll leave it at that.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Spiritual Direction and Political Candidates

No, this is not my attempt to name all of the Catholic-in-name-only politicians who need spiritual direction.  How much time do you think I have??   What I mean is, those are the two things I did today* - got some spiritual direction, and met with a political candidate.

Spiritual direction.  Boy, was I in need!  I've been wanting to find a spiritual director for years.  Yes, years.  Jen Fulwiler wrote about her wonderful experiences with hers, I just had no idea how to go about finding one.  Especially one I'd trust.  I've asked around, not just for names, but even for ideas on how to find a good one!  I never really received an answer.  This past weekend, however, I was really in need.  I decided to just try to catch my priest after mass and see if I could make an appointment to talk to him.  But priests are always so hard to get a hold of, so I wasn't optimistic on being able to set something up.  And though he's an amazing priest, he's not so quick on the email responses!  :)

Anyway, we were actually able to get out of the house on Sunday morning about 5 minutes early - a small miracle, especially since our church is 30 minutes away.  And it truly proved to be a miracle, because when we arrived, my priest was standing alone in the lobby, just hanging out waiting for mass to begin.  I said hello and he complimented my facebook photo (for those who aren't my facebook friends, my photo is a pic of Mitt and me. What what!!).  Aaaaaanyhoo...  So we got to talking and I was able to ask if he could schedule a meeting with me.  Of course he agreed.  I happened to ask, "By the way, do you do spiritual direction?"  "Oh yeah, definitely," he answered.  Well whattya know.  My own priest.  *head. desk.*

So we met today and I'm feeling like a new person (he also heard my confession...phew).  I've been struggling a lot lately with a spiritual dryness.  I mean, I don't have any trouble with Church teachings or defending her outwardly.  It's the inward part that I've been having trouble with.  And honestly...I think I still have a wall up since my infertility.  Yes, I have a beautiful 9 month old.  But that scar is deep.  And I'm still pissed.  And I know I don't have a right to be.  But what can I do?  Hence...spiritual direction, I suppose.

He suggested I begin my prayer life from scratch.  Start by really getting to know Jesus.  The man.  And start by reading the Gospels.  I struggle with prayer because a lot of times I feel like it's just words.  I also get extremely overwhelmed when I actually get a few minutes to sit and have prayer time, because there are SO many things I want to pray and even more things and people I want to pray for.  I also have a habit of deciding I want to have a devotion to a saint.  So I pick one.  And then I change my mind.  And then I hear of another cool one and change my mind again.  And then I go schizo and give up.

So he suggested I get up a few minutes early in the mornings and just read (he said he always has a better day when he prays in the mornings).  Then ask God, even just quickly, to let me know Him.  Ok, sounds like a good start.  That I can do.  I don't really have to feel like I'm just talking to myself.  We're going to meet on a regular basis and there's nothing I need more right now.

So after my meeting with Father, I went to meet with the woman running for Lt. Gov in Delaware.  She's a great lady and running a wonderful campaign.  She's very conservative and that's not an easy thing to be when running for office in DE!  I've been a supporter of hers for a few months.

Recently, she was asked to speak at the RNC.  Her speech was fantastic, but she's not a seasoned politician and wasn't really prepared for the onslaught of interviews and questions hurled at her afterwards.  There was really no preparation for it.  She had just finished up one interview when she immediately began another with a radio host.  He asked her several questions before asking, "what is your stand on the abortion issue?"

Unfortunately, not being a polished and smooth-talking politician, she misspoke. She spoke as a post-abortive woman about not having enough information prior to her own abortion, and said, "In that respect, I am pro-choice."  This caused a firestorm in the pro-life community, which up to that point had trusted her.  What she meant was that she is pro-information, and women actually HAVING a choice.  I'm sure we can all understand what she meant by a true choice.  Unfortunately, the pro-aborts have hijacked that word and it's so politically charged now, that as a pro-life candidate, you can simply NEVER, EVER say the words "I am pro-choice" in ANY context.

She then released this statement on facebook.    I was still concerned so I asked to meet with her.  Long story short (?), she turns out to be completely genuine.  A zero exceptions pro-life candidate.  And she is devastated by her own words.  She said to me through tears, "If one baby dies because I lose this election because of one misstep in one interview, I couldn't live with myself."  God bless this brave woman.  Please support her if you can.

*Uhh...yeah...obviously I didn't do all this on a Saturday.  It was actually yesterday, but I got interrupted mid-blog and didn't get it finished until today! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Suddenly I'm a Rams fan!

Whoa.  This guy is the real deal.  Who knew there were virtuous professional athletes out there?!?  Well, of course there are the select few that the media likes to hype and pick on (ahem...Tim Tebow...ahem).  But this guy?  Another level.  He calls himself "Catholic by blood" and says that is his identity - not football.  Make sure you read to the end.  Needless to say, the last section is my personal favorite!  :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Help wanted! I need an FCP!

Well, I'm officially back on a cycle.  This is actually my second cycle, but the first one was while we were on vacation, so there was no TTC going on!  :)  It took eight months after Marshall was born...I couldn't believe it took so long, but am so glad to finally be able to keep track of what my body is doing again!

Here's the thing.  I had left my previous FCP prior to going back to my regular ob/gyn and having surgery.  So I had basically thrown in the towel on NaPro (for myself - I'm still a big believer in it), but I still need to chart.  Is anyone out there willing to work with me from a distance, via email/Skype/etc?

Delaware is in the process of getting TWO NaPro-certified doctors in the next year or so.  But we have no one, as far as I know, getting certified as an FCP.  Let me know if you're in the Delaware/MD/PA area and interested in getting certified!

But for now, just let me know if you're willing to work with me!  :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Is this a pro-lifer's future under another Obama term?

Folks, this is scary stuff.  Jill Stanek's vigil-warrior son-in-law is visited by FBI agents and asked to "snitch" on other pro-lifers.  Last I checked, we still have a First Amendment in this country (for now).

My local vigilers have been harassed by Planned Parenthood and their off-duty "security" cops.  It's gotten to the point that I've had to have meetings with the police department's community affairs director.  But this is all local stuff.  It's been going on for decades, mainly since Operation Rescue came on the scene.  And it's just the typical local infighting.

But when the feds get involved, it's a whole new ballgame.  First, pro-life vigilers are not the jurisdiction of the Federal Government.  Second, don't the feds have more important things to be taking care of???

I just finished reading Childless, the 3rd book in Brian Gail's Fatherless series.  Some may call it conspiracy theory.  But based on the actions of the Obama administration's first term toward groups it deems "undesirable" (pro-lifers, Catholics, etc), I think it may be a fairly accurate glimpse into our future.  They're trying to intimidate us into submission.  We still live in America folks - don't let them!!!

*If you're a vigiler, you should consider videotaping your actions, because as the article states, law enforcement usually sides with the devil abortion clinic (so true based on my own experience).  You might also bookmark this article in case you're ever in need of LLDF's counsel.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A conversation I never should have overheard at my doctor's office

Last week I had my annual exam at my gyn.  Mind you, I go to a Catholic doctor who has an office at our Catholic hospital.  On the other hand, they do distribute contraception, do referrals for IVF, surrogacy, and other ART's, so it's not as strictly Catholic as I'd like, but I do love my doc and she's extremely supportive of my beliefs.

As I was checking in for my appointment, I overheard a conversation between two nurses back in a corner behind the reception desk.  They were talking about getting their contraception, how much they get, where they get it from, etc.  Which is inappropriate for a number of reasons: 1) it's simply unprofessional no matter where you are, to be talking casually about your birth control within earshot of patients, and 2) because you're employed by a Catholic institution.

One nurse asked the other, "Do you use it for medical reasons?"  I was trying to be stealth, but I had to look up at this point.  I saw the other nurse give her a little smirk and shake her head and they both laughed.  Oh...HILARIOUS!  Good thing those stupid Catholics (you know...the ones who already pay your salary) are gonna be forced to buy it for you in the future!!  Wheee!!!

God help those women.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

IVF then contraception. An attitude I'll never understand.

I have a couple of friends who have done IVF.  Both have twins.  They're not friends I know through my Catholic circles, but they're wonderful people.  Of the two couples, however, 3 of the individuals are self-identified Catholics.  I'm not sure any of the 3 are still practicing.  But this incomprehension I have has nothing to do with the Catholic Church's stance on IVF.  Or contraception.

What I don't understand is how anyone who struggles to have a child, especially for years, and especially long enough to spend thousands of dollars on artificial reproductive technology, can "get what they want" and then vehemently "be done" and contracept.

First of all, you (general "you") were infertile.  You used artificial means to conceive, which means nothing got fixed.  So...hate to break it to you, but you probably don't need contraception because you're probably still broken.  But that's tangential.

Not to mention, you used ART to conceive and then you pump artificial hormones into your body in order to not conceive.  Your entire reproductive life will have been...ARTIFICIAL!  Yuck.

But mainly what I don't understand is how you can use IVF to bring two beautiful new blessings into the world, and still not be open to life, should by some miracle you actually conceive on your own.

I learned through 3 1/2 years of secondary infertility that none of this childbearing stuff is in our hands.  I can't comprehend using contraception after infertility, even if IVF is not used.  Well...let's be honest.  I can't comprehend using contraception after having children (even without going through infertility) at all.  It's like telling God, "Hey, thanks for giving me what I wanted, but I'll take over now.  Don't need You and Your silly Plan anymore."

In one case of my friends, the wife would like to have more children, but the husband fervently says no.  They have ten frozen embryos that they pay a lot of money to store.  She still doesn't know what she will eventually do with these ten tiny babies of hers.  In her defense, as much as she loves her daughters, I do think she now realizes the enormous impact of having done IVF.  She's really torn on what to do with the embryos.  Like I said, I think she would try for more children if the husband was open to it.  She's against using them for science or research (thank God), and has also considered donation, but is afraid that would be too emotional...always wondering if a girl walking down the street was her baby.  What a burden to bear.

In the case of the other couple, I believe it's the wife who is "done."  You know...what if they had twins again?!?  Oh, the horror.  Two more blessings!  Whatever would we do!  I don't know as much about their situation, but in my discussions with her, she seems to have no openness to more children.  I pray her heart changes.

But in any case, the idea that someone would go through the pain of infertility, the emotional and financial stress of IVF, and then contracept to avoid another child is mind-boggling to me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

St. Anne Center for Reproductive Health

I've been out of the blogs for awhile, so maybe this has already been discussed.  My husband heard this doctor on Gus Lloyd's show this morning.  I pray this good doctor is able to get his dream up and running soon!  For anyone in the Chicago area, you'll definitely want to check this out and help if/how you can!

There are some great resources on his website.  I would like to get him to Delaware to speak.  We have a couple of docs here tossing around the idea of getting NaPro certified!  Please keep that effort in prayer!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why I haven't been blogging lately

No, it's nothing profound.  Just because of this little bugger.

Between the little dude, intermittent sleep, and my inability to say no to volunteer opportunities, I've been in a bit of a whirlwind.  I used to be so good and scheduled!  

Marshall is getting so big!  He's now eating solids, just started sitting up, and is getting very animated which is so fun!  He'll be 6 months old on Saturday, which pretty much makes me want to cry.  I can't believe how fast it has all gone.  And Jack just turned 6 and will be graduating kindergarten in a couple of weeks!!!  In.Sane.

My pro-life org is hosting a local Rally for Religious Freedom on June 8, which I'm really excited about (if there's one near you - GO)!  I'm also on the endowment committee, the dinner auction committee, and the athletic board at Jack's school, I'm vaguely working on some projects for/with the Diocese, and really need to get my business going.  So that's why it's been pretty radio silent up in here lately.

Rest assured, you're all in my prayers and I hope to catch back up with you SOON!  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Infertility Companion for Catholics

My husband recently sent me this link the other day and I just ordered it from Amazon!  I'm really looking forward to getting it, although I could have used it 4 years ago!  :)  I really like the review in the link, in which the blogger admits that he and his wife have never struggled with IF and this book helped him be more compassionate with those who do.  And though I hope to never "need" this book again, I never thought I'd need it after the birth of my first son either.  Even so, it sounds like there is some really great info in here.  And it  might even help with my efforts to get a Catholic IF support group in my diocese!

Hopefully some of you will find this helpful as well!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Haunting Facebook Status

Maybe I'm overreacting, but I just saw a facebook status update that is still haunting me.  It said, "Two years ago today, god blessed us with our 3rd, and FINAL, miracle. Happy Birthday to the most beautiful baby girl ever!"

Is it just me, or is it kind of sick to put "FINAL" in all caps like that?  First you're thanking God for this awesome blessing,of a beautiful healthy child, and then you're telling Him, "But I'll take over from here.  We're done trusting in your judgement for our family."  And then you're telling your daughter, "Yeah, you were an awesome blessing, but we sure don't want anymore like you!"

It just struck me deeply this morning and I had to get my thoughts out because it's still resonating...

Monday, April 23, 2012

I wanna be JUST like Hollywood!

Oh those classy folks in Hollywood are at it again!  I just LOVE those super-smart, intellectual folks out there on the Left coast.  They're SO darn tolerant, open-minded, and un-bigoted!  Wow, I wanna be just like them!

Here they are making fun of Rick Santorum.  Which is nothing new.  I mean, why wouldn't they?  He's one of those crazy religious fanatics!  This time they've elevated the discourse by comparing his campaign to an abortion!  And since he has absolutely NO idea what it would be like to lose a child or make the heart-wrenching decision to have to choose to give his wife life-saving treatments that could end up in the death of their unborn child, these folks are right on the money in their critique!  What does a man know about this issue anyway?  Oh, and their stealth little jabs at pregnancy centers and common sense restrictions on abortions - well, they're just so clever!

Take a watch, then just try to not want to be as classy as these profound learned pundits.*

Rick Santorum Aborts Presidential Campaign from Ashley Judd

*In case you don't know me or it wasn't obvious, this post was dripping with sarcasm.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A tale of two Easters

My, how life can change in a year.  Every Easter Sunday we take a family photo in front of our fireplace.  I don't remember how this tradition started, but it's gotten to be fun!

Last year I had just found out I was pregnant with twins.  In fact, we told Mike's family on that very day.  Here we are a year ago, when Marshall was just starting out:

And although we aren't a family of 5 like we originally thought we would be, our lives have changed so much from last year to now.  We are so incredibly thankful!  Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I planned to sit here at the computer and do a big long post on this tonight (if you're my friend on facebook, you've already seen my outrage!  Look for a post on it in the next couple of days.).  But then I got news about Kaitlyn's death and am simply asking you for prayers for her family.  I've posted her story on facebook a few times, but if you're new to her story, please go back an read some past posts on her family's blog.  I used to work with her aunt.  They're wonderful people and amazingly strong.  Just have the tissues handy.  She suffered from a very rare genetic disorder in which both parents have to be carriers to have a child with the disorder.

Lord, be with this family in their time of grief.

Hug your kids tonight.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This is only a week late!

I've been meaning to post about the book I'm reading for Lent.  Alas, a week into it, here I finally am!  But I guess since I'm now into the book, I can provide an opinion!  It's called "Simplifying the Soul" and it's all about - shocking! - simplifying!  It's a daily devotional and for each different week, she gives a theme.  The first was simplifying space, then simplifying your use of money, etc. and every day you have a task.  So far I've cleaned out a junk drawer, donated something I'm not using, created a prayer space (ok, so I'm still working on this one...it's hard!), made a meal from lost or forgotten items, and more!  I highly recommend it if you're looking to simplify.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


My little miracle turned 3 months old today.  And I can't even believe I just typed that.   Mike took some pics of big & baby bros.

Check out my mutant eyelashes

Pay no attention to my haircut....

Big boys

Chillaxin together!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Are we conditioned?

We got a pregnancy announcement over the weekend.  You might wonder why I would even mention a pregnancy announcement anymore - I have an 11 week old baby in my house!  And I would agree with you - it's dumb that it even fazes me.  We got the announcement as we were driving in the car and I told my husband how happy I was for our friend!  I soooooo am!

But I also confessed to him that even with a tiny baby in the backseat, for some reason - and I hate it - I still instinctively get a twinge of...is it still jealousy?...whenever I get a pregnancy announcement.  I told this to Mike and he said, "Well, you spent 5 years feeling 'bad' every time someone told you they were pregnant.  You're sort of conditioned to react that way.  It's hard to get over."  And I think he's right.

Again - I hate reacting this way!  I'm incredibly happy and grateful for what God has given me!  And incredibly undeserving.  I desperately want to get over feeling this way.  But could it be that "once and infertile, always an infertile," no matter how many children you end up having in the end?  I hope not, but as Hebrews recently wrote about, maybe it is best to never forget.

Or maybe, as I told a friend recently, that it's because in the back of my mind, I still feel like we were supposed to have two.  And now there's a void that can never be filled.  And I want to be pregnant again as soon as possible because I feel like that will somehow fill that void.

I just don't want to be conditioned.  I want to be able to be genuinely happy for my pregnant friends without that happiness being tarnished by this stupid gut instinct.  And I want to be able to just relax and enjoy my brand new precious blessing without feeling like there's something missing.  Because there's not - I'm the luckiest gal in the world.

My angel

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Let the little children come to me, after all of the proper forms are filled out and they've been certified by the relevant authorities."

Mike & I were asked to be godparents to his sister's baby.  Baby L, we'll call him, was born in July and still has yet to receive the sacrament.  We of course are concerned that so much time has gone by, but in the past few days we have discovered why.  SIL lives in Texas and she recently informed us that we, to be godparents, have to attend a baptism class.  Now, for Marshall's baptism, our priest, who knows us well and to be faithful Catholics, waived our baptismal class requirement (we took one for Jack, but our diocese states that you need to re-take the class if 5 years have passed since your last class).  For our own child!  So we let SIL know this and she said ok, she would let her parish know and it shouldn't be a problem.

Well...it is a problem, apparently.  She called a few days ago to let us know that her parish wasn't budging on this issue and demands that we take a baptismal class, regardless of the fact that we just baptized our own child THREE WEEKS ago!!

Let me be clear: we're not anti-baptismal classes.  We think they're a great idea for parents of the child receiving the sacrament - as long as the child's sacrament isn't being delayed because of it.  And at this point, that's what's happening.  Not because we haven't taken the class yet, but because all the proper forms haven't been filled out yet!!  When Jack was baptized, we set the date and then the priest worked with us on a time we could come in for our info session/class.  Perfect.  That's how it should work.  The state of a child's eternal soul should not rest on whether or not the proper boxes have been checked!  (Oh..and they're also telling her they can't do it until after Lent now!  I guess they don't have any "openings" until then.  Openings??  For baptism???  GET THIS CHILD BAPTIZED!!  It doesn't take that long!  He'll almost be  a year old by then!!!  Appalling, and dare I say, sinful.)

Back to our story.  So Mike was, well, let's say "not happy."  He asked her for the number to her church office so he could talk the baptismal director himself.  He was able to reach her and she insisted that a baptismal class for godparents is "Canon Law."  He argued that no, it is not, and asked to speak to the pastor.  Amazingly the pastor was in and agreed to speak with him.  He too insisted that this "requirement" is Canon Law.  Mike swore that, no, it is not.  The pastor just insisted that we need to take the class and hey, even he learns something new every time!  Well, great, but we wouldn't even be taking their class so how do they know what we'd learn??  Which just proves that this is simply an effort in formalities and "box-checking."  In the end, the pastor reluctantly agreed that maybe a letter from our priest would suffice.

I called my pastor who agreed that this is all just a big bizarre formality and who confirmed that no, a class for godparents is not a Canon Law requirement.  All that is required by Canon Law is that the godparents be Catholics in good standing, which again, a letter from our priest will confirm for them.  I asked my pastor that if the letter wasn't good enough, what we should do.  He replied, "Well it better be, but if not, just come in for a cup of coffee and we'll call it a day!"  Love that guy!

Again, let me state that we're not anti-baptismal education classes.  I think they're great for Catechesis (which I believe is severely lacking these days) and that most people benefit from them.  I just think it's horrific that a child's sacrament is delayed because of it. Mike even found on the church's website that baptisms require THREE MONTHS notice to "process all the paperwork!"  WHAT?!?!  Three months???  What IS Canon Law requirement is that babies should be baptized as soon as possible following birth!

"Can.  867 §1. Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks; as soon as possible after the birth or even before it, they are to go to the pastor to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared properly for it."

And here is the Canon Law requirement for sponsors:

"Can.  872 Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it.Can.  873 There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.Can.  874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause;3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.§2. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism."

In the end, we'll take the class if this ends up being the hinging factor.  We won't allow ourselves to be what delays the sacrament any longer.  Maybe I sound childish, but it's the principle of the thing at this point! We don't have time to take the class in all honesty, and I'm not even sure that the next one at our parish would occur before the date she has set.  And my pastor agreed that it's ridiculous.

Something else that came up in our extensive discussions over this is: Shouldn't a baby be baptized regardless of the parents' intent to raise the child Catholic?  I mean, yes, the parents should raise the child Catholic if they want to baptize him Catholic.  But should that be a be-all-end-all requirement?  In extenuating circumstances, shouldn't they always want to baptize a baby?  Shouldn't the church go ahead and baptize a baby on the spot if a non-Catholic couple walks into a church and says, "We want you to baptize our baby"?  I know it's not an ideal situation but isn't it better than the innocent child walking around with Original Sin until the parents get their act together?  We did read that if a baby is left at a church, it's the priest's obligation to baptize him immediately.  Maybe I'm wrong, but that just seems like the right thing to do.  Any insight on that?

Another question: Can anyone baptize a baby?  I mean, I know anyone can, but I've also read that the parents have to request it in order for it to "count."  What's the rule on that one?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blogger Meetup!

It's been way too long since I've had a blogger meetup so last night's was awesome!  But not just for that reason, but because I met an AWESOME lady!!  I drove up to Philly with the boys to meet up with Carla from Bringing Henry Home.  Oh my gosh, this woman is a saint-in-waiting, let me tell you!  And her baby boy - I was almost in tears he was so precious!!  After she recovered from losing her phone (the poor woman), we had an excellent evening and I hope we get to meet up again when they're back out here for Henry's surgery this spring!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Because I'm at a loss

I've been trying to think of something super inspirational and reflective to post today on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.  But since a tiny human is taking up most of my energy and brain power lately, I'll settle for reposting my post from this day last year:

 On this day 38 years ago, our nation decriminalized murder -- the murder of a particular class of human beings who was deemed less than human by unelected judges.  And in these 38 years, we have lost 50 million of our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.

Born in 1978, I am an abortion survivor.  I will march on Monday, while 1/3 of my generation intercedes from Heaven.

On this day of remembrance*, please join me in prayer:

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father, Creator of the world, have mercy on us. RESPONSE: Have mercy on us!
God the Son, through whom all things were made,
God the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life,
Lord Jesus, the Beginning and the End,
Lord Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
Lord Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life,
Lord Jesus, Eternal Word of Life,
Lord Jesus, living in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
Lord Jesus, Lover of the poor and weak,
Lord Jesus, Defender of the helpless,
Lord Jesus, Bread of Life,

For every sin against life,
For the sin of abortion,
For the daily killing of innocent babies,
For the bloodshed throughout our land,
For the silent screams of Your children,
For the killing of Your future disciples,
For the exploitation of women by abortion,
For the silence of Your people,
For the apathy of Your people,
For the co-operation of Your people in this tragedy,

For our pre-born brothers and sisters killed by abortion, RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.
For our pre-born brothers and sisters threatened by abortion,
For our brothers and sisters who have survived abortion,
For mothers who have had abortions,
For mothers tempted to have abortions,
For mothers pressured to have abortions,
For mothers who have refused to have abortions,
For the fathers of aborted babies,
For the families of aborted babies,
For the families of those tempted to have abortions
For abortionists,
For all who assist and cooperate in abortions,
For doctors and nurses, that they may nurture life,
For government leaders, that they may defend life,
For the clergy, that they may speak up for life,
For the pro-life movement,
For those who speak, write, and work to end abortion,
For those who help provide alternatives to abortion…
For those who promote adoption,
For national and local pro-life groups,
For unity in the pro-life movement,

For courage and perseverance in pro-life work,
For those who suffer ridicule and rejection for their stand for life,
For those imprisoned for defending life,
For those who have been injured and mistreated for defending life,
For legal professionals,
For courts and judges,
For police officers,
For educators,
For media professionals,

In thanksgiving for the babies saved from abortion,
In thanksgiving for the mothers saved and healed from abortion,
In thanksgiving for the former abortion providers who have become pro-life,
In thanksgiving for all those who take a stand against abortion,
In thanksgiving for the call to be part of the pro-life movement,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us,

O Lord, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Let us pray,

Almighty and ever-living God, You have created all things through Your Son Jesus Christ. He trampled the power of death by His Paschal Mystery. May all who acknowledge You promote the sacredness of life and always serve You faithfully, through the same Christ our Lord.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Patron Saints for 2012

We're only halfway through January, right?  Not too late to get in gear on choosing my annual patron saint!  Right?  Right?  Beuler?

Hmmm...this one is going to be interesting.  But I'm excited!

Using Jen's Saint Name Generator, I drew St. Damien of Molokai.  I had heard the name in the past, but didn't know much about him.  He's the patron of lepers and HIV/AIDS sufferers.

My saint for 2011 made so much sense as soon as she appeared on my computer screen, for many reasons!  This one is a little less clear, but I'm excited to see what St. Damien has in store for me in 2012!

If you're friends with me on facebook, you probably saw that Jack's Halloween costume last year was Indiana Jones, with whom he's just a bit obsessed.  So now whenever someone asks what he wants to be when he grows up, he responds, "An archaeologist!"  Which I think is pretty cool because it's totally different from the universal "doctor" or "teacher" most kids give at this age.

So Jack was sitting with me while I was choosing my saint and he said he wanted to choose one.   Cool idea, I thought.  So we "spin the wheel" and land on...Pope Saint Damasus I.  Patron saint of....archaeologists!!  Ha!  Cool kid!  Talk about making sense!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Christmas Photos

Better late than never!  Here are some photos of Marshall's first Christmas and Jack's first as a big bro...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

No more pagans in this house!

Like I said in my last post, we ended 2011 on a pretty special note!  We welcomed our precious boy into Christ's family on New Year's Eve!

We had lots of family and friends in town to celebrate with us and our priest did a beautiful job with the ceremony.  Marshall only screamed during the Gospel...at least not the baptism!  Our priest said, "He's just screaming out the demons!" Haha!  :)  We are so blessed!

2011, You Will Be Missed

Today is kind of a let-down.

This time last year I had just about hit IF-rock-bottom.  The holidays were over and my past 2 cycles had begun on both Thanksgiving Day AND Christmas Day.  Literally...ON both days!!  I had gone through more than 2 years of Creighton/NaPro with very few results and zero procedures.  Then I found out a close relative was expecting and I lost it.  I thought for sure I was being punished for something.

Then I gave up.  On the vicious cycle, at least.  Not on conceiving, thank God.  I metaphorically threw my NaPro chart out the window and then called my old ob/gyn.  I got an appointment with her on Jan. 4.  I gave her my background on what I'd been doing for the past 2 years, and she immediately scheduled an HSG for 3 weeks later.  During the HSG she found that my tubes were open, but that I had polyp on my uterus, so she scheduled surgery to remove it for 2 weeks later and said she could also "throw in" a laparoscopy.  That happened on Feb. 15.  Two days before I had made a pilgrimmage to St. Gianna.  Coincidence?

In the midst of all this, I was introduced to Leila and thus, this wonderful world of Catholic IF bloggers!  That cannot be overlooked when reflecting on 2011.  You ladies literally saved my sanity.  I don't know what I'd do without you!!  Thank you for welcoming me with open arms and for all of your advice and support!

Moving on.  Polyp successfully removed and no sign of endo, I went back for my post-op follow-up on March 3.  I was given a clean bill of health and told to "see what happens" for the next 3-6 months.  I hate the "wait and see" phases, but I was finally full of hope.

Well, turns out I didn't have to wait 3-6 months because before I even had a cycle, I got the BFP.  In the meantime, you all remember the dramatic potential adoption situation that was going on at the same time.

Then began the roller coaster.  I was praying feverishly to save the live of a baby I would either adopt or whose life would end in abortion, while reeling in the news that I was going to have one of my own!  Then the adoption situation ended tragically and a few weeks later we found out we were having twins!  Then of course the emotions of losing a twin, the stress of making sure the surviving baby kept surviving, and it's all history.

So it's been a year of ups and downs, but I can certainly conclude that overall it was a HUGE "up" because it all culminated in this:

Of course this precious bundle came into our lives just before Thanksgiving, making the holiday season exciting and special.  Mike was on paternity leave for the last 6 weeks (I know...be jealous), then I just recently had a house full of family over Christmas.  We ended 2011 on the best note possible - welcoming our new baby into Christ's family on New Year's Eve (baptism pics to come soon!).  But family all left today and Mike goes back to work and Jack back to school on Tuesday.  Reality will finally begin again and I'll be forced to go it alone.  The exciting and special holiday season is just over, and 2011 has come to a close.  So yeah...today was kind of a let-down.

The fact that all of these ups and downs happened to occur within one calendar year makes 2011 pretty special.  I went from rock bottom on Jan. 1 of last year, to the best day of my life on Nov. 19 of last year.  I experienced the worst and the best of my IF journey in a single year.

2011 came full circle.  It'll be tough to top.