Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Surviving on Prayer Alone

I had an appointment with my NaPro Dr last week. Very possibly my last NaPro appointment ever. I knew it going in.

I'm not usually an emotional person in front of other people, unless they are very close friends and I feel really comfortable with them. Even then, it's rare for me to cry in front of them. I usually don't even cry in front of my mother. I reserve it all for my poor husband ;)

But last week was an exception. Without warning, I burst into tears at least three times while discussing plans for stopping all supplementation and meds and everything connected to trying to conceive. I started out by saying, "Well, DH and I have discussed that since I am now over 18 months since my last surgery, there is little to no chance of my conceiving, so..." and it was while admitting that fact aloud that I first broke down. Those words have echoed in my head over and over again "little to no chance..." but actually saying them out loud gave them a new meaning that I couldn't ignore.

As my Dr and husband discussed that "giving up" for now does not and need not mean "giving up" forever, I interrupted to say that no, on the contrary, I am an All or Nothing person, who needs to at least assume for now that my trying to conceive days are over. For good. I cannot function knowing that the "clock is ticking down" on the 6 months, or the year, or the 2 years until we try again. The pain of these past 5 1/2 years has been absolutely immense. My Dr nodded, and told us, "OK. Let's look at it this way. Some people need to have a deadline in mind. But others need to just live and operate in the present moment. Just remember that God has something planned for you, and be open to whatever His plan may be over the next several years." That I can live with.

But I also mentioned that my putting TTC on the shelf and burying it way in the back behind everything visible does not mean I will also be (nor that I could if I wanted to) likewise burying my desire for a life that is not my own. I just cannot ignore this intense desire for motherhood. I cannot push it into the background. I cannot bury it deep under the surface. And I will not pray for it to be taken from me. This is the cross God chose for me. I once believed myself to be carrying this cross of childlessness to my destination of motherhood. Now I know I am carrying it in whatever direction God intends, and ultimately, towards my salvation.

I won't lie. This is one of the scariest moments of my life. To know that, with ALL that I have done to improve my fertility over the past 5 years of NaPro Technology, Reproductive Endocrinology, Reproductive Immunology, and alternative therapies... nothing has worked. And now? Now I venture into a world of doing absolutely nothing, but praying. Praying that God make His will known to me, that one day He may fulfill my desire for motherhood, and that above all, He grant me an everlasting peace I so long for. Because I know... I know I cannot survive in this pain much longer.

After my P+8 labs showed a progesterone level of 10.4, on P+14 when my period had still not arrived, I became worried. Shouldn't my progesterone have decreased to about 3 or less 5 days later?? My Dr recommended a blood test when a urine test that evening in the office showed a BFN. The next day, still no period on P+15, and my blood hCG was negative... my progesterone was 8.8. WHAT? From 10.4 to 8.8 in FIVE DAYS???
I waited. And waited. I began spotting brown that evening. It continued, but got lighter, for the next two days. Christmas Eve, it was barely there. I had already made my peace with not being pregnant in my last "trying to conceive" cycle, but now I was worried that maybe, just maybe, I had a late implantation??? Christmas morning I woke up to complete dryness. No spotting, not staining, nothing. We went to Mass, I prayed feverishly in front of the Saints that flanked us when we got married 5 1/2 years ago in the same church: Saint Rita and Saint Anthony. I prayed that our miracle of life was inside my womb at that moment. We arrived back at my parents' house after Mass, I visited the restroom, and was still dry. I began to realize, here I was on P+18, having taken no progesterone or hCG... should I test today, or wait until tomorrow?? Was this really it??!!

For good measure, I wiped one more time before getting up. Red. Period. Death of the dream. Death of my hope. Death of my peace.

Christmas afternoon.

The following day, I suffered a migraine. Luckily, I caught it early enough that I didn't vomit or pass out. These are the things that I consider myself "lucky" about these days. Praise God! I didn't puke or faint!

And here I sit. Cycle day 3. Or is it 4? It doesn't matter anymore, since I'm not charting. Or caring. I only want to find peace in where God leads me next.

My anger with Him is subsiding. I know He is not punishing me. (Though, it was hard to convince myself that after the whole Christmas P+18 episode.) I know He has wonderful things in store for me. I know there is a reason and a purpose for my suffering. But lately, it seems that the suffering is getting greater and greater, and there is less and less understanding within it. My trust in His plan is wavering. I am scared to death.

A childless life. Something I never, ever planned for. And because I was planning for children, perhaps I missed so many lessons and blessings these past 5 1/2 years. My life HAS BEEN childless this entire time. And it very well may be, forever. I need to begin planning for THAT life. Scratch that. I need to begin... LIVING that life.

Surviving on prayer and prayer alone.

As my husband put it in the Dr's appointment, we could stop trying to have children while knowing that we literally did EVERYTHING possible within our moral and ethical ground. My Dr agreed that of everyone she has ever encountered, we had done the most. This brought comfort to my husband. It brought me fear and distrust. If we would ever be blessed with a miracle child, it would have been with treatment. "Maintenance" meds that help treat all of my plethora of health issues, while simultaneously improving my fertility... this has helped others to conceive when they thought there was "no hope." I'm not on ANY of my prescribed maintenance meds. Zero. Nada. Just me and my broken body. Hoping against logic and against science that God's will can move mountains.

Surviving on prayer alone.

I will always hope and pray that children may be a part of His will for my life. But I'm done fighting tooth to nail to get it. Obviously, it has not been a part of His will up until now, and it may not ever be. There is a great peace about stopping all intervention and maintenance meds... and with prayer, that peace may wash over the fear that comes with the unknown.

I wish you all a very blessed Christmas Season, and hope that you find love and peace in 2012 and beyond.

PS, my Prayer Buddy was Monica from His Essence is Love. Monica, I prayed for you in the chapel at my work, I offered my daily rosary for your intentions, and entered your name in the book of intentions. I prayed for your specific intentions, but I also added my own - I asked that you would have a quick and easy load to carry to your baby... but that if His will was for a longer, harder road, that He give you ALL of the strength and perseverance needed to carry that cross. May God grant you all the hopes and desires of your heart, Monica!

23 comments:

Carla Dobs said...

I am honored to be the first to comment...

I will keep you in my prayers....it is amazing to me that you are able to cling to prayer in all your pain...

God Bless you and your husband.

Carla
www.bringinghenryhome.blogspot.com

Sew said...

Love you

the misfit said...

That is a scary new adventure. But you're the toughest lady I know (and yes, definitely have done more treatment-wise than anyone I know). I will be starting down this part of the journey in just a few months (probably 3) myself, and I can't think of anyone I'd look to more confidently to pave the way. If only you didn't have to suffer so, to do it.

Amazing Life said...

Honey, you amaze me!! I can only see faithfulness in your words!!! Sending huge hugs to you!!

Lucky as Sunshine said...

My heart is with you, praying for your miracle child.

hisessenceislove said...

Hi TCIE, I was so honored to read that you were the one praying for me. I have been following your blog, along with many others for a while now and was just checking yours again today. I was so surprised you were praying for ME! I want you to know that you have always been in my heart because I've been following how deeply you are suffering. I want you to know that I think your surrender to God's will is very inspirational and I am confident God will bless you the more you put your trust in Him! St. Faustina's Diary taught me that the more we trust Jesus the more He will bless us, and by discontinuing all treatment and placing your complete trust in God you are doing just that, in my opinion. Please know I am so grateful for your prayers for me. I feel a special connection to you now and will pray for God's abundant blessing on you and your husband! May His peace and joy be yours. God bless you and thank you again. Your sister in Christ, Monica.

JellyBelly said...

My beloved TCIE,

I feel that this is the start of a beautiful new chapter in your life. Although it seems so bleak right now I am so filled with hope for you.

I love you so much and I pray for you and your dh by name every night.

God is leading you to something wonderful. I know it.

WheelbarrowRider said...

Only good can come from complete and total reliance on God and nothing else. That is clearly where you are. It is a painful spot, but pain leads to resurrectioin. Joining my prayers with yours, friend. Hang in there and cling to your husband and God through this difficult time. In 2012 may you find peace, joy, and happiness! And a few distractions wouldn't hurt.

"All in His Perfect Timing" said...

I am praying for you ... for God's will to be done for you and through you. You have no idea how many people are so inspired by you and will pray for you. I hope that God blows us all out of the water with what he does with your life.
You are never far from my thoughts. (((HUGS))) and prayers

St. Rita's Roses said...

Praying for you and I hope you know that I admire you so much. God Bless you and R.

CS said...

Oh, TCIE! P + 18! That's so... rough. Very rough. My heart goes out to you.

some how, some way, some day said...

Your pain is oh so real to me. I will be praying for you.

Chasing said...

Praying for you.

doctorgianna said...

Oh TCIE! You are the blogger that is most often on my mind. God is leading you through a spiritual journey. I envy you in your opportunities to go through the purification. You will leave me in the dust on that journey home to Jesus in heaven. Suffering is such a huge weight! And suffering that you suspect will go on for the extent of your earthly life is even more crushing. Like I said, I think of you often and really pray for you on the spiritual journey. And I pray that I can use you as an example to embrace suffering in a similar way.

Tridentine Wife said...

My heart is breaking for you. I am so sorry it is coming to this for you.

Mrs. Mike said...

I agree with Dr. Gianna--more than any other blogger or IRL IF gal, you come to my mind in thought and prayer most often. You were on my heart in particular this last week and for some reason, I had a hunch that you had reason to hope on Christmas day. I'm sorry. And I'm sorry that there appears to be no respite on the horizon...at least that you can see. But I have great hope--great faith--that God is not done with you yet. Stories like yours just don't end there. He is using you for a greater purpose that is hidden, but has a very real end goal.

Bear with me here, but you remind me of that soldier on the front line that leads and inspires all his comrades by example. You draw the fire to yourself so your friends can move ahead and yet struggle up and keeping moving forward, helping others along the way despite your own bleeding, gaping wounds. My point is that there are others who would not be where we are today, spiritually or otherwise, were it not for you.

And BTW...I had a similar Christmas Eve experience. I made it to CD 30 (I don't chart anymore, so I don't know what day PP I was) and actually bought a fracking test so I could test Christmas morning and wrap it up for my husband to put under the tree. Silly girl...when will I learn that I don't need pee sticks to tell me that I'm not pregnant?

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Hugs and love. You are one of my (few) heroes in life.

Rebecca said...

Your words, strength, and faith never fail to inspire or encourage me. My prayers are joined with yours as you continue to seek out and follow His will.

Dear Lord, be clear, be swift, and be kind. Amen.

E said...

Oh TCIE, I'm so so so sorry. I really beleive that God has lead you to this darkness so you can seek the Light of Christ. That's all there is, especially when you are asked to suffer so much. Prayers for you as always, and please call me anytime!

PS, I also think that God allowed you to hope on Christmas day to show you that He is in control and the reason to hope. IMHO. Hugs.

Sissy said...

I'm not sure if you read my post several months ago about the adoption of twin girls that fell through. I am still recovering from that failed adoption and healing slowly. There are times when I'm completely fine and I think living childless would be easy. We had some friends over with small children and our house ended up such a mess and I thought about all the chaos children will bring to our lives and did I want that? Then I answered myself. Of course I still want children. I'm just broken right now. It seems easier to give up the whole thing then keep trying. I don't know how to tell you to navigate out of the place you find yourself in, where you've tried everything and nothing has brought you a baby. I just wanted to tell you that I can relate in a small way. When the agency had the birthmother call us to let us know she was going to parent the twins, my knees buckled and I clutched Charlie. Why did this happen to us again? I don't know the answer, but I know I'm still here. Waiting.

Silvana said...

"Praying that God make His will known to me, that one day He may fulfill my desire for motherhood, and that above all, He grant me an everlasting peace I so long for."

Praying with you. :)

Hugs

Rachel said...

Do you have an email address? I couldn't find one anywhere on the blog.

This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

thiscrossiembrace at gmail dot com