Tag Archives: infertility

Welcome to the World!

I am so happy to share with you all that our little miracle has arrived!


Our bundle of joy arrived on October 10, 2016 at 7:58p.m.  Despite being born 3.5 weeks early, he weighed in at 6 pounds. 13 ounces and 21 inches long and is perfectly healthy and amazing. Everything went well and we have been enjoying our time with our little one at home these last two weeks. I am overjoyed and amazed by this blessing and so thankful for all the prayers. Most of all, I am so thankful to our awesome God who has blessed us so richly with my amazing son who I already love so very much. Miracles still do happen all around us and I will never stop being thankful for this most wonderful miracle we have been blessed with.

Seeking to Console

14492355_10104705101121664_5578315947801954111_n“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
 Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
 Where there is injury, pardon;
 Where there is error, the truth;
 Where there is doubt, the faith;
 Where there is despair, hope;
 Where there is darkness, light;
 And where there is sadness, joy.

 O Divine Master,
 Grant that I may not so much seek
 To be consoled, as to console;
 To be understood, as to understand;
 To be loved as to love.

 For it is in giving that we receive;
 It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
 And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”

Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assissi. This prayer, attributed to him, is very well known. It is recited often, printed on cards, and is the basis for hymns. In fact, we recently sung this beautiful prayer during Mass.  While I’ve been familiar with the prayer for a long time, the part that has stuck out to me most recently is that second paragraph:

 O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

We all face difficulties in life. Whether in our marriages, our careers, struggling with illness, financial troubles, infertility, death of a loved one, you name it.  Not one of us walks through life without being touched by some sort of trial, big or small.  And sometimes these troubles seem to take control of our lives.  In those times when all our focus is on the troubles we face, we tend to expect a certain reaction from those around us.

We want the people around us to be better at consoling us, to understand us more, to show us love in a different way. We get frustrated when they don’t have the right words to say. Or when no matter how hard they try, they just can’t understand what we are dealing with.  And when we don’t find ourselves consoled “properly” by those around us, it can lead us to feel more upset.

The second paragraph in the St. Francis prayer seems to me to be a cry for help in just these moments. In the times when we think to ourselves “no one understand what I am dealing with,” this prayer asks God to help us realize that, even if we ourselves don’t feel understood, we can still seek to understand the pain of those around us.  If we do not feel consoled by the words of others, rather than letting it upset us more, we can pray for the grace to see others in pain and find the words to console them.   It is a prayer that takes our attention away from our own struggles and instead redirects the focus to those around us who are in need.

On the feast day of St. Francis today, I pray that we might all strive to be a brighter light in the lives around us. To bring peace, love, joy, and hope to those who need it most.  And that when we find ourselves struggling, we may have the strength to turn our focus to others who are also in need and to find a way to help console them, understand them, and love them, even in the midst of our own struggles.

~~~~Baby Update~~~~

Just to update all of you who have so kindly kept us in prayer throughout our journey of infertility and our miraculous pregnancy, everything is going very well!  I am 36 weeks in my pregnancy this week and while I have loved being pregnant and feeling his little kicks and flips, we are so excited to meet him and hold him in our arms in a few weeks.  Thank you again for all your prayers!

With God All Things Are Possible: My Miracle Story

13076967_10104245281224424_1389941517515175780_nThis week is National Infertility Awareness week.  Did you know that 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility?  I’ve posted about my own struggle here before.  Infertility is a very real cross.  The grief of letting go of that hope you have in your heart month after month after month is excruciating.

Last spring, after almost three years of trying and praying for a baby, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).  It was the PCOS that seemed to be responsible for the lack of regularity in my cycles as well as hormonal imbalances and cysts on my ovaries.  There are ways to work around PCOS.  Medications to try, nutrition changes to make, etc.  But before we could try any of those things, my body had to get rid of a large complex cyst.  After months of monitoring and medication to attempt to shrink it, the cyst had only grown larger and another one had joined it.  The next step was to have laparoscopic surgery to remove the cysts.  My doctor suspected I may have endometriosis as well.  The only way to officially diagnose endo is through surgery.

During the surgery, she removed the cysts and discovered that I had stage 4 endometriosis.  It had stuck my insides together making it impossible for anything to function properly.  She was able to clear it out but the things about endometriosis, there is no cure.  You can remove it via surgery, but it will likely return.  And the further along you are stage-wise…the quicker it typically comes back.  She advised our best chance at pregnancy would be within 6 months of surgery.

So we hoped and we prayed.  We tried medications to help my hormones and had ultrasounds to monitor my ovaries.  After 5 months we decided enough was enough.  The medications and ultrasounds were expensive and didn’t seem to be helping.  So we decided to stop treatment and see how things progressed on their own.

My first cycle after the 6 month mark was incredibly difficult.  Not only did I feel like hope was lost since our “window of opportunity” had passed, but I was in a lot of physical pain too.  I suspected that the endometriosis was returning or that another large cyst had formed.  And so I went back to see my doctor.  An ultrasound showed no cysts and so my doctor and I both figured it was the endo returning.  My doctor sat down at this point to tell me that despite being 7 months ago, she vividly remembered my surgery because of the severity of the endo.  She explained that the surgery was very difficult and that my whole pelvic region was a mess.  She said we could of course keep trying, but that we had little to no chance of ever conceiving, either on our own or with treatment.

I was completely devastated.  I cried in her office.  I cried in the car on my way back to work.  I cried in the bathroom at work.  I cried when I got home.  I didn’t know what to do or where to go.  I set up a meeting with our pastoral minister Sr. Rose Anne and spoke with her about it all. She was incredibly helpful and encouraged me to keep praying for God’s will and try to switch my focus for a while.

So we did.  We turned our full attention to our search for our first house and found one we loved.  They accepted our offer and things began moving quickly with packing up the apartment and figuring out all the logistics of buying a home and moving.   We decided to focus on the house.  Neither of us felt called to adoption so we agreed to let it be for now and revisit the issue in a year once things got settled.

Later that same month of my disappointing doctor’s visit, at the urging of my husband, I took a pregnancy test.  I was convinced it would be negative.  Despite trying to remain hopeful, my doctor’s words were embedded deep in my brain and in my heart and I fully expected to take the test, have a good cry over it, and move on with the day.

But to the amazement of myself and my husband, it was positive!  I almost didn’t believe it!  I cried but for a very different reason than all the other tests!  I cried with joy at the miracle that God had given to us.

I am blessed beyond belief to say that today I am just passed the 3 month mark in my pregnancy!  I have had several ultrasounds to monitor my progress during early pregnancy and have been able to see little baby’s hands, see him/her moving around, and to hear the precious heartbeat of our little one.  I no longer need to see my specialist and will continue with a normal pregnancy with my regular doctor!

Some people hear this and say “see you just needed to relax and think about something else.”  Or  “see it always happens as soon as you stop trying.”  But I don’t believe that.  I believe the same thing I have believed in my heart all along but that my head sometimes forgot.  That God has a plan.  That everything happens in His time, not ours.  That life is a miraculous gift and a wondrous blessing given by God, not man.

I thank all of you who have prayed for us over the years and I ask that you continue to pray for all those who are still struggling with infertility as well as for our little baby.  And please join me in rejoicing at the goodness of our Lord who has blessed us with this tiny miracle!

Enough

After a few years of dealing with infertility, it can seem like there are two options available: continue to pursue medical treatment or begin the process to adopt. In reality there is also a third option and it is the option my husband and I have decided to take at this point.   And that is, basically, to do nothing.

Some might say that given what the doctors have said this doesn’t make any sense. Some might say that if we really wanted a baby we would do something more proactive at this point. Some might just shake their head in a sad fashion with a look that seems to say “so you’ve given up?”

And that could not be further from the truth. I still long desperately to be a mother. I still pray daily that it will happen. But after years of trying this treatment or that, we simply said “enough.” Enough tests, enough medication, enough stress, enough of the medical appointments (and bills that go along with them).

While adoption is a wonderful calling, it is just that: a calling. Not something that is a “last resort” option to have children. Despite how much we want a child, we simply do not feel the call to adopt. Deep in our hearts, we both still strongly feel that we will conceive and we will have our baby. And so we will continue to pray, continue to trust, continue to hope, and continue to wait.

I used to worry about what we would do when we reached this point. I would grow panicked at the thought of being able to do absolutely nothing else. But now that we are here? Now that we have made this decision? I feel immense peace about it. I know in my heart we will be parents. And I truly believe that we will become parents through conception. Even still, as we sit back and wait, we will continue to pray for God’s will to be made clear and to trust that if His will is something different, He will make it known to us.

We are not giving up hope, but we are giving up control. At the end of the day, it is God who creates life. Our decision to do nothing is a decision to fully give it to God. While I have said to myself before that we give this up to the Lord, a part of me still held onto control. A part of me felt that I had to try all my options. And I am glad that I did. I learned things about my overall health and got my body back on track. But now, I feel very comfortable with the decision to let go of it all and leave it fully in His hands.

A year ago today, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I made my first Marian consecration following the 33 Days to Morning Glory retreat. It was an important step in my faith and one that has led me closer and closer to Christ. The consecration calls me to give everything I have and everything that I am to Jesus through Mary. It calls me to relinquish all control and to trust in the everlasting goodness and mercy of our Lord. It may have taken me a year, and I certainly still have a ways to go, but I feel that on this anniversary of my consecration, I am truly ready in my heart to let go and give it all up to Him.

Today also marks the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. To celebrate this, my church is holding a Bible study on Divine Mercy throughout the Old and New Testaments. Our first session was last night. To open the session, we listened to Matt Maher’s song “Your Grace Is Enough” and discussed how God’s grace, God’s mercy, is truly the heart of our faith. Pope Francis said in his Angelus address today, “Mercy is the key-word of the Gospel” and that “we should not be afraid: we should allow ourselves to be embraced by the mercy of God, who waits for us and forgives everything.”

Today, at the start of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, while celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the anniversary of my first Marian consecration, I am ready to stop being afraid, to give it all up to God, and to allow His rich mercy to surround me and fill my soul. In deciding to do nothing, I feel that we are leaving ourselves open to everything. He has a plan for us, one that while I may not yet understand it, I know in my heart will be far greater than what I could come up with on my own. I am ready to really immerse myself in His mercy and let my heart be open to His will in my life. Because His mercy, His love, His grace is enough.

Answers to Prayers

Whenever discussing our struggle with infertility, I always remind myself that I know God has a plan and we will have a baby.  Recently I was asked how I can be so sure of that despite all the obstacles we have faced and are still facing.  I have faced the same questions myself on more than one occasion.  Every time I begin to look down another path and give up on becoming a mother, something happens that  calls me to be patient and continue on my journey.  It may be some good medical news, a particular verse in the Bible that seems to jump out at me, or someone sharing a story of their own struggles.  But each time, I am reassured that being a mother is in fact my call.  Even so, it is certainly difficult to remember at times.

Almost a year ago I was having a very hard time with it all.  I decided to delve deeper into my faith and make an honest effort to keep myself truly open to whatever God’s will may be.  Around that time my parish women’s group was beginning the 33 Days to Morning Glory retreat in preparation for Marian Consecration by Father Michael Gaitley.  And I decided to participate.

MaryThe purpose of the retreat is to bring you closer to Mother Mary, and thus grow closer to Christ.  My mother participated in the retreat long distance.  She and I would discuss the daily readings and I would call her after each weekly meeting with my women’s group to tell her what we talked about.  In late November, while in the midst of our retreat, my mother called me early one morning to tell me something wonderful.

She told me that the previous night, she had a visit from Our Lady.  She was unable to see her face but could see her robes, could hear her voice, and knew without a doubt that it was Mary.  This was not a dream.  It was more than that. In her visit, she told my mother to let me know that she sees my pain, she knows how deeply I long for a child and that I will have a baby!  She did not say how.  She did not say when.  But she did say how important it was to remember my blessings and to keep praying because our prayers are so very powerful.  She said that there is something else that must be finished first, but that I should not be sad because God hears my prayers and I will have a child.

Now some might say that is just a dream but I know it was more than that.  The peace that my mother felt and that I had upon her telling me this was surely from God.  I truly believe that the Mother of Our Lord came to my own mother here on earth to deliver a message for me, in a way that perhaps only a mother can.

The message from Mother Mary was an answer to my prayers.  I didn’t find out when or how I would become a mother. And almost a year later, I still am not pregnant.  It can be tempting sometimes to say that my prayers have not yet been answered but I know that is not the case.

I was at a crossroads praying for direction.  My heart and soul longed to be a mother and I felt such pain in the thought of letting go of that dream.  I believe I was led by the Holy Spirit to participate in this retreat because through the 33 Days, I found myself letting go of more and more of my own desires.  I was giving more of myself up in preparation to fully give myself to Jesus through Mary at our consecration.  And by opening my heart up in this way, I received the answer to my prayers.

I received confirmation that motherhood was indeed my calling.  And just as important, perhaps even more so, was the message to remember my blessings and to continue on in prayer.  There have been many struggles since then and many times when I do not know how in the world I will become a mother.  There are times when it seems like I should give up.  But I remember the message from Our Lady and hold tight to my hope and faith in Jesus Christ who I know hears and answers my prayers.

Answers to prayers come in many forms.  It might be the answer you were looking for.  It might be a gentle nudge to move in another direction. It might be the pull to a particular Bible verse that speaks to your heart.  For me, I am incredibly thankful for the blessing of Our Lady in her visit to my mother which uplifted my spirit, renewed my hope, and led me to a greater faith in her Son, Jesus Christ who gives me the strength I need to continue on my journey.

Praying through Infertility – Adopt-a-Blogger

Adopt-a-Blogger-CircleMany times when we face struggles in our lives, especially personal struggles, we are tempted to keep it all to ourselves.  To deal with the feelings, the emotions, the hurt, completely on our own.  We think that because it is a private struggle, we should hide it from others.  But the truth is that when we share our trials with others, when we bring our struggles out of the darkness and into the light, we open ourselves up to the powerful prayers of many others and may even inspire someone else along the way.  Throughout our journey of infertility, I have gradually begun to share more of our story.  This month, I am humbly blessed to to be chosen as the September Blogger of the Month for the Adopt-a-Blogger Prayer Campaign run by Conceiving Hope.  The Adopt-a-Blogger campaign chooses one blogger each month who is struggling in their journey to have children and asks for the readers to pray for that person throughout the month.  I am so blessed and thankful for all your prayers and wanted to share a little more about my journey:

I have always wanted to a mom.  I imagined meeting a wonderful man, getting married and having a great big family.  I was blessed to meet the man of my dreams my senior year of college and we were married a year after graduation,  He was everything I could have hoped for, and then some.  I couldn’t wait to start our family together.

Fast forward through four years of marriage, three years of actively trying for a family, numerous negative pregnancy tests, temperature charting, ultrasounds, medication, missed cycles, blood work, two HSGs, ovarian cysts, and a laparoscopy.  I have discovered that I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and stage IV endometriosis.  The combination of the two has resulted in a frequent lack of ovulation.  Through all of this, I am still not a mom.  The second bedroom in our apartment is still not a baby’s room.  And I still keep hoping for next month.

Infertility is an exhausting journey.  It drains you physically, mentally, financially, and emotionally.  Because every month I can’t help but hope for a pregnancy, every month there is ample room for disappointment.  There are tears and questions and worries and doubts.  I never expected it would be so hard to do something so natural.

No matter how tough it gets, I strive to remember all that I have been blessed with.  I have been blessed with the most wonderful husband who stands by my side, who makes me laugh, who puts up with my crazy emotions, and who always reminds me that God is in control.  I have been blessed with incredible family and friends who help me along the journey.  And I have been blessed with an adorable little dog who snuggles up with me when I need a good cry.  For these and countless other blessings, I know I have to thank my Lord.

Because in the midst of all the tears and frustrations, God is still there.  I may not understand His timing.  I may not understand His will.  But I know in my heart, beyond a doubt, that my husband and I were meant to be parents.  I know that my God loves us and has a plan for us that is far greater than any I could come up with on my own.  And so month after month, as the hope turns to disappointment, I turn to the Lord.  I cry out to Him, I plead with Him, and I ask Him to give me the strength to go through it another month.  He never disappoints.

There are little victories along the way.  Gentle nudgings from God that seem to tell me not to give up yet!  Things are looking up from a medical standpoint and I have every reason to believe and hope that we will be blessed with a child.  I don’t know when or how, but I know it will happen.  Even though I know these things in my heart, the emotions can take over at times and I humbly ask for your prayers to help me through this struggle.  Prayers for my husband and I to stay strong in our marriage and to grow even closer in our relationship with each other and with God.  Prayers that we will conceive and that God will bless us with a precious baby to add to our little family of two. Prayers that my will might be one with the will of the Lord.  And prayers that through all the struggles, the ups and the downs, we will always remember to look at the numerous blessings we have been given and trust in the Lord.

Thank you so much for your prayers and know that you are in mine as well.

Staying Strong

beach-768587_640There is something about making an extra commitment to spiritual growth, however small it may seem, that magnifies itself over time.  Any extra time spent in prayer, fasting, adoration, scripture always brings forth more fruit in our lives, whether we realize it at first or not.  And when we truly make an effort to grow closer to God, even if we miss a day of a novena or fall asleep part way through a scripture reading before bed  (even Peter, the rock on which the Church was built, wasn’t able to remain awake with the Lord as he prayed!) God know our desire to grow closer to Him and our lives are changed in some way because of it. Particularly when we are joined with others in a group prayer, retreat, etc. to draw all of us closer to Him. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them”  Matthew 18:20

Our entire lives should be based on growing closer and closer to the Lord and helping others to grow closer to Him as well that we might all be with Him in Heaven after this life here on earth.  And even the little things, the “sprouts” as a friend calls them, can come to bear great fruit over time.

However, in the midst of the joys of our spiritual growth, there is one who wants to halt our progress.  One who despises the very idea of us growing closer to the Lord and will tempt us to give up, to fall down, and to turn the other way.  In these moments of spiritual growth, we cannot fall into thinking that we are above the temptation of the devil.  In fact, it is in these moments of becoming closer and closer to Christ that we may find ourselves tempted even more.

I noticed this in my own life yesterday.  I am currently partway through a 54-Day Rosary novena with a wonderful group of people.  Already I have noticed wondrous blessings.  I have seen the seeds of my prayers begin to “sprout”.  And just Tuesday morning I received some wonderful news in answer to a prayer regarding my health and fertility.  While I am not yet pregnant, this little “sprout” of faith filled me with joy and thanksgiving to see God working in my life.

The joy I felt on Tuesday was momentarily taken away on Wednesday.  You see, Wednesday morning I found out that due to circumstances beyond our control, it appeared that we may need to wait another month in our struggle to conceive.  This may seem like a minor thing (after all in the grand scheme of things what is one more month?) but I assure you it hit me hard.  I cried.  I was angry.  I was frustrated.  I was confused.  All the blessings I had experienced even just one day earlier no longer seemed like blessings.  Instead, they fueled my frustration.  Why would God give me this “blessing” only to show me the next day that it wouldn’t even be worth it?  The past several years of trying, the multitude of tests, the surgery just last month, why did any of it even matter? These were the thoughts that raced through my head throughout most of the day.  It wasn’t until much later that I stopped to actually think about what I was doing and I felt ashamed of my behavior.

How could I doubt in the Lord?  How could I have possibly twisted the wondrous blessings I had been given so far into something to throw back at God?  How could I be angry with the Father who loves me just because His wondrous and Almighty plan didn’t fit in perfectly with what I had decided my own time frame should be?  How in the world did I go from being so joyous and thankful to this?

I went to bed trying to focus on the blessings and trust in His plan rather than my own.  I woke up feeling rested and rejuvenated.  When I said my prayers this morning, including my Rosary novena, it hit me.  Just like that I had allowed the temptation of the devil to sneak into my time of spiritual growth.  Surely I could have resisted better.  But such is the nature of humanity.  We fall prey to such temptations  at times.  Instead of remaining strong, I fell into the temptation to doubt my Lord.  To refuse to look at the blessings He has given me and to instead focus on what I thought I wanted instead.

I gave into the temptation and allowed myself to momentarily slide backwards.  But oh how I am blessed!  Through the support and strong faith of my loving husband, through my prayers and sincere desire to grow closer to Him, and surely through the prayers of my brother and sisters in Christ who are praying alongside me, I realized what I was doing.  And I chose to stop.  I could have continue to fall backwards.  To give further and further into temptation.  To stop the novena, to give up on my prayers, and to let anger, jealousy, and fear control me.  But Mother Mary heard my prayers and gently pulled me from my brief fall backwards and directed me once again toward her Son.

The devil is real.  He despises when we grow closer to our loving God.  And the closer and closer we get, we might find ourselves facing temptation more and more.  We must not give in!  And if we find that we have failed, we need not despair!  No matter what setbacks we may face, we can always turn our steps back towards the Lord!

Prayer is oh so very powerful.  But we need to be mindful that God is not a magic genie.  We do not say the “magic words” of a prayer to have our wishes instantly granted.  No.  Prayer is a loving conversation with Christ wherein we open our hearts to Him, thank Him for all He has given us, and ask for His guidance in our journey to be more like Him.

So if in your own spiritual journey you find yourself tempted to give up when your prayers seem to be “unanswered”, whether it is during a novena or retreat or simply in your own prayer life, stay strong! Pray for the strength to remain focused on Christ and pray for each other as we continue on this journey toward Heaven.  If you feel yourself beginning to slip, ask the Lord to create a clean heart within you that you might resist temptation and remain close to Him.  Stay strong in faith and trust in the Lord and He will never leave you.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight.” Proverbs 3:5