Friday, October 9, 2009

OK, Seriously, Enough is Enough

Some of you have been wondering why I've been so absent lately.
Mostly, it's because of how busy I've been, particularly with all the long-distance Intros and follow-ups (what was I thinking???) but also because I'm in a spiritual slump.

For a while now, I've been having a really tough time, and what's new for me is that it is spiritual in origin. Usually the infertility gets to me physically, emotionally, or psychologically (or all 3 on a really good day), but what has remained pretty stable has been the spiritual side. While I may not always understand God's will for me, I have trusted that He has my best interests in mind at all times.

But not lately.

Lately, I have been really struggling. I mean it. Really.

The place I desperately want to get to is a place of peace and joy with this cross that God has entrusted to me. And right now, all I can focus on is the end result of a pregnancy or an adoption. Both of which seem incredibly dismal at this point.

But I do NOT want to finally be delivered of this suffering by achieving WHAT I WANT. (I have a hard time articulating this, so just bear with me for a second.) I don't want a pregnancy or an adoption to be what makes me finally say, "God is so good!" or "Praise God, because NOW I am complete and so happy!" Does this make any sense? I want to reach a place of peacefulness and resolve without necessarily getting the fruit of MY desires. And I have no idea how to do that. Because my desires are so strong right now, and the devil keeps getting into my head.

I have been experiencing some incredibly ugly feelings. Not just jealousy of fertile-myrtles and women I don't know who use ART and are able to achieve pregnancy... but jealousy of my own friends!! Friends who are dealing with the exact same infertility journey with a "Catholic twist." Feel free to delete me from your cell phones, because yes, LifeHopes and Sew, I had bouts of jealousy over both of you and I am ashamed to admit it and I'm going straight to hell in a handbasket. I'm so Satan-like, I even have feelings of jealousy over those who have miscarried, for crying out loud!! My thoughts go something like this: "Well, at least they get to spend eternity with their children! I'll be sitting around playing Scrabble with my husband, watching all the babies and mommies and daddies." But who am I kidding, with thoughts like those I won't be in heaven at all.

I need to find that peace I was talking about. I need it because a) if I am never able to adopt or get pregnant in this world, I do not want to be unfruitful in every other way, and waste years of the precious life I'VE been given; b) while I lead the infertility support group in the Diocese, and look into the tear-stained eyes of 43-46 yr old women who have even more reason to fear they will never be mothers, I truly want to know WHAT to say to them and HOW to best help them carry that cross (and if I can't do it myself, I can't help others); and c) if by the grace of God I ever DO achieve a pregnancy or become approved/matched/placed for an adoption, I want to be able to FULLY rejoice in the gift of life of my child - - and NOT rejoice in the fact that it is the "end of my childlessness." Again, I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone but me, I'm just not sure how best to express these thoughts.

The way I described it when trying to talk with my mother was comparing it to (and please don't think I'm being overdramatic here) to my grandmother's cancer. When she was in her final days, and was suffering so much, she asked my mother why she had to suffer, and my mom told her that maybe her suffering was not in reparation for anything SHE did, but rather so it could be offered for someone she loves. Her suffering then became a beautiful thing. My grandmother was NOT constantly focused on a miraculous healing. She was not thinking, "I can't wait for the end of this suffering, when I will finally have my health and be healed." She knew she was dying. And she found peace in the struggle before she went to heaven.

That's what I want. That's what I need. I don't want a child to be the "miraculous healing" of my suffering with infertility. If I am blessed with a child, I want to be prepared spiritually, and in a place where I am best able to receive that glorious gift. And if I am not blessed in that way, I want to be prepared spiritually, and in a place where I am best able to receive THAT.

I did want to tell you all, too, that I got my rose from St. Therese :) It's always a real obvious one, so I knew if I was questioning the flowers from my husband at the beginning of the Novena, that couldn't have been it.

I went to my mom's house from Sunday to Monday, and on Sunday night (which was Life Chain Sunday), my Mom asked if I needed a "rose for life" for my purse, and handed me the little red rose sticker. She had picked up a bunch of them from her parish that morning. Immediately the tears welled up, and I told her about my Novena. St. Therese ALWAYS shows me that she is listening, and praying for me... my prayers aren't always immediately answered, but her sign reminds me that I am not alone.

Sew also asked me what was going on cycle-wise with me. I'm on CD 8, and started the Lovenox 40 mgs 2 x day this cycle. Had giNORmous clots yesterday, so if there was any doubt that the clotting factor was affecting my lining, that theory was flushed down the toilet (literally). Flow has been red, and still going today, but it usually keeps going for a few days when I start the blood thinner. I'm hoping no brown this time. I'm going to give myself a transvaginal ultrasound next week during my clinical hours at the imaging center (no I'm not kidding). I did a real quick baseline scan transabdominally yesterday and saw 2 mid-sized follicles on the left ovary. I'm not a fan of my left ovary. It's the one that ovulates 85% of the time, so I think there must be something wrong with that ovary or tube based on the fact that it has never produced a pregnancy.

Sorry this post is so long. Lots going on. Please help.


Sew said...

You need a spiritual director! :)

I don't think you are going straight to hell in a handbasket for having bouts of jealousy. You hid it very well. ;) But believe me I go through bouts too when someone gets pregnant or even for women who stay pregnant. :) But they are just bouts and go along with the territory. Even if those bouts are every day! hahahahaha

One thing is that we all understand the journey each of us is faced with so we know it comes with the territory!

You might want to address the "white elephant" in the room with God. I think it takes time to work up to that point but when it happens it's so cleansing. I mean all out drag out, feelings lay bare at the foot of the cross...

I'm so sorry you are going through all of this!!! I would totally come over and bust open a bottle of wine or two. I think I could use an intoxicated clomid cycle!

Sew said...

I meant to write the first sentence as you need a spiritual director to work these things out with you!

You will rise above this slump you are in. The weight of your cross is heavey right now, because Jesus is resting His head on your shoulder.

Keep your head up! Have a glass of wine, after all it is Friday, who cares about your medication and the side effects for one stinking night!

Sew said...

Will you be in a room alone when you do that transvaginal ultra sound? hahahahahaha

Sorry I can't seem to get all of my thoughts out in one post! :)

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

No, I was thinking of inviting the receptionist and all the patients in to get a nice view of my hoo-ha.

Faithful Infertile said...

You are not going straight to hell. You are human. You are hurting. There was only one that was perfect. I truly admire you & your faith. You are an inspiration to so many! You are someone that has truly suffered & kept your faith. No one has ever said you can't have moments of weakness or doubt, but at the end of the day, your faith is constant. I know God will grant you peace, just turn your struggles over to Him.

If anyone is going to hell, it is probably me. After we lost Natalie, I found myself saying, "those parents don't care, why couldn't it have been their baby that died, not ours?" Now that is pretty awful. I feel terrible for every thinking that, but I also know that God understands that I was hurting. He forgives me for thinking those horrible thoughts.

Okay, now that this is a book, just know I love you & am hear if you need someone just to listen.

Life In Mazes said...

Oh dear! I do know about jealousy and feeling terribly guilty about it, but your courage to identify those feelings shows me that God is leading you in grace right now!
I completely get the reason you want to love the life of your child more than that the child will mean an end to your childlessness. All of these layers are helping you get to the heart of the matter! Inside of you is God. God suffers with you, God loves through you, God heals trhough you! You are not alone, ever, on this journey. I think it might be great if you can find a spiritual director if you are interested in that, it has been so life-giving for me!
Please don't be so hard on yourself, God is dwelling in you! I have great hope for you and your husband. A dear friend told me that it always, always feels darkest before the rising of the sun! I will be praying for you!

... said...

I'm very much in the same place you are. I even EM with Sew a tiny bit about how angry I've been and I'm not usually like that. And I understand not wanting to have a baby be the thing that makes you see the good in God, again. That isn't fair to Him, or me, our relationship, or this journey. It would feel like, "OK, now I really believe you love b/c you finally gave me a baby" instead of knowing (really knowing) that love all along. Anyway, obviously no answers, but I've had the same feelings and have kept them to myself.

On the jealousy. We've all been there. When I started to read these blogs, I told DH I wonder if those girls would be happy for one if they actually got pregnant. I think we all hope & pray that all of us end up with the home filled with children, but we want to be the FIRST one. That way we can stop feeling left behind. I struggle with that, too.

Sorry to leave such a long response, but I'm in the same pity boat right now.

Oh, and I LOVE to see the look on someone's face if they walked in on you giving yourself an exam!

mrsblondies said...

When you posted on the Catholic IF Yahoo board, I was wondering if you were going to blog about this.

Everyone has bouts of jealousy in IF even when you know that the other person's journey has been hard. It doesn't make you a bad person. In fact, since you know that it's a problem you are on the right track and can deal with those feelings.

It's too bad we can't all live on the same street or something. It would be awesome.

It's very spiritually mature of you to realize that God wants you to love Him and feel his peace IN your suffering, not when it ends.

LOL about giving yourself a trans-vag u/s. I would love to be able to do that.

Karey said...

Thank you for your honesty and please know that I am also jealous of ALL the same things you mentioned. I am jealous of every pregnancy, adoption, you name it. Heck, I am even jealous you always get roses! AND of all the girls who have spiritual directors! Haha.. it's bad. I hate those thoughts. I turn into an ugly person after hearing someone else's happy news. I lose it. But then the jealousy eats me up inside. It's terrible. I hate not being happy for others. It's seriously one of the biggest battles of my infertility journey.

But at least I know it's a problem and I am constantly confessing it. Not that confessing it and then leaving the confessional and doing it again is a good thing, but I am trying very hard to push those thoughts out of my mind when they happen. I guess all we can do is try our best and ask God to help.

prayerfuljourney said...

I know where you are too! What I'd like to know is how someone else's pregnancy is good news for those of us who are facing never having children (like me) or those who are struggling with IF? IT's good news for the pregnant doubt...and for friends and family with children..but for me(and those of you who agree)? It's never felt good. It actually feels like a stab. I mean the congrats and I pray all is well with mother and baby...but other than that...I don't want details (sorry). I can't tell you how many times I've brought that up in confession. I know it sounds selfish...but honestly. I don't like being the one "left behind" either...but it is what it is. I have never felt that joy of having a baby in my womb. Never!! God gave me this heavy cross and I have to live with it and find joy in it. So tough. Childlessness will follow me for the rest of my life...when I'm 80 years old someone will ask.."How many children or grandchildren do you have?"...seriously...if I live to that age...I'll say the answer that I use now "God has/had a different plan for my hubby and I." It is God's Will that we are trying to accept..right? It's funny but that answer stops people from saying anything else which is exactly what I want! know what you are talking about exactly..but you are still young...I no longer have age on my side. I know you've been putting your best foot forward and making such a valiant effort to be pregnant...your efforts have not gone unnoticed. I'll keep you in my prayers that the desires of your heart come long as that is God's will. If we don't get our rewards here on earth then the rewards are awaiting us in heaven. If suffering IF is getting me to heaven somehow then it's all worth it. That is why I'm trying to so hard to find that joy in this.'s Jesus I want to see when my time passes. God bless...

oh yeah..sorry I babbled.

E said...

I love Sew's idea of a spiritual director. You also could use adoration and a daily offering. When I was at my wit's end last summer, I would get up in the morning and just cry and really try hard to offer up my suffering for many different things (a friend's dad with cancer, mothers contemplating abortion, mt friends with IF, etc) and it would help a a little. But seriously, the counseling helped the most. It helped DH and I connect with each other like have never connected before and that was what I was really seeking. Also, I would say the daily prayers in the magnificat morning and night as well and sometimes say the rosary in the car. I had to do so much praying to keep the ugly thoughts and feelings out. I have come to realize that suffering is my path to heaven and I wanted to bear it as much like Christ as I could.

A-I am so glad you are getting all this out there. I really know in my heart that the Lord has a plan for you, and I really think you are on the right path. I will keep praying for you!!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think you are a lot further along then I am, but seriously, satan would rejoice in jealousy, not be disturbed by it - so you can stop using that language right away. (I can stop wagging my finger at you now :) )

Based on a discussion with a confessor in August - I am just trying to do very little steps in prayer (See, you're much further along!) to keep the lines open - and for me even going to God with my pain lets me let go of it a bit. Everyone has these pangs - I think its a natural response to the frustration of IF - just like my toe hurts if I stub it. I don't feel guilty for that pain, and I don't think you have to for yours as long as you do what you can not to wallow in it - which you probably do.
And since we're all confession jealousy - I can say "me, too" and add that there is an additional layer of that for me for all of you that have conditions that are even potentially treatable through chemical therapies and surgery!
Be that as it may - you are a tremendous encouragement and I am so lucky that your blog is here.

Mrs. Mike said...

Oh TCIE...if you only realized what tremendous spiritual maturity you have. Every last one of us struggles with jealousy and resentment, but not everyone is willing and able to say that they would stop short of getting healed for the wrong reasons.

But don't despair. God's not done with you yet. He is giving you an opportunity to lay it all down at His feet and surrender... totally...unconditionally. Being a faithful servant doesn't come without a steep reward.

I'm going through much the same spiritual thing...searching for the elusive peace and joy in my struggle. But I know it's there...St. Therese talks about it repeatedly as do all the saints. You simply can't buy that kind of have to live in the trenches and be willing to allow it transform you in order to experience it.

You have my prayers.

Sissy said...

This is an emotion that all us infertiles face, and what to do with the jealousy is always a question with me, too. There are currently four of my friends/coworkers that are pregnant and I am trying my best to be gracious and grateful for what I have been given.

Here are the things I celebrate (and yours may be totally different):

1. My husband. I could have married someone who would refuse adoption or choose not to have kids at all.

2. My parents/inlaws. Not one of them has made me feel bad or pressured me to try any fertility treatments. They are being patient.

3. Friends who respect me and call when they get their good news. This way I can react and have whatever temper tantrum I want at home, but be happy for them when I see them in person. It was the one thing I ask of them, and they have complied. I even hosted a baby shower last year to rave results.

4. Our adoption agency. These women are praying for us and sharing this journey with us. They celebrated with us when we were matched and grieved with us when it all fell apart. God led us to them, I believe.

5. This journey. While I am not Catholic, as you are, I do believe that this journey of infertility is teaching me something, and will give me something to pass on one day. Whether I am now more sensitive to other women, or just learning to trust Him more, I don't know. It isn't easy all the time, and I have my moments of anger and jealousy. I do. But I have to believe He has a purpose and I will understand it someday. The joy of living in His will sustains me.

That all being said, I have made myself a CD of inspirational songs to help me worship Him. I have found "Praise You in this Storm" to be particularly wonderful in expressing my feelings. I downloaded the songs from iTunes and listen to them whenever I feel my joy slipping.

We can shine in this time. I have promised myself that I will not be the person that no one wants to be around because I am drowning in bitterness. I know you can get through it. I will be praying for you. Anytime you need, just email. I'm here.

Sew said...

I'm ready for a laparscopic hysteremtomy. hahahaha I bet that surgery would be so easy compared to have we have endured in our past surgeries!

Kathryn said...

You're ability to articulate that you want to find peace in God, and not in the end of your sufferings what amazing. Seriously, what a beautiful desire. You may not feel it, but God surely loves that you desire to find joy in Him over finding joy in something else (ie. pregnancy or adoption). That is just so dang beautiful....especially because you are not feeling it.

the misfit said...

I'll do you one better - I secretly believe that all the girls who talk about their perspective of faith in the midst of their sufferings are lying! OK, that's not *totally* true. I guess my perspective is, you and I and everyone else who is going through this - we can write blog posts about how this or that passage touched us, or we had this other really honest conversation with God, and maybe we are growing a little - at least we hope we are! And on the same day, every day, I think pretty much everyone can write the post about how they're angry with God and everyone else and think they're less of the person they want to be rather than more. I know a lot of people think that the first post is holier and glorifies God and they would prefer to write that. Maybe I'm just contrary, but I disagree. I think that God's grace is a given, and the salient part of this struggle is that it's HARD. If I read a post from someone who is really clear about the fact that she is struggling (unless I think that person is really about to do herself harm or something, you know? That's scary), I feel closer to that person - like I can relate. I know she prays. I know she tries. I try too. Maybe this is negative, but I feel like what we share ONLY with each other is the struggle - the rest of the world is full of "turn to God in prayer" and we already know that. But this is a difference in philosophy, I guess.

Here's another thought. You know the Bible passage about the one son who says he'll do what his father asked, and doesn't; and the other son says he won't, but then does? And then Christ points out that the second son was a good son. Obviously it would be better to say yes and do so. But I think it means something else to. Saying "no" when you're asked to do something is having a bad attitude. I have a bad attitude about IF a lot of the time. My occasional bouts of spiritual solidity are small islands in a large ocean. I'm meaner, often bitter, occasionally jealous, frequently hostile, and invariably impatient. I should be a better person. I should not be angry with God. But if you still keep the faith, bad attitude or no, you're a good son. For me that probably means I should be at daily Mass still even though I absolutely cannot sit through one more 15-minute homily in Vietnamese. But I haven't left the Church, cursed God, broken the rules...I'm angry. I'm bitter. But I'm still here. I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay right here, glaring at God. We're none of us perfect. The great saints fell. Dragging yourself through the muck is lousy, but frankly I think the landscape is beyond your control; you're human, and someone else made you that way. All you can do is keep moving; and maybe eventually the scenery will change.

Hafsa said...

Suffering is not always peaceful or beautiful. Jesus being stripped and dying on the cross surely wasn't beautiful nor did He find peace from it. I think suffering is meant to humble ourselves before the throne of Jesus. We can't go anywhere if we do not at first find meaning in our suffering. I think you're on that path right now by not giving up and not letting the Devil attain your soul. I will pray for you and hope that you find the peace you need. I hope I'm not being too preachy.
In Christ.

LifeHopes said...

We are all jealous. Let's just admit that. I still struggle with this every single day and I hate it.

Most of my very best friends in this world have beautiful children. I love these women more than anything, yet I find myself feeling "icky" when they call to tell me all about their day with their children, the birthday party, the first steps, this or that.

It is horrible. Why am I so awful?

I truly realized how bad it has been when, the other day, I heard from a good friend who delivered a baby boy in January-ish. (I didn't even call her to congratulate her. I ducked out of the shower, did not even send her a gift. Not even a card. I couldn't bring myself to do it. I was filled with bitterness and jealousy.)

Well she called me the other day, and I managed to pick up the phone. I did feel slightly badly about how MIA I had been. And knowing I'd either hear all about the beautiful baby boy or how it hurt her that I was MIA, I reluctantly picked up the phone.

Well you know what? She did not mention that I was MIA. She did tell me how no one in her own family even showed up at the hospital to see her new baby boy. (she lives several states away so it isn't like she expected me to). Her parents are pretty disturbed people, totally self absorbed in a nasty divorce, her sister is out of the country, and I guess she didn't have many friends. (this is a former roommate of mine.)

I felt terrible. I didn't realize this. I thought once she had this baby, her life would be perfect and mine continue in misery so why bother talking with her to make me feel worse? For the first time, I was actually glad she had that baby boy. Because I have a loving, tender husband (something else she is not blessed to have), a loving family, tons of truly caring friends, etc.

I really regretted not being there for her. I guess it was a wake-up call for me, that true friends put the other first. And I didn't do that.

With that being said, I also think all of this just plain sucks. It's excruciatingly painful, and for self-preservation, we have to rely on God's grace a LOT. We have to let Him carry us through this to the other side. (whatever that other side might be for each of us.)

I have not suffered well. But I also don't think God is going to punish me (or you) for this. In fact, I think His heart is breaking for us.

I promise to step up the prayers for you. I still believe you will conceive, I always have.

Thankful said...

Well, I am jealous of your Creighton knowledge! Thanks for the intro session, it was very informative and useful. You are sharing your gifts with so many; thank you!

JellyBelly said...

Oh my goodness! You are not going to hell!!!!

I have felt the same pangs of jealousy as well. I feel horrible every time I am jealous of someone that has had a miscarriage. I am jealous every time I hear a pregnancy announcement. I am extremely jealous of my best friend who gets pregnant every time she wants to even though she hasn't been to church since her son was baptized almost two years ago!

I'm praying for you. I know that you're feeling all muddled and exasperated. IF is such a hard cross to bear. Remember you're not alone and we're praying for you!!!!

JellyBelly said...

Oh my goodness! You are not going to hell!!!!

I have felt the same pangs of jealousy as well. I feel horrible every time I am jealous of someone that has had a miscarriage. I am jealous every time I hear a pregnancy announcement. I am extremely jealous of my best friend who gets pregnant every time she wants to even though she hasn't been to church since her son was baptized almost two years ago!

I'm praying for you. I know that you're feeling all muddled and exasperated. IF is such a hard cross to bear. Remember you're not alone and we're praying for you!!!!

p.s. Also don't forget that the Yankees are playing REALLY well right now!