Friday, July 1, 2011


I once wrote a paper of the same title for my college English class. It was about the symbolism of the birds in Tess of the d'Ubervilles (one of my favorite books). The birds, for Tess, are ever-present in her life, watching her grow up on her home farm, flying overhead as she "loses her innocence" to a man who steals it, and throughout her plight of journeying across England to find steady pay, find the love of her life, lose said love of her life, and surrender her soul to a life of unhappiness with the man who caused it to begin with.
(If you haven't read the book, I'm sure I've thoroughly confused you, but do take my recommendation to read it when you can.)

The gist of the paper was that, while these birds could be viewed as a source of comfort to Tess, watching over her and never leaving her side, they could also be seen as a source of mockery. Through every trial, every painful torment that took place in this young girl's life, these birds of flight were overhead, in the trees, or in the air, serving as a constant reminder of the obvious juxtaposition of THEIR freedom against HER prison. They were always out of reach, always able at any moment to fly away - so very different than Tess' reality.

For the past several years, I have known that hawks are my "sign from God" that He has not abandoned me. And for the past several months, I have seen hawks EVERYWHERE (including my week in Florida), sometimes flying right in front of my car. Today, while thinking about the PTI denial, a hawk flew just alongside my car, about 25 feet above me. I have always smiled inwardly when I receive these signs from above, and thank God for being with me in hours of darkness... but today, I remembered Tess and her birds.

Am I supposed to feel better about the terrible things that happen in my life because I know that God is with me through it all? Yes. I probably should. I know that is the logical answer of a believer in God. But I can't help feeling jaded, and like I am being mocked much like the Tess of the d'Ubervilles.

I hate to sound this way, because I know I am starting to PMS and this isn't how I feel the majority of the month. But right now, I am feeling more than a little pissed off. Why do I have to be the one who's content with seeing a hawk fly overhead??!! Why does everyone else get a great, big miracle to prove to them that God loves them and has been hearing their prayers, and I have to settle for a freaking bird???

Ugh, I truly hate myself this week of the month. I sound so completely ungrateful for the blessings of our home, our health, and the AMAZING news of DH's new job. No, I have not forgotten those. And I thank God every day for those blessings. But... what is it all worth? If I could conceive and adopt, wouldn't I trade my money and house and all material things for the one greatest gift of all- The gift of life? In a heartbeat. I would give it all up without flinching.

To steer off-topic just a bit (or maybe to gear myself back towards some good news), I got my P+7 results today, from last Monday. My NaPro Dr ran some extra tests, and here are the results:

Progesterone: 49.9 - Ok, then, I guess that answers my question as to whether extended use of progesterone can build up a resistance in your body. Clearly not.

Estradiol - 169

LH: 1.3

FSH: 1.8

(So, this is HUGE. In PCOS, the LH:FSH ratio is reversed, and there is more LH in your system on a constant basis. This is why OPKs don't work well for women with PCOS. The last time I checked these hormones, my Dr said that the only thing about my bloodwork that showed I ever even had PCOS was my LH:FSH ratio. Now? IT IS NORMAL!!! I have no reversal!! The diet has worked!!!)

Testosterone and DHEA were low. The latter being low is a response to stress.

My T3/reverse T3 ratio is low, at 4.7. Optimally, Dr Hilgers likes it over 10, but they see the most obvious problems at around 2 or 3. My Dr said most women who are over 5 have no problems... again, this is caused by stress.

But gee, what do I have to be stressed about???

My Vit. D is 68, which is great and where I'd like it to stay. I take 4,000 units daily.

I'm not addressing these hormone levels (the ones that are out of range) just yet. Dr D, my California NaPro Dr who is overseeing my dietary changes and intestinal health, wants me to wait a few months after Clear Passage, and then get another FULL hormone panel done, throughout the cycle. I have no doubt my stress hormones were wonky this month.
(But then again, my DHEA has been low before... I have chronic stress.)

I may start taking a low dose of DHEA, 5 mgs. Since clearly I don't know how to de-stress. Any suggestions? Is there an over-the-counter tranquilizer?


Anonymous said...

Love Tess and Thomas Hardy in general. My husband and I loved the movie with Gemma Aterton (?) Quick question. FSH goes up as you get older right? So in a say 40 year old woman she might have that reversal despite not having PCOS? I do OPK's every cycle. Can't live without them.

JellyBelly said...

You're probably not going to be too shocked about my favourite stress reliever: yoga. I know there are some really good fertility DVD's out there and Restorative yoga is so good for you. If it wasn't for my practice I would've lost my mind long ago!

Interesting about the hawks. Mr JB notices them all the time and I'm oblivious.

Think I may have to pick Tess up (or I have a copy somewhere). Being a French lit major I haven't done a lot of classic English lit :)

E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole C said...

You are so strong. Just want you to know that.

Simone said...

Great news on your ratio!
I am jealous of your progesterone number. Mine has never been that high. What kind are your taking?

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Simone, I'm on 400mgs compounded vaginal progesterone.

Be Not, I think even in an older woman the FSH should be higher than the LH. If the LH is higher than the FSH, then it may be an indicator of PCOS.

A Martha trying to be Mary said...

Hi! ]i have been having blogger issues again but wanted to tell you how sad I was yesterday reading about your news. I will continue to pray for you both.
Regarding stress: Have you tried Bach flowers? they are amazing. There is one called Rescue remedy for acute stress, you can take it even at 5minute intervals until the bad part of stress subsides, for continued stress the flowers need to be adapted to the reason why you are stressed You can take an online test to choose the right one. They work dramatically or very subtly. You can purchase them at who.le foo.ds.

I agree with JB. Yoga can do wonders as well as tai chi.

Rebecca said...

I am praying for you. I wish I had some wise, magic words that would de-stress you and bring you some peace, but I don't so I will offer only prayers.

Simone said...

Is compounded something different than vag suppositories from Freedom Pharmacy? I take 400 vag sup and my prog was 17 at the highest.

the misfit said...

OK, this is funny - I LOATHE Thomas Hardy. The only book of his I ever read is Jude the Obscure and I hated it so much I swore I would never read another. My English teacher (this was 11th grade) said she was surprised I hated it so much, since his is supposed to be a very Catholic perspective. I'll take the liberty of ruining the plot of Jude the Obscure: Jude and the female lead leave the loveless marriages they sort of stumbled into to fulfill their lifelong loves for each other. They can't get married, because they're divorced, and also they're first or second cousins (presented as scandalous in the book but I think actually not that scandalous at the time). She has a child from her prior marriage, and they have three children together. At the end of the book, the oldest child (hers) kills his three half-siblings and then himself; the cousins finally get the message and then return to their original spouses, whom they were pressured into marrying, who were never suitable for them, and whom they never loved. They're mostly just resigned about the gruesome deaths of their children. As badly as I've EVER taken IF, even "my" God isn't that much of an SOB. Thomas Hardy was seriously messed up. Just sayin'.

I don't know what to say about the hawks. It strikes me that the trick with all this trust nonsense is that if you really believe there's going to be a good outcome, then all the little signs are there to get you through the temporary suffering that's spiritually fruitful. And there's a great logic to that. I don't believe I deserve (or would benefit from) mostly material blessings; I definitely need refinements of my character and I need to learn gratitude. That would mean that if good things will happen, I should learn to live with privation first. But the problem is, we're not promised any of these blessings. That's what the nitwits who go on about "God's perfect timing" don't seem to get: God reserves the right for His time to be NEVER, in which case what you need to learn to trust is not that He will provide the blessings eventually, but that He has some sufficient reason for you to grieve your whole earthly life long. (And this business about an IFer finally getting pregnant after years and years because *this* was the perfect year for her to have her baby is BS. IF is a physical illness and a product of the fall; God allows such suffering, rather than willing it. There is also no perfect year to have your child abducted, raped, and murdered by a psychotic, or to be mangled in a car accident, or to be struck by lightning, or to lose a loved one to cancer. The fact that God brings goodness out of evil doesn't mean that he has the evils scheduled for us. Seriously, people.)

I have a difficult time figuring out how all this is supposed to work well.

E said...

I'm sorry, but I fail to see how someone is a "nitwit" if she recognizes Providence at work in her life--both through infertility and the conception of her child. That sounds so bitter and unkind to me.

Were not Sts. Joachim and Anne, Zacariah and Elizabeth infertile? Was not the creation of their children perfectly planned by God for the Savior's coming, and did their infertility not play a major role in that? God can and does allow our suffering to be prolonged, while not causing it, if He sees a greater good to come of it.

We can say that "it's perfectly timed" about infertility, birth and even death itself in many cases. Everything can seem to be, in hindsight, beautifully planned. I think that's wisdom--not "BS."

After all, God acts very differently in each person's life. His providential action in your life is not the same as it is in mine, though the love behind it is.

The danger with infertility is that we can reduce it to something too biological, forgetting that especially in a valid marriage, there IS a mysterious action of God at work when it comes to reproduction, even if we never see it or understand it, and there are credible precedents to make me believe so.

I'm sad about the subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints, on both Catholic and non-Catholic blogs, including the comments, at how "cruel" God is and how He is laughing at us while we suffer, forcing us to accept less. We're entitled to our dark feelings now and then, and we have the freedom to express them, but it should lead to healing, not self-pity, and definitely has a limit with respect to reverence for God.

If we can't be glad when a woman says, "It's best that it happened now rather than when I prayed for it to happen," we're losing our way.

I've found myself in a very great state of peace about my infertility. I've really come to a deeper relationship with God through it and I'm not angry with Him. I wish that for everyone in the same situation. Yes, we all have our down moments, but we can't let them make us bitter or envious every time we see a pregnant belly. I want to share that positive message, rather than just commiserate, but I don't like the atmosphere on these blogs anymore.

I wish everyone here well and hope you all find this peace, too.


Second Chances said...

Elizabeth, very well said. I totally agree.

TCIE: I think that's very cool about the hawks. I never ever notice them! And, I agree with Nicole. You are one super strong chic. I hope you can see that even in the midst of a crummy pms week :)

Anonymous said...

@ E and misfit
Infertility hurts. As believer I think God has his mysterious reasons to allow us to pass through this sufferance but more than once I ask myself why infertility happen to a couple so in love as me and my husband when the world is full of people that have kids and then abuse, abandon or abort them. I don't have an answer but I know that infertility can't take away from me the gift of faith, hope and love. I decided to accept this situation with courage and love, I won't allow infertility to turn me in a sour envious lady. :)

All in His Perfect Timing said...

So glad your results turned out so good! I pray it continues.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that the 30th didn't bring all the good news that you were praying for.

Thanks for sharing that T3 ratio was 2.6 and my DHEAs were really low too. Stress, much? Granted, the month I had my blood drawn was approx. 1 month before my defense date and I was under the most stress I've been under in my life. I'm curious to see what that number is now that that's all over. Also, Dr. H has me in a thyroid study right now related to that...I'm sure you've heard of it? If not, I can say more about it.

Good to hear about the FSH/LH stuff too, although even for polycystic ovaries that ratio can vary from month to month, i.e., some months are better than others, right?

Anonymous said...

Oops, meant to ask the follow-up question which is, will they test for that ratio automatically on my peak +7 monthly draw from here on out? I didn't do it last month but planned on doing that this month. Thanks!

Rosary said...

We'll continue praying for you. Aside from exercise and prayers, I think a great way to relieve some stress is doing something you truly enjoy like walking on the beach, laying out a picnic in the park, reading a heartwarming book, or just simply spending time with your friends. Hope this helps!

Being Refined said...

TCIE, I'm sorry you are down in the dumps this week! I'm glad the hawks remind you of God. God does not mock us, but for some unknown reason He does allow us to suffer. In my own small way I think it is for us to cling to Him all the more; to realize we can't do anything without Him and His help. But I am not a theologian.

I'm glad the test results were good. There is hope there! I am thrilled the diet helped with your LH:FSH ratio!

As for de-stressing: I second the Bach Flower Essence suggestion: I love Rescue Remedy for serious bouts of anxiety. I have not yet tried others.

I also suggest exercise and reading. Oh, also, find something to make you laugh: it can be silly pet videos on YouTube or whatever-but try to laugh. (Really laugh!)

It can be very hard to appreciate the blessings we have when we are missing our hearts desire (a child). This is a good reminder for me too!