Yesterday I received a beautiful gift from a beautiful new friend.
About two months ago, I performed an ultrasound on an older patient who loved to talk. We'll call her "T." Right off the bat I could tell T was fiercely Catholic, and loved being a patient at our office. She told me all about herself and asked all about me; we discussed where we grew up, our careers, our Catholic faith... even a little politics. The exam, which would have taken about 30 minutes start to finish, ended up taking 45.
While I was about to step out of the room, T asked me if there was anything she could do for me, specifically, if there was anything she could pray for on my behalf. I paused a moment (since this was one of the first ultrasounds I had performed without my infertility coming up as a topic of discussion), and decided, what the heck? If she's offering...
So I said, "Sure. If you could please pray that my husband and I will be able to conceive. We've been trying over 5 years."
T sympathetically assured me of her prayers, and began asking if I had heard of/prayed for the intercession of various Saints, including St. Anthony (who I only this year discovered is a patron for infertility). I told her that we had done every Novena to every Saint known to man :) She then told me a story of her relative, who married a woman from Mexico, and how they tried for years and years, only later to adopt several children. She said that while she would certainly pray for me to conceive, that I should always be open to "other options" of growing my family, because God may call me to one of them someday. I nodded and smiled. They're the stories all well-meaning people tell, to make the barren woman feel better. I knew she meant no harm. But I also knew that it did no good to propagate a myth.
So I responded, "That is beautiful. But, while we would love to adopt, we already pursued it and were told that we could not."
T's face dropped. She felt horrible, I could tell. She again assured me of her prayers, asked my husband's name, and thanked me for being so kind to her during her exam.
T returned a couple of weeks later, for a procedure which the Dr performed with ultrasound guidance. During the procedure, T spoke to me about Our Lady of Guadalupe, and all of the wonderful stories surrounding the image on the famous tilma. After the procedure, she told me that she had emailed a priest up in the northeast who has a traveling image of Our Lady, and she told him about me and my husband. She said she hoped I didn't mind, but she was on a mission :) I told her of course I didn't mind! She said she had not received a reply yet, and that she hoped the priest didn't think she was some crazy lunatic ;)
The holidays passed, and with it, the end of my last "actively trying to conceive" cycle, which came to a screeching halt on Christmas Day. I got through it, by the grace of God, and enjoyed a light work week between Christmas and New Year's.
This past Tuesday, our center received a call from T, who asked if I would be in the following morning, because she wanted to bring me something. The receptionist told her that I would be here.
When T arrived, I brought her back to the consult room that I use in the mornings. She handed me an envelope with a card inside. As I opened the card, I saw two scapulars. T told me that the scapulars were from Mexico City, from the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine, and were touched to the wall underneath the image of Our Lady... on December 24th, 2011.
It took all my strength to not cry as I held those scapulars. I was at work, after all - with patients waiting for me right down the hall.
I listened as T told me that her relative and his wife were there on Christmas Eve and sent these scapulars back to T, since she had requested them for a special purpose.
I hardly knew how to respond aside from thanking her again and again, and giving her a hug, and offering to return the prayers.
On the Eve of the birth of the child Jesus, and on the Eve of the start of my period - I was being prayed for at the feet of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In this one moment in time, when so much hope was alive in my heart, in celebration of Our Savior's imminent birth, and the possibility of a miracle pregnancy in my own womb... Our Lady was holding me close to her heart. And she knew that the following day would crash down around me, extinguishing my dreams, washing away my hope of motherhood, but that Jesus - Jesus would still be there.
And it was that hope which she wanted me to hold onto. The hope of Christ, continually working in my life, continually growing in my heart.
I am overwhelmed.