As those of you who have been reading my blog for any period of time likely know, DH and I officially "stopped trying" actively to conceive around December 2011. (We began the long process to stop all medications in July 2011.) But, it was December 2011 that I decided we would survive on prayer, alone. In that post, which I just re-read, I was brought immediately back to the mix of fear and hope for peace that were waging war against each other at that time of my life. Little did I know that the tunnel was about to get much, much darker before I would emerge into the light of day, again. But, thanks be to God, He allowed me to find that peace before I journeyed through the worst year of my life.
It was a challenge. Like no other I've ever experienced. It seemed that every single aspect of life was spiraling out of my control, until I learned that I never had the control, to begin with. Accepting that one, single fact is what brought me back to sanity and back from adrenal crisis and depression, last year.
And this year, I began, along with my husband, to climb the steep mountain to health, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. We began addressing some health concerns for my husband that had never been addressed, before, and discovered he had developed PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). It quickly began to affect him physically, to the point where he couldn't get out of bed, he was chronically fatigued, depressed (there is nothing more depressing than a depressed Sanguine), and lost his libido completely. After all these years of infertility, and how it had affected our love life, and the insane amount of work we needed to invest in healing that - now it was suffering yet another blow. This was HARD. For me, but mostly for him. Because of the blogs, and the amazing friends we have made through them, we were able to get him in to see, in addition to his local therapists, a hormone specialist who actually has an area of expertise in PTSD - and it was discovered that DH's testosterone was low. When I say low, I mean, scary, dangerously low, lower than mine was pre-Ovarian Wedge Resection! The normal range for men his age should be 500-700. His was 58.
So, he began treatment with hCG injections, nightly, in May of this year. The hCG was intended to help his body start to make his own testosterone, again. We knew it was the PTSD that depleted the testosterone, because all of the times we've had his labs and semen analyses checked in the past, DH passed with flying colors (as you may recall). The problem with our inability to conceive was always me.
After two months on hCG, DH had his levels tested again to see how the hCG was working.
It was 117.
We got this news in late July (after, as it turns out, my date of conception). We remained hopeful that the new medication would help to improve things, but we also completely accepted the fact that we were medically infertile for the forseeable future. (Not a hard thing to accept after 8 years of infertility, but still a big step in trusting God and in our marriage.)
In the meantime, I was antsy. I knew we would be stagnant for a while, until we could possibly look into foster care in 2015 or 2016. I normally dislike stagnation. Now, I loathed it. I needed change. I could feel it in my bones. Enter Master Bedroom Decoration Project (pictures in another post, it's basically finished. Took only about 2 days. Cuz I'm insane.) I lifted furniture, moved rugs, assembled chairs... I was a crazed woman on a mission. But, now I am in love with our bedroom :)
But, it still wasn't enough. I began thinking about my role as a wife, and the nurturing side of myself that I feel has been neglected for so long. I began to feel resentful, mostly of myself, for being so Take Charge and Get Things Done, that I'd been working long hours, again, and was missing out on the time of my life that I most likely would never get - the staying at home, making a home, nurturing my family (my husband) time. I wondered if I'd ever have the guts to stop working WITHOUT kids. But, I knew I needed a big change that even my brand new beautiful bedroom couldn't provide.
Not charting, I had come to be grateful for my textbook, healthy cycles, even off of progesterone, because it allowed me the freedom not to have to chart. I could always predict my next cycle based on my last menstrual period and Peak Day (always Day 14), and 13-14 day post-Peak phase. In June, however, I started seeing 3 days of premenstrual, brown spotting. I was ticked. I knew I was getting older, I knew cycles can and do change with age, but I still decided to take charge and try to naturally heal that for the next cycle. Some other Practitioners recommended Vitex (Chaste Tree Berry), which I had leftover from having taken it several years ago, prescribed by a Naturopath. I knew I had no side effects from it, and began taking the liquid herb tincture in water twice per day. NO ONE was gonna mess with my textbook, healthy cycles after all I had done to get them!!!!
My July cycle began on July 13th. There were still 3 days of spotting, but I had been forewarned that it could take several months to see a difference. As my period began, DH and I began the first day of our renewal Consecration to Mary, in preparation for the special Feast Day of the Assumption, the date that we chose our wedding day based upon.
It didn't completely escape me, that the Consecration was beginning at the very beginning of my cycle, mind you. But, as quickly as the thought entered my mind, the thought of "Oh, how cool that would be..." just as quickly it dissipated in reality.
And so, we continued the Consecration daily for 33 days, and I still felt antsy and motivated for change.
On Tuesday, August 5th, I knew, based on my textbook cycles, that my period was due either Friday or Saturday. So when I went to the restroom and saw the oh-so-familiar staining of the tissue, faint, but obvious enough to know this was my recent pattern, I was really frustrated. This would make 3, or even 4 days of premenstrual spotting!!! Grrrrrrr!!!! The rest of the day, I didn't see any more, and then the next day there was none. So, I quickly forgot about it (only to remember way later, mind you), and was ecstatic by the time the weekend arrived and I had NO PREMENSTRUAL SPOTTING! Woo hoo!!
The weekend arrived, all right. And the weekend was coming to an end, with no sight of ANY bleeding.
Now, I was ticked, again.
C'mon, God, really?? All I have are my predictable cycles! I'm NOT going to chart, again, any time soon, but I just need to know I can rely on my perfect cycles as I have for the past 3 years! Throw me a bone, here, will ya?? I remember there was a very fleeting thought, on Sunday morning when my period still hadn't arrived, a thought of, "Could it be...?" which of course quickly vanished as the anger took over. How could I even go there, after all this time? Was I *that* much of an idiot? To top it all off, I had also been eating healthy and taking some digestive enzymes to help with my constipation, and I was MORE constipated than ever in my life! Uggghhh, I was so pissed off.
We went to Mass later that morning. And I was smacked in the face with the Gospel:
Matthew 14: 22-33
After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”
Smacked me in the face like a porcupine being hurled through the air at a great speed, sinking in nice and deep - in an oh-so-painful manner.
"Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
But my ego kept taking over, rationalizing all the ways this simply COULD NOT BE. Medically, biologically, this was impossible. And yet, with my next trip to the restroom, before I wiped, I prayed and told God that I knew He could make all things new. That if He so desired, it didn't matter what biology or science said. He's God. I also told Him I was confused about exactly what to have faith IN. I have made it a point here on this blog, on more than one occasion, to proclaim the importance of true, God-centered HOPE, and not false, self-centered HOPE (in getting what one wants). And, wasn't my placing faith in the possibility that I was pregnant a more self-centered hope? I really struggled with that. I didn't have a clear answer. But when I wiped, not a hint of bleeding.
I continued to pray throughout the day that He make His will known to me, specifically about how I was to hope, and where to place that hope. I asked for some kind of sign to that end, as we finished our Consecration prayers that Sunday night, and went to bed.
The next day, I awoke with intensely sore breasts. Before I went to the bathroom, I knew I wouldn't see AF. I NEVER get sore breasts the day my period arrives, it's generally several days even up to a week in advance. (Now, looking back, I believe this sign was sent from my grandmother in heaven. We had conversations about early pregnancy symptoms when I was very early into my infertility journey and she was one of the only people who knew. She told me she only had one symptom, but it was a strong one - VERY sore breasts. She promised to pray for our baby in heaven, and I believe this was her gift to me, to have faith, to not doubt.)
While I did still falter through the remainder of that week between faith and doubt, overall there was a peaceful calm of KNOWING this was it. I told DH on that Monday that I was late. We agreed to wait until the Feast of the Assumption to test. Symptoms began to multiply during the week, and we knew that come Friday, August 15th, we would be taking a huge leap of faith...