Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Trying to Make a Baby

In the last 2 years, it seems like a lot of our college friends have kissed on their wedding altars and been granted a honeymoon baby. My calendar keeps filling up with due dates preceding first wedding anniversaries. I have not yet met any of these little blessings in person, but I have spent countless hours watching them grow up in Facebook photo albums. It's a little mind blowing to think about the adventures we all had in college, and then to realize my friends are honest-to-goodness-for-the-rest-of-their-lives parents.

In the last 2 years it has also been difficult to watch my friends progress into legitimate and undeniable adulthood as parents while I wait at the sidelines.

Our first year of marriage Ryan and I decided it was best to have a go at postponing parenthood through NFP (Natural Family Planning - great Catholic stuff!). We just smiled when our friends and family pestered us about having a "bun in the oven." "Not yet, but soon!" we would offer in reply. I was definitely excited about having children, but worried about money and spending 5 years in graduate school, and a little relieved that we didn't really have to think about making life altering changes just yet. And NFP wasn't so bad after all - it just took a little planning, patience, and persistence.

Our second year of marriage NFP stopped being "fun." We could figure out the method just fine, but my body was starting to confuse itself. I had to turn off my sex drive when the hormones were on - and turn it back on when the hormones could care less and just wanted to go to bed early. It was beginning to wear on me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I realized there is a very good reason the Church requires grave matter to postpone children - it's requires a lot of sacrifice to practice NFP, and there will come a point when the end doesn't outweigh the means anymore.

So, we decided to take the plunge and would start actively trying to conceive in October. It was supposed to be a great month - a lot of Ryan's graduate problems had worked themselves out at that point, and our grave matter wasn't so grave any more. Then the last week of September my sister-in-law's fiance, Joel (our families are very close, and he's practically a brother), had a very bad accident where he burned over 65% of his body and was put into a medicated coma for 6 weeks. Life changed in an instant. Our families pulled together and did what we could to get through a very trying time. Joel is getting better now, but his path to recovery is far from over. In fact, he has another surgery at the Mayo Clinic on Friday - please keep him in your prayers.

Needless to say, October wasn't a good time to start a family anymore. Over the last six months Ryan and I have found one obstacle after another in our way. My stress levels have been through the roof, and my normally stable fertility cycles don't make sense on the chart anymore. To top it off, we found out in the last six months that still more of our dear friends are expecting babies this summer. I am so joyful and so pained at the same time. I keep seeing my friends moving forward and I feel stuck somewhere in between.

Today just kind of culminates my feelings of frustration and inadequacy. Each month I have big plans about getting pregnant - and each month my plans go awry. And here I stand again, a new month, another failed plan, and a little less hope to carry me through it. I don't really know where to go from here.

As you can tell, I am feeling a bit depressed today - but I realize that I have so many other blessings too. God has blessed me with a very good friend (you know who you are!) to be a comforting shoulder as we both struggle in our wait for children. And this month's cycle isn't over yet either. I am so silly - I have an early (and possibly unfounded) disappointment! It's really hard to have hope today, to trust that God's plan is bigger than I can imagine. Please pray for me. I really need it.


Confessions of a Steubie Wife said...

I can see the providence for sure! I have written about 99 posts..but for the first time really wanted to put down in words the gift of NFP. If it makes you feel any better, my husband and I were married 3 mos before you guys in Feb I can commiserate with the waiting as well as seeing many families growing but not ours! Even now that we are using fertile time, I still know the rates of miscarriage and my chance of going through another molar even using fertile time, I don't feel the same puffed up confidence I did the first time we were expecting(i thought everything was going to be perfect and easy too! haha). What I learned this Easter though was that being open to life is being open to loss. So, this time when I say yes to life I am also saying yes to any potential problems, surgeries, whatever God wants for me. St. Therese is wonderful for this kind of abandonment. And surely God will abundantly bless you and your His time and in His in Isaiah from Easter, His thoughts are above our thoughts and His ways above our ways. In the meantime, enjoy all of the things you can do that wouldn't be as easy or possible with little ones. For instance, when we found out we had to wait a year to try again, we traveled, went water rafting, moved to go to grad school, I got my first "real" job as a teacher (which I'm leaving whenever God decides I am to be a mother, yay!)...and I have enjoyed my fair share of sushi, coffee, and alcohol...:) Also I have found it fun to be there for family and friends who are having their first babies, I know I have been able to do more for them than if I had kids of my own already. oops the comment is very long now but this is definitely an experience that we both share these days! God bless

Confessions of a Steubie Wife said...

i have to correct something..haha...i said "this time when i say yes to life" and should have said "use fertile time"....what was i thinking...every time we renew our vows, we say yes to life...maybe i have grown too confident with nfp...its effectiveness is so high that I would have been truly surprised if we had conceived using infertile time...but still, bottom line is every time is a yes.
whew! now i feel better. ;)

Meta said...

What I learned this Easter though was that being open to life is being open to loss.

So true! Ashley, I don't think I told you about Good Friday for me. Maybe I did. Anyway, first, during Stations, they read a section of Habakkuk that has consistently given me comfort and hope while coping with infertility. It's Hab 1:2 and 2:2-4. It sort of opened up the doors for me to listen to what He had to say to me that night.

While you and Ryan were up at the crucifix and Stephen was over in the confession line, I was thinking about carrying my cross and how nice it would be to have my Golgotha be over on Easter Sunday. But I said a prayer that if He wanted me to carry my cross a while longer, I would do it for Him. It was a rather simple prayer for grace. My period started within the hour.

I've noticed a lot more peace in myself every month as cycles come and go and I can only attribute it to grace. I don't want to be apathetic and numb, but I don't want to be depressed through this trial, either. As the poster above me said, "open to life" is also "open to loss."

Fr. Coughlin (our priest, as you would say) challenged us a couple months ago in a way that really made me realize the shallowness of my faithfulness: if God asked us to go our whole lives without ever having children, how would we respond? I'd probably act a lot like the child I so wish to have: throw a temper tantrum and scream for hours. Something to meditate on some more, I suppose.

Sorry if that is a bit's been one of those kinds of days.