The Cross of Infertility

What would a mother of nine know about infertility? Well, before you scoff and discount my viewpoint, I will answer, “A lot.” While we had little trouble conceiving our first daughter, our second only came after a miscarriage and 2 years of trial. This was followed by a second miscarriage and five more years of infertility and female troubles. I was plagued with chronic and painful ovarian cysts and modern medicine’s only answer was the pill.

I am no stranger to this medicine. We had chosen it as birth control early on in our marriage. It was so simple and easy and seemed like everyone but the Church was behind its use. I’m not sure what broke through to my hardened heart and stubborn pride, but my heart was changed and suddenly I could no longer use contraception and be at peace. My husband was fully supportive and we self-taught the Billings method of Natural Family Planning (NFP). Used it to allow the chemicals to clear my system and then to achieve my first pregnancy. We would never look back. And over time and through obedience, God gave us the gift of understanding and knowledge and we truly embrace the beautiful and deep teachings of the Catholic Church.

Fast forward past two healthy pregnancies and babies and two miscarriages and once again the doctors want to prescribe birth control. I was at a loss. Since I was using NaPro Technology to chart my cycles and knew my problems were related to progesterone deficiencies, I couldn’t understand why the doctors wouldn’t look at natural alternatives. My questions fell on deaf ears. I cried and I prayed. I remember distinctly asking God what it was that I should do as we were trying to live according to His will. Within a month a NaPro/NFP-only doctor started practicing 20 minutes away from our home. It would be two more years, but we had a baby boy and then five more babies in the following six years.

But it is those five years that we carried the cross that I will never forget. It was five years of riding the roller coaster of emotions: hope, anticipation, disappointment, and hope again. Five years of wondering if it was punishment for past sins, of loneliness and of empty arms. Five years of trying to enjoy the children we already had while grieving the ones we lost and those that may never be. I worried about causing scandal–that others may think we were closed to life. Finally, I prayed for peace. I asked God to bless me with children if it were His will and if it would bring glory to Him, but if more children did not come I promised to still be faithful and begged him to please show me His way, The way.

God answered us by blessing us with six more children. I am often asked if we are done. How could I tell God “No?” To be done would mean that we would make steps in a permanent way to ensure being done. I won’t go back to that place of ignorance and darkness. God has shown me the light. We will always be open to new life, but are grateful NaPro Technology for the ability to know our bodies so well that we can space our children and use discernment and prayer to decide our family size.

I teach my daughters this method as well as a tool to learn their bodies and to become empowered. Too many girls and women are diagnosed with gynecological issues that doctors solve by prescribing birth control pills. We need to spread the word that these issues can be resolved at their source instead of using a bandaid treatment that will cause more problems. Increase in cervical cancer, breast cancer, infertility, depression, and blood clots are just some of the side effects. It makes my heart hurt to hear these stories when I know there is a better way.

The same is true for couples carrying the cross of infertility. Most doctors are quick to suggest IVF with high costs, low success rates and controversial techniques that involve highly immoral procedures, which include: fertilizing embryos outside of the marriage act, freezing embryos, destroying embryos and selective reduction (code for abortion) of multiple pregnancies. Meanwhile, NaPro Technology has a 99% success rate in avoiding pregnancy and an 81.8% success rate in achieving pregnancy. And I’m living proof that it works.

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8 thoughts on “The Cross of Infertility

  1. I know how hard this cross is, but I also know that if the doctors hadn’t have intervened and helped Marque and I, we would not have Christopher.
    In the end, I know God loves him and cherishes him as much as we all do.

  2. I am currently on the emotional roller coaster that you spoke of in your post. We are married 14 years and have been trying to conceive very conscientiously for the past 7 years; we have been doing Napro for 2.5 years and have a wonderful doctor. I have a history of cervical dysplasia and cryosurgery; 2 HSPs to clear my blocked tubes, and 24+ months of medication to get my cycle and hormone levels just right including HCG injections, letrozole, B6, D3, DHA, mucinex, prenatals, Biaxin,fertile aid, and LDN. There are days where I take 15 pills. My husband has been tested and on the low side but still WNLs. He is now taking Clomid. I have quit my high responsibility job and have worked hard to lose weight and change my sedentary lifestyle. We are in our 40s and we agree that IUI and IVF are not only against the teachings of the church, but also have low success rates. I pray to all the saints, the blessed mother to intercede and to God to bless us with children if it is His will. The wait and hope is so painful to endure. I know we are meant to have children, I feel it in my heart. I pray novenas and have spent so much time now seeking out more information on the lives of the saints since they were so strong in their faith and conviction. ( St. Anne, Joachim, Gerard, Gianna, Jude, Joseph, Anthony, Elizabeth, Mary, Maria Goretti, Therese little flower, Therese Avila, Pope John Paul II, Lucy, Rita, Padre Pio, Faustina).

    I am having trouble coping at times, especially when others don’t understand our choices and just keep suggesting IUI or IVF. It is tempting, but we know it is morally wrong. I would never do IVF since I do not believe in the entire process and to have embryos out there that are being frozen and discarded. More and more days are difficult to get through as I spend a lot of time on line researching and praying. Like your post above, there are so many success stories out there that keep me motivated and hopeful. I hope and pray that we finally succeed very very soon. We are trying for one child; I don’t understand when you feel as I do when you already have a child and want more. I feel very empty and sometimes inadequate, but I know that is the devil trying to make me lose hope. We have faith and pray together for strength that God will bless us and help us. Right now, I am dealing with the feelings that you had and they are getting worse- is it punishment? I also feel constant hope and then disappointment that makes it more and more difficult to function. I will continue with Napro until my doctor says it is time to stop, but I hope and pray that we are blessed soon. Thanks for your success story. I hope to write one someday very soon.

    • Praying and Hopeful,

      My heart aches with you! I am so sorry to hear of your struggles. If I may speak to your heart, please pray for God’s will and peace. It was when I let go that I finally became pregnant. I had finally let the wish go and moved forward with life asking God what to do next. I knew that I would then have peace whether or not it included children. You will no doubt have a success story with your strong faith in God. Just trust in Him and he will surprise and delight you with his blessings, just don’t limit Him to your earthly parameters. Peace and big hugs. I will join in your prayers.

  3. Thanks for your kind words and prayers. I know what you mean about “earthly parameters”…the one that makes me most anxious is my age. It makes me feel like time is not on my side. My husband always says things happen in God’s time , not ours. It has just been so long of a wait.
    I know all things are possible with God, no matter what my age. I also have a friend who tried until she was 44 and then started to give up. She did several IVFs and had to carry her husband’s sample on the train from long island to NYC under her arm. After they decided it was not meant for them, she conceived and had a daughter at 45!
    I know the most difficult obstacles have the best reward. I have always worked hard and put my mind to things and have been therefore able to achieve many things. This is so difficult, because I can’t just “work hard at it” to achieve it. I also don’t believe in sacrificing my beliefs to “get what I want” like so many do (IVF and other unnatural processes). I am patiently waiting for a baby or direction to move on.
    Please advise as I am conflicted. I do not want to give up hope, but I need peace. Does resigning yourself mean that you are giving up? Do you know what I mean? I just have this feeling deep in my heart that I am meant to have a child. Why would that feeling be there if it is not meant for us? I agree with you, I will pray for peace and His will.

    • Well, when I let it go I was able to just totally give up the idea of having any more children of my own. I had just reached a point in my life when I was tired of the trying to achieve pregnancy was dominating my life and thoughts. I was no longer living my life and felt like I was in a hold pattern. Years can quickly pass and the emotional roller coaster each month took me on just didn’t’ seem to be what life should be about. I prayed, I cried and I let it go. I quit charting and I planned my life around the things I knew were facts. Before, I would put off travel, etc because I “might” be pregnant. I donated all of my baby things that I had been holding on to.

      I honestly don’t know what God’s plan is for your family. Go to Him in Adoration, bring tissues, and cry out to him for peace, for answers. Tell him if your angry, or frustrated or whatever you feel. God can handle it. As my pastor says, “he has big shoulders.” Then ask him what he expects of you, what he wants you to do. He will guide you and he will be gentle and loving in the process. I believe that all of our trials are to teach us a lesson and bring us closer to God if we allow it to.

      I hope this helps. Blessings and prayers, Jill

      • You seem to know just how i feel.Thank you. It does help. God bless you, you have been a blessing to me. I will need to cont to reach out to you…xo

      • I have recently given away my sisters kids baby clothes and tossed all my pregnancy magazines i was holding on to. They are just constant reminders and make me sad. I am angry and frustrated but never said it out loud to God. I just quit my career and working part time to decrease stress but don’t understand what my purpose is or what to do next. I need his guidance and patiently waiting, but like you said, years are going by. Please pray with me

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