Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cycle Day 1, aka Mr. M's birthday

Well, it's that time of the month again. (Actually yesterday - didn't have a chance to post.) AF showed up right on schedule, just in time for Mr. M's birthday. I was so hoping that I could add to his birthday card, "Happy," but not this time. So we start cycle 20 and keep on praying. (I was also really, realllllly hoping to not have to do the SA, but that's on our schedule for this month now.)

I could have also subtitled this post "Why I Love My Husband." If it were me, and CD1 fell on my birthday, I would have been a total puddle the entire day, crying into my birthday cake...but Mr. M is just so faithfully cheerful! He was disappointed, for sure, but he still had such a joyful attitude - he thanked me profusely for his birthday breakfast of cinnamon bun mug cake and a smoothie.

Mine looked nothing like this - they didn't explain how to get that swirly look! I guess with a frosting bag? Anyway, way too much work for 6:30 a.m. But my version still pleased my husband's sweet tooth! =)
He oohed and ahhed over the super sappy card I got him, he loved his gift of a new board game (Last Word), and he enjoyed our dinner together downtown. It was so cute - they brought him a cup of ice cream with a candle since it was his birthday, and he let the little girl at the table next to us blow it out...he's such good dad material! I don't know what I'd do without his cheerfulness - he makes me laugh, even on CD1! Despite 19 disappointing months in a row, my heart still had a swell of gratitude and happiness for the amazing man I married. Happy birthday to my best friend in the whole world!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Consolation / Desolation

I've been thinking a lot about what a friend told me a week or so ago. She said that when she lifts up Mr. M and I in prayer, she has a distinct feeling that this childless time of our life is just a season, and that this season will pass.

Oh, how I hope she's right.

Her words stuck with me because they made me think (obvious alert) about how some times of life are filled with consolation, and some are filled with desolation. I feel pretty lucky (blessed?) that most of my memories fall in the first category. I had a relatively happy childhood, got a good education, have made some amazing friends, found a wonderful husband, have traveled and done some interesting things. Lots of consolation.

But right now, the scale tips not-so-subtly toward desolation.

We've been trying to get pregnant for a year and a half. That's desolation any way you slice it.

My parents are going through some serious troubles. Mr. M's parents are already divorced. Both situations are really tough.

Mr. M just got a serious setback on his PhD work.

I wouldn't describe my job as my dream job. I'm so grateful for it and love my coworkers, but it's not what I want to do for the rest of my life.

And smaller things: our apartment is somewhat cramped, it's blah wintertime, my paycheck is lower than it was last year, our hall light is broken and dangling down from the ceiling in the most ghetto way possible, whine whine whine.

In general, the word I would use to describe how I've felt lately is stagnant. I feel like nothing is happening in my life - nothing I want to happen, anyway. Compared to other times of my life, when I felt happier and like things were more interesting and more vibrant, this has been a tough chunk of time.

Then today, I had lunch with a wonderful friend who was visiting from out of town. I haven't seen her since before she got married in July. Turns out she is expecting a honeymoon baby, due in May. She and her husband are living in her hometown and just bought what sounds like a dream "starter" house. As I was listening to her, I felt the now-familiar green creep of jealousy working its way up from my heart. I'm so happy for her, truly, but between us, I had to walk back to work awfully slowly to quell the sobs that came right on cue.

But it did occur to me that my friend hasn't always had it this good. She's gone through her own times of desolation, one of which was about the same time that I was engaged and getting married - a time of consolation if ever there was one! I wonder how she felt then. Maybe like I feel now.

I told her before we parted that I was struggling, and that I could really use something right happening in my life - some good news for once! I hesitated to bring up my gloominess in the face of all her joy - but I guess that's what good friends are for, right? She was very sympathetic, and agreed that sometimes things are just tough. But then, she said, you turn a corner, often precipitated by a surprise, and whammo, consolation is back. And I know she knows that shift from experience.

I really hope to find that corner soon. I really hope this season of desolation ends. Spring comes every year, right?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why I Love My Husband #1

I thought this would be a fun series to start, and certainly uplifting!

Why I Love My Husband: Reason #1

I love tea. And hot chocolate. Really, hot drinks of any kind. Especially in winter. So I was quite sad yesterday when Mr. M called me at work to tell me that my beloved teakettle had started to flake off from the inside and had dumped a lot of gross paint flecks or something in his teacup. Gross!

I love my husband because he drove all around town yesterday, trying to find a teakettle for me. But they were all so over-priced or were boring colors like stainless steel or white. Or they didn't have whistles.

But then he spent time this morning finding teakettles online that are right up my alley.

He even found one that's identical to my lately bemoaned kettle, which my mom had found at a thrift store!

Yes, it is a cow =) And it has a little bell that actually rings and a tail!
He also sent me links to other wonderful-looking kettles:

It has leaves on the whistle!
Such cute little horns!

Not an animal - still very pretty.

I can't figure out how to get out of caption mode...anyway,  I love my husband because he went out of his way to find me a lovely kettle so I can have hot drinks again =)


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This valley of tears

Some days, the waiting is just more painful than other days. I can't quite figure out why. It's not like anything major happened. Maybe it's hormones? I do know I have two events coming up this weekend where I'll be the only married non-mother, and even though the events in general are things I'm looking forward to, I dread being the odd one out (again). Or maybe it's because Mr. M's birthday is coming up and it's hard to think of celebrating another birthday without a little M. Plus, lately birthdays make that biological clock tick a little bit louder...Or maybe it's just feeling like I'm stuck in a rut, doing the same old thing, never having enough time for things I enjoy, just feeling kind of stagnant.

Whatever it is, today's a day that praying the Salve Regina brings me a lot of comfort, particularly the line that says:

"To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears."

Yep, life lately does feel like a valley of tears, punctuated by way too few valleys of sunshine and smiles. (Can you tell that infertility has really brought out my melancholic temperament?) I guess this prayer always comforts me because it acknowledges that life can be really, really hard. Even as a Christian. Mary knew that - probably more than any of us. This earth is not our final home. Perfect happiness is not found here. I don't think that's "escapist" thinking as much as recognizing that we are pilgrims heading toward a home about which we've only been given fleeting glimpses. And on days like today, I find that comforting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Eucharist & Pregnancy, or, Do you realize what you've received?

As my little "About me" blurb says, I'm a Catholic convert. That's a story for another time, but the cliff notes version is that I became Catholic at the Easter Vigil my sophomore year of college. I had been attending mass for about a year, having started my freshman year because I was reading such wonderful and slightly shocking things about the Church and I decided I needed to see what Catholic worship was like in action. I still remember my very first time at mass: I sat on the left side, halfway back, and I must have looked like I was doing the wave! Everyone stood up, then I stood up. Everyone kneeled, then I kneeled. I had no clue what was going on.

But I made myself stick it out just to get the hang of it, and lo and behold if I didn't fall in love with Jesus in the Eucharist! And I fell hard. I had been raised in churches with the Lord's Supper, so I was familiar with the externals of the ritual. But to read that Catholics believe that Jesus is actually present in the bread and the wine - body, blood, soul, and divinity - and to see this miracle take place right before my eyes at every mass - wowie.

I still remember vividly what it was like to attend mass after I was given the gift of faith in Jesus' real presence in the Eucharist, but before I could receive Him myself. I was so happy to be there, but my heart longed to receive Him. I would kneel during communion and as the line of people moved toward the altar, I would think: "Do they realize what they're about to receive? Do they know that they're about to receive Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, into their very bodies? Can they see that heaven is opening up before them??" and so on. Typical convert =)

And yes, Easter Vigil 2005 was unspeakably special! I've never regretted becoming Catholic, and on the contrary often find myself still struck by a profound sense of gratitude at coming into the treasure trove of the Church.

So here's the connection with pregnancy: in my current state of longing-to-be-a-mother, I have an incredible sense of awe when I see a pregnant woman. Not that it's not mixed with other less palatable emotions (jealousy, for starters...) but I have a similar train of thought that my pre-Catholic self had re: the Eucharist: "Does she realize what a miracle is taking place in her body right now? That there's an actual human person living out of sight, tucked beneath her heart? That she is supplying everything that little one needs? That no matter what she does or where she goes, her son/daughter is with her, waiting, living, squirming, growing, etc.? That she and her husband have co-created an immortal human soul? How does she go about her day-to-day life when such a momentous thing is taking place??" and so on.

Mothering really gets me too. I was telling Mr. M the other night about how much I look forward (God-willing) to experiencing all the "firsts" with our children: how amazing it must be to show your child their first snowflake, their first spring daffodil, to kiss their first skinned knee, braid their hair for the first time, watch them eat their first banana, hear the words "mom" or "dad" for the first time. To be a mother seems like a fairytale land of wonder to me!

I'm trying my hardest not to be totally naive. I do know that pregnancy is not all bliss and cute "bump" clothes, and that parenting means risk and heartache as well as love and hugs. But maybe something I've gained from this trial of infertility is the ability to see and appreciate the real jaw-dropping wonder-full semi-miraculous event that begetting a child is? I don't know. Maybe I'll look back at this post in 5 years and laugh at how unrealistic I was. But I kind of hope not. Because having been Catholic for 7 years now, I don't laugh at my pre-Catholic self who couldn't take her eyes off Jesus in the Eucharist. Actually, I think I had it more right then - now, it's harder to remember Who is present at mass and Who I'm receiving. I have to remind myself of the miracle that's taking place right before my eyes, so as not to get "sluggish," as the first reading today said.

Wrapping this up...I guess it's not like we'll ever fully grasp the miracle and beauty of transubstantiation, or of pregnancy, or of existence, or love, for that matter. I guess that's because we're finite. Anyway, this post shares something I've been thinking about for a while.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Quick Takes #2

Happy Friday!

1. I've only had my blog public for the last week or so, and it's already been a very enriching experience. Thank you! Full confession: I've been a "lurker" of many blogs for a while now, and it's very exciting to get to know some of you a little better. I've so appreciated everyone's blogs - your thoughts and reflections, especially on subfertility, have helped me so much. So thanks! I only wish that we could all meet in person =) Maybe someday!

2. Guess what? Mr. M and I won a vacation! Way back in the summertime, we filled out one of those contest forms at an air show. And just this past week we got a call saying that we were selected as finalists. Here's the "catch": we have to pick up our award (yet to be determined) at a resort in the countryside near us. But it's not really a catch because they're paying for us to stay at the resort for 2 nights. (I think the real catch is, based on what we've googled, they put a lot of pressure on you to buy a time share at their resort - seeing how we completely cannot afford that now, it won't be too difficult to say no. But apparently they can be pretty pushy.) Anyway, we're going on our free getaway in February. We never really do things like this (accept prizes that may have strings attached) but they caught us at such a perfect time. January has been so blah and I am really in need of a vacation with just the two of us! So I hope it's fun and relaxing and we're not snookered out of our life savings...

3. In other happy news, a long-lost friend returned, one that I was missing very much...Mr. Sun! Seriously, it seemed like the sun didn't come out for 2 years! Or maybe 3 days - but still, I'm awfully affected by weather, I guess, but the dismal, gray, blah-ness outside was making me want to curl up in a ball and sniffle. I was so happy to see the sun this morning! I even turned my desk at work around so I'm now facing my window and can see the glorious, glorious blue sky.

4. I used some Christmas money to buy the book Nourishing Traditions. Has anyone read it and/or used any of the recipes? It's teaching me a lot about food and food preparation, and I'm rather alarmed at how much (it seems) our culture sacrifices nutrition and quality on the altar of convenience. I find the book a bit overwhelming, though. Some of her suggestions are radical: drink only raw milk, soak all your grains, cut out sugar, etc. I'm ready to try some of the radical stuff in an effort to get as healthy as possible - but I'm going to take baby steps. (And I'd be so appreciative of any advice from people who have read/used her book.)

5. Update on the SA, since I mentioned that last week: this cycle was a fail. We found a hotel near the hospital where we have to take the "sample," but all the rooms were either booked or way over-priced because of the Inaguaration (which gives you a hint as to where we live if you'd like to come visit!). So us cheapos decided to wait until next cycle. Oh well. I'm not going to say we were completely crushed to not have to do it, but I am anxious to move on to other things.

6. We have a fig tree in our living room. It's a cutting from Grandpa M's fig tree that he keeps in his garage during the winter. We have it sitting next to a south-facing window, near a heater, and not surprisingly, it thinks it's spring time! It has lovely big leaves and just this morning I saw little baby figs on it! I'm not sure whether to be excited about this or concerned that it's interior sense of seasons is way off.

7. And to conclude: I really enjoy the little "Friday Funnies" that people sometimes put on these, so I'll share something that I think is funny: joke Amazon reviews. Maybe you've seen these already. For example, reviews of the BIC pen "for her" say things like:

"Someone has answered my gentle prayers and FINALLY designed a pen that I can use all month long! I use it when I'm swimming, riding a horse, walking on the beach and doing yoga. It's comfortable, leak-proof, non-slip and it makes me feel so feminine and pretty! Since I've begun using these pens, men have found me more attractive and approchable."

Or: "I love the pretty colors and skinniness, but I'm only giving two stars because they're annoying. For one thing, they dot every "i" with a little heart. They also won't make periods at the ends of sentences; it's a question mark or exclamation point every time, also dotted with hearts--SUPER annoying."

I don't know why, but these crack me up. (Warning: some are a little crude. But most aren't.) If you need a chuckle, I recommend reading them! The reviews on the 3 wolf moon t-shirt are pretty funny too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Words I love to hear

Today I ran into an old friend and he asked me, "How's your family?" meaning myself and my husband. There's something about that phrase that always makes me happy - I think it's the recognition that Mr. M and I are already a family - a family that hopes to welcome children, but a family nonetheless! It's such a small phrase, but it means a lot to me.

"The family, in fact, is born of the intimate communion of life and love founded on the marriage between one man and one woman. ... The family unit, in fact, is born from the communion of persons." (The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, nos. 211, 213)

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Where's Da Proof?"

My grandfather-in-law is what you would call a“character,” in a good way! He's full-blooded Italian, born in southern Italy. He grew up in the countryside, fought in the Italian resistance during World War II, and was rewarded with the approvals he needed to immigrate to America with his wife and two children (one of whom would become Mr. M's dad). Grandpa M is now in his upper 80's, a little wizened old man. He lost his wife last year, just days before their 65th wedding anniversary. He makes his own wine by the gallon, including the wine for our wedding! He cures meat in the basement, and when he was more active he grew the most linear, weed-free garden I've ever seen. He's a real treasure to our family and I feel blessed to know him.

But sometimes he can be a Like when we're all sitting around the lunch table and he looks at me and Mr. M and says very loudly. “Hey! You married now – but where's da proof?” and then gesticulates with one of those Italian gestures that means everything and nothing. “I no see proof,” he concludes, chuckling to himself at his little joke.

Cue a blush and a change of subject. Or a hasty retreat to the restroom if it's just one of those days.

I know Grandpa doesn't mean anything by his comments. He's old, and he says a lot of things that we take with a grain of salt. (Before we got engaged, he would ask us, loudly, “When you marry? You nice guy, she nice girl. What you wait for?” etc.) But his words did get me thinking in an examination-of-conscience sort of way. The idea of having to “prove” you're married by having a baby...hmmm. Well, I have never gone that far, but early on in our marriage, I really wanted to show everyone what good, open-to-life Catholics we were by having a baby right away. I don't fault myself completely for this line of thought. Obviously there's nothing inherently wrong about having a baby right away – and I sincerely wanted to witness to particular people in my life that a baby doesn't ruin your life and that you don't have to be completely “arrived” before adding to your family.

But I think there was a fair amount of pride in my desire, too. I had long got the sense that having a large family was the thing good Catholics do, and I really wanted everyone to think of me as a good Catholic. I wanted to “prove” my faithfulness and obedience by having a baby right away. Then no one could doubt that Mr. M and I were completely on board with the Church's teachings, and eager to welcome new Catholics into the world.

Wow, have I learned a lot! The first six months or so of trying to get pregnant were hard in large part because I felt like I wasn't living up to some unstated expectation about “good Catholics” not waiting to have kids. (Not that this was explicit to me at the time – it's a lot clearer in retrospect.) I especially dreaded people thinking that we were relying on a worldly mentality of postponing children for less-than-grave reasons, or, worse, that we were using contraception. Because, of course, we looked the same outwardly as a contracepting couple, or a couple who puts off having kids until they buy their dream house, vacation in Hawaii, become CEO, or whatever.

And I think that's the heart of the distortion right there: I cared a lot about what other people thought about us, particularly what they thought about how fast (or slow) we had children. But the reality is (and it's still something I'm learning), that really doesn't matter. It just doesn't. God knows that we've been open to life our entire marriage. He knows we've held nothing back. And that's all that matters. But it's so hidden! The world doesn't necessarily know that we've been open to life. The world doesn't see our interior longing and suffering. But God does. He is closer to me than I am to myself, as the spiritual maxim goes. And so I have nothing to“prove” to the world, or even to Grandpa =)

Realizing this has brought me a lot of interior peace. Of course I would still love to be a witness to the world through welcoming many children as gifts and not rejecting them as burdens. But for now, that's not how I'm called to witness. I'm called to witness to the gift of life in a much more hidden way. Through interior acceptance of God's primacy in procreation, and acceptance that children are given, not earned or obtained or bargained for. Through loving my husband for his own sake and not as my ticket to motherhood. Through offering up each and every tear and heartache for other suffering people, and particularly for pregnant women and those thinking of abortion. (A friend of mine says that the devil is particularly outraged when we offer up our suffering for the person or situation that we're suffering from – a neat idea, I think!) The point is that all of this soul-activity is hidden from the world - but it's bright and blazing to the eyes of God! He sees, and He cares. And my peace comes from truly believing that.




Friday, January 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes #1

Attempting the 7 Quick Takes for the first time.

1. Fun weekend plans: Mr. M's birthday is coming up, and he requested an art tour at a local museum for his birthday outing. Actually two tours (both free): one on French painting of the 17th & 18th centuries, and one on Italian renassaince (sp?) painting. We both like art but are rather uneducated, so it should be fun!

2. Also, it's supposed to be almost 70 degrees tomorrow! (!!!!) This makes me wish that I had planted a winter garden, although I'm sure that if I did, we'd immediately get a cold snap, i.e. real winter.

3. Also about the weather: my strong prefence is to have winter weather in winter. I love being cozy inside, watching the snow fall, wearing comfy sweaters, etc.

4. I'm eating sweet potato fries for lunch. Cold sweet potato fries, because our floor's microwave was being hogged by someone warming up what seemed like an entire lasagna, and I was too lazy to go to another floor.

5. I'm really proud of me and Mr. M for going to the gym at least once a week, usually two. Our goal is three times a week, so we're working up to it. It feels great to move! And I'm really hoping getting in shape will help our fertility. We're not horribly out of shape but we could stand to lose some weight and trim up. Plus it's just relaxing to run for a while, sweat, do some weights, and have time to think.

6. Speaking of fertility, scheduling an SA for Mr. M has been a real headache. The 1st place, where we had a prescription to, told us very snottily that they don't take our insurance and the test would be $200 (plus a hotel room since it wasn't near us). Also they're a huge IVF place, which made me uncomfortable. The 2nd place, right down the road from us, said that they take our insurance and that you don't need an appointment, but when we called the day we wanted to test, they said that they only do SA's for post-vascectomy patients. Wierd? The 3rd place, which takes our insurance and does SA's for anyone, is not near us, so we're back to getting a hotel room. Sigh. So complicated. And we're kind of stuck on this step before doing any more testing on me. It makes sense to find out what (if anything) is going on with Mr. M, but it's just such a headache.

7. And I'm out of things to say =)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When dreaming is hard

Mr. M and I have been attending a neat monthly program at a retreat center near us. It's geared toward newlyweds and each month there's a different speaker on a newlywed-pertinent topic (in-laws, intimacy, etc.). This month the topic was finances. I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the evening because I was hoping for some nitty-gritty tips on budgets and long-term financial planning, things like that. We did get some of that, but the couple presenter team (who also give talks on openness to life) spent a fair amount of time encouraging us newlyweds that having a big family and having one parent stay home is totally doable. Inside my heart is groaning, "Please don't go there...."

I guess some of the attendees needed to hear that message, judging by some of their comments and questions. And I get that in our culture, not working outside the home is often viewed as ridiculous. And of course "big" families for many people is more than 2 children. I get all that. It's just not the message I needed to hear because it's exactly what I want and don't have. More than anything else in the whole world, I want a big family and I want to be a stay-at-home mom. And I want it now, please! My heart longs for that with an intensity that is painful. And that's exactly what we don't have right now, despite our best efforts. So during a lot of the talk I was engaged in putting my mind elsewhere to not feel the stab of the knife: "Really, being a stay-at-home mom is so fun!" "Kids aren't that expensive. And they're such a blessing!" "Our first child was unexpected - surprise! - but she's a joy every day" etc. etc. (I don't mean to mock the speakers - they really are lovely people. Their points were just not what I needed to hear - and were also not helping me with our family economics!)

Then toward the end, they gave us three questions to discuss with our spouse. The first were fine, kind of bland and basic. But the last one struck a chord. They wanted us to imagine that we're sitting at our dinner table in 10 years: "Look around. What do you see? How many people are there? What kind of house?" etc. etc. I get that this type of mental exercise can help in financial planning, to know how much you want to save/invest/spend to achieve your dream. But man! I could not take it. Because I'm so scared that I'll be at that table in 10 years, look around, and it's still just me and Mr. M. (And maybe a dog?) I love Mr. M with all my heart and then some - but I'd like some little Ms to be there too! I just could not do this 10-year dream thing without feeling the sting of tears in my eyes and feeling fear that my dearest, most precious dream of motherhood won't come true. That in 10 years I'll still be as barren as I am now.

I even raised my hand and said: "Can you be more specific? Because a lot of things are beyond our control, and you can't just plan for them." I hope I wasn't too strident; maybe none of the other newlyweds is in my shoes at all. But the whole dream exercise struck me as overly presumptuous, as if we can plan for every contingency, down to how many children we want around our table.

So I guess something I want to ponder is: is this a bad thing that my heart is not open to dreaming long-term? And what do I do with my dearest dreams? Right now I'm mentally hiding them away behind a locked door because they're too beautiful and too painful to contemplate. Am I lacking hope? That's concerning. Jesus, please give me more hope. Hope that I'll sit at my table in 10 years and be a holier, happier woman, despite everything and anything.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Pregnancy announcements

At my last count, at least 20 friends or family members have gotten pregnant in the same time frame that we've been trying to get pregnant. That's not including coworkers or people I see at mass but don't know personally. I have had such an interior struggle with each and every one of these announcements. It's like a battle warring within me: on the one hand, I'm thrilled for the bearer of good news (and a new baby!) and so happy that another little soul has come into the world...on the other hand, I can't help but feel a stab of sadness that it's not me making the announcement. (Will it ever be me?) Even writing that, I cringe at how selfish it sounds. Hello - someone else's pregnancy is not about me.

But still, it's hard to tell my broken heart to take a back seat. Emotions are so tricky! Mine especially feel out of control lately. I want to be happy for and with newly pregnant women. I really do. And there was a time before our fertility struggles that feeling happy for a pregnancy came naturally. For example, it shocked me a little this morning to think back to a particular announcement about two years ago, before I was married. I knew they had been wanting to be parents for a while, and the joy I felt at hearing their good news was pure and undiluted. I rejoiced with them, wanted to hear all about how they found out, and wanted to dream with them about their new baby whose face they would see in nine months.

Flash-forward to yesterday: I feel terrible about this, but upon hearing the same good news from the same couple, it was all I could do to think of the right words to say and smile convincingly despite the sudden ringing in my ears, constriction of my heart, and strong desire to run away, run away! I asked the right questions (I hope) but my heart wasn't in it at all. Honestly, I feel embarrased at myself. I'm trying to give myself some slack - sometimes I think of myself as one of the "walking wounded," which doesn't seem that far from the mark - but I feel guilty for not being able to whole-heartedly rejoice in my friends' announcement without a "Why not me?" reverberating in my aching heart.

Sigh. I hope that if we ever get to the "other side" of this painful journey, I'll be back to my earlier joyful self. I hope my heart isn't becoming shriveled from the constant strain of longing. (I also hope I'll never forget the pain of infertility - it struck me that maybe someday the tables could be reversed, and I'd be the one making the painful-to-someone-else announcement.) And most of all, I hope I'm not becoming a selfish person, an "incurvatus in se" - twisted in on myself kind of person. As my husband often reminds me, you don't need a child to become a saint!