Saturday, July 19, 2014

What Song(s) Helps you Get Through Infertility?

Mr. M here.

Songs. We all love them. They move us to joy. They console us. They speak directly to our heart. They can even move us to prayer and a deeper contemplation on many things. Many a night I have sat up listening to music to help me through various situations in life. Last night was one of those nights. Just praying and thinking about the cross of infertility. So I turned on a few songs that helped ease the pain and gave me some reflection. I will share them below along with my very subjective commentary. No effort was made to look up the real meaning behind the song. But this made me think to ask you - what songs help you cope with infertility? Please share them in the comments below.

Here is my current list and why:

Mumford and Sons, After the Storm

The lyrics are so powerful and definitely applies to any struggle: Night has always pushed up day / You must know life to see decay / But I won't rot, I won't rot / Not this mind and not this heart / I won't rot   . . . then the chorus: And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears / And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears / Get over your hill and see what you find there / With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair

Mumford and Sons, Awake My Soul

Love the lyrics to this song. These lines seem like my prayer on many nights struggling with infertility: Awake My Soul/ For You Were Made to Meet your Maker

Mumford and Sons, The Cave

Do you see a pattern here? What can I say, I really like this band. It is hard to limit it to three songs. Another great song with good lyrics. These lines resonate with me: But I will hold on hope / And I won't let you choke / On the noose around your neck / And I'll find strength in pain / And I will change my ways / I'll know my name as it's called again

I think of the noose as infertility. Clearly the song is not discussing infertility but this is what I think of when I hear this line, which I think is vague enough to cover all sorts of struggles. Also, I love the line "I'll find strength in pain". Amen. Further, this line resonated for religious reasons "I'll know my name as it's called again." I think of this as referring to Christ calling our name at Baptism. Here is our hope to get the noose off our necks. Of course, I have no idea what the songwriter was going for in these lines, but this is what I think when I hear it.

Eli Young Band, Keep on Dreamin' Even if It Breaks Your Heart

I love the Tom Petty sound and explicit tribute in this song. While the lyrics refer to a kid dreaming to be a big rockstar, the chorus applies to any dream. Here I think of our dream of having a child. No, I won't give that dream up even if it does break my heart.

Nickle Creek, House of Tom Bombadil

Great feel good song. Of course, the fact it recalls Lord of the Rings helps too. Probably could have put here Nickle Creek's song Ode to Butterfly or The Smoothie Song. In my opinion, their best songs are instrumentals.

Don Ross, Klimbim

Peaceful. Mellow. Joyful. I love listening to this instrumental song.

That's all for now! I could have added many more but these are my current favorites.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mass for infertile couples

For those in the DC/MD/VA area, this is coming up:
mass for hope and healing

Mr. M and I are attending. If you're local and can come, it would be so nice to meet others from blog-land! I will pray for each and every one of you. From reading your blogs, I think I have a good sense of what to pray for, but if you have something specific you'd like me to pray for at the mass, please feel free to let me know in a comment or at I'm excited this is on St. Joachim & St. Anne's feast day - powerful intercessors!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

post-op appt & next steps

We went to my post-op appointment on Tuesday. I dreaded it, dreaded hearing what I knew was coming, that there's nothing left for us to do, nothing medically certain, anyway.

I'm so glad Mr. M went with me. Being an ob-gyn's office, of course there were several pregnant women also waiting for their appointments. Two of them must have known each other, because they were chatting (loudly) about the one's pregnancy (her fourth - all boys) and the other's baby (her third), in for its six-week check-up. It was impossible not to listen to them talk about how the pregnant lady's baby would be 13 months younger than her last child ("I'll pray for you that you get a break after this one!"), and how the other lady has friends who get pregnant within 3 months of giving birth, etc. etc. I couldn't take it anymore and told Mr. M to come get me when they called my name and walked out into the hallway to pace and try to calm down and not get upset even before my appointment. I looked out into the parking lot and prayed the Salve Regina and tried to pray for the two women and be understanding (with minimal success, since I think it's a basic point of courtesy to realize that other people in the ob-gyn's office might be infertile, or have a recent miscarriage, or whatever, and you could save your happy conversation for a private moment).

Anyway. Deep breath. The exam itself went fine; I'm healing well and my incisions have scarred over nicely. Then the part I dreaded: Dr. S says to us gently, "I'm sorry, but you truly have unexplained infertility. There's nothing I could find that explains why you haven't conceived."

Pause in which I am trying not to cry. She asks: "What would you like to ask me?"

What is there to ask? Just to say something, I say, "Is there anything at all you recommend?"

She suggested a drug - honestly I forget it now, but I'll pick up the prescription today - that is generally prescribed to help with ovulation. But we've watched me ovulate in "real time"...but who knows, maybe it has another mechanism that can help. Maybe. (What is it about the human psyche - mine at least - that feels better when given an option, anything, even though there's no reason at all it's a helpful option, rather than no option at all?)

We asked a few other questions, and she also suggested consulting with the next nearest napro doctor if we wanted (about 2 hours away, conveniently near my parents).

"How are you doing with all this?" she asked. I couldn't answer, or I would have cried. Thankfully Mr. M is not as much of a crier and said we're disappointed and sad. "Are you talking with anyone?" Dr. S asked. I said we've seen a very good therapist and have others to support us.

Then there was nothing else to say, and she had other patients to see. We thanked her for all she did for us, and she wished us well. Honestly, and maybe strangely, I wish she would have been more visibly saddened by our situation. She was very compassionate, and I'm sure doctors need to keep emotional distance. But at that moment, I wanted someone to cry with me.


So, next steps. Trying the drug Dr. S prescribed for a few months (up to 6), starting next cycle. Maybe going for a consult at the napro office near my hometown. Maybe another thing here or there. I have some ideas floating around, and some suggestions offered by knowledgable friends, but need some time just to sit and be with our new scenario. Not to mention moving! And discerning next steps for adoption.

Mr. M has another next step in mind: Lourdes. He joked that a Lourdes pilgrimage should be part of the napro treatment, right after all medical options are exhausted. We're exploring possibilities and seeing if this is a realistic idea. Of course how fantastic would that be to find physical healing in the waters of Lourdes! But we all know that's not the most fundamental healing, and I am certain that there are dark corners of my heart, perhaps even hidden from me, that are in need of God's healing and mercy.


The image I keep coming back to is that of falling. Like a nightmare where it's all dark and you are plummeting through space with nothing to grab on to. It's disorienting and takes your breath away. Sorry, over-dramatic I guess. But it's scary to feel cut loose, like you're beyond even the reach of medicine to help you or explain your situation.

I think this is going to take some radical trust in God, even more than we've been asked to give before. After getting the non-news of non-endometriosis, I realized that somewhere deep inside I was consoling myself with the idea that soon we would find an answer, like an oasis in the desert, the sight of land after being adrift for months. Something to grab and hold onto for dear life.

(Did I - do I - make an idol of an "answer," or of a medical/technical solution to our infertility? Is that what I've put my hope in? That's what I mean by more radical trust - needing to dig deeper and trust that none of this is pointless, that even without a "solution" God has not abandoned us; more: our marriage is meaningful and fruitful even if we feel completely adrift.)

Because it seems that answers are not forthcoming. Maybe something will become more clear later. But maybe not. Maybe we'll never conceive. And maybe we will. But even then, it seems like there wouldn't be anything to point to as the "ah-ha, that's why!" answer, like a simple cause-and-effect, fix-and-succeed thing. If we do ever conceive, how could I think of it as anything other than a sheer gratuitous miracle, an incomprehensible gift with no explanation other than the boundless generosity of God?

Jesus, I trust in you. Help me fall into your arms. Help me trust you in the midst of not-knowing. You are the Answer. You are the Way. Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, of confusion, of sorrow and grayness and grief, you are by my side. Strengthen my trust in you. Free me from my desire to grasp and clutch and control. Let me be a child in your arms