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