7QTs | Infertility Awareness Week

This week is Infertility Awareness week, so here are 7 quick takes on the subject of infertility.

7QT Infertility Awareness

1. When my husband and I were engaged, people would constantly ask us about kids. Our standard response was, “We’d love a two-deep football team, but we’re open to however many children God gives us.” It never occurred to me that this saying could mean that God would choose to give us FEWER children than we desired. We started Natural Family Planning during our engagement, and after a few months and a referral to a NaPro doctor, we learned that my hormone levels meant that conceiving naturally could be nearly impossible. We were told, however, that typically this type of fertility issue could be treated with hormone injections.

2.The grief that followed that visit was intense – I put on a happy face, but there was something fundamental that shifted in me that day. I think I learned a little bit more about who was in control, and about how following the teachings of the Catholic Church could challenge us in ways we wouldn’t dream. Accepting the dignity inherent in sex between a husband and wife, and recognizing that children are people – not things – meant that we were not going to be able to pursue most “secular” routes of fertility treatments. If we couldn’t heal my body and conceive in a way adherent to our belief system, we may not have biological children.

3. The cost to learn this, and the cost to fix it did not come without expense. Natural Family Planning isn’t covered by our insurance, so our learning fees came out of pocket. This was at least $500. Our NaPro physician is also not covered by our insurance (to be fair, he doesn’t take insurance since he uses the money from NFP visits to help pay for his clinic to assist the uninsured.) These visits have cost us at least another $500. Additionally, the medication that balances my hormone levels, ridding me of PMS symptoms, assisting me with my depression, and increasing my energy levels, is ALSO not covered by insurance. This runs $100/month. It is SO frustrating to watch people fight so hard to get women access to birth control (which break something that’s working perfectly well) and then to have an insurance company deny a medication which is actually FIXING an issue. We are lucky enough that our finances or location in relation to a NaPro doctor haven’t been a hindrance to getting the medical care that I need, however others aren’t so lucky.

3. So now, every month that I’m not pregnant, I receive 4 delightful shots. Pro tip: if you’d like to get closer to your spouse and your sister, have your sister teach your spouse how to give you a shot in the butt. Other pro tip: If you’re teaching someone how to give an intramuscular shot and you say “stick it with about as much force as you would use to throw a dart” make sure that you witness how hard your learner throws a dart. As it turns out, my husband throws his darts with the intensity of a major league pitcher.

5. We were blessed to conceive Kateri about 6 months into our marriage and 2 months into the delightful hormone injections. With blood draws every two weeks and progesterone supplementation, we were able to carry Kateri to full term.

6. While we were blessed with a beautiful little girl, I feel as if I know .01% of the pain that infertile couples suffer. We don’t know if we’ll be able to conceive again, and we do know that if we do it will likely be as a result of many shots and blood tests. In bearing this cross, however, we have become much more sensitive to others who may continue to bear the cross of infertility. We have watched friends lose children to miscarriage, and who struggle for years before finally being able to bear a child. Our experience allows us to know just a tiny sliver of the pain that they go through.

7. We have also learned the most important lesson: each child is a human being, endowed with infinite worth and value. A child is not a commodity I can demand. Anytime I catch myself frustrated with my subfertility, dreaming of many little feet running around our home, I am reminded that we have already been given a gift of infinite worth. We can pray fervently for more gifts (if it be His will), but we cannot force them to be given. So during this week of Infertility Awareness, please know that if you are struggling or have struggled with infertility, I am praying for you. Praying for peace, acceptance, and that God’s will be done.

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Check out that infinitely valuable human soul. She’s pretty cute, eh?

One of the beautiful gifts of the Catholic blogosphere is the frank discussion about and support of those suffering from infertility. For more fantastic insight on fertility and infertility, check out out Molly’s blog and her guest article over at Jenny’s. Kendra’s article was something I wish someone had told me when I was younger, and Annie has a great reflection on what comes after infertility. Melody has rounded up a variety of folks experiences, and Michele’s experience & reflection very much echoes my own.

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7 Quick Takes

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Linking up with the lovely Kelly for some #7QT fun!

1. We bought a house! Yay! We move in June and could NOT be more excited.

2. The house has a lot of oak woodwork. Like, a ridiculous amount. Please, look at that amount of woodwork.IS1jje7bj6h0f50000000000On no planet will I be found painting said woodwork white, even though Pinterest tells me that NO ONE lives in a house with non-white woodwork. Instead I’ll be trying to make at least one room look presentable enough to post a single post to Pinterest to encourage others that you can keep your woodwork and still have a house that doesn’t look like it’s stuck in the early 90’s.

3. Don’t hold your breath while waiting for the decorating post mentioned above – I’ve never painted a room, and the only furniture I’ve ever purchased is a coffee table that I bought from Salvation army and left in its original, and very imperfect state. Don’t worry though – I have had the table for 3 years and have about 78 different articles pinned for how I can change it into something FABULOUS. So the odds that I’ll be able to turn our oak-ridden house into something Pinterest worthy with no examples is exactly….0.

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The weather here has been gorgeous and since Kateri prefers to do one 3 hour nap in the morning and no naps in the afternoon we’ve been spending a LOT of time at local parks. It’s been SO much fun and I already have more color this year than I did all of last year. Rock on weather.

5. Our little lady has figured out how to climb stairs, sit down, go down the slide, and get off of the slide all on her own. This makes afternoons at the park make mama’s back hurt a *little* bit less.

6. Eva and I are finally getting ready to book plane tickets to Edel! SO excited!

7. We have an awesome friend who is a Jesuit, and who writes for the Jesuit Post. Dan just published an excellent article on the Cristo Rey model of schools (schools that partner with businesses to help kids work one day a week and pay for their tuition). Check him (and the Jesuit Post) out for some great reflections!

The Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge

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I’m a little late to the party, but I’m joining Anne in her 2015 reading challenge.  As background, you should know that I tend towards crime thrillers and science fiction, with a few dashes of historical fiction and anything labeled a “classic.” I am not a fan of chick-lit or anything sad. Here’s what I’m planning to read in each category!

A book I’ve been meaning to read: The Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis

I have tried SO many times to read the Chronicles and every time I give up. I think I just need to get over the hump and tough it out – how can I not like a young adult science fiction set of stories with Christian themes?!? I got this on Audible and I’m hoping to listen to it during some of the many “windshield hours” I’ve been logging. I’m not really into audio books so we’ll see if this lasts. (and if I renew my 30 day trial to Audible!)

Update: Listening to this on Audible was a GREAT idea. The version I got was slightly dramatized and I LOVED it. I’m glad I can finally claim to have read the whole series and this will definitely be read aloud to Kateri when she’s older.

A book published this year: I’m leaving this category open until something new piques my interest at the library!

A book in a genre I don’t typically read: The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self Control by Walter Mischel

I’m excited to read this one and maybe pick up some tips for teaching self control to Kateri. It’s such a hugely important skill to have but something so hard to teach.

Update: This was super dry and I just couldn’t get through it. It is VERY rare that I stop reading a book, but this one just repeated too much information too often. Just couldn’t do it!

A book from my childhood: The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron

I remember being very small and having my aunt and godmother say this was HER favorite book from HER childhood. It quickly became my favorite, but I couldn’t tell you any of the plot right now. We’ll see how it holds up to an adult reading…

A book my mom loves: Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton 

My mom recommended this book to me and since it’s written by a Mom blogger, I feel there’s very little chance I won’t like it!

A book that was originally written in a different language: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law bought me a copy of this when we were at Powell’s in Portland and I’m excited to get a start on it. This is another one that everyone seems to have read. My husband was excited for me to read it but when I asked him what it was about he said “I don’t know – I read it in French.” Seems like a good recommendation to read it in my first language.

A book “everyone” has read but me: In this House of Brede by Rumor Godden

Based on Haley and Christy’s recommendations, I’m going to try Brede. It seems like a TON of people commented that they love this book, so I’m hoping I do too!

A book I chose because of the cover: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This one is almost a cheat because I saw it on MMD’s Pinterest board for this challenge and it seemed super popular. It does have a super stunning cover though, so I’m going to call it fair to put in this category.

A book by a favorite author: Outlander books 5-8 by Diana Gabaldon

I’m not sure if I’d list Diana Gabaldon as a “favorite author” but I do LOVE the Outlander series (although some of the racier parts I skip over) and I’ve been taking a little break from them trying to read some different things. I’m excited to get back to some Jamie & Claire.

A book recommended by someone with great taste: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

She doesn’t know she “recommended” this because I stole it from her Goodreads, but if Kate likes something, there’s a high chance I will too!

A book I should have read in high school: East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I think my high school English lists were lacking in more ways than one, so it wasn’t hard to choose something in this category. My degree in college was based on the Great Books but we only covered up to about 1950 so my modern classics gap is pretty big. Who better to start with than Steinbeck?

A book that’s currently on the best seller list: All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

My mom bought this for my sister for Christmas so I’m excited to be able to borrow it. It’s popularity makes it SO hard to get a copy at the library!

Update: At first I couldn’t understand what the fuss was about – it took me a while to get really sucked into the story. About a quarter of the way in I started to get more interested and by the end I couldn’t put it down. I love the unique way the story was told and how the two stories are woven together moving back and forth through time. I understand why it’s a bestseller!