He Cried More

He Cried More

Last night I went to my first healing service. I never would have gone on my own, but my mother-in-law has been inviting me for a few months now, so I went. Knock long enough and the door opens.

At one point in the night, I went to confession to a priest I’ve never met, and I told him about the trauma of learning at age 16 that I was born without a uterus. I told him that I didn’t even feel like I belong at a “women’s night” when I’m missing something that is so central to what we perceive womanhood to be. Little girls play with baby dolls, and as Christians we hold a deep love and admiration for the mother of Jesus. I didn’t even know if I would be allowed to be married. I didn’t know how a potential husband would take the news. Pregnancies and talk of “starting a family” bring up a host of traumatic memories and wounds so deep that many will never understand. We talked about that for a long time. And he said something to me that no one has ever said before.

“As much as you’ve cried over this, since age 16, God cried more.”

The priest continued, “He loves life, He loves babies! He didn’t plan for this to happen to you. He is right there with you.”

I have never “blamed” God for MRKH, but I always just kind of assumed that he must be ok with it, since he allowed it. But there is evil in the world as a result of sin, and it has nothing to do with the paradise that God originally planned. There is physical evil, like Ebola and cancer and the common cold, and there is natural evil, like hurricanes and tornadoes… and being born without a uterus. He didn’t want this to happen. It wasn’t part of the plan. It grieves him too.

He cried more.

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Anything-Can-Happen October

A week ago (while we were on our Great Western Vacation), I got one amazing piece of news. I’ve been chosen as this month’s Adopt-A-Blogger by This Cross I Embrace, a wonderful blog that I’ve been following for years, and mentioned in this previous post. I am so incredibly grateful for this. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers and support. If you’ve never heard of this beautiful prayer campaign, check this out:

Adopt-a-Blogger

I’ve been asked to write a few paragraphs about myself, and truth be told, I don’t know what to say. My infertility journey is a little unusual. At age 16, when I still hadn’t gotten my first period, my mom took me to a number of doctors until someone was finally able to figure out the issue. To everyone’s shock, we discovered that I was born with MRKH- a rare birth defect that affects 1 in 5000 women: I was born without a uterus, cervix, and, well- check this website out for more information, if you’re curious as to details. That kind of shock doesn’t just literally affect the course of your life- it also creates a huge identity crisis. Was I actually female? Was I still like every other girl? Why did God make me this way? What was the purpose of this? Why make me female and Catholic without any hope of becoming a mother?

That was 10 years ago. In that time, I’ve done a lot of grieving, and I’ve come a long way. I learned that having a uterus isn’t what makes someone a woman (even though in our English language, we refer to a girl’s first period as “becoming a woman”). I’ve learned that being a faithful Catholic does not mean that your marriage must produce 6+ children. I’ve learned that my life has meaning and value, and that God does have a purpose, even if I can’t see all of it at once.

I feel like Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz. There’s nothing in that black bag of cures for me- yet if I’ve learned that if I really want happiness, I can find it in my own back yard.

James and I are looking forward to adoption, and hopefully we’ll be able to start the process in the Spring. In these past 10 years, I thought I had done my share of grieving, and it seemed that I had come to peace with my own loss. But, oddly enough, marriage has made me start grieving again. I’m grieving for my husband’s loss. I’m grieving for our loss as a couple. I (and we) need healing and help with this grief. If you are so kind as to participate in this wonderful program with TCIE, please consider praying for our emotional healing and for us to get through this new stage of grief, and for us to have courage and success with adoption, if it is God’s will for us.

Thank you, and God bless.

Finding Our Purpose

This morning on Pinterest, I was reminded of St. Catherine of Siena’s famous quote, “If you are who you were meant to be, you will set the world on fire.” Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my purpose, the purpose of marriage, and the purpose of our marriage in particular.

Building the Kingdom. That doesn’t only mean co-creating children, necessarily. It means living to the fullest in your state of life. Christianity without suffering isn’t Christianity, it’s Paganism. We can all be nice and get along. What makes Christianity different? It’s our willingness to bear wrongs patiently in the name of our God. Its taking up your cross daily, and striving to live according to the Gospel.

We want to adopt someday. We’ve visited several local agencies and are forming a plan of how to go about this. For some reason though, I don’t feel that now is the time to start this process. We’ve only been married for a year, we have some debts we’d like to pay, and some traveling we’d like to do. We’d like to be in a position where I could stay home with the baby at least two or three days a week.

I feel like God is calling us to something else right now. I just don’t know what it is. And yes, we still have major emotional breakdowns whenever someone we know announces a pregnancy, but that has more to do with grief and less to do with adoption. Does it makes sense to say we’re peaceful about our current childlessness, yet grieving our infertility?

And so we will keep praying, keep loving, keep being. We know that God has plans for us, and so far He has only led us to beautiful, beautiful things.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Just don’t open it.

Just don’t open it.

Those ancient Greeks were pretty insightful when you think about it. Pandora, the first woman, had a box full of crazy that was better left closed. I bet most of us can relate to that. I found mine a few weeks ago.

Christmas Eve was a tough one this year, emotionally. The week of Thanksgiving, I had a CT scan that showed I had a didelphic uterus, rather than uterine remnants. The difference here is huge. My original diagnosis from 10 years ago meant there was never, ever, any chance of pregnancy, ever. The message from the CT scan meant that there may in fact be a chance of something, someday, with minor surgery. After 10 years of grieving, someone gave a glimmer of hope. So, to get a better sense of this confusing situation, I scheduled an ultrasound for the morning of December 24th.

I had put this behind me. 2004 was the year I spent going to doctor after doctor, getting test after test to figure out what was going on inside of me. MRKH was a blow. It was so hard. It has taken almost a decade to come to grips with. I have spent 10 years grieving the loss of any hope of pregnancy, ever. To have the door of possibility opened again after all of this time is so scary. I want to hope for it, but I’m so afraid to get my hopes up.

The ultrasound went fine, but about 10 minutes after I left the building, they called and asked me to come back for another one. I cried. I thought my days of being a guinea pig were over.

It was easier when I was 16. When I was 16, I didn’t really understand what this meant for my life, and it didn’t really matter.

I want to know which way to go. I want to know if I should continue with my grieving and move toward adoption, or if I should continue seeking medical treatment. I imagine that this is the way it feels for countless other couples dealing with infertility. When is it time to leave behind the doctors? When do you decide that you are done with tests, exams, and rude questions? How do you make the choice to leave behind any chance of pregnancy?

Do you ever stop believing in miracles?

After a week of hoping, the news came back (on December 31) that everything was as it was before, and the doctor only ordered more tests because of a possible renal track anomaly. I wonder if he had any idea what kind of emotional worm-can this opened. I heard on the news yesterday that 9 women in Sweden received uterus transplants, but pregnancy would still have to be achieved via IVF. That’s a step closer, but I still don’t think there’s anything in that black bag for me.

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve gotten back to where I was before Thanksgiving. Maybe I’m even better than I was before. We signed up for our first adoption agency information meeting. It’s not for a few weeks, but that is perfectly fine. We’re going to take our time with this.

I do believe in miracles, and I always will. Right now, though, I think our miracle is going to come in the way we least expect.

And, truth be told, there is so much good happening in my life right now that I can hardly wait until my next post to fill you in.