Monday, September 9, 2013

What I've learned in 33 days

         I have found the secret to Marian consecration , it is a little heavenly book that I borrowed from my mom one lazy afternoon. For many years I have wanted to consecrate myself to Mary, but for one lame reason or another I avoided it. I would  hear these horror stories about when you start your consecration, your life falls apart, things get messy, then if you keep going , Mary comes and cleans you all up, shiny and new. I could never get past the messy part, my life felt pretty messy as it was, did I really want to open the closest and drawers I had spent so much time shoving all my baggage into, something was bound to fall out and then what would I do? Well, the answer to that is one of the easiest and also most difficult things in the world, trust. I was supposed to give Mary my everything, my good deeds, my works, my loves, my life and even my prayer intentions so she could care for them as she saw fit?? Doesn't she know that I know best! How am I am going to turn over that much control, I cant even handle it when my husband drives the car ( I am working on it)!
  However our beautiful Mother knew all this, she knew my fears and still she trusted in me. 33 days ago I cracked the spine of a new book, a book that would bring a mess to my life and then in the most tender way, clean it up and make me new again.

       First, the Priest that writes this retreat is one of my favorites, he also wrote ,Consoling the Heart of Jesus, which I try to do annually. His style is one of the few that I can grasp with ease, I feel truly blessed that God called him.
Secondly, if you are like me and have trouble with the traditional consecration in terms of long daily prayers , then this is for you. When I started I was shocked at how simple this was, I could not believe one reading a day was all that was required, and not even a rosary after! This was something I could do, even if I missed a day I caught up easily, I found myself so eager for the next days reading, itching to know what St. Louis, St. Maximilian and others had to say about Mary.
 The graces began to flow , and yes, there was some messiness, but it did not matter, I was able to see it was all for my greater good. Finally on my consecration day , Our Lady's birthday and also the day of our God daughters baptism ( how cool is that) I gave myself to her , placing a miraculous medal around my neck, I turned it all over to her, Our most Loving Mother.

  Now on to what I learned in those 33 days, through pray, fasting, communication with our Lady as well as my husband we feel it is time to stop infertility treatments. Maybe not forever , but at least for now. This feeling grew in me as I prayed and fasted these passed 33 days , I could not fight it any longer, true trust in Her and the carrying out of HIS plan, not ours was to stop treatment. We had been feeling like a break was needed before I started my 33 days, but that feeling grew and God showed me it was what He wanted. I was scared of course ,I would be giving up the control of taking these medications, doing things "right" , planning out my cycle, but I also felt such peace . No more planning , no more medication that turned me into the wife from a Steven King novel. No more control, pure trust, utter bliss in knowing my Parents are handling it. Here, I will also say I reserve the right to be frustrated about this and possible cry ( bc I have already been doing that) but I do not foresee taking back control. Maybe we will be lead to return to medications at some point, however I am not going to put a time line on that, because as I have learned, it is really not up to me.
   As an adult there are times where we long for the care free days of childhood, no worries or responsibilities just fun, well I have found that loop hole, it is called trust and partnered with 33 days of Mary, it feels pretty darn good.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Moving, gardening, becoming a HCG eating monster and more!

     Where to start... I have been taking a blogging break, and by that I mean, locking the computer in the closest , hiding under the covers and refusing to write, even a grocery list. I wish that was a joke but I have really been scared to write, I guess I felt like I did not have any "good news" to share so why share at all? I see now I think that may have been a trick of the devil, keeping me away when really this blog is helpful to myself and my process.

   In the past few months we have moved into our new house, in the same town as where I grew up. I cannot tell you how good it has been to be home. I feel so much better here, I am more active, I am spending time with my family daily, I am able to help my grandparents when they need it. I am really grateful that we were given this opportunity. The move itself helped me to clear my head, let go of some of my obsessive moments when charting. Things became more laid back and I think a certain grace was given to us in terms of our fertility. After we moved all our things in and got the house just as we wanted it, we brought in two foster dogs, they stayed a short while but helped make us feel more at home here. So much so that my prayer is if we are to adopt a dog that God put the perfect situation on our laps , bc I would adopt any and all of them. I have spent countless hours weeding,digging and planting in the back yard, ok it is a tiny space but I am thankful to have a spot to grow some herbs and peppers. Our house has been filled with peace and love and truly grace, for which I am so grateful for.
   That being said, our fertility has also had some new developments. I started clomid, those of you who know me, know I avoid this for a long while. I was scared of the side affects but after much prayer and thought , I popped that little white pill. Don't ya know it worked, I ovulated right on time ,day 14, something I have never ,ever , done before. I also started HCG injection, things were looking good, my chart looked, dare I say, almost normal. Then reality set back in, my body would not hold the HCG. The doctor tells you not to take a pregnancy test when doing the injections bc you will get a false positive, in my case I got negatives. Every P+ 3,5,7,9 I would inject 2000 units of HCG into my belly and by night fall, they would all be gone. My body would eat them up like some crazed HCG monster. So as I tried my list of new medications, stumped my doctor and charting instructor, the negative tests piled up and good old Aunt Flow arrived right on time.
   As for the spiritual aspect of my life, I have been feeling my closer to God. I have started Light weigh a Catholic weight loss program. It has a bible study, daily sacrifices, prayers and much more. I feel some major graces flowing in terms of light weigh , and boy am I thankful. I also started total consecration to Mary. GULP. This I was really nervous about , but with the help of two beautiful new friends, and the heavens of course, I am really enjoying this journey to Jesus though Mary. I have never felt so loved and cared for, both here on earth and in Heaven. Even though I seem to be a guinea pig for infertility treatments , I feel a strong peace.
  That is all for now my dear friends, thank you so much for you support and love these past few months, I love you all !

Monday, May 20, 2013

On the road again


        That's right friends, I am in post surgery phase ! I went to St. Peter's hospital last week and allowed the absolutely amazing ,Dr. B, to cut me up, what did he find you ask? A giant cluster of endometriosis encasing my ovary! I feel lighter already,in all honesty, I feel very peaceful. I am extremely grateful that, Dr. B found and removed the "endo", also that I have such a wonderful family ,my grandparents have let us move in for my recovery period until our move.
    As of right now, it is just like old times, I am healing, which means laying around and letting my grandmother do everything, okay not everything, she isn't washing me. Its glorious, however I am feeling pretty good so it will probably need to end soon. Today, however, I had the pleasure of spending a lazy day with my oldest dearest friend .
We sipped delicious mint, cucumber filled drinks, we laughed till we cried, we made new friends, who played us love songs and made us outstanding snacks.
Today, I felt like my old self, I wasn't worried about doctors or medication , I was just present in the moment, the music and the love of a friend. 
I pray for more days like today, maybe it is my hormones evening out, maybe I am just filled with grace , either way I am grateful. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blog Button!

      I am so happy to announce that I am now part of the Catholic Blogger Network!! Hooray!
Because I am part of this awesome directory, I get to have a blog button! How cool is that? So I am linking the button as well as the button of the "wonder woman" who helped me create it. However, it is thanks to you, my dear friends, that I am able to be apart of this network, so really, honestly, thank you!

Chasing St Gerard 300px.jpg


Thursday, April 18, 2013

What we have learned thus far

Processing.....Processing.. Processing...

Yesterday I received all the information we have gathered from my month of tests. For the sake of time I will list for you what the doctor printed for me ;

Ovarian Dysfunction
Medications needed: Misoprostol , HCG Injections, progesterone
Medications: Levothyroxine
Treatment: Surgery
Vitamin Deficiency
Daily tablets needed

The break down :

          I think I had a vision in my head of walking into the sunset after surgery, hand in hand with my husband , babies just over the next hill. I felt like the surgery was going to be my cure all, my one and only treatment, but, God has other plans.
Yesterday I learned I will never be able to conceive and carry to term on my own, unless there is an act of God, which I am not ruling out. I will need to take oral medications , inject myself with HCG , change my diet, and be treated, forever. All this is a giant reminder that I am broken, I am sinful, I am not in my glorified form. This is what stuck with me, not that I need these treatments but why I need them. I am in disbelieve a little too, that my body is so unwelcome to life. How can my heart and my womb be so off base, don't they converse about our plan? Maybe so, maybe they do want the same things, that doesn't mean God does. He allowed this brokenness, He has a larger plan for us , like I have said before, a plan that will , we hope, get us to Heaven, a place where our babies already reside. So I am trying to keep my focus on the cross, I am longing to be with my Beloved, and my heart is filled with peace, knowing this is His desire too. Will these next few months bring some struggle, sure, but that does not mean all is lost. There is glory, grace and Goodness at work here, my prayer is that we are open to receiving it.
       That being said, am I sad? YES ! I am tender, I am willing to walk this path , to carry this cross, but, my heart does sink a little. I could easily go on a rant about all those little perfect couples who get pregnant without effort, or, the young girls who treat a child like an infection and cut them out. However, I will not { that didn't count ,right?} I do not want to let hate into my heart, I cannot get upset every time God's will for us is not the same as His will for you. I can however, take my sadness to Him, offer it as a consolation for His sufferings and rest joyfully with my Friend. So please dear loved ones, keep praying for us, our cross looks differently than we pictured and we need a few Simons to help .

Monday, April 15, 2013

Real Talk

  Yesterday I found myself in a conversation with a woman who was in tears over her daughters recent infertility. I knew this woman's pain, this was my pain. I knew this families grief , it was my grief. I too shared that tight smile while holding back tears , when told " I am praying for you". My heart broke for this woman, I wanted to hug her, tell her that God has a plan and He is leading her to heaven. Instead I just cried, cried for her and with her.

      The weight of knowing there is no perfect response, no magical phrase I can offer her was heavy, all I could do was know her pain, pray for her and love her. I tend to forget that this is happening, I get caught up in our next doctors appointment , are we charting correctly, is my surgery scheduled, what will my recovery be like? I move along, I power through, I pray and I push forward. In moments like yesterday it hits me, WE MAY NEVER HAVE A CHILD, and I need to be okay with that. I need to be open to what God wants and has planned  for us, I need to trust Him. I am reminded of this scripture passage that I have used before...

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal". (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

 This passage brings me great comfort. I must not lose heart, I must remember that this is our cross, this is our path to Heaven. We must carry this cross, no matter how heavy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Playing Catch Up

There has been so much happening since I last sat down to write , I honestly do not even know where to start. I typically like to start my posts to you like we are already in a conversation, so here it goes...

    When we last spoke I had just changed doctors, I have had about a million appointments with her in these past few weeks, which is no easy thing BC she is 2 hours away, however I am so pleased with her I do not mind the drive, also I have had some great driving buddies who make the day a real treat. I had to have an ultrasound series done to monitor my ovary, we needed to see if I indeed do ovulate. Good news is, I do! Bad news is, that little egg doesn't seem to be meeting the sperm. Also we have discovered I may have some issues inside the cervix and uterus on top of my possible endometriosis. I spoke briefly on this before but I am going to need surgery. I will be going on April 19th to meet the doctor and set up the date, I hope by the end of April start of May. So, just to review,  this passed week I have learned I formed wrong in the womb, my 2 hour surgery has been moved to a 6 hour surgery , my hormones are not working properly and I have a thyroid condition. WHEWWWWWWW! And I have not even gotten to my emotional response !

     Emotionally , I am tired. I am drained, I am peaceful but I am exhausted. I feel like I spent the day swimming I am happy but my skin is burnt and my body is weak. I want deeply to curl up and sleep, to cry , to be comforted. However I am not really a warm and snugly kind of girl, this makes it hard for my loved ones to comfort me. I am my own worst enemy. Aren't most of us?  Don't we all cry and complain about what it is we need or want and then stand in the way of it ? I do, I cant speak for you but I sure do. I catch myself and I stand in shock of my own actions sometimes. Pride is a beast, a nasty slobbering beast that I find myself facing daily. However that is a post for another day, right now lets get back to my "uterine makeover".

   I have failed to mention one little thing , WE ARE MOVING!!!! My husband and I currently live in a small 2 bedroom condo, It has been a wonderful first home. We have had nights by the fireplace and many meals with friends gathered, but we pay a pretty penny to live here and it just doesn't make any sense. We are living off of one income, we made that choice after my first surgery, so we are really careful with our money in order to have me home. I am extremely thankful for that, I am blessed to have a husband that fights the " normal idea of life " and supports us in being a more traditional family. Back to the move, My parents have been looking for an income property for a few months, they have seen a place here in there but nothing stuck. Until one sunny afternoon when my mother and I were driving around and we found a house, we called and it was already taken however it prompted their realtor to send us a link to a house in Roebling, 0.5 miles from my entire family. That night the 4 of us went to see this little home and we knew right away. THIS WAS OUR HOUSE! My husband and I have been praying on this for months BC we want to make sure we are following Gods will , not ours. So when we found this home and it lined up with my week of doctor appointments and daily blood samples , I was tad overwhelmed. However I kept praying if God wanted us to move in the same time frame of our infertility surgery, He will take care of it. Fast forward to day 3 of my ultrasound series, my Mother decided to be my partner that day, we drove 2 hours, we chatted with my amazing doctor and ultrasound tech, we discovered new things about my uterus and absorbed the news that surgery was a must and it will be intensive. Then on the way home, the phone rang, WE GOT THE HOUSE! After turning down our first offer the buyer finally accepted! So it began, what I like to call, " the 50 day race for the cure". March 31 to May 24th we will be packing, having surgery, recovering, and moving! Then I am sure some more recovering will be taking place.
  I do not feel overwhelmed any longer, I am peaceful over all, I am thankful we are cared for and shown how cared for on a daily bases. I am grateful for my parents who are so generously helping us, I am in awe of my new doctor and her team, they have been so helpful ,so thorough , so hands on. Sure, I could probably stand here and complain about something but why? Why waste my time and let that hate into my heart? I want to live my life with, Christ , to me, that means being grateful, positive, charitable, loving and carrying this cross one step at a time.

  So here we go dear friends, off to pack, to plan, to be poked and cut and investigated , hopefully to be cured but most importantly to be loved. Pray for us in these coming weeks and I too, will take your intentions with me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The glory in sadness

         I decided to switch doctors. I felt that I was not getting the help I needed so I looked into a Catholic doctor in north NJ who deals with infertile women, the catch is she requires Creighton charting. I do not hate charting, I know it  has helped so many women, I just hate the act of charting. I am terrible at the little stickers, the checking, I am so nervous I will make a mistake that I avoid it. It is childlike, I know, thankfully I have not avoided it. I have been faithfully checking and charting all month, but I just resent it. I have had these angry moments where in true childish fashion, I stomp and cry and say NO , DAD ,I DON'T WANNA!! It gets me no where, I feel silly after , and I end up charting. However it feels good to admit it to you, feels freeing to confess that I am a big baby. I see this new doctor next week, I am excited and nervous. Nervous because we do not have an infertility coverage, so I pay most of the bills out of pocket and just the weekly blood tests are 100 dollars. I am praying on this issue, I will admit I feel a little lost , I wonder how we will pay everything and if we are even supposed to be seeking more treatment. I feel selfish, I feel like child, lost and confused . I just want my Mom to come take me home, give me a warm bath and tuck me in.
           Instead I am reminded of how things change when you get older. How you see your parents for whom they are and not the image you had of them when you were tucked in tight at 7 yrs old. Recently my mother needed me to tuck her in, she needed me to comfort her. The roles had changed, it was my turn to hold her, bath her and tell her it is all going to be okay. My mom was pregnant, I say 'was" and still I cannot believe the baby is gone. She buried her father-in-law on Saturday and the following Saturday we buried her baby. During the funeral the priest read a prayer from mother Angelica, it started off with " My Lord, the baby is dead! Why my Lord is the baby dead?!" My body shuttered, I sobbed , I stood looking at my mother and for the first time,I felt the same as her. I knew the pain she was feeling, I know that pain that overtakes your whole body, keeping you frozen in sadness. The roles had changed but grace is what followed. I never had much compassion for my mom when I was a younger woman. I saw her birth and carry and lose children and I did not desire to hold her, bath her or tell it would be okay. Only now after carrying my own cross can I see how wrong I was and how I wish I could take those moments back. Fortunately for us, the Lord does give second chances, it may not be what you imagined, it may be painful and heartbreaking but He does give us the ability to make better choices ,to grow. I am not perfect, I can still be hard of heart but I am trying , I am praying and most importantly I have two saints in heaven praying with me. I hope they are finding us holding one another up, equally in pain and equally in grace. I will close with something I read recently, " Tell me Sister, Why do those women have full arms and happy homes and all we have is a aching heart? My sister, you can not see ,look down, your arms are full of me".

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This dog is not my baby...

                 We are fostering a 2 year old Aussie cattle dog. She is sweet and funny , loving and gentle. She is also needy and loud and not a baby... What do I mean by that?  Just what you think, she is not a human baby that I have birthed from my womb and will love. She is a great pup and I am happy that we could take her in and save her from death. I am so happy she will be going to a nice loving home soon, for my sake I pray ,really soon.. Like seriously come on people come adopt her already.
                  I have discovered that I do not want a dog anymore. My husband is a genius bc I think he knew after fostering for a few days I would be over it. He was right. I am tired of waking up at 7 am bc she is crying to go down the 3 flights steps and out into the cold only to not pee but to just walk around , come back and poo on my floor. I am half tempted to diaper her. Seriously people, this is a ton of work and I am nervous to leave the darn house bc I am worried her crying and barking will annoy my neighbors. At least with your own child you have diapers and nap time and they don't chew your shoes! So what have I learned from this adventure other than not wanting a pet? That I want a baby way more than I let on, and I am pretty vocal.. I feel like I may have been lying to myself with all this , I am sad but whatever God's will thing. I have learned that caring for something isn't my issues, I do not want to care for just anything , I want a fat curly haired baby?! NOW!
  Okay, with that said, I am also thankful for this adventure. I am thankful to God showing me I still have work to do, still need to detach a bit more from the image I want of my life. I am growing , I feel it and it hurts, but I am really thankful for it... Now if only this cutie could fine a forever home and I could have my bed back at night... 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The things my husband lets me do..

             I do not want to brag but I have a pretty great husband. He allows me to make the choices that I feel God is calling me to and with little to no fight on the subject. He takes care of me and provides for me, he keeps me focused on the cross. I feel I am truly blessed. 
   With that said, recently he told me I could open our home to the pet fostering system, this guy has a lot of trust. We have been going back and forth about adopting a dog for a few months , much talking, looking and praying. I would see a pup I liked , show my husband and then take it into prayer. My "bff" and I would go look at him or her and ask for a clear sign if we are to take them home... Let's just say we received several clear signs. Several big fat NO WAYS! One pup ,who was the mix of a boxer and a beagle, came storming through the double doors and broke out into the parking lot. After asking God to have the pup come to me and like me as my sign I got the hint and dropped our search. 
    Then one day I was sent an email from the local shelter asking if I would like to join their foster program. I consulted with my husband and we decided this would be a great " dip our toe in " experience. We have been sent our orders to pick up our new little friend this coming Sunday , he is a 12 week old lab puppy. I full expect to have my dining room table chewed, shoes go missing and the occasional bathroom accident on my rugs. However I am excited and long to take walks and have a pal to chat with throughout the day.    
   The first thought that has probably come to your mind is, "Shannon, your deflecting, you're fostering a pet to fill your baby void ". Well to that I say, HELL YES I AM . I am aware, I am okay with it. I have put a lot of time and prayer into this and I have asked God to close the doors if it is not His will and honestly I think there is a lesson here for me to learn. I believe He is teaching me farther detachment. The fostering experience is heartbreaking, so I hear. I completely expect to sob and want to adopt him and all that jazz, yet I am still open to doing so. I think ,and trust me I am still praying on this, But I feel what God is calling me to is become even more detached from what I thought my life would be. I need to give fully in to His plan, surrender it over, bc if I do not I will never truly be at peace. This fostering experience is just another step in that long process of trust.
     I will keep you posted after we get our pup this weekend, I have a feeling he won't be with us for long but I am hopeful of the love we can show him and the lessons we can learn from him. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Crow and its many flavors

           I used to be the kind of person who if needed to change something, I would just do it. I stopped smoking, I stopped eat junk food, I stopped doing some pretty heavy drugs, I even gave up drinking for many years. During that time of my life I could be found in my friends face telling them they can stop , insert issues here, all they have to do is walk away from it. I see now how insanely obnoxious that was and is. It took me a few years but I realize now that what I thought was great skill, and determination was just pride. I liked a challenge so call me fat and I would drop 10 lbs in a week. 
     Now, however, I see things through a different scope. I realize that as much as I would like to change certain things about myself I cannot just up and walk away now. Most people would not be happy about this, I am however. I am happy that I have finally reached a point, it seems, where I have to process my emotions, and deal with actual feelings instead of running in the other direction to make some prideful point. 
   That being said I want to apologize to all my friends who I so forcefully instructed on stopping their said unhealthy behaviors. I see now, that while yes some are gifted with the grace to just walk away , others are not. Maybe Our Lord gives us those graces in times when we need them most and other times we need to learn, feel and heal before we can move on. I feel really backed against a wall when people tell me to put down the cake, go for a run, try harder to conceive. I want to scream at them that I have done all those things and now , unfortunately , I cannot. It is not that I do not want to or that I do not value myself, it is that I feel smaller now but yet wiser. I want to learn why I am indulging in unhealthy behavior  instead of walk away only to have it creep up later. I want to grow and I think that part of that growth is falling down, struggling and walking with God in the other direction not my pride. 
   So dear friends, I pray that whatever it is that you are wrestling with will bring you growth, knowledge about yourself as well as our Lord and a deeper connection to your relationship with Him. A healthy break so that you won't know the many flavors of crow like I do. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

" Trying "

                I hate the term "trying", I feel like we remove God from the situation when focusing on our efforts and not on His will. That may be a tad over thought but there it as anyway. I have been thinking a lot about this recently, a woman asked me why we do not have kids yet and my only response , that did not include turning beet red and throwing water in her face, was to say ' oh well we are trying". Maybe it is just that I have grown resentful of the term. I am tired of trying, I do not want it to be so "forced" so purposeful.Yet again, that is what it is, focused and intense and Magical. 
            Regardless we have decided to take the term out of the equation. We are still going to try of course but the pressure, the tests, the ovulation kits have to go. I cannot put so much into them when in our world if it is meant to be, it will be. The doctor has said that I seem to be fine, there is no actual medical reason to why we have not conceived yet , however they still want to put me on drugs to force my body to produce more eggs. I am so conflicted, I feel like I have the answers for this week math test and I am nervous the teacher will scold me. If I truly want to do God's will and have my heart be open to that , then why take the drugs? Sure it couldn't hurt, if we are open to His will than no matter what we do It will prevail in the end. Still, it could hurt, there are intense side affects to this medication and being of the natural mind, do I want to put my body through that? Right now, I say no. I do not want to triple my egg count , I do not want to put my hormones through a roller coaster and I do not want to force my will when in my heart I deeply desire His will. 
        Also dear friends, if I am bring honest,  all these thoughts are emotionally fueled by a member of my family announcing their current pregnancy. I got the call from my doctor with the news of her desire for medical intervention just before my family members news. So naturally I had moments of those thoughts over lapping, dancing together to make a sweet poison I could take or discard. I am choosing to chuck it. I am hopeful and trying for patience I have the support and love of my husband, friends, family not to mention the prayers of so many of you. I am blessed even with empty arms.