Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On angels and babies

Today is a very special day, a hard day in some senses, but also a day of thanks.

Today is the Feast day of the Archangels Raphael, Gabriel and Michael.

I had never been one to reflect very much on this day, but today is very special.

I have now a little baby in Heaven named after St. Michael, Miguel whom I miscarried almost a month ago.

I am now a mother thanks to this baby, a mother of a baby that is in Heaven among the angels and named after one.

I know that angels are messengers and although Miguel is not one, he is among them, being taken care by them and one of them I am sure sent us his name.

How his name came to be is something that I am still in awe. I never planned it, but I know deeply in my heart that it was meant to be. It has given me enourmous peace and also strenght that I did not know I had. I think angels can help you as messengers with this. Also its a sign that my guardian angel and the one from Miguel are with us.

The day we found out that we had miscarried also was a day of many hard decisions:

Do an D&C or wait it out, how to tell our families who very extremely happy that after so long we were finally pregnant, whom to inform in our circle that was not family and a very important one: how to name our baby.

My mother rushed to our side that afternoon after it was confirmed that the baby had died in utero (we still held a little hope that there had been a mistakein the U/S) and the doctor confirmed that I would need to have the D&C early morning the next day.

Our dear doctor, a very Catholic man full of peace, offered to baptize the baby after the D&C and we felt this was a clear sign that God was with us.

My mom sat with us during this horrible time of wait. I cannot describe how this feels. My body held the body of my own baby, yet we felt his presence was now somewhere else.

During this time my mother mentioned that the baby was an angel (not exacly theologically accurate, but an image that was very comforting) and that perhaps we should name it in honor of one and mentioned Rafael and Gabriel, specially saying that Rafael was the one that did the Annunciation.

Right then and there and I do not know why I knew the name of the baby was Miguel, Michael in Spanish.

A baby that I thought would be a girl and a name that I never considered in case it was a boy. A forgoten name from our many options of names.

Michael, pronunced in German as my father is German, has always been my favorite name, but I had give up on it years ago due to my husband´s last name which is very Spanish and difficult.

It never occurred to me that Miguel was a possibility.

Yet, it was to be the name.

The name of the great Archangel, the great protector, the symbol of the victory of goodness over evil.

So today I remember my baby and ask for the protection of the angels, specially St. Michael.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Lady of Guadalupe and what she has meant in my Infertility

I did not know which picture to put on my blog (I am still shy of being here) so the only thing I could think was to put an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

I do not mean any disrespect by putting Her there, but actually as a testimony that She has been a great rediscovery during this IF journey and has been always at my side.

As a Mexican I have always had taken Virgin of Guadalupe for granted. The Basilica where she appeared is located just 30 minutes from my house and her image is everywhere and very much part of the culture.

I prayed and visited Her many times when I did not get pregnant, I visited when pregnant and she has been always at my side during this time of grief after my miscarriage.

We have a saying that perhaps as a Mexican you might not be Catholic, but you are Guadalupano (that you belive in Her) and its funny, but real even some atheists and protestants are!

They say the Basilica its the biggest Catholic pilgramage site in the world or at least one of the big three with Fatima and Lourdes. Some 20 millon people vist it every year and around the 12th of December (her feast day)of 2009 6.1 million visited Her.

So when you have incredible things nearby they become part of the landscape and you fail to notice them until you need them and need Her indeed I have.

There are many reasons why in my IF She has been paramount, but here are just some of them and I pray that somebody out there can rediscover her again during their journey:

1) She is very pregnant and the idea of a pregnant Virgin makes my IF heart happy. She is about to give birth which is denoted by the knot in her dress above her belly. Indian women wore this when pregnant so that the baby would not turn around and come out the other way! I feel that a pregnant Vigin will understand my yearning for this state. (hope it does not sound disrespectful) She gives me Hope.

And Her image is full of signs and symbols of Hope (will blog about the symbols later but if you want to find out from the source tonight will be a great program in EWTN about this from Fr. Eduardo Chavez who is the foremost expert in the world on Her image, he is awesome!)

2)Her words. She has acompanied me with Her words during this time. She has said some of the most comforting words an IF woman can hear! The ones that I repeat time and time again during this journey have been:

“Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything

Wow! under Her protection, within Her fold!!! Am I am not here, your Mother? I cannot tire of these words. Everyday, during the darkest times I read them and meditated on them and they gave me peace-.

3) She left us an actual image of Her!!!! And you can see it!!! I cannot belive this as I write, but its true. I can go an see Her directly hundreds of years later! So I have gone during the darkest times and spoken with Her about my hopes, fears and joys. I have sat many times just meters from Her in awe of this.

Its my prayer that each blogger/ reader of this facing crisis can find Her and be consoled by Her.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I have been trying to reflect on my feelings in this IF journey, not only the time after my miscarriage, but also the years that lead to my long awaited pregnancy and also the very brief time I was able to call myself a pregnant woman.

In all of these times during the last three years, with the exception to a brief period just prior to my pregnancy, the main feeling has been FEAR and I do not want it to define me anymore.

I absolutely hate it and I think its not the way to live as a Child of God.

Right now I do not know where all of this will lead us: A biological baby, become an adoptive family or to remain childless. All of them seem open at this time. I want to live any of them without fear. Yet I am a long way from this, but slowly gaining peace. I desire peace more than anything.

I would not say that I am a fearful person and perhaps a lot of people would even lable my as fearless. But with the exception of some fearless things that I have done in the last years I have let this time be defined by this feeling.

Fear of that I will :

1) remain childless for the rest of my life.
2) adopt and something will go wrong
3) get pregnant again and something will go wrong, maybve even miscarry also again.
4) And maybe the "strangest" due to this intese desire of motherhood: if we are blessed with a biological or adopted child will I be a good mother?

The first fear has been the hardest for me during this journey and I am facing it now again.

I have asked time an time again for God not to let this happen to us. I have begged, threatened and plain escaped listening to Him in case He even thought about asking IF of me.

I have always wanted to be a mother, although perhaps my decisions have not reflected this. Not being a mother could have been labeled my worst ever fear.

Maybe my "Marthaness" is due to this fear to sit down and listen and trust in God. If He asks me to remain childless to be sure that I will be a mother and fertile in some other way, a spiritual way. That He will fill my empty heart.

I have not yet been able to give over to Him my fertility and family and in order to escape my fear I have become an expert at doing.

I know that I have to do something for my health, but some "doing" has been more an escape rather than a way to help myself. Reading obsesively on the web and books time and time again, working too much or just doing plain too many things at the same time.

Our journey in the last couple of months has been very intense. He answered first with an opportunnity to adopt after a very long wait and then a pregnancy and later a miscarriage all within this time. None of them eased my fears.

First my fears when given the opportunity to adopt surprised me.

We are blessed with some great friends that adopted and this slowly opened our hearts towards adoption, an option that has always existed for us and that we spoke about even before we were married. Even if we saw very happy families I had many fears.

Would we be accepted by the agencies? What if there was something wrong with us? Here in the type of agencies we want to use (a very Catholic one) parents are selected and chosen by the agency since we do not have open adoptions. From hundreds only a few are selected, normally the ones with the best conditions for the child.

Would I be a good mother to a non biological child and also would everything work for both the child and us?

I have had the priviledge as I mentioned to get to know some very, very happy and blessed adoptive families and in some cases far better adapted and happier than biological ones.

But I also have known some where it did not work out due to the parents (expectations that could not be met, bad parenting) and in a few due to issues with the child (some mental health issues). What if God asks us to adopt a child and something does not work?

I know that both these things can happen also with a biological child, but somehow the need to reflect that brings adoption have made me question myself more deeply than most biological parents do.

Will I have the strenght and wisdom to help the child? Will I be a good mother?

Even with these fears I decided to pursue adoption and was ready to question and prepare myself in the long wait process about these things.

Yet as I have mentioned here we had just been accepted by our agency after many months of waiting when we found out we were pregnant. I was very, very confused.


We were finlly accepted for adoption and we get pregnant? No pregnancies in 3 years and it finally happened.

I knew that our acceptance for adoption did not mean that we were guatanteed to have a child (the process had just started and many, many things could go wrong), but there was a clear light at the end of the tunnel.

Then I saw our pregnancy was as a sign that we were then in reality called to biological parenthood. This in the space of 2 weeks. My head was spinning.

But a new fear arrived and actually grew exponentially.

What if something went wrong with the baby and its health, what if I could not be a good mother later on, what if I would miscarry? I had been too long on the blogs and also knew enough people to know that this could happen.

I asked God to spare me the trial of a miscarriage. Begged Him, told Him that I had already been infertile for very long and that had been enough.

Yet just when I thought the time of greatest danger had passed (were were 9 weeks and I thought the possibility greatly had diminished due to my great hormones and many symptoms) we did not see a beating hear in the monitor at our U/S.

My worst fear had become realized.

I cried, screamed like never before. Why? why? were 3 years of IF not enough?

We had said yes to adoption and then no due to our pregnancy, but then cruely miscarried. All of my fears had become true, we were to remain childless.

I know this might not be true (we could still be parents either through pregnancy or adoption), but at the time and during the first weeks this was all I could think.

"In reality God wants us to be childless. All along this has been His desire for us. Whom am I kidding?"

Yet, now a few weeks later, reflecting on all of this I know that I need not to fear. He as been with me "crossing this valley of death".

God is a good God. One of infinite compassion. He has helped me to start heal the death of my unborn child and has show me that even when faced with one of our biggest fears He is always at our side.

Somehow I am starting to feel peace, peace that I have not felt in these 3 years. Maybe this is what happens when you face the fear in the face and see you truly can survive.

My prayer now is that regardless if we adopt, become pregnant or remain childless, we have peace.

I do not want to have this intense fear when faced with any of these options in my life. That I know deep within myself that I will have the strenght That God is a good God and is with me.

Like Mary I want to sit as His feet and listen and trust in Him.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Back to Acupuncture to heal my heart and body

I have a love of acupuncture and have used it extensively during these 3 years of TTC. I fell in love several years ago and although I do not subscribe to some of the religious believes behind it, I have seen its impact on my health time and time again.

I am now facing very low energy, most probably to my low mood and to anemia, and have decided to go back to it.

I can barely think about a normal work day nor about putting my house in order and this cannot go much longer. I know that my grief over my miscarriage will continue and that it will be healthy that it is this way, but I need to go back to some sort of normal. I have been mostly away from work almost 4 weeks now and my DH needs me.

I suspended acupuncture during my brief pregnancy and in the last weeks, but I want to get back on my feet and I think this can help me heal in a more natural way.

Due to my job I had the great fortune to be able to go to China. While there I took some days off and apart from visiting some sites I did a Chinese Medicine Tour part of it organized and part with my own guide book. I visited the pharmacies (they had the strangest ingredients!), a college, received Tuina massage (the best of my whole life), went to a foot spa for medical purposes (it hurt!!) and bought several packets of teas and foul smelling concoctions. It has been one of the greatest adventures of my life.

One of the most memorable parts of this is that I went to a real TCM consult (not a westernized version of it)

I went to this hotel and in the back there was a TCM clinic. The clinic was filled with Chinese people so I thought that this really could be very good.

I had a consult with a doctor that could only speak Chinese, very old and he seemed very wise. He smelled me, looked at my tongue and eyes and proceeded to take my pulse for the longest time. Asked just a few questions and proceeded to write down in Chinese my prescription. When I asked what this was the assistant took out a Chinese-English dictionary and proceeded to tell me that I had a hormonal problem and signaled my thyroid.

This was years before anybody found anything wrong with me and before I had been tested many times over by Western doctors never finding a problem. If only I could have followed his treatment plan.

Only this doctor via this consult and Dr. H via temperatures and some B/W were able to find this. Nobody else for years on end.

I have found that it takes some sort of vocation just like in Western medicine to we willing to truly help the patient in all aspects of her journey. I think that curing is an art and not just reading B/W and interpreting U/S. This is why I love Napro and also some (not all by any means) alternative medicine doctors.

In March of this year after a period of great trials and after my Lap with Dr. H I gave myself the gift of a TCM retreat with the author of "The in.fertility cure" Ran.dine Lewis. For several years i had been spending my money only on medicines and getting our lives is order and this was the first time I was able to do this.

I thought if she cannot help me it will be some days of spa. I will blog later what I learned there (most women doing IVF do not want to do it and are open to other options)and what this experience meant to me.

She gave me a diagnosis very, very similar to Dr. H, but in Chinese terms and asked me to observe my diet, exercise and relaxation techniques. I embarked in this wholeheartedly along with my Western medicines. I started to heal in a deep level.

I also read " Ma.king babies" a book about TCM and Western medicine. The author a Western doctor after doing the first IVF in NY decided to quit and now focuses on finding the issue and curing it with Western and TCM. It has been my constant companion.

My last TCM doctor in Mexico before I got pregnant is Chinese. He learned TCM along the way and does not have any certifications other than word of mouth and tens of years of experience. He has a strong desire to cure and his lack of "certificates" did not worry me.

As I live in Mexico here its still quite common to use herbs, massage and some other forms of medicine even instead of Western Medicine. I think both have a place and I am glad both exist and can contribute to each other. I will blog later about what this implies and how to face some of the lesser Catholic aspects of some therapies and would love to hear from you your thoughts.

This doctor did acupuncture, Kuasha (a scrapping of the skin that draws out toxins which sounds horrible, but is amazing), used heat and Tuina and foot massage. It hurt and it was not in any way relaxing, but I felt so much better days afterwards.

So today I will be back. I want to heal and I cannot stay prostate on a couch much longer for my own and my marriages health. I will blog later on how this goes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where I am right now


As they title of my blog says I am a Martha (after the Martha, Martha!) trying (but hardly succeeding) to become a Mary.

I found out during confession some years ago that this was me in the Bible and the priest nailed it! I am a worrier by nature and also a doer. This does not mean that my heart does not yearn to become more Mary, but I have such a hard time!!!!

You can call me restless, curious and many other words. My own mother says that when I started traveling at a very young age for studies and later a lot for work she just saw the dust of my suitcase for months on end.

My DH says its very hard to keep up with me and a test for aptitudes some years ago stated that I was double right brained. Not normal right brained, BUT double! This might explain also that I am also very visual, but cannot remember most facts and I can be very very disorganized!

Just 3 days after my miscarriage (after almost three years of IF) and a uneventful, but heartbreaking D& C, I started having complications since the placenta attached to the uterus with little roots that do not come out of a normal D&C. In order to protect my future fertility the doctor advised against another D&C and let my body try to do it naturally.

I ended up in the hospital with contractions for 3 days and with heavy bleeding and was able to leave after 4 whole days there. I am still facing anemia almost 3 weeks after being released. I cannot describe the feeling of having contractions and knowing there was no baby anymore. Only knowing that he was in Heaven made be able to survive this.

I had to stay home recuperating and what did I do? Read up on causes of miscarriages and surf the Web doubting what my doctor was saying that this perhaps could not have been prevented!!! Instead of praying for consolation and strenght! Oh, well!!

This blog is not only my quest to connect to the most amazing community of Catholic IF bloggers, but also a way hopefully to become more Mary and also to express what I have learned as a Martha in case it can help any one out there (but this will be secondary).

I know I need it and my miscarriage and IF have brought me to my knees. I have no hard time praying for others and I love doing it and even adopting them spiritually, but I need to sit by Jesus like Mary and hear what He wants from me at this time.

I married later in life (just had my 36th birthday days before my wedding), but I always wanted a family. My grandmother to whom I was very close called me "Mamacita" (little mother in Spanish) since I took always care of the younger children and my brother and sister.

I never imagined I would become a business woman traveling all over, nor that I would focus on my career for so long since I for sure was not finding the right person to marry. I do not think also that anybody close to me would have imagined it.

Never in a million years could I have imagined that I would marry so late and later face IF.

God wants something from me clearly and has been very patient with me and its not only that I study to become a FertilityCare practitioner or working towards bringing Napro to Mexico (which I am), but something far deeper.

To trust that He has a plan in all of this not only for me to "do something" out of it but to "become more", not to rely only on my strenght but to listen to Him. This will be my quest in the next days, weeks and months.

To grow spiritually through the pain and not only find a cure to my IF or bury myself in adoption papers.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy start to blogging!

I have wanted to start a blog for quite a long time, but was unsure since English is not my mother tongue (Spanish is) and I was afraid that I could not express my innermost feelings and thoughts (and also was very afraid of making grammar or spelling mistakes !)

(Also it took me while to get comfortable with all these letters in blogs meaning things that they do not teach in English classes!!! It was long time before I knew what DH, IF, AF, etc meant and much less could use them! (specially that last one took me almost a year to understand!!!)

I live in Mexico City and consider myself Mexican, yet from a very young age I have been exposed to several cultures and I love seeing time and time again that there is more than unites us than what keeps us apart.

Blogs, specifically Catholic infertility blogs, have become my constant companion in this so far the hardest trial of my life, infertility.

I have stayed up many nights in awe of these women that were feeling what I was feeling. I cried with them tears of joy when adoptions came through, of sadness when babies were miscarried and followed complete pregnancies for months until joyfull births. And I knew well the feeling of those waiting as I am.

Through these blogs I found a close knit community of women that prayed together, advised each other and shared the ups and downs of this journey. I was a lurker for more than a year until I finally decided to blog. At a distance I prayed for them, I learned many things from my own faith and saw miracles and not just babies being conceived or adoptions, but miracles of the heart, true conversions.

Through the blogs I found an ethical cure to my health issues via NaProtechnology (something that does not exist in my country) and also learned about complementary therapies which I also used and was able to get pregnant after three years of IF. Sadly I miscarried at 9 weeks our dear baby whom we baptized as Miguel (Michael in English). He is now our little angel in heaven.

It has been now three weeks since I miscarried and I wish to make this blog an outlet to the many questions that I face now and also to make myself visible to this amazing group of women and finally come out of the shadows and express in their blogs what I have been feeling for a very long time.

Some of the questions that I will ponder in the next posts:

How to move forward after a miscarriage? Where to find the strenght to go on each day and to restart my treatments?
Should we truly continue to pursue a biological family (I am 39 and I am bone tired!)
Will I continue to use alternative therapies with Napro? and if so which of the many I have tried?
Adoption or continue pursuing a biological family or pursue both?

When I got pregnant we had just been approved to start the adoption proceedings and we saw the pregnancy as a sign that God wanted for us the biological path. Then we miscarried and now we are not sure what is our path. But I am sure it will become clearer in due time.