Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Light and darkness

This weekend was a weekend that I might never forget.

It was a turning point in so many ways. So many things that happened at the same time that its hard to put it all here.

A few days ago I wrote that I was struggling with so many things going on at once and nothing really sure. I felt truly overwhelmed and had a hard time believing that things would turn out for the best.

I presented last Saturday my exam to become a practitioner after speding both Thrusday and Friday studying like crazy. I knew that I knew most things, yet I was very nervous since I had been teaching everything for over a year in another language (many terms I had to restudy in English) and since so many things that had happened in between and I had not been consistent in my studies.

It was a 6 hour exam and I felt such a relief after finishng that it was incredible.

I think I did OK and truly hope I pass so I can graduate.

Afterwards my DH and I went to the very first meeting with our adoption course friends. All morning with the test in mind I had been thinking about curing, bioethics, diagnosis, etc . So what happened later was like day and night.

It was such an eye opening experience that I find it hard to explain here. We were six couples from very, very different backgrounds that shared the common pain of IF and the longing for a child. In our group we are 12 couples, but only 6 were able to attend.

When I arrived late they all asked me what my exam was about and I explained to them what it was. They could not believe it. They had never heard about Na.pro or anything that did not cost an arm and a leg and could cure you. Some of the couples had very clear diagnosis and even had sterility, but three did not even have a final diagnosis after many many years.

I explained that even if I never got pregnant again I would forever be thanful for Na.pro. That it has saved me from a life of misery.

None of them could say the same thing, with the exception for a girl that had a kidney transplant and could not conceive because of this. She was the only one, that felt that the medical profession had treated her well.

Then a girl began to cry and cry, she could not stop. And began to tell her story. I still shruder to think about it.

She had as recently as December 2010 had done IVF.

Not just normal IVF, but ICSI with 8 embryos. She called them my little frozen ones. ICSI is the most extreme form of IVF. They take and egg, then hit (literally) one single sperm, take it with a seringe and inyect it into the egg. Then they place the egg or eggs in the uterus sometimes using a techinque to help them hatch and wait.

It has the highest complication rates of all IVF, the highest rate of embryo deaths and the highest of problems for the babies.

I shrudder just from remembering.

She asked me if I had done anything and my DH said we did everything to cure.

She looked at us as if she did not understand and I explained that after seeing what IVF could do to you, we had decided against it. I did not want to make her feel worse than she already did.

We had had operations, taken tons of tests and medicines, but had never done anything that separated the marital bond from the act of procreation.

She is now very overweight after all the treatments (gained some 40 pounds), they have basically no money (they will have issues once the adoption legal fees come) and her health is in shambles.

She looked completly lost and defeated.

From her IVF last March she had gotten 18 eggs fertilized. 18 babies. All of which had died in different parts of the process. 10 in the first IVF and 8 in the last one. I do now know the details and do not even want to know.

She had endured three operations, her husband also 3 during the years, she had 2 IVF rounds, they had destroyed her thyroid and hormonal system in the process, she almost died in March due to complications since she devolped a serious medical complication, yet she decided to do it again this December with the "leftover" (hate, hate this name) embryos despite being almost guaranteed a baby in our adoption process since she had made it so far. She had become obsessed. Her DH could not even stop her.

She was not continuing anymore because her husband had said enough was enough and also due to the money. Her marriage was now at risk.

She looked completly destroyed, spiritually, emotionally and physically. I am sure she does not even have an idea of what she has done to her babies. If she knew she would for sure be even be worse off. She had trusted the doctors and not even thought about the details.

My DH and I discussed on the way back that in all of this we had been so blessed. Despite the pain, the hardship, etc.

That we had found good Catholic doctors that wanted to cure, we had been treated with respect, we had not become obsessed (although at time I had the risk), nor lost all our money, nor health, nor marriage in the process. If anything it had made us stronger

We have had a diagnosis, I have been cured of my symptoms and we had even been blessed with a pregnancy. Now an angel in heaven.

I can tell God that we did everything according to His Will.

She is now approaching adoption as a last resort, without any real commitment to it. I am not sure she will pass the psychological examns in the next weeks since she seems so depressed.

Later she asked me for help and I will probably meet with her in the coming days.

The morning I spent thinking about a system that seeks to preserve health, to cure, to maintain the marriage bond intact.

And I spent the afternoon I spent seeing the results of IVF.

Such strak contrast. I have no words other than light and darkness.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In the most loving way possible.

I have continued attending therapy and yesterday it was truly amazing.

Therapy that I truly needed after all the drama of my hospital stays in 2010.

My therapist is an amazing woman, full of peace and wisdom. She is Catholic and with me she can be open about the existence of God and His plans in our lives, which she says she cannot with most people.

Yesterday I spoke to her about my anxiety and that I was feeling overwhelmed about all that was happening at the same time. That I did not see how I could be a good mother in all of this mess, how I was trying to manage many balls at the same time and that I did not like not knowing how everything would turn out.

Last week we had discussed about my very, very high standards in everything and how this was not fair to me, nor my body. That this continued quest for excellence was more damaging to me and my body, than anything.

Also I was seeing IF as a complete failure on my side and was trying to compensate by doing many other things.

All week I have been thinking about it and then came the comments in my last post, specially the one by Little JoAnn. Hers was that I should focus on my maternity first.

It really shook me to the core and I am very grateful for her words.

So in this session I start by saying that I am overwhelmed and that a very wise woman had told me to concentrate on motherhood mostly.

Then she said: What are the repercusions of doing so many things and all that has been happening in your body? Your body is wise beyond anything that we can think. It will tell you the truth, while your mind many times will not. What is your body telling you?

And I begin by saying I am not sleeping, my mind is all over the place, etc. I am still grieving the loss of Miguel and what I thought was another miscarriage.

My body is saying things are not well.

Then she says: You have been accustomed that hard work equals results. First as a good daughter, then in school, then in your jobs. But with Nature and Life you cannot control things. The only thing that you can do is your best, truly enjoy the moment and do everything with love, for yourself and others.

Then she told me:

You can say no to your exam Saturday. This is putting a lot of pressure on you and this is on top of your adoption process, full time work, IF process, etc. Anybody would understand that you simply cannot with everything at the sametime.

You should ask yourself what is the most loving thing to do to yourself. Do it or not?

I was completly silent for a while. Had not thought about saying no, putting it off a few more months. I felt it was my duty to do this to the end even if I was struggling with other things right now. I would have to spend several sleepless nights and cramm like crazy.

Then I said that I would like to get it over with. That I need to feel that at least something has been finished. I would need to study a lot of hours and remember tons of things, but that it would give me peace.

She said: Well if this is the most loving thing that you can do for yourself, then do it in the most loving way possible.

Always ask yourself: What is the most loving thing to do, both for others but also for myself. Listen to your body since it will speak the truth and whatever path your decide do it in the most loving way possible.

After this she asked me to think about doing this lovingly.

How? I had thought about all of this as sacrifice, as my duty.

But then I remembered whenever I was overwhelmed that music, walking breaks, a nice cup of tea could do wonders whenever I was faced with huge tasks.

So with her we designed the next to days when I had to cramm for my exam.

Mozart, green tea, breaks in the sun, prayer for help with my studies, etc.

Doing what I had to do in the most loving way possible. Listening to my body and embracing life lovingly.

I have since felt such peace that I truly have felt that this encounter with her was filled with God

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Not sleeping, worrying

I have not been sleeping well since last week.

Millon thoughts and feelings are keeping me up at night. And its not good since I need to be at my peak the next 2 weeks.

I know this post will be allover the place, I have tried to keep it simple, but my thoughts are being guided by fear.

The next weeks I feel will define our future.

I am not sure how exactly all will play out.

My controlling self (and my German side) do not like uncertainty and uncertainty is what I am living right now.

Today we have the second most important interview in our adoption process, now with an adoptive family. Not a defining one, but one where we will be asked some difficult questions. I am not looking forward to it.

Then this Saturday I will be doing my 6 hour final exam to become a practioner of the CrMS.

And then in a few days we will start the 10 hour psychological evaluation for our adoption.

The CrMS exam is the one that bishops, my priests, donors, clients, etc are waiting for so we can open a FertilyCare center, the first one in Latinamerica. The one that will define if I am able to do it.

I feel an inmense pressure and do not feel prepared at all. Fear is creeping in.

I have dozens of emails and calls asking when? The pressure and the need is inmense and I have a hard time letting go of fear.

In the end it will be in God´s time, but its hard for this Martha not to worry.

Maybe its the Bad guy tempting me.....well not maybe.... I am sure he is puting this huge fear in my heart. Its such a good thing, yet all I am feeling is fear.

My studies have been interrupted so many times by crisis, its really incredible that the exam will be in a few days.

Then 6 days later we have the 5 hour psychological exam for our adoption. 1st part of the 10 hour exam. The thoughest step in our adoption process. A very, very though exam.

This in the middle of one of the worst weeks ever for my job. I am swamped with requests by my office, at the same time studying for the exam and trying to be calm in our adoption process.

This exam is the one that can define if we are able to adopt and also when.

The one that one in 5 couples fail and are then sent to therapy. Most are able to adopt later, but still all say its a difficult experience and I feel very frail right now.

Most of the ones that fail its because they have not closed the biological process and also because they are still grieving from miscarriages.

We have both factors, so I am praying that this does not come out in the tests.

It has been a year and 3 months since I started the Fertility.Care program. To this day I still do not know how I ended up in Omaha. I can only say it was God (and some blogs and the catholic IF yahoo group).

Also it has also been 1 year and 2 months since we started the adoption proceedings in earnest mainly due to my age, since you cannot start the adoption proceedings after 39 if you want a baby and I turned 39 this year. We had to do it in the middle of our diagnosis by Napro, something that I wished that I did not have to do at exactly the same time. It has been too much, but we had no option.

During this year so many things have happened that I cannot even wrap my head around them.

My practitioner course has been interrupted dozens of times with crisis during one of the the most horrible year ever. I know that I know the stuff to pass the exam, yet I am fully aware that my body and mind have been somewhere else most of this year and I am playing catchup and having a hard time concentrating. And I hate it.

During this year I got a first diagnosis by Dr. H (adrenal fatigue, late luteal phase defect, hypothyroid, endo) and started most of the napro protocols long distance paving the uncharted waters of doing it from Me.xico trying to find medical equivalents, doctors willing to help and importing medicines via friends and family in small doses.

Then was told I needed to have another surgery uninsured in the US, decided to do it which took all of our courage and most of our savings.

In the meantime had a failed adoption, my DH ended up in the hospital 2 times unexpectedly, then we started the adoption process in earnest, my DH was (and has been) unable to get a good job during all of this year (this has been a major crisis in our marriage that I have not posted about here, but it has been perhaps after the miscarriage the second biggest trial ever).

Then got pregnant, miscarried, had a D&C, ended up in the hospital with severe complications including contractions, then two months later one day started bleeding like I was going to die, then was told I had miscarried again, had another D&C, one month later was told it was a polyp.


And right now that I am studying I am noticing how tired I am.

Tired of cramming all of this with a normal 9 to 5 job. My full time IF job, my practitioner program, our adoption process.....

So the last nights I have been not sleeping thinking about the exams in the coming weeks, worrying about them and also trying to pray that all turns out OK.

During the last year nothing has turned out as planned... Nothing.

So I am having a hard time trusting that things will turn out OK. Crazy I know.

But its how I am feeling right now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On our adoption and letting go of fear

Yesterday I went out to lunch with a dear friend who just had a baby a few months ago. We started discussing her current life, how she manages working and a baby and the conversation turned into one where one woman already a mother and one about to become one opened their hearts about motherhood.

Then I catched myself.

I was discussing about the details of bringing my own baby home.

Without fear.

Without holding back like I have done in the last years when these discussions about babies came up.

I dared to believe it was going to happen

And it felt so liberating.

This might sound strange, but I have not wanted to really think about very real possibility that we might become parents in the next months.

After so much heartache with IF, the last months of horrible hospitals stays and our own failed adoption and a miscarriage I have been guarding my heart. Really guarding it.

Fear has been my guiding feeling most of the time. What if God did not trust me to be a good mother? What if He wanted me to be infertile for life and also unable to adopt?

Then the message by Dr. H to continue trying, that our chances were still OK made me so very confused about what God really wanted.

But I have made my peace, He is guiding our family and will know when and how its going to be built, but so far the message is adoption is our path.

Each and every door has opened in the last months, specially since we lost Miguel.

I do not want this to sound that adoption has been easy. It has taken over a year and several months of waiting, of paperwork, of praying, of loss, of tears. Plus the added years of IF pain and of the same years of opening our hearts to this new vocation.

We are currently in the last 3 weeks of our adoption course, which started in October. It has been an amazing journey and a great gift to be working with an agency that shares our exact same beliefs. We take classes in a room where they have an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and God is mentioned as a real participant in our adoption journey.

Wow, the presence of Our Lady right alongside. She is there waiting for Her baby just like we are.

In March there will be a solmen mass for all adoptive families and the ones to be at the Basilica of Guadalupe. It will be in honor of St Joseph. I cannot wait to go there and also pray for all bloggers in waiting. She is so very powerful.

The next weeks will be a whirlwind of activities. We finish the course, we have an interview with an adoptive family to ask any of our questions, then comes the psycological evaluation which is over 6 hours long, then the socioeconomic one and a social workers visit.... and if all goes well in the next 2 months or a little bit more we can have the certificate that makes it possible for a baby to be assigned to us.

The only thing that can put a delay of a few months is that our psychological evaluations show that we have not let of our grief or that there are some other problems in our relationship that need to be solved.

But this means only a delay, only in very specific cases is the process stopped once you have made it so far as we have. All the ones go through counseling and in the end are able to adopt. The probabilities are in favor of us.

I do not think that we have any major issues that could cancel our process. Yes, we are still recuperating from several months of extreme emotional pain, but we have been close to God and He is a true healer. I think we are OK in this respect and if they deem necessary for us to go to counseling I know there will be a reason for it and we will be OK. But this would be only be a delay. And what is a few months more if I have waited years for my DH and then years to start a family. I am now an expert on waiting. I do not like it any more than before, but it has been such an integral part of my life that I feel like an old pro.

Then with the certificate in hand.... it can happen anytime that we get the call to come and pick up our baby.

There is no specific date. It really can happen anytime.

We have been told by some people that know this agency is that since we are a minority to expect to be at the ends of the spectrum, either very fast or that we are ones of the last ones in our group. They look for a physical resemblance most of the time so we do not know how this will play for us.

For some friends it was the very next day after the certification. They did not have anything ready. Were also guarding their hearts.

For other friends it was 3 months later.

For others it has been 4...

But the message we have been given in the last weeks is this: You are now at the end of the course. Your baby has already been conceived and to start believing it.

I am trembling as I write this. With Our Lady´s help it might well be.

He/ she has been conceived and is growing in the belly of an amazing woman who will make the hardest and bravest decision of her life and one that we will be thankful for all our lives.

I am daring to belive that this is true.

I think that I have now the strenght and faith to start praying for her and this baby each and every night.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Visit to the naturopath and a few reminders on the basics

I went to a naturopath for my cold yesterday and it was a very enlightening visit.

I still had a lot of coughing, headaches and general tiredness, yet I refused to take allopathic medicines on top of all my IF ones.

I am truly sick of all the pills. And the thought after my 3 hospital stays of going back to doctors makes me sweat.

I will do it for IF, but I need to find alternatives for the other things.

I come from two cultures that believe a lot on natural medicine: the Mexican one which still uses curanderos (healers) and plants to cure all sorts of things and the German one which belives a lot in homeopathy and alternative medicines. My family in Germany hardly uses medicines and uses diet, baths and homeopahty to cure everything.

Also a few years ago I was also in China and was diagnosed in minutes from a thyroid condition using TCM and have used it in the past succesfully for many things, so I truly belive that allopathic medicine does not have all the answers.

Rest and water were doing their work, but I still wanted to see how he would manage this since I need a doctor that does not give pills at the start of any illness.

His story is quite interesting. He is from the USA, was an engineer for some 28 years and hated it during all this time, and after the death of this wife from cancer decided to embark on the natural healing path 12 years ago.

He seemed so at peace, so calm and happy that I really liked him from the get go.

He asked me to answer a brief questionnaire and then asked me to strech on a massage table while he did muscle testing on one arm.

Well... without me telling him anything he tested me by using kinesology and not surprisingly my thyroid and adrenals came out very, very low. My uterus, ovaries, and the rest of my body came out OK with the exception of my sinuses and digestion.

He also told me that my digestion was weak (very true in the last months) and then proceeded to test me for food sensitivities by testing again my arm and using vials of the substances and I was so surprised when the told me the exact, exact same things as my blood tests. Very, very expensive ones.

My arm lost its strenght completly when he used the vials of milk and wheat and did not with the other substances.

Wheat and milk (not yoghurt, nor cheese) are the main culprits of my inflammation and have been confirmed by three diff medical systems: the chinese, the western and now kinesiology. None of them knew about the others and all came to the same exact conclusion.

I have other minor sensitivities, but they can be corrected when the major ones are.

He gave me the exact same suggestions as Ran.dine lewis....

mmmmmh! maybe somebody is trying to tell me something....

Enzimes, focus on digestion, magnesium at night as well as the day, diet, slow excercise, elimination of inflammation culprits...

He emphasized again what I already knew: by correcting the digestion you make your body far more effective in everything. My body was struggling taming the inflammation from my sensitivies and I was putting a lot of burden on it and this plus stress in the end did not help my thyroid and adrenals.

From all the books on this I have read sensitivies, lack of nutrients and digestive issues go hand in hand with the above conditions.

So I need to be off again completly from wheat to the degree as if I were celiac so I desintoxicate (did not mention here, but a few months ago I used an ave.eno product and got the reddest face imaginable, well I went to the dermagologist who concluded that the wheat in the product had given me the red face! I had not seen the effects in my digestion since they are subtle, but they were clear in my skin) and also milk.

Have started again since yesterday and will see how it goes. Last time I did it perfectly I lost a ton of weight and also felt great so there must be truth to all of this.

He was very straight forward with me which I liked. No fancy gimmicks.

I tend to overdo things, so having a few basic instructions makes sense. Focus on the very basics again, just like when I got pregnant. No amount of pills can heal as well as good food, rest and excercise.

He said to slow down, focus on very, very healthy eating, take the right supplements and not take the foods that give me inflammation. Just this and he said I would notice wonders and come and see him in 4 weeks.

For my cold he just said to start the diet immediately since milk and wheat in sensible people are linked to excess mucus production and can make matters much worse.

He used some kinesiology and tapping movements to strenghten my sinuses and surprisingly a few hours later my sinus headache was completly gone as well as my runny nose. I have not idea if it was a placebo effecto or not, but it worked.

For relaxation he upped my magnesium dosage and told me this would help with sleep and a general state of calm during the day.

So I am back on the "diet" wagon, will start focusing on my stress and see where this all takes me.

I am truly hopeful that this will be the key for my general state.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Of thyroids, adrenals, colds and limits

Today two posts really hit home. They were by TCIE and Jerusalmen my destiny! Both talk about doing too many things.

Just like me.

I am now home nursing a cold and really thinking things over. A cold that my body fought for a few days, but the battle has been won by the bug.

So right now what I need to do it rest and take it easy so I can win the battle. I do not want to take more medicines (my IF ones are enough!!!!) so I am going into a more natural cure mode: tons of water, rest and homeophatic remedies.

Normally my colds come at times of high stress or when I have been neglecting my health and I have been doing both.

Also in the last weeks the symptoms of hypothyroidsm have made a come back. With a vengance.

So my body is saying, screaming something is not quite right. That I need to make changes and fast.

I am very bad at putting limits, at concentrating at one thing at the time and at taking care of myself.

I am like the crabs in the story where they are put in a pot and they do not notice that the temperature is slowly rising until they are cooked.

I am exactly like a crab.

My Marthaness is my biggest spiritual weakness.

Tiredness, mild depression, being out of it. I know these hypo symptoms, because I lived with them for years before they were diagnosed. They were my personal H.ell.

Napro and Dr. H saved my life.

I do not wish them on anybody. Plus adrenal fatigue... A nightmare. It was not a life to be lived.

I have tasted health and I now crave it with all my being.

A comeback of sympotoms that was to be expected. My miscarriage and three hospital stays in three months really took a toll on my spirit and body, and I have been doing too many things at once after this. Yes, I went on vacation with my DH and a God sent retreat last week, but clearly I need to take care of myself during the rest of the time also.

Many of the books on hypothyroid and also adrenal fatigue explain the link between high stress and lifestyle and the symptoms. The books have really hit home that I need to manage the root causes rather than only the symptoms by getting the T3 and HC at the right doses.

Yet its so very difficult to say no to all these things which are good. I truly do not know how.

My full time job...

My practitioner program and practice...

Our calling to promote Napro so this exists here.

Our adoption process and the requests from the agency to support them in many of their activities.

YET right now its clear I need to focus on another job first and foremost: My health, so I can be a good wife, mother and worker for God.

My own health management both for hypo/adrenal and IF. My true job right now is to get back to healthy.

When I got pregnant my body was at its peak. I was meditating/praying, excercising, doing acupuncture, taking the medicines in the right order. Doing the program by Randi.ne lewis as well as Napro. It took many hours of my week, but it was great.

I was in balance and healthy. I have tasted health and once you taste it going back to hypo and adrenal fatigue is the worst nightmare ever. .

As promised by Ran.dine I got pregnant by doing these things, yet health on its own was its own miracle.

Yet now, a pregnancy would not be the main reason to do it. I need to do it so I can function and to be a good mother however God chooses. I am really at peace either way..

And I know deep within myself that here is no way I can take care of a baby in this condition.

I was really at the very best emotionally, physically and even spiritually and the cherry on the cake was my pregnancy.

I know that this path really works for balance, not only doing the western traditional medical stuff.

So..I am spending today resting and meditating on what God wants. Getting back on the health wagon and seeing which are the things that I can do right now and which not. Yet its so hard for this Martha.

Today I need to be Mary and put things in order.