First, I’d like to thank Caitlin for featuring me on her blog as part of her Catholic marriage series! Though we've never met “in real life” I feel like Caitlin would be the kind of friend I would enjoy talking with for hours in a cute little coffee shop. :)
My wonderful husband and I were married in May 2007 so we’re coming up on 6 years! We met online through a Catholic website, Ave Maria Singles. At the time I was 29, he was 35. It was a whirlwind courtship - he emailed me for the first time in August 2006 (I made him wait 2 days before I responded :)) and we had our first date two weeks later. I had a pretty good idea on that date that I’d met the man I would marry. Three months later, he proposed the day before Thanksgiving, on the Feast of St. Cecilia, who is dear to my heart as a musician! We were married in a lovely Mass at my home parish accompanied by our wonderful family and many friends.
For our honeymoon, we traveled to Italy! We spent time first in Rome, then Castle Gandofo, then Assisi. The highlight of our trip was attending a Papal Audience... and yes, personally greeting The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI!
While we were dating (for 3 whole months :)), one of the reasons I knew my hubby was “the one” was his desire to have a large family. I grew up as the oldest in a family of 5 girls and my husband grew up the oldest in a family of 4 boys! Yes! I would finally have brothers! :) Both of us were open to life from the beginning of our marriage and prayed that God would bless us right away.
It was a surprise to both of us, actually I could say it was quite a shock, when we weren’t getting pregnant. After a few months, I saw a local Catholic physician who told me not to worry and to call if I hadn’t gotten pregnant within a year.
A year later... we still weren’t pregnant.
To make a long story short, we found a different Catholic doctor who followed the Creighton model of NFP and NaproTechnology, and we went through testing (both of us). Over the course of the next 3 years, I did hormone therapy, and had 3 surgeries to remove adhesions from a surgery I’d had a number of years before. During all of this, we continued to pray that God would grant us our miracle. Our last “treatment” was 4 months of ultrasound series to determine if I was ovulating. I wasn’t. The ultrasound series’ revealed that I have luteinized unruptured follicle syndrome. Unfortunately, LUFS can only be diagnosed through an ultrasound series, and it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to treat.
Shortly before my second and third surgeries, though, my DH and I began looking into adoption. Many agencies ask that you be done with “treatment” before beginning the process. While those references were mainly to ART (such as IVF) which we were against, we decided that I should have my last surgeries before we committed to any particular agency. We felt that by being open to life either way - conception or adoption, we could leave it up to God to choose how he wanted to bless our family.
We really spent a lot of time in prayer trying to know God’s will as we know that not every infertile couple is called to adopt. I believe my husband was a little more open to adoption than I was at first. We were blessed to take another trip to Italy during that discernment period in 2010. (My youngest sister was studying there for a few months and some of my family went over to visit her. It was an amazing trip! :)) During that trip we had an opportunity to pray before the remains of St. Josemaria Escriva, to whom my husband and I both share a special devotion. I remember asking for his intercession that we conceive, but I believe I also asked for us to be blessed with children. Shortly after that trip is when I suggested to DH that we start to check out adoption agencies. My prayer had been answered... perhaps differently than I expected, but my heart really began to embrace adoption as the means to build our family.
In the middle of my last ultrasound series in April 2012, DH & I received the call from our agency that we had been chosen by a birthmother! Our son, C, was born Sunday April 22nd (unbeknownst to us), and we were chosen Tuesday the 24th. We brought him home from the hospital on Wednesday, April 25th! After nearly 5 years of waiting, we became parents with 18 hours gestation! :) God has a wonderful sense of timing!
Courtesy Capture A Moment Photography
Family photo on learning C’s adoption had been finalized a few days after Christmas!! :)
Looking back... well, I’ll just say it. Infertility was and still is at times, a very difficult cross. For a Catholic couple open to life, who believe that God’s surpreme gift to marriage is children, it is so easy to ask “why me?” I didn’t always carry the cross gracefully. There were many, many graces given to us during our time of waiting. For one, now, when I look at other young couples at church without kids, I don’t automatically assume they are using birth control. I pray more and more for them because I’ve met so many who unfortunately share the same struggle. I also know that I am now a much better wife because of infertility. And I’ve realized the incredible strength and faith of my husband, who was my rock on more occasions than I can count.
If you are married and going through infertility, know that you are not alone. There are resources for help (Caitlin has listed a few links in her posts on contraception.) Most of all, remember that God has not forgotten you. He has a plan... sometimes it just takes time for it to be revealed. Sometimes it takes years! But His will is for your good. And His will is the one where you will find your joy.
The author of this post blogs anonymously at Isaiah 55:8-9 about about NaproTechnology, being a wife and new mom, and food - because she loves to cook! Check out her blog to see what life is like for her and her sweet family!