Sunday, May 24, 2009

a weekend


It was really nice to see my sister. Though she's far more sarcastic even than yours truly, and has a lot of personality, she's always been very shy around new people. So, instead of planning a big party for Friday when she got in, on Friday, she and I walked around DC and saw some stuff she hadn't seen the last time. Then we had dinner at an Italian place in Arlington I hadn't been to before (food was great, service was strange-ish).

Saturday we went running on the trail I like so much. Then we went shopping - she needed new running shoes, which we found at I think a pretty good price, she came along for my weekly grocery shopping, and we got lunch at DQ. Then we came home and polished off a container of hummus while watching Fried Green Tomatoes - I own it, but she'd never seen it. But before we started the movie, reminded of many, many episodes sitting around watching a VHS tape in my mom's kitchen, we called my mom (who, as I've previously mentioned, is mentally unwell). It was a pretty good call. Sunday we went to Tridentine Mass - choir was lovely. I didn't plan anything rollicking to do; neither of us is a barfly, she's seen most of the tourist stuff, and I just thought we should spend time doing normal stuff, since she'll be headed to Poland for the summer in two weeks. We went to the National Zoo (I'd never been). It was shaping up to be kind of a disappointment - all the animals were in for the night or hiding. Luckily, the indigenous wildlife was filling in:

Ultimately, we did see some exhibits. The Mexican Wolves were probably the prettiest.

But my favorite were the pelicans. I've had some sort of thing with pelicans for years, but I don't think I'd ever seen them in "person." We even got to watch them being fed.

After the zoo closed, we went to Gravelly Point Park to watch the planes take off. Neither of us did all that well trying to capture the planes as they landed, but she probably did a better job.

I got a picture of the picture-takers.

IF Meditations

I also did some thinking. I realized a few things. I've been trying to think of better ways to pray about this IF mess. I realize I'm not half spiritually centered, and the IF has dislodged me - well, by pushing on a spot where the structure was weak to start with. On Saturday, I thought about how I should offer up the suffering of IVF for graces for others. It's been almost four years, I haven't done that...all those wasted graces. And I found myself unable to think of a restrictive clause strong enough to prevent God from taking my offering-up as a license to extend whatever time I would already have to spend infertile. (It's not that I can't make it through one more year. I don't know that it would bother me making it through 2009 [but maybe it would!], it's just that I don't want it extended one unnecessary day. Let alone unnecessary decades.) I finally said that I would offer it up today. I know I'm not going to get pregnant today. I can offer today. The problem is, it means I have to remember every day. But maybe I can get in the habit.

I realized that this means that, if what God thinks is best for me is that I suffer this way for years, then I am not open to that being His will. Isn't that interesting? Actually, it's slightly more complicated than that. It's that I think that God would "snap up" an unrestricted prayer like that, not because it's part of His grand design for my life and me getting to heaven, but as part of His overall posture of taking advantage of a vulnerable bargaining position to sock me with sufferings I really don't want. And that is an interesting realization too. Not open to offering things up to God because I don't trust Him not to stick it to me. Great.

Then I thought about how that wasn't right - the problem here is me. I'm supposed to embrace God's will even if it's hard. And I have no problem with that in theory. I've done it well on many occasions. Just not with this. The thing is - if God is going to take the babies away from me, He's going to give me something else instead - not by way of a consolation prize, but another way (and not a pointless way) to occupy my time and energy. So I should think about that.

Today, in Mass, I was praying about that. The goal: ask God to lead me toward, and show me, what it is He is asking of me instead (assuming there is an instead) - what it is He actually wants with my life. (I've already thought about how it might be adoption. Believe it or not, I am much less closed to adoption now, although I'd rather have biological children. But, learning more about the logistics of adoption, I think we'd never end up with a big family of adopted kids - and with our luck, we'd never get through the process on the first kid. So as soon as I decide adoption is something I want, God will jinx that one too. So I'm not pursuing that. If it falls into my lap, fine.)

You know what I realized? I'm not willing to ask God to lead me to what else He wants with my life. Not because there isn't anything else and He hit the delete key by accident and my life is purposeless (I say that, I fear that, but I think I just realized I might not believe that). Because if He's asking of me something other than raising a family, I know it's going to be something really demanding and I'm going to want to run screaming. It won't be something I want anything to do with. I don't have a specific idea in mind, just a strong sense of formless unpleasantness.

Isn't that interesting - I don't trust God not to give me a raw deal just because He can. And after all this time - discerning a vocation, getting married, everything - I'm not interested in hearing the plans God has for my life. In the short-term, impulse-motivation sense, I'd rather keep wandering around blind than have to do something hard or undesirable.

Now, I don't want not to want these things. I mean, I recognize those inclinations are defects, and I don't like having defects. But I'm not ready to pray, "God, lead me to the thing you've asked of me instead." It's not a prayer I want answered right now. For now, I'd rather be angry about IF than have to take a(nother) big risk. "Help me to find my way" I've been praying for months, but the other one is a little too specific. I think I have to start a few steps back, maybe - "Help me to want the right things." Or, "Help me to trust you." Maybe that's the simplest one of all. That would be OK - that's a prayer I'd like answered. It's general. It's benign.

I also realized about myself, that what I really want out of this whole IF mess is not a baby. Baby would be OK. But what I want more than a baby is a life that an objectively reasonable person would not feel sorry for. Not the talk of the town or the envy of everyone. Not a life without hardship or suffering. Not an un-difficult life. Not fame or accomplishment. But a life that someone acquainted with what I'm up to and what I value would look at and say, "She got a chance to do something valuable. She's living a good life." Even if they recognized that I couldn't have kids and would have wanted to. But not "How sad that she doesn't have any kids." Or "It's nice that she's finding things to fill in the hole where the kids would be." Or "I'm so glad I've been able to have kids, look at those childless couples." Or, "How empty her life is. We should pray for her." Or, "Look at how superficial the things are that you take on when you can't have what really matters - a family." Or, "Look at the frenzy she's throwing at all her other activities - like if she works hard enough, she won't remember she doesn't have kids."

I'm not trying to be superficial; I don't mean that actual people have to approve of my life. Many actual people probably will not and I can ignore them. I mean that it would be reasonable for a theoretical person to conclude that my life is valuable. That's what I actually want. Not to be a reject from the scrap heap of meaning and direction and vocation.


I don't know how this squares with my filling my prescription for tamoxifen, but I'm going to.

And, BTW, you'll all be happy to know that I did ovulate this month - fairly timely, too. But my CM was totally screwed up - that's why I was confused. (Good thing I'm doing temps!) Has anyone else ever had screwed-up CM as a result of HSGs and the like? It seems logical, but my book and Dr. Google have never heard of it.

Also, is it true that tamoxifen causes CM to dry up? And if so, why didn't my RE mention this when I specifically asked? Any reason I shouldn't go get some B6 to take as well?

Thanks interwebz. Sleep tight...


  1. Re: the IF meditation, I empathize so much. It's hit me where I'm weak, too.

    Tamoxifen is Femara, right? It shouldn't dry up your cm (the way Clomid does), but I'm sure it's different for everyone.

  2. Really great IF sentiments. Our sermon yesterday also touched on the challenge that Christians have to/should live the life that GOD has for us, not just the life that WE want. It makes it almost impossibly hard when you (I) can't figure out what God has in store for my life, although I have recently gotten a nudge in the biological child direction (as opposed to adoption), so I will be praying for you that God makes it clear to you what He has in store, or that He helps your heart soften in trust of Him. You're right- there is no guarantee that what's in store will be a baby, but (if I may make a challenge to you) I would be willing to be that if/when you embraced what God has in front of you (parenthood or not, as you were commenting), people will see that passion and zeal for whatever you're embracing and would not even notice any emptiness as far as lack of children go.

    I hope that doesn't come off as preachy or haughty, but it is something I have been trying to do (not focus on lack of children), and I think I do give off a different vibe when I'm embracing the life that God has blessed me with RIGHT NOW instead of pining for what I think He should have blessed me with.

    I will be praying for you!!!

  3. A lot of this post echoes some of my internal struggle. I don't want to accept a reality that includes me being infertile and childless forever. I want children (lots of them), and to be a mother, and I don't want to have a career just because I've not been blessed with children. I would never be happy with that and it wouldn't feel fulfilling in the same way.

  4. She had never seen Fried Green Tomatoes??

    IF and God. Through my journey I've met so many women and one thing is constant-no matter how religious and faith-filled someone is, IF and pregnancy loss makes them have their moments of doubts and wonder 'why me?' 'why is He doing this to me?' 'What's the purpose?'

  5. I understand how you can not be ready to live entirely God's will for you. It is easier to be angry that you aren't getting your way, I lived that way for quite a few years. This past year I have been still praying for a child, but also adding, "If that is not your will for us now, please help me to be ok with Your will for us."

  6. Your thoughts about IF echo several things that I have struggled with, and still struggle with. I always try to remember "His ways are not our ways" and that it's impossible for us to try to think the way God does. That said, I firmly believe that His intentions toward believers are positive, with the exception of Job. "For I know the plans I have for you..." etc. I hope someday it will make sense for you, in a positive way.

    I totally agree about the hypothetical stranger...I can't stand for her to pity me for anything in my life, but especially with regard to my health.

  7. I totally understand your difficulty in abandoning your life to God's will. My problem is a bit different - I say, OK, if this is not what God wants for my life - then what does He want? Tell me!!! Now!! So I can do it. I'm a do-er by nature and all this not doing (read:waiting) is driving me crazy. I suppose this comes down to my desire to control the situation. Back to square one I guess.

    And BTW my prayer is just get me through this Sunday - with all the pregnant women and kids at church avoiding me like a leper.