Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Think I Need To Be Less Aware

I guess it's National Infertility Awareness Week.  I'm really not sure what that entails except I'm about as aware as I need to be.  My husband was very sweet to send me a link to a MS..N story on infertility: http://health.msn.com/pregnancy/the-invisible-pain-of-infertility

The article advocates infertiles coming out of the proverbial closet.  Give up your anonymity; tell people to their faces that you can't have a baby!  Except, what good is that going to do?  I value my privacy.  I don't want people talking about me.  Now, if a teenager asks me a question about infertility, I'd answer it truthfully.  But telling fertile people in my life about my condition changes nothing, especially how they feel about me or respond to me.  Now, I know some infertile Catholics feel self-conscious about going to Mass and it's just you and your husband, no baby or baby bump in sight, and people assume you're contracepting.  But I have some amount of pride in the same situation.  Knowing that I did everything I could, and did it according to the Church's principles, I feel like a survivor.  I am not ashamed.  I might be blue or sad or pissed about it sometimes, but the last thing I am is ashamed.

The big celebrity infertile news this week is that Bill and Guiliana Rancic are pregnant in a sense; a gestational carrier is pregnant with their biological baby.  I've been following their story for a long time, and hoped that I'd run into them when I attended Mass at their L...A.. parish.  I figured they'd use a surrogate.  They talked about adoption, more IVF.  However, for them, money is pretty much no object so why not pay for a domestic surrogate?  I'm just more than a little disappointed that as Catholics, they took this route.  Not that I'm not happy they'll be parents.  It just sets a bad example for the rest of us especially when they'll likely dodge the surrogacy cost question in their reality show.  A baby at any price?  Really?

If I sound like I'm in a bad mood, I am.  If all we have to count on for information is the internet, advocacy groups, and the government, we're in super bad shape.  I don't need the topic of infertility beat over my head.  Thanks, RESOLVE for awareness but sometimes women like me need a break.

Friday, April 20, 2012


It was hard to get out of bed this morning.  I was so tired and hungry for sleep.  No, I'm not pregnant.  I just got my period; a 31-day cycle.  My husband likes to try to talk to me during my twilight sleep.  I'm sure he's trying to talk to me during REM sleep, I just can't hear him.

He said something that stirs up all kinds of different emotions.  Without provocation, he apologized for all the hurt he's caused me and how my life has been made more difficult because he married me.  It's true that some decisions he made a long time ago have reverberated many years later and have affected me profoundly.  I hurt for myself.  But, his own guilt hurts me more.  He couldn't have known all the consequences of his actions.  If he had, like any intelligent adult, he clearly wouldn't have done it.  None of us are perfect and our own temptations can override very good intentions.

I told him, "thank you" and encouraged him to focus on the good things rather than the bad.  What we have together is not perfect, it's earthly love and therefore, tragic, profound, and deeply joyous, sometimes occurring simultaneously.  I tell my husband, and try to believe myself (isn't that the hard part?) that life is not an upward trajectory.  And all the things we thought were perfect, have gone away and might not ever come back.  But, it may!  We just don't know.

I think this is where trust in God becomes so profoundly critical.  Well-to-do people (I lump most people not in poverty in that category) often rely on creature comforts or their own intellect and competency to make themselves feel in control.  But so many forces are acting in a way where we might be on the losing end.  It's this brokenness that needs God and I think really allows Him to work His magic, so to speak.  I love my husband.  I don't blame him.  He makes mistakes I don't, and I make mistakes he won't.  Therefore, no blame, just understanding.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vatican Reprimands a Group Of U.S. Nuns

Vatican Reprimands a Group Of U.S. Nuns and Plans Changes

The Vatican has appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying that an investigation found that the group had “serious doctrinal problems.”
The Vatican’s assessment, issued on Wednesday, said that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”
The sisters were also reprimanded for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” During the debate over the health care overhaul in 2010, American bishops came out in opposition to the health plan, but dozens of sisters, many of whom belong to the Leadership Conference, signed a statement supporting it — support that provided crucial cover for the Obama administration in the battle over health care.
The conference is an umbrella organization of women’s religious communities, and claims 1,500 members who represent 80 percent of the Catholic sisters in the United States. It was formed in 1956 at the Vatican’s request, and answers to the Vatican, said Sister Annmarie Sanders, the group’s communications director.
Word of the Vatican’s action took the group completely by surprise, Sister Sanders said. She said that the group’s leaders were in Rome on Wednesday for what they thought was a routine annual visit to the Vatican when they were informed of the outcome of the investigation, which began in 2008.
“I’m stunned,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby founded by sisters. Her group was also cited in the Vatican document, along with the Leadership Conference, for focusing its work too much on poverty and economic injustice, while keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage.
“I would imagine that it was our health care letter that made them mad,” Sister Campbell said. “We haven’t violated any teaching, we have just been raising questions and interpreting politics.”
The verdict on the nuns group was issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is now led by an American, Cardinal William Levada, formerly the archbishop of San Francisco. He appointed Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle to lead the process of reforming the sisters’ conference, with assistance from Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki and Bishop Leonard Blair, who was in charge of the investigation of the group.
They have been given up to five years to revise the group’s statutes, approve of every speaker at the group’s public programs and replace a handbook the group used to facilitate dialogue on matters that the Vatican said should be settled doctrine. They are also supposed to review the Leadership Conference’s links with Network and another organization, the Resource Center for Religious Life.
Doctrinal issues have been in the forefront during the papacy of Benedict XVI, who was in charge of the Vatican’s doctrinal office before he became pope. American nuns have come under particular scrutiny. Last year, American bishops announced that a book by a popular theologian at Fordham University, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, should be removed from all Catholic schools and universities.
And while the Vatican was investigating the Leadership Conference, the Vatican was also conducting a separate, widespread investigation of all women’s religious orders and communities in the United States. That inquiry, known as a “visitation,” was concluded last December, but the results of that process have not been made public.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Massive Update

Gosh, where has the time gone?  Here's the latest with me.  We did end up taking the motorcycle to my in-laws.  The morning ride was near torture.  I wore my thin riding gloves with a liner and the 10 degree wind just tore right through them.  We argued while my hands warmed up on the side of a deserted road.  I thought I had to wear fingered gloves.  My husband told me there were no rules and I should have worn my ski mittens.  We debated whether or not to go back home but soldiered on with my hands tucked behind his lower back.  That sorta helped.  Also, my hip flexors, especially the left one was on fire.  By the time we go to the celebration, I thought my leg was going to fall off and I spent the next half hour stretching.  The group was small this time, no SIL even though I was confident I could get along with her.  We ate and drank and were back on the bike by 5pm.  It was a race against the dark and by now, the weather had warmed so the ride back was quite fun and a lot faster than in the morning.

Easter Sunday, we went to the house of a dear friend.  It was a hodge-podge of folks with no where to go on Easter!  So, I brought my parents!!! :)  It was so great.  I made a spicy quinoa salad that rocked.  I am so proud of myself.  I felt so blessed that day.  And it was a good thing, too because the work week was one of my worst.  Why can't anybody treat Easter Week with a little bit of gentleness?  Last week, I felt like the mistake police.  Nobody could get it right and some people decided to use me like a trained monkey.  I'm doing my best to never invite that treatment again.  Let's see how I do this week.

My PMS started a full week before my period.  It hasn't started yet but should in the next day or so.  It does get tough when you're out of commission a whole seven days.  I'm moody, bloated, irritated.  My only consolation is God, thankfully.  I spent my lunch hour today at adoration chapel.  Hopefully, I'll do that every day I take my lunch to work.  I'm blessed, blessed, blessed to have an adoration chapel just two blocks from work.  A good walk to visit with the Lord.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Resurrection & Motorcycles?

We're heading to my in-laws for a Saturday celebration of Easter.  Fun fact: Sunday in Russian is (this is my best transliteration) "Voscresenia" which means "resurrection."  I love that!  We're relegated to pagan "Sunday" but Russian speakers are reminded of Christ every seven days.  Anyway, this is my sixth Easter with my husband's family and can really hold my own at this point.  I think.  So, I'm not nervous about that.  What I'm nervous about is my husband's plan to take the new motorcycle to the celebration.  That's three hours one-way and we're coming back Saturday night, so double it.

My poor neck!  The bike's a cruiser, not a touring bike and the last time I got a terrible crook in my neck.  I just can't get into my groove on this bike as a passenger.  Maybe tomorrow it will happen but I expressed my anxiety to my husband and now he thinks I'm backing out and wanting to take the car.  Maybe I am.  It's tough work to ride a bike.  In a car, you can basically space out.  I'm not advocating that, certainly and I think I'm more alert than most; I don't text or talk on my cell phone at all when I drive.

I know it will work out in the end.  I'm just not feeling at all relaxed about this.  We'll be at a dear friend's home on Easter for brunch with a bunch of other folks.  I'm bringing a quinoa salad.  If it's any good, I'll be happy to share the recipe.

Христос Воскресе!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Transition

Transitioning from wanting children and not being able to have them to accepting childlessness is an emotional experience.  It's not entirely bad or sad.  Some very exciting thoughts and plans have come about because of our circumstances.  I don't want to start listing all the cool stuff now, maybe later or I'll set up a tw.itter account to compete with "999 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility."  Mine would be "999 reasons to appropriately celebrate infertility."  I'm still sticking with my belief that perpetuated, deliberate unhappiness is an offense to God.  He tells us not to worry, right?  I'm not saying we're all not struck down sometimes and tempted by the Devil.  Yes, this is a straight up reality.  But there's something very holy, I think in seeing the silver lining.

This decision is very personal.  I can see the value in some couples deciding to keep trying and for Catholics that means using NFP to achieve.  I get it, you're very young. We're not.  I sort of am but my husband is definitely not.  For us, our TTC journey has ended.  And it feels weird writing that.  Like I'm taking the option to procreate completely off the table.  But it's really necessary to plan to the next phases of our lives.  I planned a lot of my career, my vacation bank, my savings on the belief we'd have a child.  It would have been totally irresponsible (I know a lot of people do it) to not plan for your child's future and be able to provide for them financially.  Guess what?  All that's freed up now.  And I have to plan for that freedom.    

When it comes to the practical transition, i.e. sex, we've, of course, had to talk about it.  Our discussion covered all possible options, yes, including the morally illicit ones.  I wonder sometimes if some devouts don't even think about the things the Church forbids.  Is that even possible?  I think about all kinds of things I would never actually do.  I would never not discuss an issue with my husband or not entertain what he had to say.  After weighing the options and praying about, I decided with my husband's consent to practice NFP to avoid.  I can't say I wasn't tempted by taking a pill to never get my period again but it's not an option for me.  There are too many unknowns and I'm not up for that now.

I'm very excited by the future.  The day spent with the Nor.bertines was a real revelation for me.  I'm thrilled to explore more time-intensive activities in the Church.  We're very blessed.  We owe God more.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

HPV Vaccine

Prevention: HPV Vaccine Shows Reduced Recurrence

A new study suggests that the vaccine against human papillomavirus can significantly cut the likelihood of virus-related disease even among women who have had surgery for cervical cancer caused by HPV.
Using data from a large randomized efficacy trial of the HPV vaccine, the researchers selected a group of 1,350 women 15 to 26 years old who had undergone cervical surgery. Some 587 previously had received the HPV vaccine and 763 a placebo shot.
Those who had gotten the vaccine were 46 percent less likely to suffer subsequent HPV-related disease over the following two years. The effect among women with the most serious kinds of cancer was even stronger: a reduction in risk of 64 percent among those who were vaccinated, compared with those who got a placebo.
The lead author, Dr. Elmar A. Joura, an associate professor of gynecology at the Medical University of Vienna, said that many people believe that the vaccination is useful only in sexually naïve girls, and indeed it is most effective in that group.
But women who have had an HPV-related infection are at high risk for recurrence, and Dr. Joura believes it is important to vaccinate them as well: “Regardless of your age or your history, a vaccination can prevent new disease.”
The study was published March 27 in the journal BMJ.