I've had alot of friends and family (oh and strangers too!) ask me about my fertility (or infertility I should say!) and different issues surrounding trying to have another baby, so I thought it might be beneficial to put this all into a Question and Answer format, and fill you all in!
How long have you been trying to have your "second" (live) child?
Since November 2007. So as of today, this is our 29th month of trying to get pregnant with a child we will be able to raise on earth. That's 2 years and 5 months.
Was it easy to get pregnant with your first daughter?
Yes! Very easy, and my pregnancy with Isabel was textbook perfect.
How many pregnancies have you had during these 29 months?
Four. An ectopic pregnancy we lost in January 2008. A miscarriage at 9 1/2 weeks in June 2008. Mary Grace was lost in February 2009, and a very early miscarriage in November 2009.
Have you had any "help" trying to conceive during the last 29 months?
Yes! There were 2 months in 2009 when we used Clomid (a fertility enhancing oral drug) to help me have a stronger ovulation, but both of those cycles were unsuccessful and I had terrible mood swings on Clomid.
After my early miscarriage in November 2009, my OBGYN prescribed an oral progesterone supplement (to take after I ovulate, to help support a potential pregnancy), and a daily baby aspirin. We are also currently on our 4th cycle of Femara (a different fertility enhancing oral drug) that does not give me the awful mood swings like Clomid.
Wait. Does the Catholic church agree with the use of fertility enhancing drugs like clomid and femara?
Yes! The church "approves of artificial measures that assist the spouses in achieving pregnancy as a direct result of an act of marital intercourse" (Life Issues, Medical Choices, Smith & Kaczor, p.60). Drugs like clomid and femara help to restore a woman's fertility.
But you and Rob can't do In-vitro fertilization (IVF) or intra-uterine insemination (IUI) because the Catholic church disagrees with those procedures?
Correct. Both IVF and IUI are procedures where pregnancy may occur, but not as a direct result of an act of marital intercourse. Rob and I will never do IVF or IUI because we agree with the Catholic church's teaching that those procedures violate the dignity of the human child and violate the purpose or meaning of marriage.
As painful as it is, (not being able to have a baby to hold in our arms right now), Rob and I know that having a child is not a right. Having a baby is a gift...a gift from God, at that! And we have to choose moral ways to have a baby. So some procedures are simply "off-limits" to us.
How can you consider IVF or IUI immoral and how does it violate the dignity of the child?
These techniques "dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that 'entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.' " (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2377
I think the following quote really says it best:
"Although a child who is conceived through artificial technologies has dignity equal to every other human being, that child has been treated like a product in his or her conception and thus not shown proper respect" (Life Issues, Medical Choices, Smith & Kaczor, p. 63).
Will you ever "give up" trying to get pregnant? How long will you keep trying?
Great question! ;) Our pastor today had a homily about the prodigal son, and why parents are so eager to welcome their wayward children back....love and hope. We have great love for our family and God and we have hope that God will again bless us with new life. Since we agree when the Church teaches, "that each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life" (CCC 2366), I believe we will just keep on trying and hoping.
Would you ever consider adopting a child?
Quite honestly, when I was growing up I always admired parents who adopted a child, but I never thought I would have "what it takes" to do it. Now I'm not sure if I really thought about "what it would take" too much, but my heart has been opening slowly to the idea that that might be the way the Lord directs us to go one day.
Kind of like with homeschooling...I never thought I would want to (or be able to) homeschool my child, but we are certainly headed in that direction with Isabel (and God has changed my heart so that I am joyfully anticipating it)! Doesn't He work wonders in us?
So to answer that question, Rob and I are open to considering adoption one day if it is God's will for us. But we are not headed down that path right now.
Why do you think God has permitted the suffering of losing 4 babies, and the suffering of your infertility?
The short answer? To draw me closer to Him. I believe that my suffering, united to the Cross of Jesus has great benefit to others, and has brought me much closer in my walk with Him. We are just passing through here on earth on our journey to heaven, and no one ever said it would be without pain. So I unite every day to Jesus and offer it to God, whether it be joyful, sorrowful or mundane. He can do great things with all of my actions.
"I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church." Colossians 1:24