This entire journey has really put my faith to the test. I grew up a practicing Catholic, even attended Catholic grammar school, high school and college. Church on Sundays was a must in my home as were prayers before meals.
The first year of our trying to conceive journey, I attended Mass, well - religiously. I was there every Sunday. I wore a St. Gerard medal my cousin had given me and I believed that God would soon bless us with a child if I prayed long and hard enough. For those of you who don't know, St. Gerard is the patron Saint of mothers and those who hope to be mothers. I used to carry his prayer card in my purse.
During that first year, E (the husband) would joke that I intended to nag God to death in the hopes we'd get pregnant. Hey, I thought, whatever works!
When the months became a year, and the year became yearS, I started to loose faith a bit. But I still hung on to that notion that when you're at your worst, God is right there with you every step of the way. Problem was, I really couldn't feel it at all.
In those first few months of treatment, I wore my medal to every IUI and appointment. I'd recite my prayers before every procedure and surgery. I'd make "deals" with God stating that only if he'd let this be a positive pregnancy test, I'd never miss another Sunday Mass.
Now that our journey has reached the 2.5 year mark and the involvement of IVF...I feel completely lost, detached, hypocritical, angry and down right pissed. The Catholic church does not believe in using IUIs or IVF to achieve pregnancy as it (in their eyes) does not treat human life and reproduction with the respect it deserves. I will not go into that whole debate here but I will say, it has been very difficult for me to accept that this type of procedure is likely what it will take for me to achieve what I want most in this world - to expand my family.
I am not quite sure why the IUIs didn't bother me as much but I think it has to do with the fact that at least the sperm and egg were meeting in my body and life would begin there. So I needed a little help with getting the sperm in there...I still did not see this as a huge problem with my faith. I do feel like I'm a hypocritical Catholic by engaging in IVF procedures and it took a lot for me to go forward in that arena.
Also, I haven't been able to attend Mass in the last 6 months without crying. I look around at all the happy families and the children and I am reminded every second with what God has not blessed us with. It hurts too much to be in His house and have that reminder staring me right in the face as they're turned backwards in their pew making adorable little faces at me.
Christmas was especially heart-wrenching. We had already planned ahead and decline an invitation from my Aunt to join them and my cousins for Christmas Eve Mass downtown. I wanted to go to the church near our house as I just love the choir so much and I knew there'd be tears. I didn't want to have to explain to anyone why I was crying.
So E and I got dressed in our Christmas Eve best, headed off to Mass early to get a seat and plunked down in the pew. The choir was already singing carols which put me in good spirits. Then as I sat there not 5 whole minutes longer did the tears started to well up.
This was Christmas, we're celebrating the birth of a child. How fun is that for an infertile, right? I had no children to celebrate, no pregnancy to look forward to. Our first IVF had failed 2 weeks prior. Here I was singing about how wonderful it was that a child has been born and I F*ing can't get pregnant. Have never been pregnant.
It was just too much to handle - the emotions, my struggles with our choice in treatment vs. my faith teachings. I asked E if he'd be mad if we left...he said absolutely not. So we did, we left. Just grabbed our coats and high-tailed it outta that church. This was the first time I'd ever missed Christmas Mass in my entire life. It felt odd but much better than the pain and hurt I felt sitting in that pew.
We left, headed home, tried to cheer ourselves up with gifts and champagne. It didn't quite work but then soon it was time to go to my Aunt's house for dinner, so I had reapply the makeup that had dripped from my eyes and put on a happy face. We managed to have a nice night in the end though.
I still struggle with my faith and the people we know who are aware of our situation are praying for us. But I honestly have to say, that I'll leave it to them. I pray for other things now...nothing fertility related. It's just not working so I've changed my tune now when on rare occasion I do pray. Others say to me, pray on it....and I tell them I'll have to leave it to them. I think they are a little taken aback by my response but I'm telling the truth. He ain't listening to me, so maybe he'll listen to others.