In my world of new-found hope I am actually thinking positive thoughts. Amazing! So while lying in bed last night I suddenly had a realization (I'm having trouble putting this in words, probably because it's late and my "o" key just broke off of my lap top, so I apologize ahead of time if this is hard to follow): Everywhere infertility has led me has been beautiful. The people, places, experiences.. all of them have given me the feeling of being touched by God (you know the one).
I'm not talking about the dark days. Those I blame largely on myself, my lack of trust and refusal to carry the cross. I'm talking about the experiences I have had solely because of infertility, things I wouldn't have experienced without it. If you focus on those you'll begin to see a pattern. This is what God intended my infertility to be - a beautiful path filled with wonderful people and spiritual encounters. Here is a sampling:
- I swear my Creighton educator is heaven sent. During our first phone call she told me of her own battle with infertility and how she conceived shortly after giving it completely over to God (she went on to have six or seven kids). I can't begin to explain the guidance she has given me, and that's saying nothing about her help with the Creighton Model. Even the way I found out she existed was amazing. It was my first day at a new job at a Catholic retreat center that I was unsure about taking. I overheard someone say the diocese had a new fertility expert, so I called. I'm not sure I would have found out otherwise. So even during bad days at that job, I knew why God had put me there.
- Or how about our impromptu trip to the middle of Pennsylvania to meet with a priest who has been given the gift of healing. Father Mike's been known to pray with infertile couples only to have them conceive shortly thereafter (humbly, he admits he has no idea why he has this gift and, as he told us, would rather heal cancer patients if he had his say). Sitting in the basement of a house he shares with his elderly grandmother, he told us his story, asked about ours, then held our hands and said a simple Hail Mary. Then we went to lunch. I'm leaving out some detail, but it's safe to say it was one of the most surreal experiences of my life (now I just hope we don't break his good track record!). And, once again, the way I found out about him was bizarre. I applied for a job with my state's Right to Life Committee and while emailing with the executive director it soon came up that I was dealing with infertility (I still wonder how it got to that point so quickly, not the usual job-interview conversation. Only God can make something like that happen). She immediately told me about her infertility (she now has a daughter), Fr. Mike and about the PPVI Institute. I didn't end up taking the job, but I owe a lot to her.
- Last July I had to have an ultrasound series done ahead of my laparoscopy at PPVI. Unable to travel to Omaha for this, I was told that the only other ultrasound technician trained in their method on the east coast was in New Jersey. So I spent a week at the Morning Star Family Health Center (their web page displays the lyrics to "Gentle Woman" and their tag line is "Building a Culture of Life in Family Health Care". How great is that?!) where I received some of the most caring, wonderful treatment I'd ever experienced. I left with a really great feeling, an unofficial diagnosis and some hope.
- While in New Jersey we realized we weren't far from the St. Gianna Shrine just outside of Philadelphia. We drove up to the address only to find a small parish church with no sign of the shrine. After searching the entire premises, we entered the church to discovered a very simple, small shrine in the back corner of the sanctuary. Two women were sitting watch while a relic of St. Gianna - her white gloves - was displayed. I knelt, cried and prayed while holding the gloves and after praying I mustered the courage to approach the women to tell them why I was there. Immediately one of the women, who happened to be pregnant, told me she also suffered from infertility and conceived her first child after praying for the intercession of St. Gianna (her current pregnancy was actually her second). She also suffered from endometriosis, which I was told I had just the day before. The experience was a gift from God, and I continue to have a devotion to St. Gianna.
- And, of course, our entire experience with PPVI. From our trip to Omaha to the great care I have been given, this speaks for itself.
To me, these are all signs that God is in this. Perhaps an even bigger sign of God's presence is the fact that I can recognize this at all.