What He Wants

I procrastinated an entire month, and I got to go on another roller coaster in the process, but tomorrow morning an e-mail is going to Dr. D. and the FCP who does cycle reviews to begin the process of re-starting medical treatment.

I also have my next appointment with Fr. D. and will be following up on some of our last conversation in which he really challenged me (as usual, so I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little nervous. In a good way, but still.)

It is appropriate that these two things will happen on the same day. When I went in to see him last month, I had our "plan" and laid it out:

We were going to schedule an appointment with Dr. D. and give this all one more try. For 6 months we'd do whatever she suggested and go "all in", so to speak, as it relates to TTC. This seemed reasonable to me, knowing that at the end of the 6 months we'd be celebrating our 10th anniversary, I will turn 35 in the middle of the 6 months, and we'd be closer to 4 years than 3 of TTC. Then, if at the end of those 6 months we had not yet conceived, I felt like I would be able to say enough was enough and move on - either to living life as 2 or considering adoption or foster care.

I was very intense about this plan, both when I presented it to The Man and asked him to pray about it and when I shared it with Fr. D. I could feel myself gearing up for the 6 months.

And then, Fr. D asked "why does it have to be so intense?" "Why does it have to be all or nothing?" "Why 6 months?" I shared my reasons and quickly realized I was missing something. He pointed out that even during this medical break, the emotions have still been there. The roller coaster has still gone on, why did I think it would go away.

From there, he referenced my running and said why does it have to be a sprint? Why can't I approach it as a marathon, trusting my doctor, doing things one step at a time and not being so intense about it? He admitted he wasn't even sure it was possible, but was asking me why I thought it wasn't.

I was silent. I had no answer. I had never thought about it that way. I didn't like it, but I was wiling to consider it.

Could I pursue treatment, take my meds, give myself shots, chart meticulously and not let it become all consuming? Could I do it with balance and a sense of peace?

I said I wasn't sure, but I was willing to think and pray about it. (And I half-jokingly asked if he was willing to meet with me every Monday for the next 15 years.)

When I told The Man of Fr. D's suggestion, he smiled and said "please tell Fr. D. 'thank-you'." Ah, my ever-calm, ever patient husband.

But something just wasn't sitting right. I was feeling it in my gut and I couldn't put my finger on it. I emailed a friend and she put the "it" into words when she said this:

I can see the tremendous emotional death that would have to come in order to {do this}.

Yep. That's "it."

And as I've spent the last few weeks reflecting on this, wondering if it is even possible. Knowing that just saying that sentence won't get me anywhere because isn't taking up our cross about death? So, what is it that makes me want to run from this; that makes me want to just say "I reflected on this, it's impossible, so let's just focus on white knuckling through the next 6 months and then dealing with the outcome." (And believe me, I know that won't go over well at all with Fr. D.)

The conclusion I've come to is this: first it's the cyclical nature of infertility. It's that there is never really enough time to grieve one cycle before having to start the next. It is that life goes on around me, while I stand in my own little storm that is invisible to everyone around me. There is nothing linear, just "move on" about infertility. Yes, as time passes there is change and hopefully growth, but this most recent failed cycle was as heart breaking as the first, maybe even more. While things get easier in some ways, they just get harder in others, and it can depend on the minute of the day without much indication of how it will go.

Also, with treatment, comes hope. Hope for healing. Hope for getting the "right" combination. And all at the same time, the understanding that it's really all up to God. Which is why stopping treatment doesn't make the roller coaster stop. I learned this very painful lesson just last week.

It is this hope that, in order to do this peacefully and not white knuckled, also leads straight to the cross.

Because it's the hopes for all the dreams I've dreamed for years, years before even TTC, that are crushed each cycle. That are not realized. So it is those hopes I must figure out how to have peacefully and not white knuckled. Because, frankly, I white knuckle those too. The intensity with which I allow myself to feel them during the 2ww each cycle, while it gives life to me in so many ways, it is as all consuming as CD1 and as the "fertile" time.

Today's Gospel really hit this point home for me. In order to fully take up my cross and follow Him, I must hate my own life; I must renounce all of my possessions. My hopes and dreams for a child are certainly possessions, if not in a physical sense, certainly in an emotional, spiritual sense. To truly say Fiat, to say be it done unto me according to Thy Word, and mean it, I have to let go. Let go, and let God.

So, tomorrow, I will ask Fr. D to help me begin this process of letting go of these dreams. These dreams that I cling to. That I white knuckle each cycle. The hopes and dreams I rarely speak of and yet are as prized a possession of anything tangible that I have, truly, more prized. If I am to make it through the next however many cycles and years, with or without treatment I realize I have to let go of everything, of my obsessive need to control treatment, of the intense pressure I place on myself while managing meds, of the extreme hopes I place on treatment cycles, and, perhaps most importantly, of all that I want.

I must only want what He wants.


  1. I tell you, I feel the makings of a saint every time I read your blog posts.

  2. I've talked about this before, but it reminds me of new climber. When you put a new climber on the wall, they have a very hard time trusting the system. They are afraid with every move and literally have white knuckles clinging to the wall. Often, they have to be coaxed to let go of the wall in order to be lowered after the climb is over. Letting go doesn't mean falling to the ground. It means falling a tiny bit and letting the rope catch you. Being able to trust the rope means that you can push yourself beyond what you were able to do before. Falling becomes progress, and you grow as a climber whether you make it to the top of the climb or not.

    I have to learn this over and over again, both literally on the wall and figuratively in the "letting go and letting God" kind of a thing. I hope this wasn't obnoxious and know it all, but God's been on my case today about this very thing as well. I wanted the all or nothing answer, too. Just let me find someone or let me have peace about being single. One or the other. But He's been letting me know to embrace the cross of waiting one day at a time, the cross of not knowing.

    Wow. I tried to go for supportive, but I'm pretty sure I'm just hijacking the comments now. Sorry about that! I was praying for you in Adoration tonight.

  3. Your post makes me think of the Presentation - Mary offering her most precious thing, her child, back to God, without reserve. That mystery is pretty poignant for us IF journeyers, I think.

    Thank you for your words - they resonate with me. Hugs and prayers :)

    1. Oh, I hadn't thought about the Presentation, but yes, this is a poignant mystery for us IFers to reflect upon. I think I will do just that. Hugs and prayers right back to you :).

  4. And when you figure out how to let go.... share that knowledge with me please ;-) I am right there with you, in that invisible storm.

    1. Ha! Let's just say that The Man laughed out loud when I told him Fr. D's suggestion...it certainly isn't going to be easy. I'm sure there will be more posts than anyone wants to read about it.

  5. This is beautiful. I pictiure you "getting out of the boat", like St. Peter, and fixing your eyes on Jesus. God bless you as you continue on in this new way. I felt like treatment was all or nothing both emotionally and physically, but I am eager to learn from your experience, because we haven't completely ruled out ttc again at some point in the next few years.

    1. This post does remind me of getting out of the boat! Sometimes faith in the promised and the prayed for things really take a lot of courage!

  6. "Why does it have to be all or nothing?" Because TTC, especially with treatment, has a tendency to take over everything? Because it doesn't always leave much left over for anything else? I know we need to strive for peace and balance as we bear the cross of IF, but I'm not sure if or how anyone actually achieves it.

    I do like the image of treating it as a marathon instead of a sprint, though. Prabyers!

    1. I'm not sure if it's possible to achieve either, but I have to try. If I know nothing else, I have to try or else I will go insane. Truly. Prayers for you as well!

  7. I have found that this journey is really about aligning my will with His. Loving the life I have right now because it is what it is. There are goals and dreams but for us, they haven't been what we want. But, it is really about getting to heaven and avoiding sin. That is a marathon. No sprinting there!

  8. Every time you write a post like this, and pull yourself through the emotional hurdles, you offer a fiat. And I really believe the Lord recognizes that. I think he sees your desire to align your will to His, no matter the cost, the pain, and he knows how hard it is.

    What I think Fr. D is suggesting, at its core (and I'm sure you realize this), is that you're making the wrong part of this journey the "all or nothing" part. TTC can be all-consuming, and it does feel like an all-or-nothing endeavor. Still, it is our trust in God, our reliance on Him, that should be the extreme--the part where we are "all in." As I, myself, am struggling to remember, it is only with our faith "all in" that we can let Him do what He wants for us. I participate in this battle every day.

    I wish you so much peace. And I pray that He will sustain his Hope in you. Your fiat doesn't go unnoticed.

    1. I read this just before going to see Fr. D yesterday - and yes, we must be "all in" with our faith. I used your words (thanks - they are so much more eloquent than mine!) and he agreed.

      Thank-you for the encouragement and prayers. Mine are with you as well.

  9. "The Savior hangs before you with a pierced heart. He has spilled His heart's blood to win your heart. If you want to follow him in holy purity, your heart must be free of every earthly desire. Jesus, the Crucified is to be the only object of your longings, your wishes, your thoughts... He wants your life in order to give you his.

    Hail to the Cross, our only Hope!"

    I took that quote/prayer by Teresa Benedicta of the Cross to my last spiritual direction appointment because even though it is on my fridge and I say it all the time I knew that I probably wouldn't be able to remember the correct words in the moment. And in this case, the correct words matter.

    Anyway, I brought it up because it was the perfect way to explain how I *don't* feel. My heart is not free of every earthly desire. I want Jesus plus. The "plus" happens to be profoundly good "things," but perhaps that makes it even harder to let go.

    It seems like you are further on your way in this, and that is simply blessed. And, of course, brings me close to tears. :-)

  10. I know what you mean..there really isn't time to grieve...and our hormones won't let us...which is probably a good thing. I mean..when a new cycle starts..hormones go up..and so do our hopes. As each cycle passes..and certain realities come into plain sight...that is when IF gets hard. Sure I've made it through many years of ups and downs...but there are so many times...IF is just hard. At some point, baby or not, the journey of IF will end..because biologically...that will happen for us women. At some point, the meds I take won't be enough. It's a day I look forward too but dread. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Life does go on and no one (except other IF'ers) have a personal relationship with that storm your talked about.

    Yes! That homily on Sunday about our cross hit home. I know God did not give me this cross of IF as a punishment even though there are days it feels like He's tied a noose around my neck. He has His reasons. I trust in Him.

  11. Thank you for sharing your heart and being so honest about your desires, frustrations, and struggles with IF. The Lord is with you! That comes through clearly in your writing - even when it may feel that He is far. He is with you. I will be offering you up in prayer through the intercession of Saint Gianna and our Blessed Mother.