The Will of the Spouses, Continued

For background, please read The Will of the Spouses.

A month later, we are nearing the end of a second purposely unused fertile phase. We are both pretty sure this will be the last month we TTA, but we won't make that decision for sure until CD1 (or 4 or 5, seeing has how emotionally I'm not exactly reliable before then).

I would love to tell you that last cycle was full of "I"s in the infertile phases and that it was torture to TTA, though I suspect if you read the last post, you'd know I was lying. While there weren't tons of "I"s, there were in fact only 2, it was what surrounded those "I"s that mattered. The first was early in my cycle, but soon after we'd agreed to TTA. The time together really felt like a renewal of our commitment to one another, a renewal of an understanding of what our marriage and intimacy are all about. Because we've always been very conservative with the NFP rules when TTA, we agreed we would do the same, so after CD6, we knew we were abstaining until the post-peak infertile phase started (I chart STM and CrMS, so we had double confirmation :).)

We went back to our initial agreement regarding NFP: I'd keep the chart, but it would be left out on my dresser and we would both read it each day. We were then each responsible for our actions and agreed to act only according to our decision of TTC or TTA each cycle. I was expecting on the evening of the third high temperature to be putting an "I" on the chart. But The Man didn't initiate.

In fact, it wasn't until P+8, when neither of us had initiated anything and I knew AF was right around the corner that it hit me. We were each waiting for the other, and if this continued we might never have sex again. So, because part of the problems we were having was that I never initiated except on fertile days, I decided I would. It started with a simple reflection on how I thought we were both waiting for the other, and well, lest you all think I put everything on the blog, I'll just leave it at this: it was a very good night ;). And while two "I"s on one cycle isn't much, those two "I"s symbolized more healing and grace than has taken place in our marriage for a very long time.

When CD1 arrived, along with a pregnancy announcement that sent me into tears in a a way I haven't cried in months. I was so angry and jealous and mad at myself for being angry and jealous, and just so upset that The Man and I were in a situation where we had to TTA because infertility had taken so much from us and to have to face a pregnancy announcement all on the same day. It was more than I could take. I was in a hotel and I left the TV on to fall asleep because I was worried the people next to me would hear me sobbing. It was definitely one of the lowest moments on this road.

And now, like always before I had time to truly process all of the emotions it was a new cycle. What would we do? How would we decide?

I knew we'd made a lot of progress, but I worried one cycle wasn't enough. I also worried that too many cycles TTA would lead to it being easy to stop TTC altogether because as hard as that CD1 was, the TWW that wasn't waiting at all was so much less stressful. But in my heart I knew that wasn't an option. And so, after AFs arrival and a girls' weekend away and an unusually early single observation of mucus on CD8, it was time to have the conversation with The Man, in fact it was past the time. I had decided that whatever he wanted to do would be fine with me, and that I would respond to whatever he decided. If he decided to initiate during a potentially fertile day, then we would have an "I" on that day. I wanted him to know I trusted him with our marriage. It wasn't a cop out, I shared all my thoughts from above and more. My hopes and fears. And then I let him know I trusted him and that I loved him. What I didn't tell him was that for the first time in months I wanted to be intimate. That if it were entirely up to me, well...

The next day he said: I think we should TTA for one more cycle. I agreed and I also told him that I was feeling like I wanted to initiate, and with no bitterness or anything negative he smiled and said "hold on to that feeling for a week or so."As he said it, I was relieved and hopeful, more hopeful than I've been in a long time, that this would all be OK. We'll still have to work at and I can't promise we'll never TTA again, but I feel like we've turned a bend. Yes, there will be more corners, but at least we will be walking together.

For the first time in a long time, I actually want to be intimate. I miss my husband. I am looking forward to the rest of this week. I am also a little bit nervous about what is to come next cycle. Unless something unforeseen happens, we are in agreement that we will return to TTC next cycle, though as I said above, that decision won't be made for sure until CD 4 or 5. While we don't feel pressure, we do realize that with a history of blocked tubes, time is not on our side. I also didn't keep up with cycle reviews and meds like I should have, it just seemed like a waste of money and energy knowing there was no chance. I'm trying to take my own advice and be gentle with myself. These cycles were about my marriage, and things are better. Therefore, for the first time in over 3 1/2 years I can say with confidence we have had a successful cycle.

To all of you who commented and emailed, and to those who read without comments, please know how much your words and prayers of support mean to me, and please know of mine for you. Each time someone said they'd had this same experience, I knew I had done the right thing in sharing. In sharing where we are now, I don't want to give the impression that we have it all figured out or that this is the solution for everyone or that any of this was easy. It is where God led us, through the grace of our sacrament and through one of His priests who isn't afraid to tell me like it is. I don't mean to sound overly pious or holy, but if He is leading you down a road where you do not want to go, trust Him. He is trustworthy.

For grace to be grace, it must give us things we didn't know we needed and take us places where we didn't know we didn't want to go.
~Kathleen Norris

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for us.


  1. we've been there, too. Prayers.

  2. First of all, I am so glad to hear that these two months of avoiding have been what you needed to re-find your peace and joy in your marriage. Secondly, I am glad that the medicines you take give you the luxury of waiting until CD4 or 5 to decide what to do in a cycle. So often the regimens require starting on CD3, before you've really had a chance to get over the worst of the insanity. Continued prayers for you and The Man!

  3. I'm so proud of you two! I'm so proud of all of us who struggle with the messy, heartbreaking parts of marriage. There is no crown without the cross. It's so embarrassing to admit that just being Catholic and in Love with God doesn't make all our problems disappear. God is faithful. I think honesty, especially writing on the internet, serves him so well. A big high five!

  4. Your honesty is so beautiful. I admire you so, so much.

    And as always, you are in my daily prayers.

  5. While we have gone through the struggle of IF, DH and I face a different struggle now. When we married, I was Catholic and he was not, but my faith life did not involve learning about the church's teaching on sexuality, etc. It is only the last few years that I have become more aware of, and more invested in, these teachers. It is causing a big issue for us as DH is not open to a surprise pg (we are both in our 40's) - and despite discussions about how NFP is reliable, he wants to use other methods to be sure. (this doesn't even touch on, should we be TTA or not - another whole area of discussion). This disconnect is such a struggle as he feels I have become 'all religious' and it is just not at all where he is. On such an issue, there is no middle ground. I just keep praying that God will lead us through this .....

  6. Your honesty is so appreciated and so beautiful! I definitely identified with your feelings about how much infertility has taken from you and your marriage...sometimes it just isn't fair. You and The Man are a beautiful testament to marriage and are an inspiration to us all. Know of our prayers for you both! God Bless!!

  7. Hang in there! Thank you for your honesty. Thank you also for looking out for others on this journey.

  8. I am so GLAD you and your DH are walking together down this road. It is sometimes is so hard to get, let alone stay, on the same page and you have taken the time to do it. And letting your DH lead - that is something I struggle with. I need to let him be the man in our relationship. I don't know why i have this desire to "control" things sometimes, and then I end up being mad that I have all the "control" and he doesn't. Go figure. It is hard.
    I thank you so much for sharing about this subject. No matter where a couple is, this post is VERY helpful!!!

  9. Great update! Glad to hear it's going well for the two of you. The love between you and The Man is obvious. It's beautiful to see.

  10. Rebecca, posts like this are why I wanted to pass on a Catholic Writer's Award to you, which is really like a chain letter, but meant to show my appreciation for the depth and insight you have shown in your writing. I have a post about it at http://flowersforfrancis.blogspot.com/2014/06/passing-it-on-catholic-writers-award.html