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Here is our story...
The cross of infertility is a heavy one. Ten years into our journey, I can still feel its weight upon my shoulders. It is not a cross easily shared with others. For Catholic women it can feel even heavier when they see the success that some people have with Church-opposed artificial means of reproduction. Just going to Sunday Mass, where beautiful and fertile families abound, can be heart breaking. No one wants to become bitter or angry over infertility, but waiting patiently month after month, or year after year for one of God’s greatest blessings to man, can be the most difficult cross a couple will ever have to bear.

Three years into our journey to parenthood, God led us to adoption. At that point we felt that we had tried everything we could to achieve pregnancy that was Church approved. I underwent a laparoscoptic surgery to remove endometriosis that was apparently unsuccessful in curing our infertility. We reached a point where we no longer had the energy or desire to actively achieve pregnancy. I put my charts away, hid my thermometer, and vowed to never take another negative pregnancy test again. We were done, and it felt good. In fact, it felt very good to move to adoption. I took all those desires for pregnancy and biological children and I put them in a box that I buried deep in my heart. It wasn’t even all that difficult. For with adoption there is a very reasonable expectation that in the end you will be a parent. I knew that one day I would be somebody’s mother. The adoption process is tedious and long but it is also exciting and joyful. I got to talk about things like baby names and nursery themes. I still had a hard time around pregnant women and little resentments would creep up in my heart from time to time, but in general I was very happy and my soul was beginning to heal.

Less than a year after we decided to research adoption, our daughter was born. We were in the waiting room as her birth mother delivered her into this world. I held her when she was just moments old, gave her her first bath, named her and we took her home from the hospital with us. Finally we were parents; I was somebody’s mother. Our daughter, Ava, became the light of our world. We had fought infertility and survived. I wouldn’t have changed a thing, or she would not be our daughter. We were living in the beautiful haze of new parenthood that lasted for years.

When Ava was two and a half we decided to adopt again. Once again the process moved with lightning speed and she was a big sister shortly after her third birthday. This time, though, we were no longer naïve. Our son was born almost six weeks early and had little prenatal care. By the grace of God, he was healthy but for the first time that little box that I had stored deep in my heart began to leak.

I felt resentment for the nine months of my children’s life that I had missed. I realized just how differently I would have cared for my son if he had grown in my womb. I was and am eternally grateful for the decisions both my children’s birth families made but I felt guilty that our joy came from their pain. I struggled with how God’s plan worked. Did He really mean from all eternity for these two precious souls to be our children? If so, what does that mean for their birth parents? Why then were they not just born to my husband and me?

My faith and love for God grew during these years of trial. I believe that God took from me my greatest desire to be a mother and used it to teach me to trust in Him alone. In my moment of deepest despair I finally had to say, “I can’t do this on my own, I give it all to you.” I remember the moment perfectly and I remember the peace I felt immediately afterwards. This peace is what led us to our daughter and our son. However, I felt that peace start to darken slowly in the months following our son’s birth. My desire for more children had never felt stronger and yet I knew that another adoption was not feasible in the near future. We had financed both adoptions with loans and were nowhere near having them paid off. My box began to leak more and more.

One night when Thomas was still a baby, the box exploded. I think my husband was too shocked to even speak. I was crying uncontrollably and saying things I am almost too ashamed to admit. I was feeling so much self-pity for the experiences I had lost and would probably never have. I was resentful and jealous of everyone and all I wanted was what I couldn’t have. I wanted the opportunity to announce a pregnancy, have my husband fawn all over me because I was carrying his child, I wanted nine months of people asking me when I’m due, but mostly I wanted to push my child out of my womb in all its pain and glory and look into that child’s eyes that were half mine, half my husband’s and know that no other woman in this world could claim him as her own. I wanted to be my child’s only mother. And for those of us who are Catholic, we know how silly that is.

Our children don’t belong to us. They belong to our Father, the Creator. They are only ours for a short time on earth and our mission as parents is to get them to Heaven. We all have the most perfect mother in Heaven already, the Mother of God herself. These are the thoughts that the Holy Spirit put in my mind even as I was having my breakdown. Soon my words seemed heartless and I began to feel ashamed of myself. I calmly apologized to my husband. I assured him that I know how blessed I am to have two of the most amazing children ever born to earth. I apologized to God for dropping my cross and swiftly put it back on my shoulder. However, this time I didn’t box up those emotions. I left them on my heart to offer up to God whenever the sadness reappeared. And it did and does often. I still desire a large Catholic family. I still wonder why God gave me the cross of infertility. And at times, I forget to let God lead me and I spend hours searching the internet trying to find ways to finance adoption or learning more about cures for endometriosis. Right now I’m practicing the virtue of patience. I’m waiting on the Lord to show us the way. That cross is still there but it is lighter now. By God’s grace, it will lead me home.

- Jill

My story is different from the ones on your site. However, I suspect there may be many more with similar stories.
I was not raised Catholic, and in fact had a rather troubled childhood. I gave birth to two children in a prior marriage. A year after the divorce, I had to have a hysterectomy. I'd had endometriosis (undiagnosed) for fourteen years. The two children I have are miracles.

I am now thirty-two, and engaged to a Catholic man. I am a Catechumen, and am committed to the Catholic faith. And I cannot bear children. Already, I feel the pain of infertility. A pain that I was not only blind to, but insensitive to before. Prior to my surgery, I couldn't understand why infertile couples didn't just adopt a child that already exists. I thought that the time and expense of infertility treatment would be better spent on a adoptive child. And that still may be true; but I will want a baby with my husband. I want a Catholic family. I want a child that is half of me and half of him. I cannot explain the desire. It is everything: physical, emotional, cognative. It is something I feel constantly.

My fiancee is born of a Catholic family. So, lots of kids there. Always. Someone is always pregnant. There is always a baby. We are always asked to attend a shower, a birth, a baptism, etc. When we are out in public together, we invariably run into a old family friend who asks us when we'll be having children. No one understands the pain. Or the shame. I never understood them, either.

And there is a certain pain associated with the knowledge that the only children I was able to bear were fruits of my prior marriage. I love them no less, nor would I if I were able to have more. And I wouldn't love a child with my future husband any more. But I would feel, I think, a greater connection with my husband. It's hard to explain: there are still aspects of the pain that are indescribable.


Our story is a little different
We are almost at our fourth year of marriage, and have been open to life and God's plan for children from the beginning, we were totally against all things contraceptive or birth control.  We started out very happy, loving to spend every possible moment with one another, including much time engaging in what we thought were very fruitful relations.  We didn't even want to learn NFP when we were first married, we thought spacing children was silly, and even questioned it's morality.  We just wanted to bring as many children into the world as GOD wanted, not us!   So, naturally, we (and everyone else) thought we'd wind up with a dozen children.   Time went on, and we NEVER missed a single period.  About 15 months into our marriage, we were so discouraged with not conceiving, we learned and used NFP in conjunction with various "natural" treatments to conceive for about eight months or so.  We wanted to make sure we really needed to be seen, that it wasn't just something simple we were missing. That time was THE WORST eight months of our married life!  We were constantly frustrated with each other, trying to be in the right place at the exact right time of month (I'm not fertile for long.) Relations were no longer loving, warm, enjoyable and sacred.  Rather, they became physically and emotionally draining, frustrating, forced, and they tore us farther from our "oneness" that God called us to from the beginning.  Then, of course, we had huge disappointments each month when things didn't work, getting frustrated with each other, ourselves, and even God.  Of course, nothing working, we went to the doctor, only to discover I very likely had Endometriosis.  We weren't ready to undergo the surgical confirmation, but, even without it, it seemed as though a huge dark cloud just enveloped all our hopes for ever conceiving, and, ultimately, our hopes for regaining a happy and peaceful marriage.  Although we had planned to do whatever the doctor recommended, we felt the need to hold off for some reason. In the meantime, we just went further and further into darkness and depression, and further and further away from each other.  This all in just a little less than a year, how would we go on like this for the rest of our lives???  We just couldn't.  It is impossible.  But, luckily, with God, ALL things are possible.

Through God's mercy and love, and gentle whisperings of instruction, we quickly learned that using no treatments at all and no NFP charting or timing or even pregnancy testing was the "salvation" of our marriage, and our sanity!  We have abandoned it all back into God's hands, totally, 110%, just like we had at the beginning of our married life.  It dawned on us that this is OKAY in the eyes God and of His Church.  We, as Catholics, are certainly not required to use fertility treatments, but are, rather, permitted to use those treatments and surgeries which are morally acceptable.  Every document that refers to infertility and Catholics (that we've read) almost immediately goes into which treatments are permissible and which ones aren't.  They never mention that you don't HAVE to use treatments at all, but I guess it's the "given" option that many couples forget, and some, like us, NEED to see and hear.  And, it was in prayer to God that we heard to "let it ALL go and let God."  It was very difficult to give up the little control we had of the situation (using NFP in charting and timing, the possibility of future appointments and treatments, and reading about the latest natural cures.)  As humans we desire control.  But, in giving up the control, we gained freedom, and MUCH happiness and peace with our marriage, with ourselves and with God.  We are closer and more "one" than ever before, and I believe that horrible and dark time, and the process of letting go of it for our sake and God's, led us to this blessing of a happy and peace filled marriage that we enjoy today.  I'm not saying we are happy being infertile, rather we are happy in doing God's will, even if that means having to drink freely of the bitter chalice of infertility, and loosing what little control we had over things in order to give complete control to our loving God and His will for us.

Of course I still cry and feel sad a LOT, at some point or another most every day.  I sometimes feel very down on myself and my relationship with God.  I've had lots of bad experiences with fellow fertile (and even infertile) Catholics in this, and have at times felt abandoned by my Church and even God.  I still cry or feel sad almost every Sunday when I go to church and see all the "good" Catholic families and their 8.3 children.  I still feel like I'm less than them, because THEY are the ones blessed by God with children, not us.  THEY are pleasing to Him in being able to have children, and we are somehow failing Him by not.  THEY are the ones the priest and Catholic faithful practically fawn over for being such "good" Catholics, while we get the dirty looks like we must be using contraception, and that cuts deeper than one could imagine who hasn't been there themselves.   We even still get much grief from fellow Catholics because we've opted to no longer use NFP or treatments to at least TRY to be a "productive" married Catholic.  As therapy I allow myself to celebrate each period as I would a funeral, I let myself just mourn and grieve the loss of another cycle, and quite possibly, with my history and Endo, a very early pregnancy.   I very much suffer from the infertility depression that they liken to those who have cancer, the terrible physical pains of Endo, as well as the feeling of being secluded and shunned both from the outside world and even by members of own Catholic Church community.  BUT, in the midst of all, PEACE.  Peace in having my God-given husband to hold through it all.  Peace in knowing both God and my husband will always be there for me, and I for them, even through the darkest and most trying moments of infertility.  Peace that we are close to Jesus and doing His will, even if it FEELS just the opposite.  Peace in knowing that giving it all up gave us nothing we wanted (some control over trying to have children, and the children themselves), but everything we NEEDED (grace and total abandonment to the cross of God's will.)  Peace in knowing that my sorrows still don't equal those of Jesus or Mary, but are totally untied to them for the salvation and sanctification of the world.  Peace in knowing that if we had children, we wouldn't be this completely and totally united to the Cross of Christ, but happily rejoicing that we were spared it (and we would have too!) and the thought of what eternal consequences (longer purgatory maybe for us, less graces won for other souls) there would be in a more carefree, socially accepted, less sacrificial life of having all the children we ever wanted.

We still don't know what God has in store for us.  We long to adopt, but it is not possible at this time.  We long to conceive, and carry to term, but it is CLEARLY not God's plan at this time.  Though we don't hold much hope at times for being able to have children in either way (naturally or adoption), we do hold much peace that this is His will for us, and pray we continue to share in His will in all things great and small, now and always.  Our way is a much different way than many Catholics who struggle through infertility.  But, it is our hope that we can let others know it is alright, and very peaceful and wonderfully refreshing, to choose this less trodden path of letting go of everything, and abandoning all things to God's perfect will and timing.

God bless you all!  You remain in my thoughts and prayers!

To all who are suffering the cross of infertility,
My husband, Peter and I have been married for ten years.  We tried to have a baby three years after we were married in 1998 when I was thirty-four years old.  I got pregnant right away much to my joy, only to miscarry at eight weeks.  Then it took me another year to get pregnant, and I was seeing a Catholic doctor for advice.  I got pregnant and lost another baby again around eight weeks.  I then could not take the pain anymore and my husband and I decided to adopt.  We joyfully got Michael when he was two weeks old in 2004.  It was a domestic adoption, and we sold our house to pay for it.  He is the most amazing and smart child I have ever met.  He is the love of my life.  We decided to try and adopt again, but had little money.  I thought I would pray one last time for a child, and did a nine day novena to the late Pope John Paul for his intercession that summer.  Much to my utter shock I was pregnant that fall at thirty-nine years old, and had Mark John on August 16, 2006.  He is a joy and shining light of my life as well, and life is crazy busy now with no free time but I would not have it any other way.  My advice to you all is pray like crazy, be open to God's will, and consider adoption.  I will pray for you all.
God bless,

Jill, Peter, Michael, and Mark

Our Infertility Story...
We were engaged in church before the Easter Sunday Mass on March 30, 2002. We had started dating when I was only 16 years old, in 1994. We were both Catholic and we grew up attending the same church. At just 16, I know that Paul was the man I would marry. I knew I would be a mother. I had wanted to since I was just a baby myself! When Paul and I were engaged, we took the NFP classes. We wanted to make sure that we did everything just right. We were married on July 26, 2003. It was a beautiful wedding, in our beautiful church. Everyone just knew we would have 10+ kids and we kinda became the family joke. Little did any of us know how wrong we were! We waited month after month for our positive pregnancy test. It was always negative! We saw multiple doctors that had multiple thoughts on why...maybe PCOS? Take metformin! Maybe Endometriosis? Have a laparoscopy! Not ovulating? Here's clomid. That's not working? Try Femera! Let's check your tubes...

Uh oh! Here's where it got really tricky. Our RE suggested a HSG. So, after a few months of schedule conflicts we made the appointment. It was April 2005. I remember almost everything about it. My mom went with me, because it wasn't going to be any big deal. I laid on the table and had the test. As my doctor looked at the screen, you could tell that something wasn't quite right. She was about to change my life forever...

I have a bicornuate uterus. I have a severe uterine malformation. If I was to become pregnant, I could give birth way too early and risk having a child with multiple disabilities. Her suggestion...don't get pregnant. Don't have children.

Can you imagine? It's one thing to not be able to conceive. It's a whole other story when someone tells you that you shouldn't have children. I was crushed. My husband was crushed. What would we do?

I knew the answer in my heart. Adoption. God had kept me from getting pregnant because He knew how painful it would be to miscarry a child in the 2nd or 3rd trimester. It all made sense.

We started the adoption paperwork and were finished with it by that August. We were "paper pregnant" and so excited. But, things were just about to change again.

On September 7, 2005, I kept wondering why my period wasn't coming. I kept spotting, but my darn period wouldn't show. I figured that I probably hadn't ovulated, but I decided to go ahead and waste the $12 and buy a test. I knew it would just be negative...but there is something about a pregnancy test that makes your period come. So, I figured why not.

I went home after lunch with my parents and peed on the stick and BEFORE I PUT IT DOWN IT HAD TWO LINES! I had never seen a positive pregnancy test in real life. OH MY GOSH! I didn't even have a doctor! How would I tell Paul?

Needless to say, we were so excited to be pregnant. We had to watch ourselves at every moment because we didn't know how things would turn out. But, God had a bigger plan for us. Our sweet little boy got all snuggled in, in just the right spot in my womb. He grew and grew just as God had planned and was born at 35 weeks, 5 days by c-section. He weighed just 4 pounds, 7 ounces. He was perfect! Our angel, here on Earth! He is now 17 months old and doing great.

Don't give up hope! We are now patiently awaiting our second positive pregnancy test, so that our little boy can be a big brother. Only in God's perfect time. Biological or by adoption.

Keep praying!


- Katie and Paul

Here is our journey...

My period began again today. It's my 25th dissapointment in almost 3 years of marriage. Of course it's not just my dissapointment, my husband shares the pain too, but I can't help feeling it's me who feels worst off. As well as the emotional upheaval of dissapointment, frustration and grief, there are the physical feelings to contend with too. Tirednes from crying, stomache cramps, bloating and bloodines.I feel left at the mercy of a disfunctional body and a merciless God.

Although I know neither of the later statements are true, I have undiagnosed infertility - everything should be in perfect working order, and I believe in a loving and Merciful Father. However when this monthly day comes these are the channels my thoughts plummet down. It's very easy to feel sorry for yourself! I know there are people in the world today much worse off than me, who have plenty reason to complain, but at these times of self-pity all I can see around me are the countless numbers of woman who concieve so easily, and who seem to take it so much for granted.

I understand my cycle, I have been trained in both the basal body temperature and the Napro creighton model of fertility care. My cycle is normal, I'm ovulating and my tubes are clear. My husband's semen is also within a normal range.We are both young I am 26 and my husband is 24, so there should  be no reasson for us not to concieve like everyone else! My husband and I have sought infertility help from both Napro and our National Health Service doctors but to no avail.We would not participate in any any unnatural forms of conception  such as IVF, so our hopes of having our own child are diminished when every period arrives.

WHY ME God, I proclaim, but it seems to me to fall on deaf ears. I have prayed, my husband has prayed, we often pray together, my mother prays, my sister prays, my mother in law prays, my sisters in law and even their young children pray. My Catholic friends pray, Priests pray, we have been prayed over by several Franciscan friars, by an Augustinian priest with a healing ministry, we have said novenas to St.Anthony, St.Therese and Our Lady of the Rosary, we have walked up the rocky mountains of  Medjugorje in our bare feet and petitioned our blessed mother to pray for us - but still we have no baby.  Is God deaf to our pleas? I'm sure he's not, i'm sure we only need have prayed our petition a mere once and our merciful father would have smiled because He already knew, because he anticipated our hearts desires even before we were born.

But knowing this doesn't make infertility any easier to deal with. Maybe it should? I often pray for a greater faith though, so what more can I do? Trust I suppose is the key. Trust in God's will for our lives. Trust that our sufferings are for a reason, that God can bring great good out of our pain if we offer it to him and unite ourselves with Jesus on his great day of pain. Maybe the loss we feel each month for a life that never began, is only a fraction of the pain  Jesus feels for the loss of one soul, and how many souls have been lost to him?

As the story goes we have a final doctors appointment this month to go over our test results and discuss our options. Of course we will have no hesitation in turning down the offer of assisted conception - it's a good opportunity to evangelise the doctor!  My husband and I agreed a while ago that we should adopt if we don't manage to have our own biological children. At the end of the day we long for a family - and there are many unfortunate children in this country who God is longing to provide a loving family for. We have already had a home visit from a social worker from a Catholic Adoption agencey and hope to be accepted onto their books after our final doctors appointment.

One last note! - When my husband and I climbed mount Krizevac in Medjugorje, petitioning our lady for a baby, there was a mother with two young children walking ahead of us. The older child kept close to her side and managed to climb the sharp, steep rocks well, however the younger child, who could have been no older than four was left straggling behind on his own stumbling up the sharp rocks, which he could easily have fallen and cracked his head on. At one point he stopped at the foot of a large stone to big for him to climb onto and started to cry for his mother, who still more than several paces ahead of him, ignored his pleas .My husband and I had reached him by this point and I stretched out my hand to help him up, which he took. It was in this moment that I felt perhaps our blessed mother was talking to me. Perhaps She was telling me that God wanted my husband and I to reach out our hands to help raise up children who's parents for whatever reason can't raise them properly themselves.

 I feel better now for looking at this website and being inspired to write  down these thoughts. I feel better for knowing I'm not alone and that there are other people who are going through the same as me, somehow that helps - not to feel alone - not to feel the odd one out. And I feel better  to think that my story may help someone else who is suffering.

God Bless.

- Nichola

Here’s our story:
We have been married for five years and hoped to conceive right away. We married at ages 30 and 31 and we both wanted a large family. After about one year of marriage we took classes in NFP (sympto-thermal method) to try to improve our chances of conceiving. After that didn’t work, we saw a reproductive endocrinologist. He had no interest in seeing my NFP charts that I had been keeping religiously (and over-analyzing). My husband’s sperm count could have been higher but should have been enough to achieve pregnancy. They did complete blood work and ran some tests which came back normal. I never found out what the root of my problem is. The most they could tell me is that my ovulation was irregular.  I took two cycles of clomid and felt so emotionally out of control on it that I decided not to continue fertility treatments. I was very disappointed in the whole experience. The feeling I had sitting in that waiting room with all the other desperate people, hoping to get pregnant was like an object. These doctors didn’t seem to care about identifying the underlying issues causing our infertility. It cost so much money per treatment – it made me feel like they assumed that since I was desperate, they could just charge us outrageous fees (with no guarantee of conception) and not give me any real answers. It felt wrong.

We decided to pursue an open adoption of a domestic infant and started that process. Five months into that, my husband’s job got transferred to a new location and we had to start from scratch. Since we had to start over, we reevaluated our plans. We got into a therapeutic foster care program and became certified foster parents with the intent to adopt. We went from a childless couple to a family with three children overnight. They are siblings-ages 6, 3 and 1. They have been with us for over a year now and it is a rollercoaster ride, however, I no longer feel depressed each month when I haven’t conceived. I’m too busy. I still harbor hope that maybe someday we will conceive and bear a biological child, but am content knowing that it may not be God’s will.

This whole infertility experience seemed like a curse in the beginning but looking back on it I see it now as a true blessing from God. I don’t want to sound too “Pollyanna” about it because there are days when I think how much easier my life may have been if I could have just gotten pregnant and given birth like all the fertile people out there. But that’s where my faith comes in and it’s a faith that has been strengthened by trial.  I believe that if those who struggle with infertility will turn to God and open themselves to His will, He can use their suffering in reparation for all the sins committed in our culture of death.

I have heard about Pope Paul VI institute but haven’t looked into it. I wish I would have heard about it five years ago. I’m so happy to see this issue being addressed in a Catholic way.
-Mary Jo

Here is our story...
At the time of this writing, our struggle with infertility has lasted for the 3 years that my husband and I have been married.  However, my fertility-related health problems began when I was a teenager.  My senior year of high school I went from having painful periods…to having several incidences that landed me in the Emergency Room.  The most memorable of those incidents was when I had to leave my senior prom and go to the ER in my prom dress.  The ER docs claimed dehydration, my gynecologist suspected Endometriosis.  She ordered that I begin taking Birth Control Pills, without the placebo pills, to eliminate my period.  I went for almost 2 years without a period, until a friend convinced me to stop taking the pills.  (Later, I found out from my now doctor that the B.C. was prescribed with ulterior motives)

After I graduated from college, I began a job with Priests for Life in New York City.  At which time, we used to refer couples struggling with infertility to the Pope Paul VI Institute.  I never quite knew what the Institute was about, only that they were created in response to Humane Vitae – and helped Catholic couples avoid the dangers of IVF and artificial means of conception.

While living in NY, I met my husband on a Catholic internet match service.  He was everything I was looking for.  He had a deep love for the church and we shared values as well as a desire for a large family.  Due to my past health problems and suspected Endometriosis, I always dreaded that we would struggle with getting pregnant.  In our engaged encounter we asked the leaders to pray that we could have children.  At our wedding, we chose all the readings/responses & Mass parts that referred to openness to life and prayers for children.

Following our wedding, even though my husband wanted to wait a few months, I was very eager to get pregnant.  We followed the Sympto-Thermal method of NFP, but never firmly followed the rules of avoidance.  The first couple months, I would regularly take pregnancy tests – especially as the holidays neared.  Month after month, the struggle became more obvious and more difficult.  I remember journaling that I would experience a “deep mourning” each month when my period arrived.  One day I was at work and upon feeling my period cramps, I lost it big time.

Around the time of our first anniversary, I made an appointment with a gynecologist.  The blood work came back fine for me as did my husband’s Semen Analysis.  We did the HSG – which was also fine.  The next step, we scheduled my first laparoscopic surgery.  The doctor reported that I did have Endometriosis, but it was mild and had been removed.  He sent me off saying “call me when you are pregnant.”  My first period after the surgery I broke down and “just knew” the surgery wouldn’t resolve our problems.  I made my first call to Sr. Rene at the Pope Paul VI Institute.  She was so kind and gave me all the information I needed.  After 6 months of continued disappointments, I called her back – and started the process of learning the Creighton Method with a local Fertility Care Practitioner.

Elizabeth, our FCP was such a blessing.  She too struggled with endometriosis and gave us so much information on the disease, fertility/infertility and how to work through the Institute. My husband and I were both amazed by the Creighton Method, especially as a means of identifying problems in your cycles.  We sent our charts out to Dr. Hilgers and he agreed to accept me as a patient.  I did the hormone analysis (a month of blood work) that was sent out to the Institute.  When I got the first call from the nurse who stated the problems they found, I was honestly relieved, “finally someone is finding the problems.

The nurses scheduled me for laparoscopic surgery with Dr. Hilgers in June.  My cycle fluctuated and I ended up flying out early and spending about 2 weeks in Omaha.  The result being that my endometriosis was serious and I would have to fly out again for major surgery in the fall.  I was crushed, again.  I didn’t go into the first surgery thinking I would have to do it all over again.  What really hit me was when Dr. Hilgers said without any kind of surgery I could be a couple years away from needing a hysterectomy.  He said this to me when I was only 26 years old!

Well, my husband and I really took it to prayer, but knew we would be going back.  God came through with providing the financial means for both of our surgeries and all related travel expenses.  My major surgery with Dr. Hilgers took place on Sep 13th, 2005.  I am now on my 2nd cycle post-op.  Next cycle, we will begin the hormone treatments, which the Dr. considers the more difficult aspect of our treatment.  We are hopeful for the results, but also fearful of more disappointment.  Following this surgery we have a 60% chance to conceive, far greater than if we had pursued artificial means of conception (which we were always against).  The Institute has a “Disease-Based Approach to Infertility.”  It is so sad to us that more doctors don’t embrace this.  Dr. Hilgers is truly amazing for his incredible research & work.

So, for now, we wait and pray.  If we do not have a positive result from the surgery, we can feel that we have exhausted all possible means to conceiving naturally.  Our next step will be adoption.  For the first time, my husband and I both feel comfortable to consider this an option for our family.
- Elisabeth

Here is my infertility story...
I have what is called secondary infertility, in that I was able to conceive and bear two children before the infertility problems began. My children are age 15 and 3. I had learned the Sympto-Thermal Method (CCL) way back in 1988. I remarried when my daughter was 11. Our daughter was conceived through an NFP user-error, as we forgot I was taking a decongestant during the tail end of fertile time, but she is very much loved!

After that my ex-husband never trusted NFP and insisted we use over the counter birth control products. I really hated doing that, as I did trust NFP, but I wanted our marriage to stay strong, so I went along with him. I would ask about once or twice a year if we could try for another baby... his answer was always "we'll see" or "not yet". After 10 years of marriage, he told me that he never wanted children, nor wanted to be a father, nor married. I was crushed! He asked for a divorce. Being Catholic, I looked into an annulment and it was granted two years later.

I remarried the most wonderful man when I was 36. We are both very faithful to the Catholic Church and its teachings on life and birth control. He always wanted to be married and have lots of children, so we started trying to conceive right after the wedding four years ago :o). We conceived our son just 2 months later and went through a scary bleeding/clotting time during 6 wks to 10 wks gestation. St. Gerard helped us through that terrible time :o). We started again to conceive when he was 8 months old. I breastfed him until he was 14 mos. When he was 19 mos old, we had conceived again (April of 2004).

We were so excited as we had tried diligently & charted for 11 months! We had hoped for a girl, but would have been happy with whatever the Lord blessed us with, even deformed or Down's Syndrome. We were able to see our baby dancing and waving at us at the 13.5 wk ultrasound and we were so happy. It was too early then to tell if she was a girl yet. At my next appointment, the only appointment my husband couldn't come to because of his military work, was at 16 wks. There was no heartbeat to be heard, then the ultrasound revealed no movement. I cried as I saw her lying so still and prayed that she could be alive somehow. A few ultrasounds and days later, I had a D&E at a military base 2 1/2 hours away. My parents drove the same distance from the other direction to meet us and take care of our children at our home until we could come home, as school was starting the same day as surgery. It was a very sad couple of days, and it was very hard to look at all the babies and pregnant women at the women's clinic in the hospital. Still, I prayed that they never had to go through this with any of their babies. Two weeks later the results from the testing revealed that the baby was a girl and that she had no genetic defects. Her name was Clare Margaret.

We evacuated from Hurricane Ivan about 1 1/2 months later. I had a broken ankle at the time. When we arrived back home, we were happy that the damage was not as much as we feared and our home was very livable. Because of all that, I hadn't taken temps on our evacuation and the few days after we arrived home. It turned out that we had conceived again! Since I caught the pregnancy early at 4 wks with a home pregnancy test, my obgyn doctor immediately ordered hcg levels on me and wanted to watch this pregnancy close. My numbers did not rise properly and were not near to even doubling, so she suspected something was wrong and asked if we wanted to do a laparoscopy. We chose to and had a lap done at 5.5 wks with no pregnancy found in my tubes. A week later, I miscarried naturally. The baby's name was Rachel Rose. We consider our little babies to be in Heaven awaiting the day we meet each other!

We are now at 13 cycles and almost a year since the last miscarriage. I am now 40 years old and more overweight from the two failed pregnancies, so that doesn't help the situation. Starting last June, I was referred to a Fertility Clinic and was monitored for a cycle, then Hurricane Dennis delayed us the following cycle in starting Clomid and hcg treatment. Finally, we were on Clomid for 2 cycles and still no pregnancy. I was also taking Prometrium (progesterone supplement) for 3 cycles. Then, I decided to do another search to see if there were new Creighton Model System teachers in our area. Before the Fertility Clinic referral I did a search and there was none. Well, this time, there was a doctor at our military base clinic teaching CrMS!

The name of the clinic is one of our favorite saints - St. Gianna Beretta Molla! This was such a blessing and we know God worked his miracle to get that doctor to our regular doctors clinic! We called and started learning two weeks ago and have our next appointment tomorrow. We are having to abstain this cycle, but we are doing well and I admire my very faithful and loyal husband! We were allowed to have relations one day in order to obtain a semen sample with a perforated condom on day 5 of this cycle and the results were completely normal! The doctor at the Fertility Clinic we were at said that a Post Coital Test showed that his sperm count was low and my cervical mucus was not stretchy/fertile enough, so to get a normal on his semen analysis was wonderful. We are also thankful that we don't have to drive 1.5 hours each way to the Fertility Clinic anymore!

So this is where we are now... putting our faith into the Pope Paul VI Institute, Creighton Model FertilityCare System and eventually Dr. Hilgers :o). The most wonderful part is that most of treatment and visits are covered by the military insurance! God is wonderful! If we do not conceive again, we will happily adopt (any age) or take in a foster child or two. We love God's blessings in the form of children and babies :o) and would be honored to be their caretakers.
- Karen

Our story is a little different than most...

When we found out after eight years of marriage that a biological child was unlikely for us, we decided to pursue adoption. Our first instinct was to apply for an infant, but we felt God pulling us in a different direction. Last year, we adopted a ten year-old girl out of foster care. To protect our daughter's privacy, I will call her Nakusa, which means "unwanted" in Hindi. Sadly, it was the perfect alias for her. For the first ten years of her life, our daughter was, in a word, UNWANTED. Nakusa lived with an alcoholic and methamphetamine-addicted mother for four years. When her mother lost custody of her children, Nakusa was separated from her siblings and sent to live alone with an alcoholic grandmother. After another four years, the cycle repeated itself. Her grandmother lost custody of her, and Nakusa was sent to live with an aunt. The same aunt had legally adopted Nakusa's siblings four years prior, but after keeping her as a foster child for two years, the aunt decided she did not want Nakusa. The aunt made a call to DHS, and Nakusa was put up for adoption.

I cannot fathom the pain that my daughter has experienced by being discarded not once, not twice, but three times by women she called, "mother." I cannot imagine what it must have felt like when Nakusa realized that her aunt had chosen to make her older sisters and younger brother her own children, but then chose quite literally to cast her aside. As a result, Nakusa's mind, her heart, and her soul have been damaged by years of neglect and rejection. She has been damaged...but not destroyed.

Today, we are blessed to be the instruments of God's love to Nakusa, for she is learning that although she felt alone and unwanted her entire life, God always held her in the palm of His hand and still has miraculous plans for her. Today, Nakusa expresses fear through defiance, and anger through violence, but all that is changing. She is not the same child we adopted last year, and I'm sure she will not be the same child tomorrow that she is today. She is learning that we are ALL adopted children--adopted by a loving God who calls each of us His child. She is learning how to love and how to be loved. For the first time in her life, she feels WANTED.

I'm sharing our story here as a gentle reminder to prayerfully consider domestic, older-child adoption. I absolutely understand the desire to adopt an infant and do not judge people who do not feel God is calling them to older-child adoption. However, it is important for all of us to remember that children in foster care are not there because of their own behavior; they are victims of the behavior of people they should have been able to trust. God tells us to reach out to the less privileged, and providing a loving home to an unwanted child is a wonderful way to do this.

"Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in...And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me." Matthew 25:34-40
- Jessie and Matt