Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Follow-Up

The last series of posts I published here were posts that told a story that was hard to put into words. The story of how letting go of control of our fertility played a big part in our recovery. That the thing that tore our marriage to pieces, sex, was actually part of our story of redemption as well.

I stopped writing shortly after telling that story because there was a big part of me that felt that I was using my blog to isolate. I was writing here the words that could have been shared with my new 12-step friends in my new city, and I was lonely. A lot has changed since that time. Our support group in my new city has grown. I've made friends. We've gone through transitions as a family, and my marriage has continued to move in a positive direction.

But I wanted to share something of an epilogue. Probably not really an epilogue, maybe it's just continuing where I left of in my previous post almost two years ago.

My husband and I began practicing a method of fertility awareness called the Creighton method. It requires us to monitor my fertility and abstain from sex on certain days of the month if we wish to avoid pregnancy. It also, importantly, requires us to have open dialogue about our emotions, our intimacy, and our family on a regular basis. Our goal in choosing this route was to try to forge something that resembled healthy intimacy for our marriage and our family. This method of fertility awareness can also be used to spot signs of health troubles. This is important to know for this story.

My husband and I agreed that if we continued to make progress in healing our marriage over the next year, and my husband continued to work his recovery and maintain sobriety, that we would open the door to the idea of having another child. We wanted our child to have a sibling if possible, but only if we felt that our marriage could withstand the emotional highs and lows that come with bringing a child into the world.

The year came and went, and we were still stable and still in recovery and still communicating. We did a lot of praying, made sure that we had enough support, and decided to try for a second child. We assumed based on our past experiences that we would get pregnant right away. But after several months of trying without success, we reached out to our Creighton coach for advice. She noticed in our charts that I appeared to have a hormonal issue. She suggested that we go to an OBGYN who specialized in treating couples who used the Creighton model. So we did, and it turned out that my body wasn't producing progesterone on its own (or producing very little). We started on supplements, and a few months later found out that we were pregnant. We were thrilled, relieved that we were able to get pregnant on our own!

But something didn't feel quite right. I had to have blood drawn because of my history of low levels of progesterone, and when the doctor called to tell me the results, she asked if I had a place to sit down. That is not something you ever want to hear from a doctor. She said that though I was still pregnant, my body was producing almost no progesterone. She started me on a very high dose of supplements, but warned me that the chances of having a miscarriage were high. Sure enough, I miscarried about a week later.

I was devastated. I thought that maybe because it was relatively early in the pregnancy, that I would not feel like I had lost a child. But I did. And I feared that if I told people, they would tell me that it was meant to be because God doesn't want us to have another child after what we've been through. I doubt anyone would have said that out loud, but partly I feared that someone would say something of that nature and that it would be true. That we didn't deserve to care for another child because we had failed to provide stability for our child when my husband was acting out before he got into recovery.

We were advised that we could start trying to get pregnant again, but that I would need to take progesterone injections to regulate my hormone levels. My husband and I had many deep conversations about what we would and wouldn't do to try to get pregnant, and we both felt strongly that we wouldn't try any medical interventions beyond the progesterone supplementation (which I needed regardless of whether I was trying to conceive). We felt that in our unique situation, using medical interventions would be a way of us taking over control of our future rather than trusting in God.

*Note that I am only sharing our own feelings about our own particular situation and our own unique past (particularly our issues with control). Our choices are not a reflection of any judgment on anyone else's choices to use or not use medical intervention to achieve pregnancy.*

More months went by without another positive test, and for some strange reason, both of us felt peace with the waiting and thinking about the fact that maybe this just wasn't our path to take. We both felt oddly accepting of the situation in front of us, which I think can be fully credited to what we've learned from our programs of recovery.

But on Christmas day, we were given a gift. A positive pregnancy test. And this pregnancy survived. I'm about half way through this pregnancy, and I couldn't be more grateful or feel more joy than I do at this time in our lives. I wish that I could tell everyone I meet about how lucky we are to have this second chance, and about how our story has unfolded.

I'm sure that there are many more bumps and twists and turns left in this story, but right now I'm just enjoying the ride.

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