Four babies and over two years gone... I felt frustrated and desperate that God had given us this desire to be open to new life, and yet not allow us to bring that new life home in our arms. We were running out of options as my husband and I knew that we would continue to follow the Catholic Church's teachings and use only those fertility treatments that were morally acceptable. God had seen us through our times of grief faithfully.we would strive to be faithful to Him as well; even with tear-stained cheeks and broken hearts.
RALEIGH, NC (Catholic Online) - Then I learned about the Pope Paul VI Institute and NaPro Technology. Natural Procreative Technology: these three words have given my heart reason to hope again. A new door had been opened from my infertile world.one that offered new possibilities and the prospect of discovering the cause of our fertility problems.
I couldn't sleep the night before our 17 week anatomy ultrasound. It seemed as if I were a little girl on Christmas Eve! My husband and I would finally get to find out the gender of our baby and start "talking names". But the next morning our joy turned to shock as the technician told us so much more about our baby than her gender.things which no parent wants to hear. My heart stuck in my throat as we learned that she had a chromosomal abnormality that I had only read about in the "when things go wrong" section of the baby books. When the doctor told us her condition was, "incompatible with life", I felt as if the room had suddenly been sucked of all oxygen; I could no longer breathe.
We asked the Lord for strength and prayed for our baby to be healed. We believe with our whole being that it is God who creates life, sustains it and brings it to a close; that there is purpose in every life, no matter how short. We entrusted our baby to the Lord. Not four weeks after that ultrasound, we sat in the front row at a funeral Mass across from a tiny white coffin. Later that day we buried our daughter, Mary Grace.
But Mary Grace was not the first baby we lost, nor would she be our last. After a textbook perfect pregnancy, conceived on the first try, our now four year old daughter Isabel is our firstborn joy. When we began to try to add to our family of three, the excitement of conceiving turned to despair as we found out the pregnancy was ectopic; a perfect little baby had implanted not in my uterus, but on my right ovary. Several months later followed a second seemingly unrelated pregnancy loss at 9 ˝ weeks, and then Mary Grace at 21 weeks. After Mary Grace it took another 9 months just to conceive again; this baby we lost at just 5 weeks.
Four babies and over two years gone; my heart began to panic. "You're still young" or "You've got time" were common phrases sympathetically thrown my way, but by now I had to admit to myself that something was wrong. I rushed to my OB-GYN and requested a recurrent miscarriage blood panel.it came back completely normal. We had already exhausted all the moral options that my OB-GYN could offer after trying several rounds of fertility drugs.
Month after month of continuing the same things which were not producing any results were taking their toll on our emotional state. I felt frustrated and desperate that God had given us this desire to be open to new life, and yet not allow us to bring that new life home in our arms. We were running out of options as my husband and I knew that we would continue to follow the Catholic Church's teachings and use only those fertility treatments that were morally acceptable. God had seen us through our times of grief faithfully - we would strive to be faithful to Him as well; even with tear-stained cheeks and broken hearts.
I started a blog after Mary Grace's fateful ultrasound to update friends and family about her condition, and I've continued it since her death mostly as an outlet for my grief and to share her story. It was only after a reader commented about a new church-approved approach to women's reproductive health that I learned about the Pope Paul VI Institute and NaPro Technology. Natural Procreative Technology: these three words have given my heart reason to hope again. A new door had been opened from my infertile world.one that offered new possibilities and the prospect of discovering the cause of our fertility problems.
NaPro Technology is a new breakthrough in women's health science developed by Dr. Thomas Hilgers at the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, based on over 30 years of research. It is an ethical way to identify and treat the causes of infertility and other reproductive health problems such as endometriosis, post partum depression, menstrual cramps, PMS, polycystic ovarian disease and others.
It is different from other approaches precisely because this technology cooperates with a woman's cycle to identify and solve the problem; unlike morally objectionable treatments such as IVF which have deadly implications for embryonic life and simply skip over diagnosing any underlying ill health condition with the woman involved. When a problem is diagnosed, treated and the body is restored to normal function, a person can even get pregnant again, unlike after an IVF or IUI procedure in which the patient still remains infertile since the underlying health issue has not been diagnosed or treated!
Not only does NaPro Technology cooperate with a woman's body, it also has a higher success rate than IVF and can be significantly less expensive. Most importantly, Catholics don't have to compromise their beliefs during this struggle against infertility. NaPro Technology offers a new route for couples who may have previously been at a dead end. It may not work for everyone, it is definitely not a magic pill, but it is certainly another option for couples who have struggled with the cross of infertility and who feel that they are at an impasse with their current medical treatment.
Although I am just in the beginning stages of being treated using NaPro Technology, I have witnessed and read the testimonies of many couples for whom it has been successful! We and many others who have had difficulty conceiving and sustaining a pregnancy are hoping to use this new technology to uncover the reasons for our infertility. In this way we might treat, heal, and God-willing, go on to conceive and carry out that great desire God has placed on our heart to raise children on earth for His glory.
Go here for information on NaPro Technology
Angela Holmes is a Catholic wife and mother of one daughter on earth and four babies in heaven. You can read more about Mary Grace's story as well as Angela's current struggle with infertility at Mary Grace Holmes.
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