We are pregnant!
While my dearest wife was away at Spiritual Direction school in Tampa, a religious sister-friend of hers (Sister Clara, also at the school) suggested that we say a novena to St. Martin de Porres leading up to his feast day on November 3, asking him to help us get a little miracle baby from heaven. Katie has PCOS and other issues that we thought may be preventing us from conceiving a little one. Sr. Clara told us that she had prayed this novena with eight other couples, all of whom got pregnant after. I read the story of this good little saint and instantly fell in love with the guy.
St. Martin was banned from taking full religious vows by Peruvian law because he was mixed race. He begged the local Dominicans to let him volunteer. Initially he was accepted as a servant and later became a Third Order Dominican. The legend tells of a young St. Martin sent out to fetch food for the monastery. He would load up on the goods but on his way back find too many poor and needy to ignore. He would return to the monastery with little food left for the monks and all the allotted money spent. After several severe warnings, St. Martin prayed that God would make a way for him to care for the poor and be able to return to the monastery with all of the required food he was sent to fetch. This is when his baskets began to miraculously replenish themselves as he traveled home. We were told to go to St. Martin as poor beggars and to ask for a special gift from his basket.
And this we did!
We ended the novena on November 3rd and Katie was pregnant by the 15th, just after her cycle ended. Whether or not the legends surrounding this good little saint are all true, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that St. Martin is close to Jesus in heaven, and we know that he prayed for us. God loves to splash down his blessings from heaven through the prayers of his special saint-friends!
The NFP adjustment
I was on board with natural family planning from the get-go. I didn’t need any talking into it. I had made that decision before I even met Katie. I knew absolutely nothing about the methodologies, though. I just knew that if life is important to God, it ought to be important to me. Katie and I didn’t want to use contraceptives and other means to suppress what a woman’s body is naturally made to do. Katie also has PCOS, so we wanted to heal and not bandaid, if at all possible. We wanted to do all we could to prepare her body to be a vessel for new life! But this comes with some big adjustments. While I was OK with NFP beforehand, the practicalities of it all (abstinence in marriage for short periods of time) was a big and unexpected adjustment.
Fortunately for us, Katie’s sister (Jenny) is a NaProTechnologies certified Creighton Instructor. Basically that means she specializes in an NFP method commonly known as “Creighton.” The gist of it entails charting a woman’s cycle and noting irregularities in ovulation and other problems and then finding a remedy, usually by visiting a certified Creighton doctor. Our guy is in Tennessee. While it wasn’t so convenient to make the trek from Birmingham, the progesterone and naltrexone that the doctor prescribed to Katie brought her wayward cycle into regularity. And it helped us to achieve pregnancy! Which is precisely what it is designed to do.
School of Trust
Now my sweet wife is pregnant – and though the little one is not here yet, and won’t be for quite some time, I am a dad. And I want to be able to do everything that I can to see our little guy or gal make it to our side of things. The problem: I am totally powerless to do much at all. I can insist that Katie rests when she needs it and support her in taking her progesterone (she is now taking shots, which I administer for her twice a week) and other doctor recommended things. But mostly all that I can do is pray. Through this whole process I found myself worrying way more than Katie. It caused me a lot of anxiety at first and led me into some desolation – it robbed me of the joy I wanted to feel at this little miracle and answered prayer!
This pregnancy revealed to me a wound I didn’t even know I had: a lack of trust and confidence in God. So now I am fully enrolled in this school of trust. I rejoice with thanksgiving at what God has done. And now, when a worry pops up, all I know to do is say, “Jesus, I trust in You.”