Pregnancy and Testing of Faith

This pregnancy has not been the easiest and it has tested my faith in many ways.  I’m not going to go into the details because that doesn’t matter.  Everyone has their faith tested at some point in their life, and if you’re lucky it will happen multiple times.

 

Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  – James 1:2-4

 

My faith is stronger thanks to all the trials/tests that I have faced these past eight months.  I can breathe easier these days and I am at peace with many things that were troubling me.  My prayer life has come back stronger than ever and I no longer feel as if I am fighting a storm.  There have been several changes within my life during this time, and I am thankful for the emotional pain that went with many of these changes. I’ve learned who I can trust and depend on and who I cannot.  I’ve learned just how strong I am and that no matter how bad things get and it seems as if everyone flees from your side, those that love you most will always be there for you.

 

 In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls.  – 1 Peter 1:6-9

 

I am now in the last days of this pregnancy and we are looking forward to the arrival of our new child.  My husband has been so very amazing throughout this tumultuous time and I am eternal grateful for his love, support, and compassion.  He is my rock and I am truly blessed to be his wife.

 

Ash Wednesday

 

 

 

Last year I wrote about Ash Wednesday and I thought I’d share that post again.

 

Ash Wednesday Symbol

 

“What are you giving up for Lent?” Ah yes, it’s that time of year again and that is the question I am sure to hear frequently. Many Catholics are still stuck in their childhood understanding of giving up something for lent (chocolates, soda, or some other food item) for no other reason than ‘hey, it’s Lent and it’s what we do.’ I thought this same way for most of my life and it has only been during the last few years that I have taken the time to begin to educate myself on what Lent truly is.

The name Lent is taken from the Old English word for spring, lencten. The word Lent (much like the word Easter) is only used in English speaking countries; most other languages use a word that is derived from the Latin term Quadragesima (the forty days”). In Spanish it’s  cuaresma, Portuguese- quaresma, French- carême, Italian- quaresima, so on and so forth.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.  –CCC540

lent_icon-728505

During this time we are all called to fast, give alms, and to pray more. By fasting we give up something. That might be the television, internet, some type of food, a vice, or something else that we enjoy doing. By giving alms we are giving something to others. That might be money, possessions, or time to a charity, or some other way in which we can give of ourselves above and beyond what we do the rest of the year. By praying we are “lifting our hearts to the Lord,” and I know that we could all spend a bit more time in prayer than we do on a regular basis.

Earlier today I found an entry at the USCCB’s blog written by Msgr. Richard Hilgartner that I highly recommend you take a moment to read for yourself. It can be found here.

Spiritual Dryness and Pregnancy

I’ve been in the middle of a spiritual dry spell since at least early January, but it probably goes back a bit further.  The only moments I’ve felt close to God have been during the RCIA classes I help teach and Sunday Mass.  My prayer life has become all but not existent.   It’s been a very blah time for me, but I hope that this period is just temporary.

I’ve wondered why I’ve been experiencing this dryness and I have had a few thoughts on it. One of the reasons that I have thought about is how this pregnancy is going. I haven’t been sleeping – I went four solid nights a few weeks ago sans sleep.  That was no fun.  My hip girdle is where I’ve experienced all of my key problems.  I have been having a lot of pain that has made walking on certain days all but impossible, and on my “good” days I can’t walk or stand for very long before I can no longer tolerate the debilitating pain.  About the only position I’ve found any comfort in is sitting, but not for too long or my back begins to hurt.  I know all of this will pass, and all of my joint pain will disappear within a few days of the little one being born.  All of the pain and lack of sleep is what I think may be one of the key contributors to this dryness.

I can’t focus on reading scripture, prayer, writing much of anything these days, and let’s not even discuss my keeping up with my house.  I’m drained.

And yet, I know that God will get me through this and I will be stronger and wiser on the other side.  I will still try to focus on all the above, I may fail miserably at all of them, but I am doing my best.

About a week ago I found a beautiful prayer that I keep coming back to over and over again.

OURLADYPERPETHELP

Dearest Mary, I look to you now for the help of your maternal love.
You understand my trials as an expectant mother.
You bore Jesus in your womb.
You know the doubts and anxieties that beset me; you know the bodily suffering I endure.
Like you, may I turn all these sorrows into joy.
You overcame anxiety by a loving trust in God; you overcame doubt by gentle resignation to His will.
Your motherhood lifted your mind above earth and kept it close to God.
So speak to Jesus now with me, beloved Mother, as I seek prayerfully to learn to bear the trials of motherhood with joy.
Mother of Perpetual Help, Pray for me!

Father Robert Barron posted this very timely video today.

One of the key scripture verses I keep coming back to is Philippians 4:6 – “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”  It is very difficult to thank God for pain and discomfort, and yet I am.  I have been “offering up” my pain for others.  Here is a great explanation of what I mean by “offering it up.”  And while I may feel miserable, I know that this pain can and will be used by God and for that I am thankful.

Quick Entry & Update

No, I haven’t dropped off the blogosphere.  Let’s see…since coming completely off the Zoloft I’ve been feeling so much better.  However, I still have the very occasional head swoosh.

That being said, I had arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday. They went in to get my knee cap to start gliding in the notch God intended it to and not sit and grind on the bone it had been. They accomplished this by performing a lateral release; they also cleaned up any worn and torn cartilage.

So now I’m bed bound for another day.  Which is probably a good thing because the meds they gave me for the pain are making me wonder if I am secretly suffering from narcolepsy.  With that said, during my waking hours I hope to be able to type up the entry I wrote this morning, finish up the entry on our Blessed Mother, as well as another one that I’m almost finished with.

*YAWN*  Back to sleep and then to work on posting the rest.

 

We adore you O’ Christ and we praise you. Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

Operation Stop Zoloft: Week 1

I began tapering off Zoloft a week ago; I went from 100 mg to 75 mg of the stuff.  I’m very happy to report that I didn’t experience very many withdrawal symptoms (at least not the worst case scenarios that I was prepping for).  What I did experience was a fairly terrible headache that lasted three days (Tuesday afternoon ’til Thursday afternoon), a tiny bit of vertigo, and slightly more difficulty falling asleep at night.

Last week was certainly a success.  On Sunday I began my second week and am only taking 50 mg now, and I hope that this week’s withdrawal symptoms won’t be any worse than last weeks.

In other news:

In March, I went to see my doctor because both of my knees had become so painful when walking, climbing stairs, and what not that I could barely get around.  I had an MRI done and was referred to an Orthopedic.  When I scheduled my ortho. appointment I met with a physicians assistant who said that my MRI results did not show too much to be wrong with my knees and decided to give me a shot of cortisone in one knee and sent me to a physical therapist.

For the past two weeks I have been seeing a physical therapist and well…my knees weren’t getting better. My pt said that there is something stuck underneath both of my kneecaps and until that is removed there isn’t a whole lot we can do.  And so I have been referred back to an Orthopedic surgeon.

Now I get to limp around until the beginning of June without anymore answers.  My hope is that I will be able to chase after my children, go for walks, and return to the gym by the end of the summer.  Sitting around and not being able to do much because I’m 1) in such terrible pain when I walk and 2) never sure if and when my knees are going to give out on me, has become dreadfully boring.

All prayers for these issues are greatly appreciated.

Feeling like a Mental Zombie

For the past several months (and possibly the past year) I have felt like an emotionless zombie.  The best word to describe the way I have been feeling is:

 

meh_cat

 

Yeah. That pretty much sums it up.  The only other emotion I can recall having with some sort of frequency is frustration which usually leads me to anger.  Sure, I’ve had a few happy and exciting moments, but it’s really difficult for me to enjoy them due to the huge cloud of meh that is weighing down on me.

I’ve been on Zoloft since Owen was born, and it’s definitely time to get off the stuff. Not only do I want to feel like myself there are two other factors for me coming off this mind numbing med.

  1.  The weight gain has been ridiculous.  Owen is three and I’ve yet to loose any of the baby weight. I’m still sitting large at approx. 195 lbs. I’ve exercised, cut back on my eating, and yet the weight just sits there.
  2. The horrible birth defects that are possible while taking Zoloft while preggers.  No, I’m not pregnant, but one day I might be.  And I don’t want my child to run a higher risk of having a disability because I was on some mind numbing medication.  If I were to get pregnant now and my child were to have some sort of health issue because of it I would probably beat my self up everyday for the rest of my life.

With that said, I’ve been thinking about this for a long while now and I’m going to start weaning myself off of this stuff.  I’m not looking forward to the side effects of coming off the meds.  I went off them once after Owen was 3 months old, but had to get back on them a few months later at a higher dosage.  *le sigh*  Next week I’ll be making an appointment with my doctor and talking with him about a plan to taper down the meds with hopefully the fewest amount of withdrawal symptoms I can muster.

Please pray for me while I go through this.  This site has been helpful for me to start coming up with a plan to taper off Zoloft.  If you scroll down towards the bottom (after all of the side effects from taking the meds) you’ll see the withdrawal side effects.

Good Saint Dymphna, great wonder-worker in every affliction of mind and body, I humbly implore your powerful intercession with Jesus through Mary, the Health of the Sick, in my present need. Please ask that my tapering off Zoloft will go well with as few withdrawal symptoms as possible. Saint Dymphna, martyr of purity, patroness of those who suffer with nervous and mental afflictions, beloved child of Jesus and Mary, pray to Them for me and obtain my request.

Our Father, who is in Heaven
Holy is your name.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done.
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our Daily Bread
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who’ve trespassed against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but delivers us from evil.  Amen.

 

Hail Mary, Full of Grace
The Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be
World without end.  Amen.

 

Saint Dymphna, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us.