"...suffering is one of the universal conditions of being alive. We all suffer. We have become terribly vulnerable, not because we suffer, but because we have separated ourselves from each other." -- Rachel Naoimi Remen

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Glimpses of Truth

I believe God created the world with a big bang. I believe He gave us science and faith as tools to triumph over sickness, natural disaster, evil and death.

In that, I see myself and most I know in this very real juggle of how we are and how we think we should be.  Hence, my drawings of the progesterone pray-er; the hormonal disciple. This is true when it comes to the little picture, and the big picture... I mean really (an analogy), it is hard for us to "judge not" when we're premenstrual, right? [Well try being pregnant four times in twelve months or living with someone who is (just ask my husband)!]

Seriously though, how do we use science, and modern medicine, faithfully?  Part of why this is so challenging, is that it's so unique for all of us.  Each of our experiences is often not generalizable to friends and family.  Recently, I came across a great article that summarizes recurrent miscarriage.  And my doctor has followed the recommendations I read there almost exactly.  I suspect you're doctor has recommened different things according to your circumstances, and I do not pretend to understand all that.  This makes it hard to use the appropriate dose of empathy.  I've heard anecdotes online of a variety of treatment options that have "worked" for some.  But when it comes to the fertilization, implantation and growth of an egg into a baby, so much can happen in any one of us.  During my last pregnancy, my husband and I were distinctly not trying and we ended up pregnant.  I have to admit, that thanks to so many stories I've heard and been told, I actually thought that it might work out because we weren't trying...  Isn't that the most popular story going around, "just don't worry and then it will happen!" Well, I know it's been true for some, but unfortunately not for us.  (Truly, I'm happy for those of you who have had this experience, and I don't mean to take away from that whatsoever.)

But all this brings me back to one of the questions I've always wanted to ask, on the Other Side. Why is it that there are so many unwanted pregnancies and yet so many who want to be pregnant and seemingly cannot?  

Uganda Safari after Medical Mission 2007
And my list of questions goes on... most recently and most pertinently, when will I know when I've had enough?

Well, I have no answers here, but wanted to share some interesting results of my research:

Worldwide, 370,000 babies are born each day.

A number of large animals have gestation's longer than humans.   Several sources note the African Elehant at the longest ~ 660 days or 22 months. 

Anually, between 25,000-30,000 babies are domestically adopted; more than all international adoptions combined. 

Between 1978 and 2012, five million babies were born through In-Vitro Fertilization.

In developing countries, preterm and neonatal death is often related to Sexually Transmitted diseases like Syphilis.

Unintended pregnancies account for almost 50% of US pregnancies which is higher than other developed countries.

Somewhere between 20-30% of all pregancies end in miscarriage.  A large majority of these occur before the baby develops a heart beat.  Women with more than one miscarriage have an increased risk of future miscarriage that increases with every pregnancy.

Recently, my therapist suggested I should listen to my body -- I was telling her that it is a lot harder to get in shape this time around as I'm preparing for another race and haven't been running for the past year or so.  And I suspect she's right, I'm a little worn down and I need to listen. 

[Side bar commentary: Yes, I have a therapist.  
Started seeing her after my fourth miscarraige. 
Yeah I know... I mean I have friends who are therapists. 
But, I don't have any who see a therapist...
But, until we
- the overachieving, proud, successful people of today, until we -
start admitting we are vulnerable,
the stigma will never go away. 
I'm not ashamed to admit I need help.]

So, why do I share all this with you today?  Because I'm searching... and I sense you're searching too. 

Searching, while longing for some answers.  Something meaty to hold onto that helps this make sense.  Searching with faith and science as my guide.  I'd like for it (wisdom) to come to me like a big bang.  If it knocks me over the head, then I will know it came from You. 

When should we stop trying? 
When should we start trying again? 
Should we ever stop trying? 

I don't know where to look, where to turn for truth.  Science and faith both feel blurry.  I see and hear so much, in our multimedia society, from well meaning bystanders, from church-goers and beloved family and friends... but, how do I know what's wise and to be followed?  What parts of what I see and how I feel are hormonal, which are the good Lord leading me?   

Only God knows when I've had enough. 

Illumine Me, by Clara Scott (1895)
Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
voices of truth thou sendest clear;
and while the wavenotes fall on my ear,
everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Open my mouth, and let me bear
gladly the warm truth everywhere;
open my heart and let me prepare
love with thy children thus to share.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!
Please notice, I link in songs I love or songs I think are helpful for meditation.  Click the marroon links to listen.  I just find them on YouTube.  Also the pictures are mine, feel free to copy or share them with a link, but unless otherwise specified know that they are my personal work. 

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