Friday, October 13, 2006

The Feast of St. Gerard Majella

The Feast of St. Gerard Majella is this weekend at St. Lucy's Church in Newark, NJ - the National Shrine for Saint Gerard.

St. Gerard is the Patron Saint of: childbirth; children; expectant mothers; falsely accused people; good confessions; lay brothers; motherhood; mothers; Muro, Italy; pregnant women; pro-life movement; unborn children.

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I have on me every day - sick, cleaning, whatever - a blessed St. Gerard medal that a nun Hubby's aunt used to work with gave to me when we were first TTC our first child. It is the first religious medal, other than my Ukrainian cross from my grandmother, I have ever worn on a consistent basis. It is very well worn now...I've had it on my necklace since mid-2002. It's totally discolored (it was gold-plated), but well loved and special.

A year ago (on October 16th), Hubby, Chris and I went to the Feast of St. Gerard for the first time. We went along with our friends S&S - we were both TTC at the time... Our second, their first (and, unfortunately, still TTC after 4 years...).

For me, about 10 days before the Feast day, we found out that I had ovulated on 100 mg Clomid in between ultrasound monitoring for an IUI - so, the IUI got scrapped and the chances of a natual cycle working, which we did our "duty" and DTD as Dr. D instructed, was slim to none. The eggie only lives for 12-24 hours, right? So, I went to the Feast looking for prayer and guidance for TTC again, hoping that once my new cycle started, maybe it would work better...that TTC wouldn't take as long as it did the first time. I also went to give thanks for the beautiful gift I come home to every day...who usually ends up in our bed in the middle of the night, and kicks us in the back...our Chris.

Two days after the Feast, I got my first positive HPT (with several done after that since I could not believe what I was seeing). We were in total shock...and immediately thankful. The cycle should not have worked... But, we got our miracle and began telling those who knew about the medicated cycle.

...Less than two weeks later - after no signs of the morning sickness I had with Chris - my world came crashing down. Getting ready to meet up with S&S for a last-minute outing, I started bleeding on October 30th. In a panic, I tried to reach Dr. D - he was not available, so the covering doc told me to take it easy the rest of the day and call Dr. D in the morning (of course, I had the option of going to the ER - but, was warned I probably would have a long wait). So, I called Dr. D first thing in the morning...which then began the processes of repeat beta draws and ultrasounds. Each ultrasound done showed only a sac - no baby, no fetal pole, nothing close to a heartbeat. My betas were not doubling. A miscarriage was inevitable - of course hearing the news on my cell phone from Dr. D in the St. Barnabas Ambulatory Care Center parking deck with Hubby by my side as others walked by wondering why I was in tears. I waited for three weeks for the miscarriage to start....and only spotting here and there shadowed my days, along with the worst backpain I have ever had. On November 22nd, I finally had the D&E done at 9:30 am - at exactly what would have been 9 weeks. The PG was officially over.

I had hoped for better for S&S - they had gone through her miscarriage in August 2005 (the first person I had known to go through this terrible process) and were in the middle of a new IVF cycle... I had hoped and prayed that St. Gerard would at least answer their prayers and give them their blessing, finally.

...Yet, here we are, going back to the St. Gerard Feast on Sunday - S&S still empty armed, Hubby and I with three angels in heaven (and, more than thankfully, one here with us).

Why are we going back again? Why are we putting our faith and prayers - the faith and prayers that were not, to us, answered a year ago - back in St. Gerard?

I don't know...for either of us...

Maybe, for me, I am going again out of guilt because Lex from FFamily asked if I was going? Maybe out of my desire for guidance again as I begin to face the last of my three EDD's (ironically, on October 30th)? Maybe out of the faith I am slowly rediscovering after the events of the past year?

I don't know...

I remember, back in December 2005, we were visiting friends who live in Brick - we went to see them after their little girl was born the day before Thanksgiving (the day after my D&E). Chris very innocently grabbed my necklace while playing around and the only thing to come flying off it was my St. Gerard medal. I was in a complete panic - this was the same medal that got me through my PG with him...and, my three miscarriages. I had to make sure I had it - I needed it. I found it finally under the kitchen cabinets and, borrowing plyers, made sure I got it back on my necklace.

Am I being called back to the Feast maybe because this medal I have worn for 4 years was only meant to protect my pregnancy with Chris? Maybe it is time to "retire" this medal and seek out the blessings of a new one?

Maybe I am grasping at straws??? Being to materialistic in putting my faith in a little blessed peice of metal?

What is even more interesting to me is the day we are going to the Feast also happens to be the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Maybe I am drawn to this Feast because I need to be in a place where I can feel the presence of more than what we are capable of understanding in our time? Maybe, as I look to start TTC again in January, I am looking for peace as we start trying again - which is something I am really fearing? Maybe I need to seek a blessing for the three angels I am missing here on Earth?

I don't know...

Guess we will see what happens when we get there....which I will try to do with an open mind and heart.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Sending hugs to you today!!
I have a St. Gerard prayer card hanging on my bulletin board. It was given to me by Bobby's godmother.