Wednesday, January 24, 2007

To the lady in room 212, tearfully remembering your baby today

I do not know your name.
I do not know the circumstances.
I do not even know if the child you grieve is a son or a daughter.
I only know that on this date one year ago today, we shared the labor and delivery wing of the same hospital. And while I went home with a precious miracle, you went home with empty arms and a broken heart.
Within my first hour home from the hospital, I posted a prayer request on the Hannah's Prayer message boards for you and your family. And with every landmark we have celebrated and rejoiced over the life of our son this year, I have carried you in my heart and lifted you before my Father in prayer.
You have made it through your first year now. I wish I had some way to let you know that your baby has forever left an imprint on me; that you are not forgotten.
So today I once again entrust you to the Lord who knows you so deeply that He has numbered the very hairs on your head. May you somehow know the comfort that only He can bring your grieving heart today.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

fertility "collection condoms" or SCDs (seminal collection devices)

OK, I will admit that this information is a little more blunt than my standard blog fare, but I pray that it will be useful to someone. As noted in chapter 4 of Hannah's Hope, and more fully detailed in appendix b, for some couples the most sucessful way to obtain sperm samples either for testing or insemination is through the use a a special sterile, medical grade, non-spermacial condom.
At the time my book went to press, I did not have a current resource to offer for those seeking to obtain such a device. While most fertility clinics can obtain them for you, if your clinic cannot or does not have a resource to do so, here are some links that may be of help. Please note, these links are for informational purposes only, not a specific endorsement on my part of any specific clinic, product, company or medical procedure:
Understanding a Sperm Analysis
Using a Sperm Collection Condom
"Pre-seed" Semen Collection Kit
Semen Analysis Supplies (scroll down to "Semen Collection Condoms – Male-FactorPak)

Since it took us more than a year to track down this information when we needed it, I pray that someone who will benefit from this information will stumble upon this blog entry and find the information you need to help reduce one aspect of all the stress that infertility brings.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

fiction titles with infertility and/or loss plot lines

I sometimes am more moved by fiction than by other kinds of writing. I'm starting a running list of Christian books that include infertility or loss in the plot lines.

What have you read that others might find interesting??? As a "comments" reply here, please give the title, author, and enough about the plot line that someone can decide if they are "ready" to give that book a read or if there are any unexpected surprises that could be painful triggers if caught by surprise. Here are a few I have enjoyed:

Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther by Ginger Garrett (this author is a former member of Hannah's Prayer, by the way) is a fictionalized look at Esther, and in Ginger's telling of the story, she is never able to bear children. Spellbinding reading!

Rain Dance by Joy DeKok (also a past HP member, still living with primary infertility) is a compelling story about what happens when a Christian woman facing a childless future and a woman seeking an abortion are waiting to see the same doctor. The infertile woman feels like she could have been pulled from the pages of my journals!

Empty Womb, Aching Heart: Hope and Help for Those Struggling With Infertility by Marlo Schalesky is a fictionalized compilation of many real-life infertility stories (including my friend Julie Donahue's adoption story!) spanning all aspects of fertility challenges. The short stories are fast reading, realistic and great at getting to the emotional and spiritual heart of each challenge!

The Marriage Wish by Dee Henderson is about a young widow who goes into preterm labor shortly after the death of her husband and their little girl lives only 3 month, all in NICU. It's a tearjerker for sure, but very realistic in dealing with the grief emotions that she processes as she slowly learns to risk loving again.

Several books by Janette Oke include infertility and/or loss themes:
The Love Comes Softly series, while the main character is quite fertile, also includes a subplot of a friend with recurrent losses and eventually giving birth to her only living son with special needs. Later in the same series, there is stillbirth.
Canadian Mountie series, especially by the second and later books, is very much an infertility story and also includes adoption loss and sucessful adoptions.
A Bride for Donnigan has the main character being very unsympathetic with her friend's miscarriage grief until she herself suffers a stillborn baby.
- I know there are other titles that are strong fertility-related plot lines, but these are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.

Karen Kingsbury has too many fertility-related stories for me to even list. Visit her website (where you can read her own adoption story!) at

Julia's Hope by Leisha Kelly is an after-infertility mom of twins who opens her home as a bed-and-breakfast type place and her first client is a pregnant teen who is sent away to give birth and relinquish her child for adoption to save the family's disgrace. There is a lot of after-infertility emotional processing and conversations with God here.

While I have never had a chance to read it, I've often wanted to pick up The Long Awaited Child by Tracie Peterson. From the Stepping Stones bookstore review: "Novelist Tracie Peterson has written or co-written over 35 novels. This novel is the dual story of a woman, who wants nothing more than to be a mother, and a frightened pregnant teen, who wants nothing more than to run away from that responsibility. Be ready for some tears as you read how each of them overcomes past heartache to give the other her heart's desire."

Angela Hunt has written some compelling things. While not directly related to infertility, both "The Pearl" and "Unspoken" were thought provoking for me. I would not advise reading either when feeling emotionally fragile, and since not written specifically for an infertile audience, there will be things that might not sit well. But Pearl deals with the death of a child and a mother's depth of grief that drives to a splintered marriag and desperate measures including cloning, while Unspoken is a sweet story for anyone with a loving "Fur Baby" (animal/pet that is a stand-in child) in her life, though it does also relate a lot to grief (and has a subplot of miscarraige through another character) and has a rather tragic ending. I have never read "The Truth Teller" by this same author but believe it is a story about an infertile woman who is widowed and tries to still have her husband's child - as with any of Hunt's books, I would expect there to be a lot of plot twisting, no easy answers and ethically challenging complexity involved.

So, what hidden infertility/loss plots have you discovered? Have the books been helpful or hurtful as you have read? Please share your finds by posting a "comment" to this topic!