Hang on, possibilities exist

Lisa Everett, left, co-director of the Office of Family Life, holds a picture of St. Hannah, patron saint of childless wives. Suzy Younger, who works with Hannah’s Tears, an organization that offers prayers and support for those suffering from infertility, holds a rosary.

Lisa Everett, left, co-director of the Office of Family Life, holds a picture of St. Hannah, patron saint of childless wives. Suzy Younger, who works with Hannah’s Tears, an organization that offers prayers and support for those suffering from infertility, holds a rosary.

By Karen Clifford

GRANGER — For St. Pius X parishioner Suzy Younger, the cross of infertility has been a lesson in self-surrender and relinquishing control to the divine providence of God. It was through the counsel of many priests and Catholic doctors that she and her husband David came to understand that “Right to Life” does not mean “that we have a right to a little life in ours,” she says. 
Instead of viewing the process of having a baby as an American “can-do” project, they have been encouraged to remember that conception is collaboration with God and the receptivity of a gift that is bestowed upon them at his appointed time. 

Younger explains that the pain of infertility is very intense, and it can also be a very lonely journey. 

“Many couples don’t want to share what they are going through and many have come to withhold their feelings due to hurtful comments that friends and family have made,” she notes. “As with any suffering it is so important to know that someone understands what you are going through, that someone cares, that someone else is there in the trenches with you.” 

First, as a way to communicate with family and friends and later to act as a way to support others carrying the same cross, Younger developed a blog on the Internet called Hang On Possibilities Exist. 

“I wanted to point people in the direction of the ‘true banquet,’ to support others as a Simon of Cyrene along their own way of the cross and to remind others suffering not to give up hope. We must always H.O.P.E. This means we must Hang On … Possibilities Exist,” she stresses.
Shortly before their marriage, Suzy and David learned the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning (NFP). In the past three years they have been working with NaProTechnology doctors to address her health concerns, which came into focus when they experienced difficulty conceiving. 
Both NFP and NaPro-Technology are endorsed by the Pope Paul VI Institute.

Younger points out it is vital to recognize infertility is not the problem. “Infertility is rather the manifestation of some other underlying health problem or problems. Most reproductive technologies are aimed at resolving a couple’s childlessness, but they do nothing to address the underlying health problems causing a couple to be infertile.” 

She adds, “Aside from moral concerns, treatments including in vitro fertilization (IVF) or Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) and others, while only possibly resulting in a live birth, do nothing to help heal the source of the problem — they are a Band-Aid approach, if you will.” 
NaProTechnology, on the other hand, treats the underlying problem in a moral way that cooperates with the menstrual and fertility cycles and in a way that is pro-life, pro-woman, pro-healing and which guards the sanctity of marriage. 

“Whereas many forms of treatment undermine the meaning of the marital act and the intimate sexual self-giving that defines marriage, NaProTechnology maintains its focus on procreation, not production, and honors the exclusivity of the marriage covenant,” Suzy notes. “NaPro always assists the marital act instead of replacing the act altogether.”

NaProTechnology uses the Creighton Model biomarkers to monitor easily and objectively the occurrence of various hormonal events during the menstrual cycle.

NaPro tracking provides valid information that can be interpreted by a woman and by physicians who are specifically trained in this system.

In the Younger’s case, once the NaPro trained general practitioners reviewed her Creighton charts, Younger went through a series of blood tests and ultrasounds that confirmed a diagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Younger then proceeded with treatment through changes in diet and lifestyle and supplemented this with specific vitamins and medications. After six months, she had seen some health improvements but still no conception, and made plans to surgically address the underlying issues.

In late July of this year, Younger underwent surgery with a NaPro trained OB/GYN in Columbus, Ohio. The final and most detailed portion of the four-hour surgery was the ovarian wedge resection. In the experience of the Pope Paul VI Institute, the pregnancy rate is nearly 70 percent following this procedure. Younger is now seven weeks post surgery, fully recovered, and has seen improvements in her health. She and David are hopeful that they will soon be among that 70 percent. 

For other couples experiencing infertility Younger advises, “First and foremost, frequent the healing sacrament of reconciliation and receive the Eucharist as often as you are able. Only in this way will you be prepared to receive the grace necessary to continue on your own personal way of the cross. This is crucial.” 

She adds, “When we unite our sufferings with those of Our Lord and look to Our Lady at the foot of the cross we have a beautiful example of how to have supernatural joy in the midst of human sorrow.” 

Younger recommends an organization called Hannah’s Tears, www.hannahstears.org, which she has worked with for the past year. Hannah’s Tears offers prayer support and comfort to those who suffer the pains of infertility at any stage of life, difficult pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, the loss of a child and the adoption process.

Finally, Younger advises to love your spouse and have fun together. Suzy and David have fostered a love of cooking together and have begun taking ballroom-dancing lessons, both have been a reprieve from the focus on their infertility. 

She concludes, “Love each other, serve each other, be patient with each other, worship together, pray together, and last but not least, don’t ever give up hope … remember to hang on … possibilities exist.”

Posted on September 30, 2009, to: