Then the real tests began. Because of my familiarity with my cycle and I paid so close attention to my body I knew even the day the baby must have implanted and I was certain I was pregnant before I even saw the test. Our joy at being pregnant couldn’t be contained. The next weekend we had a dinner with many of our closest friends and my Mom and step-dad and we shared the exciting news. Two days later I woke up bleeding and my entire world came crashing down. I had lost this beautiful baby that I now wanted with my whole being. I was inconsolable and broken. I couldn’t believe God would bring me along this path and then do this to me.
Through this trial and into the fear and complications of a subsequent pregnancy I came to experience in a whole new way the trust and surrender that God was asking of me and Chris. In my second pregnancy I started bleeding the exact same day in my pregnancy as my miscarriage. I was devastated again and already mourning my little one. Chris supported me and reassured me and that day we prayed harder than ever and I feel for the first time truly surrendered our fertility and ability to be co-creators with God. We trusted that no matter what happened God had us in His hand. Through his grace we were blessed to not lose that baby and Gabriel is a now an adorable, active, intelligent preschooler who we love more than we ever knew we could.
Theology of the Body and Natural Family Planning had brought us to where we were in our faith and our marriage and we knew we wanted to spread the word. While I was pregnant with Gabriel I had the surprising opportunity to become an instructor in another method of NFP called the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. That’s where the world of fertility was truly opened to me and I was exposed to doctors and practitioners who had taken NFP from simply a method of avoiding and achieving a pregnancy into a whole new reproductive science that cooperates with a woman’s natural cycle. It even has a high success rate at helping subfertile couples or those experiencing recurrent miscarriages to achieve and maintain a pregnancy. I was floored. I couldn’t believe this had been available and yet hardly anyone knew about this revolutionary system. While teaching this method for the past four years I have been truly blessed to be part of this very intimate experience of couples learning about their own fertility. It has strengthened my conviction that living out God’s plan for marriage and procreation is a blessing for every couple’s relationship.
But the trials didn’t end with Gabriel’s birth and teaching NFP. Despite my own knowledge of fertility and the hope that this system offers to couples unable to achieve or maintain a pregnancy, God has continued to remind us that our ability to be co-creators with him is still a gift. Chris and I have experienced three more devastating miscarriages since Gabriel was born. Although it took a long time to understand the probable physical causes, and determine the right medical interventions, we have come to realize that only in complete abandonment to God’s will can we succeed in being fruitful – in whatever sense God has planned for us. We continued to work with my body to try to achieve a pregnancy but with an ever greater sense of the blessing our fertility is and the reverence with which we join with God in bringing new life into this world. After a complicated pregnancy with almost constant monitoring we were again blessed with a little boy we named Isaac Emanuel. He was born in June 2013 perfectly health and has also brought great joy to our family.
I pray that God can transform our physical, spiritual and emotional pain into a blessing to help other couples discover the gift of God’s plan for marriage. I pray that each of you reading this will consider learning more about the Theology of the Body and the modern methods of Natural Family Planning and share what you learn with others.
2016 Update: Our next pregnancy after Isaac was with a little boy Damien who had triploidy which caused him to not form properly and so we had a fifth miscarriage. Then we were blessed with our 8th child Isabel Guadalupe who was born in April 2016 with a hearing impairment but overall very healthy. Our beloved children in heaven: Rosario, Elías, Teresa, Claire and Damien Gutiérrez, please pray for us.