She was bubbling over with enthusiasm the day we met her and heard her story. In fact, we unleashed a torrent of memories by asking Mary how she first became a Tepeyac patient.
The former Mary Peters was a single woman trying to manage an irregular menstrual cycle. She was also a woman seriously dissatisfied with doctors who pushed artificial birth control as a treatment. The hormones in those drugs produced side effects so severe that she couldn’t go on using them. She hoped Tepeyac would provide healing alternatives.
As a combination of physician, wise counselor, and Dutch uncle, Dr. Bruchalski cared for Mary, helping her move forward through various medical and personal issues associated with the single life. In 2000, at age 35, she married Patrick. The couple imagined that she’d become pregnant very promptly. Five years later, it still hadn’t happened.
Treatments at Tepeyac proved ineffective, so Dr. Bruchalski sent Mary to a fertility specialist who discovered extensive scar tissue around her ovaries. His treatments accomplished nothing. Like the artificial birth control (which, he pointed out, probably produced the scarring), the injections and other treatments had adverse effects and were stopped. Finally, he advised that only in vitro fertilization, which was against the teachings of Mary’s Catholic faith, was likely to produce a conception.
Although Mary had successful surgery for the scar tissue, Dr. Bruchalski confirmed that her age made it unlikely that she would conceive. She and Patrick discussed the family they wanted and agreed to try adoption. On their first attempt in 2005, they fell prey to a woman who lied to them about being pregnant. Things went better during their second try. After a tense and highly emotional last-minute scenario where the birth mother appeared to be changing her mind, they took their newborn daughter, Madeline Therese, home to be loved and nurtured as their own. Once the adoption was complete, she and Patrick settled into life as parents. Madeline became the focus of their energies.
What happened next often happens after a couple abandons hope of conceiving naturally and then adopts. In March 2007, Mary noticed certain signs of what she had long thought to be impossible. Waiting one day at Tepeyac for Dr. Bruchalski to sign a second adoption application for her, she suddenly thought: “God, if you’re going to give me a miracle, let it happen on Divine Mercy Sunday at the hour (3:00) of Divine Mercy.“ She asked for an on-the-spot pregnancy test and learned of its positive reading at 3:00 on Divine Mercy Sunday. On December 5, Dr. Bruchalski delivered Elizabeth, who joined her big sister Madeline as a warmly loved Shea family member.
“For my whole adult life,” Mary Shea muses, “The single years, the bad boy friend, the infertile married years, adoption, childbirth—and now postmenopause—Tepeyac has been there for me. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without the support of the great Tepeyac doctors.” – SC