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Archive for July, 2010

Master Card LPGA
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The emotional overload upon seeing babies and pregnant woman – normal.  My need to selectively avoid frum women with babies in social situations – normal.  Feeling that my world is currently black and white – normal.  Making excuses to skip out of bris miloth, upsharnesh, and other children centered events – normal.  Sick feeling at the Seder table as someone’s cute kid recites “Ma Nishtama ha lailah ha zeh…” – normal.  The unfolding of a Nes Gadol in the form of a tiny bundle of joy- priceless.  For ivf treatments and new baby supplies, there is MasterCard.

On a serious note, a close friend of mine gave me a magazine that had an excellent article about couples who are dealing with fertility issues.   The article, ” This Woman Has a Secret,” is neatly tucked away in the back in the August 2010 edition of SELF.   Featured in this article is a couple who have endured the trials of multiple IVFs, and the shame associated with infertility.  They did not even share their personal tragedy with parents and close friends.  Similar to the 1970s when openly discussing breast cancer was a taboo, today infertility is one of those topics closed off to open discussions.  Even insurance companies place infertility treatment in the same category as plastic surgery.

The article also portrays what it is like to walk into a fertility clinic.  The atmosphere is so tense that one could cut it with a knife.   Everyone in the waiting room are linked by the one common trial they share, yet no one speaks, nor does anyone give you eye contact.  The outside world seems just as cold and isolating.  No one means to say the wrong thing, yet time after time, someone inevitably does, or they avoid you like the plague because they do not know what to say.  Seeing other people’s babies and pregnant women triggers pain beyond one’s wildest imagination.  In terms of roller coasters, none can top the emotional roller coaster of popping fertility drugs that take a woman on a hormonal journey,  lethal for the poor husband.  These pills should come with a warning for husbands who may be on the receiving end of their lovely wife’s tirades.   There is also the roller coaster ride of an ivf transfer, and the killer two week period.

The couple in the article did get their dream come true after two years, a time period that was long for them, and short for those of us who have been waiting for  4,6, 8, 10+ years.  For me, if I did not have short nails from preparing for the mikveh, I would have chewed them down, due to the uncertainty of my waiting period ( no pun intended).

A very well written article in a magazine highly focused on strategies to get a flat tummy and 3-minute makeovers.

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chocolate frozen custard
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Remember the infertility support group that I was trying to initiate for childless Jewish couples?  Well, it has been 3 days since I posted my announcement via the shul classifieds and the local community craigslist style email.  No response yet.  It is a small community so perhaps will take time to find a handful of couples.  Sigh! I get so easily discouraged.

Remember the emotional rollercoaster?  Well I am back on it.  Today I went for a big ride up and down.    The downward ride was very steep.   I am feeling very left out of the mommy club.  I was however good to myself and ate some chocolate ice cream.

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Silver Nevada's nickname is the Silver State
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I recently learned about a Midrash from our rabbi pertaining to Moshe Rabbeinu.  Moshe Rabbeinu saw that had he been allowed to enter Eretz Israel with Yehoshua as the leader , it would have been challenging.  Yehoshua would have had the privilege of entering the Bais HaMikdash and interacting with Hashem.  This would would have made Moshe Rabbeinu jealous.  He said he would have rather died a thousand deaths than be jealous.

Today I went to a barbeque that was held at our rabbi’s home.  There were lots of families.  As important as it is for me to socialize, the reality is the families with babies and small children.  Oh the pain, the sheer pain, the sheer pain coursing through my neshama, the unshed tears.    I am so tired of this pain that lurks under the smile that is on my face.   A baby cried and the familiar pang coursed through my entire being.  I saw flashing before my eyes, my 3 precious embryos who never made it.  For a few fleeting days, they had the spark of life.  I had life transferred into my eagerly awaiting womb.  Now the still silence of my empty womb.  I saw a young woman with her year old baby.  She wore what appears like a maternity dress, and my heart lurched further, sinking, sinking into an abysss.   Internally I cry for being left out.  I long long long to feel life growing inside me.  Please HaShem please show me chesed soon and answer my heartfelt and tearful prayer.  Oh HaShem, I boldly approach You as unworthy as I am.

Another couple who recently moved to our city has a daughter and a baby.  My husband and I moved here a year ago and it was just me and him.    I saw a father carrying his toddler daughter.  Oh it hurts so bad because I feel so left out.  The pain is too much and it hurts, hurts, hurts.  I am being refined like silver purified 7 times.

I did my best.  After a while, I made my exit proud that I had engaged in a few conversations.  I have a lot I need to transcend such as not letting others’ blessings make me feel so deprived.  One day I will be able to look at their babies and smile because I know my turn will soon come.  In the meantime, I must channel my pain, grow, and develop a compassionate heart.

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Pleiades Star Cluster
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Night Sky

I long for the night sky

littered with infinite number of stars

twinkling ever so brightly…

Alone with Hashem

I close my eyes

imagining Avraham Avinu

looking up at the same night sky

dotted with

millions, millions, millions of stars

Avraham Avinu

Alone with Hashem

Amazed by G-D’s promise

“I will make your descendants

as numerous as the stars in the sky.”

Sarah Imanu

90 years old..

wombless

Yet she became the mother

of countless descendants….

It is dark

I try to imagine my future….

Hashem I ask

“Will I have numerous descendants?”

I imagine Hashem responding,

“Dear daughter, just wait and see….”

I am alone

under the dark sky

forgetting

so many bright stars

shining through

the darkness

Dedicated to my dear friend and her miracle daughter whose neshama lights up the world with the pureness of her existence.”

Tefilos

Hashem

please please please

listen to my tefilos

please

Deep inside my

emuna and chizuk says

You already have!

RR (7/23/10)

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Gabe-birthday-part
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On my grandfather-in-law of blessed memory’s 100th birthday today, I took the plunge.   I reached out to my local Jewish community and publicized my desire to form a support group for childless couples.  It took a lot of chizuk (strength) to send out that announcement.  I worry about the potential reactions.  Will people look at me with pitying eyes?  Will some childless couples react adversely to the idea of a support group?  Is my husband and I one of a small minority of childless couples, and therefore I wasted my time in reaching out?

What if I make a big difference through reaching out?  Overall, I am glad that I took the plunge.

Besides a support group, I would like to create an opportunity for a group of childless couples to get together and have fun, whether bowling, going to the movies, traveling to a place of beauty, going out to dinner etc.  In addition, we can truly empathize with each other and be there for each other during the ups and downs, the stresses of ivf, the grief of a failed ivf cycle etc.

One day it is my dream to reach out to the greater Jewish community and open their eyes to the challenges of being childless, the astronomical medical costs, the hurt associated with the painful and insensitive comments that well meaning folks often say, and what we can do to reach out to the 1 out of 6 childless couples.   There is nothing like empathy and genuine friendship to ease the excruciating pain and sense of isolation.  When one person within klal Israel (community of Israel) hurts, we all do.

May Hashem have compassion on us and fulfill our most heartfelt desire to have children soon!

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The world's first Giga coaster, the 310 ft tal...
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Soon it will be Tisha B’Av.   I will be preparing our evening meal.  The 3 weeks have been very difficult.  I was joking with a friend yesterday that if someone comments on my long face, I will tell them “I am mourning because we do not have the third Beis HaMikdash.”  I am still on an emotional roller coaster but not nearly as intense.  I did have a moment where I wanted to burst into tears.  Our very good friends invited us to Shabbos dinner, and included in their guest list was a young couple with a year old baby.  My heart sank.  The wound is still raw from losing my 3 embryos. For the most part, I am staying strong.  Seeing the young couple was a painful reminder.  I tried to make the most of it by talking to others.   The rest of Shabbos however was enjoyable.  We invited our neighbors to Shabbos lunch.  That was enjoyable.  Then Sunday my husband and I went to look at a couple of houses for rent.  Today I made a new friend over the phone, someone who went through the same thing as myself.  It was so nice to speak with someone who truly understands the deep pain.  Hashem knows exactly what we need.  This fertility journey is excruciatingly painful.  Often it does not seem possible that I will get pregnant.  Still I hold out hope.  My new friend said that Hashem does not ignore our tefila.  Either the timing is not right, or Hashem has something better for us.  The time was not right hence I had no pregnancy.  G-D willing the next time the timing will be perfect, that I too will be transformed into a joyous mother of children.  I must go through this pain.  Slowly but surely layer by layer like an open wound it is healing.   I do wish I could go to a corner and sob.

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Wyspa Konwaliowa
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Shabbos is almost here, my peaceful island of sanity.  This is the Shabbos before Tisha B’Av, a time according to Chassidic thought where we should try to visualize the 3rd Beis Hamikdash. It is even better if we see the future Beis Hamikdash in our dreams.  This Shabbos will also be a great time to study anything about the Third Temple.  I feel a sense of peace with the approach of Shabbos despite the hectic last minute preparations.  This morning I spent an hour mixing the ingredients for challah and forming the dough.  Tried to focus on Hashem in the process as part of my concerted effort to bring in extra kiddusha (holiness) into my challah dough.  Once the challah finishes rising, I will then separate the challah and engage in davening (praying) for me, my husband, us to become pregnant, and for all Jewish women struggling through infertility.  My usual prayer.  What if I added a prayer  for mothers and fathers – for their children to give them lots of nachas, for the parents’ parnasas (livelihood), and for their children to grow up clinging to Hashem and His Torah with all their might.

I stare at my silver candlestick, shining so brightly because of the polish that I had administered earlier in the week.  Soon I will place my candles lovingly in each slot.  I look forward to candle lighting when the gates of Shamayim (Heaven) are open to our heartfelt tefiloth (prayers). Soon my prayers will join those of countless Jewish women in the same time zone as myself.  May our Shabbos light illuminate our homes from erev Shabbos to erev Shabbos just like Sarah imanu.

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