Archive for the ‘Prayers’ Category

Our Miracle Baby!

It is with complete amazement that I stare at my peacefully sleeping baby.  This time last year, I was davening to Hashem that the one last frozen embryo would successfully implant.  And now I have a 7 week old baby!  She is mine.  I do not have to return her to her rightful owner.   I am that rightful owner.  When she hears her mother’s voice among other women, she inclines her head toward me and not someone else.   No longer am I the sole observer of somebody else’s dream come true. Hashem had compassion and bestowed upon my husband and I the gift of parenthood.

Our baby Bracha Menucha was born on July 19th after 12 hours of being in labor that ended in my getting a c-section.   I had to be induced because my baby got too comfortable in her uterine home even though it was crammed quarters.  Unfortunately she did not like the pitocin which made her heart rate go down.  I had a spiritual labor.   Even though it was during the 3 weeks, I got rabbinic exception to listen to music, my  collection of religious music which created such a holy environment.  I also had a list of people to daven for related to having children, good health and parnasas.

Motherhood is such an amazing gift which I never want to take for granted.    As happy as I am for myself, there is a part of my heart that has pain for women who are struggling with infertility.  I do not want to forget where I came from, and the great miracle that Hashem bestowed on my husband and I.  Being pregnant was such an amazing experience, a humbling experience that should never ever be taken for granted when so many shed tears for that opportunity.  It is impossible to express in words the emotions I felt when I could feel my baby’s  kick inside me, or the flood of emotion that rushes through me when I hold my sleeping baby and admire her tiny fingers,  her button nose,  and her pretty eye lashes.

I am aware of each passing day and the importance of cherishing every minute with my baby, a gift I do not take for granted.  She is 7 weeks old  and in that short time span she has changed so much.  She  is more alert and her cheeks are filling out.  Once she was a mere 5 lbs 11 oz and now she is 8 lbs.  I am so grateful that Hashem gave me the gift of  my Bracha after almost 8 years of tears and tefilah.  Now a new journey begins.  May this journey be filled with happiness and a renewed sense of looking at the world from the innocent perspective of my daughter’s eyes.


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8-cell embryo for transfer 3 days after fertil...

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Because I had an embryo transfer during an auspicious time, I felt relatively positive that I would be sitting down to our seder feeling the ultimate redemption – freedom from IF (infertility).  But Hashem had other plans.  Thank G-D we have a frozen blastocyst.  I can now speak the fertility medical jargon.  Too bad I do not have MD after my last name because I know what field I would be in.   I affectionately call our blastocyst when speaking with my husband, “Our frozen child.”

People with IF are special.  It takes strength to carry on with day to day life, and to live in an Orthodox Jewish community without going insane.  Since I had my treatment, two babies made their entrance. Baruch Hashem. Every year several frum women are either pregnant or giving birth.  Baruch Hashem for them.   After we spent a lot of money, all I now have is an empty womb, and my frozen child.   Yes I do have my husband, so I do have something to be grateful about.

My husband says. “Our dawn is coming.”  He is right.   Without fail, dawn comes after darkness; redemption after oppression.  Pesach is a time of redemption.  I will gather up my internal strength and march forward toward redemption after intensive cleaning and meal preparations.   Right now, I do not feel like doing much of anything.  All I can do is give myself a set time to grieve, and a set time to get some work done.

As my nurse said yesterday, ” Persistence pays off.”  My husband knows very very well that I am a very persistent person.

I am not an expert embryologist but from what I can tell, the picture that I posted is one perfect 6-cell blastocyst. I cannot help asking myself this question, ” How did Octomom get 8 embryos in one cycle and 6 embryos in another, and all ended up in babies?”  Sad to say some of her babies have disabilities.  Yet during my latest cycle, out of 7 fertilized eggs, 3 made it to the blastocyst phase.   What can I say?

I would never want to have more than twins growing inside me (maybe triplets), out of a sense of ethics.  But if we had 8 frozen blastocysts to fall back on,  I know full well my husband would be one nervous wreck.

Yes, persistence with prayer ultimately pays off.  What am I praying for?  A successful transfer, and who knows, the ultimate unfolding of my dream to somehow have twins.   From my lips to Hashem’s ears.

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A contemporary mikveh at Temple Beth-El in Bir...

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As we are in the midst of Parshah Toldot, all sorts of thoughts flood through my mind, especially since this Parshah is about my namesake and her fertility struggle.   Toldot means “offsprings” and “generations.”  As the Torah relates, Rivka Imanu was childless for 20 years.   Yitzhak davened to Hashem opposite his wife, and G-D accepted his prayers and Rivka conceived.   Also, her pregnancy was tumultuous since two nations were tussling inside her womb.

I am a day-dreamer.  Often I imagine feeling the sensations of pregnancy, my womb stretching to make room for my babies.  I dream of carrying twins.    I would love to replicate Rivka Imanu’s experience, Im Yirtzeh Hashem,  except for having an Esau and a tumultuous pregnancy.   I just want the simplicity of two very pure and holy neshamoth within my womb, basking in the full knowledge of the Torah.  Ah, the truest form of being a Jewish woman.

My struggle is intense.  As a frum Jewish woman, I feel like I am looking through a glass window at my heart’s desire being manifested in other Jewish women’s lives.   Although I am happy for them, I do not want to be left out.    I find myself asking, ‘What is the purpose of my G-D given life?”  There has to be a very special purpose to my life, given my background.  I was not destined to be born FFB (frum from birth).  I was born in an atheist background, a Jewish neshama that Hashem delivered into this world through two very non-Jewish and judgemental parents.  Growing up I felt I did not belong.  From the time, I could conceptualize my thoughts, I began my very complicated spiritual journey which led to my gerus.  Somewhere along the journey, I gave birth to an intense longing to have children to raise up to lead very Godly lives.  When I had my Orthodox gerus, I thought that Hashem would open up the gates of shamayim and dispense very special Jewish neshamoth to my husband and I.   Yet here I am struggling with this intense pain and dealing with some very unsavory emotions.  Yet all that Hashem does is perfect.

When I look to the Torah which documents the lives of my ancestors, I derive a certain level of comfort.  I am Bas Avraham v’ Sara.  Hashem took Avraham and said ” I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.”  In my mind’s eyes, I can see a celestial tapestry of Avraham Avinu’s descendents, and sewn into this tapestry, my husband’s lineage, a stream of Torah abiding Jews who are my and my husband’s pride and joy.

My day-dreaming ends, and I am faced with my present reality.  Today I did not behave very well emotionally.  I had an outburst that ended up in a chocolate and cheese binge.   I know intellectually that Hashem has given me everything that I need:  my husband, my health, my talents, my intellect, my friends, my home, my Jewish community, etc.  Where I am at today is perfect.  My heart screams, “No!!!!”  Sometimes the pain is so excruciating that it brings up the dregs that clog up my neshama, and I fail to see the beauty of the Jewish neshama that Hashem endowed me with the moment I stepped into the mikveh and took on the yoke of His Torah and mitzvoth.

I have been privileged to use the mikveh for more than just conversion.  When I prepare myself to immerse in the mikveh, I feel so beautiful and so holy.  Prior to entering the state of being pure again,  I hand my robe to the mikveh attendent.  I am conscious of her averting her eyes to protect my modesty.  And as I immerse underwater, my body curled up like a fetus, I am aware that I am experiencing something holy beyond anything that words can express.  As the gates of Shamayim burst open, I whisper my heartfelt prayer to be a partner in Hashem’s creation.  I too want to join the other frum Jewish women as they carry holy neshamoth and give birth to precious Jewish babies.  My heart aches for myself and other Jewish women who experience challenges of bringing the dream of motherhood to reality.

In the meantime, as I await my miracle, I take a step back to assess the purpose of my life.  Hashem has given me so many talents.  I am a writer and I have an artistic flair which I express in photography.  So much is in my heart that I want to put on paper.  I also have the makings of a serial entrepreneur.  So many business ideas twirl in my head.    I want to launch a successful home business, and help others to do the same.  I also want to teach the Jewish people about the struggles that couples go through when they cannot conceive.  Just as painful is the struggle that single Jews older than 30 go through.  I will not rest until we as a community are sensitized to others.  I also want to laugh a lot and bring laughter to others.

May Hashem grant us all the desires of our hearts.  May Moshiach come soon so that we can be in Yerushalayim basking in the glory of Hashem’s revealed Presence.

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The waterfall of my dreams

I have mentioned in prior blogs that the hardest part of infertility is being in the Orthodox Jewish world.  While it is wonderful that we are thwarting Hitler through the birth of every Jewish baby, being left out is the toughest emotional challenge.   No matter how small or large the shul is,  even with the passage of time, the pain is still there.  There is no escaping pregnant women or birth announcements.  Recently I heard the announcement of the birth of a baby boy.  I feel crappy for myself although I am happy for the family.  I cried out to Hashem that the pain is becoming very unbearable.  The burden and guilt associated with being the one with the fertility issue hurts to the very core of my neshama.  Yet what can I do?  I am powerless, at the mercy of Hashem’s compassion and loving kindness.

I do not know what words of encouragement that I can offer to myself and others as I go through this pain which is a natural part of the process.  I am learning a lot about myself through this very unpleasant journey across the valley of infertility.   There are certain negative characteristics that have been instilled in me through my very super critical parents.  As a child, I was compared to others.  I also heard tons of negative comments about other people.  As a result, it has been ingrained to view myself in the context of other people.  As Rabbi Arush would say, we each have our individual soul correction to go through.  I am having a tough time accepting the fact that infertility is part of my soul correction.  The fact that other women have babies, or are pregnant, has no bearing on my present circumstance.   The challenge is to accept my suffering with love and  enuma, with the knowledge that soon this present situation will be over.

I have also heard that if we all were to lay down our packages, representing the very tests that Hashem has given us, and offered a choice of selecting a package that we could live with, we would pick the original package that was given to us.

As for the waiting and waiting until I get to travel to see my doctor for the next round of treatments, I must be patient and use this time to the best of my G-D given ability to grow.  May the tears of pain that I weep today turn into tears of joy over the unfolding of Hashem’s greatest miracle.

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Rosh Hashana | Hebrew New Year's 2010
Image by Lilachd via Flickr

I am encouraged to see that over 400 people have viewed my blog and I hope that in some way several of you are encouraged by my writings.  If so, I have a lot of joy, knowing that in someway I made a tiny difference.  I hope to see your comments.  I also welcome suggestions.

Rosh HaShana 5771.  We are in a New Year.  Am I excited?  Part of me says yes and the other part no.    Yes – because we are in a New Year, and therefore, a chance that my Decree from Shamayim will be sweet with good news of my pregnancy and birth!  No – because for several Rosh HaShana’s I hoped against hope that this would be the year that I became pregnant, and each year ended in painful disappointment.

I look back over the years to see if I learned anything.  Did I grow?  I think so.  I went from being a Conservative Non-Jew who went to a Conservative synagogue to becoming an Orthodox Jew.  My husband and I became more observant.  We  have grown closer to each other through our personal challenges.   We have taken on Hashem’s mitzvoth.  Most important of all, we are drawing closer to Hashem.

While davening at shul, for a split second, I actually felt awe and fear of Hashem’s judgment.  I am trying to internalize that whatever judgment Hashem has decreed for me is for my good.  It is hard because I am afraid what if it is the decree that I do not want.  I must activate my emunah, bitachon, and tikva (faith, trust, and hope).  Without these three attributes, all I have is darkness and sorrow.   My emunah tells me that Hashem is very much with me, and that this test will soon be over with positive results achieved; bitachon tells me that Hashem has my best interest in heart and that despite my deep pain, I do not have to despair, even though I feel that I am at the bottom of the deepest pit in total darkness; and tikva provides me the assurance that Hashem will answer my tefila and grant me the desires of my heart.

Right now I am feeling nothingness because I have not 100% internalized emunah, bitachon, and tikva.  Otherwise, I would be all smiles, and people at shul would flock to talk to me.   I seek Hashem’s forgiveness,  guidance, and help.   During Rosh Hashana not only did I acknowledge Hashem’s sovereignty and ask for  children, but also that I make His will mine, even if it meant that I might not get what I want.   That was very difficult.

Here we are at the beginning New Year.  In a few days, our decree will be sealed.  May we all have our heartfelt prayers answered.  May each and everyone of us who desires a child, be joyful and grateful mothers in 5771, grateful to Hashem for His miracles.  I ask Hashem’s help in not feeling jealousy or resentment toward the frum mothers who proudly push their strollers carrying their bundles of joy.  I feel so alone yet I must cling to Hashem for He is my rock and my salvation.  Shana tova.  G’mar chatima tova!

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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..


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


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.”



please please please

listen to my tefilos


Deep inside my

emuna and chizuk says

You already have!

RR (7/23/10)

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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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