A Pesah Miracle that will turn into a Hanukkah Miracle….

Well.

This was not a post I expected to write right now.

Erev Pesah (that’s Monday night for the rest of the world), I decided to take a pregnancy test on the advice of a friend of mine who knows about what we’ve been going through. It was the end of my cycle, lots of PMS symptoms, and there’s a lot of wine to be drunk at seder.

I have never been more surprised to see two lines in my life. I took the remaining digital I had and it came up as “pregnant” almost immediately. This was like, random 4PM pee, and it wasn’t even a squinter.

I walked out of the bathroom to my husband who was drying dishes from our prep for seder. I held out the stick. He about died from shock and happiness.

Of course, my in-laws are here and DH doesn’t want to tell them yet, so it’s been kind of delicate. Still, wonderful.

My due date is around December 20, which is the middle of Hanukkah. I’m just so blindsided by the whole thing. I had a sinus infection this month, DH hurt his finger, we traveled, I was super non-careful about my diet. And apparently, it all worked together.

We’re hoping very, very much for a sticky baby. It’s been 24 months of waiting to see a second line, so it’s hard to think that maybe it wouldn’t work – but nevertheless, this is the farthest we’ve ever gotten.

I’m just…aside from the fact that I have many, many early pregnancy symptoms (sore boobs, nausea, back ache, etc) it doesn’t feel real. And then I find myself wanting to plan everything and then I have to slow myself down.

It’s totally surreal, but wonderful. Twenty four cycles – and we got a BFP. Thanking God every minute for our miracle.

It’s not a competition

A friend posted an article that was heartbreaking – Love, Marriage, motherhood and other uncomfortable seder talk

An article about how an unfeeling woman, married with children, basically taunted her during the seder about her being unmarried and childless. Underneath the article were two or three of her friends commenting about it, and how they have had similar experiences.

How terrible. In fact, it sounds awful. To be alone when you don’t want to be sounds really miserable.

And yet, there’s the part of me that says, “At least you can talk about! It’s not taboo!”

For every awkward conversation like that, there’s the guy on our trip who asked how long we’d been married, and then, at the end of the meal, gave us a blessing that we would be pregnant by the end of the year. It breaks my heart to think about it, mostly because he was so awesome about it. He figured it out, he gave the blessing to us in a way that was private, and he was compassionate.

No one wants that kind of compassion – it’s only somewhat easier than the total heartlessness of others.

I just have to keep remembering – my struggle is not “better” than theirs. It’s just different. We live in a community that values marriage and children, and that makes some people less careful than they should be – those who have gotten both things without trying. I’m sure that same woman would look at us and start trying to give advice rather than a sympathetic hand and a blessing.

Maybe the only difference is that their struggle is more open – their status is known. Ours is just inferred, suspected, whispered. Neither is nice.

The Chatterbox

I had dinner at a friends place last night. Her fiance and my husband go to school together, and she and I have hung out a few times.

It was…interesting. It was the kind of meal that during the meal I kind of realized it wasn’t that great, and that, upon thought, I realized it was kind of not great at all.

There were a couple of things: They are both incredibly young. Like, really, really young. I mean, my bat mitzvah was 8 years before hers kind of makes-me-feel old. Two of the other people at the meal were around my age, and then the other four – my host, her fiance, and then two others, were in the “senior year of college/first year of graduate school right out of undergrad” club. It was strange. I’m not that old – 28 isn’t – but I felt out of place. There were other awkward aspects – clearly the meal was meat, despite the fact that two people at it were vegetarian – nothing like 2 of 7 people not partaking in a chunk of the meal.

The real kicker, though, was the story of Noah.

No, not the ark, and the flood, and animals going two-by-two.

Apparently, one of their friends has an 18 month old named Noah. I have totally forgotten how they know Noah, mostly because I never cared in the first place. Honestly, how much do I care about someone’s baby whom I have never met and will likely never meet? Really? Life situation aside, some random baby is not interesting. Even when said baby is a total prodigy. Like, really – did you know that Noah can tell the difference between the kind of prayer book that his daddy uses and the kind that his mommy uses? Or that he uses the Hebrew word for praying in context while daddy is praying? Well, I found out last night, and now so did you. Maybe he is a prodigy. I haven’t spent enough time around 18-month-olds to really know. What it sounds more like, to me, is that mommy and daddy either a) spend all their time praying or b) need to vary the kid’s activities a little.

Of course, it probably wouldn’t have been nearly as annoying if it weren’t for our “life situation.” If I had a baby or was pregnant instead of watching warily as our 2-year mark of trying comes up. But I don’t. So, instead, I listened to her gush not once but twice (once during our walk from Friday night services to their place, once at dinner to “thrill” the other guests – although some of them apparently knew Noah so maybe they cared more) – and felt impotent to say anything. There was nothing I could say without it being totally awkward – it wasn’t like my friend (another girl barely out of college, and the wife of a classmate of my husband’s) who joked around about people being pregnant and then was gently told not to do that anymore. This was both an example of general social awkwardness made more awkward by the personal history of the recipient.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me want to throw my hands up in the air. Nothing to do, just have to move past it – but what a meal!

Finding a Little Comfort

I read an article today that made me cry. The topic itself was reasonably lighthearted – a secular woman who takes pictures of ultra-Orthodox/Haredi women and is putting together both a show and a book about her experience. And then there’s this little gem.

At the Western Wall, she photographed a cane-toting woman who told her she came to pray every day for 25 straight years to beg God for children.

Thanks for that, Jewish Week!

It brought to the forefront something that I’ve been struggling with for a while in terms of what it means to be a person of faith and struggling with infertility. There is such a temptation to fall on your knees and cry to the heavens, “WHY ME?” Especially when it comes to the zillions of people all around me who get pregnant at the drop of a hat, whether they want to or not. What do they have that I don’t?

The reality is that I don’t really know how God operates. I do believe that much of the hurt and tragedy in the world comes from God’s love of freewill – that he loves freewill so much that he allows terrible things to happen. It doesn’t explain everything, but it helps.

The other thing I believe is that despite everything, God is there for comfort. No matter how much I didn’t appreciate being blindsided by that article, being able to cry about it was actually a good experience in the end – clarifying. I’ve had a couple of comport experiences in the last few weeks. Times where I haven’t really been thinking about things, and something has just struck me as so perfect that my breath is taken away.

The first two happened at Friday night Shabbat services, on different weeks.

Every week, our congregation (which happens to be Sephardi – tracing it’s ancestry to Spain or North Africa), sings Psalm 23.  I was drifting through it (as I do – it’s really beautiful), and a passage spoke to me. [Presented in translation here]

I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me,
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me
Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine adversaries,
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for length of days

Despite the reference to death that comes right before that – it spoke to me in a way that eased some of the ache in my heart.

The second one happened the next week, at the end of the main section of the prayer service (although before the reading of the psalm) – in a section that I love anyway, but that just felt more meaningful that week. I edit it for my own use – it’s a silent meditation.

Open my heart through Thy Torah,
That my soul may follow Thy commandments
[…]
Do so for the glory of Thy name.
Do so for Thy power.
Do so for Thy Torah.
Do so for Thy holiness.
Answer my prayer, and save me through Thy strength.

The last one is from the blessing we say after eating a meal. I say it all the time, which is what I mean about ordinary words taking on more meaning.

Our God, Our Father, tend and nourish us, sustain us and maintain us, and grant us relief soon, HaShem, our God, from all of our troubles.
Do not allow us to become dependent, HaShem our God, on gifts from flesh and blood, but rather on Your full, open, ample and generous hand,

Something about those passages became something more than just well-familiar words to me. As long as a I can keep those in mind, it drives away some of the ache, keeps me from feeling so desperate for help. God is with us. I just have to keep remembering that.

Hello World!

Why now?

In the last 12 months, my husband and I have been trying to conceive our first child. For no reason we know yet, it hasn’t happened for us. We’ve used charting, and I have done a little bit of acupuncture. In February of this year, I had an HSG, which showed that I might have a blocked fallopian tube. At the end of this current cycle, my OB will refer us to an RE.

We had a small moment of hope last cycle – the only one we’ve had so far. It was a very faint second line on a test, the first one we’ve ever had – which was followed two days later by a negative test, and then 36 hours after that, AF. My response to those events and the realization that I needed a place to put those thoughts, is what propelled me to write.

What will I write about?

In part, it will depend on where our journey takes us. Part of the difficulty with infertility is the uncertainty. Another part will be telling the story of where we are now and how we got there. And finally, because it’s important to me, a part will likely be about the role faith is playing in this journey. We are Jewish, and it’s very important to us, so it will be part of my story. But, like everyone, I welcome readers of all backgrounds.

What’s the title about?

The thing is, aside from this, our life is really fantastic. As I was explaining to my husband last night, we are literally living our dream, and while it can be stressful and isn’t perfect, not many people get to do what we are doing. But, even with all that, there’s this one small thing – one small thing that can overshadow everything. So partially, it’s about reminding myself that life is good, outside of this area, and that that is important to remember as much as possible.

The other aspect is that I’m also an only, the product of my parents overcoming infertility in the mid-80s. And I was never meant to be an only – but they never got another miracle. So, I’m an only – and struggling with infertility.

Looking forward to getting to know you, and thanks for reading1