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Mar 17 2014

What Not To Say to Your Friend Who is Adopting

By at 7:00 pm

moses

I assume that I get this response more frequently because of my profession, but you would probably be shocked at how frequently I hear, “Just like Moses!” when I tell people that we are in the process of adopting. (Yes, Moses was adopted. Remember, mother places him in basket, daughter of the Pharaoh finds him, Moses’ mother nurses him and then he was raised in the palace as Pharaoh’s grandson before leaving to lead the Jewish people into Israel.)

We have all been there–when we don’t know what to say, we often say the wrong thing (and sometimes, the really wrong thing). And even though it is usually said with the right intentions, a verbal misstep can be not just awkward, but actually very painful. So here is some guidance on what not to say when you hear that someone is adopting: Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 11 2014

When Your Friend is Pregnant, Sometimes it Hurts

By at 2:13 pm

pregnant

“I’ve been reluctant to write this email and I keep putting it off.”

When you are not able to get pregnant and you get an email with that as the opening line, you know exactly what is coming.

“Even though I know you will be happy for us and excited, I know part of you will be sad. So I wanted to give you time to digest this on your own, rather than springing it on you in person. I know you are happy for us. I know that you are happy for so many people. But I also know it’s hard and don’t expect this kind of news to be easy.”

When my friend of 20 years told me she was pregnant, I felt a lot of things, including true happiness for her. But what I felt most was appreciation that she too was navigating her own balancing act. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 4 2014

How Can I Comfort My Friend Struggling with Infertility?

By at 3:37 pm

not-pregnant

It isn’t fair.

I’m old enough to know that life can be unjust, but naïve enough to still be surprised when it happens. A friend of mine is dealing with infertility, and she’s starting treatments now. She had no symptoms. She’s young and healthy and in a solid marriage. She’d be a wonderful mother. It isn’t fair. She’s going to have months of pills, shots, sonograms, doctor visits, spending huge amounts of money, while everyone around us gets pregnant after overindulging in wine.

Once, she once told me that she wanted five children. Now she’s fighting to have one. Of course it could be worse. It could always be worse. But that’s no way to comfort a woman with an empty house. My children are the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given, and my friend just might get stiffed. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 4 2014

A Surprising Antidote to My Infertility Frustration

By at 2:42 pm

pregnancy test with calendar

I had been trying to get pregnant for a year. Twelve months of charting my body’s rhythms, of turning sex from an art into a science; twelve times allowing my hopes to soar and then scraping them (and sometimes myself) off the floor.

I felt like I was beginning to lose my mind. Every pregnant woman on the street was a personal affront, every baby shower invitation an assault. When Britney Spears announced her pregnancy, I ranted about it to anyone who would listen. I organized our schedule around my ovulation and measured upcoming events by what month I would be in if we were successful this time around. I stopped sleeping.

The lack of control was maddening for a control freak like me, but even worse was the waiting. I’m task oriented; if I had to wait around for this pregnancy thing to happen, I needed to feel like I was taking concrete steps that would contribute to our eventual success. Give up caffeine? Done. Track my temperature? Daily. Obsessively check for fertile cervical mucous? More often than I care to admit. Though it put us into a new and scary category of “medical problem,” I was actually relieved when the insurance company finally cleared us to begin fertility treatment, because it meant there would be new action to take and new partners helping us in this seemingly intractable process of getting pregnant. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 29 2014

Secret Pinterest, Open Adoption

By at 10:07 am

pinny

Pinterest, I like you. I really do. But seriously, it took you how long to realize that people wanted (and needed) secret boards?

When I joined Pinterest two years ago, I was in the midst of transitioning out of infertility treatments and into the world of domestic, open adoption. With all due respect to all of our amazing doctors and nurses, infertility treatments are absolutely bananas. It does not matter what you do or don’t do; they are emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially draining.

So, in order to bring some semblance of normalcy to the proceedings, I began to peruse the Pinterest “Kids” category (and of course, immediately found hundreds of things I wanted to create, find, sew, bake, purchase, and remember for when we had children).

The challenge is that only a handful of people knew about the infertility treatments, let alone that we were trying to get pregnant. When we did tell people, it was sad. It felt like a discussion about failure. And there was a lot of crying. Rumors online suggested that secret Pinterest boards were on the way, but in the interim, I worked out a ridiculous two-pronged system which consisted of taking screen shots and emailing links to myself. I did consider starting a second account with a pseudonym, but I didn’t because I knew that one day I would want everything in one place–because one day, I would be a mom. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 8 2014

Infertility is Not a Competition

By at 11:59 am

ivf

I am part of the sisterhood… you know, the one where women undergo blood tests, injections of numerous hormones, one too many pelvic exams…the fertility treatment sisterhood. That was my life for 12 months; month #13 was lucky for us, though! We had IVF and implanted one healthy embryo which developed into our daughter. We were thrilled and are so lucky to now be planning for her 4th birthday.

This past year, however, was difficult again as we were rolling the dice and hoping one of our four frozen embryos would implant. Twelve months of four individual transfers brought only heartache. Our last was the saddest, as I had to listen to the nurse on the phone tell me, “I am so sorry but your embryo did not survive the thaw.”

So, here I am, extra hormones out of my system and finally feeling more normal than I have in the past year… and I feel alone. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 1 2013

After Years of Infertility, I’m Losing My Faith in God

By at 3:33 pm

where was god?

Well, that was a colossal failure. Months of planning, 10s of thousands of dollars, two trips to Cyprus, a really promising early pregnancy–and we have nothing. We have no donor embryos left. Our last cycle resulted in my seventh pregnancy, with fantastic early signs, but I miscarried at six weeks. We’d already been tested for every cause of recurrent loss, and honestly believed the genetically tested donor embryos were the answer.

Apparently not.

What do we do now? Nothing has changed on the adoption front (we are still on the years-long waiting lists for domestic adoption here in Israel, and international adoption remains out of reach financially). We could try a gestational carrier, but both in Israel and abroad the costs and logistical hurdles just seem insurmountable.

For now we wait. We are in shock. We really thought this approach, and this pregnancy, would bring us at least one baby (and possibly a sibling in a few years). Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 22 2013

A Letter to All the Pregnant Women in My Life

By at 3:51 pm

pregnant woman holding belllyIt’s not you, it’s me.

I’m not like your high school boyfriend who heard that phrase in a romantic comedy and repeated it to you just days before taking your best friend to prom. I really mean it. Everything is me. You are wonderful. You are careful with me. You are kind.

I sit, every minute of every day, with the knowledge that I may not be able to have a family, and that even if I am able to have a family through adoption, I may not ever be pregnant, carry a pregnancy to term, give birth, glow, hurt, heal. There are moments, brief and beautiful moments, when I am so in love with my life that I forget about infertility and I feel actual joy. Those moments never happen around you. I can’t forget around you. Back when I had hope, I could find excitement in your growing belly and happy plans. Now, I just don’t know how to. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 12 2013

My Eating Disorder Brain vs. My Pregnant Body

By at 3:18 pm

zipping up dressI love my body.

I still am amazed that I can write those words and mean them.

Like many of us, I worried about my weight. However, my normal worry slowly turned into an unhealthy obsession. When I went to college, my goal didn’t involve doing well in my classes or making friends–my goal was to not gain the “Freshman 15.”  I was proud if I could get through the day eating less than I did the day before. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I was able to resist the cake my friends enjoyed at Hillel’s Shabbat dinner. When I came home, I heard people’s worried comments of, “You’re getting too thin!!” as compliments.

My friends helped me realize I had a problem during my sophomore year and I began the treatment program that saved my life. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 30 2013

After Years of Failed Fertility Treatments, A New Plan

By at 3:54 pm

embryoWe are adopting. If all goes well, within the next few weeks, I will get pregnant and about eight months later I will give birth. But that baby will be adopted. Mind-blowing, no?

We’ve been trying to have a baby for five years. When we started trying, I had just turned 22 years old. We never dreamed we would have any problems. Even when we got the diagnosis that we would need IVF to have a baby, we still wanted to pursue fertility treatments instead of adoption. We wanted to have OUR baby–a baby that would be a combination of the two of us. His eyes and my hair. His smile and my nose. His stubbornness and my sense of humor.

We were incredibly lucky and our first IVF cycle worked. I got pregnant with twins–a boy and a girl. The perfect instant family. We even had four embryos frozen, waiting for us. Everything was finally working out. But after 22 weeks of a perfect twin pregnancy, disaster struck. Our babies were born too prematurely and died. We tried to get pregnant with the four embryos we had frozen, but none of them worked. We did another IVF cycle and I got pregnant again. I miscarried at 10 weeks. Read the rest of this entry →

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