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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 →

Jul 25 2013

My Ectopic Pregnancy & Why I’m Determined to Talk About It

By at 1:48 pm

emergency room signWhen I was eagerly pregnant with my first, I devoured a library copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting with an open and trusting mind. Every twinge they described I felt keenly and every rare complication was one I considered. At some point, I found myself walking out into the living room and asking my husband, “Ari, could I have an ectopic pregnancy?”

I’m pretty sure his sigh and accompanying eye-roll were the most patronizing imaginable. He said I was too far along, and we’d “for sure” know if I had an ectopic pregnancy.

At the time, Ari was right, but this winter, his certainty was misplaced.

Three years later, as we found ourselves trying to conceive baby #2, my first cycle of trying came and went. I was not concerned–it had taken eight months to conceive our eldest–and I looked forward to going to the mikvah and my next chance. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 15 2013

Infertility at the Bris

By at 10:13 am

mazel tov cakeI was about 6 years old when I went to the bris of my friend’s baby brother. Standing at my mother’s side I noticed that people were wishing her a mazal tov which made no sense to me, it was not our baby. My mother explained that at a bris it is a custom to greet other people by saying “mazal tov” since it is a happy occasion for the entire community. From that point on, I walked around wishing everyone a mazal tov because I loved the idea of sharing in the simcha.

Thirteen years later, at my older brother’s wedding, I was introduced to a different greeting which would accompany me through my years as a single woman: B’karov etzlech or “soon by you.” This is commonly said to singles at a Jewish wedding, essentially blessing them that they soon experience the same joy as the couple getting married. Of course I was only 19 years old and I don’t know if at the time I considered this to be a blessing or a curse. By the time I turned 30, I was the single older sister of the bride and knew exactly what to expect; a “mazal tov” here and there but mostly I would be greeted with, “B’karov etzlech.” This greeting is so prevalent that it makes for a great drinking game at any wedding with an open bar! Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 3 2013

Three Years of Trying & Still No Baby

By at 5:03 pm

negative pregnancy testThat I will be a mom someday has always been a given, and like all other things in my life, I have always known that if I plan and try, I will achieve my goals. This is what my own mom taught me. She is the quintessential mother, who gave up a career to raise us not because she was supposed to, but because it was what made her the happiest.

When my husband and I first talked about building a life together, we decided on an order for things. First, we would travel. Then, we would have babies.  At 32 we were married, at 33 we traveled the world for a year, and at 34 we returned to have babies. As a librarian, I am an information seeker, so we did it correctly, right from the start. With the fanciest ovulation monitor, and the will of two people who are used to getting their way, we wasted no time. At the six-month no-success meeting with my doctor she told us that this is the meeting where she just makes sure people are doing it right. You two, she told us, are doing it right. Read the rest of this entry →

May 28 2013

Alone & Freezing My Eggs–This is Not What I Expected

By at 5:02 pm

embryoPhysicists have a theory. Alongside our universe is a parallel universe with the same components and properties as ours. There are trees, cars, people, beaches, and poodles. There are just minor shifts in the equation that sums up the reality of the parallel universe. This makes everything look just a little bit different. The people and poodles are upside down and backwards. Read the rest of this entry →

May 1 2013

How to Announce Your Fifth Pregnancy When Your Friends are Still Trying for One

By at 2:23 pm

number five blockTen years ago, just before I turned 30, I left my nuchal appointment for my first child, went straight to my work computer, and quickly banged out an “I’m Going To Be A Mother!” email to send to my 5,000 closest friends.

Few of my friends back then were married, let alone having kids. I was a pioneer (I later went on to become a pioneer among my peers in divorce, of course), and an oblivious one. It didn’t occur to me that other people’s reaction to my news could possibly be anything but happiness (mildly uncomprehending happiness, perhaps, but happiness nonetheless). Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 29 2012

Mind Your Own Business

By at 11:35 am

We truly are an entitlement-driven culture.

I’m not talking about welfare or tax breaks–I’m talking about people feeling entitled to KNOW things they have no business knowing. I could blame it on the internet, or too much information, or Facebook for encouraging over-sharing. Truthfully, though, this sort of butting in happened waaaay before the internet age made everyone experts on any number of things, including medicine, politics, and entertainment. My favorite examples, though, involve knowing (and judging) someone else’s childbearing decisions. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 5 2012

I’ve Had My Miracle Baby… Now What?

By at 4:03 pm

infertility treatment eggEzra is asleep in his crib. His lips purse and pucker as if he’s sucking on a bottle. He is peaceful, even when he is awake. Awake, he stares at everything, fascinated by his surroundings, and giving smiles as payment for even a moment of attention. When my students ask me for examples of modern day miracles, Ezra is the obvious answer.

We named our son Ezra, Hebrew for help and support, because he is the manifestation of all the help we received in our efforts to become pregnant. We were told it would be next to impossible to conceive on our own. Besides my rampant endometriosis, I have a low reserve of sub-par eggs, and my husband has morphology issues with his sperm. On our third IVF cycle, the doctor retrieved 18 eggs, but only one embryo survived to transfer five days later. Ezra. So yes, Ezra is the obvious answer. He is our miracle baby. But the truth is, my understanding of miracles has changed. Read the rest of this entry →

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