Nov 25 2014
It finally happened. Six years, 14 IVF cycles, eight pregnancies, and we finally took our little girl home. She’s healthy, happy, and growing like a weed. In my wildest dreams (and there was plenty of time to dream!), I never imagined the amount of happiness and peace we would find in our tiny daughter.
But while our daughter fills a special place in my heart, we are still struggling with our faith. Though my husband and I were raised Orthodox, as I’ve written before, the last six years have made both of us lose our faith in God. For our one daughter, we’ve had to say goodbye to 10 other babies. That makes it too damn hard to believe that there is a God who is in charge.
With our first diagnosis of severe male factor infertility, we didn’t question God. Infertility was a challenge, but that kind of thing happens. Everyone has some kind of challenge. We were lucky to have each other, a happy marriage, and stable finances. No one can skate too easily through life, right? IVF was a mountain, but not insurmountable. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 4 2014
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 →
Oct 1 2013
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.
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 →
Jun 3 2013
That 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 →
Oct 12 2012
Over the past few weeks, Emily has been chronicling her journey about deciding to become a single mother by choice. Today she talks about making the move from IUI to IVF.
Last year on Yom Kippur, the rabbi at my synagogue offered a sermon that was themed “Recalculate Your Route.” It was a moving sermon, and to emphasize his point, he passed out carabiners with little compasses that said “Recalculate Route.” Very clever!
That fall, I was very pensive, thinking about my life at 36. I was focused on the fact that I was not yet married and so eager not only to find my partner in life, but also to begin my journey of motherhood. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 5 2012
Ezra 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 →
Mar 15 2012
The following piece is written by the husband of frequent Kveller contributer Cara Paiuk. Cara has written about the ups and downs of her fertility treatments, and here, Alejandro offers the man’s perspective.
“Do you have the specimen?” the pretty nurse behind the counter asked me. I timidly handed over the plastic jar with my name on it. “Ummm, I noticed that on this form here it says that we weren’t supposed to use lubricant. Uhhh, I didn’t know that. Is the, er, specimen ruined?”
A few moments later, she handed me a new jar and told me that I had to try again. And so, my one contribution to my wife’s fertility treatment I had managed to screw up. I felt embarrassed to be in that office, embarrassed of what I had to do next, and embarrassed that I had somehow let Cara down. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 12 2012
The following piece is by the husband of Kveller’s contributing editor, Carla Naumburg. Carla has written about her experience with IVF in the past, so we asked Josh for the man’s perspective.
When I was asked to write about in-vitro fertilization (IVF) for Kveller’s Dude Week, I wasn’t sure they’d picked the right person. My recollections of the experience were sort of boring and the entire experience–both times–was overshadowed by the births of our two wonderful girls (now 3.5 and 1.5). It took my wife, Carla, to remind me that our experience was far from normal and that IVF is always easier for the male partner.
IVF is an incredibly complex (and, for the woman, invasive) process. It involves months of hormones, injections, tests, procedures, and the highly skilled hands of numerous medical professionals. It also requires a lot of luck. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 16 2012
The bill comes every month, and it goes right into the pile, along with the power and cable bills, the mortgage and gas. It gets paid every month, but unlike the other ones, this one always gives me a moment of pause. This bill is from a lab about 10 miles from our house, where we are paying to store two frozen embryos. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 2 2011
All the Jewish parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
– On Slate, one couple’s story of how to make a baby, the IVF way, accompanied by a very telling slideshow. (Slate)
– In Germany, a 13-pound baby was born. He was the 14th child of his 528-pound diabetic 40-year-old mother. But the real crazy part? His name is Jihad. (Babble)
– A new study suggests that if you want smarter kids, you should space them at least two years apart. It’s also not such a bad idea if you want any semblance of sanity. (Freakonomics)
– In the New York Times, Jennifer Gilmore offers a beautiful, stirring, and often painful look at her journey to adoption. (NYT)
– Here’s a closer look at “extreme parenting,” from pageant moms to football dads. (OWN)