Monday, May 30, 2011

Park Hopping

Ethan and I spent the whole weekend hopping from one park to another, enjoying the warm weather--finally! The park is a fun place for both of us. He gets to play with other kids and I get to meet other Moms. It's also a sad place for me. I'm usually surrounded by pregnant bellies and Ethan's friends have younger siblings playing nearby. He is getting to the age where his friends have a younger sibling and sometimes one more on the way. Sometimes we come home and he tells me that he wants a brother and sister...he usually asks for both!

In Boston, I also meet other families with one child, but mostly by choice. But today I met a Mom with one child who eventually told me he was adopted. She had also undergone extensive fertility treatment and finally decided that wasn't the way they wanted to build their family. I felt very grateful. She asked me how I had Ethan and I smiled and said, "He is my little miracle." I often think about this....think about how blessed I am to have one natural born child and how blessed I am to be a mother. God knows I would have poured all that nurturing love into multiple pets had He not given us a child. :)

Tonight I looked through pictures that my friend took when Ethan was about 2 weeks old. The pictures make me so happy....they also give me a lump in my throat and a tight feeling in my chest as I wonder if and when I'll get to enjoy that newborn stage again. Tomorrow I'll have a lot more testing done...I'm dreading it but I'm ready to cross this bridge. Unknowns and unmet expectations are very difficult, but learning to savor what we do have is a beautiful way to walk through life. I'm certainly trying.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

No Longer Scared of Needles

This morning I had my blood taken--6 vials--to re-test my hormones levels. I'm praying that these results paint a different picture than the blood work I had done in Israel. Not that the blood test I had done there weren't accurate, I'm just hoping that a miracle has happened and I'm NOT in early ovarian failure!

As I walked to the lab this morning, I thought about how many blood test I've done between my difficult pregnancy and secondary infertility. I almost laughed out loud when I thought about how scared I used to be of needles and shots. The idea of getting blood drawn would have sent me into a mental panic 15 years ago. Not today. Today, without flinching, I chatted with the nurse about her 18 month old daughter and the expense of childcare in Boston, while she drew my blood. Women will endure lots of poking and prodding and testing and pregnancy and difficult deliveries, just to have a sweet baby. That's how God made us...incredibly resilient and strong for the task at hand!

So on top of getting ready for my 10 day trip to Israel, I have to have several test done this week. You don't get to choose the timing of infertility testing. It all depends on your cycle and in my experience, just like a period, it comes at the most inconvenient times! BUT, I'm actually really thankful that I'm able to do the testing this month, because I missed the window of opportunity last month with all my traveling. We're hoping to have all the diagnostic testing behind us before our insurance changes in August. Thanks in advance for your prayers that all will go well and I'll get a more hopeful report this week!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nothing Like a Tornado to Put Things in Perspective

I was just reading some news stories from Joplin about the devastation from the latest tornado. I can't believe what these poor families are going through. One story was about a husband shielding his wife from debris...he didn't survive a puncture wound through his back. They were high school sweet hearts. So many horrible, heart breaking tragedies from this storm. I'm grieved for everyone trying to recover from these storms and I'm grieved at how quickly I can look dismally at my situation when I have such a beautiful, incredible life.

This morning I took Ethan for a lovely little stroll through the Fens (a park and waterway in our neighborhood). I decided it was a good morning to just savor a bit of life. We watched several families of geese eating on the lawns. The little goslings were fluffy yellow and so cute. One pair of geese had 15 goslings!! Talk about a big family! It made me think about how infertility has increased my appreciation for life and for large families. I just so value children and deeply appreciate the families that are willing to embrace those miracles even when it's counter cultural. I also saw a couple pregnant women walking to school or work and thought about how amazing it is that women were created to literally carry and give life! It's crazy....crazy amazing.

Back to being thankful today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I've written a few well thought out blogs. Figured it's time to just sit here and let a few "feelings" fall onto the "page." My fingers have been a bit frozen this month so I don't know how well this is going to go. May just sound like "blah, blah, blah." But that would pretty much capture how I'm feeling. Guess I've gotten overwhelmed with the unknowns, the expenses, the tests, and the emotions.

Feeling particularly sad this week watching my friends reach their due dates and remembering how I'd already been trying for a couple years when they announced their pregnancies...and then another 9 months roll by. Blah. Feeling sad watching Ethan's delight in having his Grandmother here (a constant playmate and someone to share his room with). Why God hasn't given him a sibling, I'll never know.

Feeling sad that it's been a whole year of natural trying since we started 3 months of pretty intense treatment in Israel. Heading back to Israel in a couple weeks and sad that I'm STILL NOT pregnant. Wondering if it will be years. Wondering how long I can be hopeful and how long I can have faith. Tired of waiting. Tired of hoping. Tired of being thankful. REALLY wanting a little baby to squish and love and smother with kisses. Thankfully Ethan still lets me moosh him and he gives me lots of precious snuggles!

So there you have it friends. I'm not inspiring and strong and I do struggle to write. I'm blah. I have very sad days and very happy contented days. It all depends on the day and the time of the month! ;)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Immaculate Conception(s) in the Holy Lands

As I've mentioned before, I did about six months of fertility treatment in Israel. I've often wanted to write about that experience but recently found my inspiration from the conflicts regarding a two-state solution. What does peace in the Middle East have to do with baby making? More than you might think.

On other forms, I've written about my observations of the different religious groups in Haifa, living and working together in peace. Among the most vivid memories of our three years on the Mediterranean coastline were the weekends where Muslims, Jews, and Christians all BBQ on the same stretch of beach and swam in the same water.  However, I feel like inside the fertility clinic waiting room is another amazing window into the heart of Israel.

At a typical appointment, I arrived early in the morning and was assigned a number. I would wait for my blood to be drawn and wait again for an ultrasound and then wait for a third time for the nurse to tell me to proceed with injections or to schedule my IUI. As I waited, I was surrounded by other women and some men (husbands offering their support or their semen for analysis). Let me paint of picture of the demographics of those waiting rooms. To my right was a Russian speaking woman with bleached blonde hair and leopard print spandex, across from me was a Muslim woman cloaked from head-to-toe in a dark brown burka, to my left a Orthodox Jewish woman wearing a hat and skirt and beside her another woman in jeans and a sequin top. Then there was me, squeezed into the mix...naturally blonde, green eyes, t-shirt and running shorts.

Every woman in that clinic was Israeli except me. And every woman, no matter her ethnicity or religion was treated with dignity. Every Israeli is insured by the State to receive all the treatment she needs to conceive. Stop! Whoa! Halt! Yes, let that soak in for a minute. Back-to-back IVF cycles for years on end. Sure, no problem. Some Israeli women undergo as many as 20 procedures before conceiving, or giving up. Every woman is given the care she needs to maximize her chances at the miracle of carrying a baby and yes, that often means that a Jewish doctor is helping a Muslim woman conceive and give birth to a healthy child....and vice-versa. As a non-citizen, I paid for my treatment out of pocket, still a fraction of the cost in America (my injections cost less than $100/cycle in Israel vs. $6000/cycle in the US for the same drugs).

In contrast to the biased views in the media about the treatment of Arabs in Israel, the 2 million Arabs living in Israel are the ONLY Middle Eastern Arab population with FREE access to IVF. Israel values human life. Israel respects the rights of its citizens no matter their ethnicity. Israel left an unforgettable impression on my heart and I hope and pray that they continue living in freedom with the security they need to protect their borders and the precious lives growing within them.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Four years ago on Mother's Day I shared the news of my pregnancy with the two moms in my life. It was the perfect day to share my precious news. Today I've reminded myself of how incredibly blessed I am to be a mother...and my heart has ached for my friends who are still waiting for that blessing.

I just want to say to all those out there hoping and praying for the miracle of a baby...YOU are remembered today. If I could be with you in person, I would give you a hug and tell you how much I love you and ache with you for your dreams to come true. May God fill your hearts with peace and joy and contentment as you wait for all the good things He has in store for you and as you learn to fully live in the meantime. To my friends who have tasted the sweetness of motherhood, only to have their precious babies taken to heaven...too soon for any of us to understand...may His perfect love and grace be poured into your hearts today.

I am blessed. May I savor every moment I have as a mother to Ethan and may I have the courage to look for ways to love the orphans and those whose mothers have broken their hearts.