Saturday, April 28, 2012

Choose Your Own Adventure (even if it's only imaginary)

That's right, I have decided to Choose my Own Adventure.  I might not get what I want in real life.  But I can type it out to my heart's content.  And who knows?  I have thus far found some strange imitations of my writing in my life, so maybe...

The paperwork to secure and contract with the new egg donor will go smoothly, and Surrogate will also be willing to try again as soon as medically indicated.  The egg retrieval will be in late July.  All of the eggs will fertilize, and they will be grade A embryos.  They will implant the first two.  Either implantation will be 31 July, because that is my beloved Mama Phyll's birthday, or that will be the day of the beta-hCG.  And that beta-hCG will be positive.  Very positive.  And it will quadruple forty-eight hours later.  Because -- as we will discover at the six-week ultrasound -- the embryos both implanted and Surrogate is carrying twins.  And at the six-week ultrasound both embryos will measure six weeks.  And they will both have strong, perfect heartbeats.  And at eight weeks both embryos will measure eight weeks, and they will both have strong, perfect heartbeats.  And they will continue to grow, right on schedule.  They will be perfectly healthy.  And Surrogate will also be perfectly healthy.  She won't even have a day of morning sickness.  And somewhere around eighteen weeks, she will feel the babies kick.  They will continue to kick.  At the twenty-week anatomic scan both fetuses will be found perfectly healthy again.  They will continue to grow and develop and everything will be just as a pregnancy ought to be.  And at thirty-nine weeks or so,  husband and I will fly to Surrogate's state so that we don't miss a moment of our children's lives.  And then our children will be born on Mother's Day.  Surrogate will have a quick, painless-as-possible labor, and minimal blood loss, and feel ready to dance by the next morning.  The obstetrician will let me help catch the babies so that I am the first person to hold them, and Husband will cut the umbilical cord.  I will carry them over to the warming tent and will calculate their Apgar scores (10 and 10 at one and five minutes for both children) along with the pediatrician.  And I will not leave them for a nanosecond.  And I will kiss their beautiful, soft foreheads and checks and Husband and I will bless them with the traditional parental blessing, whether it is to be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah (daughter version) or like Ephraim and Menashe (son version) and we will recite the She'chechiyanu.  And we will tell our babies how much we love them.  And they will be discharged at forty-eight hours of life after an uneventful course, no hyperbilirubinemia or anything.  And at one week, when we fly home, the entire plane will congratulate us on our sweet, beautiful babies.  And then we will have the biggest simcha my little city has ever known, whether its a zeved ha'bat and/or a bris.  And our little home will fill with well-wishers and there will be a table literally overflowing with sweets of every kind, from every country.  And the entire time, I will cry with happiness.

And maybe then it will stop hurting.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


יזכור: יום הזיכרון לחללי מערכות ישראל.

הערב התחיל יום הזיכרון, יום מוקדש לאלה שנפלו במלחמות ישראל או בפיעוים.  אני מציינת את יום זה לזכר מי שאינו כאן.  יותר מדי בנים ובניות ישראל אינם איתנו.  חובה עלינו לזכור אותם.

יזכור עם ישראל את בניו ובנותיו, הנאמנים ואמיצים,
חילי צבא הגנה לישראל,
וכל לוחמי המחתרות וחטיבות הלוחמים במערכות העם,
ואנשי קהילות המודיעין, הביטחון, המשטרה ושרות בתי הסוהר,
אשר חרפו נפשם במלחמה על תקומת ישראל,
וכל מי שנרצחו בארץ ומחוצה לה בידי מרצחים מארגוני הטרור.

יזכר ישראל ויתברך בזרעו ויאבל על זיו העלומים
וחמדת הגבורה וקדשת הרצון ומסירות הנפש
של הנספים מבערבה נכבדה.

יהיו חללי מערכות ישראל עטורי הנצחוןחתומים בל ישראל לדור ודור.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Touching quotes about miscarriage

I didn't write these, and they don't make it hurt less.  But at least they are sweet.

I didn’t get to feel you kick, or look into your eyes.
I didn’t hold you in my arms, or hear your little cry.
I didn’t get to see your smile, or even know your name.
But, you’ll always be my baby and I love you just the same

"There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world or our hearts"

"Strength isn't about how much you can handle before you break.  It's about how much you can handle after you break."

and because Mother's Day is approaching:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

ה נתן, ה לקח, יהי שם ה מבורך God giveth, God taketh away, blessed be God's name AGAIN

I didn't post any updates that were Operation Baby-related after the beta-hCG testing.  I didn't want to put an Evil Eye on things.  But it seems that doesn't matter.

Our surrogate did get pregnant with one little Sweetpea who made it to five weeks, four days.  But at the ultrasound there was no heartbeat and the baby was too small, and a repeat also showed no heartbeat and no growth.  Surrogate is scheduled for a D&C on Tuesday morning.

I got the bad news while at dinner with Husband and our best friends in Israel, who are seven months pregnant.  When we got back to the hotel, the television did me a favor and broadcasted such perfect programs as "Father of the Bride: Part Two" and the episode of Ramzor where Tali discovers she is pregnant.

We will try again as soon as we find a new egg donor.  Husband remains unwilling to consider adoption and while I disagree with that decision, I will support it for now since surrogacy is still an option.

Am I just not meant to be a mama?  And if not, what can I possibly  do that would be even half a meaningful?  I want to be a mama so much that I would give up medicine if they were mutually exclusive.  I am trying to count my blessings and keep reminding myself of the line from Job "God giveth, God taketh away, blessed be God's name" but it is challenging to really mean it.  At least this time the baby is already dead, and I didn't see pictures that looked like more than a sac, and Sweetpea was only five weeks and four days along and we told only the very closest people.  And maybe if you really really want children but don't get them you get to be a mama in Heaven eventually.

That's the sad update of the day.  I hope, dear readers, that your weekend goes better than mine.

And a question:  Is it wrong to cave in to the temptation to cancel the workshop I am supposed to lead at a conference next weekend?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Israel: Land of the Fertile

We are having a wonderful time here.  This place is home in a way no other is.  And how better to celebrate Passover than in the Jewish homeland?  Granted, I prefer my family's seder.  We sing more, we enjoy more, and we don't rush through it as fast as possible.  But this is the only holiday I have celebrated with Husband's family in the five years we have known each other, so he is entitled.

Besides matzah, we have managed to:
1. visit a world flower exhibition -- crowded but beautiful!
2. "hike" -- this requires quotation marks because our gang has changed a bit.  Y and A had their twelve-month old, B, and the participated with a walkie-talkie from their car.  E is seven and and a half months along, and not particularly mobile either.  So actual hiking amounted to about fifteen, maybe twenty minutes maximum followed by sitting and eating, and then moving to a restaurant to continue sitting and eating.  Yes, Israelis like to eat.  (And tell me to eat more.)
3. Family time: Savta, niece and nephew, lots of fun and lots of nudging me to eat.  A yiddishe bubby, after all.
4. Shopping at the mall.  I found the lip gloss  I wore at my wedding and yes, it is now coming home with me.  I like makeup.  It is absolutely feminine but does not require chromosomes, hormones, or ovaries.  I am just like any other girl.

My main question, however -- how did this place get so fertile!?  I have never seen so many strollers, so many pregnant women, and so many babies.  Is is something in the water?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Resisting sleep and counting down the days until yontif

Resistance is futile, say the Borg of Star Trek.

I beg to differ.  I should have been asleep hours ago.  Instead I went shopping with my sister, overate, and read another chapter of the book I borrowed from the library.  It's called Mazel, by Rebecca Goldstein, and is very interesting thus far.  I like the stylistic quirks and the heimish quality.

Heimish, by the way, basically means "homey."  I never lived in a shtetl and I have never even been to Eastern Europe.  But I grew up at my Alte Bubby's feet with the stories of Antonifka and Rovna, with tea with sugar and lemon.  I could almost taste the warm milk fresh from the cow, and I feared the pogroms as if I too had hidden in the sewers.  And when I was five years old and terrified out of my mind that the Nazis were going to snatch me from my bed?  Only my beloved Alte Bubby, zichrona li'vracha (may her memory be a blessing), could console me.  So yes, I read this book and think about her and oh, do I miss her.  She was so beautiful -- regal like a queen until the very end.  She kept her hair a honey-gold color and she polished her nails a deep mauve.  And I can still smell the Ponds lotion she rubbed on her hands.  Her fingers were thick.  She was shtark, mine baleibte Bubby.  Those were not idle hands.  There was always a roast in the oven, or a lokshen kugel (ours was a pareve recipe), and on the stove a chicken soup of course.  And for dessert she would make the special comish cookies.

...and now we have entered the final countdown.  That's right!  ONE MORE NIGHT of my favorite hospital is all that stands between me and Israel.  I can almost taste the falafel.  Or the sambusek.  Or the -- goodness, why is all the good food thousands of miles away?  But mostly I am excited to be away from the hospital.  I love helping patients but I just feel so incompetent, and I hate that feeling.  I wish I could actually be the doctor I want to be.  So it will be nice to have a break from being public idiot #1.

Anyway, that's it for now.  Will post more when I am actually coherent.