Shloshlim

On Thursday, March 6th my only sibling, my younger sister passed away. She was 31 years old. She leaves behind her three little boys, our parents and me, her big sister. 

We had a memorial service for her on the Sunday directly following her death, which was inline with Jewish tradition of burial in 3 days, though it was her request to be cremated. I spent the next week with my family and have just returned to NYC where things are…difficult to say the least.

Friends have offered to sit Shivah with/for me here in NYC and I honestly don’t think I can do that, so instead I’m observing aspects of Shloshim. I will also be pausing in blogging for the rest of the Shloshim period.

I ask that you keep my family in your prayers.

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Worst Four Weeks of my Life

We had to cancel this cycle’s IUI not because I ovulated from the “wrong” side, but because my only sibling, my younger sister, lost her addiction battle.

I’m just back in Brooklyn after spending time at home with my family to say goodbye to my baby sis. It’s been a week since her memorial service and about 10 days since her death and while the pain has shifted slightly, it’s still incredibly surreal and completely unbelievable. It has, however, put a lot of things into perspective and strangely, I’m even more driven to start a family with Leah.

If you’ve pieced together who I “really” am then you can read more about my sister other places on the interwebs. I’ll probably expand more as time goes on, but for now I’m really focusing on getting my health on track. If anything, my sister’s untimely death has reminded me that life is too short. Please remember to tell the people in your lives “I love you” any time that you feel it. Don’t wait. Don’t hold grudges. Three simple words, you can’t say them enough.

L-rd, Give me Strength

0211MirandaI’ll start with the good news:

My body reacted well to the Femara, we have 5 good-looking follicles on the right side.

I’m still really happy with switching clinics, we see my doctor for every visit, which is great.

The not great news:

I had the HSG and as we feared a fibroid, or something, is blocking my left tube. I actually thought something was up because the last few ultrasounds the tech couldn’t find my left ovary, it usually hides behind a fibroid. It’s generally always difficult to find, in fact the techs at our old office only found it a couple of time (and we’ve had dozens of ultrasounds). It is of course  just another one of those things that I would’ve hoped my previous RE would’ve seen in the over 4 months we were in their care.  Over $5000 later now we find out.

So, I’m praying that we’re allowed to continue this cycle, since the right side believes. Which, of course makes me think of Miranda Hobbes (Yes, I can bring everything back to SATC).

He has one ball, and I have a lazy ovary! In what twisted world does that create a baby? It’s like the Special Olympics of conception. – Miranda Hobbes.

We shall see.

IUI Cycle #3-The Femara, Ovidrel, Progesterone Addition

Image from NewsOne

Image from NewsOne

We switched fertility clinics, and at the advice of a Twitter Follower, am now seeing a doctor who listens to me and allows me to ask silly questions. He’s also answered a lot of questions I’ve been thinking and wondering. Like, is it necessary to do two IUIs per cycle? His answer: No. According to him, and medical research, if you’re TTC through an RE, doing monitoring via ultrasound, blood and triggering the RE should have a really good idea of when you’re ovulating and when to do the IUI. In his words, doing two per month doesn’t necessarily guarantee better results. Which means we’ve been buying a lot of extra sperm, but whateves, water under the bridge (and money out of our pockets) at this point.

He also confirmed what I’d suspected, a short luteal phase, which is why he’s going to be putting me on progesterone after this IUI. He also had no problem upping the anty by putting us on Femara, which besides the hot flashes, I’m not really “feeling.”

Tuesday I go in for the HSG and as long as the coast is clear, G-d willing, we’ll be on schedule to do our third IUI by the end of this week. My fingers and toes are crossed.

Sending blessings to all of you.

R

Going to the Mikvah and I’m…

Photo from Chabad.org

Photo from Chabad.org

…going to get dunked!

Early last week, before getting fired, before the added stress of impending unemployment I spoke with a woman called  Sara at Immerse NYC about going to the mikvah before my next IUI.

I’d love to use Charlotte York Goldenblatt as an example again, but unfortunately this time SATC gets the mikvah wrong. Yes, the mikvah is a ritual immersion that culminates the process of converting to Judaism. When you immerse and emerge from the water you come out on the other side a Jew, but in SATC she goes into the water completely dry. In actuality, before going into the water you are wet (soaking wet) because you’ve spent the past hour or so scrubbing every inch of your body before the mikvah.

Lost? Let me shed some light.

I went to my favorite go-to mikvah source, Mayyim Hayyim, a community mikvah outside of Boston, MA

(Mikvah,or) Ritual immersion is an ancient part of Jewish tradition, noted in the Torah and in later Rabbinic commentaries. Today, there are only a few cases where immersion is still designated as amitzvah, or an act required by Jewish law: for converts to Judaism, for brides, and for women observing niddah, the practice of immersing monthly following menstruation.

Mikveh has also been used for other purposes throughout Jewish history: for example, by men prior to Shabbat and the holidays, by women in the ninth month of pregnancy. At Mayyim Hayyim, people are welcome to immerse to commemorate a wide variety of transitions and occasions: prior to reading Torah for the first time, before or after surgery, on the occasion of being ordained a rabbi, or becoming a grandparent, or reaching the age of 40, or 50, or 85.

…Once you walk down the seven steps into the warm water of the mikveh, it is customary to immerse fully – covering every strand of hair with water – a total of three times.  According to tradition, a blessing is recited after the first immersion (see the traditional and alternative blessings below).  Some people then choose to say the she-he-che-yanu blessing after the last immersion.  Others add private prayers or even sing between immersions.  Each visitor is encouraged to follow his / her own custom.

Organizations like Mayyim Hayyim and Immerse NYC are places where Jews of every walk of life can embrace this ancient tradition for a wide variety of “reasons.” I am going to the mikvah in hopes that it will aid in my conception and the mikvah guides at Immerse NYC are working to find words and prayers that I can recite in the water.

This process of TTC has reminded me that the ultrasounds, blood monitoring, temperature taking, mucous analyzing, fertility drugs, trigger shots, and medical IUIs lead us to believe that we have control over our lives, our bodies and this process. But many of us who are on IUI #3, 6, 10 know that we can do everything “right” and still not have the outcomes that we desire. So, I’m blending the East (my religion) with the West (medicine). I pray more now than I ever have before and while I’d like to go, “Please G-d, help us be pregnant! Help me find a job!” my prayers most often start by thanking the Source of Life for everything that I do have. While I want so much more, I’ve come to realize that much of what I have is a blessing.

Sending many blessings of strength, persistence, patience and of course baby dust to all of you. To all of you with your bundles of joy I send blessings of rest and strength.

exes and ohs,

Rachel.