Saturday, March 29, 2008

The First Dating Litmus Test

I attended a single event today, and bumped into an Israeli man whom I had dated at least five years ago. If my memory serves me, we met as volunteers, went on two dates, and I dumped him when he started getting overly possessive and stalker-like.

Today, at this singles' meal, he said that he was willing to give me another chance, if I was game. And as part of the natural conversation, the idea of single mother's arose; I swear I was not the one who initiated it as part of any test per se. He made it very clear that he felt that women who chose to raise a child alone had "problems," and that it was better to have a lousy father in the house than none at all.

Proving only that my first instinct about him five years ago was still correct, and that with my new reality, a man like this has no place in my life.

Friday, March 28, 2008


The mild bleeding I had for the 24 hours after the procedure concerns me.

When I got off the table right after the procedure, I saw a little puddle on the paper, and the irrational part of me thought: what if the technician spilled the sperm sample by accident and then pretended to do the IUI? What if I have no chance of getting pregnant because it didn't take place?

The fluctuations in my body temperature worries me, even as all the fertility doctors and nurses at Hadassah say that this method of measurement is unreliable.

I went to the pharmacy yesterday, to refill my prescription of Folic Acid. While I was standing on line, I happened to notice that the "Day After" pill is sold over the counter, along side with throat lozenges. Outraged, I thought about all the care and time I had put into making the decision, the choice to become pregnant. Apparently, anyone can have wild sex and the next day, without consultation or responsibility, terminate a potential baby.

On behalf of myself and all those other women who came every morning this past week to do blood tests and to try to get pregnant, I demand justice for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Just Another Morning

This morning, I woke up around seven am feeling rested, and knowing that I had two hours before my cleaning person arrived. I sat in front of the computer to check emails, and looked at the time, and realized that I had forgotten that the clocks moved ahead one hour this morning, and that in fact I had less than an hour to organize myself, before the day started.

Just another Friday morning, except that today, I may be pregnant. I received the IUI treatment yesterday, and have been floating on air since then. I may have have a beautiful healthy baby developing in my uterus right now, even as I go about my normal life schedule. Of course the fetus would only be at blastocyst level, but I continue to shower my stomach with messages of love and acceptance.

The procedure itself was simple, if not overly technical, ruined only by the shock exhibited by the Arab nurse when I explained that I was not only a single woman without a husband, but also a virgin, and so she would have to be careful with my body. I felt like she was being rough on purpose, trying to break my hymen manually just to prove a point.

My friend and neighbor BW, the same man who brought my loving feline Harry into my life over six years ago, drove me to the hospital and kept me company, and his affection and support were a godsend. Especially when we tried to drive the direct route to Hadassah Hospital and found most of the roads in the neighborhood to be closed off, due to the Jerusalem marathon. I would have never found a way to drive, without taking on the stress of the traffic. BW's wife gave me a lovely gift before drove off, a red string bracelet with a "hamsa", symbols of health and luck.

On the drive home, when I was gushing and all I could say coherently was "Wow," "Oh my G-d," and "I am going to be a Mommy," he looked into my eyes and said, "I think it worked."

I can only hope and pray, and at the same time, accept with love any outcome.

As I walked into the Women's Clinic, Yelena, my Russian fertility friend was walking out, having just finished her IUI. We smiled quietly at each other and shared our secret, and I think it would be great if we both ended up giving birth together, at Hadassah.

Here I go crying, just thinking about it. Isn't the over-the-top emotional response part of pregnancy? I hope so.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Change of Pace

For some reason I woke up this morning with more energy than I had yesterday, when I felt like a walking zombie. And the experience at the hospital today was also a bit different than usual. I and several other women had to wait until almost 7:30 am, for a nurse to open the door to the Women's Health Clinic, and so there was a crazed run to get to the ultra-sound sign of list.

Technically second, the Arab woman before me started signing up all of her friends, and it was the Russian woman (Yelena) who protested, and made them stick to the order more or less. The same happened on the line to get referrals for the daily blood test, and this time both Yelena and I made it clear than Arab woman number eight could not push ahead, just because her friend was there earlier.

When I got to the Blood Lab, there was a longer wait than usual and I suspect that the new nurse whom I met yesterday still hasn't figured out the procedures, in order to make this whole process more efficient.

More cutting in line at the ultra-sound station, and so I missed my ride back home, a delay of almost a half hour. By the time I got home I was nauseous from the bus ride, but excited: I had noted sticky vaginal excretions, a sign of impending ovulation. I have never been more excited about a mucousal discharge in my life.

Along with the nausea I had a headache, compounded by two very noisy teenagers standing above me and speaking loudly. As I neared my stop, one of the girls started criticizing people who seemed to take time off their busy schedule to enjoy life, that they did not seem to be rushing to work. As I left the bus, I turned to her and said that when she got a little older, she would learn to appreciate the true pleasures in life, and would learn to be less judgemental of others.

Such an Israeli thing to do - she was visibly shocked that I addressed her - though it was partially educational, and partially revenge for my headache.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Practicing Fatigue

Day three of waking up early and getting to the hospital, where I started noticing repeat women - Arab, Jewish and Russian - and started smiling at them, bus-buddies of a sort. I suppose I never considered that Palestinain women would have fertility issues, when the media constantly compares the low Jewish birth rates to the increasing Arab numbers.

Different nurses today, both at the Fertility Unit at Hadassah and at the Blood Lab, and it felt to me that everyone was moving just a bit slower than usual, perhaps because of the terrible heat and dust storms outside.

I need to return tomorrow morning for the same set of tests, apparently my follicles aren't fully cooked just yet.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Meet the Candidates

Second day in a row of getting up excessively early, and going for blood tests and an internal ultrasound. I approached the nurse with fear, given the mood she had been in yesterday. When I asked her how she was feeling, she answered cheerily, and I responded with relief. The nurse must have understood, because she explained that her mood yesterday was part of her Purim disguise.

Me: So is that the excuse you are using for acting like a bitch?
Nurse (laughing): Yes, I suppose it will have to do.

More exciting, I met Rut of the Hadassah Har HaTzofim Sperm Bank. After resolving a Hebrew-English misunderstanding -I used the word "Aliz" to mean that I do not wish to have a gay donor, and she understood the word in its classic sense of happy - we have three potential candidates for the IUI, which will take place in the next two to three days. We also had the requisite discussion about having ginormously tall children.

Bachelor number ONE: Sephardic (good for mixing up the gene pool) son of diplomats, who spent part of his childhood overseas. Tall and fair skin for this ethnicity, intelligent and good with languages (turn on!), currently working as an English teacher.

Rut says: "Good looking"

Bachelor number TWO: Ashkenazic son of academics, a somewhat famous artist (total turn on!) apparently with lots of joy, tall and fair skinned, similar to my coloring.

Rut says: "Definitely not ugly, average looking"

Bachelor number THREE: Ashkenazi, with an MA in International Relations and Asian studies, and he works in high tech. About my height with blue eyes.

Rut says: (gushing) "Absolutely gorgeous"

Bachelor number FOUR: Italian (non Jew, very good for mixing up the gene pool) currently unavailable.

The polls are open...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Countdown, With Blood-Letting

As the time of the IUI gets closer, I am monitoring my cycle, and this morning (on Shushan Purim) took another set of blood tests and an internal ultrasound. According to these latest results, I will be at the peak of ovulation some time in the next two days, and therefore must return again to Hadassah Har HaTzofim tomorrow morning for another round of blood letting.

All for the sake of science, and this baby.

I don't mind the tests, the hospital has been rated the top in the country for fertility medicine, though I do wish the nurses had a little bit more warmth. The nurse who took my blood today would not make eye contact, and when I tried to have a friendly superficial conversation, I received in return a five minute diatribe about how she did not even want to be working today; and that I shouldn't bother trying to speak to her or make polite conversation because she just wasn't "in the mood." Then she whipped out a giant needle, complaining that my veins were too deep and hard to find.

I have issues with needles that I suppose I will have to get over, rather quickly.

So another early morning tomorrow with more medical tests, one step closer to fulfilling this amazing dream.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nature's Timing

So the original plan, based upon last month's cycle, was to start follow-up next week and get inseminated at the end of March or very beginning of April.

Last night I started spotting, which means that my period will probably come today, and that the whole schedule has been moved up by about five days. Biggest problem is that the first available appointment with the sperm bank is March 24th, which may turn out to be the day right before insemination, and I hope there is enough time.

I know that in order for this to work, I need to be calm, and I need to trust the Universe that this is all happening at this pace for a reason; so I am off to do deep breathing and meditation, and a little bit of praying.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Anything Different in Your Life?

An odd and yet reassuring thing happened to me yesterday, when I walked into my Pilates class. I had arrived early, and waited with the cheery secretary until the floor cleared a little.

She looked at me, and started asking me all sorts of obtuse questions, like: "Anything different in your life?" "Are you planning something big?" "How are you feeling?" Finally, with a puzzled look on my face I asked her what she truly meant to ask me, and she whispered, "Are you pregnant?"

Once I recovered from the question, and assured myself that I was not any fatter today than I had been the last time she saw me, I replied, "Not yet," and filled her in on the barest details. She smiled large, and explained that when I walked in, I had that pregnant "glow" in my face, and when she looked in my eyes, she could have sworn that I was "with child."

I am glad that I am starting to radiate a serenity about my choice, because it means I am in the right place for pregnancy to happen, and that's a good thing, with insemination theoretically less than a month away.

The glow comment also gives me pause, because later in the day I went for a facial treatment, and TC mentioned that I looked a bit sunburned, so who knows what the secretary saw.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Switching Hospitals

Because of the sperm shortage, today I switched from Hadassah Ein Kerem (closer to my house, nicer nurses) to Hadassah Har HaTzofim (further away but more professional). I arrived with my partially completed personal file and waited close to an hour, comforted with the book I had brought to read, and the knowlededge that at least they take their time with each client.

The doctor felt that even if I had heard the deflating pep talk several times, it would not hurt to hear it again: I am old relative to the fertility process, and I should not expect smooth sailing without a few bumps. Although it was his opinion that I immediately try to boost my hormones and increase the chance of multiple births, we agreed to try it my way for several months, ie chart my natural cycle and inseminate at the peak of ovulation. He is a firm believer in conventional medicine, and pooh-poohed the idea that gender or pregnancy could be influenced by body temperative, mood or diet.

So now it becomes a waiting game, for my next period and then a series of ultra-sound exams and blood tests. I think that today was the last time I attend these consultations by myself, because from now on, I start counting down to the first exciting attempt at pregnancy. I believe that the energy of love and support around me most definitely impacts conception, and the personality of the child.