Thursday, March 26, 2009

Recurring Fears

Going into my 14th week, and fears of the financial sort have invaded my mind once again. The last time I did a strict accounting of how much a child costs and could I swing it, was over a year ago. Before the world-wide economic collapse and before the whole pregnancy was "real."

I could not fall asleep last night, thinking about how many hours I could manage to work during the day when the baby is small and home more or less, and whether that would be enough to support us. I know that I want this child and I know that other single parents and couples figure out the numbers; I also know that especially in Israel, certain assistance can be made available.

I have my faith that G-d gave me this child now because it was the right time, and I continue to have faith that G-d will help me find a way to provide for this child. And yet, I worry, because I want this baby to have everything he/she needs; love will be in abundance, and it makes it easier when money or lack thereof does not get in the way.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Which Version of the Story?

On Saturday, I had lunch with my friend and Chiropractor (HL), and her family. After the meal (in which I successfully managed to eat many different kinds of salads), I helped her clear the table, and thought that we were alone in the house. We started speaking in certain detail about the pregnancy and my feelings and my concerns.

Turns out, her seven year old daughter had been sitting quietly on the couch, and she came over to us grown-ups and asked me, "Are you pregnant?" The following conversation ensued, an excellent test run to the more likely scenario with my Ultra-Orthodox nieces.

Doc: Yes, I am pregnant.
Zoe: But you don't have a husband.
Doc: That's true, it's better to have a Daddy and a Mommy. And some day I will have a husband, but I did not want to miss out on being a Mommy and having a baby inside my tummy. So I talked to a Rabbi and to some doctors, and they helped me.
Zoe: You don't look fat.
Doc: (laughing) That's because it has only been three months, and it is the first time I am pregnant. I am not supposed to look fat yet. [In actual fact, I lost close to eight kilo in the first trimester, due to the nausea and discomfort.]
Zoe: Well someday you will get married, and then you can have even more kids! (Pause, addressed to her mother) Mom, I don't want you to have any more babies, I want to always be the youngest.

This is more or less the version of the story that I had proposed to my sister, as a way of explaining the origin of their new cousin. My sister did not like it, and spent the entire weekend expressing her concerns to my parents, who had visited them in New York. The fact that my sister feels that she can speak freely to my parents encourages me, though I hope that at some point she and I can address these issues directly.

My mother has also expressed deep worry regarding my 90 year old grandfather, who judges the world solely on superficial standards, the Jewish King of "What Will the Neighbors Think." I had hoped to tell my grandfather that the father of the baby is an Israeli (true) whom he does not know (true) and that while we are not married (all true), the pregnancy came about naturally (as naturally as IUI can be). For years now my grandfather has called me a failure for being single at 40, and I would have thought that implying a relationship of sorts would cheer him up.

My mother feels that being "knocked up" represents an even worse picture than being old and single, and now she feels the responsibility to come up with a viable story for her father.

I told my mother that she can give him any story she likes, I am not ashamed of what I have done, I accept and love this child already. I will not tolerate negative attitudes nor judgemental behaviour toward either of us.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Time of Miracles

Today, as Jews in Jerusalem and all over the world celebrate the miracles of Purim, I would like to give thanks for my own little miracle growing inside me. Yesterday, I not only heard the heart beat for the first time, but I also saw my fetus in 3D, moving around inside me and looking like, well...a little person.

The doctor also did a preliminary check for signs of G-d Forbid birth defects, and reported happily that this baby has the highest score possible, so good that he/she is off the traditional charts. I always did well in school.

Thank you God, for keeping me and this baby healthy. Not that it wasn't real before - the constant nausea is certainly keeping it real - but after hearing that strong heart beat I was able to make that final connection. I am going to be a Mom.

And of course there is a long way to go, more tests and me actually gaining weight instead of losing it, but I am jazzed and ready, and love this child growing inside me.

I also took a step yesterday that I have been avoiding, for fear that it would irrevocably damage our relationship: I called my Ultra-Orthodox sister and told her that I was at the end of my first Trimester, and that I had gone the non-conventional route to get there. The call went much better than I ever could have expected, and I am grateful for the love and support she showed me on the phone.

I told her that I know that this will cause some discomfort for her and the lifestyle she has chosen, but that I never wanted us to stop communicating, or loving each other.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Genetic Testing II

With some idea of my own feelings about this testing, I went yesterday to the main offices of the HMO and took their genetic questionnaire. The machines spit out about eight tests that were "musts" or "highly recommended."

Three of the tests were free - CF, FD and Tay Sachs - and I agreed to those. Two others came up as "musts" - SMA and Fragile X - and so I paid the 300 NIS to have them included in the results.

I would rather pay the money and avoid the guilt, should anything come up later on, G-d Forbid, and I could have known before hand.

The irony of the timing is that the results of my individual genetic testing will return after I have already done an amnio, the one exam which tells a woman 100% about the BABY she carries, and so the genetic information is trivial at best, if not moot.