Sunday, December 07, 2008

Off topic - Meme

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people (if possible) at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

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I was tagged by trilcat.

Seven things about me:
1. I hate to feel strong wind on my body. I actually feel as if I am being attacked. Same with cold. It doesn’t just make me uncomfortable; it makes me feel like I’m suffering.

2. I’m very good at math and usually do things in my head or with a pencil, even when I have a calculator handy. It got worse during and after some of the pregnancies, but I think I'm pretty much back to normal now.

3. I used to have obsessive thoughts that kept me up at night until I decided that everything seems worse to me at night than it does in the morning. Since then I have put such thoughts off until the morning when I don’t have time for them anyway.

4. I have probably written this in a previous meme, but I hate having my hair cut. I have never had a massage or a manicure. I think I could handle a manicure, I just have never had the desire to have one.

5. As soon as I finish a meal, I think about the next thing I want to eat. I think I inherited this from my father. Fortunately, I seem to have a fairly good metabolism and have never been very overweight.

6. I like ironing. As long as I have time and a good iron, I could iron for hours.

7. I prefer to fold large amounts of laundry. Under 3 loads seems like a waste of time. Ohad does marathon laundry and I fold - usually 5-6 loads at a time – while we watch a show or movie together. (Yes, I also do laundry sometimes.)

I tag anyone who has ever had a fish as a pet.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Baby gifts

OK, so I know this is an infertility blog, but in many cases, infertiles become parents and either they or their friends and family need ideas for what to buy them. Here are some things that I've particularly enjoyed:


Makes it possible to go shopping with your baby, without worrying every second if s/he's going to jump out of the shopping cart. Good from when the baby can sit alone.


We have just the bee. What's fun about it is that it keeps calling the baby back to play with it. The music and noises it makes are pleasant, unlike many other electronic toys. Good from about 5 months.


I had this bath for the first time with my 2nd & 3rd children (twins) and it is such a lifesaver - even from birth, you can give the baby a bath alone, since you only need to have one hand holding the baby. Highly recommended, even if you already have a baby bath - this one is good from birth to about 18 months (though my kids refused to give it up until they were well over 2).


Duplo is an amazing baby gift for families who have an older child - it's fun for bigger kids (at least through age 6, I actually still play with it) and it's safe for the little one. This is definitely one of our favorite toys.

What baby items would you recommend?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ovary transplant & Surrogacy

Although babies have already been born as a result of the transplant of ovarian tissue, this is the first to be born after transplanting an entire ovary. So far, the procedure is only performed on identical twins.

Thank you to Lelo for sending me to this article about surrogacy. It's actually a combination of a photo essay and video essay - I haven't had time to watch it all, but it looks fascinating.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ironic

I think it is important for those who suffered loss due to miscarriage or stillbirth to know they're not alone. I'm not really sure why a specific day was designated, or why the specific day was chosen.

For some, October 15th is a day set aside to remember their loss. For me, it is difficult to post as most of the other infertility bloggers have (and not because I never suffered a loss). To me, October 15th is the day that I celebrate the birth of my daughter, Hadas, born after over 3 years of infertility, multiple failed IUI's and a failed IVF cycle.

Yesterday, Hadas (conceived with IVF) turned 15.

Here she is holding her little brother yesterday.

And last week, in our backyard.

Happy birthday, Hadas!


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P.S. I won't brag about her, but my mom did...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Proteins for embryo implantation & a link

Research performed by British researchers including Professor Helen Mardon and Professor Anne Ridley published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found two proteins that appear to be responsible for enabling embryos to implant in the uterus. It doesn't seem as if there are practical implications of this research right now, but clearly the more that is understood about the process of implantation the more likely it is that advances will be made toward improving embryo implantation in IVF.

Myoncofertility.org is a new, patient-friendly website for both women and men who are dealing with cancer and interested in preserving their fertility. The site also has sections for parents and for partners. Although it would be nicer if no one really needed this information, it's great that they've put all the information together in one place, in a visually-pleasing and useful way.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Egg Donation Questions

I got a letter from Jenny (not her real name) with a lot of interesting questions about egg donation. If you've ever given it thought, I'm sure Jenny would be happy for your insight:

I am considering donating my eggs. I feel like I would be giving up one of my kids. How do I know the people getting my egg will treat my baby with love? How do I know my child wont be abused? I have 3 wonderful healthy boys. How would I tell them what I did, if I decided to donate my eggs? How do I know the people who get my baby will not give him or her up because s/he turns out to be the wrong sex? What will happen to my baby if the people who have my baby die an early death? I have all these questions and don't know were to find the answers. I love my boys I have now. And would not give them up to any one for anything. Will people think I am "selling" my child if I decide to donate my eggs. I would love to help another loving couple to have a baby. I want them to feel the love I have for my boys. But how do I know that they will love my baby? How do I know the woman receiving my egg will love the baby just like he or she were her very own? Will I be able to get to  know my biological child? I have so many mixed emotions. can anyone help?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In utero blood transfusions

I just read this story - incredible. Here is another story about a family in which there was isoimmunization - the mother's antibodies were attacking the fetus' antigens - which put the fetus at risk of severe anemia during the pregnancy. Here too, in-utero blood transfusions (a total of five) were performed and were able to bring to a successful birth at 36 weeks.

I remember once seeing a documentary on tv about surgery performed on an embryo (a story like this one) and the documentary following through until after the birth. What I found to be completely mind blowing was that there were no scars.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Unsung Lullabies - Infertility Giveaway

I'm giving away the copy of Unsung Lullabies that I received from the authors. It has really fabulous reviews on Amazon (see the above link).

To be included in the drawing, link back to this post or to Fertility Stories on your blog or website and leave me a comment.

The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on October 2nd. I'll be happy to ship it to any country.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Male Infertility Q&A

Lately msnbc has been posting interesting articles about infertility.

The one I saw today is questions & answers (answers by Dr. Edmund Sabanegh) about male factor infertility. Most of the answers are brief and at least semi-informative, but his answer to the second question as to whether there is a way to test for infertility in her 14-year-old son conceived with the help of ICSI didn't really answer the question that was asked... Was he recommending that she take her son in to test his y-chromosome for deletions? Or perhaps her husband? And if the problem causing his infertility was a y-chromosome deletion (not that I know what that means) wouldn't it cause the defective sperm not to fertilize the egg?

Another article (also published yesterday) discusses this very issue (fertility of sons of infertile men).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Beating the odds with Cystic Fibrosis

I read this article on msnbc about a 44-year-old father of twins born despite fertility challenges caused by Cystic Fibrosis. The truth is, I know almost nothing about CF - except that I did genetic testing for it and that one doctor suggested Nomi might have it (she doesn't) and I wasn't aware that it causes infertility in both men and women.

Interestingly, the article talks both about Brad Hildebrandt and about his sister, Debra, who also has CF, is 48 and is a mom to two children.

I hope it gives hope to others with CF who want to become parents.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

Cancer during pregnancy

I found this article about cancer during pregnancy fascinating.

I particularly enjoyed reading that some women feel that it is easier to go through treatments knowing that they are pregnant, that it increases their will to survive...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Olympics are almost over

Note: Cross-posted on DespiteMotherhood

I have really enjoyed watching the Olympics. Abigail (Guli) claims they're boring, but then - she's 3 and she'd rather watch Richard Scarry's Best Learning Songs Video Ever (a great video really, but it doesn't outdo the Olympics, at least not for me - and BTW, what is that insane pricing???). I remember watching in the middle of the night, while feeding Matan and Lilach, in 1996 - with the time difference (7 hours earlier there) it worked out great. I am already waiting for 2012.

In the meantime, Gwendomama, who I met at the BlogHer party in Macy's awarded me a Kick-Ass Blogger award (yes, that's the one and only time you'll see that word in my blog, I'm sure, as it's not one I ever use...) So - first - thanks :-) My blogging has a long way to go, but I do believe it's going to get better someday soon...

In the tradition of such awards, I'm supposed to pass it on to 5 bloggers:

Kirby, who doesn't blog often enough, but, when she does, she makes up for it. She's expecting her first baby any day now and still joined us on a yarn-spinning, goat-milking, archeological tour on Wednesday. How amazing is that?

Erin
, who is a career mom and a very real person, one who's not afraid to say how she feels - even when it's far from easy.

Topcat who is a recovering addict, an infertility survivor and now dealing with her husband's cancer. And she's still got a sense of humor & plenty of attitude.

Doc Grumbles who grew up in a very screwed-up family that provides her with plenty of things to write about. And despite it all, she's so cool...

Sara who lives in Korea with her husband and daughter. I always look forward to reading her posts & I've particularly enjoyed the ones about life in Korea recently.

It's hard to stop at just 5... There are a lot of really great bloggers out there :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Discrimination includes infertility treatments

In the recent court decision reported in the Wall Street Journal, infertility treatments are regarded the same as pregnancy in terms of protecting women under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Although this is only true in 3 states so far, (Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin) it's definitely a step in the right direction.

When I came back to work after having my first daughter by IVF, my boss took me aside and said, "If you're planning on having any kids in the next 2 years, we don't want you back." It was a punch in the stomach, but I did get full compensation (it's automatic, if it's within a year after giving birth, here in Israel) and I was able to quickly find another job, but still...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mother - Daughter - Grandchild - Surrogacy

This article in Times Online talks about a mother who was a surrogate for her daughter and gave birth to her own grandchild. It's interesting that the strongest part of the article is the debate about surrogacy that the whole story has sparked in Japan.

There is, however, something wrong with the story - check out this paragraph, "Yesterday’s successful treatment involved the woman having her daughter’s already fertilized egg implanted in her womb. The entire family is understood to have agreed to undergo the process, despite its difficulties, because the woman’s daughter was born without ovaries..." OK, so I want to understand how, if she was born without ovaries, she had ova... (it also sounds as if the treatment took place yesterday, whereas the report was about a birth...)

Updated: I did manage to find this article that says the daughter has no uterus. That makes more sense...

Update from the post about a preemie miracle - sadly, the little girl died the next morning.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Preemie miracle

This story about a baby born yesterday in Nahariya, Israel. According to the story published in Hebrew, the woman went into the hospital for testing because she was having contractions. They decided to keep her overnight and at 1:30 am, she called her husband to say she was 5cm dilated and that they were taking her into the delivery room. Although she was at just 23 weeks, she refused to take any sort of medication because she wanted to give her baby (conceived after 3 miscarriages and fertility treatments) the best chance of survival... The baby was born and was pronounced stillborn. She was wrapped in several layers of sheets and placed in cooling, prior to burial... Five hours later, her mother felt she needed to say goodbye. The father went and brought the baby and unwrapped the sheets. And then she moved. And breathed. And even made a sound.

The baby is currently in the NICU and they are fighting for her life, but hopefully she has a chance.

You can see a picture of the baby here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

How lame can you get?

CNN published this article which they entitled "How to have a baby when it's not so simple". And then they proceed to give 5 easy (and foolproof) steps that instantly guarantee you'll have the baby of your dreams within 9 months. OK, not exactly.

An OPK? How lame is that? How many women who really have difficulty conceiving does that help? I sell OPKs and I always tell women that if they have regular cycles they should just skip it, unless they want to see the LH surge. I believe they only help when a woman has irregular cycles and is known to ovulate (I was one of these women, so - yes, they do exist). Proving to your doctor that you're trying during the right time of the month? If your doctor doesn't believe you, hey, just pull out some peesticks for proof. Why not?

And one other thing that really got to me - this article looks like it was written when I was first going through infertility nearly 18 years ago. Get with it. Ever heard about this new thing known as "the internet"? What about blogs? Websites? Forums?

Is there any piece of advice* that you'd give someone who's just realizing that it's taking too long?

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*I recommend this article: Keeping your marriage together while going through infertility that my mom wrote for FertilityStories when it was still a brand new site. (Thanks again, Mom!)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Miracle Babies

This morning I saw photos and stories of 121 miracle babies on MSNBC.

Then again, all babies are miracles...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Back from BlogHer 08

In addition to having a new blog, I am busy trying to finish my seminar paper before I turn into a pumpkin sometime later this month. I actually finished all the research and am probably past halfway in the writing, but throw 4 kids (including a baby) who are home all day and some pretty bad jetlag into the equation and it's not really that trivial to find a few hours, which is why this blog has been so sorely neglected.

BlogHer was great. San Francisco is just beautiful. I'd never been to the west coast before at all and all I can say is I can't wait to go back. With Ohad, of course. Most of what I did get to see in San Francisco (aside from the conference hotel) was the inside of Old Navy and Ross... The way I got to BlogHer, both this year and last year is that Yedda*, which I've mentioned before, generously sponsored my trip, even though I don't work for them (how cool is that?).

Last year I was the only infertility blogger at BlogHer. This year, I no longer see myself as much as an infertility blogger, but I was ecstatic to see that infertility bloggers have found their place there. (You can see the session below - it is over an hour long, but I found it very interesting.)



I got to meet Pamela Jeanne, Mel, Monica Mingo (who warned me that her blog is "all over the place" - it is), Lori, Dana and others whose names I didn't catch. The fact that such a session was held this year means something to me. I can't even explain why - maybe just the fact that like losing weight, clearing out junk or bento boxes, infertility too is considered a legitimate thing to blog about.

The comment I made during the session had to do with Mel's question as to how to go about building bridges (link to the new blog Mel started about building bridges) between infertile and fertile people. I think I need to understand the purpose of the 'bridge' - is it to increase understanding? Is it to increase sensitivity? Is it to push decisions that will make health care (for infertility) more accessible? And the comment I made was basically, "Don't push people away, don't hate them for being fertile." The other side of it (the fertile side) seems to be awareness - be aware that other women may be trying to conceive unsuccessfully, that seeing your pregnant belly makes them yearn to be in your position, that hearing you complain about stretch marks makes you sound petty... If you experienced infertility - what would you want people to be more sensitive or understanding about? If you haven't experienced infertility, what do you think could help you understand it better?

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*Yedda provides a free, easy-to-install question and answer widget for blogs & websites. They're also donating $10 to an infertility cause for every widget added from the conference link, making them that much cooler.

Friday, July 11, 2008

15 and a half hours and two little boys

Should be fun (I pray). We're leaving tomorrow night for Los Angeles & then I'll be going (with Yirmi) to San Francisco to the BlogHer convention.

Hey, the way home is only 14-1/2 hours...

If you're going to BlogHer, I really want to meet you!

p.s. Feel free to check out my new blog: www.despitemotherhood.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I grew up in a more conventional world

Men having babies? Thomas Beatie is a new father... (or mother? or both?)

Women this age in Oklahoma* are (very) often great-grandmothers...

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*I only mention Oklahoma because it's the last place I lived in the US. In my senior year, I sat next to Janet every day in journalism class... Sometime around April, she came in one morning very clearly pregnant. She'd waited until her 18th birthday to tell her parents. (She misunderstood the law about statutory rape.) She had her baby in June or July - that baby would now be almost 23 years old... My guess is that Janet's already a grandmother.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Knowing the future

This letter I received sums it up pretty well...

I had always thought when I decided I would get pregnant right away because I wanted to be a mother so badly and others have always said, "you will make such a great mother". I have a female partner so donor sperm is essential.I had done 2 IUI's myself and then had assistance with a Fertility center and did 3 more, without success. I also did two IVF cycles was pregnant with one for 3 weeks which felt amazing!! Now I know I can do it!! I went for a second opinion and found out that I have PCOS and the doctor and I decided together to begin a medication which is often used for women with Diabetes. I will try another cycle in 3 weeks or so.....What is the most challenging for me is not knowing if it will ever happen, it would be great to be told 'yes' and the timeline or 'no, I'm sorry but thanks for trying'...


Would you want to know how your story ends up?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Articles...

Juanne Fuller discusses her feelings after discovering she has fibroids.

Interesting article about infertility in Nigeria.

Lastly - an article about hospitals in Great Britain who are denying IVF treatment to smokers.

Socialized medicine in some countries has led to extensive research regarding single embryo transfer - as a way of reducing the incidence of twins and higher-order multiples and along with that, the long-term medical costs that often follow premature birth. It makes sense to me that socialized medicine has different boundaries. What do you think?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Moving on...

When I started this blog, I hoped it would be a way for me to manage the tens of questions I was getting each week from readers of FertilityStories. I kind of got into the blogging, wrote about things that were on my mind, posted infertility news when it came up and wrote about infertility research I'd read. I met more infertility bloggers than I can count, some even in real life :-) and I plan to continue to keep up with all of your stories.

In terms of the questions, Yedda's helped me get them under control and many other people are able to answer them and give a much fuller picture than I ever could on my own.

I'll continue to post here, especially news and the results of my research (if I ever get the OK from the ethics committee), but I've opened a new blog that reflects where I am in my life now much more than this one does. I just don't live and breathe infertility anymore.

Thank you all so much for having been with me. I appreciate all of your comments, ideas and thoughts.

We have a winner!

Congratulations, Anita :-)

And the background, to anyone who was curious, is a passport.

Passports are a frequent topic of conversation around here - we're getting everything together so that I can go to...To anyone else who is going, I'd love to meet up with you! Leave me a comment and I'll be happy to get in touch.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Giveaway #2 - a treat

This week's giveaway is Murano earrings, handmade in Peru.

Last summer, Hadas and I imported jewelry and we participated in a fair (selling jewelry) at the end of the summer. We've still got quite a lot of beautiful things.

To participate, leave a comment by Wednesday saying one of the things that made/makes your 2 week wait more tolerable.

Guess what the background is & get a free Murano bracelet too.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Great news!

Well, there are some people who are hiding great news, but I just read this.

(Actually, Tertia updated the post and now it does reveal the news. Perhaps this is the same news as Karen's, I'm not sure...)

Congratulations!

Or maybe not

No need to vote this week, our winner is Minerva Jane (please send me your address so I can get them out to you).

When I was going for IVF*, I bought myself a present for each cycle - something that I would get to keep even if the cycle failed. Once it was a pocketbook I loved, another time it was a set of sheets... things I didn't really need.

Anyway, from the emails I got, it seems that pregnancy tests aren't the most appealing thing to win, especially since many of my readers don't seem to need them at this time. So... next week it's going to be Murano earrings - handmade in Peru & absolutely beautiful (a picture will appear in the post either tomorrow or on Sunday).

More interesting?

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*Matan and Lilach, my IVF-FET twins are turning 12 tomorrow! Happy birthday!!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Yirmi & the paper towel roll

Yea, a strange name for a post, I know... but you'll soon see why.

Yirmi is soooo cute. Now that he's really close to 3 months, I'm happy to say that I got a baby without colic! I don't think any of the others were as easygoing as he's been so far.

He reaches for objects and laughs!

He loves playing on the mat and sometimes just wants me to put him down so he can play some more.

His outfit is from my ex-SIL who sent over a huge bag of things for him! I love the colors and I think she's pretty cool for being so sweet right after the divorce.

My sister gave me a CD, which I had sitting on the counter and I saw it reflecting the light onto the paper towel roll & got out my camera. (I'm weird, I know.)


OK, time for my weekly dose of Law & Order :-)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Unbelievable Ectopic

If you haven't read this story about an ectopic pregnancy that went to term, do.

The baby went to 38 weeks and was born weighing 6lbs 3oz, despite implanting in her mother's ovary.

Unbelievable!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Giveaway #1

Guess what? A set of 10 pregnancy test strips is up for grabs (shipping included).

Want it? All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Wednesday - include how many tests is the most you use(d) during a single two-week-wait. Also feel free to add why you really want to get them...

On Thursday, I'll put up a poll & let everyone vote for the winner who'll be announced next Sunday.

Good luck!
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Thank you to our sponsor:
YouNeverCall - Free Cell Phones & Cell Phone Deals

Friday, May 30, 2008

Who needs free peesticks?

As part of my search for a new direction for this blog, I have been trying to think of a way to give something to women who are out there and still waiting to conceive... So this is what I've come up with so far - starting this Sunday, each week I'll put up a new blog post announcing a new giveaway. Anyone who wants a chance to get 10 free pregnancy tests can leave a comment by Wednesday.

On Thursday, I'll put up a poll allowing everyone to choose who'll win.

On Sunday (a week after the original post), I'll announce the winner who will get 10 pregnancy test strips sent to her address for free - shipping included, of course. She'll have to contact me to give me her address (though I'll happily send an email, if I have the email address).

I'm allowing sponsorships too - if there's more than one per week, I'll give out that number of sets of free pregnancy tests (see the sponsorship link on the sidebar).

Are OPKs as appealing?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Blog morph

I've on the verge of a blog morph... Any suggestions as to directions I could take this blog would be greatly appreciated.

For now, I leave you with this clip we made for Ohad's birthday, with Abigail singing "Alligators All Around".



I almost forgot - a HUGE congratulations to Aurelia whose baby was born last night after a very scary birth.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blogged down

Or bogged down... whatever...

I've thought about some interesting things I want to write - the use of lipiodol in women with endometriosis, another take on secondary infertility (or maybe infertility in general). But I never quite get to it.

Ohad's birthday, on the other hand, wouldn't wait and... since it's tomorrow and I am out of ideas (as usual) I did this (click the play button to watch it):




I heard about Scrapblog when I was a BlogHer last year and finally tried it. It's not terribly fast or easy to make something like this, but their user interface is fairly intuitive (though some things just didn't work for me) and it does everything I expected it to do and more. If you like these things, it's worth a try - all you have to bring is your own pictures (or hey, download other people's pictures if you want ;-))

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

I think Erin said it perfectly...

I won't be celebrating for two reasons - one is that in Israel they both celebrate sometime in February (I never remember when) and they've switched it to "family day" and the second is that even if there were a Mother's Day in Israel, my kids would definitely forget. They sort-of-remembered-after-being-reminded that my birthday was yesterday... (and even that just means that they said the words "happy birthday").

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In blogosphere news, my mom sent me over to plan-b. For those of you who haven't followed their story (I did, but at some point I stopped reading), they had a really unique surrogacy experience, with a known surrogate who co-blogged with the intended parents. Go check it out :-)

I haven't had a chance to mention Doc Grumbles - she was at the top of my mental list of "most likely to succeed soon" infertility bloggers and is newly pregnant :-)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Happy 60!

Today's Israel's 60th Independence Day.

We just came back from watching the fireworks (I sat in the car holding Yirmi, but I think I had the absolute best view in the whole city). Wow. I love fireworks...

This afternoon, we got everyone together for some pictures, wearing our Israel 60 t-shirts - first just the kids... (yes, even Yirmi had a t-shirt):

just the kids
and then everybody... This is our first family picture with Yirmi :-)

the whole family Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Moaning & groaning

I have the lovely pleasure of meeting with the court social worker & my ex once again today. A new report has been at the top of the news in Israel during the past few days - including the recommendation that mothers not be automatically awarded custody of children under 6 (which has been the standard so far). I am sure that in many cases, this is the right thing, but I can't imagine how much more I would have had to give up if my ex had tried to get custody of my kids and actually had a chance. As it was, I gave up a lot (financially) just to get out. I think that there needs to be some sort of labeling for abusive partners so that their ex-spouses don't have to continue to go through hell with them just because everyone naturally assumes they're decent human beings. I mean, the fact that the social worker thinks it's fine for me to have to have my ex agree to the kids going to the scouts - in writing - before he has to pay for it is insane. He doesn't want to pay for anything, therefore he just won't agree. How smart do you have to be to understand that???


It also made me really mad that my ex showed Lilach a piece of blank paper with the bank's logo on it as 'proof' that he has no money. I think it's really slimy to try to take advantage of the fact that he thinks she's not very smart. (She's much smarter than he thinks. She came home right away to ask me if that really means anything or not. I assured her that it does not.)

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Here are some pictures from yesterday:


Yirmi has a question

Yirmi loves being on this blanket and he bats at things - not deliberately, but it's a start...

Nomi the junk collector
Nomi, holding the license plate Hadas found and plans to put in her new dorm. Check out her orange shoes...


Ohad & Yirmi


Ohad and Yirmi in the garden. I love to see them together :-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Guest Entry - Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act

I was asked to help raise awareness about a petition regarding legislation about postpartum depression & am copy-pasting from the letter I received from Susan Dowd Stone:

I am writing to ask that you post the following link on your websites. It is an online petition to support passage of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act. A companion bill passed in the House of Representatives last fall to a nearly unanimous bipartisan vote! Democratic Senators Obama and Clinton both support this legislation along with Republican Senators including Olympia Snowe of Maine. Please help us gain our target goal of 100,000 signatures for this petition.

After just one week, we have generated 10,000 and the petition will remain active throughout May, during which time it will be marked up for review. This bill calls for research to help determine the etiology and best treatments for perinatal mood disorders which will affect 800,000 women next year... and this figure does NOT include women whose babies are stillborn, miscarriage or other vulnerabilities such as adoptive parents, single parents.. stakeholders for this legislation are anyone who has ever been a mother or a child!!

We Need Your Help Now! We Must Speak Out in Full Support of Postpartum Depression (PPD) Legislation NOW.

Click here to connect and be counted!


Articles & information about PPD after infertility

Review: The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy

The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy
I received a copy of The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy by Erika Lenkert which I offered to review.


In a word: Refreshing.


In a sentence: A colorful, fun, magazine-style book for the pregnant woman and her partner.


Erika Lenkert is a writer who decided to write the pregnancy book that she wanted to read while she was pregnant. The book focuses almost exclusively on the mom and her experience (and not on the baby & its development). It's refreshing in that it's really easy reading, broken up into small chunks; no topic goes on for too long. The design of the book is colorful and appealing, with nice (not cutesy) illustrations and typography (though the font they chose for the book is way-too-small for my eyes, which made me wonder if they were trying to say I'm too old to be reading it). Once I put on my reading glasses, I was drawn into the book and found myself turning the pages eagerly, waiting for the surprise on the next page. In addition to her own experience, Erika had 111 moms fill out a survey and she includes their feedback throughout the book. An OB-GYN reviewed the medical information.


Things I liked (in addition to those already mentioned):


  • Nice sections for the dad-t0-be, including tips on understanding his partner.


  • No avoided topics - sex during pregnancy, hemmorhoids, moodiness - it's all there.


  • Survey results like, "Top 10 Cravings" and "Creepiest Moments".


  • Recipes - e.g., Avocado Cream Pie & Tortilla Soup.


  • Tips about maternity clothes, including the fact that you're likely to be wearing them well after the birth.


  • Links & recommendations for sites, shops & books.

Things I didn't like:



  • Statements like, "It feels like an instant Charlie horse and fortunately goes away rather quickly." (about leg cramps). This seemed to be too much of a generalization based on her own experience. I had terrible-horrible leg cramps in my calf, in the front and the side of my lower leg. I had them going up my entire leg. Sometimes they lasted 10 minutes and longer & were intensely painful. Sometimes I had them in both legs simultaneously. (There were not many of these, just the ones there were really annoyed me. Another example is "Shopping is depressing". I loved buying maternity clothes...)


  • Use of terms like "Leaky Faucet" for urinary leaking and "Scary-olas" for the changes in the areolas. Personally, I prefer grown-up talk...


  • Erika claims to minimize the list of things you need for a new baby and some people might actually want to buy all the things on her list, but trust me, nothing happens if you don't have a changing table, a rocking chair and a bottle sterilizer (to mention just a few). After her introduction, I was disappointed not to find a "bare minimum" list. (I also never used a nasal aspirator and have no clue why you'd need 2.)
Overall, I'd say it's light reading, interesting and informative, with a lively, modern design. The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy is a book a pregnant woman would enjoy having even if she already has a stack of pregnancy books, because it really is different.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

17 trips to the mailbox...

I didn't actually count, but there were many. Just about every 15 minutes, since we were waiting for the letter... And, finally, it arrived.

Hadas was accepted to IASA - Israel Arts & Science Academy!

I'm so happy for her, but it means that in September, she'll be moving to Jerusalem and I already know how much I'll miss her... and, whereas other kids go home every-other-weekend or so, she will only be coming here half of those weekends, because on the others she'll go to her dad's house... Fortunately, he lives nearby (walking distance), so I'm sure I'll get to see her a little on those weekends too. Right?

I'm sure this is an incredible opportunity for her :-) I can't wait to hear about her experiences there.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My oven's an imposter

My oven's temperature gauge is designed like a speedometer. You know how the speedometer goes up to say... 140mph and your car, even with the perfect tires, road & weather conditions could maybe get to 110? My oven claims to go up to 250 (celsius) but if you actually put it on that setting, it heats to a certain point and then blows a fuse (or whatever it is). Fortunately, it revives itself after a while. Anyway, this year I was clever enough not to repeat the mistake of previous years and the oven is behaving nicely. (I just hope it reads my blog and appreciates the fact that I'm writing about it.)

This Passover stuff is just way too stressful. I mean, when else would you bite off someone's head for putting something down on the table? (Maybe when you just ate sandwiches on the table and the 'thing' that someone was holding was a box of matza...) Fortunately, it's almost over. Unfortunately, being a vegetarian makes it a challenge for Ohad. In addition to not eating anything with flour but matza, we also don't eat anything with corn, beans, rice, green beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, etc... so it kind of limits his diet. Even worse is the fact that some people do consider these kosher for Passover, so they're sprinkled in everything. It makes shopping, even in Israel, in a kosher supermarket, a really annoying experience.

For a break (from the cleaning) I got up-to-date with as many blogs as I could... and I stole this from Rachel:


85 words

Speed test

My dad encouraged me to learn touch-typing during the summer between 9th and 10th grade. He was doing a post-doctoral program at Harvard (in ethics) and needed someone to type his papers. He not only paid for the course, he later paid me to type his papers... it was a good deal :-) I think his feeling was that no matter what I did in the future, knowing how to type would always give me something to fall back on. I enjoyed the course so much the first year that I went back and took another course the following summer.

Congrats to Ahuva Batya who just got a piece of GREAT news :-)

And happy Passover to all those who are celebrating!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Can you tell I'm in love?


He may not be the best person to take shopping, but he already likes to play... He seems to have gotten so big so fast - he's just over 5 weeks old(!)
I'm busy trying to prepare for Passover (which I think should be switched to every-other-year or maybe only leap years?) and am especially thankful that I was smart enough to buy an apartment within walking distance of my parents, allowing me to have all the comforts of home yet still celebrate the Seder with them.
Our boiler (is that what they call them in English?) is short-circuiting the house again. This is at least the 6th time since we moved in less than 3 years ago (probably more). At least we also have solar panels that heat the water - otherwise we'd be showering in cold water (yuck!). In Hebrew we call the boiler a "dood", so the dood dude is coming by tomorrow morning to hopefully fix it...
In other news, Hadas is finishing the last part of the process to be accepted to the high school she wants (wanted?) to go to in Jerusalem tomorrow. It meant spending 3 days and 2 nights in the dorms, taking classes and exams and having social activities. She said it's not at all what she expected and she needs to rethink whether she wants to go there or not. I'm cool with whatever she decides... (though I do think it would be an amazing opportunity for her if she did get in and chose to go there).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I think he likes having a little brother

Today I spent the day with my two boys :-)




Matan certainly waited long enough to finally have a little brother. I think he's pretty happy about it :-)




Thursday, April 10, 2008

When it rains...

It actually doesn't rain here much during this season. In fact, it won't rain much until October. We may get another rainy day here or there even as late as June, but the summer here is day after day of hot, rainless weather (I'd say dry, but it does get pretty humid, making the heat even less bearable). But, actually, that wasn't what I was talking about anyway...

Ohad sent me an SMS last night saying "You won't believe what I won." (I knew he was at the Microsoft party.) My best guess was the 4GB disk-on-key he was planning to buy when he got home (just because when my mom had 'wished for' an IPOD, she won one at a conference she was at). It turned out Ohad had won the top prize at a Microsoft party (at the CHI2008 conference he's at in Florence) - an xbox 360! Needless to say, the kids are pretty excited. I wasn't planning to tell them, but Matan guessed too well - it was his 2nd guess (after a laptop), so I gave in and told them...

And then, at 3:17, after having hit the refresh button about 493 times in the past 4 days, I got the email that was sent at 3:14 saying that Ohad's other paper (one was rejected) was accepted for the conference in Amsterdam. I was so excited that I jumped just as high as Matan had when he heard about the xbox :-)

Ohad's on his way home & that is the best news of all.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tidbits

One of Ohad's papers was rejected and we still haven't gotten news about the second one... I actually wrote them to ask what is happening with the answer and they said it would take another few days (they were 2 different types of papers, so maybe that's why the answers are on different days). We have already been to Amsterdam together once (on our 'family honeymoon' in summer 2004) & I'm sure we'll go again someday, even if it isn't this year.


My MIL is upset that I told her it isn't convenient for her to come over in the middle of the day tomorrow when I'm alone with 6 kids, all of whom have a variety of things I need to do for them, including helping them prepare for a show they're appearing in in the evening. She may also have forgotten the fact that in addition to caring for my kids during the day, I'm not sleeping that much (combine night feedings with night sweats - not great). I felt it would just be too much chaos... She told me that I'm "keeping her from seeing her grandchildren..." I offered Friday (once Ohad comes back) but they only want to come here on the train (and not drive), so that wouldn't allow them to stay long enough. It's not like they didn't know I was pregnant when they booked their trip to China that left 10 days after Yirmi was born...

Yirmi is up 2lbs from his birthweight. He nurses so well that I haven't been worried at all.





Ohad is up in Giotto's bell tower now. I have to admit - I'm not even jealous, I'm just looking forward to seeing the pictures when he gets home.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ten things you might not know about me

I sing. I even took voice lessons for a while. My teacher thought I should sing opera, which I was willing to try, but never did. I am too shy to sing in front of anyone but Ohad & the kids, so you'll probably never hear me unless you stand outside my window.

At the world premiere of the movie Genocide (1981 or 1982), I was responsible for being with former US President, Jimmy Carter, while we waited for everything to be ready. I spent 15 or 20 minutes with him during which I asked several questions including whether he got bored of attending events like that. He replied that he really didn't mind. I was also part of a choir who met Menachem Begin in Plains, Georgia , when he came to meet with former President Jimmy Carter. I think we sang mostly in Hebrew...

I love spoons. I don't have that many, but I buy any interesting one I can find. I like to use all different spoons to serve with. I also have some long spoons and espresso spoons (at least that's what I call them). The most expensive one cost about $7.50 and has a pewter handle.

I was fascinated by the whole pregnancy-baby thing even as a child. My mom taught Lamaze classes and I loved looking at her materials. During the summer when I was 12, I did over 100 hours of volunteer work in the newborn nursery at the Army hospital in Fort Benning, Georgia - including things like dressing babies for the first time, changing diapers, wheeling thembabies to their mommies and encouraging them to breastfeed.

I once wrote a book that was published. It was about graphics software on PCs and although it's terribly outdated, the distinction between vector and bitmaps (which was the main point of the book) is still relevant. I even happened to be at a book fair once and saw my book at one of the stands (I took a picture).

My best friend from my childhood got addicted to drugs while we were still in high school. I only found out a few years later, because I moved to Israel after graduating early and we lost touch. She went through lots of bad stuff, spent some time in jail and, the last time I saw her she didn't even remind me of who she had been. We were best friends from the time I was about 7 or 8 & it was really hard for me to realize I had lost her as a friend forever.

I used to be addicted to coca cola. I would often drink 2 liters a day. I have now replaced that addiction with one to soda water (no calories, no caffeine...)

I used to be able to eat anything without gaining weight. Until I was about 20, people used to think I was anorexic. I didn't even realize I was thin... When I got married in 1989, I weighed 95lbs. I think I never knew I was thin because I always had to buy large sizes because I'm wide-boned. Even at 95lbs I couldn't wear size 6.

I confuse my kids' names all the time. It's not that I don't remember who they are, it's just that when I call them, the wrong name always comes out. Sometimes several times. Sometimes I accidentally call Matan "Ohad" or "Akiva" (my youngest brother). In addition, I have a terrible memory for both names and faces. Unless I know someone well, I find it hard to recognize them. This is particularly embarrassing when people clearly remember me and I have no clue who they are... This happens often.

I hate planning meals. I would rather clean toilets than plan meals. Before Ohad left for Florence (which I keep wanting to call Venice - I can't even keep my cities straight), we made a list of a bunch of different meals that I can prepare while he's away. If we hadn't, I'm not sure he'd have gotten on the plane (evil grin).

-----
We should find out today if Ohad's paper was accepted for the conference in Amsterdam. If it is accepted, we're going to try to work it out so I can join him (with Yirmi, of course). The only problem is that it's right at the beginning of the school year... on the other hand, the older kids can just be with their father for a few days.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Four tests

And she got through all of them OK :-)

Nomi's no longer allergic to milk!

(Which leaves only eggs, sesame seeds, all nuts (especially almonds), bananas, kiwi & possibly mango...)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A bad combination

On Monday, I gave Nomi a little milk to drink and watched to see if she'd have a reaction (to date, her only reaction to milk was during the previous oral challenge, at the hospital. Then, after nearly 3 hours she started to sneeze & her eyes started watering. On Monday, she seemed to rub her eyes a bit after 3 hours, but it wasn't clear if it was because she was tired or because of the milk.

Yesterday, again I gave her some milk. She was fine for the first 2 hours and then she started screaming uncontrollably (this is unfortunately far from the first time she's had such a fit). Nothing we did would calm her down. I was worried that it might be an allergic reaction, so I gave her her antihistamine. It didn't help. Finally, after about an hour and a half, Ohad took her out & she was calm the whole time (over an hour), but soon after they got back she started screaming again. This time, Ohad was able to get her to answer when he asked if something hurt. She pointed to her left ear. We put in some drops & gave her paracetamol and she calmed down. This morning, when she woke up, her hair was glued to her ear. The doctor confirmed that she has a perforated eardrum... She said that usually it just heals itself & told us what to do in the meantime.

Hey, at least it wasn't the milk. Maybe she's really no longer allergic...

Lesson of the week: some things really are coincidences.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pictures of our little Yirmi

Right after Yirmi was born, they placed him on me. In this picture, his umbilical cord was still attached. He gave a good, reassuring cry :-)


About 15 minutes after the birth - Ohad & I were pretty happy. It's unbelievable how quickly the pain subsides.


Ohad had plenty of time to snuggle with our little boy when we waited to get the OK to go home. We were terribly disappointed when they made us stay another day because his bilirubin was a little high.


Here's a close-up.




We played a special song for Yirmi before we started to get him dressed to go home. How many babies do you know who have an MP4 in their bassinet?




Getting ready to go home. I had bought a set of clothing when I was in the US (it was actually intended for someone else, but I ended up getting them something else because I couldn't part with it...) I love this outfit... (You can actually see the outfit in the next few pictures - the blanket came with it.)




We came into Abigail's nursery school with Yirmi to pick her up, on the way home from the hospital. She was pretty excited. When we got home, she got a chance to hold him.



Here he is in his playpen, looking fairly angelic, if you ask me...



When Nomi came home, she got to hold him too. Both Nomi and Abigail really enjoy holding him when they're lying on my bed, flat on their backs.



Today is our 4th anniversary. Who would have believed we could be so lucky?




We took Yirmi to be weighed today. He's up 4 ounces from his birthweight, so he now weighs 8lbs, 9oz.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Our baby has a name!

Today was the brit (circumcision)... we spent the entire week making preparations for the weekend, since we had to arrange meals for Shabbat. Tonight, we both feel totally wiped out...

Ah, the name. We had so many different criteria for the name that they just about eliminated all the names in the planet. Fortunately, kind of last-minute, we were able to find a name that seemed to fit our baby. We'll be calling him Yirmi and his full name is Yirmyahu Yaakov (I guess that would theoretically be Jeremiah Jacob in English :-)) Yaakov was Ohad's grandfather's name. The older girls (Hadas & Lilach) were kind of in shock at first - Lilach even came to me crying that she doesn't like the name... but it will grow on them, I'm sure. Ohad and I both like the idea of less-common names... (although I saw recently that Abigail is really popular in the US - here it's fairly rare).

Yirmi is sleeping really well, waking up just once at night & then going back to sleep for another few hours. He's also nursing very well - much better than either Abigail or Nomi did at the beginning. I saw Ohad's nephew today who isn't even 5 months old yet and he's HUGE. Yirmi's so perfect just the way he is. I can't believe he's going to change so much in such a short time...

Monday, March 10, 2008

In brief...

First, a quick correction - the previous post was supposed to read "surprisingly short", not "amazingly short", but Leah didn't have a chance to write what I said...

Some time around 4 or 4:30am I realized that I was having contractions, though I was kind of out of it, you know... sleeping & all... so I wasn't sure they were the labor type of contractions. I timed the next 2 and they were 13 minutes apart, so I flipped over onto my right side, fairly sure that they'd stop. The next one came 6 minutes later & they were pretty regular after that. Ohad couldn't fall asleep and by around 5:30 he said he was going to start getting ready to go. I wasn't at all sure that I was in labor, but it didn't sound totally unreasonable either... By the time he came out of the shower, the contractions were coming faster - about 3 minutes apart. Between them I still felt OK and was even still wondering whether I was really in labor. At 6 I knew that it was indeed labor. I came downstairs and told Ohad we'd wait until between contractions to head to the car, but the contractions were so close that it took a few before we actually were able to get out the door & then another 2 on the way to the car. I was still doing great the whole way to the hospital, although it was getting more painful & there was no time to rest between them. We asked the security guard to let us use an emergency elevator (it's a religious hospital, so the regular elevator stops on every floor, which was just not going to cut it for me since the delivery room is on the 9th floor) and got to the 9th floor at 6:40.

I went in, answered the questions, peed in a cup & was checked by a midwife who said I was at 5cm. She asked if I wanted an epidural. I said I did, but that I didn't believe they'd manage in time. Shortly thereafter I walked to the delivery room. They put in the IV & started getting the bed ready for the birth, introduced the midwife, got me some nitrous (laughing gas) and I was at 8cm. A few contractions later, I started feeling pressure & told the midwife that. She said I wasn't ready (without checking) and I told her that it's too bad, because in the next contraction or two I was GOING TO PUSH... The next contraction I did start pushing (she did give the OK) and it took quite a few pushes to get the head out (I was afraid it was going to take too long, so I just kept on pushing even when I wasn't having a contraction) - it was only about 2 minutes, but a whole lot of pushes. Meanwhile, the midwife was killing me, trying to prevent tearing because she thought the baby was much bigger than he was... I actually yelled to her that she was hurting me. After the head was out, they needed to suction the baby, since the amniotic fluid had meconium in it (which apparently is really common when you're as overdue as I was) & so I was told not to push for a while. Ohad and I both think that I didn't actually push the body out... The baby cried really quickly - I don't think any of my other babies cried so soon after they were born & it was amazing, because I knew right away that he was OK. I instantly felt much better, but since the midwife had been so aggressive, I was in a lot more pain than I had been in any of my previous births, so I hung on to the nitrous for a few more minutes. The midwife gave me the pitocin shot and waited a while to gently pull out the placenta. It was a cool sensation. I got to see the placenta & it was enormous...

In between, I was holding the baby, thinking how incredible it was to have the delivery behind us and to know that our baby was OK :-)

OK, Ohad is waiting upstairs with the baby who is nursing really well but ALL THE TIME, so I better go.

Thank you all for your wishes!!!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

It's a Boy!

This is Rachel's sister Leah writing to tell you all that Rachel gave birth to a baby boy on Saturday morning around 7:30am.

She had an amazingly short (about 3.5 hours), but intense, labor.

Baby Boy Inbar weighed in at 3.77 kilograms. Mom and baby are doing great.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Never Ending Pregnancy...

So, this morning we showed up at the hospital, just like the doctors told us to. Just one problem. I'm not 42 full weeks until tomorrow, so I'm low priority & since there were too many women ahead of me in line, they told me that they wouldn't be able to induce until after the Sabbath (at least). The doctor recommended I stay somewhere with better food and a more comfortable bed (i.e. go home) and come back again tomorrow night. She believes that they will induce within 2 days...

Fortunately, I hadn't gotten my hopes up and it really IS more pleasant to be home for Shabbat, so here I am.

I made it to 41w6d. I may yet get to my 43rd week...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Your eyes do not deceive you

I'm still here. The best they can 'promise' is that they will hospitalize me from tomorrow & fit me in as soon as there's a free room...

In less than 3 hours I will be at 41w6d. As Big Nutbrown Hare said (in Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney), "Oh, that's far. That's very, very far."

Really bad news just in: because of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, the hospital needs to use all its resources to take care of the victims. They had told us to call this evening to see if there was a chance they could take us & the midwife just told Ohad that now there's no way... (and don't misunderstand me - this is bad news in terms of the victims, their families & Israel. I'll be fine...)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Change in plans...

Here's one family that had a major change in plans. Imagine IVF triplets after transferring a single embryo(!)

We also have a change in plans. The induction is off for tomorrow. The hospital said it's too soon...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I think I missed the target...

I had said March 3rd, but I guess not... (cross out March 4th as well).

If UI is born on the 6th, that will be the day I was due with Abigail (who was born on the 14th).

Anyone want to revise their estimate?

We have a verdict!

Today, not only did Ohad come with me to my 'excursion' (post-date monitoring) but we had the nicest doctor, who actually sat with us for a long time and told us what wonderful prizes are hiding behind doors number 1 and 2.

Behind door number 1 is the option to go to the hospital now to be evaluated (i.e. repeat all the tests I did this morning). This would probably lead to being sent home with a big "NOT IN LABOR" stamp on my file, after wasting several hours driving back and forth and doing the testing.

Behind door number 2 is the option to continue being way-too-patient (don't know where I got that from) and see if anything happens by Thursday. If so, cool. If not, come in for tests again Thursday morning & then be sent to the hospital, where they will decide when they feel like inducing (but apparently they don't usually wait more than a few days). Waiting for induction last time wasn't the best thing, because it meant that at home things got out of control. Hopefully, since no sibling of mine is getting married within the next week (my sister got married 2 days after Nomi was born & so things were pretty crazy) my parents will be able to help us avoid that situation. I have plans about farming out my kids (but haven't talked to my siblings about it yet), so we'll have to see.

I think I'm choosing door 2. Ohad might have opted for 1, but I was kind of psyching myself up for having a few hours of labor at home so that I could get to the hospital with some sort of dilation...

So, Thursday's the day we head for the hospital. Ubar Inbar will hopefully join us by Sunday or Monday...

Monday, March 03, 2008

41 week pic

Hey, not everyone is willing to have their picture taken at this stage of pregnancy (and not everyone is lucky enough to be as overdue as me...) In the background are Nomi & Abigail (eating dinner) and Hadas, squinting...


Keeping busy

Well, it's not as if I could ever run out of things to do...

Hadas checked out a book for me from the library, but it turned out to be a historical romance. History & I don't get along too well, so she suggested that I actually go to the library myself and choose a book... How come I couldn't think of that? So, I went to the library & even chose 2 books that I hope are light enough reading for me when my brain is functioning a bit like a computer with too little RAM.

Before that, I went to the bank, to the supermarket & to the dollar store (which, since the dollar has fallen, has become more like $1.50). I got Abigail and Nomi a furry pink boa and clip-on earrings to play with (Purim, our dress-up holiday, is in 2-1/2 weeks) and a Finding Nemo tablecloth (since Abigail's birthday is next Friday) and notebook paper for the big kids (I'm sure they'll be thrilled). I keep reminding myself that I should enjoy this time when everything is so easy.

At the library, I sent Hadas an SMS telling her to call me before she got on the bus & then I drove to pick her up from school (saving her close to an hour, because the bus has the stupidest-route-ever). It's kind of weird, because she goes to school outside of the city, but it's only about an 8-minute-drive from our house. By bus it's over an hour, but the bus is so cheap (less than 50 cents) that it doesn't make any sense to drive out there.

Maybe tomorrow I will find out when they might actually send me to be induced, though it seems like they don't really like to share that information... I remember this from previous pregnancies in which I was overdue. Is that one of the things they learn in medical school? Keep the overdue woman in suspense???

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Infertility at a time like this?

"Barren Karen" posted an interesting question that I've thought about myself numerous times. Although she didn't put it this way, this is what I see as the main issue: At what point do you stop being a member of the club, if ever?

Is it at all legitimate for a woman who's currently overdue with her 6th child to hang around infertility blogs as if she has something to contribute?

I spent years trying to get pregnant with Hadas. 8 months into my first marriage, 2 months before I turned 21, I went off the pill and hoped to become pregnant. My period was irregular, so the two-week-wait was often a 4-week-wait, ending always in the same disappointment. I was so convinced that everything was OK that it was only 14 months later that I made my first appointment. And then the tests began. And treatments. There was no internet, no support groups, and no one who really had any idea what I was going through. I went for IUI after IUI and then for IVF. And another IVF. On the 2nd IVF I got lucky. My beta was 2500 at 19dpt (that was the earliest they tested back then, because they gave hCG shots as late as day 8). One (much older) friend had told me that bleeding is common in IVF pregnancies. It didn't really help me not to freak out when I started gushing blood right around 6 weeks... but she was right, everything was OK & I carried Hadas to 42 weeks, when finally I was induced.

I was 24-1/2 when Hadas was born & my chances of getting pregnant hadn't changed. I didn't want her to be an only child and went through 2 more fresh & 1 frozen cycle (which took nearly 18 months) before I became pregnant again. Matan (b) and Lilach (g) were born just after my 27th birthday.

So, I was young and I had 2 healthy pregnancies and 3 healthy kids. How could infertility still possibly affect me?

Well, even with 3 kids in the house & even though their care fell almost entirely on me, from the time M&L were about 6 months old, I felt someone was still missing. The feeling was so strong that no matter what I did, I couldn't shake it. Some months I would fantasize that a miracle happened and that I'd be pregnant. I would try to calculate the odds again and again, but more than 60 cycles later, it still hadn't happened.

I did go back for another IVF cycle. I conceived on the first try, but had a really bad pregnancy that ended around 13 weeks. From the time I started TTC until that miscarriage, 12 years had passed. Twelve years of looking at other people and trying to convince myself that pregnancy-by-sex was not just a myth... years of knowing how fortunate I was to have had successes, but still feeling sad at the loss of a dream. At my inability to determine if/when I would have a child (or another child).

Does what happened after that erase the past? In some ways, it does. I look at pregnant women with a big smile on my face. Seeing mommies with little kids is the most natural thing in the world for me. Any jealousy that I had or difficulty going to birth parties (we don't have baby showers in Israel) is completely gone. I can even honestly say that after, with G-d's help, our baby is born healthy, my family will be complete, that I've 'done the pregnancy thing' and 'the breastfeeding thing' and the 'being a mommy to a baby' thing. I look at my kids and think how lucky they are to have each other and each one is an incredible blessing...

What will stay with me forever is the understanding of what it is like to go through infertility. The uncertainty, the fear of never succeeding, the frustration, the anger, the jealousy... I've also gained experience and knowledge during these years, so although my family may be almost* complete, I hope that I will be able to provide support and information for others who are still at the beginning, with the hopes that they will be writing a similar post someday. And, because I am free of any of the negative emotions that infertility carries with it, I have the luxury of always being purely happy to read other people's good news.

So, in answer to the question... you stay part of the club as long as you have something to contribute to the infertile community. I believe I still do.

---
*BTW "any day now" is getting kind of old, since people have been telling me that since late January... Note that I'm actually getting FARTHER from my due date every day.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Week 2 out of 2?

I really don't want to break my own record, which was 2 full weeks past my due date.

I know I'm fortunate not to be scared of induction (hey, I've survived it twice... and with Nomi, it was my most relaxed labor ever), but the idea of having a chance to labor at home appeals to me (as long as the little girls aren't here/awake). With Abigail I was still sleeping between contractions until about 90 minutes before she was born...

Whatever... as long as the baby is healthy :-)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Got the cake...

Fortunately, there's not that much of it & I'm pretty good about sharing.

I already look like Humpty Dumpty, so what's a few hundred extra calories?

Have a nice weekend :-)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Peaceful weekend ahead?

It's getting a little old - the monitor > blood pressure > urine test > ultrasound > doctor thing... Obviously I appreciate the necessity, but it takes too long and there's not really any fun part (except perhaps for an excuse to leave the house?).

No news. No contractions. I know some women go into labor spontaneously, but I'm not counting on it. Instead, I'm wondering where the best place to buy the cake I'm craving is...

Ah, I did get some news from the doctor today. He said that they might send me for induction as early as next Thursday (i.e., a week) but that the hospital might choose not to induce for up to a week after that(!) Nah, they couldn't really do that to me, could they?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My last 2 week wait ever...

OK, so I realize that that's actually what this is - another 2ww. For some, it's equally stressful & full of anticipation... So far, I'm cool... I'm kind of happy that it could (theoretically) happen any time and equally freaked by the fact that it could (theoretically) happen any time... The next few days are inconvenient because the big kids are with their dad this Shabbat and the little girls would feel most comfortable with them... so, from Sunday is better (unless I could have a 'speedy delivery' & be out of the hospital by Friday afternoon - note that it's already Wednesday night here, so that's highly unlikely).

This morning I walked Abigail to her nursery school & then came home & made cream of wheat, worked for a while & then took a long nap. I only came downstairs after Ohad came home & then he took me to get a steak bagette (yum!). [Note: Napping in the middle of the day is a rare treat.]

Abigail drove us insane this evening, coming out of her bed an incredible number of times... I am so happy it is finally quiet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A bit of nerve...

Got this in my inbox this morning (from one of the pregnancy update sites):

Congratulations, Mom! So how do you feel? I hope your labor and delivery were better than you had expected and you're recovering comfortably.

Of course it goes on and tells me all about my new baby... Well... Gee, thanks for making me feel like I'm the first woman in the world to ever go past my due date. And if the baby really were born by now, do you think I'd really have time to read your email???

Post #202

I got practically no work done yesterday, which wasn't great, because I still have quite a few things to do (which I plan to start as soon as I finish this post).

UI is squirming around, moving a ton. Last night it was about 90 minutes straight and I was beginning to feel seasick from all the kicks into my stomach...

I'm almost finished with Bridge to Terabithia, which is a children's book (making it something I might actually get through). Most of the book was similar to something I often imagine - about meeting Ohad when we were both children (we're 13 days apart) and sharing that innocent bond of friendship that develops into the purest form of love... It's so easy for me to picture us together as kids and to know that we would have been best friends, because we understand each other so well... I still haven't finished the book, but the ending is going to be very different from how I would have written it...

Last night I talked to Ohad about the ambivalent feelings I have (not about the baby, but about labor). I mean, now that it's fairly close (less than 2 weeks away) there are two sides to it - one is the totally unknown experience of labor - what it will be like, how it will begin, etc. & the other is the excitement of knowing that the baby is about to be born. Although I'm fairly hopeful that I'll get through the labor OK, I wonder what the rush is... Apparently, assuming all is well, there are no advantages to having the baby before 42 weeks, in terms of the baby's health. Maybe it's not too bad an idea to just wait it out.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Next appointment Thursday

OK, I knew that before I went today, but I don't really have a title for today's post.

I guess I was feeling fairly chatty today because I forced the nurse to listen to my entire life's history (OK, only the fact that I'd already done the overdue thing twice and that I don't really love the fetal monitor, but that I did appreciate the recliner & had even blogged about it)... I wonder if this had anything to do with her wishing me luck in NOT coming back on Thursday...

The ultrasound tech must have enjoyed doing the ultrasound, because she went over everything repeatedly (placenta, amniotic fluid, heart, baby moving, position of the head). I didn't really get it - did she think it was going to flip? I mean, it was weird when she told me that the head was down the second time, but the fifth time I was starting to wonder whether I was imagining it (I wasn't). Maybe she was just bored or something...

Since this post is deadly boring already, I'll add the fact that we found a way to keep the cat out of Abigail's bed. We took a thin mattress that's a little over a meter high & we blocked the doorway with it. It's perfect because it's easy to set up (takes about 10 seconds) and Abigail can still get out of her room on her own within a few seconds. (Nomi's in the crib, so she's stuck in any case.) Until we solved this, Abigail was waking us up sometimes 4 or 5 times a night because the cat was bothering her.

The kids are getting a bit antsy about the birth, especially Lilach and Abigail. At least they finally remember to take their cell phones with them...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Results are in...

OK, so perhaps not too many people are willing to risk this, but for the brave ones who did - thanks! Here are the results:

Note: I am still pregnant. This is just a preparatory drill, for when UI actually makes his/her appearance.

First, Anita - sorry, I couldn’t work your answers in, it was too complicated...

From Kirby at WhatToExpect:
We’re thankful to announce the birth of our new baby {Kirby's keeping it a secret, I guess} on March 3, 2008.

After 23 of hours in the hospital and a 72 hour labor, most of which was tolerable, Rachel decided an epidural was a passing fancy. Her most memorable comment was, “Wow, that was close!”
The baby weighed 8 lbs and 12 ounces and, as is the standard in Israel and Iran, was not measured.

From Rona (aka Eema or IcNIc) at DrSavta:
We’re thankful to announce the birth of our new baby boy on March 1, 2008.
After 5 of hours in the hospital and a 127 hour labor, most of which was tolerable, Rachel decided an epidural was important. Her most memorable comment was, “Oh my G-d!”

The baby weighed 6 lbs and 3 ounces and, as is the standard in Israel and Iraq, was not measured.

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In other news, we were right - Nomi has a mild ear infection in one ear and can go back to her day care tomorrow. Ohad is kind of under the weather too :-(

Matan is going to Mount Hermon tomorrow to see some snow and go sledding. Lilach has a field trip and Hadas is going to school (for a change). Ohad is going to Be'er Sheva and I may actually get some work done (today was crazy, not a minute to do anything, even check my email).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

4 that did, 4 that didn't

Four things that did happen since noon on Friday:
1) We discovered that Nomi had a fever. We think she has an ear infection (or two).
2) We saw Carmit (our turtle) in the garden several times (she's been hiding out for a few months, so it's considered a treat to see her again).
3) We picked about 20lbs of lemons off our tree (before Shabbat, of course).
4) I finished the book I was reading (The Brethren, OK, not great).

Four things that didn't happen:
1) I didn't leave any chopped liver as leftovers (we bought a really small amount & it's full of iron, right?)
2) I didn't leave the house (except to go into the garden and say hi to my parents, who walk by the back of our house on the way home from synagogue on Saturday mornings).
3) I didn't wash the floor (Ohad did & he did a great job!)
4) I didn't have even a single contraction...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mad-lib

It's a do-it-yourself birth announcement... Here are the fields:

Month & date – any time Feb 23 to March 9
Level of necessity (e.g., critical)
What you say when you nearly get hit by a truck
A country you are unlikely to travel to
Expression of happiness or gratitude
Level of pain (e.g., not very)
Gender (boy or girl)
and 4 numbers:
  • 1: from 1 to 16
  • 2: from 1 to 24
  • 3: from 6 to 8
  • 4: any number

Please post your words in the comments. I will post the other part, complete with your answers, probably on Sunday...

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In other news, today's monitor & u/s went well, with the baby being relatively small (just over 3.5kg) and a little bit too much amniotic fluid (though they don't suspect GD & last week there was a little too little fluid). The Women's Center got new nifty recliners, which made the monitor so much less unpleasant. I actually sat and read the entire time. (They also got a new electronic blood pressure machine, which I think gives far more objective readings - mine was 110/70.) The doc on call didn't say what I wanted to hear (i.e., it could happen...) but rather said something to the effect of, "your baby is probably happy to hang around for as long as possible. We might consider stripping your membranes sometime around March 6th...") I finished there, went shopping for some last-minute stuff (pita, cucumbers, milk, etc.) & was still able to pick Nomi up on time. I get to go back again on Monday...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Did I forget to blog?

In all the, ahem, excitement around here, I must have forgotten to blog today...

Well. The only news is that there's no news. Tomorrow I go in for my first 'post-date' checkup. It's a real drag, but the best way to make sure that everything continues to be OK. First it's half an hour on the monitor (have I mentioned how much I hate the fetal monitor?) and then an ultrasound (mostly to check the placenta, I believe). After that, I probably get to wait for whatever doctor happens to be around so that he can send me home and tell me to come back sometime next week. Sounds fun, huh?

I've got a great idea for tomorrow, I just need a little time to put it together :-)

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BTW, anyone who makes fun of women who go past their due date should be warned: In your next life (or perhaps even several lives), you will be a female elephant.