Monday, October 29

In Control

So before I blinked the weekend was over. They call it the 'weekend', but it so isn't. The first day of the week is Sunday here, as in the bible, :....and on the first day G-d created.....", G-d worked on the first day of the week and so therefore, so will the Chosen People of Israel. Some people don't work on Fridays', but there is still school, so there is still the schlepping to and from, no rest for the Mommies! School ends at 1-ish, and then it is home, afternoon sleep, and then Shabbat dinner, which for us, generally is at Uri's parents. Shabbat is over before it even starts, and then we jump into another week. The weeks are really long here.

I am having a personal dilemma, I am living in Israel, surrounded by 6 million Jews, yet somehow I don't feel Jewish. Being a convert, I studied long and hard for two full years, and committed myself to being a good Jewess, raising my children Jewish and maintaining a Jewish home and all that entails. I felt more Jewish in the Diaspora, the struggle to keep a kosher home, finding kosher products, sending my children to a Jewish Day-school, attending Shul and of course keeping the laws of 'Taharat Hamishpacha'. Here, in the Holy Land, most products ARE kosher, you don't have to scrutinise every packaged item for that sometimes all elusive Hechsher, all the Schools ARE Jewish, there are a million Shuls and of course a million Mikveh's. I just don't FEEL Jewish here.

In South Africa, we were all a part of this Exclusive Club, we were Jewish. We were special, because we were the minority; here 'we' are the majority. Anyway on this note, I am feeling an ever increasing need to do more. To save my little Jewish soul before it is totally sucked up into this vacuum of Israel. I am toying with the idea of trying to observe Shabbat a bit more, it is just something that has to be taken on wholly, no grey areas. If you commit to doing 'it' it has to be a full commitment. And, ofcourse I have a husband who might not be so happy with this little brainwave of mine. When he is not here on Shabbat, the tv does not go on, but when he is here, it may just be a bit unfair of me to impose my issues on him. As the mother and cook, I have always kept a kosher kitchen, that has always been the easy part for me. Its' just my soul I am worried about. My conversion teacher told me that as a Jewish person you always need to be trying to improve yourself, either through 'learning' or 'doing'. I just have to figure out exactly which area of my life I am willing to change.

We got a letter from the children's' school yesterday, just a standard update letter, one of the things that they have initiated on Fridays before the Shabbat ring, is they read a Bible story. I had complained at the parent-teacher meeting that I felt there should be more 'Jewish identity' impressed on the children. The other mothers looked at me like I was from another Solar System, the people here on the Moshav are all very average Israelis, probably don't care about Kashrut or even Jewish identity for that matter. They are Israeli, Jewish, fact. Nothing to really fight for, just a fact. I am not sure where I will find my balance here, one that still makes me feel my special Jewishness.

Friday nights at Uri's parents generally follow the same procedure, same food, same people, same rushing to watch tv after dinner, same quieting the children for making too much noise. Don't get me wrong, I love the people - Uri's elder brother and two sisters along with their families. Family, that is what Shabbat is all about, and now we have it. We never had it before, in Johannesburg it was friends every Friday night. Wonderful, wonderful memories of massive Friday night dinners', with loads of noise, children screaming and running around. Just chaos. I miss that so much. The food, lots of it and varied. The people, friends, the mad, unpredictable, crazy and special friends. Ofcourse, always some stray Israeli needing to be with other Jews for a Friday night. A common ground. The children, fighting, laughing, screaming, crying, no-one quieting any of them. Conversation, lots of it, shouting, fist-waving. Wonderful passionate Friday nights. I have tried here a few times, to find my little niche. Because there is no Sunday to invite friends over, and most people spend Friday nights with family, you have to try and find other options. So Friday lunch braai's seemed to have worked really well, lots of friends and good times. No tv and children being children.

So this past Shabbat, in the morning we went to a birthday party for a child from Noam's class, it was on the Moshav, so we could walk. It was one of my first parties from her class, I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I don't really know any of the other Mothers from her class. Reason being she does not have arrangements yet, and I don't encourage it, I do not have the energy for the friends her age, ie 3 yrs old. Adam's age, 4 and a half is so much easier, they just get on with it mostly, they play, they run, they ride bikes, they don't need me to entertain them. Noam's' age is much harder work. I need to entertain, and distract when they start crying for "Imaaaaa...". Not for me! So this is the main reason that I am not really on first-name-terms with these Moms. So the party was sweet, spoke to quite a few people, figured out who was who, quite surprised that there is quite a little "Kugel' element among some of them. Too much Hebrew. I met one or two really nice mothers, very relaxed, warm, casual. I am definitely steering away from any 'kugel' element. No thank you. So party over with, back home, children slept, and then in the evening I braaied for the three of us, again. Somewhere between braaing and eating, I was just all of a sudden totally and utterly overcome by this feeling of absolute loneliness. No-one to call and just talk shit to, no-one 5 minutes away to go for a quick coffee with, no five thousand phone calls to my mother every day, or to my friends just to say 'hi' because you can. No husband. Just no-one. It is a horrible feeling, I generally maintain this upbeat positive fool-myself outlook. "I am getting by, therefore I am fine" kind-of feeling. But I know I am not fine, and it is hard to acknowledge it, I let this self-pity take over for all of however long, and then it is back to smiley-faces and giggles and tickles. I cannot let my children see that I am not in control. They need to think that Mommy has it 'all figured out'. But I don't. There is a difference between "sitting at a outdoor cafe' with your newspaper having breakfast-for-one" because you want to; and between having no choice. Everybody works here, there are no quick Fego-Freezochino's on a whim, or last-minute lunches at Tasha's. They work. With each new person I meet, usually comes the question "So what do you do", Um ..... nothing, I guess. or "When are you going to start working", Um ..... never, hopefully. Here everyone works, families need those two incomes. Living is expensive, Land is expensive.

Fortunately I don't have to work, and my life is good. Today I took the children to school and came home and gardened for a few hours, it was so fulfilling, in my pre-Israel life I was the Co-ordinator, now I am the Do-er. I ripped up some bean-creeper-thing that had taken on an entire fence, and was winning. It lost against me! And then I planted a whole lot of flowers, my first in Israel. Taking each seedling out of its little tray, roots bursting to get out and root themselves, I saw me mirrored in them, I am also bursting to get out. Let me also root! Let me root in this land with these people.

Adam says good bye to Uri and just gets on with the business of being Adam, he has the maddest social life I have ever seen. He has arrangements with friends almost every day, not one, but sometimes, two or three. He makes the arrangements himself, either he is at friends or they are here. He has this new-found confidence here, he will walk up to a child's' mother who he does not know, and just say 'Can I come and play at your house today?' And they are varied friends, which I just love, not one 'best' friend, but a whole lot, and different ones all the time. His Hebrew is at exactly the same level as the other children, he helps me with words I don't understand. He is even dreaming in Hebrew now, last night he had a 2 minute conversation with someone, all in his sleep, and in Hebrew. The rule is at home, and with Mommy, we speak English, not negotiable. Adam needs a bit of reminding sometimes as he often reverts to Hebrew when he is talking to Noam. Noam needs a bit more attention, her speech is still very delayed, this happens with fully bi-lingual children, I need to help and encourage her constantly with her English. Another problem with her is that she has started wetting her pants mostly at school. I want to believe that she is just having so much fun that she does not get to the loo in time, but I am not convinced and it is bothering me, I am calling her Teacher this evening about it. It just doesn't make sense, I think this has only manifested itself since we moved onto the Moshav, she has been using the toilet since before she was 2 and she sleeps with no nappy. Maybe everything affected her more than we thought, the move, the robbery, new house, new school, new friends, new teacher, no Aba? I don't know. She has the hardest time without Uri, any bump, bruise or spat with Adam always sends her crying 'Aba, Aba, Abaaaaaa', so depending on how bad it is, we will call Aba, just for a comforting word, it always helps. Also a hand held helps. For the second time, this morning on the way to school, she is crying inconsolably 'Aba, Abaaaaa, Abaaaaaaaaaaa'. Any Mother will tell you that distraction and trial-and-error play a large part in trying to diffuse situations, so because I was driving, I asked Adam to hold her hand while she was crying for Uri, and it worked. She stopped, still snivelling, but happier in the knowledge that her big brother was there for her.

Ok, now mouse, I have lost all hope of every catching it. No matter what I do, no matter how many traps, nothing works! My father-in-law closed all the possible holes it could be getting in through yesterday. So I layed my traps again, caged ones and glued ones. The mouse has taken to eating the closed doors of Noam and Adams bedrooms, so I layed out the traps right where it gnaws away, and what does he do, he moves them. Each night I have prayed and hoped that this will be the end of it, and I will catch him, all to no avail. I have a new friend (the artist one I am painting with), she gave me the maddest suggestion from her very religious sister. Apparently there is a Rabbi from yonks ago that has this power. Weird, I know. According to the sister, I have to get a picture of this long-dead Rabbi, and put it in the house, and the mouse will miraculously re-locate. Needless to say, when Adam is at Judo today, Noam and I are going on a Rabbi picture hunt.

You may be wondering, 'why doesn't she just get a cat?', quick solution to the whole messy debacle. That will be my absolute last resort. See, I don't want another responsibility, I already have two children, a house, a dog, and a husband (sometimes), I am not sure I could cope with a cat as well. Also I have had two very very bad cat drama's in Israel over the years. Story one: years ago when I was living with Uri at his parents house, one morning I heard this continuous heartbreaking meow of a kitten, it just went on and on, like it was suffering, or hungry, anyway I just couldn't take it any more, and me the little-kitty-Rescuer, went to find said meow-er. I found it in a bush, filthy, tiny and both eyes shut with gooey gungy stuff. Really awful, but I am strong, I can handle this stuff, took kitten off to the vet, got special cream, cleaned up his puss-filled eyes and loved him. One week later it is Shavuot (relevance of this to follow), kitten is happy, clean, fed, taken care of. My father-in-law decides to mow their lawn, and the kitten vanishes. End of story. Obviously me heartbroken. Story two: when we got to Israel this year, just before Shavuot (only made the connection after the event), same old familiar heartbroken kitty meow, this time in Uri's parents roof. We find a kitten who could only have been about two weeks old, same story eyes all gooed up, so me the saviour goes and does my thing. Let it be known that the whole time, there is this voice loud in my head saying "Don't do it Lianne, don't do it again". I do 'it' again, I try and save the world. Kitten to the vet, eye cream. Been there, done that! And another horrible end to another kitty-story, a Crow pecked it to death. Awful awful awful. I still can't think about it. It was ghastly. So what can we learn from this? Don't get a kitten at Shavuot? Don't mow your lawn? Or don't get a cat full stop? I don't know, but I am having a sneaking feeling that the 'cat' factor may be the only effective long lasting mouse repellent I could need.

So I am on day nine of Decapeptyl injections (Pituitary suppressant), still to come is a scan and Estradiol and Progesterone Blood tests (more Emla) on Thursday and then hopefully the go-ahead to start injecting the Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH), in my case Gonal-F. Both previous cycles I had the same daily dosage and managed to harvest around 9/10 eggs, unfortunately after the first IVF, from fertilisation to day 5 there were no embryos left alive to freeze, and only one embryo frozen last IVF. Mr Prof. man is upping my Gonal-f injection considerably this time in the hope of being able to successfully freeze more embryos. This would change the IVF process for any subsequent cycles, Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) is a different Protocol entirely. So I will know on Thursday if I get the go-ahead to start. For now as far as I am concerned, the only major difference in my being is that I am totally and utterly sex-less, there are no hormones generating any feelings or desires. A naked and muscled Brad Pitt/Bobby Skinstad/Uri Shlomo could gyrate in front of me and it would do absolutely NOTHING for me. Contra-indications for Decapeptyl (my drug of choice) are among others, 1. weight gain, 2. loss of libido, and 3. emotional irrationality. So that is me, fat, emotional, Old Maid! BRING IT ON!

At this stage of this whole long long process, there are no major issues, you inject in the morning and then your day carries on as normal. The emotions and feelings, and all the other emotions that come with this game, slowly starts to escalate as your numerous follicles start to grow. A normal fertile woman produces and matures, one, maybe two follicles every cycle. It is not normal to produce and grow 10, 15 , 20 follicles, it creates immense pressure in your abdomen, consider that each one grows to around 14-20 mm each, that is a LOT of extra space being taken up. I don't care, each ache and pain of all of this makes me feel like a woman, like I am doing something, like I am trying.

The reason for this Blog site was for me to off-load about my whole quest-for-another-soul issue, I spend an awful lot of Blog space off-loading about other stuff. I didn't know it was going to be like this, but this is what it is. And in some weird way by having this written conversation with myself, I feel more in control of my sometimes out-of-control life.


"Q: In which cases does removal of the fallopian tubes improve the outcome?
A: In recent years, impressive evidence has shown that hydrosalpinx (swollen fallopian tubes, filled with fluid) can reduce chances of implantation. It seems that the reason for this is that the fluid in the fallopian tubes contains inflammatory products that leak into the abdominal cavity and damage the embryo trying to implant itself in the endometrium. In cases of recurrent failure of IVF therapy, the condition of the fallopian tubes should always be assessed using a hysterosalpingogram and ultrasound scan. If the state of the fallopian tubes is very poorly, and might affect the implantation of the embryos, the benefit of their removal should be considered. The removal of oneor both fallopian tubes is performed by laparoscopy, where a laparoscope (a fine telescope) is inserted through an umbilical incision."