Thursday, February 21

Almost pregnant

Just as I expected, it was all in vain. All the prayers, all the blessings, all the millions of injections, all the pills, all the pessaries, the anaesthetic, all the poking and prodding in my innards, all the loss of dignity, the praying and pleading at the Wailing Wall, all the stupid 'positive thinking' and all the hope. All in vain.

Negative. Again.

I really knew it, the urine sticks of the past week had already confirmed this fact. So no real shocker.

Just such a shame, also knowing that 'they' or one of 'them' really tried, but just couldn't quite make it.

So what does it mean, was I pregnant? Technically, yes, for all of 5 minutes. Does it mean I miscarry now? I really don't know. I think it is called a 'chemical pregnancy' or 'chemical miscarriage' or something like that.

I have spoken to the Profman now and he asked me to call again on Sunday to decide our next step, ie. Salpingectomy; complete tubal removal. I am doubling my chances by doing this.

So onward with the drama that has become my life.

Tuesday, February 19

Crap night, couldn't sleep. Husband snored all night. Succumbed to doing a home pregnancy test at 3 am this morning. Bad move. It was as negative as negative could be. So preparing myself for either low or nonexistent Beta.

And I have a stress-induced cold sore on my nose. Just wonderful. Ugly, un-pregnant, fat and red-nosed. And tired.

I just don't get God at all.

Monday, February 18

Tiny ray of sunshine

Got a tiny ray of sunshine today. A friend called this morning and told me that when she was pregnant with her twins, her day 12 Beta was in the 20's. Point being, that she then went on to have two beautiful and healthy twins. My day 13 Beta was 21, so there might just be something to get excited about here. I have to go for the next Beta on Thursday morning.

Sunday, February 17

'slow' negative

Two things.

Firstly - I was blown away by the support from all the other 'infertiles' out there. I went into each commentors' Blog, and was humbled by everyone elses baggage, here I am with my issue and there are all these amazing strangers giving me this wonderful support and encouragement, while they are all having there own issues; heartbreaks and happinesses. How wonderful that we all share this common language. Thank you.

Secondly - I wish this agony would just be over already. I have done my homework, I know how this is probrably going to end. So just 'end' already, why drag this all out? Why couldn't it just have been a definitive negative, I would have had an immediate reply. A full-stop, and a 'next-step' already formulating in my head. Ok, I know there is an ounce of hope, it is just such a tiny little ounce. Still, right now this just feels like a really 'slow' negative.

Thursday, February 14

This just gets weirder

Todays' Beta Hcg was 21. We were hoping for a nice doubling to 30.

So three possible scenarios:

1. It is a tubal pregnancy. Will only be able to confirm under ultrasound at 6 weeks.
2. It is not a viable pregnancy and will 'fall away' by itself.
3. It is one tough little fighter, hanging on for dear life.

I have to go for another Beta next Tursday. This will show if the levels are climbing appropriately or not.

Will take it from there, right now I am numb, I cannot allow myself any joy whatsoever. There is such a small chance though.

Wednesday, February 13


I had no internet connection yesterday.

So the results of my Beta were 14. In laymans' terms, it means that it was really low, it should have been around 80-ish. So I am neither positive, nor negative.

This agony is just being drawn out.

I have to go for another Beta tommorrow, hopefully it would have doubled to at least 30, if so, then that will be good news. If not, I just don't know.

That's it.

Sunday, February 10


d8p3dt (Day 8 post 3-day transfer)

Three full days left till I have to do IT. Now I am just obsessing because I don't feel anything. Not an ounce of any nausea. I lay on my bed on my stomach last night misinterpreting a bit of indigestion for nausea, but that has been it. Nothing else.

My 'love, hope, courage' ring is permanently pointing itself to 'courage'. Why? Will I be needing 'courage' soon? Have my 3 transferred embryo's each split, and am I now expecting sextuplets. Oi, what a thought! No, I don't think it is anything as ambitious as that. Maybe I need courage for 'Plan B'. Removal of tubes? Dunno.

Thursday, February 7

Good news

Still in my 2ww (two week wait)
d6pd3t (Day 6 post day three transfer)

I got the letter from the Hospital today saying that FOUR embryos were frozen from my last cycle. I am over the moon. This is really really good news.

So, all in all we have 5 frozen possible babies. 1 from my first IVF in Israel, Sept 2007, and now FOUR more.

Brilliant news.

Wednesday, February 6

Tribute to Sheldon Cohen by Steven Bacher

I just can't get these horrors out my head, this story haunts me. I think about his family sitting Shiva, about his wife and two sons. About his parents. I went to a wedding a few years back and was introduced to Sheldon's wife Leslie, the introducee used to work for Sheldon and knew the family very well. She told me something about him which sticks with me to this day, that once a week, he would have lunch with his sons. He would take time out of his madly chaotic business life, pick them up from school and give them perfect quality time. Come hell or high water he would do this weekly. What a wonderful gift he gave to his children. What a wonderful father.

His father, Jack, I see him crying. Apparently when he was shot he was on the phone with him, Jack then rushed to the scene and found him. How unbeleivably sad.

Does anyone know what is going on there? It is just one massive down-hill spiral. Johannesburg has become a gangland. I know. I lived there. I know how I lived. It is easier for me to look back now, big fancy house, beautiful garden, swimming pool, wanting for nothing, but awake at night listening for sounds, bolted doors, laser-beams in the garden, electric fence, industrial magnetic locks, armed response, pulling out of my driveway and back in, nightmares of all the terrifying possiblities. It was not real life.

That familiar fear sits in my throat as I type.

One of my best friends, tied up and robbed in her own home, the police said thank goodness she wasn't raped. Another friend murdered, shot point-blank in her head at work, for her worthless cell-phone. Another close friend, tied up, pistol whipped and robbed in his own home while his daughter slept upstairs, again the police said, well thank goodness she wasn't raped. A close friends' father-in-law tied to a chair at his work and then strangled to death with a wire hanger. Another friend, tortured with a stun-gun for hours along with his wife and children. Countless hi-jackings. And ofcourse us. My husband tied up, my tiny children witness to horror, guns and violence, and our only advice: 'Go and buy a gun'. A stranger murdered while mowing his front lawn, and thousands of other strangers whose lives are ended/shattered every minute of every day.

Now, as someone who has left, I feel this differently to when I lived there. I see the difference between my reactions and my friends and family who still live in South Africa. I feel it now, I understand the abnormality of it now. Then, I was totally de-sensitised, when you are surrounded by daily stories, daily headlines filled with those abominations - you cope. You have to, you cannot curl up and sit in a corner sobbing, you have to carry on. So the more death and violence you see, the more sensitivity you lose. You made it through another day, you have not joined the statistics yet. You are waiting your turn, and until it comes, you cope.

Like an ex-boyfriend who becomes a hopeless crack-addict, you still love them, but not what they have become. I am a South African and South Africa will continue to be my biggest love lost.

for Sheldon Cohen by Steven Bacher (thanks Lisa)

"There are days when I feel like getting on a plane and flying out of this country and never coming back to this murderous land.

Last night a close friend of mine and great South African, Sheldon Cohen was shot dead for no reason by scum of the earth robbers while waiting for his son to finish soccer training at Balfour Park. The bastards tried to rob a woman of her cell phone and for no reason ran past Sheldon and shot him in the neck. Sheldon was a great South African.

He was head of wits student magazine and an active member of Nusas in the eighties. He then went to study at Harvard University in the US and he obtained the best marks in the history of the illustrious university by a non American for the coveted Harvard MBA.

With job offers from any corporation in the world, he chose to come back to this country to make it better. He started the monitor group and then became a director of Amap formerly known as Tedelex.

He was compassionate, brilliant, generous, kind and hysterical at times, he was so talented in all he did. He is no longer with us. His two young boy's Zack and Noah don't have a father and his wife is a widow. And jack and Betty have lost a beautiful son.

He is just another of the 55 South Africans murdered every day of the year of every colour, the second highest murder rate in the world. We have become a sick nation whose leaders have no answer to the collapse of the moral fibre of filth that wait for us in every road and driveway.

They kill us, they kill our sons and daugthers , they kill our mothers, they kill our fathers .

They kill our spirit. And in the end they will kill us all. This is not socio -economic. This is evil personified.

Lucky Dube, Sheldon Cohen, it doesn't matter. I am becoming less and less proud to call myself a South African.

In fact I am becoming embarrassed to call myself one.

Just as much as I used to under Apartheid."

Tuesday, February 5

Jihadi's and sombre thoughts

I was a bit apprehensive about coming to stay at my in-laws, I am the kind of person who really likes my space, but I think I might just be getting used to this life of pampering. I almost feel like I am on holiday a bit. No dishes, no cooking, no cleaning, no washing, no folding, no floors, no bathing and no feeding. The hardest part of my day is deciding what I will eat next. This is Mauritius all over again! I am really honoured to have married into this wonderful, caring, and warm family. Nothing is too much trouble for them, all they want to do is help me.

Today so far I have Blooged-about and read. I am reading 'The Red Tent' by Anita Diamant, I started it a while back and then life caught up with me, but now I have unadulterated t.i.m.e on my hands, next book in line is 'The Book Thief'.

Yesterday two suicide bombers made their way into the city centre of Dimona in Israel and tried to blow themselves up, one succeeded, killing one Israeli woman, and the other was intercepted by a policeman. The footage on tv was real-life, in- your-face death, the second unsuccessful bomber lay on the ground wounded, trying repeatedly to reach inside his clothes to pull the trigger to blow himself up, he was shot dead by a policeman, before he could finish his little Jihadi-mission. Real life in Israel.

My heart goes out today for a devastated family who lost their triplet girls this past Saturday. You can contact them directly to offer your support or to read their story:

My world today seems to be filled with sad news, sad thoughts. Sadness about more horrific senseless murderous stories from South Africa. Sadness for a once beautiful country that had everything going for it, all the prospects of a bright and shiny future gone.

Monday, February 4

Horror...................and sandwhiches

In todays newspaper (Ha'aretz) was the most horrific story. An eighteen month old baby boy died in a Tirat Carmel hospital from an overdose of the heroin-replacement drug Methadone. The 27 year old mother along with her drug addict boyfriend are suspected. The police believe the boyfriend administered the drug to the baby with the mother's assistance.
The extra line-spaces are there for a purpose ie, to let the above really sink-in.

Last night signalled the beginning of my self-imposed EXILED bed-rest until I do my bloods. The Donor flew back to South Africa last night and I have come for a bit of R & R at my in-laws. When I arrived here (sans children - they had arrived earlier), my mother-in-law (MIL)told me that she had had the following conversation with the children earlier:

Adam: I am the first-born (bit of a big deal in Judaism)
Noam: I am the second-born
Adam: No, you are the 'sandwhich'
MIL: What do you mean?
Adam: We will have a baby next year, so Noam will be the sandwhich (in-between).

Weird and totally freaky!

Sunday, February 3

Chana, Samuels' mother

I emailed a Rabbi here in Israel for help with finding the appropriate prayer for fertility. He told me to read up about Chana's Prayer, she was the mother of the Prophet Samuel. She was infertile for years, she prayed to G-d and after giving birth to the Samuel, she went on to have four more children. Here is her story:

When speaking of Shmuel, we cannot ignore his righteous mother Chana. The following is her story from the Book of Shmuel with additions from the Midrash.

The story of Chana is a story of devotion and of love, of service and of sacrifice. It is the story of the woman who taught the world what it means to pray--that one prays not with one's lips, but from one's heart. "Marry another woman that you may have children," Chana said to her husband, Elkana. "And when God sees my pain, perhaps I, too will be given a child." So, Elkana took a second wife, Penina. And she bore many children, but Chana had none. With time, Chana might have resigned herself to her state, and found solace in her loving husband and her service of God. But Penina knew of the longing that burned deep within Chana and resolved that longing not be extinguished. And so, Penina tormented her endlessly. In the morning, Penina rose early to prepare her children for school. "Chana," she called, "Why are you not up yet? Don't you have to wash and dress your children?" At noon, Penina stood at the door, awaiting her children's return. "Chana, aren't you going to come too, to welcome your children home? "At dinner, when Elkana served the main course, Penina once again called attention to her young.

There was not a day that Chana was not confronted with her barrenness. She sat silently at the table, the tears welling in her eyes, observing the lively tumult about her and the obvious pleasure Penina took in tending to her children, and she could not eat. Elkana, sensing her agony, served her the choicest portion, handing it to her lovingly, but it remained untouched. Each year, Elkana and his family traveled to Shilo. Along the way, they stopped, and Chana and Elkana encouraged others to join them in their pilgrimage. Each year they took a different route, exhorting everyone they met to come along, until eventually, entire villages from all over the land of Israel journeyed with them to sacrifice and give thanks to God in Shilo.

It was autumn, they were in Shilo again. Elkana called his family together to share with them the sacrifice. As always, the best went to Chana. And she alone took no part in the joyous celebration. Gently, Elkana said to her: "Chana, why do you cry? Why is your heart saddened today? Does not my love mean more to you than the love of ten children? "But the days when that love could have contented her were long past. In her mind, she saw only Penina, who made even the most mundane aspects of motherhood seem sublime. So, when everyone had finished the meal, she returned to the House of God, and standing before the Ark, she prayed. "God, you have created everything in this world for a reason. You have given me eyes to see, ears to hear, a mouth to speak. Why have You given me a womb, if not to carry a child? "Look at all the hundreds of people I have gathered to stand before you here. Shall I not have even one to call my own? Look at my despair, and give me a child, like other children, a happy child, a healthy child. No more do I ask for myself. But if it be Your will, then send me a child who will be a great leader, a sage and a holy man, as were Moshe and Aharon, and I will dedicate his life to You." For what seemed like an eternity, she stood before the wall, her body shaking and racked with tears, her lips moving but her voice hardly more than a whisper.

In those days, prayers and supplications were said aloud, and Eli, the high priest, was suspicious of her behavior. "Woman, are you drunk?" he called. "Go away from here, for it is improper to stand before God in a state of intoxication. "No," she answered, "I have poured myself no wine today. It is my heart that I have poured out before God in my anguish. "Then go in peace," Eli replied, "and may God grant you your prayer." So they returned home.

That year, Chana bore a son, and she named him Shmuel. When Shmuel was two, she took him with her to Shilo. She stood before Eli and said, "I am the woman who prayed to God in my sorrow. Beside me is my son, the answer to that prayer. And now may he be given into the service of God for the rest of his life. "And she sang a song of thanks to God, she returned home, and Shmuel remained with Eli in the House of God. Though she visited him again each year, from that day on he was no longer only hers. She sacrificed her son to God, as Avraham Avinu had done before her. She sacrificed him not on an altar of stone, but on the altar of her heart, and her sacrifice was forever. She had other children later, two more sons and two daughters, but we know her only as the mother of Shmuel the Prophet, the son she gave away.

May the merit of the tzaddik Shmuel HaNavie protect us all, Amen.

Saturday, February 2

Leaks etc.

There are some things of my 'condition' that I don't talk about too openly. I know who reads this Blog. But I guess I better just come out with it already. I leak. That's right, leak, it is from the Hydrosalpinx. And this is the main reason why it has to be removed and why the IVF success rate is so low with this diagnosis. The 'leaking' flushes out the embryo's before they can implant. So I have spent the last two days mostly horizontal (still leaking), with each leak I wonder if this is when I 'lost' them, their microscopicness gone forever. Then just when I find myself over analysing (as usual), I pull myself up by my boot strings and do a 180 and go with my Hashem/miracle scenario.

I have to be prepared. I was always a shocking student, I spent close on a decade in high school. When school would break-up early December for 6 glorious Summer weeks I would be a nail-biting nervous wreck for the first two waiting for the report card to arrive. Desperate people in desperate situations have strange coping mechanisms. Me, I told myself that I had FAILED the year to prepare myself, then if I had passed I would be so surprised and overjoyed, if I failed AGAIN it really wouldn't be such a shocker. That was how I protected myself.

That juvenile philosophy is not working for me in my adult infertile world, now I sway quite freely between the positive and the negative.

What a great Shabbat, no tv, no phones, no computer, no interruptions. Just the joys of being a family. Playing with and talking to the children and ofcourse always eating too much. And then back to normal life tommorrow, no two day weekend here. This is the worst part of Israel, I am not sure if I will ever get used to it. The Donor is flying back to SA, I then start sending him sms-es every hour reading: "U OK?", Johannesburg, crime-capital of the world. I am going to stay with my in-laws until I do my Beta (pregnancy blood test), they will help me with the children, bathing, school, supper etc. If I stay at home I will not rest.

I read a whole book this afternoon when the children were sleeping and cried non-stop for the last 20 pages. My boobs are massive and sore, thanks to Crinone (progesterone) I am an achy emotional wreck already.

I so wonder if 'they' or even 'just one' are/is still there.

Friday, February 1

God and choices

They are in, 3 in total, 2 x 6 cell, and 1 x 8 cell, good quality embryos.

The indignity of all this 'infertility' stuff came crashing down on me today, I lay on the table, legs spread and stirruped (?), speculum in, two strangers staring up my vagina, swabbed, disinfected, a tear rolling down the side of my turned-away face. This is not a fun game. But this is my game of choice, I am choosing to put myself through this. Knowing that this is my choice, doesn't make it easier. Everytime I allow another invasion, another injection, another 'procedure', retrieval, transfer, another speculum, another heartache, I have the knowledge that I could just stop this all anytime, I could just let it go.

The speculum was awful today, so cold, so sore, so invasive. This was not meant to be a sad moment, I was supposed to be happy, I was having 3 real-life embryos being put into my unterine cavity, this could be Day 1. Snap out of it! Happy-smiley hat back on!

Another reality, last night it all seemed clearer to me. Falling pregnant and 'holding on' to a pregnancy,is really not up to us or good doctors (yes they play a part), it is not up to me lying in bed for 3 days or even 12, not up to me giving up caffeine, or not having sex, or not picking up heavy things, or not whatever, it is all up to Hashem (God). Every pregnancy, be it through fertility treatments or natural has happened because of Hashem, he can make miracles happen. And even for me he can make a miracle, my Hydrosalpinx is the only diagnoses that IVF cannot help, but I have my 20% to cling to. I have my chance.

I was reading Tehillim (Psalms) before I went in for the transfer, one and a half pages in, this is what I read: "And he blessed them and they multiplied greatly, and He did not allow their livestock to miscarry." (Psalm 107, v38). Was I being spoken to directly? I am going with 'yes'. Let me be pregnant this time. Let me not miscarry.

I feel comforted also knowing that there are prayers being said all over Israel and South Africa this Shabbat. Thank you all.


"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."