The good news is that because I’m part of Klal Yisrael, I have an army of helpers along the way
start work at 11 every day, and my nine-to-five friends think that sounds luxurious.
“You probably sleep in until ten every morning, right?” My friend sounds wistful over the phone as her toddler happily hollers in the background.
In my heart, I guffaw.
I had a doctor’s appointment at 7 a.m. yesterday, and two more scheduled tomorrow and Friday. I’m taking a hormone injection that has strong side effects of insomnia and nausea, and I’m up at all hours for two weeks in a row already. My head is crashing from nausea and exhaustion and I can’t fall asleep. My whole body feels icky, and I can’t shake the feeling. For each of my appointments, I wait an average of an hour in the waiting room — but if I come an hour late, I wait two hours, I’ve tried it. Each appointment also requires countless phone calls between my rav, the clinic, and fertility counselor.
And again and again, two weeks later, the pregnancy test is negative, and I’m back to square one with appointments, nausea, insomnia, and coordination phone calls every ten minutes.
Here’s the thing about infertility treatments: Sometimes, they can take over your life.
The good news is that because I’m part of Klal Yisrael, I have an army of helpers along the way.
One morning, as my husband and I sit in the waiting room at yet another appointment. I look around the waiting room at all the couples sitting there. This time, we’re the only visibly Jewish couple in the room.
“How do they do it all alone?” I whisper to my husband.
We gaze at all the exhausted-looking couples.
“I feel so bad for them,” my husband whispers back.
I can’t imagine walking this journey without Klal Yisrael’s backing. It just wouldn’t feel possible. Our leaders, organizations, and askanim have worked tirelessly over years to smooth out the path for waiting couples. They’ve thought of everything that can be thought of — and they take care of it, too.
When we needed help getting an appointment with a certain doctor at our fertility clinic, our rav called an organization that helps couples dealing with infertility, explained the situation, and voilà! The clinic’s six-month waiting list evaporated into three weeks. When our treatment bills exceeded a couple thousand a month, and there was no way our kollel budget could have afforded it, Bonei Olam stepped in and reimbursed us for so many of our bills. When we were confused about the doctor’s instructions and their intersection with halachah, we called a rav who specializes in such cases, ready to get our answer over the phone. He invited us on the spot to his study, figured it all out with us, and didn’t let us leave until we were clear on every detail.
In my first year of treatment, I took only oral medications. The side effects were difficult, but the actual treatments weren’t too intense. When we finished six rounds of that with no results, we started our second year of treatment — this time, with injectables.
Until I got comfortable injecting myself, a frum female nurse, a Bonei Olam volunteer, freed up time every evening for about two weeks to prime the injections and administer them to me.
One Purim, I was short one dose of a medication I was taking, and I needed it desperately. I texted a chat of women on the journey to ask if anyone had extra. Instantly, two women responded privately that I should just come over, and they’d be happy to share their own meds. One of them was at a friend’s seudah, and she told me she’d leave and drive 15 minutes each way to get me the meds I needed. Meanwhile, another woman texted me that her husband is a pharmacist, and he was on his way to open his pharmacy and get me the meds. Did I mention it was ten at night?
I could go on and on.
While this journey is a lonely one, the loneliness is eased inordinately by Klal Yisrael’s army of helpers. For that, I am forever grateful.
To be continued…
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 863)
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