I just got back from the Supplemental Jewish Educators' Conference that our religious school teachers from my synagogue attended instead of teaching classes today. The conference was all about engaging with text (specifically the Tanach) more in our teaching and our personal lives. One thing that really has stuck with me was a story that the Rabbi teaching our first session relayed. He had patients that would say to him that they were planning to do everything they could and be the model patient and get out in half the time they were prescribed, they always ended up staying extra time, mainly because they felt that they must remain in control. But the patients who prayed every day and had learn to give the control to God would often be able to leave early.
It reminded me of our long journey to conceive. It took us five long years until we finally conceived our twin boys. After trying all kinds of things on our own, including religiously (ha - good word) taking my temperature and charting ovulation, using various ovulation kits, trying different positions after sex (holding your legs in the air, putting a pillow under your butt, lying still for an hour at least), even just "giving up" since so many people end up conceiving when they stop trying, we finally sought out a specialist and began various treatments.
After three rounds of IUI with Clomid and one round of IVF with injectable hormones (fun, fun, fun), I felt the need to give it up to God. I went to a Mikvah, which is a Jewish bath house used for spiritual cleansing. For very traditional Jews it is used often, at least once a month, but for me, I had only been there once before when my husband converted (using the Mikvah is part of the process). He had told me that being in the Mikvah was the closest he ever felt to God, so I thought if there was ever a time I needed that closeness, this was it. So I went. As I immersed myself in the water, saying the traditional blessing for doing so, I added my own private prayer telling God that I was ready, but that I know it is in His Hands, and if it is His Will, I will get pregnant this next time, and if not, than it was not meant to be. I emerged feeling at peace, and feeling renewed. I put behind me all the years of being poked and prodded that brought me to that point, and I was ready to start a fresh cycle of IVF. I bought a book on Jewish spirituality and infertility which I read a lot, I even had our Rabbi write me a prayer to bring with us and recite during the egg retrieval and the embryo transfer.
And thank God, it worked. Not only did I conceive my two boys, I also ended up with a third ectopic pregnancy on my tube (very rare with IVF, but obviously can happen). They had to perform emergency surgery when I was seven weeks pregnant to remove the tube and the ectopic pregnancy, and still my boys held on. The next week my dad had a severe reaction to some of his chemo that he was getting at the time and nearly died, spending over a week in the ICU. My husband would have to come to the hospital to give me my injections of Progesterone (to increase the chances of me sustaining the pregnancy) since I stayed there with my mom in my dad's room every day and much of the night. And still they survived.
They are my miracle children and were clearly meant to be.
And J is my miracle child in a whole other way, considering that she was God's way of telling me that my body actually could work the way it was supposed to all on its own without and medical interventions and obviously I was meant to have more than two children.