A Fertility Story: Heart Disease History and Going Red for Women
I'm wearing red today, allied with Go Red for Women. It's a color that I look fairly dreadful in.
I'm wearing it anyway.
It's not Valentine's Day. I'm not dressed up for Halloween, (although you could be forgiven for thinking so).
I'm wearing red today because it's a day to bring awareness to heart disease for women. A day to bring awareness to fighting heart disease in women.
It's a subject that's near and dear to my heart. As close as infertility is and that's saying a lot.
Infertility was an unexpected grief and loss. One that I shouldn't have expected, at 26 years old. Most of us don't expect infertility at 26. Or 30. Or 35. Or even 40. Some of us don't know when to expect infertility.
I know at 26, I didn't expect it. It was a most unwelcome surprise.
Heart Disease Awareness
Heart disease, on the other hand, I was raised to expect. My uncle was one of the first people in the United States to have a quadruple bypass. He was in his early 40's. My paternal grandmother died of a massive heart attack in her late 40's.
I grew up with an understanding of heart disease. It's part of my family history in a way that infertility was most certainly not. My mother had three children in less than five years, starting when she was 23. No infertility there.
Heart disease was present in my home; awareness grew there as I got older. When I grew up, margarine was considered a wonderful substitution for butter and was eagerly embraced as heart healthy. These days we know about trans fatty acids and most of us eschew margarine in favor of other much heart-healthier choices.
We ate a lot of salads, fruits and chicken in my family and not a lot of red meat. It was a very conscious decision on my mother's part, not to add to the genetic load already weighted against my father's favor. I envied how my friends and their families ate, when I was a guest in their homes.
These days, I eat the way my mother brought me up and don't envy anyone their food choices.
These days, infertility and heart disease are both part of my family history. Heart disease is part of my history, my genetic code. I eat in a healthy way, I exercise regularly, and I try and sleep enough. These are the pieces that I can address. I can't change my DNA but I can do everything possible to avoid adding to the possibility of heart disease in myself.
Infertility is also part of my personal history. When I give my medical history these days, it's a significant piece; the medications that I used, the surgeries I underwent, the pregnancy losses that I experienced.
National Wear Red Day and Heart Disease Prevention
Today, I will wear red, for heart disease. I will do more than participate in National Wear Red Day, though; I will eat the way my mother taught me. I will celebrate my food by eating the colors of the rainbow. I will exercise my heart, through aerobic exercise, even when I don't feel like it. I will decrease my stress through my practice of yoga, every morning, rain or shine, tired or not. I will protect myself from heart disease, in all the ways that are possible.
I don't know what I could have done differently about preventing my own infertility. I do know that my continuing to be involved in fertility awareness is my calling. Helping anyone avoid infertility or helping make their path to creating their families shorter and less painful is where my passion lives.
I grew up expecting and actively avoiding heart disease.
I didn't know that infertility would find its way in and stay so long. I didn't know that.
And now it's my most significant health history.
Today I wear red to honor my family history. My grandmother, my uncle, my cousins and my father, who died too young. Of a heart attack.
My first family history. Before infertility found its way home.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Inauguration Day Reflections
I have a slender book that has been in my possession for over 12 years.
It's title: "Why We Can't Wait," by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was written in 1963.
I got it because I like to read what a person has to say. Not what someone else says about what they say. What they say, themselves.
It feels almost miraculous when I sit here, reading the book, to read some of these words. MLK asks the question, "why did the civil rights movement leap forward in 1963?" He answered the question in a way that startled me, as I sit here in 2013.
The Presidential Inauguration and MLK Day
And even more startling as we all prepare for President Barack Obama to be sworn in as President of the United States of America. Today, of all days, on the day we celebrate MLK.
It was because it marked the 100 year anniversary of the emancipation proclamation. It was the centenial anniversary. Haunting, as this year, we are fifty years past when MLK wrote this book.
What, I wonder, would he think about the progress for the Negro people? We no longer use that terminology, of course, but that is the word that he uses in 1963, in this astounding book. What other changes would he see, that he would appreciate or be saddened by?
I'd like to think that he'd appreciate our country voting in Barack Obama, not once, but twice, even with so many problems facing our country, many of which have been blamed on the President.
It seems like the best way to understand a person, is to hear what they have to say. Without an intermediary. So, without further ado, I'll share some of what Dr. Martin Luther King said, in his own words.
The Words of Dr. Martin Luther King
"In 1963, the Negro, who had realized for many years that he was not truly free, awoke from a stupor of inaction with the cold dash of realization that 1963 meant one hundred years after Lincoln gave his autograph to the cause of freedom.
The milestone of the centennial of emancipation gave the Negro a reason to act--a reason so simple and obvious that he almost had to step back to see it.
Simple logic made it painfully clear that if this centennial were to be meaningful, it must be observed not as a celebration, but rather as a commemoration of the one moment in the country's history when a bold, brave start had been made, and a rededication to the obvious fact that urgent business was at hand- the resumption of that noble journey toward the goals reflected in the preamble to the Constitution, the Constitution itself, the Bill of Rights and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.
Yet not all of these forces conjoined could have brought about the massive and largely bloodless Revolution of 1963 if there had not ben at hand a philosophy and a method worthy of its goals. Nonvioloent direct action did not originate in America but it found its natural home in this land where refusal to cooperate with injustice was an ancient and honorable tradition and where Christian forgiveness was written into the minds and hearts of good men. Tested in Montgomery during the winter of 1955-56, and toughened throughout the South in the eight ensuing years, non-violent resistance had become, by 1963, the logical force in the greatest mass-action crusade for freedom that has ever occurred in American history.
Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals. Both a practical and a moral answer to the Negro's cry for justice, nonviolent direct action proved that it could win victories without losing wars, and so became the triumphant tactic of the Negro Revolution of 1963."
Thirteen Amendment-Abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.
Fourteenth Amendment-Defines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post-Civil War issues.
Fifteenth Amendment- Prohibits the denial of suffrage based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
What Dr. King's Words Mean Today
Powerful words, written by a powerful man. What do they mean to us today, with our battles? We are looking at violence, the right to bear arms, the right to personal freedoms and safety.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words stand strong. 50 years later, they mean something, to the situation and problems we are creating in our country.
Powerful words from a powerful man.
And so we celebrate his birth and his life.
A New Approach to New Year's Resolutions
Happy New Year.
Or as a one of my nearest and dearest, beloved friends said, "Happy New Day".
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves with new years resolutions.
We expect to be able to accomplish what we set out to do.
Infertility is a real kick in the pants when it comes to that, isn't it?
We do everything possible right and it still doesn't work. With the best fertility doctors, right diagnosis, perfect medications and great support, it still doesn't always work.
At least not in the fertility treatment cycle that we expect it or want it to.
When Does Fertility Treatment Work?
Fertility treatment seems to work when we least expect it to.
Cycles that seem destined to end badly, end instead with a positive pregnancy test. Often, we go into a cycle feeling defeated and discouraged and it's the one that is successful.
I wonder why things work like that.
I attended a yoga retreat yesterday to bring in the New Year and release the old one.
Thank you Yogaspace for hosting such a glorious event. With love and appreciation to Glenn Tucker and Natasha Raymond for designing a wonderful day and holding such compassionate, loving and fun space for all who attended.
At one point, we extended a hand behind us in Warrior Two to acknowledge the past. To honor our past as being part of us, not something that we can release in an amnesia-type way. We don't forget our past, we don't release our past, but we certainly and absolutely can forgive ourselves and others and move into our future in a lighter and healthier way.
Our other hand was extended in front of us, reaching towards the future. Our heart and torso was grounded firmly in the present.
I'm so glad I went to yoga yesterday.
With respect to my future? I'm excited.
I'm excited about what I know is in store, what I've planned out and put into place.
I have to admit to feeling even more excited about things that will happen in this next year that I can barely imagine.
Things that will delight.
Many things that will amuse.
Some things that will make me laugh so hard I will have tears running down my face.
I will see things this coming year that will make me stand still and admire.
Friends that I know and friends that I have not met yet.
And so many ordinary things that make a day, a year, a life, full and happy.
Watching my cat attack the dog, lovingly.
Hearing the birds and feeding them on top of the snow.
Watering the plants that are over thirty-five years old, from my husband's grandmother.
Sitting in front of the fire, writing to you.
So, yes, I have a few New Year's Resolutions. I like making them. I like thinking about what's important to me for the future. But this year, I'm kinda content with Happy New Day resolutions.
Today, I will take a walk in the snow with my faithful, happy and healthy dog. Today, I will call my sisters. Today, I will get back into the swing of things from the holidays.
Today, I will release my expectations to have everything the way I would like it and recognize that it is all just as it should be.
Happy New Day everyone.
Fertility Team Shares More Messages from the Heart
"It is amid times of tragedy like we have seen these past few weeks, that we must all come together and pray for those who have suffered such painful loss.
In spite of these difficult times we will be celebrating this holiday with joy in our hearts because we get to spend it with our families and we hope you do the same." CR
"Our hearts our deeply saddened by the Newtown tragedy. Such a horrendous, unthinkable crime committed during the holiday season. A time of love and cheer ruined by a senseless act. Although our hearts our heavy at this time, we must keep the Holiday spirit alive. Keep it alive for our children and family. This act will not and should not deter us from losing hope that things will get better in the future.
Im still thinking but am I writing too much. Please let me know thanks. I know I have a few punctuation and grammatical errors I will correct those when I am done." LG
This horrible tragedy took the life of 6 year old Allison a daughter of a fellow nurse/friend of mine as well as 19 other beautiful children and their teachers. I walk today with a heavy heart and pray that these families can find peace during this difficult time in their life.
Rest in peace baby you left too soon!! BA
"Happy Holidays, My wish for 2013 is that your hopes and dreams are realized in the new year." JP
"Wishing you the joy of family, the gift of friends and the best of everything this holiday season and for the New Year." RK
"My wish for us all:
That the pain and grief lessen with the passage of time.
That these beautiful little souls and these very brave and honorable protectors never be forgotten.
May the love for all those we have lost give us the strength to go on and encourage us to live all of our tomorrows with peace, faith and hope in our hearts." LP
"In the coming year, the world needs to be more compassionate to each other. It has been a tough 2012, I hope that 2013 is easier and safer." SR
"Sending warm Holiday wishing and healthy wishes for the New Year to everyone." TZ
Fertility Team Shares Messages from the Heart
Every year at this time, I collect thoughts from our remarkable team at Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT. Sometimes those thoughts are looking ahead to the new year. Sometimes they are reflections on the past year. Often, they are both.
This year, I got so many thoughtful responses that there will be two blogs devoted to hearing what RMACT team members wanted to share with you.
Today is the first of the two. The second will be the last day of 2012. I hope you enjoy, as much as I did, reading what our team members wanted to share with you. What they felt were important things to say, unedited, straight from their hearts.
Each quote is written by a different team member and signed by their first and last initials.
For me? I want to say thank you for reading PathtoFertility blog. The blog is truly a labor of love and I appreciate the support that you give to me by reading it. Thank you for your kind words about how the blog and I, support you.
With love and respect, Lisa
"We at RMACT know what a special gift parenthood is and how hard the journey can be to achieve it. Cherish every moment (even the tantrums) with our children from this tragedy on. My thoughts and prayers are with all of us struggling thru this Holiday Season." CG
"I was hoping today would be the first day I did not shed a tear for those killed in Sandy Hook. I was wrong. I cried a little bit again this morning.
As a reproductive endocrinologist for the past 25 years I've shared a moment of joy and hope with patients as they see the first heartbeat of a new life. This life that will change their lives and their hearts forever. It is beyond any individual's ability to truly sympathize with a parent that has lost a child unless it has happened to ourselves. Therefore, I can only imagine the pain those parents feel in the context of the death of their children, as so many of us are completely torn up inside.
I am buoyed by the outpouring of support, those that are helping, and most of all the strength and comments from the parents that have lost their precious children. These are children that they had hopes and dreams for, and loved more than they love themselves.
As I struggle to find meaningful action or intervention in light of this tragic/horrific event the only routes I can find are to support the families of these children, and organizations that are willing to change the gun culture in our society. Please advise me on the proper most effective political action committee which is willing to take up this gauntlet of not only banning assault weapons, high-capacity clips, and easy gun acquisition but also changing Second Amendment to reflect the message of our Founding Fathers. I regularly donate to charities and while this wouldn't exactly be a charitable contribution it would be a contribution that would lead to meaningful change in this otherwise great nation which is marred and scarred by its addiction to violence and guns." ML
"We moved to the U.S. fourteen years ago, when my daughter was four. With language barriers, she went to a pre-K class in a local catholic school. After several trying school days, she asked me, “Mom why did we come to America?” Looking at her face, I held back tears. I repeatedly told myself, because America is the best country in the world, because I want you to have a better education...the best childhood, a safe childhood. At the time, I never thought that safety would be an issue.
The shooting in Sandy Hook elementary school is different from the tragedies that happen every day in the world. People die from incidents, and natural disasters. I feel sorry for people who have lost their lives in these unpreventable situations. Humans are powerless in these extraordinary circumstances: however the shooting at Sandy Hook could have been prevented; the death of innocent children should never have happened. Changes including gun control, and mental illness management should have been, and should be enacted. My heart still bleeds when I see those angels’ and teachers’ pictures. I just can’t take it this time.
Change must be done.
Life will never be the same for those who’ve lost their loved ones. I only pray that they are strong enough to carry on through the hardest times of their lives. I sincerely hope that they can still enjoy life in the future. Although I still believe that the U.S. is the greatest nation in the world, we desperately need change, to prevent unnatural, cruel tragedies like Sandy Hook from ever happening again."
"I too am saddened by this senseless tragedy. I cannot imagine what the parents, grandparents, siblings and extended families and friends of the 20 children and 6 adults who were murdered are going through. I hope the classmates, teachers and administrators that were there that day are doing as well as they can with coping and I pray that they find some peace through all of this madness. It is so wonderful seeing the support the nation has given to Sandy Hook and the families. We all have broken hearts…" TC
"May everyone in the RMA community (both patients and staff) find comfort and joy this holiday season." LT
"There are simply no words to express the anguish and sorrow we feel for the families and survivors of the events at Sandy Hook Elementary. It is simply an unimaginable horror. I have cried everyday since this has happened – cried in despair for those families burying their babies much too soon, for the survivors who have a long road of healing in front of them, but also, for brief moments of hope. Seeing how our communities have come together to help those in Newtown, how real changes to mental health care and gun control can and should happen, reading about those hero teachers – some still just young women themselves with their lives ahead of them. I have cried watching my 7 year old – still innocent to this tragedy enjoy his life and those friends around him and realizing his life, our lives, will never be the same.
On a more personal note - My son goes to a wonderful summer camp with an amazing staff. The music teacher, Francine, lost her son in this tragedy. To the Wheeler family – you will always be in our thoughts and prayers." RM
“…everytime a bell rings, an angel gets their wings” Friday, December 14, 2012 gave new meaning to that phrase. Together, we are suffering. Together, we will heal. My thoughts and prayers are with all the families who are suffering from this horrific event." PB
"We have all been reminded once again how fragile our lives are, and how quickly life can change. I’m reminded how every moment is amazing, just because we are here to experience it. I conscientiously think of that fact when I find myself getting irritated, especially when it comes to my family and my own children. I think of those who would give anything to have an empty lunch bag thrown on the kitchen counter, or small dirty socks strewn on the floor, or popsicle sticks stuck in between the cushions of a couch. We have blessings around us every single moment—they are too many to count." SW
"Some of us have had our faith in humanity shaken. But hope is returning. The love and peace in Newtown and in our hearts far outweighs the evil of one person. My wish for this holiday season is that people can see the love and peace amidst the tragedy, and that it gives us all hope. People - especially the parents of the children - amaze me with their strength and grace." TJ
"The sayings “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” seem incongruent this year in the aftermath of both a terrible hurricane and a tremendous tragedy.
In trying to make sense of all of this, I was wondering if there was any silver lining to all of this, any learning point or message that we, at RMA, can use to bolster our spirits in the next few weeks and year(s) to come.
My only thought is that maybe, this holiday season, instead of buying something shiny and new, we give ourselves the gift of a fresh perspective. Working many years in the same field is good for our knowledge and experience, but maybe not so good for our empathy and compassion. I wonder sometimes if we get caught in the day-to-day details and fail to always recognize our patients and co-workers for the unique individuals that they are, created and influenced by their circumstances and life experiences. Maybe it takes an upheaval of our community, as we know it, to instill in us a new lens, a new appreciation for our chosen field, colleagues and patients.
So, this holiday season, I would like to take this time to thank everyone at RMA for being such a special group of people whose passion for our field and our patients sets us apart from the rest. Also, most importantly, I would like to thank our patients. We are privileged to help such a special group of people on their journey to fulfill their dream to have a family. Thank you for letting us into your lives and trusting us with your care." MM
"Wishing you and your families a Happy Holiday and a nice New Year for 2012. May 2013 bring better happiness and memories to all.
May the families and friends in Newtown, CT stay strong throughout the holiday season and remember everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with them during these hard times." MR
“I wish everyone this holiday season to be thankful and appreciate the friends and family who are in their life, to remember those we have lost and to look ahead to meeting those who will light up our life in the future. I wish you all a happy holidays and new year.” KD
"Some days I wish I had a magic wand so I could just fix every ones problems, stop them from hurting and just take away their pain, but sadly I don’t. what I can do is tell you that it will get better. Even when it seems like everything in this world is falling down around you…it will get better it just takes time. remember the old saying “Time heals all wounds” because it is true time does. And remember you are not alone." ER
"Please pray for our many precious new angels in heaven from Newtown who left this earth and their loved ones way before their time." DD
“I live my life by the old adage, treat someone how you want to be treated. My parents, who are the most wonderful people I know, have instilled this into my sister and I from a very young age, which is one of the many things that I will forever be grateful to my parents. Because of my parents, I have always been able to express care and compassion to everyone I have met and continue to meet, no matter the circumstance. After the tragedy that recently occurred in Newtown, a town so close to home for many of us, my heart just breaks. I wish I could reach out to all of those children, teachers, and their family affected by this tragedy and hug them. I wish I can press a button and take away their pain. I wish, like so many of us, that this terrible tragedy never happened. The teachers and staff and even the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary school that showed their courage that day, that gave their lives that day, are true heroes. I believe they reacted from the heart and we, as a community, as a country, have so much to learn from these heroes. We all need to act with more compassion towards one another, we need to be more kind, we need to imagine what it would be like to “walk in their shoes”. I believe that if we do this, our world will become a better place. Bad things will always happen, but if we all can just do one nice thing a day, hold the door open, smile, then maybe we’d be able to turn someone’s day around, maybe we’d be able to feel connected and just maybe, there wouldn’t be so much pain…” JS
"Wishing you happiness throughout the holidays and into 2013. Hoping that 2013 is the year of all years for family building!!
Would also like to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the families of Sandy Hook Elementary, may you find some sort of comfort throughout these tough times." NL
"To my Neighbors in Newtown,
I have been praying and sobbing with you all since I heard the news on Friday morning. Words will never take away your sorrow but maybe over time actions will. I vow to continue keeping you, your children, your families, and your friends in my thoughts and prayers. I vow to be one of the people in this world who fights to make things better so others will be spared this kind of grief. I vow to raise my children to learn from this tragedy and to cherish every moment they have. I vow to be more thankful and supportive of our teachers like the ones who risked everything on Friday including their own lives. I vow to do a better job of supporting my local Police, Fire and EMS. I vow to learn from this, all of this and to forever keep Newtown in my heart." CVS
Happy Holidays from Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT)!
Holiday Season Activites that Do Not Include Children
Favorite things to do doing the holiday season that do NOT include children:
- Drive/Walk to see Holiday lights. The bigger, brighter, the better. The flashier. My favorites tend to be the ones lit up, that you can see from two miles away.
- Cozy fires, hot tea/chocolate/glass of wine, book, cat/dog, spouse/partner (or not!)
- Good or bad holiday movies, (a favorite, I will admit it here, "Love Actually")
- Going to see a movie in the theatre, R-rated, no children! (mainly)
- Prepare a special meal. Better yet, BUY a special meal that someone else has prepared. Eat it on the best china that you own, with your special flatware. Use your prettiest candles and wine glasses (even if you are drinking water). Find a scruptuous desert; it's the holidays, a treat is in order. Take your time and enjoy what you have created.
- Sleep in. Spend the day in your pajamas.
- Stay off the computer. Or, stay on it the entire day.
- Baths are always wonderful. Add candles, lovely music, something nice to drink and a soft covered book. (Soft covered is important, trust me, dropping a hard covered book in the water kinda stinks.)
- Go for a run/walk/stroll. Dress warmly, look carefully, breathe deeply.
- Do a photography session. Pick up your camera/phone and look for interesting images. Go close in on a flower or a vase or even a piece of fabric. Or, take the camera/phone outside.
- I almost forgot yoga!!! Practice at home, do sun salutations (Suriya Namascar), go to a class.
These are the things that I like to do when I have some free time and it's all mine to spend the way I want. It's almost like having money to spend any way you want.
Spend it mindfully. It's a precious commodity, time.
How do you want to spend it?
Holidazed and Coping with Infertility (and Everything Else)
A dear friend and colleague brought this word to my attention last week.
That was last week.
Because now there really is a before and after.
Last Thursday was only a week ago. But now it's before. And it feels like a year ago. A lifetime ago.
And just think, that word surfaced then. Before. Now it's even harder to focus on the holidays.
What does holidaze mean?
I'd like to think, in the best possible way, that it means to dazzle. That's the optimist in me. Dazzled by the lights, which I love. Dazzled by the music, which I love, even after hearing songs dozens and dozens of times. Dazzled by the beautiful colors of wrapping paper. Which, yes, I love.
Not too sure that was what was meant by the word though. In fact, I'm pretty sure that holidazed means just what it sounds like. Dazed. Glassy-eyed. Overdone. Spent.
A lot of us know what that feels like. And with infertility, it's worse. We start the season off, holidazed. Another season with no good news, no pregnancy, no baby in arms.
Holidazed. Stunned. Dazed. Done. Overdone. Spent.
We need to find a way to regroup. All of us. When bad news and sorrow seem to surround and overwhelm us, we need to look at the smaller, simpler things.
Ok, maybe you don't. I do.
Ways to Regroup During Holiday Stress
I feel my breath. I don't just remind you to do it. I do it. I breathe. I appreciate the breath I take in. I enjoy it as if it were something lovely to savor. Because it is.
I look up at the sky. Revel in the several thousand shades of grey. The sun bravely peeking through. The stars, millions of miles away.
Small things. Simple things.
That's the way I fight against holidaze.
I enjoy my body. Which is not perfect. Not by a long shot. How amazing it is that when I want to get up and move, everything that needs to happen, does. Like a miracle. Small things, all in the proper sequence, have to happen to get up and move. My body may have more or less flesh on it than I would like; may be more or less toned than I would like; may have more or less systems that work perfectly than I would like and yet...
It all works well enough for me to get up and move when I want to.
A small miracle.
Unless you can't.
Find the miracles in the small things. The things that you do have. The breaths you are able to take.
Getting up and moving.
Perfect antidote to holidazed?
Appreciate the miracles in this moment.
Facing Loss and Funerals in Newtown, CT
Below is a blog that I wrote several years ago.
So much of what is in there is still so true.
And for me, as for many of you, life has unalterably changed in the last week.
You know that I live very close to Newtown, CT. You know where Newtown, CT is. You know what happened there. It is now part of our cultural understanding, in a horrific way that no one ever wanted or expected.
Six funerals for babies yesterday.
For six- and seven-year-olds. Many of the people grieving were younger siblings.
I can't wrap my brain around that.
I cannot wrap my heart around that.
We all grieve for these children and their families.
Today, I see these even younger children, missing their big sister or brother.
Holiday Season in Full Swing - Bah, humbug
The holiday season is now in full swing. Christmas songs are all over the radio, holiday lights are up. Parties have begun. Drinking, eating, celebrating, and oh yeah, shopping.
I went into four major retail stores, touted to have everything one needs for the holidays to get Chanukah candles and came away empty handed. A menorah, to be lit each night, needs forty four candles. Chanukah candles are sold in boxes of 44, usually easily found. Sometimes they are handcrafted, hand-dipped, specially decorated. I was content for the incredibly inexpensive, somewhat homely mass produced kind.
Nothing. Zero. Nada.
Even for those of us who don’t celebrate Chanukah, we know about menorahs. It’s a mainstay of Chanukah. See, even my Microsoft Word program capitalizes it if I forget! So I won’t even go into a tirade about how Christmas takes over the stores and that there are rows upon rows of green and red, as far as the eye can see in any store you walk into. I won’t go on and on that the Chanukah section is perhaps four feet wide if there is one at all. I’m used to that.
I’m not used to not being able to find Chanukah candles. In the stores that I went into, I asked for them and was shown fake candles. Yes, that’s the new thing. Fake candles that don’t light up and present a fire hazard. Ok, I guess I get it. I think, though, that I might even have been appeased to have found an electrical menorah. Nope, none.
It hit hard. I knew that my reaction was moving deeper than my inability to find forty-four ugly candles. It was being in the minority, being outside looking in; feeling the edges of the warmth of the season and not truly feeling warm or welcome.
Same exact feelings I had looking at babies and strollers and mothers. Because, of course, all the stores are about shopping. And so much of that shopping is about children. There's Santa Claus, holding court, with child after child confiding in him what their secret wish is. Standing on line, sometimes for hours, just to sit on his lap and whisper in his ear what their dearest hope is.
Don’t you wish we could go sit on his lap? Not in some icky, creepy way. I wanted to go sit on his lap for years and tell him how good I had been. How I had given up drinking coffee, liquor, eating many of the “wrong” foods. How I moderated my exercise, took my medications, gave myself shots, went for ultrasounds, and did what my doctors told me. That I had been a good girl, that I deserved my secret Santa Claus wish.
My wish for all of us is that we stop being on the outside, looking in. That we get to join the “Mommy” club. That this year, Santa grants our deepest, most heartfelt wish. After all, we don't want the whole bag of presents, do we. We just want that one, special wish granted.
I’d much rather have that for all of you than find my Chanukah candles.
Sending you love and comfort and support on this very hard holiday season.
Fertile Wishes this Holiday Season
Sometimes I mix up metaphors. And sometimes I even mix up holidays, religions and cultural icons.
Sometimes I mix them up on purpose because they work better that way. Sometimes I do it by accident and they still work better that way.
Sometimes, I'm just all mixed up.
So forgive me. I was lighting Chanukkah candles and making wishes. Making wishes, of course, is more closely associated with birthdays than menorahs.
Be that as it may, I was making wishes.
Quite a few wishes floated through my mind as the flames ignited and then softly danced. Some very personal and private ones. A few included gratitude for all that I have in my life and appreciating them more.
Then I thought of you. So many of our patients that I know so well. That I feel priviliaged to have ongoing relationships with, women that I consider friends.
Here were my wishes for you.
I wished that all of our patients would become pregnant. Every single one. I believe that my co-workers, RMACT team members, would love to be able to tell all our patients that they had a positive pregnancy test. That the numbers looked good and strong. That two days later, the beta numbers had done just what they were supposed to.
I wished that each pregnancy test that was positive resulted in seeing a gestational sac and a heartbeat.
I wished that each pregnancy test that was positive turned into a strong, healthy pregnancy.
That each pregnancy ended with a great labor and delivery.
I wished that each of our patients left our practice with a healthy, full term baby.
I wished that each of our patients ended up with the family of their dreams.
100% of our patients, with their wishes fulfilled.
That's what I wished for while I lit candles this evening.
Sending each and every one of you my wishes this holiday season.