I remember the aftermath of my first miscarriage. Many times people don’t even realize they have had a miscarriage when it happens so early in the game, but since I was going through fertility treatments, in this case an IUI, I knew that I had conceived, I knew that it had implanted and the cells of the embryo were splitting… and then they weren’t. When they say “your body takes care of it,” the pregnancy hormone or BetaHCG numbers, or “Betas” in the fertility lingo, slowly go down to zero. Well, my body wasn’t doing that, and so I had to have a shot of methotrexate to help me get there.
One of the warnings I got when taking methotrexate was to NOT TRY to conceive on my own for 3 months. Anyone who is trying to get pregnant through an A.R.T. knows that you are pretty much chained to a lab during that time, and I was being released from those chains. So what does one do when given freedom of movement but can’t actually physically do anything? Well, I went to better my soul. My husband and I went to Israel.
We spent Shabbat in the old city of Jerusalem and had a meal with the Rosh Yeshiva that my husband had studied with for his gap year. He asked me to sit next to him and I confessed to everything we were going through. He told us he wanted his son to take us to see a specific Rabbi for a bracha the next day. On the 2 hour journey for our bracha, the son, our guide, turned to me and said “You likely will not get to see the rabbi, so tell me what you want to ask since my father feels your husband is quiet and would not push through the crowd for a blessing.” My husband spent a year in this yeshiva, was nicknamed “pareve” since he was coming to learn, but not change. The head of the yeshiva knew my husband’s personality and accessed that his wife was a true ezer k’negdo and could speak, if allowed, for both, but wouldn’t have the opportunity. I was very grateful to have a representative who would not hold back. I told the Rabbi’s son that we had recently had a miscarriage and we wanted desperately to have children and I was losing hope. Should we switch to IVF or continue with IUI, will we have children… what should we do?
When my husband came out from seeing the Rabbi, I asked what had transpired. I wanted details. “He asked what I did for a living. I told him I make lights. He asked for your Hebrew name, and I told him Zehavi. I asked for a bracha for my livelihood and for children. He told me I will LIGHT UP THE WORLD.”
That’s it? I was disappointed. Will we light up the world through his work? Would my “golden” Hebrew name allow me to light up the world another way? Will we finally be able to see the light at the end of our dark fertility tunnel and have children? How will we light up the world? In hindsight, it would be all of those paths and only now can I see it revealed, and I truly thank G-d.
Chanukah is a festival of lights, a time for miracles, and every year at this time, I think back to this event in my life and the bracha that we would “light up the world.” I know how lucky I am that Hashem gave me my miracles! I still cry in disbelief and nachas during candle lighting when I hear my boys recite the brachot. But I don’t forget the past.
I speak openly about my journey, tell my tale on blogs, youtube videos, symposiums, wherever people will listen. People I have never met come over to me, call me, email me to share what they are going through and just knowing there is someone else they can talk to brings light into their eyes.
I reflect on those who have to endure this holiday without children. I relate to the couples who are praying that this is an auspicious time for their cycles and perhaps Hashem will give them a Chanukah present, a miracle this time, that he will bring light into their dark days, and I pray too.
Whoever you are, where ever you are, know that you are not alone. You may not know me, and I may not know you, but I feel you – your pain, your heartbreak, your despair, your doubts, and your fear. There will be miracles for you, it may not be clear how it will manifest itself, but Hashem has not abandoned you. With each day of Chanukah, may the increasing lights and warmth of the candles on the menorah bring you comfort and I hope that your gift will be revealed sooner rather than later.