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From The Greatest Heights (Part IV)

Fortunately, we could tell that we were on the right path. As the months went by and we adjusted medications, the follicles grew ever closer to the necessary size. We just needed the right formula.

One month the doctor was excited when he walked in. He said that he had just come back from a conference in which a new treatment protocol was introduced. He wanted us to give this new protocol a shot.

I was more than a bit wary. We were getting closer every month. Why take a gamble on something different even if it had some real potential? Doctors do have a way of being convincing, especially when they are dealing with exasperated patients, and he talked us into it.

In retrospect, his excitement should have been a dead giveaway. He wasn’t excited for us, he was excited because he was going to be able to try and see if he could duplicate the results he saw at his conference.

Unfortunately, that month was a total bust. In the long term scheme of things, one month isn’t that much time, but it was a step back for us and the first month with no progress. It was an important lesson. Doctors may pay close attention to their patients, but they are not living their lives. It would always be our job to advocate for what was best for us, irrespective of what the doctors may want.

And then, finally, one month it happened. It’s almost humorous how lay people going through medical ordeals start to understand much of what they are seeing. As soon as the ultrasound started, I could see that there was a follicle that looked like it might be the right size.

I didn’t mention that to my wife, as I was waiting to get the official report. The few seconds it took to measure felt like an eternity before the doctor turned to us and told us that at last one of the follicles appeared to be of the correct size (he also mentioned that a second follicle was also close, but I wasn’t paying attention to that). Our chance had finally arrived.

The emotions are hard to describe. This was what we had been waiting and praying for, but nothing had been done yet. The follicle still needed to be fertilized, and there were never any guarantees that fertilization would occur.

I don’t remember saying much about it to my wife. It was very clinical, as we discussed optimum ovulation times and the actual method, which was about as far away from natural as you can get.

There were issues to discuss with our Rav. Interestingly, we had never asked these kinds of practical questions, never being sure that it would be relevant and not wanting to get our hopes up.

The whole thing is a rather humiliating experience. Without getting into detail, for the first time I started to see what my wife had been going through on a monthly basis. Humiliating or not, there was no choice. All we could do was follow the doctor’s orders and then sit back and pray.

Unfortunately there are no quick answers either. Even with ultrasound and advanced medical technology, it still takes weeks to get the results. Those were weeks of knowing that for the first time there was really a chance, that the potential for the realization of all of our dreams and prayers could be a reality, or we could receive the devastating news that it had all been for naught.

It was out of our hands. All we could do was pray and wait until we could schedule a blood test three weeks later and then wait by the phone once again for the new, most important results of our lives: a positive or negative pregnancy test.

About the Author: Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed is a freelance writer, public speaker and social media consultant. He is currently working on a book about his collegiate experience. He welcomes comments and feedback at chaimshapiro@aol.com or on his website: http://chaimshapiro.com/


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2 Responses to “From The Greatest Heights (Part IV)”

  1. I will be on the Chuck Morse show on Monday April 29th to discuss infertility and child loss. Live stream will start at 10 AM ET at http://www.irnusaradio.com/home.

  2. I will be on the Chuck Morse show on Monday April 29th to discuss infertility and child loss. Live stream will start at 10 AM ET at http://www.irnusaradio.com/home.

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Just a few months ago, I was having a difficult time getting a refund for a missing product processed via the customer service call center at a major retailer. After spending hours on hold and having my request denied, I sent a Tweet to the company’s Twitter account.

I have a background in counseling, and I can say that the biggest mistake that I ever made was refusing psychological help after we lost the twins. I was trying to keep my tough-guy facade going, and convinced myself that I could deal with the pain.

We had suffered through an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. My wife had to go through labor and deliver our children to their deaths, and I was unable to save them or even give them a little warmth while they died.

Special Note: It is an unusual phenomenon that many bereaved parents share. We can almost see our age-adjusted children in our sukkah or running up to us during a family simcha. As quickly as they come, those visions seem to disappear as we go through the life cycle. They are hard moments made harder by the thoughts of not only what could have been, but what should have been.

I had to believe that things were going to be ok. They just had to be ok. We had gone through so much, had sacrificed so much and were doing everything the doctors told us to do. I remember speaking to a hesitant professor in my Ph.D. program about getting an incomplete in her class. The conversation stands out in my mind because, looking back, I can see how odd it must have seemed as I matter-of-factly told her I was too busy for coursework because my twins’ amniotic sack was bulging through my wife’s cervix.

On our first day in the antepartum unit, one of the nurses mentioned how critical every moment of pregnancy really was. “One minute in is worth two minutes out (in an incubator).” We weren’t really expecting a premature birth, but her comment put a fine point on the importance of the care my wife was receiving.

The best way to describe our emotions the morning of our major ultrasound was nervous excitement. We had survived a serious scare with a threatened miscarriage a few weeks prior. My wife was on bed rest at home, but we had no real reason to assume there would be any new problems.

It was only after we celebrated the great news that we were expecting twins that we saw the first sign of problems. First of all, my wife was losing, not gaining weight, even as the babies continued to grow normally. Soon after, routine blood work revealed that my wife was suffering from gestational diabetes.

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