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July 28, 2014 / 1 Av, 5774
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From The Greatest Heights (Part V)

The doctor had warned us that even if we did everything right and followed the protocol after the follicle was of the right size, there was no guarantee of success. Fertilization still had to occur, and just like couples do not necessarily become pregnant every month, we had no way to know if we were actually expecting for two full weeks.

I am, by nature, a very skeptical person, and I had to wonder, aloud, how it was possible that follicle size could be measured and determined to be viable but there was no way to determine if that follicle was fertilized. Be that as it may, we had no real choice. We could come in for blood work two weeks later; there was nothing we could do until then.

I’m a huge sports fan. Most sports fans have no problem watching a taped game if they do not know the outcome. I have never been able to do that. To me, the best part of sports, the tension and drama, occurs while the events are unfolding, and even if I have no idea what happened, I do not experience any sense of drama when the results have already been determined.

While some people may see that two weeks of waiting as a time of great hope and possibility, it was torturous for me. Even the most passionate sports fans realize that their life isn’t linked to the outcome, but the overwhelming sense for me was that my future and my life were on hold until we knew for sure. Tension may be great for sports fans, but it is very difficult to handle in real life. To say it another way, I can deal (or find a way to deal) with reality, even if it is a painful reality, but not knowing drives me absolutely crazy.

I don’t remember much about those two weeks. My wife and I agreed not to talk about it, even if it was at the forefront of both of our minds, and I can’t recall specific events as much as the feeling that those two weeks dragged on forever.

After what felt like an eternity, those two weeks came to an end, and we went in for the all important blood test. For reasons I will never understand, the pregnancy blood test was not ordered as a “STAT” test that would produce results in less than an hour (subsequent blood tests to track the health of the early pregnancy were all designated as “STAT”). We took the blood test, left and had to wait a day or two for them to call with the results.

Caller-ID was still a rarity and we had no way of knowing what news may lay behind every ring of the phone. There was this moment of intense anticipation each time my wife answered the phone. Each time I was home when the phone rang, I stared at her for some hint if that was the call that contained that most vital information.

At the time, I didn’t work most Fridays, so I was home when the phone rang. After the ubiquitous “hello” I will never forget the short, emotion laden, “yes?” my wife then said. I was staring intently at her as she gave me the one-second motion. Fifteen seconds that felt like an eternity passed until my wife exclaimed, first in disbelief and then in excitement, “I am? I am!”

I ran up to her and gave her a big hug. We were so excited that we were literally jumping up and down (I assume she thanked the nurse and hung up the phone, but I have no memory of that). At long last, the moment we dared not dream was finally here. We had done it. We were expecting at last.

We had both read about miscarriages and we knew that pregnancies, especially those induced through fertility treatments, were somewhat tenuous at best through the first trimester, but we were on top of it. My wife would be going in for regular blood tests and ultrasounds to chart the progress and make sure things were progressing nicely.

My in-laws lived down the block from us. They hosted us for Shabbos meals each week and they knew all about our treatments. My wife and I quickly agreed that while we were not going to tell anyone else, it would be impossible to withhold that information from them when we were eating together a few hours later.

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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