The Waiting Game Called Infertility
After twenty months of waiting to conceive our child, we have not even begun medical treatment yet.
For many, this may seem like a complete shock and if you know me personally, you know my deep desire to have a child. So why is it that we have not even begun our treatment yet?
When I was just eight days old, I was diagnosed with a condition called hypothyroidism. In short, many of my basic hormonal functions did not work properly. While I was diagnosed early and put on a medication to help me live a normal life, there were always underlying struggles due to this condition. One of those struggles was being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at the age of twelve, while another was being diagnosed with PCOS at the age of twenty-five.
I always knew this could be an issue for me, due to my struggles with hypothyroidism. So while many people wait one year before starting with fertility treatment, my husband and I went to the doctor just three months after beginning to try. The doctor was very happy we came early. Her words were “with the medical issues you have, we don’t mess around.”
We began testing, and the first day was especially hard as a close relative called less than an hour after my appointment to share the exciting news that they were expecting a baby. I was thrilled for them but also knew that I was about to embark on a long journey to have what they were about to have.
Over the next countless months, the process entailed lots of appointments, meetings, ultrasounds, bloodwork, and more. Every step of the way felt a little bit closer but at the same time, that much more distant. So many things would block me from reaching my goal of starting treatment. During this time I struggled with a chronic foot condition, Israeli bureaucracy, a polyp, and so much more. I kept feeling “THIS is my time” only to discover that it wasn’t because I was blocked by XYZ. Every time I felt it would happen, I got stopped. Sometimes it literally felt like God didn’t want me to have a child.
Then, the week of Purim this year, my doctor said that I was finally ready. I could finally begin the treatment. After all the waiting I could finally begin! I was ecstatic! I felt like my moment had finally arrived.
Finally getting to the process was exciting, but also nerve-wracking. I was prescribed two different medications and then a shot. On Purim, I started to take the first medication but sadly, I was unable to start the second medication because between the first and second, Israel went into lockdown. While technically, bloodwork and ultrasounds were still open, I was told by my doctor to not continue at this time, especially since I am at higher risk for Covid-19 due to my other health issues.
This was one of the most painful parts of my experience thus far. I had finally been able to get somewhere and then it was grabbed out of my hands, not knowing when I could begin again. I knew I would need to continue to wait. The pain was unbearable.
Due to beginning the medications, I knew that I would be getting a period in the second week of lockdown, which meant that I would need to go to the mikvah. I don’t even typically get my period, but because I was going to actually start treatment and had taken the medication, it would be the first time I went in a long time.
That mikvah experience was one of the most emotionally painful ones that I have ever had. I cried for six hours straight. I knew that my treatment was stopped and I had no idea when it would resume. It felt like my hopes of ever having a child were even further away.
Now, that lockdown is over, I have begun treatment again. I went to the doctor recently and am excited to get underway with treatment, however, there are new additional steps. I have to get notes from different doctors saying that it is safe for me to get pregnant during this time and sign paperwork indicating that I accept the risks involved due to the new health risks for me, brought up by COVID-19. I need to get my bloodwork and ultrasounds up to date and the doctor needs to reassess my situation in full.
In a lot of ways, I feel like I am starting at level one again. I am also stressed to know that anything could happen. I think about the consequences of going into a second lockdown, and I think about the future world that I could potentially be bringing my child into. I have many conflicting thoughts, yet at the end of the day, I am doing the only practical thing that I can do – moving forward and trying not to be afraid. I still have no idea when I may have my child and I can not control that. But right now, I am able to feel hopeful once again. I can be proactive again.
So today I put my right foot before my left, pray to G-d, and hope for the best.
After planning for aliyah since 5 years old, Tamar now lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh with her best friend, her husband, Giddy. Tamar loves to write, spend time with friends and family, and organize homes with her business Tidy with Tamar. She is excited to share some of her thoughts on the difficulties of infertility and hopes that with her words it will help others to relate to those struggling.