[In]Fertility

9 May

Some people call me a baby whisperer. I’ve always felt this connection to children and babies – even when I myself was a child. I can soothe almost any colicky baby – even if they do not know me. And as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mother. It just felt this was my ultimate path. To raise children and be their mommy. Love and career didn’t come close to my desire to be a mother.

So in 2013, after 6 months of trying to get pregnant after our wedding, my deepest darkest fears were coming true. I was not getting pregnant and I might not be able to conceive or carry a baby. This sent me down a deep dark tunnel that lasted 3.5 years. Life happened around me and I was in a haze. All I could see were the pregnant women or the babies and it made me so very very sad.

Life as an adult has been relatively… easy. Smooth. Serendipitous. I moved countries, found friends, established a career and met my partner for life. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road but for the most part – it all felt like smooth sailing. I have worked hard to get to where I am today, but it didn’t feel like a challenge, it just felt natural. I knew that one day my “luck” would run out – and I just didn’t know when that would be.

So when I realized that we needed to talk to infertility specialists, it dawned on me that my luck had finally run out. And it terrified me – this was the one thing I wanted desperately and possibly could not have.

We worked with one doctor for a short time and realized we were not a fit. Then we met our current specialist (Professor Raul Orvieto from Mercaz Danieli in Givataim) and I felt like we were in good hands. I got pregnant on our first IUI and it sadly ended in a miscarriage 9 weeks later. It took us another 4 months to figure out that I had a monster polyp in my uterus which was preventing me from getting or remaining pregnant. A week after that discovery, it was removed. It took us another 10 months until we finally conceived with the help of IVF.

I’ve been pretty vocal to my friends and colleagues about our fertility struggles – it is important to normalize this topic. Getting pregnant and staying pregnant is not the easiest feat for all of us. The more we talk about it – the more people understand it and can be empathetic to their friends/loved ones/colleagues when they too go through it.

We had the love and support of our family, friends, doctors and therapists to help us through this tough journey. I have to say – I have the most supportive partner in the world and I am beyond blessed that we get to love each other every single day.

And as I finish this post,  my gorgeous little girl is waking up from her morning nap. I am so utterly grateful for the powers that be that brought her into our lives and made us a family.

Reflection – 12 years in Israel

14 Jul

pexels-photo-59519

12 years ago I boarded a Nefesh B’Nefesh plane to move across the world and make Israel my home.

Here are some of my thoughts from the past 12 years:

  1. It was the best decision I ever made – and I knew it the day I moved here and feel the same way 12 years later.
  2. My local political views have changed *drastically* over the years. I went from the far right all the way to the center/left. Life and experiences change you. Living here changes you.
  3. Moving here has not changed my core values. However, I do see many more shades of color instead of black/white/grey.
  4. I still cannot express myself in Hebrew with the same comfort and ease as I do in English. I don’t think this will ever change and I have come to accept it.
  5. I met some incredible people who I am honored to call my friends. Some are olim like me, others are native Israelis. Some stayed, some left and wherever we are, the bond is forever.
  6. I stopped being an American consumer. I took a few years – and I am so much happier this way. Yes, I miss the crazy sales in the US but I also appreciate what I have and what I can afford.
  7. You can be fiscally responsible living in Israel – as long as you learn to live within your means and redefine “needs” vs “wants”.
  8. Socialized medicine has been a godsend.
  9. I now wish we could separate Church and State.
  10. My food consumption has drastically changed.  I no longer eat a big dinner but rather a modest lunch. I buy my vegetables and fruits from local farmers, on their farms. Nothing I eat has corn in it.
  11. My career took a serendipitous turn shortly after I arrived and I never looked back. But boy am I thankful that I was given a chance. Thank you Sheri.
  12. Most importantly, I met and married the man of my dreams.

To the next 12 years and beyond.

Latkes for Two

7 Dec
Latkes_by_jypsygen

Latkes by Jypsygen

Tonight I made the best latkes (לביבות) that I have ever made – and just the right amount for only two of us. I thought it was prudent to write it down so that next year, I do not forget how I did it. They were crispy on the outside, mushy in the middle and just … perfect. Not too greasy, not too flat. Just right.

It all began when I spoke to my mother earlier today – and asked her how many potatoes she uses to make latkes just for two people (her and my dad).

1.5 per person and the trick according to my mom is to deep fry the latkes in a soup pot. This way, the oil stays in the pot and not on the stove, counters or anywhere else.

Ingredients:

5 medium or small sized potatoes

1 onion

1 egg

1/4 cup of flour

1 tsp of himalayan pink salt

1 tsp of freshly ground pepper

A pinch of baking soda

1 liter of grape seed oil (or any low smoking oil)

Directions

(45 minutes – 12 medium sized latkes)

In a large pot, pour at least 1/2 a liter of oil and put it UNCOVERED on the stove to heat up

Crack the egg into a small bowl, mix and add in the salt + pepper

Wash, peel and quarter potatoes

Grate potatoes in the food processor, transfer to a fine mesh colander to drain. You want your potatoes to be as dry as possible.

Peel, quarter onion and grate in the food processor. Transfer to a separate bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, add the 1/4 cup of flour, pinch of baking soda and mix.

Add in the potatoes, onions and mix.

Add the egg to the potatoes, onions & flour and mix by hand.

By this point, the oil will be hot enough for you to fry.

Spoon a tablespoon of the potato mixture into your hands, press it together into a ball, place it on a ladle and gently (!) place it in the pot. You should only have 3 latkes (at most) in the pot at the same time. You don’t want to crowd them. Give it 3 min each side (or when they are nice and crispy) before turning them over.

When they are cooked, place them on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the extra oil. Repeat until all the latkes are cooked. Serve with some real sour cream and/or applesauce.