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The Key to Life

May 8, 2009 | by Sarah Adler

To me, it is a miracle that anyone can conceive a child unassisted.

Before I got married I had always assumed that our children would arrive easily and naturally. I was confident about my ability to integrate children into our life with little hassle. But reality has been quite different.

For us, the act of having a child involves invasive and mood altering treatments that leave me sickened and sad, and wondering how far along this heartbreaking road we will need to travel this time. Finding out I am pregnant means I won't need to take those dreadful medications for another cycle.

Yet this time, something new has been added to the long haul -- daily blood thinner injections that burn as they are absorbed into my system.


Each morning I remind myself that God, not medicine, has made this pregnancy possible.


I'm older and wiser this time around. I know the risks. I know how this road could God forbid potentially end in heartbreak. But I am also lucky. My two older children dance just outside my closed bedroom door as I inject myself, knowing that medications such as these have made their lives possible.

Each morning I remind myself that God, not medicine, has made this pregnancy possible. God does not bless us only to watch our hearts break. These thoughts give me courage for the long months ahead, for the challenges that might be in store.

I remind myself that the Jewish day starts at night –darkness before light. We have experienced the darkness, the pain of a loss so sudden and final, it took our breath away. It still takes my breath away.

One day I heard my daughter playing Mommy and baby, but there was no baby in sight. "Where's your baby?" I asked curiously.

"In heaven," she answered, as though this was the most natural thing in the world, and continued playing.

So although I long to tell her about this new pregnancy, I am cautious, waiting for the right time, perhaps when the baby is already in my arms.

My second child was born at home, before labels such as high-risk had come into our lives. It was beautiful, the way everyone cried when he arrived, the miracle of birth overpowering the jadedness that comes with taking nature for granted.

I am not jaded. To me, it is a miracle that anyone can conceive a child unassisted.

Yet, even when things seem to happen naturally, we are always assisted. The Talmud tells us that God Himself holds the key to conception and birth, silently facilitating the arrival of every new life.

When medical intervention is necessary, is it any less remarkable? Like myself, my doctor waits to be informed of our success, as powerless as I am to control the inner workings of my body.

Each day begins anew with a conversation with God, asking Him to please watch over me and this baby. I remind myself of the importance of daily doses of faith, alongside the vitamins and shots.

Ultimately, it is not the quantity of folic acid that will guarantee a successful outcome. It's not even my prayers. It is God Himself, who has chosen to maintain possession of the key to fertility, because it is too important to be given into the hand of another.

As Rosh Hashana approaches, the books of life and death are opened once again. We pray to be inscribed in the book of life. There is no guarantee for any of us that what was, will be again. Each year begins fresh, with a new slate. So I pray for myself, for my husband, and my kids, and I pray that this new life I carry will also be inscribed in the eternal book of life.



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