I wrote this two years ago. I'll have a new post about this year's Simchat Torah in a few days, bli neder.
I found out that I had PCOS about 2 months into my marriage with Zach. I was told it would mean fertility treatments if/when we wanted to have a baby. And treatments would only be possible if I got the green light from my GI because of the liver tumors.
Of course at the time, we didn't know they were tumors. That took almost a year to diagnose.
That Simchat Torah I stood in the women's section watching over the mechitzah as the men danced. I watched Zach dancing around the Bimah holding a Sefer Torah. I watched other men dancing around the Bimah holding their children and I prayed that by next year, despite what the doctors were saying, that Zach would be dancing around the Bimah with his child.
The year passed with more doctors' visits than I care to remember. The long process of being diagnosed with the liver tumors (made longer by health insurance bureaucracy) and then finally the green light to start treatments and the naivete that once I started treatments I'd get pregnant right away.
That Simchat Torah I stood in the women's section watching over the mechitzah as the men danced. I watched Zach dancing around the Bimah, once again holding a Sefer Torah. Now while there's nothing wrong with that, it's rather an honor, I watched and cried and felt guilty. That it was my fault Zach wasn't dancing with his child. That I had wasted so many years with an undiagnosed liver tumor and undiagnosed fertility problems and only when I was married was I finally doing something about it. That my husband was saddled with a problem.
I couldn't bear to go to services the next day.
And another year passed. With even more visits to the clinic as fertility treatments started in earnest. The long process of trying to get pregnant - from injecting myself black and blue to having scheduled sex. Having to talk to a Rabbi knowledgeable in how one goes about collecting a sperm sample to use for IUI when masturbation is forbidden and so is sex with a condom. And month after month of negative pregnancy tests.
That Simchat Torah I made the effort to go and watch the men dancing. I had spent Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur on bedrest and most of Sukkot. But I wanted to watch the dancing for an hour at least and as I watched Zach dancing around the Bimah yet again, I prayed and cried to God to keep safe the tiny life that had started growing within me.
And another year passed. And God did indeed keep safe the life growing within me and in May we welcomed our son into the world.
And this Simchat Torah I stood in the women's section watching over the mechitzah as the men danced. I watched Zach dancing around the Bimah with a smile I thought would split his face as he held his son. I watched and cried in happiness and thanks and said a heartfelt prayer to God, thanking Him for giving us this opportunity and that we be continue to be blessed by our son. Zach carried NS around for most of the night and as we walked home after, he commented that he didn't have a chance to hold a Sefer Torah this time.
As holy as the Sefer Torah is, I felt it was a good trade-off.