Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beaches and babies

What do I tell you about first?
That I took my kids to the beach in Ashkelon on Friday?
...ok... that's first...
Robert cooked for Shabbat, and I took off with the kids!
I so deeply have a need sometimes to see the ocean.
It is bare, uncluttered testimony of God's control of the world.
I go there to release my attempts to manipulate His control.
Watching God control the world calms me; settles me.

What is *un*settling, though, is watching after four children at the beach with only one pair of eyes! And when those eyes were in the water (in the water more than out), they don't have glasses to help them see little offspring who went springing off. Not to mention the near-coronary-heart-failure I had when I couldn't find eldest offspring for an uncomfortable amount of time. I took my small kids out with me quickly and jogged back to the blanket to get my glasses... and there he was, assuaging his 12-year-old-boy appetite with a sandwich. Lord bless him. And give me mercy.

A good time was had by all, and the only one of us who got a bit of a sunburn was... me. I forgot to put cream on myself. The children all had basically one foot in the ocean-- waited barely long enough for me to cover every inch of their exposed skin with sunscreen #54, only like a true mom with OCD can do. Then I had to heed the call to go in with Shifra and Wazi. "Call" may not be the proper word here, lets check the thesaurus, hmmmm, let's try: pulling my arms and demanding. There, thanks to the good ol' thesaurus again. :-)

Then, of course, as no trip to the beach is complete without, everyone got over-priced ice cream. Slurp!!

We made it there and back with not one child insulting or instigating another. Alert the presses... history has been made. It was a purely wonderful day, thank God.

Now the next thing to write about... another feat of endurance and keeping-cool-under-pressure... wait let me interrupt. I just want to clarify what is so special about feats of endurance and handling pressured situations. Because for most of these past four years, I couldn't do that stuff. I was scared and insecure about my abilities- grounded with good reasons- physically, and emotionally. Those things have been taken apart and rebuilt in different forms now. Physically my pain is largely under control. If I walk the way my thigh joint wants me to walk, we are good together. Emotionally... well, the PTSD has come a long way from those three weeks I spent at the psych hospital three years back. I have built up more confidence in my ability to take care of my children. Again, not 100%, but taking them on a beach trip myself shows lots of belief in myself that I can do great things with my kids without a back-up.

Ok, I am getting so tired now, if I don't write about this next thing, I'm gonna fall asleep with the laptop on my lap. Wouldn't be the first time.

So yeah, I delivered a baby last night. Did'ja get that??! I DELIVERED A BABY LAST NIGHT, FOLKS! Myself. The ambulance was called, but I got there first and the lady was already pushing. It was just so fast.

(Mom & Dad- remember our conversation last night where you said to me have a good night sleep, and I said it isn't to be taken for granted? Well, I didn't realize then, but it'd be 5am before I got to sleep!)

The husband called me at 1am. Now, I knew her last birth was only two hours, so I knew that when they call, it means *jump*. This was the fourth birth.

So, I quickly got out of bed (spinning with the efficacy of my sleeping meds!!) and dressed. By the time I was almost out the door, it was 1:15, and he called again. He said the contractions went from 5 mins apart to one minute apart, broken water and pushing. OK, I told him I am out the door. Please bring her down stairs and I'll meet you at the sidewalk and we'll get to the hospital. To which he said "she said she isn't going anywhere at this point".
I said to call an ambulance, and I got there in 4 minutes; fortunately they live nearby. The husband was so relieved to hear me coming up the stairs. I came into a scene of a birthing woman on her knees on a couch, an elderly Hungarian mother who knew no Hebrew or English standing in shock like a statue, and the husband, trying to deal with all three of their little ones who were, at this point, WIDE AWAKE.

Funny thing is that the mother and I had drawn up together an index card of affirmations that we will tell her, or she'd read during the birth. At this point the only affirmation available was "I'm going to help you take these pants off, we're going to have a baby". I washed, put on gloves (which I always have in my bag), and felt for the baby's head, which I found poised on the precipice. A few good pushes and we had half the head out. Her other three kids were upset, their mother was yelling things. I had the baby's head on my hand, and turned around to tell the girls that "mommy is OK, not sick. Her body is doing exactly what God created it to do, have a baby. It's hard to have a baby....."(trailed off). Then came another push. A screaming one, and we had the whole head in my hands. Still no paramedics. Good thing nobody was dying up there! What's the deal with how slow they were????

Baby girl was born blue and pink and a good strong cry was heard around the town. Thank God!!!!!!!!!!! But have you ever tried to ask an elderly Hungarian woman to bring towels and warm water and blankets? Or better yet, hear a birthing mother with the head between her legs translating so that her mother will bring me these things... complete with telling her exactly *which* towels to bring and which *not* to bring. Women are amazing, aren't we?

Then paramedics came. Thanks guys. They wanted to know if this was planned, and who am I. I swallowed sarcasm almost saying "yeah, we planned this. Look around... does any of this !!LOOK PLANNED!!!??" But I didn't say any of that. Something like five men came traipsing in, and the mother was shocked. There she was, in all her 'glory', still on her knees, and these guys come crashing the party. She kicked them out, in her very polite, Hungarian accented Hebrew. It was charming, really. They left, telling me that they are waiting in the hallway, just to get her into the ambulance chair and covered up. Remember, the birth isn't complete yet- placenta hadn't come out yet.

We got her into their chair, and I wrapped up the baby and held her. The paramedics came and started wheeling her out, and then the littlest child started crying "mommy! Hopital! Baby! Hopital! Sick boo-boos!!". So I intervened there-- the daddy wasn't able to find the right words to soothe her, and I had had experience doing that before. I told them that mommy & baby are going to a special hospital-- not the sick boo-boo hospital, the happy baby hospital! Everyone there has babies and all those babies are good! Then I had to pick up and follow the crew down the stairs with the wheely-chair bouncing down each stair, and the mother crying at each painful bump.
I need to interject here. This was the hardest part for me. I had flashbacks to that wheely chair and me bouncing down stairs in terrible pain. I was put into a chair like that the night the ambulance came to take me back to the hospital when I had NF. They came to my room, and I begged for a stretcher, not to sit- it hurt too much. They said that sitting was the only way they could get me down the stairs from my room to the front door. So, I yelped with each bouncing step, too. My friend who had come to watch the kids while we left would later write about the sounds like a "dybbuk" yelling, coming from the hallway. Later I found out that Dov had woken up but put the pillow on his head out of fear of hearing more.
All that was my flashback. And then, how that special chair bumped into the ambulance to become a stretcher. I remembered all that, and relived it in a way last night. It freaked me out. I was holding the baby, and got into the ambulance feeling dizzy from the trauma of the birth, and probably also my sleeping meds. I climbed in to sit on the bench near the mother, holding her baby, and got a sharp pain to my thigh. I tripped a bit because of that, and the paramedics asked if I'm OK. Remember, newborn in my hands. It was quite the flashback, I gotta tell you. Perhaps with a tikkun this time, but I still am processing it all.
When it comes to  my own traumas, I get hit hard with difficult repercussions. But someone *else's* trauma I am as cool as a kitten. I can be there, and handle it all with confidence and grace. It is a bizarre, but very useful trait. I was attracted to this work partly because I have this ability. It's hard to shake me up with a crazy traumatic scene. As long as I'm not directly involved or affected.
SO, we got to the hospital, .....................
~~  just took a bit of a doze, gotta finish up here ~~

And all was well. :-)

Got home and asleep by 5am.
Slept till 2:30pm, got up, feeling kinda sick all day, low-grade fevery.
Lots of pain from my mesh surgery, and thigh aching with tenacious persistence. Neck hurting down the whole shoulder. Wrecked. But you knew that without me saying so, didn't you.

Going to sleep now, don't  know for how long. Late into the morning, clearly. Then I have to go to the hospital to visit mommy & baby.

Next commitment for a birth: August. Fourth birth also, and I was with her for two and three. We have time till then.

Going to a wedding on Thursday, and then an appointment with the famous pain doctor here in Be'er Sheva Friday morning.
Now, to all a good night.


  1. I feel spent just reading about these accomplishments! Hope you've had/are having a good rest!


  2. look at what g-d decided that you are going to do. he wanted you to deliver that baby, with what everything you are going through and feeling. what a zchus! may you always have energy for these g-d send tasks. hope the fever and aches leave fast! and also happy you shared a gr8 day at the beach with your kiddies! rochel.

  3. thanks Larry, and Rochel. I so appreciate seeing your comments on my blog. Rochel-- you are quite faithful with comments almost every post. I have become quite used to having you around. Thanks. :-)

  4. knew most of it - your writing is superb and page-turning fabulous

    Bracha Goldman

  5. beautifully written-wow-just words.


  6. what an amazing amazing experience. Yasher Koach to you! What a bracha you were there, and you handled it all so beautifully. And Mazal Tov!

  7. From Devorah, NJ USA