Sunday, September 25, 2005

To Set the Record Straight

Something has been bothering me since Friday and I would like to set the record straight. Someone, and I don't know who, has been spreading nasty rumors about me. I don't think they were doing it maliciously - this is something they must think about me and are sharing it with others. Well, I want to tell them and anyone else who may have heard it that they are 100% WRONG!!!! I don't know where they got their information from, why they would ever believe it, or why they didn't ask me about it but it is NOT true.
Someone is telling people that I don't want to move to Israel anymore because I have seen the way my friends live there and they live in "squalor" and so I want to stay in America. Well people, that is GARBAGE.
First of all, I love Israel. A part of me is missing when I am not in Israel. When I was living in Israel, I was not complete because I hadn't found my B'shert. Now that I have found the love of my life, something is missing because we aren't in the Holy Land. Yes, he knows I feel this way. I would pack up and move to Israel in a heartbeat. The longer I stay here, the harder it is/will be to leave. I take comfort in the fact that many of our friends also want to make Aliyah so I dream that one day we can all go together.
Second of all, the last time I was in Israel was in November, and the only friends I saw were the ones who came to visit me in the hotel and hospital. So I didn't see any of my friends living in "squalor."
Third of all, I have lived in Israel, aside from in dorms I have lived in an apartment and house-sat a house. And I have NO problem with that.
Sure, there are a lot more material and physical comforts that come from living in America but in Israel, you don't need those things. Those things aren't important there the way they are here. Life is just....................different.
I'm sorry that you think I am so materialistic that I would give up the dream I have had since I was 17 years old to move to Israel because I supposedly didn't like the way my friends were living. I'm sorry you obviously don't realize how much I love Eretz Yisroel and how my heart aches when I think of it.
I'm also sorry that the people who heard these rumors seem to have believed them. :(
And yes, I am sorry that Shu doesn't feel the same way that I do. If you want us to move to Israel, he is the one to work on. Not me!

And that's all folks.

Friday, September 23, 2005


So, all this hurricane stuff has really got me thinking. (Is that correct English?)
Hurricane Katrina was some crazy stuff, right? And people probably did not realize how bad things were going to get so they stayed in their homes until it was too late.
Now hurricane Rita comes along. And it's threatening Texas. People in Houston are being told to evacuate their homes. So they are. They have a little bit of time because I guess the storm is not supposed to hit real bad until sometime on Saturday. So they can pack up their cars and head inland. Which is no treat because everyone else is doing it too. Someone was interviewed on the news and he had gone 48 miles in 13 hours. Youch. Our friend's family lives in Houston and left their house. It took them 6 hours to go 12 miles. Ugh. They are staying with some other family now and hope to be safe.

Anywhoo, that brings me to my latest thoughts. If I knew I had to evacuate my house and there was a strong possibility that my house and everything in it could get destroyed........what would I bring with me?
Let's say I had a couple hours to pack up and I could only bring what could fit in my car, what would I take?
My family of course. I think that goes without saying. But I said it so you guys wouldn't give me a hard time about not saying it.
Basics - I suppose I should take some clothes but just my favorites because I can always buy new clothes. And I would bring some food and water because I may be on the road for awhile trying to get to wherever I am going.
I think I would go from room to room and take the important things from each one.
Our bedroom: The clothes, some toiletries, some hats. My jewelry, specifically whatever Shauli gave me and an heirloom ring that came from my great grandma.
Jonah's bedroom: Some clothes and if there is room, a copy of a painting by my mom. Also, a baby down comforter and pillow my mom made when we were little. My baby blanket that Jonah used.
The guest room: A wall hanging/quilt that someone made for us from our wedding. Important papers like birth certificates and passports. Jonah's shot records and social security number. And photo albums.......I guess I would not have room for ALL my albums but I would go through and grab my favorite pictures. And I could bring the negatives of my pictures. Those don't take up too much room.
The computer room: My discs of pictures from Jonah's birth and on and our digital camera. Maybe our computer tower? I feel like there is a lot of information on that computer but I don't know if it is worth the room that it would take up. I think I would take my wedding dress. And Shauli's kittel.
The Living Room: Our ketubah. The painting my mom made for me and some favorite pictures. Some photo albums. My wedding tiara. My Shabbas candlesticks and the Shabbas blessing picture that my mom-in-law made for me. Our wedding pics and negatives. Shauli probably wouldn't want to part with his X-box. Jonah's baby book.
Kitchen: I already said food and drink. My dad's cookbook. Shauli's cutco knives? Those are expensive.
Basement: Now comes the hard part. That's where all my boxes of memories are. Things from when I was little, favorite toys, diaries, a memory box full of things that were my dad's. I guess I would just try to rifle through them quickly and grab the most important things.

And that's that. Would it all fit? Am I missing some REALLY crucial things? Possibly. Did I write too many material things? I'm not sure.

Now if I had to leave quickly - the list would definitely shorten. Hmm..............................

What about YOU? What would you bring?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

And the World Stood Still

Yesterday was my day off......from Kohl's.......
And like the good mother, wife, friend, person that I am, I had plans to fill it with all kinds of errands and Things To Do. There were playgroups to attend, grocery shopping to do, Shabbas food to prepare, birthday preparations to be done, phone calls to be made, medical billing to be done, piles to go through, bills to be paid, presents to buy and wrap, photos to be enlarged and framed, a house to be cleaned and organized, and the list goes on and on. Well.......... I accomplished one item on that list. And you know what? That's ok. Because yesterday the world stood still.
The item I accomplished was that I went to playgroup with Jonah. Our shul has a playgroup that meets on Thursday mornings and I don't usually attend because I have to work but since yesterday was my "day off", Adina and I planned to bring our kiddies to playgroup together. Which we did and my friend Channa even joined us and all was well and good in our worlds.
We came back from playgroup at around 11:30 and shortly afterwards Jonah CONKED out. He was sleeping so I figured it was a good time to get some medical billing in. So I worked on that for an hour.....two hours...... Jonah's still sleeping. I finish up the phone calls I needed to make for that (which I can't do when Jonah is around) and work on some regular billing, and Jonah is still sleeping.
Finally at about 3:00 or so he wakes up and is not quite right. He's complaining crying. No tears, no terrible sobbing. Just complaints. Like something is bothering him. Like he wants to go back to sleep maybe but at the same time, he can't. I thought he was probably starving because he missed lunch but he refused any and all food and drink. Even animal crackers!! I knew something was wrong then. He just wanted me to hold him and he wanted to "cry".
I called Shauli upstairs and we decided he may have felt a little hot. He went to Shauli and lay in his arms and after a short while, just fell asleep. OK? So I went back to working and doing miscellaneous things while checking on Jonah every so often and Jonah kept sleeping. He finally got up around 5:30 or so and accepted his bottle while lying on Shauli's chest. He drank about 8 ounces and promptly threw it all up.
And he was sweating and burning up. He would not eat or drink anything else and just wanted to be held so he could lie there and stare off into space.
So thats when it happened..... the world stood still.

Sure, I had a million and one things to do. But my baby was not feeling well and needed to be held. And I needed to hold him. And that was the ONLY thing that mattered.
As I was sitting there holding my burning hot baby I was vaguely aware for a moment in the back of my head that there were things to be done. But it truly did NOT concern me. At that moment, I could not have cared less if they ever got done. It's not as if I was holding him but at the same time my mind was going a mile a minute and I was getting worried about how would I get ready for Shabbas on time and this and that.

I just sat there.
Holding my baby.
For as long as he needed me to.
For as long as I needed to.

And that's when I realized what being a Mommy is all about.........

*** PS - Jonah is doing MUCH better today and is almost 100% back to himself, Baruch Hashem.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My Nephew

Well, well, well, do I have a nephew to tell YOU about!!!
My 9 year old nephew decided over Shabbas that he is going to raise money for the victims of the Katrina hurricane. And the way that he is going to do this is by collecting bottles and cans and turning them in for money. Here in Michigan, we get 10 cents each so that already puts him a step ahead. He goes door to door asking people for cans and has collected more than 800 cans and $10 in cash to put towards the cause. You can see a picture of him and read a little more on his dad's blog, Airtime.
I saw a TV clip for the upcoming news for this evening called Kids Helping Kids and while I didn't get to watch it, I know my nephew could be on it.
I will keep you posted on his efforts and if you are Michiganders and want to donate cans, let me know or drop them by my house. Or if you want to send a little something to support the cause, I will pass it along to him (and he, in turn will pass it along to others).
Thank you!!!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Birth Story - Part 4

I get wheeled down the hall and keep thinking of this as a scene in “A Baby Story”. But those women look and act SOO different!! I think about the people I pass and wonder if they know where I am going. Do they know I am going to get a c-section? Do they realize what has been going on in my life for the past day and a half? Well, we are coming close to the end. Or rather, the beginning.

I get wheeled through those electric doors that Shauli and I had passed so many times on our walks. I guess now I know where they lead to. I am wheeled into an operating room with very bright lights. And it seems so cold. Cold, sterile, and impersonal. There is a table in the middle and I wonder how the heck I am going to get onto it. There is all kinds of equipment in the room and I see a place to put the baby. Finally, this baby bed I know my child will end up in. The third one I have seen since the beginning of my labor. I keep thinking to myself, is this really happening to me? Am I really going through this? Yep, I am really in the operating room. So, this is what one looks like. There are a number of people in the room and a couple of them help me onto the table. My nurse Bev is there so that’s a familiar face. I ask her if she will be there during the surgery and she says yes. That makes me feel better even though she stays in the background most of the time. The young resident that I met earlier and the even younger medical student come in. Then there are a few other women who look like miscellaneous nurses. They seem nice enough. Dr. Schoenberger comes in and so does the anesthesiologist. He asks me how I am feeling and I am quite honest when I say that I am terrified. He jokes with me a bit to lighten the mood and tells me that he likes me because I am a patient that he can joke around with and I am fine with it. I don’t freak out. Everyone is so casual and it’s nice that they aren’t rushing to cut me open. We’re just talking for a little bit. I remind everyone that I do NOT want a play by play of what is going on with the surgery. I want to know when they can see the baby, and when they deliver the baby and if it’s a boy or girl. That’s it! I ask how long they think it will take from start to finish and Dr. Schoenberger says about 1 hour. Now it’s 2:30 and they should be done by 3:30. That seems longer than I had expected but I will get through it. It’s not awful. Even though I know it will feel like ages.

Then it’s time for the spinal. A nurse comes to my right side and the anesthesiologist is behind me. Everyone else is bustling around setting things up. I am sitting up and the nurse tells me to lean forward. So I do and they clean my back off. The doc tells me that I will feel a pinch and I shouldn’t move. I feel a sting and since I can’t move, I try to relive the tension by saying “ooh, ooh, ooh” and breathing the pain out. I’m terrified at this point and keep thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Please don’t let me be paralyzed. All of a sudden I feel a shock go down my right leg into my foot. What a weird feeling and I let out a gasp and say ouch. The anesthesiologist asks what’s wrong and I tell him that I felt a shock in my foot. He says, “what?” So I repeat it and I guess he can’t hear me because he tells everyone in the room to “Be Quiet! Everyone be quiet for a second.” His tone of voice scares me and he says “Ma’am, WHAT did you say??” I tell him what I felt and he asks which foot and if I still feel it. I say my right one and no, it’s gone. He doesn’t say anything else but quickly goes behind me again. I still have feeling in my legs so it must not have worked. The doctor says he is going to try again so I will feel another pinch. The nurse helps me lean forward and really crunches me up. They say that is the right position and I feel that sting again. He must have gotten it that time and quickly lay me down. I feel the numbness traveling down my legs and it is such an awkward feeling. Then they quickly crank the bed so that my head is lower than my feet. Everyone is rushing around and making me very nervous. The anesthesiologist then takes an alcohol pad and swipes it on my arm. He asks if I can feel the cold from it and I say yes. Then he tells me to let him know when I can feel it on my body. He starts towards my stomach and I feel the swipe like a little tingle but not the temperature. He moves up and up and asks if I can feel it yet. He sounds like there is a problem so that’s pretty scary. I still don’t feel the cold though. Finally, I think I feel it when he is almost at the top of my chest and he asks again if I can feel it yet. I tell him I think so and they quickly crank my head back up. I just keep thinking to myself that I hope I am not paralyzed and how scary this anesthesiologist is. Finally, I suppose he is satisfied with the spinal because he steps back.

Then it’s time for the resident to prep me. She comes in and explains what she is going to do before she does it so that is nice. She washes off my stomach and puts iodine all over it. The nurse who helped with the spinal stays next to me during all this. I suppose she is my “c-section nurse” although she doesn’t introduce herself. They stick something on my shoulders and put up the sheet that will shield me from the surgery. I guess that is also the boundary between what is sterile and what is not. The nurse gives me oxygen through a nasal canula. I lie there with my arms out like a scarecrow and I’m shaking a little. I feel cold and hot at the same time and I ask the nurse for a wet washcloth for my forehead. She brings it to me and that feels good. I had been using one all through the labor to cool me off and I think it must be a comfort thing for me too. I remember ever since I was young and not feeling well my Mom would always put a cold washcloth on my head and wipe my neck with it and I still do it to this day. And that’s it for the prep. Time to start the surgery.

I hear but can’t see Dr. Schoenberger begin. He starts giving instructions or explaining what he is doing and I start freaking out. I don’t want to hear when and where they are making the incision. I know that I am losing it and I think to myself that when Shauli gets here, I will ask him to talk to me about ANYTHING so I can get my mind off what is going on and so I won’t be able to hear them talking. I will ask him to tell me a story or even talk about sports or maybe sing a song. Then I realize that I have to figure something out until Shauli gets here because I can hear them. I feel the numbness going higher and higher and it’s harder to feel myself breathe. That was one of my biggest fears. I had even mentioned it to Dr. Schoenberger beforehand and told him that I am scared of that. He says that it happens occasionally but don’t worry, I will definitely be breathing and a way to test that is if I can talk, then I can breathe. He also said that if I do stop breathing, it’s not a big deal, they will just stick a tube down my throat and breathe for me. LOVELY! So I feel my lungs getting numb and so I start breathing loudly. Meaning, I breathe in and when I breathe out I say, “hoooooo”, breathe in, “hooooo”. It must have been pretty loud because the doc says jokingly to “cut out that loud breathing, what are you doing over there?” He asks if I am still breathing and I say, “Let’s check. Well, if I can talk then I can breathe so I guess so.” Then I ask him if my breathing noises are disturbing him because I can be quiet. He laughs and says that he’s fine. The sensations I am feeling are the weirdest I have ever felt. I keep thinking to myself that this is one of the strangest and most intense experiences ever in my life.

Well, after a moment or two, the breathing noises aren’t loud enough to cover up what they are saying and Shauli still isn’t in the room so I decide to sing to myself. The song/prayer “Mizmor L’Dovid” pops into my head because Shlomi told me that is one of the Tehillim that are good to say when you are pregnant. He told me to say it often because it will help with an easy birth. Plus, I know and like the song it goes to. I start singing real quietly to myself. “Mizmor L’David, Adoshem ro-ee loh echzar, binot deshe yarbitzayni al may menucha yenahalayni”. I think of my words going up, like a prayer, to Hashem. And with every word, I sing a little louder. I start listening to myself and concentrating on each word and each sound. I don’t hold back but just keep my voice steady and can almost see each word coming from my mouth and rising to heaven. As I am singing, Shauli comes in. Thank G-d he is here. I have never been so happy and relieved to see someone. I am overwhelmed with love and feel like he is an angel coming to rescue me. He sits down and I tell him that I need him to help me sing so I don’t hear them talking. He sings Mizmor L’Dovid with me and then we finish the song. So I look at him and ask what to sing next. He tells me what about the song he walked down to at our wedding, that was a beautiful song. Somehow, even though my head is so foggy, I am able to think of the song and the tune. Mi Von Siach. We sing that together and then Esa Enai. Afterwards, I sing V’leeyerushalayim and close my eyes. I think of the city and the country that I love so much and my longing to be there. Longing to be there like I long for this baby.
I am SO thirsty. Since they made me stop drinking and stop with the ice chips, it feels like torture. I tell Shauli that the idea of really having a baby at the end of this process is really foreign to me. I can’t really believe that our baby will finally be here. I need something tangible to look forward to. So I tell him that aside from looking forward to the baby at the end of this process, I really look forward to a drink. I hope I am not too bad of a person for saying that.

All of a sudden, I feel like I am going to sneeze. Now for some reason, even though logically I know that the incision is very low, I have this image of me lying flat on the operating table and sliced open from top to bottom. I can feel them poking and prodding all over my body so that backs up my mental image. I know it can’t be true but that’s how it feels. So if I sneeze, I am worried that I will really mess up their operating because my organs will jump. And they might cut something that they didn’t mean to cut! So I am freaking out. I ask Shauli to tell the nurse that I am going to sneeze and what should I do? So he says, “My wife says she is going to sneeze.” She looks at me and says “ok, sneeze.” And I say “really, it’s ok?” And she says “yes, go ahead and sneeze.” I try to let it come but the sensation passes. That’s fine. I’d rather not sneeze.

My body is shaking all over and I feel really incredibly sore. I’m so uncomfortable and want this to be over. I want to ask what time it is so I know how much longer until 3:30 but I also know that I won’t be satisfied with the answer. Shauli keeps taking a peek over the curtain but every time I ask what he saw, he tells me that he can’t see anything because there are people in the way. I tell him that we need to start singing again because I am scared. We try to think of a kid’s song because I feel we should sing to the baby. Shauli says the only song that keeps coming to mind is “Little Neshomele” (Little Soul). I say that’s a good one and we start singing together. “Come with me, little neshomele, let me take you by the hand, there’s a little child waiting to be born today, you’re to be his heart, his soul. Come with me, little neshomel’e….” As we sing, I think of the baby inside of me. I don’t know why it wasn’t coming out before, I don’t know why it’s head never engaged. But I do know that it is healthy and maybe it is just scared. I don’t know if it’s neshama is inside yet. Maybe it’s just hovering above. So I am singing to the neshama of my unborn child. “Don’t be scared,” I want to say, “We’re here. We want to take care of you and love you. Please come meet us.” I am gazing at Shauli as we are singing and I know that this is probably the most intense experience in our lives so far. I know it certainly is the most intense since we have been married. And I know this will change us forever. I feel a bond with him stronger than ever before. I know without him, I couldn’t do this. I need him. I see tears forming in his eyes and I know that he is listening to me sing to our baby. His voice breaks and he can’t sing anymore. I go on singing for a little bit, knowing he is listening to me, knowing he is praying for me and for our baby.

I just want everything to be ok. I’m so scared, and so tired. I want this to be over. Why is it taking so long? I feel out of it and drugged. I know that I am talking less and less and I tell Shauli that I feel drugged and I don’t know why. Then numbness is spreading and I can’t feel my lips anymore. That makes it hard to talk. But it scares me too. I ask Shauli to tell the anesthesiologist that I can’t feel my lips. Is it ok? I can see him out of the corner of my eye. He is behind me and seems to be just leaning against the wall, hands behind his back. Hanging out. I don’t really like him. Shauli asks him and he says that it’s fine. We don’t need to be worried. My neck is hurting and my arms and my shoulder is in a lot of pain. I just want a massage. I want to be done with all of this. When are they going to get the baby? I think I hear a baby cry and I ask Shauli if I did. He looks over the sheet and someone else in the room says, is it time? Is the baby coming? Everyone is getting excited and starts moving closer and looking. The doctor says, “Hold on everyone. It’s not time for the baby yet. It will be a few more minutes.” I guess I imagined the cry.

Finally, it’s time. The doctor gets the head out. He says they have the head. Shauli is watching. They tell me that I am going to feel some pressure and I do. It’s not a comfortable feeling. I feel pressure and tugging around my stomach area. Then they pull out the rest of the body and I hear those incredible, amazing words…..”It’s a boy.”

I knew it! I am SO happy. I look at Shauli and know that he is overjoyed. He has a son. A first born son. I hear my baby crying and it is the sweetest sound in the world. Can we see him yet? Not yet. Bev comes over and says “Congratulations. He’s beautiful. He has all his parts! Everything is there and he is healthy.” I look at Shauli and say, “A boy. Just what we wanted.” Shauli asks if he can go over to the baby but they say they will bring him to us.

Finally, they bring him over all wrapped up in a blanket and with a little hat on. His eyes look so funny. They are all black and moist. He is SOOO small. And the most beautiful sight in the world. I tell Shauli, I never imagined I could love something so much, it’s amazing. Shauli gets to hold him and I reach over and stroke his face. “Hi baby,” I tell him. I am in awe. This is our baby, our son. WOW. They tell me that he is 7 lbs. 2oz and 19 ½ inches long. They take him away and tell Shauli to come with them because they are going out to the recovery room and going to show him to the grandparents. So off they go. The two loves of my life. My husband and my son.

The doctor is finishing up and I hear him saying things to the resident. This goes here and that goes there. I keep thinking to myself how unhappy I am that a resident is doing this. Why do I have to be the guinea pig? But I am sure everything will go well. Dr. Schoenberger is here after all and he isn’t going to let them mess up. I hear him say, here’s an ovary. What are they doing looking at my ovaries? I hope they are checking to make sure everything in there is ok. And I hope they make sure to put it back in the right spots!!!

I finally ask the question that has been on my mind for months. The baby is ok? He doesn’t have Down Syndrome? The nurse reassures me and tells me he is healthy and perfect. Dr. Schoenberger says, “Wow, you are such a nervous mother. Relax” I tell him that it’s his fault that I am this way. After all, they are the ones who told me about the spot on the heart, the ecogenic focus which might indicate a Downs baby and the polycystic kidneys so of course I am nervous – they freaked me out!! He says, oh yes, he forgot and apologizes.

I am shaking really violently now and the nurse offers to put a blanket on me. I accept and she puts a really nice warm blanket on me. It feels good and helps the shivers somewhat. I’m exhausted too. Well, after a few more minutes I am all closed up and ready to head to recovery. They lift me up and back onto the bed and off we go. Off to my new life with my beautiful baby boy and my incredible, amazing, supportive, strong husband. A family.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Birth Story - Part 3

Morning finally rolls around. Contractions are about 2 minutes apart, a bit stronger. I need concentration to get through them. But it’s helpful having someone watch the monitor. And afterwards we can say, wow, that was a big one. At this point we want the big ones to keep coming. We get a new nurse and her name is Bev. She is pregnant too with her first baby. And no, she doesn’t know if it is a boy or girl. Good for her! She seems really nice and we hope she will be the LAST nurse we have. But I think her shift is until the evening and there is no way that they will let us go that long without having the baby. Well, Dr. Schoenberger shows up and it’s actually nice to see his face instead of hearing from him through the nurses. And we can finally talk business with him. But first, time for another internal exam. The nurse has to put the bed all the way down and that is painful in itself because lying flat on my back is no party. Then he checks me and it’s awful. This was certainly the most painful thing in the pregnancy. No need to go into details but it is REALLY horrific. I feel like it is torture and I can hardly handle it. It scares me that if I can’t deal with this pain, how can I birth a child? Mom says it’s different kind of pain. Internal exams are bad. Finally he finishes and I just want to die. No good news to look forward to either. I am still hardly dilated and maybe 60% effaced. The baby’s head is still very high up. Why won’t that baby come down? The Pitocin is helping but not enough. Contractions are not close enough together to keep the baby’s head down. The doctor says he will give it until this afternoon and if there is no more progress by then, they will have to do a C-section. The concept is incomprehensible to me. I am not going to have a C-section. We ARE going to push this baby out. The doctor is not optimistic that anything will change but he will give it some more time.
More Pitocin. More hours roll by. No changes. I am so terribly exhausted by this time. Will it ever end? The concept that I will actually have a baby is getting harder to believe. I try to tell myself by this evening I will definitely have a baby, one way or another. But it’s really hard to imagine. I’m totally drained. Well, it’s 11 am and the doctor comes back. He says he wants to try something when he does the internal exam. He is going to try to put in another monitor so they can get a better reading on my contractions. They don’t seem to be changing too much but maybe the internal monitor will tell us something else. Uh oh, another internal exam. Really, really, really painful. He thinks there may be a second bag of waters that he is going to try and break. He thinks that he breaks something. Now time for the monitor. This is awful. I don’t know what to think or do or say, I am in so much pain. I just keep praying that he will be done soon. It can’t go on forever. Please let him finish. Finally, he is done but was unsuccessful. Now comes the talk. Basically, if nothing changes, which it most likely will not by 1pm – we’re doing a C-section. The reality hits me. And so does the fear. I ask the doctor if he can stay for a few minutes and talk to me. I want him to explain what happens in a C-section and answer my questions and maybe help with some of my fears. I need to do this now so that I have time to mentally prepare for the surgery. I have never had surgery before in my life but it’s looking imminent. So hard to believe but I have to believe it. I like to think something will happen in the next 2 hours but I know it won’t. Not after 30 hours of labor. So he agrees to stay as long as I need and his AMAZING bedside manner comes out. Not only does he explain the process and listen patiently to my fears but he compliments me on how strong I am and what an amazing job I have done so far. He tells me that he was “torturing me” with the internal exams and I handled it so well. I didn’t freak out or scream or cry. He is really impressed and yes, my pain tolerance is VERY high. As for my big fear with the c-section, I am scared that I won’t be able to feel myself breathe. I heard that happens sometimes because the numbness goes really high. Dr. Schoenberger says it’s rare to happen but yes, it can and I will still be breathing even if I can’t feel it. The best thing to realize is if I can talk, I can breathe. Of course he adds, if I do stop breathing, no big deal, they will just stick a tube down my throat and breathe for me. LOVELY! Well, he says he will see us at 1pm and make the call and then he leaves.
Then the tears come. I can’t help it. I break down. Not sobbing hysterically or flipping out or anything. Just sad, tired, can’t believe the way things are going kind of tears. My mother in law comes in then and sees me crying. She gives me a hug and we all talk a bit about the situation. I keep repeating that we are so lucky that both me and the baby are healthy. The heartbeat is strong, baby is just happy in there. But it’s time to come out, time to be born. For sure by this afternoon we will have a baby. Still hard to believe. I’m so scared of the surgery. I am scared of not feeling myself breathe. I am scared of being numb from the chest down. I am scared of being sliced open. I am scared of throwing up. I am scared of something going wrong. I am scared of getting the spinal. Luckily Shauli can be there with me. I don’t know what I would do if he wasn’t. I can’t go alone. My Mom can’t come though and that’s hard. She has been such an amazing birth coach (in addition to Shauli) and now she can’t come for the final part. She can’t be there for the birth. I feel bad for her too, not just me. My mother-in-law stays for a while which was really nice and then she has to go because she has a million things to do. David and Shany are flying in today. What a day! But she says she will come back in time for the surgery and stay with my mom throughout. That’s good. I don’t want my mom to be alone. I wish we could stop the Pitocin. What’s the point? I wish we could take off the monitors. What’s the point? I am working to change my mindset. I am going to have a C-section. That’s the real deal. Me. C-section. Me. Surgery. No more eating or drinking. That’s a killer. The ice chips have been amazing and I need water. My throat gets so dry. Well, we cheat a little bit.
And here comes 1:00pm. Dr. Schoenberger comes back and the final verdict is, as we knew it would be, C-section time. However, first he has to go supervise a D & C and then he will come back at around 2 and we will go in. After he leaves, a very very young resident (probably my age) and an even younger med student come in and say they will be assisting the surgery. The resident seems ok. The med student seems like she really doesn’t have a clue. Great. I don’t want them doing my surgery. But I am too tired to argue or say anything. I just think it. Jocey has been in touch with Shauli all along and I speak to her before the surgery. I speak to AP at some point too (may have been earlier) and he even does the cheer. That makes me smile. It’s nice to have such good friends. I ask everyone to daven for me. I am terrified. I say the Tehillim that Sho told me about. I am really praying that Hashem give me the strength to get through this. Mentally and physically. I have accepted it but am still in some state of shock and disbelief. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I am going to have a c-section. That’s it.
Shauli and my Mom pack up our room because they are going to have to bring the bags somewhere when I leave for surgery. The nurse comes in and gives me something gross to drink that is supposed to prevent me from getting sick. On one hand, I want the doctor to come already so we can get started so that it can be over. On the other hand, I want him to stay far away. In come all the people with papers for me to sign. The resident comes and tells me all kinds of scary things that can happen in a C-section, sign at the dotted line. Then the anesthesiologist comes and says even more scary things and has me sign at the dotted line. I do but wish they could have done that earlier. Not half an hour before I go under the knife. Time is going so slowly.
Here comes the doc. I guess I am relieved to see him. Let’s do this! They are going to wheel me into the operating room and Shauli is going to stay behind and put on scrubs. They will give me the spinal and prep me and then Shauli can come in. It’s about 2:20. My mother-in-law is back. I am glad I get to see her again before going in. They stop the Pitocin (finally) and hook me up to a catheter. Ugh. That’s painful. I don’t know how people have them in all the time. It completly grosses me out. The “fun” never ends. That’s how I feel. Things just keep happening. When will it all be over? Will I really have a baby at the end of all this? Boy or girl? I’m so curious. They unstrap me from the monitors. Well, this is it. It’s time. And they roll me out of the room. I wave goodbye and don’t want my family to worry.

Birth Story - Part 2

We reach the birthing center and I feel more relaxed. We have our choice of rooms because there is no one else in today. We pick the middle size room because it has the good Jacuzzi. Shauli finds us and we unpack a little. Now what? The nurse comes in and checks me out. She gets my temperature and the baby’s heart rate.
It seems I am only a fingertip dilated so we want to try and get labor moving along. For the next few hours we try a number of things. I sit on the birthing ball, we take LONG walks in the halls although there isn’t too far to go because we have to stay on the same floor. So we walk through the hall of the Recovery Rooms and then through the administration wing. That’s carpeted so it’s nice. And there is another hospital type wing in there. Seems to be all women of different ages are there. We also walk through the regular labor and delivery halls and see a sterile looking wing that is closed off by glass doors. We wonder how to get in because there is no button. Walk, and walk, and walk. Contractions are getting a little more intense.
Mom massages my back, ankles, legs, and arms. My mother-in-law comes by with pizza for Shauli and my Mom. The first nurse we had was pretty cool but another one took over shortly after we arrived. She was nice but too grandmothery and not a take charge type of person. She keeps asking things and at this point, I don’t want to be making decisions. I guess she is just trying to be accommodating but I wish she was a little more in charge.
Well, the hours pass and not a whole lot changes. Dr. Debono’s shift finishes at 5pm and Dr. Schoenberger takes over. This makes me a little nervous because generally, I haven’t been crazy about Dr. Schoenberger. Also, he is not a big fan of the birthing center, especially for first time mothers. He is the one doctor who is most against it in the practice. Great. Well, he wants to be kept posted on the situation but if there is no progress then he is going to want to move me to the Labor and Delivery wing and put me on Pitocin. No way, I don’t want that. We have to get this baby out!!! I keep thinking to myself, we will have a baby by tonight, we will have a baby by tonight! The nurse offers castor oil again and we discuss it but the concept really turns me off so I pass on it again. Especially when the nurse says most women who take castor oil refuse it for the next child. That makes me feel like it’s not worth it. I pass.
Hours drag on and we are all feeling pretty hungry. We call Jocey and she brings us some Dunkin Donuts. I just have a plain bagel with margarine and it really tastes good. We hang out for a little bit in the ABC and it’s nice to just chill with her for a bit. She leaves and we do some more walking and get the verdict from the doctor. If nothing changes by 12am, I am getting moved to the Labor & Delivery wing and starting Pitocin. Oh well. I talk to my sis-in-law on the phone and she tells me about her experiences with Pitocin. Seems to work but I am nervous about the contractions. Although at this point, I am really wanting the baby to come already. So I want those big contractions to come. I just wish it would be naturally.
Another nurse joins the second nurse and I like this one. She is the one who gave the Orientation for the Birthing Center. She seems great and I wish she could deliver my baby. But, it’s 11:30pm and the annoying nurse comes and wants to put in my IV so it’s easier for them in Labor & Delivery. I am not crazy about the idea because I want to hold off on the interventions as long as I can but she’s insistent. Ok, I show her the spot that I prefer for an IV and she decides to try it elsewhere. On the side of my wrist. What an odd place. And extremely painful!! She puts it in and I am in terrible pain. Not only that but I am bleeding all over the place. She wants to see if the pain goes away but it doesn’t so she takes the IV out and says they will have to put it in there. Great, that’s what I wanted in the first place. Well, it’s time.
Off we go to Labor & Delivery. I’m scared and nervous. And tired. Very tired at this point. I really want to have this baby and figure it will come sometime in the middle of the night. That’s reassuring. By morning, I should have a new baby. Come on contractions!!! Our new nurse comes in and she seems really nice. That’s a relief. And then the fun begins of trying to get an IV started. After 5 attempts and 2 nurses, they FINALLY get it in. In the exact spot where I asked them to do it in the first place. It’s not painful, just uncomfortable. And I hate being attached to things.
Bring on the monitors!! Two monitors are strapped to my big belly, one to monitor the baby’s heart rate and one to monitor my contractions. They are fun to watch on the screen, generally, but I HATE being strapped down!!! So I’ve got the IV and the monitors and the nurse comes in with the Pitocin. Oh boy, here it comes. She hooks it up and starts off at the lowest level. They increase it every half an hour. I’m scared. I don’t feel anything different right away. The nurse keeps asking if I want something for the pain. No, thank you.
The hospital bed is terribly uncomfortable and I have to sit on a pillow to tolerate it. I miss the queen size bed in the ABC. I miss everything about the ABC. Why would anyone want to have a baby this way – all strapped up?? Oh well, next time.
We try to get some rest and my mom and Shauli take turns napping. I can’t really sleep although I doze a little here and there. We are all so exhausted at this point. They bring a birthing ball for which I sit on to try and help the baby’s head move down but it’s hard to get in a good position. Every half hour the nurse comes to turn up the Pitocin and offer pain medication. The contractions are coming harder and closer together now. About every three minutes. And I have to concentrate and breathe to get through them. I’m so tired of this. I want the baby!! We watch the hours tick by. There aren’t as many channels in here and a few hours are spent on the “relaxing channel”. Soft music and babbling brooks or raindrops. Outdoor scenery pictures. That’s nice because I want something on to distract me but I certainly can’t concentrate on TV shows. Not that there is anything very good on.
We are coming up on 24 hours of labor. That’s a long time. I’m SOOO uncomfortable. Will this ever end? Will we ever see our baby? I feel like this will never end.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Happy Birthday to Jonah!!

Wow, it's my baby's First Birthday. Soooooo crazy!!! The time just FLEW by and he has changed SO much from when he was just a little 7.2 lb itty bitty guy.

Jonah reached a major milestone today. He started walking!!!!!!!!!!
I was taking some pictures of him and he saw the camera so he took about 3 steps toward me from the couch. Then I figured I would try to get it on video. So I start taping him and he takes two steps and stumbles so he grabs on to the couch. Then he looks up at me and lets go of the couch and starts walking like he's been doing it all along or something!!! He took 9 steps!!!!! And you hear me in the video saying " Oh my G-d!!!! He's walking!!!" It's rather amusing actually. :)

So happy birthday to my baby boy and congrats to me and Shauli for surviving the first year!!!!

Birth Story Part 1

When I first started my blog, I was thinking of what I would put on it and some of the things I thought about were writings from my past. Now, I haven't done that yet but I have definitly toyed with the idea of putting Jonah's Birth Story here. When I initially wrote it (started within a week after Jonah was born and finished about a month later) it was 11 pages long. But I am going to trim it down and edit it for content. Fair enough?
DISLAIMER!!! WARNING!!! PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU CONTINUE ANY FURTHER!!!!PLEASE don't read it if you are uncomfortable about this subject or are going to have nightmares!!! Just kidding, it was ALL worth it and I would do it over again in a second for the reward that I got. But I don't want to hear complaints about how could I write this and it's too much information...blah blah blah. Ok? So if you are sure about this.......carry on..............

It was a year ago this morning that my labor started and a year ago tomorrow that Jonah was born. So here, is Part 1 of Jonah's birth story.

5:00 am, Tuesday morning, August 31st
I wake up and lie in bed, quite tired after another long, pregnant night. I can’t seem to sleep for more than two hours straight before having to wake up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. And the sleep I do get is not deep at all. At this point, I am generally dozing at night. Oh well, it will be over soon and then I will not get sleep because I will have a little human waking me up to feed or change or rock it. I’m not worried. I’ll adjust. And besides, I will be able to sleep on my stomach again. Very exciting. So there I am, lying in bed, trying to decide if the urge to pee is really worth heaving my huge body out of bed. I can’t sit straight up anymore and climb out that way so I kind of have to roll over and scootch as best I can. “Well,” I think, “I really do have to pee. And besides, what if it’s time for my water to break?” So I push myself out of bed and the moment I stand up…. GUSH. No need to go into gory details here but it was WEIRD and GROSS!!!!
My mind starts racing. I realize “Oh my G-d! This is the beginning. I’m going into labor. My water just broke and soon I will have the contractions and go to the hospital and be in pain and have a baby. I’m TERRIFIED! How did I get myself into this? Is there any way I can get out of it? I’m so scared. It’s starting. My life is about to be changed forever.” I start shaking and my mouth is drying out and I realize I have to get control of myself. “Yes Natalie, that was your water breaking – this is a good thing. This is what you have been waiting for for a month now. Yes, soon you will go into labor. Also, a good thing. And by tonight you will have a new little baby. Calm down and go wake your husband up.”
I waddle back to our bedroom, stand at the foot of the bed and whisper, “Shauli…..Shauli wake up.” He looks up confused and half asleep and I say, “I think my water just broke.” I have never seen him jump up so high and so quickly. He shoots out of bed, grabs some khaki pants from the floor, flies into them, throws on a belt, grabs a shirt and then I say, “Woah, slow down. I don’t think we have to do anything yet. We need to call the doctor and ask what to do but we probably won’t go to the hospital yet. I don’t think I am even feeling contractions.” Now he stops to breathe. I ask, “Do you think I should wake my mom?” He says yes, he thinks my mom would like to know what’s going on. After all, this is why she came. So I wake Mom up and we all go into the kitchen to call the doctor. I am sitting on a stool and shaking away, feeling very nervous, wondering if the shakes are from nerves or from labor. I’ve heard about people shaking in labor but that’s generally at the transition stage. I don’t think I am quite there yet. I get a hold of the answering service and they say that they will try to reach Dr. Debono. They put me through to her and I tell her what’s going on. I feel bad because I woke her up and she sounds SO tired. But I guess that’s part of her job. She tells me to stay home for now and eat and drink what I want, walk around, and rest up because there is a big day ahead of me. She says she will call me in about 5 hours and see where we are at. At this point, I have stopped shaking and feel a lot more in control (except for the dripping water). I feel more ready.
The morning is spent relaxing, watching TV (we watched the movie Executive Decision), chatting a little online (with Sho saying – are you crazy? Get to the hospital!!), snacking, and resting. Who can sleep? We’re going to have a baby!!
As crazy organized as I like to be, my hospital bag had sat at the foot of my bed, since about two weeks prior and the only things in it were a washcloth, some socks, and a nursing nightgown. I figured everything else I would need until that point. So I pack that up, not really having a clue about what I need.
Dr. Debono calls at about 11:30 and says we should think about heading over to the hospital because I should get checked. At that point my contractions are generally about 5 minutes apart but not getting stronger or closer together. They had been going on since 5:50 am. Since my water had already broken, the doctor prefers that I head to the birthing center to get checked as opposed to waiting it out at home.
So we have a bite to eat Shauli and I head out for an official last walk as just the two of us. Wow, our life is really about to change. We are both very excited and nervous and so curious about the next few hours. We walk along, holding hands and talking about the next few hours. Here goes a big step in our life. We reach the end of the block and turn around to head back and we see our neighbor pulling out of her driveway. So we flag her down and tell her what’s going on. She gets SOOOO excited and keeps saying wow, soon you will have a little baby!!
Then it’s back to the house, a final look around realizing when we come home, there will be a new baby with us. And it’s off to the hospital. We’re pretty calm but I can tell I am nervous and the closer the hospital comes, the more nervous I get. I don’t like being a patient. Shauli drops me and my mom off at the front door and goes to park and bring the bags. We head inside to register. I tell them I am here for the Alternative Birthing Center (ABC) and that someone from there already called them to let them know it’s ok for me to register now. The woman glances up and says, “Are you in labor?” I answer “yes” and she quickly says, “Oh, you can’t register here. We need to get you upstairs right now.” “But what about my husband?” I say. They tell me they will let him know where to go when he comes in. For some reason that makes me very anxious and I am scared he won’t find us. But they reassure me a number of times. They grab a wheelchair and we head up to the 3rd floor in the elevators.
Stay Tuned for The Alternative Birthing Center...........Jonah's Birth Story Part 2.