Tuesday, March 20, 2012

You know you married the right guy when...

When your husband stays up till 1 am helping you clean up from Shabbos and start cleaning for Pesach, and just as you're getting into bed you realize that your 2yo threw up all over her crib, and you get her cleaned up and back into bed and while you are doing this, your husband, without being asked, de-vomits and stain sticks her sheets AND spends a good twenty minutes cleaning off her "baby" AND THEN puts back on his clothes and goes down to the laundry room to get it in the machine right then AND THEN gets up early to put it into the dryer so that "baby" will be clean and dry and ready for your little girl when she wakes up in the morning.

This is when you know you have a keeper. :)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Part the Second

I posted part one and suddenly had the most vivid mental image of Thursday afternoon: standing up in the office, chatting with the friend who runs the show up there, sending faxes for Iyyar, while Barak in his red cabled sweater sat there reading White Fang and eating a ruggel from the plate that was sitting there for some visiting rabbis.

Anyway. Where was I?

Right. The plane ticket.

I really should have written this earlier because the details are already getting fuzzy, but I remember walking out the door and up the stairs and thinking oh, right, real contractions hurt a lot more than those contractions I've been having, and also thinking about something a friend told me, which is that when you're in labor the gates of shamayim are open like they are on Yom Kippur so daven as hard as you can. Walked up the rest of the stairs and out the door and the cab was there and my husband caught up with me; got in the cab and headed off to Ein Kerem. I can't remember if we fielded any plane-ticket calls on the way there--maybe Alisha does.

The entrance to the hospital that most people use is through a small mall, which seems like a strange thing to have attached to a hospital but is actually a really good thing when the hospital is as far away from everything as this one is. I wanted to go in that way because it's the only way I know how to get to L & D, but the cab driver turned around and took us to the emergency entrance: I asked him to go back and he grumbled something about only trying to make it easier for us. Went through the security and the guy mannng the entrance made some comment about Mr. Bigfoot's two bags--"Is this all you have?" Uh, it's not so much, considering, but obviously you've never seen a woman come here to have a baby. Buddy.

Went through all the passageways and into L & D and put my envelope full of stuff down on the nurse's desk. Walked up and down the hall, looked at the uncomfortably realistic posters depicting the phases of labor on the wall, walked back in, and was brought by a nice Israeli midwife into an examining room to get checked.

A side note: you know how some people's foreign language speaking skills suddenly get a lot better after a glass or two of wine? I've seen this happen myself--people who can't ordinarily speak Hebrew jumping an ulpan level or two at a Purim seuda, or some of my classmates in Hungary magically speaking improved English at a pub. I think it has to do with your brain's filters; when the filters are off, and you just kind of go with it, sometimes things actually improve.

I've never tried to speak a second language while under the influence (SSLUI?) but apparently the effect is not limited to inebriation. It can also happen while you're in labor. I have NEVER spoken such good Hebrew as I did that night. Ever. There was past, present, and future, all conjugated more or less correctly; idioms I didn't even know I knew; vocabulary that must have dropped into my subconscious without my knowing and sat there in the muck for months before flying up into service as if my magic.

After five minutes, midwife was speaking Hebrew to me, and English to Mr. Bigfoot. Seriously. That would be... a first.

Anyway, she put me on monitors and the baby sounded fine (hoofbeats!) and she checked me and told me I was four centimeters dilated.

Four. Centimeters.

Remember with Marika? I was between four and five for what, three weeks?!

So. Yeah. A little bit disappointed there. I'd sort of hoped to walk in and give birth again, but not to be.


The L & D room looked pretty much like L & D rooms anywhere, down to the fake wood flooring and the warming bed that looks impossibly irrelevant until there is actually a baby in it.

And then the phone rang. A few more times. About the plane ticket. The price had gone up--what was it, Alisha? 500 dollars? I said JUST TELL HIM IT IS TWELVE HUNDRED I WILL PAY THE DIFFERENCE I DO NOT CARE BUT DON'T LET HIM OFF THE PHONE WITHOUT A TICKET. More phone calls. At one point I remember grabbing the phone from my husband, dealing with something (my billing address I think) with Alisha and then handing it back to him when the next contraction hit.

Seriously insane. But he did get the ticket in the end.

Midwife came in, and oh glory she was AMERICAN and very nice. The contractions got more serious and I went in and out of the bathroom thinking, oh yeah, this is what this is like... I'd forgotten how not enjoyable all of this is... and I think that was when I told my husband he could go hang out in the hall. There was a labor ball there which I've never used before and I sat on it and bounced and it was just what I wanted, for a little while anyway.

My friend Bruria walked in and her husband was there, with a Meuhedet bag containing a bottle of soda water and pretzels. I remember his oh-so-guy "Want a pretzel?" to Mr. Bigfoot and then the nurse shooing them elsewhere and one of them saying, "You're really supposed to make your after bracha where you eat" and me saying "JUST GO!"

Bruria was rubbing my back and the contractions got hard and fast and I stood up and leaned on the bed but wasn't ready to start pushing. Bruria thought I was and I said no I'm not and then I guess I screamed--okay, I screamed--and they told me to get up on the bed so they could see what was going on.

And the rest of it, well... what is there to say? It hurt. A lot. I screamed. A lot. Natural labor, especially when it is back labor, is not fun. And I had really hoped for another magic easy labor and it was not happening. I had felt that the baby was so low and the ultrasound I'd had earlier had shown him really low but by the actual labor he had turned the wrong way. At one point I dimly realized that there was more than one doctor and more than two midwives and an ultrasound machine had materialized and someone said, "we need to turn him" and people were saying move this way, get on your side, get on all fours, DON'T PUSH DON'T PUSH which, truly, is almost impossible when you're at that point because pushing against the contractions is the only thing you can do, and a woman said "היא לא יכולה" then PUSH NOW and I kept thinking it was almost over but it took such a long time... there was one doctor who kept yelling at me through every contraction, "חזק חזק חזק עוד עוד עוד" (strong! strong! strong! more! more! more!) in this urgent way that made me keep thinking that this was the last push and the baby was almost out and yet he wasn't even close and I drank some water through a straw and screamed some more and pushed and eventually Bruria screamed "there he is! I love this part" and I thought "WHAT?!" and it was over and I had a baby boy. And I may as well be honest that as every other time, except maybe with Marika, I was even gladder that the labor was over than I was to have a baby on my chest.

But I'm pretty happy about him now.

[Coming next: Part the Third, In which I Discover that I Have Sent My Husband Home Prematurely.]

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Before I forget: Part 1

I'm wrestling with myself right now, because I feel like I really should be taking a nap while the baby is sleeping, or doing one of the three (three!) speeches I promised I'd do before I went on leave and ergo still need to finish even though I'm now on leave, and I'm not so much in the mood to blog, but I really want to write this down before I forget. You think you won't forget any of it, but when I look back at the posts I wrote about having Iyyar and Avtalyon and Marika, there are always things that make me think, "Oh right, that did happen." So, here we are. There's a lot to tell, so I'll do it in parts.

I was due on Thursday the 23rd, and the Thursday before that I went from "not even close" to "any day/hour/minute now." It wasn't so much the contractions that made me feel that way, although I was having a few every hour and they hurt; it was more a feeling of intense downward pressure that made me wonder if the baby was going to fall out any second. I checked out of work that Thursday night thinking I'd have the baby within the next day or two; the emails kept flying thick and fast from people who had apparently not registered until that week that I was going to, you know, have a baby, and ergo go on maternity leave. Monday night a particularly nasty one arrived, complaining that I had gone to have baby without doing speech X, and I called my boss in tears for the first time since I started this job in 2004. She was very sympathetic and told me not to worry about it. Then I called Alisha and went to the bus station and met her there and ate a hamburger. Which helped. Note: getting portabello mushrooms on burger is expensive, but oh so good.

Tuesday, Wednesday were the same. Wednesday night at about 9 I realized we were out of almost everything in the fridge, and decided to go to the makolet but didn't feel like carrying that much stuff back myself. Peeked into Barak's room and saw that he was wide awake and reading a comic book. "Barak, do you want to come to the makolet with me?" Barak, naturally, catapulted out of bed, got himself dressed, found an empty backpack and presented himself for duty in the living room in about a heartbeat and a half, with that super-helpful, super-polite, extra-delightful demeanor he gets when he's getting away with something in the middle of the night. We went to the makolet--I can't remember now what we talked about--and bought two bags of milk, cottage cheese, bread, cucumbers, peppers, and whatever else. Oh, and two pints of Ben and Jerry's, which was on sale. And seven bars of chocolate. That was not in the plan. I wanted to buy one, as nose-blowing rewards for Iyyar (part of whose OT homework was thorough noseblowing) and bought two because Barak asked for some also; then it was on sale seven bars for NIS 20 or whatever so... yeah. Chocolate and ice cream. And ravioli, for me.

Got home, plopped on the couch and watched Barak put it all away. Then he went to bed and I looked for the ravioli and it had completely disappeared, because he had put it into the cupboard, not the fridge or the freezer where I'd been looking (silly me). Ate ravioli. Went to bed.

Woke up the next morning to a mildly upset stomach and a miniscule amount of bleeding, which has heralded imminent labor in the past. It didn't feel that imminent though, so I went about my day, in the company of Barak, who was taking an Authorized Personal Day (TM). We took Marika to gan, doing "one-two-three whoo!" most of the way. Taught Barak how to open the combination lock to get into the next campus. Taught him to use my Kindle and got him started reading White Fang. Cleaned up kitchen, talked to gan psychologist about Iyyar (she said she would try, and has since succeeded, to postpone his vaadat hasama--we aren't sure yet what he will need for next year school-wise and don't want to make decisions yet). Mid-conversation, saw Barak at door of my office brandishing his top right front tooth, which had fallen out while I'd been on the phone. A little while later, found Barak on the office couch crying because the puppy had left his Imma and left his person and he was all alone. Reassured him that the ending would be OK.

IM'd Alisha to say I thought it would be today. She pointed out that I'd been saying that for a while. I said I really thought it would be today and then a little later asked her if she could come over that night. She said yes. Mr. Bigfoot brought boys home from gan, then went to mincha and afternoon seder. I considered and then decided to actually make dinner: sauteed some vegetables, added some black beans, made rice in the rice cooker. Called Mr. Bigfoot at about five and told him that I was going to need him home within the next half hour or so. He came home, Alisha came over, I worked on getting everyone in bed before I left and the contractions were real and regular at this point. At around 7:30 or 8 I had everything together and my bags by the door and went to email Grandma E to say I was leaving for L & D, when I saw that I had a voicemail from my father-in-law.

The quick back story: my in-laws generally do not travel. My MIL has not been to Israel since the 80s, despite the fact that her daughter has lived here since 2003. My FIL was last here in 2008 and has not seen any of our kids since then. They were planning on coming this week for their grandson's bar mitzvah and decided a couple of weeks ago not to come after all (this is pretty common with them--they'll plan a trip for a long time and then cancel right before) and my SIL was really upset. So here I was with 11-minute-apart contractions that were getting too strong to sit through, and a voice mail from my FIL saying, "Well I've decided I'd like to come after all but my computer seems to have a virus and you've been really helpful in the past so I was wondering if you'd help me book a ticket."

Now I knew at this point that either I was going to have to book the ticket then and there or he wouldn't come; I was planning on going to the beit hachlama after the baby was born, which meant not getting home till the following Wednesday at the earliest, and he'd have to be on a plane the day after that to make the bar mitzva. I looked at the clock. I picked up the phone. "Hi, it's me. I just got your voice mail. I'd love to buy your ticket but we have to do it right now and actually buy it right now, not just talk about it, because I'm on my way to the hospital to have the baby."

An hour and a half later, I had found an acceptable itinerary and he wanted to check with Bubbe before buying it. I'll call you back in a few minutes. I said, OK, but I might not be here. Hung up the phone, thought about it for about half a minute and handed Alisha my credit card. "Can you please book it when he calls back?" She gave me a look that was part sympathy, part you-are-crazy, and said sure. Grabbed my bags, walked out the door, called the cab, and Mr. Bigfoot and I headed up through the main building and to the front door and to Hadassah Ein Kerem.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


Almost 4 kg even, born 12:55 am on Friday. He's fine, I'm fine, details to come. Stay tuned, as always, to this exciting channel.