Jul 11 2014
On Friday afternoon, while I was alone with my infant daughter for a moment, there was a knock at the door of our hospital room. A short, pudgy woman–who just begged to be called Bubbe–pushed her reading glasses up on her nose and looked down at her clipboard, “Are you the Rosen-Prinz family?”
“Yes,” I replied quietly as the baby lay asleep in my arms. I had become accustomed to the constant daily interruptions after many days in the pediatric intensive care unit where doctors worked tirelessly to diagnose my baby with what we would come to learn is a very rare illness.
“Would you like a Shabbat kit?” she offered. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 11 2014
I awake to a familiar screech. “Mommmmmyyyy……HELP!” So begins my biweekly sleep-run to my 11-year-old’s bedside. “Mommmmmyyyy……I want to cut it off, I can’t stand it anymore…I hate my leg….make it stop,” he hollers, eyes wide open yet not quite awake. My 14-year-old son appears at the door, sleepy-eyed yet familiar with the routine. He helps bring his brother to the bathroom and wash his face until the terror subsides. “Mommy, can I please get a pill?” I give him a couple of Advil on top of the bedtime Tylenol, a cup of water, and I hope for some peace.
As a mother of four kids, aged 6 to 15, I am certainly used to making lots of decisions. As all mothers throughout the world, from the time that they were babies until today, I’ve made thousands, perhaps millions, of decisions. I decided how and what to feed them, which schools to send them to, where we will live, what extracurricular activities they will participate in, what time they need to be home, whether they can stay out late on school nights, on weekends, and countless more such everyday issues. Some decisions were easy, others more challenging, but all were quite ordinary. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 7 2013
“I’m not even supposed to BE here today.”
That line–one of my favorites from the movie Clerks–kept going through my head as I checked myself into labor and delivery at the hospital last week. The words were incongruous, at fierce odds with the tears and snot that were running down my face uncontrollably as I hit “redial” over and over, trying to reach my husband or mom or, for that matter, anyone, to tell them I was in trouble.
OK, I’ll back up.
You’d think that by my fifth pregnancy, I’d have figured out that the whole “giving birth” thing doesn’t always go as planned. But I’d never had to think about the spontaneity factor–I’d been late and induced for each of my pregnancies. I never experienced the rush of my water breaking, or of excitedly driving to the hospital huffing and puffing through contractions, or of not knowing when my baby was coming. My baby would come on the date I scheduled induction with my obstetrician. Ta da! Read the rest of this entry →
Deborah Cohan, OB/Gyn and mother of two, entered the operating room at San Francisco’s Mt. Zion Hospital to undergo a double mastectomy. Instead of being fearful and spiritless as many of us would be pre-surgery, Deborah opted to have a joyous dance party, and had her entire medical team breaking it down to Beyonce.
To make this hospital dance party story even more heartwarming, Deborah asked all of her friends to join in and make their own “Get Me Bodied,” dance videos too. And they did!
Kudos to you Deborah. You are one courageous lady (and an amazing dancer)!
Via Huffington Post
Oct 28 2013
On July 16th, we (OK…my wife) gave birth to our second daughter.
Six weeks early.
By emergency C-section.
The day after our 8-year-old returned from a month-long motor home road trip with Bubbe, Grandpa, and the cousins.
And that was the easy part.
Her name (the daughter, not the wife) is Eliana Tova. The common translation of Eliana is “God has answered,” and Tova translates as “good.”
We were attracted to the name in part because of the 8-year gap between our children. Suffice it to say that the gap in time wasn’t voluntary, so we were grateful that God had, it seemed, answered us with something good. Or had He? Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 25 2013
A trauma in three acts:
The Friday could not have started any nicer; my 4-year-old daughter, Raphaela, celebrated her birthday in nursery school–always a touching and emotional event in the Israeli school system–and as a bonus, my parents had arrived the day before from Boston and were able to join in the festivities.
That afternoon, my parents offered to babysit Raphaela, a luxury for me both as a single mother by choice, and as a woman who moved to Israel 16 years ago, with no immediate family living anywhere on the continent. What a sense of freedom knowing that my child is in capable and loving hands, and that I have several hours with no responsibilities other than to myself.
Then, that evening, while waiting at my parents’ vacation apartment for my father to return from synagogue, Raphaela tripped on a quilt and smashed her chin directly into the hard cold tiled floor that typifies most Israeli buildings. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 24 2013
I stood in the hallway of the hearing clinic, waiting in line for my son’s appointment. I overheard another mother telling her birth story to a 19-year-old girl.
The young girl was slim and trim; her belly skin was so tight that her navel practically kissed her back. The girl responded with something between a scrinch and a smile–it was clear she was trying not to appear grossed out by the gory details, though the contour of her lips said it all. The mom continued to talk animatedly about her painful experience of pushing for 12 hours. She spared no details, explaining how her insides felt as if they had popped out of her like a jack-in-the-box on speed. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 22 2013
“Are laboring and birthing women treated abusively in the hospital?”
My first thought on reading that sentence was, “That doesn’t even make sense.” I’m familiar with abusive relationships, as well as with labor and birthing. This sentence, from an abstract of an article in the Journal of Perinatal Education entitled “Abuse in Hospital-Based Birth Settings?” piqued my curiosity with its deliberate use of a red-flag word.
I’m not sure if the word “abusive” is warranted for the doctor-patient dynamic in the L&D setting (certainly it hasn’t been within my experiences)–but I do feel, inappropriately enough, that the word “paternalistic” often is. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 15 2013
I had a dream the other night; it was vivid and frightened the hell out of me. My son was on a table, and his body looked like a roasted chicken. He was crying because there was a doctor behind him pulling his chicken limbs off, one by one. I screamed and cried with my son, but had no power to stop or reverse his pain.
This dream is crazy but perhaps painfully understandable when you consider my history. Four months ago, my son Idan, who was 8 months old at the time, was rushed to ER because his respiratory rate had increased to a speed of 80 times per minute and he was panting like a dog. Obviously, something was wrong, but we had no way of anticipating what would come next.
We spent three weeks in the pediatric ICU with Idan hooked up to a ventilator and half a dozen tubes and IVs. He had contracted PCP, a rare form of pneumonia and was being treated for it, yet on the day he showed signs of recovering, the doctors came to deliver worse news. “Your son has a severe immune deficiency disorder, but we don’t know what it is yet,” they told us. Weeks went by until we had a diagnosis: Hyper IgM, also known as a CD40 Ligand Deficiency. Okay, it was worse than that: it was X-Linked Hyper IgM, meaning it was passed down through the mother.
Take a moment to digest that one. It came from me. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 31 2013
“Tonight I failed my baby daughter.”
This was my status update on the night of November 7, 2012. I was sitting on my couch, feeling like the Worst Parent in the World. My 1-year-old twins were sleeping peacefully in the nursery. My husband had gone to bed, too, but I was wide awake, replaying the incident over and over in my head, trying to figure out how I had allowed myself to commit this lapse of good judgment. I normally reserved Facebook updates for cute pictures of my son and daughter, or of the Food Network recipes I was so proud of myself for successfully replicating, but tonight was different. It was a plea: Let me know I’m not the only one. Read the rest of this entry →