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Jan 31 2013

How Facebook Helped Me Cope with My “Mommy Fail”

By at 12:24 pm

little girl crying“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 →

Nov 12 2012

My 1-Month-Old’s Emergency Surgery

By at 9:56 am

Three weeks after Jared was born, he started spitting up. At first it was normal baby barf, but it became heavier and more frequent.

By his 4-week birthday, Scott and I were living out of the washing machine. We left it full of soap and water, dumping soiled onesies, footies, burp cloths, bibs, and our own vomit-soaked clothes into it throughout the day. We ran the washer at night and as we needed new clothes for ourselves or our son, we pulled them out of the dryer. At the height of the worst, Scott changed Jared’s clothes five times in one hour. The footies were soaked from head to toe and front to back. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 31 2012

Hurricane Sandy and the NICU

By at 12:00 pm

Five months ago yesterday, my son was born. Yes, it amazes me that time has flown by so fast, but today what is really on my mind is where he was born.

I labored, delivered, and cared for my son in the first days of his life at NYU Hospital. The very same one that was evacuated late on Monday night when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City–hard.

When Benjamin was born (and my daughter Abigail too, for that matter), I knew that the folks at NYU were stellar. They took excellent care of all of us, constantly doing more than I would have expected in order to keep everyone healthy and happy. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 29 2012

A 3 A.M. Hospital Visit for my 3-Day-Old Daughter

By at 12:05 pm

“There’s something wrong with the baby.”

Those are the words you never want to hear about your 3-day old daughter. You certainly don’t want to hear them at 3 a.m. It was barely 12 hours since we had brought our baby girl home from the hospital for the first time. I sat up in bed, squinting at the baby nurse holding my newest little girl. The hall light shone behind her, blinding me as I wondered if she had really said what I thought she had said, or if this was some sort of bad dream. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 11 2012

How I Became a Father Six Weeks Earlier than Planned

By at 4:37 pm

avram mlotek new babyWe sat in the waiting room.

My wife and I came up with a list of what we had to do later that day: respond to emails, clean our apartment, maybe watch an episode of Mad Men.

We had been sensitive to the kabbalistic notion of the ayin ha-ra, the evil eye, and refrained from excessive preparation of unconfirmed events. Yet, we figured, with a month away and a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan to reorganize, it was time to build a crib. Earlier that day before the unexpected rush to the hospital, my grandparents surprised us with a rocking chair they had reupholstered for their first great-grandchild. A few hours later, my wife went into labor six weeks before our baby’s expected due date. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 24 2012

12 Items to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

By at 1:36 pm

What to pack in your hospital bag for giving birthThis is the most pregnant I’ve ever been and I’m simultaneously elated and undeniably FULL of baby.

My doctor commented last week that I have a “sizable guy” (which I’ve chosen to ignore) and my husband lovingly pointed out that over the last few days I’ve developed “marshmallow feet.” Mmmm, marshmallows. I might look like a weeble, but I’m so happy to have made it this far–on my feet and still enjoying weekly prenatal yoga classes. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 26 2012

Interviews with Interesting Jews: Wendy Berezovsky

By at 9:58 am

Wendy's family in their pj's.

Mother of three, Wendy Berezovsky, founded a nonprofit organization called Sweet Dreams for Kids, which collects pajamas to donate to children in hospitals. She started the program after having her own daughter in the hospital for cancer treatments.

1. Tell us about your program: what do you do and why did you start it?

Sweet Dreams for Kids is a nonprofit organization that donates new pajamas to children in the hospital. We have donated over 3,000 pairs nationwide. Our dream is to have every children’s hospital filled with cute, cozy, and comfortable pajamas instead of the hospital ones. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 20 2012

What if You Want to Attach, But Can’t?

By at 2:56 pm

With Mayim’s book about attachment parenting coming out soon, I have been reflecting on my own mother’s experience. She has kindly agreed to let me write about her ordeal and I want to thank her for allowing me to share her story. (Please note that my interpretation of the events and the conclusions I have drawn are entirely my own). Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 10 2011

Magical Maternity Tour

By at 12:00 pm

When you’re about to have your third child, sometimes things get lost in the shuffle. I’m not talking here about the car keys (found them this morning, thank you very much), but rather things that you thought about a lot for the first baby. For example, giving birth to said baby.

As you all know, I’ve given a great deal of thought to being pregnant. You sort of have to, of course, because it’s not socially acceptable to go around town wearing pants that are unzipped and unbuttoned. Boy, I found that out the hard way. Being pregnant is pretty much in your face–or, in my case, uncomfortably wedged between my boobs and my cankles.

And all the evil eye/pu pu pu stuff notwithstanding, I’ve been starting to figure out what the heck this kid is going to sleep in, wear, etc. when it shows up in a carseat (crap, gotta get that, too) at my door. I secretly register for things. I order things that are kept in a warehouse ten minutes away, or my parents’ basement, until this kid is born and someone gives the ‘go’ order and they will make their way to my house. Why all this bizarre duplicity? This is because somehow, doing these contortion-ish things is not the same as actually having a baby shower and getting stuff in advance. Really, what it comes down to is that this is because we are Jews. We are a legalistic people who figure out ways to put strings around towns so we can carry things. We’re a weird bunch, but it all seems to work out.

But I have to say, until the other night, I’d given no thought whatsoever to exactly how this child was going to emerge from its current cocoon. That copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting? Still collecting dust on my husband’s bedside table.  Both of us are generally “it’ll all work itself out” kinds of people. Which are great kinds of people to have around in certain situations, but in others…not so much.

So when I signed up for last week’s maternity ward tour, my husband sort of rolled his eyes a bit. His general take on such things is that he is a smart guy and can figure things out when the time comes. And this is true–he is a smart guy, and he can figure such things out when the time comes. I’m only suggesting the however-remote possibility that maybe, just maybe, his ability to figure things out when the time comes will be compromised by me screaming bloody murder and telling him it’s totally cool for him to park the goddamn car in the middle of the hospital’s helipad if he can’t find a freaking parking spot.  Basically, he has only seen me as a rational human being. All that could change, my good man.

I also wanted us to go because my husband seems to have the idea that because I have done this whole giving-birth thing twice before, I know what’s going on and will explain it to him as we go along. You know, like translating a blessing in Hebrew, or telling him where I hid the remote. But he doesn’t seem to realize that when push comes to shove–literally–I’m not going to be explaining anything. I’m going to be losing my shit. Perhaps, again, literally. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 7 2011

In A Place Far, Far From Disneyland

By at 4:14 pm

The nurse hung this sign on Tamara's hospital door after she, well, read on.

Having my son was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life but the hours and days following his birth filled with breastfeeding struggles, massive meconium explosions and general post partum loveliness were better described as, well, horrifying.

I literally sat around naked from the waist up sobbing and pleading with both my baby and my nipples to GO-GO-GADGET NURSE! My son had elevated bilirubin levels and was having blood squeezed from his tiny heel every couple of hours. Nurses were in and out of our room for hearing tests, blood pressure checks, temperature checks (other gross checks that we won’t mention because, ewwwww!) My incredibly supportive husband was crouched on a flip out chair with a stiff neck trying to fumble around with newborn diapers while playing spokesperson for our family by answering calls, emails and visits from well wishers.

We even had to take a picture of our son’s boy parts NEXT TO A RULER to email to our out-of-town mohel (because when you’re Jewish and two weeks early, apparently, size matters.)

I know I’ve painted a pretty scary picture but to be completely honest — it was probably worse than I’ve described. I remember my husband looking at me the first night we sat with our screaming bundle of joy and saying, “Why the hell didn’t anyone tell us about THIS PART?” In retrospect, I think they did but in our own naivete we ignored them.

Today, the The New York Times reported that Disney has piggy-backed on an already annoying program to weasel their way into your hospital room hours after your baby is born. In my opinion, this is a new marketing low for Disney. I didn’t care what I brought my baby home WEARING just so long as they let me bring him home. Trust me, Mickey Mouse couldn’t have been farther from my mind, and a free onesie wasn’t going to change that. I didn’t appreciate the sample bag of formula being pushed on us, (in a “Baby Friendly Hospital” no less) and you can bet the girl from Our365 had some choice words for me after I threw her out of my room for asking to take pictures of my yellow baby.

But the real kicker happened while my husband was out getting sandwiches and the person from billing came down to my room to congratulate me on the birth of my son and collect a $250 copay. I had a total naked freak out on her ass. One that sent her running and was apparently loud (and profanity-laden) enough to prompt my sweet nurse to tape this sign on my door for the remainder of our stay (because apparently the nice sign wasn’t obvious enough?)

I have no apologies for my actions during that time. I strongly believe that the hours post partum are a sacred time for parents to bond with the new life they have created and everyone else can wait. Marketing, advertizing and strategic product placements have infiltrated our lives through every vector possible but my hospital room is not a place for your propaganda. Don’t get me wrong, I love free stuff just as much as the next person (after all, we’re still Jewish) but leave it in a basket outside my door. If I feel it is appropriate for our family, I might just take it. And your company’s respect for my privacy during this difficult magical time might just be the best first impression you could possibly make.

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