Double the Prayers for My Interfaith Baby – Kveller
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birth story

Double the Prayers for My Interfaith Baby

My youngest daughter, Piper, started out life as a pretty sick baby.

She was born in the middle of the night a little over a week early. I prefer to leave the hospital as soon as possible, since I despise being cold and bothered every hour. I like my bed and my house and very much missed my older daughter, Delanie. Piper had “other plans,” as I like to say. She had a small heart murmur, causing us to stay an additional day for some overly expensive testing.

One night, while my parents were visiting, Piper was having a coughing fit and turned purple. My mom, who is an RN, patted her back fairly hard and Piper seemed to be fine. We let the nurse know and she thought maybe because she was born via C-Section (my second) that she did not get all the mucus squeezed out of her. All in all, they monitored her and performed the additional test. Everything came back normal, and we went home.

During the first couple weeks at home, I remember complaining that Piper still seemed so congested. She seemed to be getting worse by the day, and after spending an exhausting all nighter by her crib, we decided to take her to the doctor. The doctor measured her pulse ox, and we were immediately sent back to the hospital because she was not breathing properly. After admitting her, they transported her to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where we learned our 1-month-old baby was diagnosed with RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus). We spent six long nights in the NICU of CHOP, which I must say is one of the most wonderful children’s hospitals on the planet. Even though it was a hard situation, I knew that our baby would go home. It broke my heart that some of these babies there would not.

One of the things I learned during Piper’s stay at CHOP was how lucky I was to be part of an interfaith family. Our first day at CHOP, the hospital chaplain came by to see how we were all doing, and said a prayer for Piper. As soon as Delanie’s teachers from her Jewish preschool found out, both rabbis called us and told us they were praying for us as well. The teachers even had the kids in the class make a card for Piper, and let me read a book to the class one morning before heading to the hospital so I could spend more time with Delanie. When Delanie was dropped off at school, all of the parents always asked about Piper. Meanwhile, my mom spoke with the priest at her church, and they mentioned Piper’s name during one of the masses for the congregation’s prayers.

My husband and I would accept prayers from a person of any religion. Prayers could only help my sweet baby.

It was as if our family was extended; people who barely knew us were praying for us and asking us how Piper was doing. The rabbis checked in more than once and my father-in-law’s synagogue held a prayer service for our family. There is something to be said for communities that worship, how they protect you in a time of need no matter what religion you are or how you practice said religion.

Yes, of course, there are times my husband and I disagree over certain aspects of our religions (he does not agree with having to confess your sins and I do not agree with not being able to eat bacon) but the point is we see the good that each religion brings into our lives. It is not just about the holidays or specific traditions but the people that are part of our lives now because of our two faiths.

I am so happy that I chose to marry a Jewish man, send my daughter to such a wonderfully thoughtful Jewish preschool, and I’m even more grateful that we had the support of both religions to get our Piper home. 

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