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A Time to be Born

A Time to be Born

You never know when you'll be part of a miracle.

by

I was driving along, wondering if I'd get lost on Route 6 driving by my lonesome to visit my newborn grandson. The back of the car was filled with tiny baby clothes and a package of baby blue cloth diapers, for old time's sake. They always come in handy, even in the post-Diaper era.

I was enjoying the early morning drive from Kfar Etzion. I passed Beit Shemesh, and suddenly I saw two cars pulled over at the side of the road. A soldier had stopped his car and a chassidic man was desperately waving me down.

Please God, no terrorists,the prayer flashed through my mind. I am not strong enough to deal with anything like that. But the soldier, who was talking on his cell phone, seemed pretty calm. The chassidic man was not.

"Please help us! My wife is giving birth in the car! You have to help her!"

I pulled over and opened the window. The man came running to me. "Please help us! My wife is giving birth in the car! You have to help her!"

I nodded dumbly and turned off the engine. "I'll just clean my hands," I said, pulling out the tube of hand sanitizer that had never been used for anything remotely like this before. While I rubbed my hands together, I prayed it would be an easy birth, for her and for me. Did I mention that I'm not good with blood?

I hurried over to the small car, where his wife was lying in the back seat, her head propped up against one door and her feet out the other side. She was indeed giving birth.

The soldier came running up to me with the cell phone. "Do you know what to do?"

"I hope so," I said, not forgetting how squeamish I am. "You wouldn't be a medic or anything useful like that?"

"No but I have Magen David Adom here on the phone. They'll talk you through it," he said, handing me the phone.

Unfortunately. I am not of the generation that can do other things while carrying on a conversation with the cell phone clamped between head and shoulder. In order to talk on the phone I need at least one hand to hold the phone. And I needed both hands to deliver this baby. I put the phone on the roof of the car. My hands were shaking now, but I was on automatic pilot. I have four children and three grandchildren under my belt, that must count for something. Some greater power was guiding me.

The baby's head and chest were already out in a puddle of water, all I had to do basically was catch him. I gently pulled the baby out by his shoulders and placed him on his mother, like in the movies. And it was pretty clean, too. For one split second I stopped shaking and was very glad I had stopped the car.

"How is he? Is he all right? Is he breathing?" the mother asked.

"He's amazing, he's crying and he's breathing and his color is good. Mazal tov!" I said to her. Our eyes met over the back seat of the car and over the crying squirming baby now resting on her sweater. And we looked at each other, knowing that only mommies and God can produce miracles like the one we had just witnessed. "What number child is this?"

"The third," she said. I smiled, remembering how quick my third birth was.

The soldier stuck the phone in my hand, bringing me back to reality. I spoke to the dispatcher.

"He's out, he's crying and his color is pink. I just placed him on his mother," I said proudly, "and I didn't faint."

"No, no, he shouldn't be on his mother. Place him back on the same level as the mother," she instructed. I did what she said. The mother protested that the seat of the car was too dirty.

"You have to wrap up the baby," the dispatcher said.

Wrap the baby. Wrap the baby? In what? I didn't have a sweater or blanket with me in the car. The parents had brought nothing. Then I remembered -- the baby gifts in the back of the car. Elated at this happy coincidence, I ran and brought out the package of cloth diapers. I wrapped the baby in one and put one over the mother.

"Is he wrapped well?" the operator asked. "Is he breathing?" she asked.

"Yes, to both."

"Close the door of the car so he won't be cold."

That made sense, but was more difficult to maneuver with the mother's feet sticking out of the car.

"I need to close the door so the baby won't be cold," I said to her. "You slide back and I'll move the baby." We did it. I took her shoes off and closed the door.

"The ambulance is on its way," the soldier reported. "Where are we exactly?"

"Opposite Moshav Mesilat Tzion," I said. He gave instructions to the ambulance driver.

The father, who appeared a lot more nervous than the mother, stood with me outside the car. "I didn't look to see if it's a boy or a girl," I said, not wanting to admit that I was afraid to move the umbilical cord to take a look.

"They told us all along that this one is a girl," he said.

"And what is your wife's name?" I asked.

"Gitel," he told me. "You have no idea what a great mitzvah you did here," he kept repeating over and over. By now I was so exhilarated that I wouldn't have missed this experience for anything! Do doctors and midwives ever get used to this?

My hands were still shaking and my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was in no condition to drive. The ambulance would be here soon, by then I would have calmed down.

When the ambulance arrived, two capable looking guys got out with a stretcher. The first paramedic took one look and called, "Chaim, bring the birthing kit."

I wished Gitel mazal tov and shana tova. She gave me a tired smile and shook my hand.

Having no one to tell, I shouted at the top of my lungs, "I just delivered a baby!"

My work here was done. I watched them load Gitel and her baby into the ambulance. Reluctantly I pulled into the traffic and headed towards Ra'anana. My hands were sticky but my heart was soaring way above Route 6.

Having no one to tell, I shouted at the top of my lungs, "I just delivered a baby!"

None of the other drivers seemed too impressed. They just overtook me.

When I arrived at my son's house, he and his wife were amazed to hear that I had just delivered a baby. Cradling my grandson, I thought about the other newborn whom I would probably never see again. In our haste (and shock) no one had thought to exchange telephone numbers. I wished the baby girl what I wished my grandson, a happy, healthy and long life surrounded by a loving family.

Published: October 25, 2009


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Visitor Comments: 16

(16) Laura Duhan Kaplan, December 22, 2013 2:37 PM

Beautiful. You are the queen of synchronicity.

(15) leah k, March 19, 2010 9:00 PM

wow that is so cool that you delivered a baby, and that it was healthy!!! it's sad though that you didn't exchange numbers.

(14) Anonymous, October 27, 2009 2:55 PM

Fantastic. Mazel tov on this wonderful successful opportunity!

Fantastic. Mazel tov on this wonderful successful opportunity!

(13) , October 27, 2009 12:26 PM

What a tchut!

such a wonderful experience! May we all be so brave & humble enough to answer HaShem's calls to help each other!

(12) shoshana, October 27, 2009 9:03 AM

thank you

thank you for sharing this beautiful story. you moved me to tears. may you be zoche to continue helping to build our special nation of klal yisroel.

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