When my daughter, Chava, was pregnant, it was an exciting and hopeful time. I had no doubts that she would be a wonderful mom. What I wasn’t sure about, was what kind of grandma I would be.

I thought about doting grandmothers who ask, “By the way, have I shown you the pictures of my brilliant, gorgeous grandchildren?” Was I ready to join the ranks of the silver-haired, mah jong playing, picture-toting club? Continue reading “Bubbying”

It’s almost like a thick fog rolling in, yet this time it’s covering my heart, the sunlight from within. The fog is misty, white and gray . . . and I notice my vision is blurred with tears. I’m trying to hold tight, as the wind picks up, the breeze of life that can storm my heavens. It’s a battle within, a struggle, a “tug-of-war” . . . and the pull is great.

I busy myself with baking his cake.

Flour. Sugar. Eggs. Mix.
Continue reading “Birthday Cake With a Soul”

 I was engrossed in one of those deep conversations with my teenage daughter—the kind of conversation that occurs between two best friends about how we live life and make choices. Ultimately it was about facing reality—a reality that includes hardship, tears and worry, and also sparks growth, fulfillment and strength.

I ventured deep into the recesses of my heart to share with my daughter my most raw experience of facing reality—an experience that drastically changed my life, and hers as well. Continue reading “The Greatest Gift”

On Chanuka, we contemplate the nature of miracles. We see how, if Hashem so desires, the weak can prevail against all odds. The days of Chanuka are considered yemei ratzon, a time of Divine favor. It is also a time for exchanging gifts. The best gifts are usually surprises, and good ones take a lot of planning.

Well, 21 years ago, I was the astonished recipient of a series of incredible Chanuka gifts, involving a great deal of advance planning by the Ribono Shel Olam and a good bit of miraculous intervention on His part. This is my pirsum nissah. Continue reading “My Pirsum Nissah: A Play in Five Acts”

In early March, my husband Ben and I welcomed our first baby—a daughter we named Hadassah, born at the beginning of her 35th week of gestation. With an otherwise healthy pregnancy with the variable minor aches and discomforts, my water simply broke in the middle of the night.

According to the March of Dimes, November is Prematurity Awareness Month. Every year, about 450,000 babies in the United States are born before full term.

Thankfully, entering 35 weeks, there was never a question of her life being in danger, chas v’shalom. But quickly after she entered this world she was whisked away for tests to check organ development. My husband and I were grateful that more intensive medical treatment wasn’t necessary for our newborn, but we felt unprepared for the emotional rollercoaster ahead of us. We were thrown into a premature education. Continue reading “My Premature Education”

As I waited at the doctor’s office pregnant with my third child, I casually opened up a magazine that was on the small coffee table. I stumbled across an article that tried to assuage pregnant women’s fears.

The first fear on the list was a “horror story delivery” such as having a baby in a taxi. “Don’t worry,” the article read, “the percentage of this actually happening in real life is very small. This rare case is usually dramatized for the movies.” I laughed to myself; my first child was delivered in a cab in NYC. The odds are even more slim for this happening to a first born.

The second fear the article mentioned was the concern about miscarriages, another category I fit into. Continue reading “How To Keep the High of Happiness”

Dear Rebbetzin Twerski,

Does a person have control over his destiny? I am faced with a heart wrenching challenge. My first child has cerebral palsy and I feel completely responsible for what happened. My child has significant developmental delays and each day that passes, my pain intensifies. I know that such an attitude is detrimental, but I am overcome with guilt. My child had a traumatic birth. Prior to the birth, there was lack of fetal movement and I had facial swelling. I addressed these concerns to my “upscale” obstetrician. He dismissed them and considered me to be a first time mother who was merely complaining. My husband and I were young and naive and trusted him because he had an excellent reputation. Continue reading “Can We Control Our Destiny?”

My first moments of motherhood are etched in my brain in indelible print. Sitting by my son’s incubator day after tedious day, I tried to glimpse his body through the tangled wires and machinery. When the Huggies newborn diaper covers your baby from head to toe, it’s enough to make any new mother wonder if she got more than she bargained for.

And so I sat, and sat, and sat. I was not allowed to hold him due to the line that he had running into his umbilical artery through his microscopic bellybutton. Instead I moved aside the tangled rainbow of wires, and tried to find a fuzzy place to stroke. I had read that massaging premature infants was a stimulant for them and this kid sure could have used some of that. Continue reading “NICU”