Many people think that a woman becomes pregnant, nine months follow, and then automatically a healthy baby is born. I never was able to have that peace of mind. The first pregnancies of my mother and my mother-in-law both ended with still born-babies. Granted that happened over sixty years ago and there have been tremendous strides in obstetric medicine since then. Still, I had my apprehensions with each of my own pregnancies and they multiplied when my daughters and daughter-in-laws were expecting.
The experience of having one grandson spend his first nine weeks of life in the neo-natal intensive care unit and another spend several in the preemie unit only intensified my awareness that we cannot take anything for granted. So when my oldest daughter became pregnant with twins I was full of trepidation.
Would she be able to carry to term? Would they be healthy? Would she need to have a caesarian-section? Would she stay healthy throughout the pregnancy? Would I be able to be supportive enough? There were more and more questions. When would she and her husband be able to sleep? What would their toddler think about the additions to his family? Where would they have room for those additions? How would they fit three car seats into their car?
As her due date drew near my concerns grew. I believe wholeheartedly that it is all from HaShem. Still, I tried to work out all sorts of scenarios. If she gives birth on this day, then she’ll come home from the hospital to us on that day and before she comes we will have time to get X, Y, and Z done. And if she gives birth on that day then the brit (for we had been told she was expecting boys) will be on this day and we can do this and that to get ready.
The last month had a few false alarms and I was working things through over and over again. My imagination worked overtime. Finally my daughter was told that if she did not give birth by a particular date she would be induced on Thursday. That meant, I was sure, that the babies would be born on Friday. Friday is a great day for a brit in Israel. Many people are off work, like a Sunday brit in America.
All of my planning was for naught, though. For various reasons she was not induced until Friday afternoon, close to Shabbat. That meant I lit my Shabbat candles knowing my daughter would be going into labor and I would not be able to call to find out how she was doing. I knew she was in good hands but by now my imagination was working on overdrive. I pictured wonderful, heartwarming scenes and I worried about heartbreaking ones. Most of the time I was able to concentrate on the holiness of Shabbat but once the three stars appeared in the sky I was a nervous wreck waiting for the phone call.
One minute passed and the phone did not ring. Perhaps she was holding one of the babies and couldn’t get to her phone. Two minutes passed. Maybe the nurse was talking to her. After five minutes I began to think that she was still in labor and couldn’t call. My heart raced and my blood pressure was probably well over the normal range. Finally the phone rang. Two baby boys had been born an hour and a half earlier. Baruch HaShem, they were healthy and so was my daughter.
The brit will not be on Friday. Rather, if the boys stay healthy, it will be on Shabbat which is the most complicated day to make a brit. I know because I have already made four Shabbat brits. It is true that they are a lot more complicated but they are also very special. I hope to help my daughter and son-in-law organize the brits without stressing. HaShem has shown me over and over again that He is running the world and I can stop worrying. I praise Him for all the blessings He has given us.