Returning To The World
This last delivery was more harrowing than those for our first two children. Lasting twelve hours total, the last two hours were exhausting for my wife since she spent this time pushing through the contractions with the baby faced upwards, not wanting to come out. At times I noticed the nurses looking into each others' eyes with a look of panic when they could not detect the baby's heartbeat on the fetal monitor. This sense of uncertainty made it hard for my wife and I to remain calm, especially after the doctor told us shortly before the baby emerged that its umbilical cord was wrapped around its neck.
Despite being born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, our daughter was born healthy in every way, thank G-d. My wife and I immediately started crying tears of joy when we learned that our new baby was a little girl because our three-and-half year-old daughter had been telling us for weeks that she wanted a little sister.
After a receiving a brocha from the Melitzer Rebbe and enduring nine months of hyperemesis, we now had a beautiful new addition to our family.
My older daughter was absolutely ecstatic when I came home from the hospital and whispered into her ear that her mommy just had a baby girl. Weeks before she told me, "If it is a boy, I will pretend it is a girl because boys are yucky." When I told her that we were going to give her new sister a name at shul on Shabbos, she suggested the names Snow White, Princess Basya, and Chocolate Banana. She was horrified when I suggested that we should call her sister "Bruce" after the shark in the movie "Finding Nemo".
My wife stayed in the hospital for two nights before she was allowed to go home last Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. The two nights away from her mommy were especially difficult for my older daughter who sometimes cried herself to the point of hyperventilating. One night, after I held her and calmed her down, she asked me, "Daddy, when you were little did you ever feel sad?" I told her that sometimes I still feel sad even though I am a grown up. I explained to her that at times when I don't understand what is happening and am worried about something I daven to Hashem to help me. When I told her that her mommy would be coming home soon with her new baby sister, she then sweetly added, "Then we'll be a family again."
Both my children have been amazingly accepting of their new sister so far. My two year-old son screamed, "Babeeee, Babeee, Babeeee!!" when he saw her for the first time and then ran upstairs and returned with two baloons; handing one to the baby - his ultimate expression of acceptance. My older daughter constantly sits down next to the baby's bouncy chair and stairs at her and speaks to her with a soothing, gentle tone.
Despite the blessing of sibling acceptance and the outpouring of support of people from our shul, the first days home were still overwhelming. Somehow my wife picked up a cold at the hospital and I made sure to take our two older children out for a few hours each day to allow my wife to get some rest.
Today my new daughter is eight days old and I am returning to the work world. Before leaving for work, I davened to Hashem to help my wife today during her first day alone with the kids. I also davened for His help adjusting to our new life which is certainly busier, more hectic and chaotic, but now full of new blessings.