A Maybe Baby

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We’re back to that moment before Eitan was born. I’ve had that guy around for a decade. Dov is born on the same day as Eitan. But on Eitan’s 5th birthday I was so determined to celebrate every moment of his birthday that I refused to acknowledge that I was in labor until after he opened his presents and blew out the candles. Because I earned that birthday party. And I earn it every year.

Eitan is having a not easy time. The school, G-d bless the well intentioned, is mostly failing him on every level. Everyone there stumbles through trying but you get the sense that if they actually succeeded they’d genuinely be surprised. And he’s still so good. So involved in wii games and comic books and basketball and crazy friends. He gets anxious quickly and finds serenity in few things. But to know Eitan’s love, to feel Eitan’s love, is glorious.

And he will hate this story: Much like Sleeping Beauty, Eitan has some fairy godmothers. I’m going to doubt that they remember this story, but I remember it. And because the organization of Hadassah seems to floundering at the moment, I’m going to shoot them some love.

Eitan was born (a word that suggests a normal life process which this was anything but) in Hadassah Har HaTzofim because they had the best NIC-U in the city. They also had the most crowded NIC-U in the city. So as I was raced into the delivery room, we were told that there would be no space for our baby in the NIC-U. They’d be placing him somewhere else. If we were lucky, somewhere in the city. If we were unlucky, Chadera.

At the time, I was working for Young Judaea which was funded by Hadassah (a relationship that was severed some years ago). So David got on the phone calling my boss, having him call his bosses, up the chain — using protektzia. At some point, the head of the NIC-U in Hadassah called David and said, we’re all full. Pick a baby for us to ship out and your kid can have that bed. Well, we couldn’t do that (maybe a few more years in Israel would have hardened us to that sort of proposal) so Eitan was raced over to Bikkur Cholim.

Eitan is born on a Friday. So David is with him at Bikkur Cholim. My sister, Deena, is with me at Har HaTzofim. My brother-in-law, Aryeh, and my cousin, Avinoam, are at our house with Yael and Yoni for Shabbat. We are displaced.

When I finally get released from the hospital, I go to meet my maybe baby. No promises, no guarantees just a maybe baby. As I get there, I’m told his grandmothers came to visit earlier. Grandmothers? Nope, not him, his grandmothers are on the other side of the ocean. No grandmothers here. We puzzle over that for awhile. Who would pass themselves off as his grandmothers?

It took us a few days to get the whole story. The heads of Hadassah, BG and Audrey, marched into Eitan’s NIC-U in Bikkur Cholim and demanded to see the baby. Undeterred by the family-only policy they let it be known: “we’re the savtot.” And that was it. They were in. They found Eitan. Offered up some love and then found the head of the NIC-U. “That’s a Hadassah baby”, they warned. In my time at Young Judaea, we knew to love and fear BG and Audrey. You don’t mess with them. And somehow that was enough. Our maybe baby, our Hadassah baby, spent 67 days at Bikkur Cholim. But he remains a Hadassah baby.

So to BG and Audrey, who taught him fierceness and bravery in his first days, thank you. He’s needed it.

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