It’s a boy!

Israel is mega-advanced in matters medical; it’s always amazing.

Baby boy (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Baby boy
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Life, life, life. After more than two years of never missing a column, this month I couldn’t think of a thing to write. It’s so hot; who can philosophize in such temperatures? More Iran? Even Ynet seems to be running out of news; the planned blowing up of a Tel Aviv bridge to make way for the subway topped the site for days.
August was drifting by in a humid haze of not much happening and not much in sight – and then, abracadabra, my first little grandson popped out into the world, five weeks early, giving us all lots and lots to talk about.
He’s so cute, our little man. His fingers curl around mine like a glove and the old Elvis song keeps knocking around my brain: “I just can’t help believing.” The King of Rock and Roll was sure that this time the girl was gonna stay; babies make one believe that with this one the world is gonna be better. And this one is so cute – did I mention that already? The Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba is where my own daughter was born, and where she now gave birth to her son. I thought about my grandparents, born in Lithuania and having their children thousands of miles away from home and family, in South African villages. My granny’s first child lived only for hours; exhausted by a three-day labor in a rural hospital ill-equipped for complications, he was not strong enough to survive. In Israel, generations later I had the same difficulty giving birth; no problem here – a simple cesarean and my daughter slipped easily into the world.
My own parents had their children in larger cities in Africa; we grew up and came to Israel.
And that’s where the wandering stops, it seems – my daughter came home with her gorgeous boy to the same room in which she gurgled as an infant.
Our baby’s dad was born in Kazakhstan.
Somewhere in the back-story his ancestors and hers might well have mingled in Jewish shtetls in the Old Country. Now we are all home; no more running round the world. Nice, no? There’s another nice thing about the Meir; like all hospitals here, it’s a microcosm of how the Middle East could look if everyone took a deep breath and concentrated on the fundamentals, instead of being fundamentalists. Jewish doctors and Arab, Arab patients and Jews, nurses of all persuasions and beliefs: everyone mingles and manages and wishes each other “Mazal tov!” and “Mabrouk!” A jubilant Arab grandfather, fresh from the good news of delivery, offered us all chocolates as we sat listening to my daughter’s predelivery screams from down the hall. And not just ordinary chocolates, mind you – “Quality Street” delights, made in England. Just a little touch of Martin.
Our baby, born in week 35, was incubated for a couple of days, attached to monitors and feeding tubes and warmed by anti-jaundice blue lights. Sitting in the ward for premature babies you hear unbelievable things: the smallest infant who survived weighed only 420 grams at birth! It made our little guy seem like a giant.
Israel is mega-advanced in matters medical; it’s always amazing.
The care was so wonderful, so expert, so good; the nurses were professional and kind, the food was… well, the food was plentiful. And everyone breaks bread together after everyone’s waters break in the same way; everyone swaps stories of stitches and centimeters and midnight feeds. It’s like the Messiah has arrived at the Meir, but no one outside has yet heard the news.
But our little boy, hopefully, hopefully, is going to grow up in a world where good news spreads. A world in which there is no need to hoot at others as we hurtle toward red lights; electric cars will drive themselves, patiently, with no harmful emissions.
A world in which cancer will be about as unpleasant as a cold; a week of Israeli-ingenious treatment and carcinomas will melt away. An “I have a dream” kind of world – where little children of all colors and creeds will play with others and grow up to work and live with them, too.
Yup. That would be fun.
There is one thought, though, on having boys in the Holy Land, where sons are traditionally circumcised as a matter of course. Shouldn’t this be an affordable, if somewhat stressful, event? The 20-minute business costs in the thousands of shekels; is this something we should query? Couldn’t the healthcare system maybe pay a portion? Still, let’s just focus on the wonderful at this point; and let’s all hope and pray that when all the little boys grow up to be big, along with all the little girls, they will continue to share chocolates and all life’s bounty, in peace and joy and health.
Shabbat shalom.
The writer lectures at Beit Berl and the IDC. peled- (TNS)