For two and half long years, my daughter Ayala and Chaim waited for the bracha of children. There were many ups and downs along their journey. She had recently been told it might not be so easy for her because of a medical issue. This frightened her terribly as she had just lost two pregnancies, one after the other. Between battling the fear of another loss and daring to hope for their dream to come true, they were constantly riding a rollercoaster of emotions.
One day, Ayala and her sister, Racheli, were talking and trying to decide what else they could do to help her. Suddenly, Racheli had a brainstorm.
“Ayala, let’s go to the kever of Miriam hakoveset, the washerwoman. You know her story, right?”
“She worked in the home for the Rebbi of Zvil and was barren for many years. She pleaded with Rebbi for a bracha for children. The Rebbi explained that if he blessed her with a child, he would live only to be a bar mitzvah boy. Miriam was adamant that she wanted to have a child no matter what. It would be her zechus to help this neshama fulfill his tikkun. The story goes on that after the Rebbi saw the greatness of this amazing woman, he then also gave her a bracha that she would be able to bring comfort and salvation to childless women. Any time that someone asked the Rebbi for a bracha for children, he would send them to Miriam. After she was niftar, women went to her resting place to daven. Word of this unique and moving opportunity was revealed and, to this day, many women flock to her kever to daven. It is a nes to see how many have been blessed with children. What a special woman! I really want to daven there!”
“Let’s go tomorrow. We should do this as quickly as we can.”
“Okay. Be”H tomorrow sounds great.”
As planned, they went the next day.
When Ayala arrived home that night, she wasn’t feeling well. On a whim, she decided to do a pregnancy test. She felt sort of silly. She had only just davened at Miriam’s kever, but something spurred her on.
You guessed it. The result was positive. She called me and we cried, laughed, and cried some more. Of course, it was to stay an official secret for the next three months, but our gratitude and joy overflowed.
But this is not even close to the end of the story …
This was it! Ayala’s due date was approaching. All the heartache and longing of the last two years were coming to an end. No more sad looks from well-meaning family and friends. She was going to enter the club of motherhood any day now. Her happiness bubbled over. Even though at this time, the Coronavirus was wreaking havoc in the world, she chose to remain optimistic and was extremely careful to stay as safe as she could. To say that she wasn’t worried at all would have been untrue, but her emunah was steadfast.
As the time came closer, she and her husband came to stay in my home, although she was had about two weeks to go.
Yom Kippur was in two days, and she just wanted to be sure that she was with her family in case something happened early. Good thing she did! On erev Yom Kippur she had to go to the hospital to be checked, but they sent her home. As the fast came in, Ayala started having stronger contractions. We decided to wait a bit more. Due to Corona and my health issues, sadly, I was not able to go with her. One of my daughters was going with her instead. As her contractions progressed and we saw there was no choice, I hugged her tightly and sent them on their way.
It was a very emotional day between my physical situation, worry for my daughter and the situation with Corona. My tears fell non-stop. On the other hand, I felt grateful for all my brachas and very close to Hashem. I davened with a full heart for my close ones and all Klal Yisroel.
The time passed slowly, but finally the day ended. I turned my phones on and was rewarded with the wonderful news. Ayala had a beautiful baby boy.
Because of Corona, they would be coming home the next morning. Everything was waiting for their arrival, and I was dancing on air.
After they arrived and got settled, Ayala went to rest. She was beyond exhausted both emotionally and physically. The next two days were a blur as we tried to help her care for her newborn. On the sixth day, my daughter started running a fever and coughing. We immediately called the doctor. He ordered a Corona test which came back positive. We all went into quarantine except my husband, who had this dreaded virus already.
Now we not only had a newborn to care for, but we also had a new mom who was ill with Corona. To say it was stressful and frightening was an understatement, but we all rallied together to do our best.
Time marched on and the bris was in just two days. Somehow, Hashem helped us get everything ready to go.
“Chaim,” I suggested to my son-in-law, “maybe we can have it in my yard with a minyan of men who had corona and at least then we can see from my window.”
“Great idea. Maybe it will make things a bit easier for Ayala.”
So, we went into fast forward mode and rearranged everything down to the Kisei Eliyahu which we borrowed from the shul nearby.
The day of the bris dawned bright and sunny – an auspicious beginning. But when we were changing the baby’s diaper, I noticed some blood in his diaper. My heart sank. I checked his navel to see if it was from there and found nothing. I mentioned it gently to my family so as not to alarm anyone. We immediately called the doctor who saw his. Although he thought it was unlikely that the baby had a urinary tract infection, he ordered an urgent urine test. All we could do now was daven and await the results. The test came back an hour later it was a UTI. The bris was off, and the baby had to go the emergency room.
My son-in-law and my daughter, Racheli, rushed off the emergency room leaving Ayala home with me. There was no choice. She was forced to be separated from her sweet child. The tensions was tremendous as we waited to hear news from the hospital, I looked for words to comfort my daughter.
“Ayala, you know I am here for you. I wish I could do something to make this easier.”
“Ima, we just need to daven,” my brave daughter answered.
A long silence fell, and we sat there, tears rolling down our cheeks, lost in our own thoughts and feelings. Finally, we got the call the baby was being admitted for a few days of IV antibiotics. My son-in-law and other daughters did rotations by the baby’s bedside. By the third day, the hospital let the baby come home for 8 hours so that he could be with his mother. On the fifth day, he came home. There was follow-up needed for the next few weeks, but, B”H, he was fine.
Finally, at the age of one month, he had his bris. We had traveled a long hard road to get here, and our joy overflowed. He was given the name Shiloh Menachem – a name that had come to my daughter in a dream the day she found out she was expecting. It was a beautiful name for a precious neshama.
Through all of these trials, this special couple never lost their positivity. They found ways to cope with each challenge. Today, Shiloh Menachem and his amazing parents are flourishing. May we all see nachas and Hashem’s kindness in all His ways.