Happy 8th Birthday to my amazing and beautiful boy, Yehuda. I was thinking today about Yehuda’s birth and finding it remarkable that it’s already been 8 years. There were a few things about his birth that were such great lessons about life.
I had a natural birth with my first, Matan, with no intervention at all. It was a grueling 12 hours, but I did it and it was incredible. I had planned to do the same thing with Yehuda. A few weeks before he was born, I was speaking with someone who had just had a baby. She had also wanted to have a natural, un-medicated birth, and had ended up having to have pitocin. I had always assumed that pitocin meant epidural – period. Pitocin is said to create very strong contractions and there is no way around getting the epidural. That was my understanding, and I had already told my doctor, who was also a good friend, that I didn’t want intervention if it could be avoided. And I knew, should I need intervention such as pitocin, that I would have to say goodbye to my un-medicated birth.
And then, just by chance, I found myself sitting with this friend a few weeks before Yehuda arrived. She told me that she had just delivered with pitocin – and without any intervention and that it really is doable.
One conversation – a collection of words – and it changed my mindset. It’s really amazing to see the power of words, and the power of the mind to work over the body. I also think that timing, or Hashem’s way of working in the world, is amazing. I hadn’t needed pitocin before, and I’ve never needed it again in my other births, but a few weeks after this conversation, there I was delivering with pitocin. I am pretty confident that I would not have gone into Yehuda’s birth thinking that I could do it naturally had I not had that conversation.
And yet, of course, with her words ringing in my ears, I made up my mind that I was going to get through this without medicine. And, it was actually one of my easiest births! Amazing what the right message at the right time can do.
One of the main reasons we gave Yehuda his name is because of the Parsha where Yehuda speaks so eloquently to Yosef while trying to protect his brother, Binyamin. He is described as being confident, but modest; sure of himself and forthright. He is the perfect advocate for his brother and the perfect speaker. The power of words, again.
And after four hours of labor, there was Yehuda. When they put him in my arms, I remember feeling like he was distinctly solid and heavy. I’ve actually delivered heavier kids – but I’ve never felt that feeling again.
Finally, allow me one more memory. That night, I couldn’t get Yehuda to calm down or sleep at all in his little hospital bassinet. The nurse came in, looked at me in my desperate state, took Yehuda from his bassinet, and placed him squarely in my bed. Now, in America, you actually sign a piece of paper saying that you won’t sleep with the kid in your bed in the hospital, and I knew from my parenting with Matan that sleeping with them was a big no-no. And there she was, the hospital nurse, plopping him down next to me. My memory must be fuzzy – but I swear that Yehuda and I slept one of the best night sleeps I’ve had in my life, and awoke refreshed and cuddling 9 hours later.
And that’s been Yehuda since the day he was born – cuddly, solid as a rock, strong, endearing, complicated, eloquent and full of determination.
Happy Birthday Yehuda.