And then there were four (plus cat)…

And then there were four (plus cat)…

To say the start of our journey as a quartet was unusual would be quite an understatement, but I am grateful to have the opportunity to begin that journey nonetheless.

The skies still pitch black as the first morning of Rosh Hashanah crawled in, I ambled back into bed after my fourth or fifth trip to the bathroom for the night, cringing to see 4:45am lit up on my 90s era clock radio and wondering how much longer this predawn hour would be my daily wakeup time. Settling down but certain that third trimester insomnia would not allow for more sleep, I suddenly felt a trickle of fluid leak down my leg—nearly three weeks ahead of schedule. Luckily, even in a second pregnancy, my overly obsessive nature had ensured that bags had already been packed the previous week, and we were quickly able to drop off a bleary-eyed 2.75-year-old Amit with his grandparents across town.

We made our way to the maternity department of Assaf Harofeh hospital, where I quickly learned that while my water had broken, the lack of naturally accompanying contractions would likely warrant quite a long delivery process and hormonal intervention, in order to avert infection. As we meandered from room to room and the sun inevitably rose over the deceptively quiet medical center, secular Russian, Orthodox Jewish, and observant Muslim nurses milled by in brightly dyed red hair, headscarves, and hijabs—a reminder of the diversity and tolerance that is possible in this country, and a particularly poignant truth on day one of the New Year.

And perhaps quite fittingly on that first morning of Rosh Hashanah, Ravid suddenly found himself clad in a kippah and recruited by a small throng of black-suited men to recite a blessing—enabling a pint-sized teenage boy to bellow the deeply distinct notes of the shofar for the entire labor and delivery floor. I listened, in awe, marveling that this small child—apparently born in that very hospital—could produce such a strong and resonant sound. My own strength would soon be called into question during a waiting game of nearly another full day, as the excruciating yet helpful hand of oxytocin helped usher our daughter into the world.

On the second morning of Rosh Hashanah, Tuesday at 3:16am, beautiful Eden made her entrance—17 years after a September 11 that to her, will likely be a tragic event to learn about in history books.

Amit was able to meet his little sister later that afternoon, but soon, our patience as a family was put to the test. Still tired and perhaps extra vulnerable from all the upheaval in his life, the newly crowned big brother spiked a fever on Wednesday night, just half a day before our scheduled arrival home. As per doctor’s orders, separation between toddler and newborn was deemed critical—and off the confused little boy went to the loving hands of his grandparents, once again, along with his father, for the next six days. His fever and croup were soothed with acetaminophen, endless playtime, and Bamba peanut snacks, but he disappointedly pointed out that he could not hug his mother through a Whatsapp video call.

At long last, after an x-ray finally determined that a course of antibiotics were necessary, Amit, and Ravid, were able to return home to Eden and me on Tuesday afternoon—filling in the missing pieces of the peculiar puzzle that we, as a newly transformed and expanded family, will surely cling to this New Year and into the future.

Shana tovah!

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