At 2:30 AM Tali woke me up. Nothing had changed except that Tali was getting nervous. This was really just the beginning? Yes, just the beginning. I told her to go back in the water and that we would speak soon. I couldn't fall back to sleep. My mind was of course on Tali.
I dozed off eventually and woke up with a start at 5 AM. Breakfast and lunches for the kids were ready. The phone rang, Tali's husband. Tali wanted to go to the hospital already. "Nope, not yet. I'm on my way to your home."
By 5:45 AM I waited outside in the pouring rain for the taxi. When I entered he, in a beautiful caring Israeli fashion, yelled at me. "Don't ever enter a taxi from the street. Do you know how dangerous that is?"
"You're right. I'm excited, I'm off to a birth."
"I love people like you!"
The taxi man then told me a bit about his upbringing. He started to tell me pearls of wisdom from the Torah and told me, as all taxi drivers seem to do, how he really was very religious....I found out that his gorgeous mother (he showed me her photo-she really was a beauty!) had 16 children!!! 8 boys and 8 girls, some born in Morraco, some in Israel. At the end he gave me a blessing and told me to pay him 26 NIS, the numerical value of Hash-m (G-d).
When I entered Tali's apartment there was a sigh and look of relief on her husband (I never know who is happier to see me, the husband or the woman in labor...). Tali was on all fours like a cat, supported by a blanket and pillow. She looked fantastic. I'm always amazed by the site of a pregnant woman, a beautiful soul, carrying a beautiful soul.
For the next seven hours Tali and I breathed, I massaged her back and applied hard pressure, we swayed, and prayed. I had Tali go in and out of the water. With each contraction I counted to ten, in a slow steady voice. Between numbers I added, "Open, let go, release, relax, you can do it."
We imaged light entering her body and opening her up for the baby to come out.
Words of prayers, words of comfort.
Tali kept asking, "How much longer?" "I didn't realize it would be so hard."
A bit more, you are amazing. We're not going anywhere yet....
By noon Tali's contractions were long and about 3 minutes apart. Tali reported that she couldn't feel the baby moving so much. It was time to go to the hospital.
Once you arrive at a hospital, everything slows down. It's difficult for a woman to maintain her birthing rhythm. "Tali stay focused. Shut it all out, the noise, the florescent lights, the balagon. It's you, Hash-m, and the baby."
When we spoke in the childbirth classes that I gave her in the months proceeding her birth we spoke about an ideal-a goal to shoot for, which is to stay home as long as possible and to get to the hospital only at the end...but with first births you never know. They are for the most part long and challenging.
I told Tali not to have any expectations and no matter what her dilation was, she couldn't be disappointed. "Stay focused. Stay intuned to your baby and your body."
The doctor checked her. The doctor was in shock. Calm, composed, focused, Tali, arriving to the hospital for her first birth was already 9.
We were sent to her birthing room and from there, with all the lights, the noise, and the balagon, things did slow down, but as is every birth, it was a miracle and it was beautiful. Tali's Rebbezin joined us and at four o'clock Tali's baby girl was born with a healthy scream and a gorgeous red color.