Two hours before the sun was to set and Yom Kippur was to begin, my family experienced a tremendous miracle. My son had been born two weeks prior in a traumatic and tumultuous manner. He was given an Apgar score of 1 out of 10, and the doctors later told me that the was actually on the generous side. His prognosis did not look good. He was monitored around the clock by a team of highly trained specialists; physicians, nurses, ENTs, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, head of the neonatal intensive care unit, just to name a few.
But his biggest supervisor was G-d. G-d carefully watched and took care of him every minute, day and night. G-d did not leave my son's bedside.
Earlier in the day, my son had a critical procedure that required general anesthesia and would give us insight into his prognosis, seizures, and the ramifications of lack of oxygen at birth. It felt as the brain MRI was our personal Yom Kippur, our day of judgement, the day G-d would decide whether my son would be inscribed in the Book of Life or the alternative, chas v'shalom. And if our prayers were answered and he was sealed for the Book of Life, what kind of life would it be? Would he learn to eat, walk, and talk? Would he reach his milestones?
Despite pounding headaches, a difficult time concentrating, and a weak physical state following several blood transfusions, I gathered every single ounce of strength I had to pray for my newborn's well-being.
The procedure was scheduled for 8 a.m. I had been up the entire night, as well as the entire week. But as hospital schedules go, the time was an estimate, rather than a definite. The procedure was delayed by a couple of hours, and my husband and I were scrambling of what would be for Yom Kippur. He and my daughter were staying nearby with a dear friend just blocks from the best specialized children's hospital on the west coast. I was still admitted in the maternity ward. We were far from home, family, and our community. The logistical planning was getting too much for me. I needed the procedure to take place as scheduled, so I could resume the planning.
The procedure was delayed due to a few staffing issues. However, when the big moment came, the nurses and doctors were having a difficult time getting an I.V. line into my tiny son for the general anesthesia. After many pokes and prods, the head hospital anesthesiologist came to check on my son and was able to get the line in. And so the procedure began. I have never prayed that hard in my life. Ever. Those few hours felt like a lifetime. I used each and every second to pour my heart out to G-d.
G-d heard my prayers. And made a miracle. I was expecting to stay by my son's bedside through Yom Kippur, while my husband and two year old returned to our community. I had made sleeping, eating, and childcare arrangements for them. But as some say, "man plans and G-d laughs."
My plans were not needed. Following the procedure, my son was discharged the moment the head radiologist examined the MRI results. We learned of my son's tremendous turn around and his miraculous recovery. The doctors told us my son was lucky and that the odds were in his favor. My husband and I thanked the doctors for their hard work and care. But it wasn't luck or odds, we knew that it was G-d who was in his favor. We raced out of the hospital so fast that day, scared the doctors would realize they made a mistake. But in our hearts, we knew that G-d does not make mistakes. However, we had a deadline to meet; sunset.
With just minutes to spare, we made it to the Rabbi and Rebbetzin's home where the four of us would spend the holiday. My Yom Kippur was filled with prayers of gratitude and thanks. My son was sealed for the Book of Life and I have never been so grateful. My life changed that day. I began focusing on my blessings rather than my hardships. I began looking at the sunshine rather than the rain. And so it was the beginning of a new outlook for me and a beautiful year for my family baruch Hashem.
Wishing everyone a year of health, happiness, success in all your endeavors, and abundant blessings!
Gmar chasima tova,