Remembering to remember.

I’m lost in the new parent time warp. Completely forgot that Yom HaZicaron started last night until we heard the siren from my hospital room. Watched many of the nurses and patients stand still in the corridor while the Arabs and Charedis went about their ways. 

Yom HaZicaron has the potential to take on a totally different meaning when you are sitting in an Israeli hospital, watching your newborn son.

Birthing in Hebrew.

I always thought when it came to my childbirth experience here in Israel, I’d end up automatically speaking, pleading and moaning in my native tongue. Despite Israeli hospital staff. I figured they probably get that all the time, and who doesn’t speak English in the medical field?

Well… it didn’t happen that way. I birthed my little Israeli son in Hebrew. Somehow, I had that frame of mind turned on. Or maybe there was this other-person coming out of me. A person who could do anything, in any language.

Tzur Hadassah transportation.

I was asked about transportation to and from Tzur Hadassah. Thought I’d share the options – though they are not as many as would be helpful:

Bet Shemesh: Superbus 182.

Jerusalem: Superbus 184 and Egged 180.

Beitar: Illit buses; there are multiple lines that go to Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh and Bnei Brak frequently.

Tremping: People do tremp (hitchhike) from the front gates. I’ve also seen (and picked up) people hitchhiking from the trempiada at Gilo junction.

On kids, memorials, and what brings them together.

So it’s come to this: I go to Holocaust memorial services in Israel and all I can think about is how my kids may turn out in this culture.

Well, in the first place, I have yet to be impressed by an Israeli-made Holocaust memorial service. They’ve lacked intensity, empathy and authenticity so far. It seems to feel like an obligation; the yoke of some old Ashkenazi grandparents. I know this because the Yom HaZikaron ceremonies are a lot different. Which is natural and fair: they hit closer to home. Maybe the Holocaust hits closer to home in the diaspora Jewish communities, then.

Anyway, back to the kids: Yeah, I don’t know what to think. Kids here are probably much like kids anywhere, as a general age demographic. You have your snotty ones, your indifferent ones. The ones filled with kindness and friendship. Looking around I see kids in tight jeans standing silently with respect. Then others who shouldn’t be brought to stale Holocaust ceremonies because they can’t handle it; no patience, no context.

Come to think of it, it was much like that back in New York, too. So what is it about kids, then? Are they scary because I no longer am one?

Or is it, like anywhere else, that it comes down to the parents

…And it’s the parents here who scare me more than anything.

End of days.

Since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been watching and waiting as pregnant peers around me finish up their terms, give birth and move on to parenthood. It’s been a sort of countdown of names, not numbers – first so-and-so, then so-and-so, next so-and-so. Happens to be there have been quite a few, especially within a six week radius of my own due date. 

Well, I’m definitely getting there because there aren’t many other preggos to watch and wait for anymore. 

Meanwhile, things have been pretty hectic recently. We’ve learned a lot about the difference between public health care and going private. We fall into the former category… And I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it again, but it can get you really riled up if you fall between the cracks. Thankfully we’ve been under the guidance of a midwife whose analysis and scrutiny has been a lot more than ‘just’ a supplement to the doctor’s… My advice to anyone else is to stay on top of yourself and keep plowing for second opinions if you need ’em. 

In the last week, as I’ve calmed into a sort of hibernation, my mind has frequently reflected back on what the last 9 or so months have been. I can say that pregnancy has been good to me – definitely better than I went in expecting. A collection of thoughts has pooled up in the back of my mind, which I know I’ll forget by the next time around unless I jot them down. So, in no particular order: 

  • Hormones are amazing creatures and should be respected for all their power… Especially the way they are just right on the ball. Unfortunately, it seems most folks don’t respect them as much as they deserve. 
  • It’s true what ‘they’ say: everyone and their mother (literally) has stories and advice for you. There is a very, very thin line between what is welcome and what is annoying. That line gets thinner every day. 
  • Pregnancy is about acknowledging the accomplishments, from the big to the small to the mundane… I’ve reminded myself of this constantly. You have to take credit for as much as you can to keep your spirits up. Feeling not as nauseous today? Got through a whole night’s sleep without waking up? Remembered to take your vitamins for two consecutive days? Managed to get to the bathroom once in three days? Managed to not go pee more than once in an hour? Pat yourself on the back (if you can reach it). 
  • Giving up things was not as painful as I thought it would be. I miss my jeans. I miss my nightly glass of wine. I miss sleeping on my back. I miss my body. I miss beer. I miss not having to take vitamins every day. I miss being able to spontaneously go wherever I want for the weekend (ha, did we ever really do that?). But… in the larger scheme of things, it’s not so bad. And I guess I can say that with slightly more ease since I wasn’t a smoker before anyway. 
  • Doctors here will not explain things unless you ask… At least, I’ve found that most of them won’t. The internet is a big help but will go overboard inevitably. Reading is interesting, but too much can destroy you. Nurses at the kupah check ups can be a great source of info, but won’t always have the whole picture and can’t commit to anything. Birth class instructors are wonderful but often not medical professionals. I’ve just had to carefully blend all kinds of resources and let the picture paint itself. 
  • It’s amazing how many people don’t have all the info while pregnant… It boils down to personality and life style I guess… But I’ve been shocked at how other girls can be shocked when they learn things about their bodies I thought was obvious. Sex and pregnancy education should just be mandatory for everyone.
  • Speaking of sex… I can’t help but find it funny that my religious doctor loves to remind us about having plenty of it… Actually, he loves to mention it to my husband while I’m behind the curtain. Men, eh?
  • Both sides of the birthing coin will make you feel inept, insecure and insane: the Western institutionalized side and the natural ‘alternative’ side.  I’ve settled for taking what I can handle and finding my balance. 
  • There are some folks who just can’t handle pregnancy… They are awkward about it, around it, when faced with it. Those folks are mostly men but I’ve encountered it in women too. 
  • There is a big difference between raspberry tea and reaspberry leaf tea… And the latter, which is excellent to drink for working on uterine muscles, does not taste as refreshing as its cousin, whether hot, iced or frozen. But on that note, exploring homeopathic options has been really interesting. We’ll see if they pay off. 

Don't meet me here.

Taking a walk through Tzur Hadassah‘s Har Kitron neighborhood, you’ll find the following street off the main road…

I think this is particularly funny because Har Kitron comes off as a bit of a posh ‘hood. It’s all full, robust houses and a lot of ‘older’ families with teenage kids. I guess this isn’t the street corner where the cool kids hang out.