Mazal Tov! The Schwabs Welcome Tifferet, Born Dec. 31, 2006

This past Sunday I gave birth to Tifferet at 11:11 pm. She weighed 3.4 kg at birth, and got perfect results on her Apgar test.

Tifferet (which means beauty, glory, or splendor in Hebrew) was born with a heart condition called pulmonary stenosis. This condition affects the flow of blood from the heart to the lungs. Pulmonary stenosis can appear at different levels of severity. Tifferet’s condition was defined as “severe/critical” and when not treated immediately results in death.

My doctor noticed a problem during a routine pregnancy ultrasound, and referred me to a fetal eco-cardiogram, where the problem was diagnosed. Thanks to this diagnosis, we could prepare as needed for the birth, and immediately after she was born, the doctors whisked her away to put her on a hormonal drip to keep her heart working as it did in the womb, and the next afternoon she underwent an angioplasty.

After a tense week of monitoring her oxygen levels in her blood and heart rate, Tifferet began to nurse and by Thursday we were told that everything was functioning as it should be, and she was released on Friday.

This journey has not yet ended; Tifferet needs to be monitored closely with more ECGs and perhaps even another angioplasty. But we are so thankful that we have her with us, and therefore I want to take this opportunity to thank the many wonderful people who helped us get through this difficult time:

  1. The medical professionals: Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital is an impressive and professional hospital. The care there is excellent, and the Israeli medical system really should be a source of pride to us all.
    Everyone we were in contact with was professional, sympathetic and kind. Prof. Azaryah Rein, a leading pediatric cardiologist, sat with us and patiently explained what pulmonary stenosis is, how it’s treated, the risks involved, how it can affect the child’s life, and where to give birth. Once we had more information, we felt better informed and prepared to face the birth and operation.
    Prof. Zev Perles expertly performed the angioplasty. It took two hours, and thanks to him Tifferet quickly recovered and was released.
    Dr. Ofrah Peleg manages the premature baby ward and briefed us on Tifferet’s progress, was there to answer any questions we had, and even went above the call of duty by intervening when the hospital started acting too much like a bureaucratic institution and wanted to send me running around a few days after birth filling in papers.
    Before and after the operation Tifferet was cared for in the premature baby ward. The nurses there are professional, dedicated and sympathetic. From the minute they walk in the door until the minute they leave, they are constantly checking, changing, testing, monitoring, and feeding the babies in their care. They are amazing and I want to thank them too.
  2. My family: my parents cancelled a trip overseas so that they could be here to help us during this time, and have been helping non-stop since Tifferet was born. My sisters also jumped in the fray: Devora moved in the night we went to the hospital (with her own baby!), and cleaned and laundered for half a day so that we could return to an orderly home. My other sister Tsipora came in from Tel Aviv and babysat the kids and fed them (while watching her own baby and little kid as well!). My father-in-law jumped on a plane from Australia as soon as he heard the news, and has been a life saver as an extra pair of hands at home with my husband and the kids.
  3. We are very fortunate to live in a close-knit and warm community. As soon as my neighbors heard the news, we have not stopped receiving calls offering support and help with anything we need. One neighbor organized a cleaner for us, others offered to watch the kids, and the food – home-cooked, delicious meals have been delivered to our door every day by so many neighbors, we could feed an army!

We have been very blessed in so many ways, and I want to thank God for giving us the strength to get through this, and for answering our prayers and helping Tifferet recover so quickly.

As you can imagine, this new situation will affect my blogging frequency. I aim to start blogging again as soon as I can, especially since, for me, writing is also a therapeutic activity. But in the meantime, I hope you have patience and hang in there until we get back into things. Thanks for your understanding.

May God bless Tifferet, and all of us, with long and healthy lives.