In 1966 Arlene and I were ready to expand our twosome and make
it a threesome. We spoke about having a child and were in perfect agreement in
wanting to bring a little one into the world. We were both young and felt we’d
like to see not only our children but our grandchildren grow up as well.
Just being born is a wonderful blessing; we compete with millions of sperm to
fertilize the egg. It’s awesome to be the winner. God is good. For years I felt
that I personally didn’t have to accomplish anything else, after all, hadn’t I
hit the lottery by being born? I quickly found out that was just the first phase
of HaShem’s greater plan for us.
To predict ovulation Arlene would take her temperature daily waiting for that
special moment. Fortunately, I wasn’t sleeping when that moment arrived and our
first son, who we named Adam, was conceived during the month of Elul,
August. Elul is a time to search our hearts in preparation for Rosh Hashanah
and Yom Kippur. Interestingly, while Jews worldwide prepare themselves
for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur by repenting and praying to be inscribed in the
book of life, G-d was giving to us a new life on earth, our firstborn son; the
circle of life continues.
In my sweetheart’s eighth month of pregnancy we began taking practice runs to
the hospital. I’m sure this is not unique; many of you have done the same. We
timed every moment, with traffic, without traffic, in early morning, during the
evening, in the middle of the night, the middle of the day, during the evening,
the rush hour in the morning rush hour when we started eating, just before going
to bed, always allowing for extra time. She was specific as to whom to call and
what to tell them. Wow, this was hard work, making the baby was much easier. My
Dahlink taped the Dr.’s phone number on the phone and packed a bag which she
kept under our bed. Yay, I was there when her water broke. I was so excited that
I forgot everything I was supposed to do, but she had the good sense to write
everything down and handed me her notes. My mother and mother-in-law met us at
the hospital and soon our dads arrived directly from work. After three hours we
called upstairs to the maternity ward and were told that Arlene was still in
In 1967 most husbands were not involved in the birthing process and were not
admitted to the labor holding area or the delivery room. I never questioned it;
I didn’t know better and hindsight is just that. We were allowed in the waiting
room left to pace with the other expectant dads. I’m really glad things have
changed today. Both our sons were actively involved in our granddaughters’
deliveries. This time Arlene and I were left to pace in the waiting area; I
guess we can never win.
Six hours after Arlene’s labor had started in the hospital; there was still no
news of a birth. I called the maternity floor and the nurse advised me to be
patient, Arlene was still in labor. Those were the days when “natural
childbirth” was preferred and Arlene received no stimulants, very much unlike
today. I remember feeling very angry that I had no control over the situation
and could not communicate with my wife. I thought there was nothing I could do
to help her. I was thinking, “If I could just be there, to hold her hand. to
tell her I love her and let her know she’s not alone.” I sat in the room
frustrated not knowing what to do. Yetta and Ruth my mom and mother- in- law had
no problem with this. I can still hear my mom say, “Melvala, don’t worry- with
the second one it goes much faster”. Oy I thought to myself, couldn’t we have
had the second one first?
I made my decision; “I am going up to that mysterious floor to be with my wife,
they weren’t going to keep me out. She needed me and I was going to be there for
her.” Not bad for a 23 year old shtarker.
I asked the aid at the desk “what floor is my wife was on?” With that
information, off I went in the direction of the elevator. Stepping off the
elevator, I noticed an open closet with scrubs inside. I put on the scrubs, put
a mask over my face, not to arouse suspicion, and entered the Personnel Only
door to search for Arlene. Now, I, Dr. Shmear Shmaltz began looking in
each roomette to find Arlene. Finally, at last, I entered her room. I was at a
loss for words as I saw her laying flat on a gurney, her face pale and looking
pained and white as a ghost. I came close and reached for her hand, not knowing
what to say I thought I’d cheer her up. I looked her in the eyes and said “Mrs.
Yahre, you’re next”. She saw it was me and began screaming “it’s your fault that
I’m in pain… get out of here and stop making jokes --you’re mushuga!” (
I’ve cleaned this part up) I was so sorry my attempt to cheer her up had upset
her, but there was no way to take it back. I turned and saw men running towards
me, they grabbed me and then dragged me out of the room and escorted me out of
the labor area. I was told not to do that again and not to return.
When I returned to the waiting area my mom said, “Nu, what did you learn, how is
Arlene?” I was too embarrassed to tell the tale and just said we have to wait.
Wait we did, the total process took 24 hours and Arlene gave birth to a
beautiful baby boy, our Adam. Well honestly, he wasn’t really that beautiful; he
looked like a cone head from Saturday Night Live with a pointed head he was red
as a beet as if he had been out in the sun too long; he had scratched his face
with his fingernail and was crying like a baby. In spite of this his nose looked
like mine. He looked a little like me with a cone head! I was overjoyed with
this Yahre and still am.
This story has changed over time and I’m sure a few things were added to it, but
there is nothing in the world as exciting and wonderful as seeing your child for
the first time. HaShem is really wonderful and during this month of Elul, I am
thankful for the giving of life…L’Chaim.
As Messianic Jews, Arlene and I will be at our congregation for Rosh Hashana and
will be praising HaShem for having inscribed us in the book of eternal life.
L’Shan Tova, may the New Year (5768) be good to you, and may you all be
inscribed in G-d’s book of Life
Mel (the fat guy)