My Hardest Birth

My Hardest Birth

“Eema, I’m scared!” 7-year-old Tsofia whispered to me this morning as she sat in the dentist’s chair, 2 tears snaking down her cheeks–for 2 cavities waiting for fillings.

Dr. Rina instructed me to stand by Tsofia’s head and hold the laughing-gas mask over her nose, and I saw Tsofia’s eyes become dreamy.

And my mind wandered back to the one time I ever took laughing gas…

It was my hardest birth of all, fitting for the day it was on–the 17th of Tammuz, a day of mourning and fasting, the anniversary of the fall of Jerusalem leading up the destruction of our Holy Temple.

Before that I had experienced births that were quick and very hard and births that were medium-length and bearable, but I had never experienced a medium-length, very hard birth. I begged for an epidural, but the anesthesiologist was “busy”–for my entire birth (no, I never went back to that hospital).

A clueless hospital midwife in a batik headscarf told me it would help the pain to dance through my crippling contractions… Another midwife suggested laughing gas. It made me feel dreamy, but didn’t even take the edge off the pain.

The only thing that offered the slightest relief was talking to the baby who was making such a ruckus exiting my body: “Baby, I am so looking forward to meeting you!” I whispered, “I love you already, and want to hold you in my arms!”

When the baby was born, I asked the midwives what to name a girl born on the 17th of Tammuz, and they suggested all sorts of Jerusalem names–Tsiona, Shlomtsion, Bat-Tsion. So we named our newest daughter Tsofia Bat-Tsion.

7 years later, at the dentist this morning, over the drilling, Dr. Rina told Tsofia, dreamy with laughing gas: “Look into your mother’s eyes, and show her with your eyes how much you love her.” And Tsofia looked at me and I looked at her, her eyes smiling with near-giggles.

And I remembered how my love for Tsofia helped me through her difficult birth, just as her love for me was helping her through this challenging morning.

My precious 5th daughter, a bright flame among the 8 candles that light my home and heart, on Chanukah and all year round.


  1. Aww such a beautiful post. I love birth stories!

  2. I love it too! Hanukka sameah may you continue to lighten the lives of us moms who need daily hizouk. I have been reading you for more than 7 years the first post i read was about a friend who had falken from a balcony at yom hhatsmaout and since that post i have been reading everyone of your posts and i remember the birth of tsofia and after that of the boys! I myself barouh Hashem have had many children at the same period and your posts give an immense hizouk!tizki lemitsvot!

    • wow, thank you for being such a loyal reader! by the way, b”H that girl who fell and was in a coma, rivki razel–is doing amazing!! A regular, healthy girl in 6th grade at a regular school. The razels saw huge miracles!!

  3. very beautiful!

  4. such a beautiful and inspirational post, chana jenny…yashar koach!

  5. Sorry you bad such a hard birth. Next time find someone who does Marilus Maneuvers and/or the Swiss Method. They check the baby’s position before birth and exercise to correct it, which makes labor much shorter and much less painful.

    • The Maneuvers sometimes help and sometimes not. But definitely take a doula and one who knows those positions (including Spinning Babies). They help immensely.

Leave a Reply

Follow by Email