| Under 18 Minutes |

Nick-of-Time Newborn 

   A single moment can make all the difference between chometz and matzah, between success and failure. They raced the clock — and beat it!

When I was nine months pregnant with our ben bechor, my husband went across the country from Chicago to New York to set up our new apartment. We were planning to move there three weeks after our baby was due to be born, and we wanted to be as organized as possible.

People kept telling us that first babies are normally late, and with a few weeks left until my due date, we thought the plan was solid… until one afternoon when I found myself waddling up to my parents’ doorstep feeling like I was in labor!

I grabbed my mother and sister and we ran to the hospital, ruing the day I chose a fully stocked pantry and unpacked boxes across the country over having my husband within a 100-mile-radius while I was full term.

It turned out to be a false alarm and almost everyone had a good laugh; personally I was mortified at having created such a drama over nothing.

The next evening, as my husband was at the Washington Heights keilim mikveh up to his elbows in pots and pans, I was sitting at my Chicago computer when I suddenly felt sharp new pains.

Could these be the real contractions? I asked myself.

Nope, another part of me answered. Not going down that road again unless I’m absolutely sure. Not creating another panic for nothing.

As the night wore on, though, the pains continued, and I couldn’t sleep. For many hours I kept it to myself, not wanting to wake everybody unless I was absolutely sure. I kept myself busy finishing a large writing project for work “just in case” I was headed to imminent maternity leave.

Around 3:30 in the morning I was sure; the pains were occurring much closer together, and they weren’t going away. I called my husband, and he sleepily answered.

“Err… so… I think it’s really happening this time. I’m pretty sure I’m in labor,” I said. That jolted him awake. “I’ll head to the airport and call the airline on the way,” he said. “I’m coming!” he then offered in a final futile gesture, as if he were merely speaking to me from the top of the stairs and would see me momentarily at the bottom.

I called my doctor a few hours later, and she met me at her office. In her parking lot, I had to stop every few feet. After a quick examination, she swiftly sent me to the hospital.

Meanwhile, my husband had spent the last few hours tearing through La Guardia airport and racing to catch the first plane out. He would later remark, “Anyone who wants to recreate the image of splitting the Red Sea should try running through the TSA lines screaming, ‘My wife is in labor in another state!’” Everyone got out of his way and fast-tracked him toward the gate.

He was finally safely on the airplane as I settled into Labor and Delivery. Now we just needed Hashem’s hashgachah over the tailwinds to bring him home quickly. The stranger my husband ended up sitting next to on the plane owned one of Chicago’s kosher bakeries, and she rooted for us the whole way, even sending beautiful pies as a gift for the shalom zachar later that week.

Once on the ground, my husband met my father, who was waiting to rush him to the hospital, where he thankfully made it in time for the birth of our son.

“You’re not going to like this,” he told me once everything had quieted down. “But so much for a set-up, organized apartment. I wanted to tidy up for a few minutes before I left for the airport but decided against it in the interest of time. Right now, it’s a sea of boxes and there are drying toiveled items strewn everywhere.”

“That sounds perfect,” I said with a smile as I snuggled our newborn. “We weren’t meant to have a set up apartment, and leaving it all as is brought you back in the nick of time. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 736)

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