Monday, January 31, 2011

Channah's Birthday Party

The Cake.  I am so  proud of my decorating!  It is the first time EVER I have made a cake and you can tell what it is supposed to be.

The arts and crafts project (hair elastics with ribbons)

Pictures with the duck :)

Watching the movie.

Arts and Crafts project

Snacking during the movie

Playing pass the package

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Holy Crow

Today (well actually tonight) is the same point in this pregnancy as we were at when I ended up in the hospital before Channah was born.  Yes I am a bit of a mess.  On the other hand, I know we are on the lookout for any indication that something might be off and are way more on top of things this time round.  I also know that we are doing everything we can to avoid what happened last time.

Other than side effects from everything we are doing, I feel fine.  Of course, last time I was feeling great and at a friend's wedding the night before.  Yeah.  Makes me even more nervous.

This time being stuck in hospital would mean being at least an hour away from Channah and most likely not having regular contact in person.  Not sure I can handle that.  In fact, I know I can't handle that.

I am a bit of a mess.  I think I will pack a hospital bag tonight just in case.

If you don't mind, can anyone reading this spare a quick thought or prayer for keeping me home with my family as long as possible?  To me every day from this point out is twice the bracha it was until now (and it was a pretty big bracha to begin with.)


Friday, January 14, 2011

Mesibat Chumash part 2

Mesibat Chumash part 1

They make a huge deal here when the kids get their first Chumash.  Seriously, singing and dancing and candy- it is sort of like those Christmas pageants that you see on Family Chanel Holiday specials that JEwish kids never seem to get.  Well that is one of the awesome things about living in a Yiddeshe Medina- you get to celebrate the cool Jewish moments in life.  

Tonight was this special celebration of the girls in Channah's kitah aleph class getting their first chumashim.  A longer video will follow probably tomorrow that shows the singing and dancing, but as a super proud ima I needed to get something up tonight. 

Picture of her with her new chumash and her keter torah (thanks to Aunty Brenda for the stunning skirt!  The girls had to wear blue and white and Channah looked dynamite!)

Being a flower on Har Sinai.

With her brand new chumash

Getting a bracha from the Abbas and the Rav of the school

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When the Doctor Recommend Going Against Medical Advice

Yesterday all the tests were fine and the baby was doing well. The doctor said he wanted to keep her overnight and discharge her in the morning. When asked for a medical reason to justify his decision he was open and honest. The staff that handle the discharge papers leave at 15:00 and Rachel needed to have the 2nd steroid shot to help the baby's lung development at 16:20. Rachel explained that staying at the hospital was a non starter for a number of reasons. It would mean missing a medical appointment close to home with someone who is only available once a week. There would be no helpful medical care provided. Due to the lack of rooms, Rachel had been stuck in the post postpartum ward with all the crying babies. This also meant any medical care that she was supposed to receive while she was there was taking 10 times as long. The level of systemic medical care was embarrassingly poor. .

After hearing these arguments the doctor agreed that the healthier option for both Rachel and the baby was to be home. He recommended that Rachel sign out of the hospital "AMA" (Against Medical Advice). He told us what paperwork needed to be done and was ready in order to make sure the Kupah would still pay for the visit.

Last month, Bikor Cholim hospital was turned down by the government for extra funding to keep the hospital running. There was a real threat that it would finally be closed down. The hospital has been on financial life support for quite some time. This brought up all the arguments for keeping it open. There was criticism of the possibility of shutting down the hospital located in the heart of downtown, only a few blocks away from some of the worst terrorist attacks during the 2nd Antifada. They mainly serve the local Charedi population who would have a difficult time getting to the 3 hospitals on the outskirts of the city, especially on Shabbat.

After seeing it first hand, it reminded me of the arguments made to keep Branson Hospital open in Toronto. As a kid, it was the closest hospital to where I lived. In every single document for medical permission my parents had to sign for school or camp etc..., they noted not to send me to Branson. Despite their reputation for horrible medical care, people argued that it was close by for people who would have trouble getting to the other hospitals, especially in the Jewish community. Eventually it was closed down and the premises taken over by another hospital. Bikor Cholim is in a prime location for a top level hospital to serve the community. After 160 some odd years, it is about time that they get one.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another Doctors Appointment Another Trip to J-Town

This morning Rachel and I went to the doctor for one of her regular appointments at the OB. The doctor decided herself on something they were not able to get on the last ultra sound. The baby wasn't moving to her satisfaction. So I ran to buy an orange juice to try to wake the baby up. It didn't help, so the doctor told us to go to Haddasah Har Hatzofim to get an ultra sound with better equipment, as a precaution. We had to hurry as it was almost noon and we the technicians go home at 2:30. We went home quickly packed a travel bag and were on the 417 to the hospital. Arrangements were made for Channah to go to fiends after school.

We have had the route planned out for a while of getting off at Bar Illan and taking a bus from their. The only notification was to take a taxi instead. As we hit Jerusalem traffic we asked the driver if it was better to get off immeditaly and catch a cab, then wait out the traffic. He said we should have told him earlier because he would have suggested getting off at one of the first bus stops. Taxis don't go to Bar Illan because they know everyone is taking the bus. He then proceeded to try to flag down a taxi. At one point to save time he drove on a sidewalk (which had people walking on it) to get around a car that was blocking traffic. Eventually he told us to where to get off, to have the best chance of catching a taxi.

We get to the hospital and we completly lost as to where to go. The room marked Ultrasound was actually the office for checking in. Then I had to go downstairs to register Rachel while they began the exam. They found everything to be normal but the baby was not moving to their satisfaction. We then go to the entry area for Labour and Delivery. It was pure chaos as the doctors are dealing with multiple patients and we have not clue what is going on. Eventually they have a huddle of about 8 medical personal to decide what to do. As their is no space in the NICU, just in case we need it, she would be transferred to Bikor Cholim. In response to Rachel's pleas to go home they point out that it is so serious they are sending us by ambulance. About 15 minutes later they asked us if we had a car or if we needed the ambulance.

After more chaos and monitoring the give Rachel the Steriod shot (to help the babies lungs) and send on our way to try to figure out where the ambulance is. To stress the seriousness of the situation Rachel must go by wheelchair and someone would be waiting for us at the hospital.

We find the ambulance, which was more of a Hassaah then anything else. When we get near the hospital we get dropped off by the side of the road and get vague instructions on where to go next. Nobody was expecting us and we had to go through the full registration. Once signed in Rachel goes for monitoring.

After a few minutes of monitoring, I am told to leave the area because it wasn't tznius because woman also needed monitoring. I use the time to call some of our friends to let them know what is going on. One friend calls to say that she is about to get on the bus to come help us out at the hospital. As soon, as I hang up the phone the baby starts kicking. The friend arrives and I am once again thrown out of the room for a much longer period of time. This time the friend is able to keep me updated.

The end result is Rachel is staying in the hospital overnight in order to get the second shot of the steroid. They will also be doing monitoring during the day to make sure everything is all right. We are hoping that she comes home tomorrow or at least in the next couple of days. Channah as her Misibat Chumash on Thursday and we both want to be there.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New recipe posts galore

I finally cleaned out my old bookmarks, documents and scraps of paper where I had recipes I liked but did not want to lose and put them all in one place.  I added more recipes this morning than I did in each of the last 2 years!  Feel free to go visit for lots of new things we have been enjoying around here.

The life of Channah

So along with growing like a weed and being super excited to be a big sister, there are actually other things going on in Channah's life.  For starters, she has discovered the new love of her life- Goomey.  Basically a giant piece of elastic that girls hold around their ankles, knees, hips and who knows what else and bounce over, under around and through.  You might know it as Chinese jump rope or as Israeli jump rope.  I know it as our new constant and eternal companion that must be driving my downstairs neighbours crazy (although they say they do not hear it!)  Basically, if she is not sitting on her tush doing something like homework, she is singing some sort of random chant and bouncing around the living room.

For those who wonder how she stays so thin, take note.  Go to any sewing store, buy about 8 feet of elastic, tie it closed and bounce roughly ten thousand times a minute.  If there is no elastic available, feel free to use the lines on the floor tiles as a great and ever present substitute.  No tiles?   Use your imagination.  Find a shadow, a crack, heck even a blank piece of pavement and bounce like a tigger.

Her reading is coming along beautifully.  I love watching her sit in the big chair with  abook the size of her entire torso and sound things out.  The questions are adorable "Ima, what sound do three dots on an angle make?  No, wait, I mean in a triangle."  We bought her a book of fairy tales in Hebrew and she sits with it for ages trying to figure out the stories.

She has also taken to leaving us "love pictures"- sort of a hybrid between the mass quantities of artwork we used to get, and love notes.  It will be a picture with a bit of real effort, and somewhere on the page wwill be a picture of Channah with a little speach bubble and her saying she loves us (in Hebrew).  It is totally heart melting.  

One of the other things she loves are jump rope (as we will not let her do it inside, and she can not go out after dark she resorts to imaginary jump rope.  More bouncing.  And not just bouncing, she gets her arms involved as well.  Seriously, we are thinking of hiring her out as a personal trainer to people who can not afford gym memberships.

Her favourite toys are stillplaymobile, lego, polly pockets and the ever present barbie, but they have been joined by some new things like an abacus (she loves math and thinks it is a game most of the time),  card games like uno or slamwhich, and battleship.  Thank goodness she has mostly outgrown candyland- I am not sure either of us could take much more of that one.

She also just got access (on occasion) to a computer built for her- well protected, kiddie game access only, and only used right now in the living room, with our supervision, for a little while a few times a week.  Yeah I know that level of parental control can't possibly last, but i nthe meantime we are trying to teach her responsible computer use.

The big news in her life is that next week is her Chumash party at school.  The girls will sing and dance for the parents and be rewarded with their very first chumash form their teachers.  I have no idea what else is involved as this is a first for us, but I can promise that there will be lots of new pictures and probably a new video posted here next week.  The girls have been practicing for weeks and I am very excited to see what they have in store for us!

As always pooh bear is being well looked after and is looking a little loved for his age.

Other than that, not much to report.  She is an amazing, happy little girl, always ready to help other out where needed.  She is generally good natured, enjoys school (and even generally homework) has lots of friends (and a more active social life (made up of playdates and birthday parties) than we do.  Her teachers love her and have told me her Hebrew is beautiful (we have got her in speech therapy to raise the level of her specific vocabulary a little, but it is a common need for anglo kids born here so I am not worried and she is progressing incredibly well).

I was talking to a new olah this week and she asked me if I thought we made the right decision.  All I have to do is look at Channah and how well she is growing and thriving here and I know I have no question in my mind that however annoying the health-care and random strikes may be, however pushy some of the people or however many people we miss, we have made what, for us, is the perfect decision and opened up worlds for her that she would not otherwise have known.

I only hope that we are as lucky with thenew addition as we have been so far.