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Tuesday
Nov142017

PRAYING FOR A CHILD IN 770

She had to undergo dozens of rounds of difficult and expensive treatments which ended in disappointment, and had two stillborn births – two sets of twins. Nevertheless, Batsheva Goldberg yearned for a child of her own and refused to stop believing that she would become a mother. * After years of waiting and trying every t’filla and segula, she went to the Rebbe, not knowing that the brief elevated moments at 770 would change her life.

By Esti Lenchner

Photo: Ezra TrabelsiThe Torah readings on Rosh HaShana tell the stories of three great women: Sarah, Chana and Rochel. They waited for children for many years and saw how the women with whom they shared their home were already mothers. They never stopped believing that they too would have children. Indeed, the three of them had children to be proud of.

Nowadays, there are also women who pray for a child, who go through a long, painful process which does not always have a good ending. Or the long-awaited ending takes place after a very long, difficult time. One of these women is Batsheva.

I met her in her home in B’nei Brak. Next to her, in a carriage, slept one month old Netanel, a sweet baby who is still unaware of the tremendous joy he has brought his parents. Batsheva is young, smiley, and lively, and works as a sheitel macher. Her radiant smile and cheerful disposition belie her story.

Batsheva and Daniel Goldberg are not Lubavitchers, but they identify as feeling a strong love connection to the Rebbe and his Chassidim.

“I got married fifteen years ago, at the age of 17 and a half. I knew I had a medical problem that would make it difficult for me to conceive, but nothing was going to prevent me from becoming a mother. Due to my young age, the doctors did not rush to suggest treatments, in the hopes that I would conceive without medical intervention.

“Years passed and nothing happened; not an easy nisayon. I spoke to Hashem numerous times, simply, as to a father. I asked and pleaded to become a mother.

“There was no choice but to start medical interventions. Upon the instructions of an expert, I started taking pills which were supposed to solve the problem. However, within days, I went to the hospital in terrible pain. The pills had caused severe inflammation and the doctors had to do an emergency operation. Miraculously, I did not lose the ability to give birth.

“After I recovered, we realized we had to explore other types of treatment. This is where Mrs. Chaya Lincher of B’nei Brak came into the picture. She is a special woman who keeps in contact with me till today. Chaya works as an ultrasound technician in Asusa Hospital and she was able to answer the numerous questions that I had over the years. She also referred me to the best doctors.

“I started intensive, lengthy, and exhausting treatments. Over the years, I became an expert on every possible medical concept on the subject. I was able to tell the doctors which treatments I had undergone and why my body reacted positively or not. I also underwent IVF which entails physical and emotional pain.

“Of course, I always anticipated good news; maybe this time it would work. But time after time we were disappointed to discover that the treatment was unsuccessful.

“Throughout the years, along with the physical efforts, we worked on the spiritual front too. We made good resolutions, were blessed by rabbis, and we mainly poured our hearts out to Hashem. My husband Daniel traveled to the graves of tzaddikim around the country and spent hours there, renting the heavens with his prayers.”

Where did you get the strength to handle the difficult treatments and disappointments?

Batsheva smiled and said that she has always been a happy person who takes things in stride.

“It’s my miracle,” she stresses. “Without inner strength, I would have despaired long ago. Hashem never gives someone a test without providing him with the abilities to handle it.

“During the exhausting treatments you need a tremendous amount of psychological strength. You cannot break, and always need to pick up the pieces and carry on. Many people ask me how I hung on all those years, how I didn’t break. The truth is that I don’t have a scientific answer to that. Throughout that long time, we did not stop believing that the day would come when we would become parents. Even in the most difficult times, we were able to find the good and thank Hashem for what we had.”

STILLBORN

After five rounds of difficult treatments with many disappointments, when the Goldbergs celebrated their fifth anniversary, a treatment finally worked.

“I was pregnant! And it was twins! I wanted to scream out my joy. I was going to become a mother! I pictured the adorable boy and girl, seeing them grow, and filling our lives with the joy we had so anticipated.

“A few days after receiving the amazing news I began feeling side effects, but unlike most women who suffer only occasionally, my symptoms appeared in the most extreme form. I suffered from nonstop vomiting and terrible weakness so that I practically couldn’t get out of bed for several weeks.

“As time passed and tests showed that all was well and the pregnancy was developing properly, our excitement level rose.”

Erev Sukkos 5768, the fifteenth week, Leil Shabbos

“I suddenly discovered something suspicious. I knew it was bad news. I was terrified but chose to wait till morning. The next day, while the men were in shul, I suddenly felt great pain and strong pressure. My husband, who was called out of shul, suggested we go consult with our neighbor, Chaya Lincher, who is an expert in these things. She ordered us to call an ambulance immediately and get to the hospital.

“As soon as we arrived, they connected me to a monitor that showed that all was well. We calmed down and waited to be released on Motzaei Shabbos.

“After a few hours of waiting, a doctor came to check me. He examined the file, smiled, and said everything looked fine but another test had to be done to be sure. The test began and I watched as the doctor’s face turned white. He was quiet for a while before he began talking and I knew something terrible was going to happen.

“‘I’m sorry, but you’re in labor,’ he said.

“Labor?! I could not digest or understand what that meant. ‘It can’t be!’ I cried out in terror. ‘This is a very precious pregnancy. These are my children! Do something to stop it!’

“The doctor quickly went out to call for medical assistance and left me alone with the ticking monitor. I found myself alone, staring off into space, with the feeling of loss flooding through me and piercing my heart. Then came the tears. I cried without being able to stop.

“Why? We spun so many dreams around this pregnancy. We had anticipated it so much …

“Daniel came into the room and I could see the sadness in his eyes. This was the first time in five years of marriage that I saw him falling apart. My strong husband, the one who stood at my side all these years, loving, concerned, incomparably devoted, he couldn’t digest the news. We sat and cried over the loss.

“The doctors explained that there was no recourse but to sign a permission to end the pregnancy. However, I refused to sign, even though I knew that, logically, there was no way out.

“What made it so hard was the thought that the babies inside me were alive but it wasn’t possible to preserve them because my body had already started the birth process.

“We consulted with our rav, Rabbi Wosner, who said I should immediately sign the permission form, because every extra minute endangered me. I agreed to sign, while my heart seethed in pain over the loss of my babies before they were born.

“I still did not understand how the abortion process worked and maybe that was my good fortune, because it is unbearable. I was hospitalized in the women’s ward and they began preparing me for the birth, because at that point, it was only possible to actually go through their birth. Yes, I was going to give birth, with everything that entails.

“I had a very difficult birth experience, a stillborn is what they call it in the medical world, because of the stillness of death that follows, and the silent heart of the bereaved mother.

“When it was all over, I wanted to see them. I wanted to part from the children I did not have the privilege to raise, but my husband refused to allow me to see them. He explained with his special sensitivity that it would only pain me to see them.

“The next morning, Erev Sukkos, I was released from the hospital, without being pregnant and with tremendous heartache. We went home to B’nei Brak which was festive with the upcoming holiday. The sukkos were beautifully decorated and children were dressed in new clothes.

‘How were they all celebrating? Don’t they know about our loss?

“I tried sleeping that night but was unsuccessful. It hit me that in another half a year I would not be holding the babies I had dreamed about. I wouldn’t be getting up for them at night and wouldn’t be worrying about them by day. I cried all night about the destruction of my family. The next night I fell asleep only after my body collapsed and forced me to sleep.”

TO BECOME A MOTHER, NO MATTER THE COST

“After three months of mourning and pain, I decided to return to life, to work, and to treatments. I wanted to become a mother, no matter the cost. After each failed treatment, I waited for the next treatment. After every disappointment, I was filled with new hope. Not for a moment did I allow the failures to break me. I knew, I simply knew, that the day would come and I would be a mother.”

What reactions did you get from others?

“Since the pregnancy was so difficult, everyone knew about it because I didn’t leave the house for a long time. People asked questions, rejoiced, and then were saddened. My wonderful customers blessed me at every opportunity. Sometimes I hear that people who are waiting don’t like hearing, ‘b’karov etzlech,’ (soon, by you) because it brings their pain to the fore. I was happy to get people’s brachos and appreciated each bracha, even if it came from an ordinary woman. On the contrary, those brachos are precious and all the more effective.”

After five years of additional treatment, Batsheva was told that she was expecting again. “We were ecstatic. And it was twins again! Our dream was about to come true.

“It was only when I passed the 15th week that we allowed ourselves to breathe easy. The pregnancy was sustainable and progressing nicely. At this point we knew it was a boy and a girl, just as I always dreamed. Once again, we had rosy dreams of a happy family with cute children.”

WEEK 19, MOTZAEI SHABBOS

“I suddenly felt pains and terrible pressure. I was terrified. Something told me this was bad news. This couldn’t be happening again!

“We raced to the emergency room but the doctors left no room for doubt. I was in labor. The feeling of loss and sorrow returned. I just couldn’t imagine that I would have to undergo the same horrible experience again.

“They brought me to the delivery room and gave me an epidural for the pain. I lay there and looked around. Everything was ready for a baby. The bassinet, the diapers, but they weren’t for me. Not this time.

“I had a wonderful midwife with me who made the experience far more tolerable than the miserable birth I underwent five years earlier.

“Over the years, I learned to laugh at it all and I said to her with a smile, ‘Today is not your lucky day.’

“We returned home and once again I sank into the depth of mourning over the second loss of my children. I could not understand why this had happened to me again.

“Two days later I got a phone call from the doctor’s secretary with a reminder about a prenatal appointment. I was so sad to tell her that I had lost the babies but I didn’t want to cancel the appointment.

“When I arrived I found the doctor as sad as though this was the first time he ever experienced this. The first question I asked was ‘what now?’ I told him I wanted to conceive again. The doctor said we could not consider another pregnancy yet and I had to let my body rest for at least half a year.

“‘What are my options for giving birth to a live baby?’ I asked. The doctor said that in the next pregnancy, G-d willing, they would do something to ensure that I would not enter premature labor.”

A VISIT TO 770

The years passed and the Goldbergs were married 14 years. Batsheva was about to start the next treatment.


“This time, I decided that before I got the answer, we would go on vacation to my sister, for a change of scenery. We were going to stop on the way at the Rebbe. I arrived at 770, astounded by the intense aura of holiness that envelops the entire place.

“Each of us went to a corner and began davening that this time we merit to hold our baby. We left with a special feeling, one that stayed with us for a long time afterward.

“A few days after we arrived in the US, I went for a blood test that was arranged for me, and the answer left us stunned and happy. Yes, I was pregnant again, this time, with one baby. Something made us feel that this time, we would succeed.

“The pregnancy progressed along with our excitement. Every passing week, every test that turned out well, raised us up another notch.”

THE HAPPY ENDING – WEEK 41

Batsheva was in the delivery room, this time for a happy reason. After 12 hours, which seemed an eternity, it happened.

“On 22 Av 5777, at 12:30 at night, our Netanel was born and made us parents after 15 years of waiting.

“The emotional bris was attended by all our friends and acquaintances of the past 15 years. The Machnovka Rebbe was the sandak. A bystander would have thought it was a wedding because of the music and dancing that expressed our thanks to Hashem.”

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