Motzei Shabbat saw the beginning of a very active day for a few United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs and a midwife who delivered two babies over the course of 24 hours. The first call took place just after Shabbat ended and the fast of Tisha B’Av began, a new girl was born.
Yechiel Rosenberg a volunteer EMT with the organization was the first on scene at the first birth. “We got the emergency call on our Bluebird communication devices of a woman in active labor nearby. I rushed over together with another EMT and when we got there the woman said she had to push. We told her to push and thankfully we saw the head crowning and there were no complications. When the baby was delivered, we performed an APGAR test and continued with all the proper procedures for the mother to prepare her for transport to the hospital,” Rosenberg said.
The second delivery was similar to the first, except this time, Rosenberg was joined by fellow EMT Esther Peretz and a midwife Ayala Layosh who were both in the vicinity.
“For the second birth I was the first person in the room,” said Peretz. “I had been at home when I got the call and it was just after the fast ended. I rushed over and once the male volunteers saw me coming they ushered me to go upstairs and waited downstairs in case I needed them. I rushed upstairs to check on the mother and she was in active labor. I began the checkups necessary and was joined almost immediately by Ayala Layush, a Midwife who volunteers with United Hatzalah.”
“Ayala handled the majority of the labor and I made sure that the male responders waited outside,” Peretz added. “I told them that we had the situation under control and for the privacy of the mother that they should wait outside until we needed them. We handled the birth and made sure that everything was calm for the mother and that she was able to deliver her baby in a calm setting, with the proper care that she needed, without invading her privacy too much. When it was all over we allowed the ambulance team inside so that they could prepare the mother and new born baby boy for transport.”
Peretz said that when it comes to these emergencies sensitivity to the mother can make a huge difference in the outcome of the call. “It is important that women are here for other women especially in instances where there are complications. It puts the patient more at ease to know that other women are there supporting her and that alone helps get her through a lot of the process of birthing which is traumatic enough already.”
“Responding to a home-birth is not as common an occurrence for an EMT as one would think,” said Rosenberg. “I’ve responded to about four or five births over my time as an EMT, but never two in one day. This is incredibly rare and it is a blessing. As the first baby was a girl the second was a boy, I quipped with my fellow responders that perhaps in a few years we should make a shidduch (match) between the two infants. After all, they are from the same city and they have the same birthday,” he said with a smile.
Waxing serious Rosenberg spoke about how special an occurrence this was on the saddest day of the Jewish calendar. “After seeing all of the tragic emergencies that we rush out to, it is cleansing for the soul and gives a sense of great inner happiness to be able to respond to emergencies such as these. To do it on Tisha B’Av made these calls even more special.”
Peretz echoed his sentiment and said: “To help people in such a manner is something that is really special. As a woman, to be able to be there for another woman and support her through this very trying process is something that to me will always be special. The family that is the volunteers of United Hatzalah, even though many of them here in Beit Shemesh are Ultra-Orthodox, have accepted me with open arms without any trace of resentment because I am a woman. I want to share the special care that I can give to the patients that I treat and in these instances being a first responder who is a woman is an added bonus for the patient. It was a very moving and meaningful Tisha B’Av for me this year, I hope future ones just get better.”
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