About four and a half years ago I was spending my final days in the ICU following the accident. My next stop was the rehabilitation center, where I spent another six months rehabilitating.
I had always been present for our previous eight births, and my wife and I decided that this one would be no different. ICU or no ICU!
To facilitate this, my wife switched birthing hospitals to the one I was in. Of course we had to get the go ahead beforehand from the doctors that I could be transferred from the ICU to the birthing unit.
As this had never happened before, this would be just another ground breaking occurrence for us.
I was still trached and respirator dependent. I would need to be transferred from my hospital bed to a stretcher. As well, I would need a full team of doctors, respiratory therapist and nurses. We joked that my baby bag was larger than my wife’s!
When the long anticipated day arrived, they woke me up at about 3:30 in the morning!
If I hadn’t been paralyzed I would have jumped right out of bed!
Off we all ran to the extra large service elevator!
At this point I had been mostly weaned from the terrible trach. I was able to go for long periods of time during the day with my trach corked so that I could speak!
They corked me for this auspicious occasion!
I was cajoling my team all along the way to hurry it up! I was not going to miss this one!!
Amid much nervous laughter, we rushed across the corridor towards my wife’s huge birthing room! We burst in just as our perfect baby boy was being born!
They situated me and all of my apparatus by the head of my wife’s bed.
She was already holding our newborn in her arm! All she could do was smile broadly at me through her tears. I screamed, ” what was it?”. My wife and her nurses emotionally cried out, “it’s a boy!”. Our third boy joining our six girls!
We hadn’t been sure if the baby would be 100% okay because of the catastrophic accident when my wife was seven months pregnant.
Everyone in the room seemed to be crying with us in gratitude that the baby was perfect!
The feature that stood out was his huge beautiful eyes and long lashes! A great woman I knew would have certainly said that those eyes were wasted on a boy!
They immediately put the swaddled baby in my arms. I remember the river of tears flowed down my face! Through my tears I saw that my wife was drowning as well in her tears.
I managed to say the blessings one says upon the birth of a child with the greatest happiness I had known!
I must point out that I was not an emotional fellow before the accident. But afterwards I turned into a total mush ball!
It was obvious to us that we would name our little miracle baby after my late great Rebbe, Alter Chanoch Henach, or for short, Nochi.
Now the amazing thing was that later that very day they took out my trach for good! So that I took my first breaths on my own on the same day as my Nochi!
A few days later I moved to the section of the hospital where I would spend the next six months. The place where they worked me harder than I’d ever worked before!
That place was where I relearned how to make a life for myself. That place was the rehabilitation center of Ottawa!