Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Miracle Delivery-A Powerful Story of Hashgochah

Shiya and Sara Blima Guttman were a sweet young couple expecting their first child. Shiya learned in kolel, while Sara Blima worked in a local dry goods store, helping customers find the perfect pair of pants or matching bibs and accessories for their children. As Sara Blima's due date approached, the twenty-year-old mother-to-be began to panic. She had heard so many horror stories from well-meaning friends and older relatives. In fact, it seemed almost as if there was a macabre race going on—who could scare this young mother the most? Whose tale was the most dramatic, the most frightening, the one guaranteed to shock her out of her complacency?

To her credit, Sara Blima was a mature young woman who took these tales with a grain of salt. Still, they niggled a bit in her brain, keeping her up late at night as she struggled to find a comfortable position.


There was one worry, though, that was paramount in her mind. Due to insurance technicalities, Sara Blima used a doctor who had privileges in a Manhattan hospital, while she lived in Monsey. Would she get there on time? Or would it be a race against the clock?


“You’ll have plenty of time to get to the hospital,” she was told by experienced Moms. “Especially the first time around. I could have gone to Europe and back before my son was born!”


As her due date drew closer,  Sara Blima enrolled in childbirth classes, went on long, lumbering walks, and tried to fill her mind with positive thoughts. Yet at night she dreamed, restless dreams in which she was stranded, alone and terrified, with no one to help her during this vulnerable time.


“Dreams don’t mean anything,” her young husband tried to reassure her. “They’re only a reflection of your thoughts during the day. If you think positive, all will be well.”


Sara Blima made a stronger effort to distract herself at work, to listen to shiurim, and try to banish her morbid musings. She enrolled in a Lamaze class and went swimming at the local indoor pool. She was feeling wonderful, aside from her near-constant exhaustion and backache.


Truly, she had nothing to worry about.


At her last doctor’s visit, the doctor smilingly told her that all was well, and that her baby could be born at any time. “Your due date is next Thursday,” he said, “but only a very small percentage of women, about five percent, deliver on their due date.”


On Friday afternoon, her mother called, inviting the young couple for Shabbos, “in case there was any action.” Yet Sara Blima wasn’t in the mood of moving into her childhood home, which was rather noisy and would afford her no privacy. She preferred to remain at home, eat a quiet meal on Friday night, and join her parents for Shabbos lunch. After all, it was only a fifteen minute walk, and the weather was balmy.


On Friday night, Sara Blima felt out of sorts, but she couldn’t figure out what was bothering her. After a quick meal and a long walk, she tried to doze off, yet sleep eluded her. Finally she drifted off around dawn, and woke up at eight, realizing that she was in labor.


“Shiya,” she quickly woke her husband. “We need to go to the hospital.”


“Now? Are you sure?”


“I think so. Actually, I’m not sure, but better safe than sorry, right? And we have to get to Manhattan, so we’d better leave right away.”


Since they lived on a busy street, with lots of young families, Sara Blima didn’t want to attract attention by calling a cab to her address. Instead,  Shiya called a taxi to the corner of their street, a couple of houses away. “Hurry,” he told the dispatcher. “My wife is having a baby, and we’re in a rush.”


The couple left their home and hurried–as fast as Sara Blima could hobble–to the corner. By now she was in agony, and it was difficult to breathe. She pushed herself to go faster–the taxi could be waiting! At last they arrived at the corner, but the cab was nowhere in sight.


They waited anxiously for ten minutes, pacing back and forth. Since it was Shabbos, Shiya had left his cell phone at home. They had no way to reach the cab company, and Sara Blima didn’t have the strength to go back home. Time was running out, and the young couple was desperate.


Finally, after fifteen anxious minutes had passed, they began to walk along the main road, hoping to flag someone down and ask for assistance. To their dismay, hardly any cars passed, since it was a predominantly Jewish area.


By now Sara Blima was in agony and could barely walk. Shiya realized the situation was serious. “We have to get help,” he declared.


The couple began to walk along the main road, and reached an intersection with a small, quiet street. They entered the cul-de-sac, deciding to knock on the first door. After a few anxious moments, the door was opened by a woman wearing a robe and matching snood.


“We need to use your phone,” said Shiya quickly, stumbling over his words. “My wife has to go to the hospital and the taxi never showed up.”


“Come inside,” said the woman. “You came to the right place. It just so happens that I am a midwife. If you want, I can check and make sure everything’s okay.”


Sara Blima nodded, in too much agony to speak. The woman, who introduced herself as Yehudis, examined her, and told the couple, “Forget your plans. There is no way you can make it to Manhattan now. We’re calling Hatzoloh and taking you to the nearest hospital.”


Within five minutes, Yehudis and the young couple were in the ambulance. They were just about halfway to the hospital when a perfect baby girl made her appearance. The baby didn’t breathe right away, and the midwife expertly suctioned her, calming the frantic parents. By the time they arrived at the E.R., the newborn was breathing normally.


“I can’t believe you still wanted to go to Manhattan,” Yehudis told the overwhelmed new mother. “It’s a miracle that you knocked on my door.”


“It’s an even greater miracle that the taxi didn’t show up,” said Shiya.


But the greatest miracle was yet to be uncovered.


Before long the ambulance deposited mother and baby in the emergency room of the hospital. Soon Sara Blima was taken to the maternity ward, where she could relax after her harrowing experience, while the baby was sent to the NICU. Shiya remained with his wife for a couple of hours, and then walked back home to share the news with her anxious family.


Two days later, Sara Blima was discharged from the hospital with her beautiful, healthy daughter, whom they planned to name Raizy. She was recuperating very nicely, though still in shock at her surprise delivery.


“I have to thank the woman who took care of you,” Shiya said. “After all, were it not for her, we would be on our way to Manhattan in a taxi, and who knows what would have happened?”


Since he didn’t know the woman’s last name, he walked to her home and knocked on the door.


The door was opened by another woman, shorter and slimmer than the first. “I am looking for Yehudis, the midwife who helped my wife last Shabbos,” Shiya stammered. “I want to thank her. Boruch Hashem, the baby is doing well.”


“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” the woman replied, obviously confused. “There is no one named Yehudis living here, and certainly no midwife.”


“B…but I was just here, on Shabbos morning, with my wife,” said Shiya. “We knocked on the door because our taxi wasn’t coming, and she took us to the hospital. She saved our baby’s life.”


The woman’s eyes dawned with sudden understanding. “Oh, you probably mean our Shabbos guests,” she said. “We were away for Shabbos, and lent our home to the neighbors, who were making a simcha. We lend our home to the neighbors all the time, and they do the same for us. I have no idea who stayed here, and what their names were. You can call my neighbor and she’ll give you the information.”


Shiya obtained the number from the woman’s next-door neighbor, and called Yehudis, who lived in Lawrence,  to thank her for her role in the drama.


 “I’m still in awe over the hashgocha,” Yehudis said. “Out of all the houses on this block, you knocked on this particular front door, where I happened to be staying, as a Shabbos guest. If you would have gone anywhere else and called another taxi, and your baby would have been born en route, without assistance,” she shuddered.


“You were the right shaliach,” said Shiya, “Our every move, including our decision to stop at your corner, was orchestrated by Hashem to save our daughter.”


This story might seem like a fanciful tale, yet I know the family it happened to and can vouch for the details. Real life is stranger than fiction, they say. The Ribono Shel Olam has numerous messengers to carry out His mission on this world, just in the nick of time.



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