I have a story to tell you. I have been thinking about this for a week and would love to hear your reaction as well. But first, as Sgt. Friday used to say on Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am.”
Two and a half years ago, one of our daughters had a pregnancy complication. With God’s grace, she and her husband welcomed a small but healthy son a few weeks early and via an emergency C-section. As grateful as we are for the conclusion, it was scary and traumatic.
Because of her history, our daughter’s second pregnancy was automatically classified as high-risk. Along the way, the doctor repeatedly told her of serious problems she was potentially seeing on the ultrasounds. God answered our prayers and each ominous warning faded away. Eventually, when the baby was almost two weeks past due date, labor started.
Our daughter was adamant about doing whatever was necessary to have a natural delivery rather than another C-section. Being a nurse, as she is, comes with advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side her insurance is incredible. The down side is that she needs to use whatever doctor is on call and even today many doctors are not fans of VBACs (vaginal delivery after Caesarian).
A week earlier, at a regular check-up, God sent our daughter a gift in the form of a labor and delivery nurse who gave her detailed instructions on what to say and do to advocate for a VBAC once she was in labor. Our son-in-law was fully armed to be her spokesman. He manfully did his job.
Because of this, our children spent a lot of time hiking the hospital corridors rather than following the usual course of laboring women staying in bed. At one point, an OB doctor they did not know rushed over to them and said, “Are you the woman trying for a VBAC?” Upon getting an affirmative reply she said, “I’m a big proponent of VBAC. You’re doing the right thing,” and proceeded to give the patient a hug.
Hours passed and the doctor on call began grumbling that they needed to get things moving or they were putting the baby at risk and they should think of a C-section. Just at that point, the OB they had met earlier dropped in to say goodbye as her shift was over and she was heading home. When she saw what was going on, she pulled off her jacket and said, “I’m staying. We’re going to do this together.” Two and a half hours later, our healthy and beautiful grandson entered this world in a natural delivery.
Here is the part I have been processing over this past week. When this wonderful doctor came in to the room, our son-in-law noticed that she was wearing a Gaza pin on her coat. He had also heard her conversing in fluent Arabic with a patient in the next room. From the belongings in the room and our son-in-law’s prayers, our children were easy to identify as Jewish.
This doctor was not assigned to our daughter. After an exhausting through-the-night shift, there was absolutely no professional obligation on her to help. And while it would be lovely to say that politics should not enter a medical setting, it certainly could, especially when going above and beyond the call of duty. Yet, as a doctor and human being, she was so committed to the idea of VBAC (and I have to think, frustrated that so many of her peers are leery of them) that her passion and humanitarianism took center stage.
Our family is grateful to this doctor on a personal level. Even more so, as Gaza erupts again in ways that I am sure this woman and we see through diametrically opposite lenses, I see her actions as an omen of hope.
It would be lovely if all cultures equally promoted peace and goodness and if we could make problems vanish by just singing Kumbaya, but that is not reality. There are certainly warm-hearted Moslems as well as warm-hearted Jewish individuals. There are wicked Moslems as well as wicked Jewish individuals. But when we talk about cultures, there is a gaping difference. Jewish culture encourages making peace and respecting those of different backgrounds. In many countries and certainly in Gaza, hatred of Jews is encouraged. There are celebrations when a terrorist slits the throat of an Israeli baby. Candies and cakes are distributed in honor of terrorists. Children’s stories and TV shows depict Jews and Israelis as demons. Hostility is fomented.
I recently read an account of a Moslem woman in Hebron during the 1929 pogrom that took place there against the Jewish community. (Yes, there were Jews in Israel before 1948 and there was violence against them before the establishment of the State or the success of the Israeli army in battle.) The wife of one of the leaders of the pogrom hid a rabbi in her home and told her husband that she would die before seeing him harmed. One can find current stories of Palestinians shielding Jews who took a wrong turn and ended up in hostile neighborhoods. But the above people are going against the flow of their education and culture. In contrast, when an Israeli mistreats a Palestinian the force of culture comes down against him. The thrust of education is towards peace and respect.
So, our angel of a doctor deserves recognition not only for being a stellar example of her profession, but also for showing that each and every individual can choose to step outside negative cultural influences and chart a better path. I don’t know if she is the product of an unusual family or if she independently chooses life and love, but the more of her there are, the better world for both our children and hers.