Category Archives: Family

My American family

Like many Jews in America, my grandfather survived concentration camps in Nazi Poland and Germany to arrive here in hopes of making a new life during the 1940’s.  It wasn’t a hospitable time (to put it mildly) and as part of his journey towards citizenship, my grandfather joined the merchant marine.  The rules for citizenship were supposed to be straightforward — serve 3 years in the US armed forces or 5 years in the merchant marines and you would be eligible for citizenship.

Give us your service and get citizenship in return.  Except that a little more than two years into the merchant marines, the army decided to take him and send him to Europe to help the war effort as an interpreter.  He spoke several languages and they thought he could be put to better use.

Except when his five years was up… Continue reading

The fellowship of the orange wrist-bands

It happened at 5:19pm on March 9th.  As the surgeon cut the umbilical cord and my daughter was legally a human in the eyes of the hospital, the nurse approached me with two bracelets.  One was familiar from my prior two kids, a band with my wife’s name, a BG for “baby girl” and the name of her doctor.  The second was an orange band.  It’s the NICU key.

Starting around week 32 of my wife’s pregnancy, she started to worry that she wasn’t feeling the baby move.  Since the risk is all on one side and there’s very little harm in getting checked out, we headed to the hospital.  The routine would become familiar.  They hook up the monitors and the heartbeat starts to fill the little room from the speakers.  Instantly the mood lifts — life is still there.  So far, so good.  Then, they add the additional monitors and look for things like movement or accelerations (accels).  That’s when we got the looks from the techs and doctors.  There’s enough movement that we don’t want to do an emergency c-section at this point, but we aren’t thrilled about the amount and maybe we’ll keep watching you for a little bit.

A couple of days later we were back.  Not feeling very much movement at all.  Same routine.
Heartbeat…. Accels… not loving the numbers.

After a few of these, the surgeon decided to go for steroid injections.  If the kid needed Continue reading