To family, friends and friends who are family,
Approximately 5 months ago, my wife and I discovered that the baby she was carrying had several markers that signified a probable chromosomal syndrome.
We were offered but refused genetic testing, leaving the Aibishter the option to change it at will. My wife and I traveled to the ohel, Davening from the bottom of our hearts, as well as taking on certain resolutions for the health of the baby. We transferred to the specialists at the University of Miami Health System, seeing their top obstetrician, and week after week, month after month, the news got more and more serious, with the baby showing signs of heart defects and possible gastro-intestinal problems, as well as my wife having a most difficult pregnancy, we agonized as the birth date loomed. We kept up with our hachlatos and lived on our emunah and bitachon that all would be good.
Fast forward to the first day of Chanukah, and my wife wasn’t feeling too well. We went to the local ER, who then sent us to the specialists in Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. She had a condition called fatty liver pregnancy syndrome, and the decision was made to perform a C-Section immediately, at 33 weeks, since this could lead to potentially fatal consequences for mother and baby ch”v. The surgery necessitated my wife to have several transfusions, since one of the effects of the syndrome is to compromise the blood’s clotting abilities.
I asked about the baby, and was informed that he was taken straight to the NICU for assessment. I ran down to see the baby, and there was a tangle of tubes and wires coming out of a small bundle, containing a beautiful 3 and a half pound baby, surrounded by an army of doctors, each introducing themselves. Pediatricians, surgeons, endocrinologists, hepatologists, hematologists and geneticists. The baby had telltale signs of a significant, but as yet unidentified chromosomal abnormality. With no diagnosis, there was no prognosis, so I sat there and davened. Dashing between the baby and my wife, who was having difficulty coming out of the anesthetic, I didn’t have time to really consider the situation properly, and it was all a bit of a dream at the time.
Over the next few days, we lived in the hospital, with my wife slowly recovering, and the baby going on and off of different medicines and transfusions, we still had no diagnosis, which means no answers…..
One week later, on Thursday, we found out that geneticists want to meet with us, so we gathered in the NICU waiting room, trembling at what the news will be, and then the bombshell hit, the baby has a chromosomal syndrome that has only 8 cases reported of live birth in recorded medical history. Of those 8 cases, the babies survived either minutes, hours, weeks or at most (in a milder version), months. No cure will help, and there is no remedy, just waiting.
World renowned medical halacha expert, Rabbi Abraham Steinberg, reviewed the case and agreed that the prognosis is very grim. But he told us that this is a herald for the coming of Moshiach, which is a time when neshamos will come to the world for a short time, to complete their perfection. In other words, this baby, Yehuda Leib, is a revealed part of the coming of Moshiach.
I’m not writing this narrative to cause a feeling of sadness. On the contrary, this baby has awakened a feeling of closeness for the redemption. So, our request is that in the merit of this special neshama, we pick up a new fervor for the coming of Moshiach, specifically in the area of Ahavas Yisroel.
We have seen communities come together in the most unbelievable way to help us physically, emotionally and spiritually to cope with our challenge. Find someone who needs help, and do something about it! Find someone who needs a hug, and hug them! Find someone who you don’t necessarily get on with, and say a friendly word to them! This is what we could and should be doing to bring the geula closer.
As of now, against most odds, this baby who we have named Yehuda Leib ben Shayna Chana Leah, has survived 12 days so far, but the situation is so precarious, he might not be alive by the time you read this, and we daven that whatever Hashem has in store for him should be in an easy way. But in the meanwhile, we can all come together to use his merit to bring Moshiach right now.
Avraham and Shayna Granat
Shluchim, Coral Springs, FL
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes: Yehuda Leib ben Shayna Chana Leah