the night i saved a baby and met my son

There's a story I don't think I've ever shared here, and it's a good one.

Last summer, I traveled to Israel with some dear friends from my (then) church. It was a hugely significant trip for me, and I am still learning from it, a full year and a half later.

To get to Israel, we flew from Denver to JFK and then took a looooooong flight on a huuuuuge jet to Tel Aviv. I was 14 or maybe 15 weeks pregnant at the time - barely into the second trimester and eager for the "glory days" when the morning (all day) sickness supposedly ended. My seat on the airplane was in a prime location - an aisle seat on the side bank of seats, in the front row of a major section on the plane in the middle-ish toward the front. All the teenagers were in the back. Being at the front of this plane section, I was near the "kitchen" where the food and water were, there was a TV screen pretty close by, and just a couple rows up was a standing area, which was particularly useful given my orders to get up and move every hour.

In the row of seats across the aisle and about 8 inches behind me was a couple traveling with their baby. Their row was the front of that section, and they had a wall in front of them instead of a row of seats. There was one of those bassinet things attached to the wall, and that's where the baby spent some time. He was an older baby and ridiculously cute, with curly blond hair. This couple appeared to be conservative Jews, but I don't think they were the ultra-orthodox - and there were quite a few of those on our flight. She wore a long skirt and he had on a yarmulke. I never heard them talking well enough to hear whether they spoke English or Hebrew.

This loooong flight was overnight. Great for people who are able to sleep on planes. Maybe not so great for pregnant ladies who had to get up and move every hour. At one point I thought I was the only person awake on this plane full of hundreds of people. Shortly after thinking that, I heard a little stir. The baby, who was not very far from me, had been asleep in the bassinet. He wiggled his feet, turned his head, and then threw off the blankets with a little baby grunt. (Remind you of anyone?) He then rustled around for a little bit and decided to sit up. That was when I first saw that adorable, infuriating thing older babies do: they bob their heads around trying to wake up when they are so sleepy they can't keep their eyes open. I kept thinking he would go back to sleep, silly me, but he didn't. Then I thought surely one of his parents would take care of him, but I turned and saw they were both asleep. The baby started to pull up on the side of the basket like he wanted to climb out, and that signaled bad news. I tapped the dad on the knee - he was the parent closest to me - and when he looked at me all startled and disgruntled, I pointed at the baby and he understood. He snagged the little boy and then smiled thanks at me.

When my travel group assembled at the airport in Tel Aviv, I told the story of how I "saved a baby" on my flight while everyone else just slept. There's something I didn't tell, though.

Several hours into the overnight portion of the flight, I started to get pretty uncomfortable. I contorted myself into yet another odd position - this time with one foot up on the seat somehow. I got comfortable and relaxed for a moment. Then I felt it. Him.

Three tiny bumps in rapid succession, as though someone were tapping me on the shoulder, but this was from the inside and somewhere near my belly button.

At first, I told myself it was gas because that's what everyone says they think their first baby kick is. Just 14 weeks into my first pregnancy, I knew it was too soon to feel the baby move. But as I sat there and thought about that weird feeling some more, it became clear that I'd just felt my baby. It was a distinct tapping feeling, unlike anything I'd ever felt before. I was so completely happy at that moment - how exciting! I wanted to tell everyone, and at the same time I didn't want to share my little secret with anybody. (The fact that every other person on this plane was asleep made it easy to go with not sharing.)

And that, my friends, is what happened the night I saved a baby and met my son.


  1. What a sweet, sweet story about feeling the first kick!!

    1. thank you! It's one of my very favorite memories. And it always leads to remembering all the awkward sitting I did in the next few hours trying to feel him again :)


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