Home at Last

Yitzchak Meir Seltzer 1
Yitzchak Meir Seltzer 1

Here is the first picture of Yitzchak Meir Seltzer on the Web. He came home on Friday and spent his first Shabbos with his family. It actually wasn’t too bad. He is a good baby, and like all babies, sleeps most of the time. When he is awake, he is alert, and his eyes seem to follow a light source. Though then again, most babies don’t see much, or focus very well for their first 6 weeks.

Yitzchak Meir Seltzer 3
Yitzchak Meir Seltzer 3

Covenant of Abraham

Dear Friends,

Four weeks ago today our son, Yitzchak Meir, was born. After being in a coma and on a respirator, and given little chance of progressing from there, we were able to enter him into the covenant of Abraham Our Father when we had his Bris Milah today.

Two weeks ago, the doctors felt that there was no hope. The chances for recovery were almost nil. He would most likely remain in a coma and receive his food through a tube for the rest of his life. It was at this point that we consulted our Rav and asked him if we should continue to ask the public to pray for him. While we would continue to pray to God to do what was right for us, we felt peculiar asking others to daven for a “refuah shelayma” — at least given our son’s condition. Our Rav agreed. However, after we said Tehillim (psalms) at the Grave of Rachel the Matriarch on her Yahrzeit, we arrived at the hospital to find that Yitzchak Meir was taking a bottle and was out of his coma. He was now in a “stupor,” a medical condition that is less severe than a coma.

During the following days, his condition continued to improve. Today he is alert and is no longer even in a “stupor”. We heard him cry during his bris milah — something we have never heard him do before. Our hope is still guarded, as all the scans continue to show damage to the brain. But we are thankful to God for the recovery our son has had so far. We will continue to pray to God that our son, Yitzchak Meir ben Ella Yapha, should have a complete recovery.

We have always appreciated your help and your prayers, and will continue to appreciate any prayers that you say on our son’s behalf in the future. Our plans are to bring Yitzchak Meir home from the hospital during the next few days. We know we have a long unpredictable path ahead of us, but then life itself is unpredictable. We will just try to give our son the best start we can, and leave the rest up to God.

Invitation to a Bris

Ella fed Yitzchak Meir a bottle for the first time today. His eyes are opened, and seem to react to the light, which is an excellent sign.

bris milah

We hope to have a bris milah for him IY”H on Tuesday, October 26, at 9:30am in the synagogue of Misgav Ledach Hospital. There will not be a seuda (just some cake), and it will be a relatively small affair.

Out of ICU

Thanks for your continued interest. Yitzchak Meir has been transferred from the Intensive Care to the standard New Baby Ward. Even though the neurologists said that he would never take a bottle, he began feeding from one on Thursday. He is back on a feeding tube, though, because it takes about 45 minutes to properly feed him with a bottle. There is still extensive damage to the brain, and all medical books would say that one could expect a severely handicapped or retarded child based on this.

We are still pondering whether to place him in a foster home, an institution, or to bring him home. This decision has been complicated by Yitzchak Meir’s recent improvements.

Mamma Rochel

Today was the Yahrzeit (anniversary of the death) of Rochel the Matriach. As I drove to the hospital with my wife and my mother in the car, we got to the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem and the sign said “Bethlehem Right” (the hospital was to the left). Somehow at that moment I remembered that it was the Yahzreit of Rochel, and suggested that we go to her tomb to say some prayers. Everyone agreed and we drove towards the tomb. However, it is on the other side of the checkpoint, and we were told to park our car on the Israeli side and walk through the village to the tomb. Somehow being exposed during a 10 minute walk was safer than driving directly there.

At the tomb we all offered our prayers that “Mamma Rochel” intervene on behalf of a Jew in need.

When we arrived at the hospital, we then heard the good news: Yitzchak Meir was taking food from a bottle! He was being fed via a tube since birth, and one particular nurse was working with him since birth to try to get him to feed normally, albeit without success. That is, until today. A few moments after we left the tomb, he began to feed on a bottle.

Who says that miracles don’t happen today?

Thank You!

Dear Friends,

We would both like to express our deep gratitude to all of you for everything you have done for us. We have been overwhelmed by the calls, the offers of help, the prepared meals, the organised tehillim readings and in general the outpouring of chessed brought about by this trying nisayon (test). For those of you who called or wrote but didn’t get to speak to either of us personally, we have received your messages and your calls of concern are VERY much appreciated. It helps to know that we have such a huge network of support in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Yerushalayim and around the globe. As for news of our Yitzchak Meir, we wish it could be encouraging but unfortunately it isn’t. According to the neurologists and neonatologists at both Shaare Tzedek Hospital and Misgav Ledach Hospital, he has suffered extensive brain damage. His future is therefore uncertain, but not very promising. The doctors even feel that there is a high probability that he will remain in his current state for the rest of his life.

God has some purpose for our precious little neshama, but it is apparently not what we originally had in mind. After consultations with Rabbis, we would like to ask that you no longer include special prayers for a recovery for Yitzchak Meir ben Ella Yapha. As his parents, we will continue to pray for God to do what is good and right for us and for our Yitzchak Meir. We hope to have a Bris Milah for him once the doctors approve (which they said could happen sometime this week), but we will most likely have a quiet ceremony. We are trying to deal with this new reality the best we can. This is truly a great test of our emunah and bitachon (faith & trust). We have been taught that nothing in life can be taken for granted and everything God gives us is a gift. We also know that we are only given what God knows we can deal with, so we will have to tap into all our reserves of strength for the coming days and weeks — perhaps even years. Thank God, we have three beautiful children, two of them “bli ayn hora” healthy and well, along with countless other blessings in our life. This, too, is a source of nechama (consolation) to us.

We thank you again for all of your support and help during these past three weeks. May we all merit to share only simchas together in the future.

First Cuddle

Yitzchak Meir is still breathing on his own, but with extra oxygen. The doctors still call his condition a “coma”, but we were quite amazed by his behaviour today. Ella was able to pick up and cuddle Yitzchak Meir for the first time, ever. She also gave him a bath. Amazingly, he opened up his eyes, and moved parts of his body. Not quite as much as a normal baby, but much more so than he ever did before. The doctors’ opinion of the situation is unchanged, though, and we are still davening for a complete recovery. We ask that you continue to also daven for Yitzchak Meir ben Ella Yapha.

Breathing Easier

Yitzchak Meir is now breathing on his own without any help from a respirator. His vital signs (heart, blood pressure) continue to be good, indicating that his body is very strong. He is also feeding through a tube directly to his stomach (and we heard him make noises — burps — for the first time). We are still hopeful, even though he remains in a coma.