Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Four Babies, One Degree Of Separation

We were just returning from the shops when we met my downstairs downstairs (2 flights) neighbour. Last week I'd noticed two bouquets of flowers left on her doorstep so I asked her what the celebration was.

"We were in Kathmandu at the time of the earthquake meeting our four new grandchildren," she told me.

Her son and his husband had both been expecting with surrogate mothers and both ladies had twins. The grandparents had flown out to help bring the four babies home. They were caught up in the earthquake and stranded in Kathmandu.

The family were rescued and brought back to Israel on the empty Hercules plane that delivered the field hospital and volunteers to Nepal. The outgoing cargo was 260 skilled manpower including experts in neonatal and adult care; a fold-away field hospital with 80 beds, 4 intensive care units and advanced medical equipment. On Israel's medical team is a young Nepalese doctor who has been resident at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital for the past two years. The return journey included Israeli tourists trapped in Nepal, 33 babies born to surrogate mothers and their Israeli fathers (and some grandparents it turns out), and some Nepalese brought to Israel for medical treatment (including some of the surrogate mothers).

I was so excited about this story that I went directly to my baby present box and found all the newborn things that I'm never in time to give. On my way back down to deliver my presents, I met my downstairs neightbour (1 flight) and told her the news. She has a toddler so I left her going through her baby stuff to see what she could offer.

All four babies were downstairs - three girls and a boy. Tiny, beautiful babies, brought home on the back of an enormous humanitarian aid operation. And they'll be staying here with their grandparents for the first few months with help from the other set of grandparents and the uncles and aunties.

Of course I had to share with my friends on facebook. "I saw the grandmother on television," said one of my friends, "please tell her mazal tov from me." I promised I would. I've offered my services to help if they need an extra pair of hands.

Another friend wrote that she knows the pilot who flew them home. His mother told her that he said after all the things he's seen and done during his service, he will never forget the landing in Nepal and seeing the devastation. And he will never forget the privilege of being able to fly home under an Israeli flag and bring so many of his countrymen home with him.

Other friends wanted to know the names of the babies. I couldn't remember the boy's name but my downstairs neighbour had just returned from visiting them and was able to remind me.

One more friend told me that the army unit sent to carry out rescue operations is her husband's unit. You have to understand that everyone's husband is a reserve soldier and so everyone is attached to a unit - even after they've retired.

That's the thing about Israel, everyone is connected by only one degree of separation. And that's why it's special.

P.S. The two surrogate mothers are being well looked after as well - that's as much as I can say.


  1. What a heart-warming story. Here in Northern Ireland life is a bit like yours - it is really just a big village where everybody either knows someone or, at least, someone who knows them. I love it!

    1. I think it's small countries. I thought England was small enough until I got here.

  2. Oh wow, I love to hear of people coming together and helping each other out. 4 babies to all arrive at once is pretty full-on. Two was enogh for me, so they will need all the help them can get. Thanks for sharing, Mich x

    1. My friend with twins it took until they were about 6 1/2 for them to feel like they just had two kids rather than the extra work of having twins. I wonder how long this will take.

  3. Oh what a lovely story and how exciting for you - but awful about the devastation, obviously. It sounds like the babies will be well looked after and it's fascinating that everyone is linked :)

    1. It is wonderful and so many local friends have contacted me to ask how they can help.