“Transforming Tragedy into Something Good” – with Malkie Marrus

In this episode, Malkie Marrus shares that at 42 weeks into her pregnancy she passed out at home and had to be rushed to the hospital by an ambulance, where they discover that her baby has no heartbeat. She then describes the recovery process, both physically and emotionally, and how building a mikvah in her community was part of her healing journey.

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Dr. Fox: Welcome to “High Risk Birth Stories,” brought to you by the creators of the “Healthful Woman Podcast.” I’m your host, Dr. Nathan Fox. “High Risk Birth Stories” is a podcast designed to give you, the listener, a window into life-changing experiences of pregnancy, fertility, and childbirth. Malkie Marrus, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for volunteering to tell your birth story. How are you doing today?
Malkie: Good. Thank God. Thank you for having me.
Dr. Fox: It’s my pleasure. So we are speaking and you are currently in the great state of Texas.
Malkie: Yeah. San Antonio.
Dr. Fox: Beautiful. How long have you been in San Antonio?
Malkie: About 24 years.
Dr. Fox: Twenty-four years. And what brought you to Texas originally? Were you born and raised there?
Malkie: No. I’m from the Midwest, and my husband had been coming here to help Rabbi Block, who’s the rabbi here, helping him about two years before we met. He did about 10 trips to San Antonio trying, you know, helping with programming, and with the camp, and different activities for kids. And Rabbi Block said, “Get married and come live here.” So it was a big plus when we were dating that he knew how to plan…
Dr. Fox: That’s amazing.
Malkie:… and I was ready to go all along.
Dr. Fox: All of your children were born in Texas, right?
Malkie: Yes.
Dr. Fox: And you’re about to have a wedding in your family, right?
Malkie: My son is getting married in about two, I think it’s three weeks in South Africa.
Dr. Fox: Amazing. Now, is South Africa because she’s from South Africa or is it just a destination wedding in South Africa?
Malkie: She is South African.
Dr. Fox: Yes. We’re going to South Africa. Let’s do it there. That’s so convenient. It sounds awesome. Wow.
Malkie: It’s exciting, but a big trip and a lot of planning involved.
Dr. Fox: That’s amazing. Well, mazel tov in advance. It’s just really wonderful. Good for you. And we’re gonna be talking primarily about your most recent pregnancy, your youngest. But you’ve had a bunch, correct?
Malkie: Yes. I have six. So, they were all born in the same hospital. So, each one has a story, each one is special. Things happen, but, you know, challenges could happen during birth, but also birth could be easy and quick. So, I’ve experienced both.
Dr. Fox: Right. So, I think we are gonna focus on the most recent, which was the more difficult delivery, which we’ll get into, and again, I agree to your story. And this podcast in general is not meant to be like, let’s scare people from having children because we have stories that are very difficult, and we have stories that are, like, awesome and exciting, and some that is really happy, and there’s, you know, all, it runs a gamut just like life. There are birth stories that are wonderful and birth stories that are scary. And I think the point of this is not so much to focus on the outcome of what happens, but more so just the processing of it, you know, what things were hurtful, what things were helpful.
And so, people who listen to those who themselves are having children, it can help them through their own processes because everyone has struggles at some point with some aspect of fertility or pregnancy, or child rearing, or whatever it is. It’s never all roses. Or for people who are just trying to support their family and friends who are having children, and maybe they know someone who went through something that’s a little more difficult. And that’s really the point of this. And so you know, we’re gonna focus on all that. But like you said, this is not like, meant to scare people or anything like that. Let’s run through your family. Tell us about your children before this pregnancy.
Malkie: Okay. So, Haya is my oldest and she lives in Florida. Now she’s married and I have a granddaughter.
Dr. Fox: Beautiful.
Malkie: Haya’s birth, it took 27 hours, really long.
Dr. Fox: Wow.
Malkie: And then, Anshabis [SP], she wasn’t born until the next day.
Dr. Fox: Wow. But everything went well.
Malkie: There was a little issue that the epidural was too strong.
Dr. Fox: Too strong.
Malkie: So, I was trying to push her out for five hours.
Dr. Fox: Oh, dear.
Malkie: Fully dilated for five hours.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. That’s something you could hang over her for the rest of her life, that it took five hours for you to push her out. How many years did it take for you to push her out of the house to get married?
Malkie: She got married pretty young.
Dr. Fox: Beautiful. All right. Who’s number two?
Malkie: Mandel. So with Mandel, I decided no epidural because it didn’t work for me last time, and I did it naturally. And it took about 12 hours, fairly normal.
Dr. Fox: Right. And he wanted to stay in forever, right? He was like, two weeks after your due date.
Malkie: Mm-hmm. My norm is to be two weeks late.
Dr. Fox: Right. Is he the one getting married?
Malkie: Yes.
Dr. Fox: All right. Mandel, good luck on your upcoming wedding. You should have a wonderful long life together. Good stuff. In case Mandel listens to this podcast routinely, he’ll hear a shoutout. Who’s next?
Malkie: Vega. And Vega is the easiest. I stayed home as long as I could, walked around the neighborhood, and then I told my husband, “Time to go.” On the way to the hospital, I said, “Speed up. It’s coming.” And I got to the hospital at 10 centimeters, and basically, the doctor just didn’t have time for scrubs, just put on gloves and caught her.
Dr. Fox: Wow.
Malkie: You know, and they say don’t push. I never listened. Just…
Dr. Fox: Baby is coming, I’m pushing. So that’s Vega.
Malkie: And she was actually born during the shiva of my grandmother, and I really believe my grandmother… Shiva means the seven-day period of mourning, and I felt like my grandmother was literally in the room helping me, and we named her Vega after my grandmother.
Dr. Fox: Wow. And so, that’s within a week of her passing, your daughter was born. Who’s after Vega?
Malkie: Shalom. So, I still didn’t want epidurals, but he was a bigger baby. He was over 8 pounds and was more of a challenge. I was in more pain. So, I did have like, different types of painkillers and I didn’t enjoy that experience.
Dr. Fox: Okay. And so, who was next? And did that bring you back to the world of epidurals?
Malkie: And then, I got back into the world of epidurals with the last two.
Dr. Fox: Okay. And who are the last two?
Malkie: And the reason I did that is because they were both two weeks late and I need to be induced with them.
Dr. Fox: And that’s the two boys, right? Your boys.
Malkie: And that’s Zamy [SP] and Israela [SP]. I mean, just because I was getting induced, that meant that I’ll be in the hospital, we all have to be in bed. So I figured the epidural could work, but I told them, “Give me a light epidural.”
Dr. Fox: An epidural light like a diet coke, you know.
Malkie: Exactly. I don’t need the strong.
Dr. Fox: Thank God you have six children, and now we’re talking about your next pregnancy. So, take us to the beginning of that pregnancy. So, you have six children. How old are you at the time? You know, how old is your youngest when you get pregnant? Sort of where are you in life? What’s going on?
Malkie: Okay. So, I was 34 and my oldest was 11. So I already had 6 kids under 11. I was teaching, life, you know, a busy home.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. And was the pregnancy going well? I mean, from the beginning, was it pretty straightforward?
Malkie: Yeah. The pregnancy was 100% healthy, normal, not any hint of any problem.
Dr. Fox: So what happens in that pregnancy?
Malkie: So, there was no indication of a problem at all. So that’s why this was very traumatic because I had no clue that anything was happening, and it all happened within five minutes. Because I usually go to 42 weeks, I was at 40 weeks and didn’t think that it was time. But I was having… I just had one symptom of labor, and that was diarrhea. That’s my only like…I really wasn’t having contractions, but it just didn’t feel right. It felt like, maybe contractions would start soon.
Dr. Fox: So like, you felt like labor was maybe impending. Like, it was gonna happen, but it wasn’t there yet. And again, you weren’t expecting anything because the past, I guess two times, you went two weeks past your due date. So you think you normally would have two weeks ago when you hit your due date.
Malkie: But for some reason I did feel like maybe something was happening. I remember saying goodbye to the kids that morning and thinking like, maybe today is the day. And then, somebody actually forgot their lunch at school and I have to drive back to school to bring someone their lunch. And when I got back home is when I suddenly started to feel extremely weak and thirsty. This is back in the house.
Dr. Fox: What time of year is it? I know because you’re in Texas, I assume it’s hot in the summer and not as hot in the winter.
Malkie: Early September, two weeks before Rosh Hashanah.
Dr. Fox: So, it is September. So, did you think at the time that maybe it was just because it was, you know, hot in the summer and that’s why you’re feeling that way? Did you know that something was off?
Malkie: I thought that maybe labor was starting, but I don’t like to rush to the hospital. So but then the symptoms were just really weird, you know, just this extreme thirst and feeling weak. Those were not regular and the diarrhea happened. I called my sister. She said maybe it’s starting and I said, “Okay.” And then, I called my mother, and luckily, there was actually a cleaning lady in the home at the time because in middle of talking to my mother, I fainted. And she hears the cleaning lady saying like, slapping my face and telling me to wake up. And so, my mother is the one who called my husband to call 911.
Dr. Fox: So the cleaning lady saw you pass out and she told your mother because you’re on the phone with her or she called your mother?
Malkie: I was on the phone with my mother and she overheard her saying, “Wake up,” like, “What’s going on?”
Dr. Fox: Oh, got it. So your mother called your husband and said, “Go home and call 911.”
Malkie: Mm-hmm.
Dr. Fox: Okay. So, how long were you out for? Like, do you remember anything after that?
Malkie: I’m just remembering the detail that the cleaning lady remembered that I asked her for the cup of water, but I was too weak to even drink it. And she was keeping an eye on me. She, like, knew.
Dr. Fox: So, were you passed out the whole time or did you come to? Meaning, as the story unfolds and 911 is called.
Malkie: In and out of consciousness.
Dr. Fox: Okay. So what happened?
Malkie: The EMTs got there and I started to bleed profusely when they came in my room. And I just kept saying, “Get me to the hospital.” And I wanted to be rushed immediately. And I remember them, it felt like they were taking their time, but really they were trying to secure a vein.
Dr. Fox: Right. To give you an IV. How far are you from the hospital like, in the car or an ambulance, whatever?
Malkie: Twenty-minute drive.
Dr. Fox: Okay. So, they’re trying to get an intravenous line on you and bring you to the hospital.
Malkie: Right.
Dr. Fox: You’re in and out of consciousness, but are you at this point sort of in it enough to be really terrified or you’re just not even in that state?
Malkie: I just wanted to get to the hospital.
Dr. Fox: Okay. And then…
Malkie: I knew something was wrong, but…
Dr. Fox: Right. And who went to the hospital with you. Was anyone home with you to go?
Malkie: So my husband got there before the EMTs or just as when they’re arriving. So, I don’t know if he came into the ambulance or drove separately.
Dr. Fox: Okay. And what happened when you got to the hospital?
Malkie: They checked for a heartbeat, and I don’t know if they told me or… I mean, it was very clear that the baby was not… There was no heartbeat.
Dr. Fox: When was the last time you had heard a heartbeat? Meaning, when was the last time you knew the baby was alive or felt the baby move before that day?
Malkie: I believe I had an appointment, like, two days before.
Dr. Fox: And everything was okay?
Malkie: Mm-hmm.
Dr. Fox: So, this happened pretty suddenly, pretty acutely. What happened when you found out that obviously, that was so devastating, but at the same time you’re really bleeding heavily. Was it more focus on you or on the baby at that point in terms of your sort of mental state?
Malkie: You know, I was just trying to get through it. I wanted to stay strong and I did… I mean, it was a long ordeal because the doctor wanted me to labor naturally, you know, not to just do a cesarean and get the baby out.
Dr. Fox: Were you in labor?
Malkie: No. So I was already not clotting. That’s what he said. That’s the term for that, DIC.
Dr. Fox: DIC. Right.
Malkie: Like, I remember them, you know, cutting my arm to see how I was doing again. You know, he thought that natural birth… Like, I was in a state where you couldn’t even do a cesarean.
Dr. Fox: Right. Because it would have been too dangerous. So the thought is, I assume they thought the placenta separated, a placental abruption.
Malkie: Yes, yes. That’s what’s…
Dr. Fox: Right. So that caused the bleeding, that caused the baby to pass away, and because of all the bleeding, now your blood also doesn’t clot properly. So if they operate on you, it might, you know, it might kill you.
Malkie: Right.
Dr. Fox: Wow. That’s pretty horrifying.
Malkie: Yeah. It was very challenging to labor naturally without any painkillers.
Dr. Fox: Right. The point that they couldn’t give you an epidural because it’s not safe to put a needle in your back because if you’re not clotting, you might bleed in your spine and you would become paralyzed. I’m sure they told you. And just for our listeners, that’s why you couldn’t get an epidural under the circumstances. Are you still bleeding heavily during all this?
Malkie: Yes.
Dr. Fox: And during the labor? And did they have to transfuse you blood while you’re laboring?
Malkie: So during the whole procedure, the whole day, I had 17 units.
Dr. Fox: That’s a lot. How’s your poor husband doing through all this? I mean, because it’s pretty…
Malkie: Terrified.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. I mean, to see his wife, you know, really touch and go.
Malkie: And here in San Antonio, we don’t have any family here. Our parents doesn’t live here and other rabbi and rebbetzin were actually in New York at the time. So, it did feel very lonely.
Dr. Fox: How long did it take to ultimately deliver?
Malkie: It was probably around 9:00, approximately 9:30 when I got there and the delivery was until probably 2:00, or maybe later, 4:00. Like, it took a while. I mean, the baby was 8 pounds, 12 ounces.
Dr. Fox: Wow. So like, five to seven hours. And here you are, you’re bleeding, the baby is not alive. It’s pretty horrible. That’s a pretty… I mean, it’s hard to describe how bad of a day that is. And were the doctors reassuring that you would make it through?
Malkie: They were very worried.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. I can imagine. And then after you delivered.
Malkie: The nurses knew me because all my kids were born and they kept saying like, “Malkie, what’s going on?” You know, like, they were very, you know, “Stay with us and…
Dr. Fox: Tell me about that, those seven hours. I’m just trying to get a sense of what’s going through your head and what’s going through your husband’s head during that time when you’re laboring, you’re bleeding, your baby’s, you know, your baby has just died, and you’re worried about your own life. What was that like if you could even describe it?
Malkie: I wasn’t terrified, but my husband, I’m sure, was. I didn’t feel… I was sad, very sad. Just trying to stay alive and try to get the… I think I was unconscious for a big chunk of it. I just didn’t have the strength, but the parts that I… I remember actually pushing the baby out because that was so painful and I remember just being able to lift…only have the strength to lift one finger. I couldn’t really speak throughout this ordeal. I remember some ice chips, and then, I remember just collapsing after the birth, you know, just… I coded. Or maybe…
Right before I remembered that the fear in his eyes and he said, in Hebrew, he said, “Don’t leave me. I don’t wanna be a elman,” which is a window. The doctor, I remember they were kinda discussing something and you heard later what the doctor said. He said… Because my doctor was previously a pastor and very religious-minded. And he thought that, you know, that we would be very against the hysterectomy. He knew that I would want to have more children. So, he asked my husband like, “I think we’re gonna have to do a hysterectomy.” And my husband said, “Absolutely.” Like, “In the Jewish faith, a mother’s life is, you know, very, very important. You do whatever you have to do to save her life.” Like, “Do it now.”
Dr. Fox: And this is all after… I mean, because after birth you had not stopped bleeding.
Malkie: Right.
Dr. Fox: Was your husband or you, I guess you were sort of out of it. But was he was in touch with anyone for support like friends or family, or, you know, colleagues, you know, rabbis?
Malkie: Yes. So, he was in touch with all of our family and both of us have very big families. And the rabbi that’s here in San Antonio, he actually was in a middle of a wedding during the ordeal, and the bride was praying for me under her huppah. And then they actually went to the rabbi’s resting place, the rabbi and rebbetzin, and they were praying over there for me. And some of Yazi’s brothers were there too.
Dr. Fox: Wow. And so, after delivery?
Malkie: After the delivery was when the extreme critical danger point was, you know, that’s…
Dr. Fox: Right, right. When you started really hemorrhaging, and they said you have to do a hysterectomy to save your life. And how long after the baby was born did they take you back for surgery? Was it within minutes or hours?
Malkie: Minutes.
Dr. Fox: Wow. And then, obviously, you got put to sleep for the hysterectomy. So you deliver a baby, the baby is not alive, and then you go to sleep. When you woke up, how long did it take for you to sort of come to and sort of realize that you had made it, you had pulled through your life, and sort of where you were? Was it, you know, was it days? Was it hours? I’m just trying to get a sense, for everyone, how the story unfolded.
Malkie: A good question. I believe it was evening and I was in the ICU, and with a tube down my throat.
Dr. Fox: Oh, so you remember waking up with a tube in your throat?
Malkie: Yes.
Dr. Fox: Oh, that’s pretty bad.
Malkie: Not being able to speak and I just… And my husband was there and I asked for a piece of paper. I wrote like, “Did they take out my uterus?” And he said yes, he wrote yes. And then, I actually wrote down the word mikvah right there.
Dr. Fox: Explain what that means.
Malkie: So, a mikvah is a ritual bath that Jewish married women go to monthly after their cycle before relations, and it’s a beautiful special experience. Two weeks out of the month, we don’t have relations and two weeks, we do. It’s a little hard to explain all the details in this podcast, but it’s a beautiful mikvah that’s special for beautiful commandment, that’s special for married women. And immediately, I felt this double loss, like a triple a loss. I felt the loss of the baby, I felt loss of future children, and loss of this commandment because I would only be going one more time after this birth, and then, that’s it. So kind of like, the commandment was taken away from me a little too early.
Dr. Fox: Right. Because you wouldn’t get your cycle anymore because you didn’t have a uterus.
Malkie: Exactly. So, all women get to that point at some age, you know, when they menopause in a natural time, in a natural period, but I felt that was… Only 34 and I was too young for that to happen. Yeah.
Dr. Fox: How is it that that’s what came to your mind at the time? I’m just… Looking back on it. I mean, it is, that is what came to your mind. But have you thought about that, why it came to you so quickly?
Malkie: It came to my mind because I felt like our neighborhood and our community needed one, and being a Chabad rebbetzin, I knew it could be something that I could be involved with, teaching other people and I could be involved in building one. And out of time, our Chabad was drawing a plan for a new building. So this would be the time to… And mikvah wasn’t in the plans. Like, there wasn’t supposed to be one and it kind of deep down bothered me. We have one in the city. It’s like a 20-minute drive away, but not one in our neighborhood.
Dr. Fox: So just to pause there for one second for our listeners who might not know what you’re referring to. Explain what it means to be either a Chabad building or a Chabad couple, or a Chabad rabbi. What exactly is that? Just so our listeners understand.
Malkie: It means that we are here in San Antonio to teach other people about Judaism, to help make them aware of the beauty of our religion, and, you know, so many don’t get a Jewish education while they’re growing up. So, we’re here to just be there to help guide people, and teach them, and help them along their journeys.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. And I suggest… Just so our listeners know, you and I have never spoken before, and I mean, I know what Chabad is obviously just from my own life and, you know, it’s an organization, you know, affiliated with the Lubavitch movement in Judaism. And essentially, all over the U.S. and all over the world, there are Chabad, either couples or houses, or institutions, or whatever it is where they’re there really for the community just, like you said, to educate, to support, you know, provide whether it’s a school, whether it’s a synagogue, whether it’s kosher food, whether it’s teaching, classes. And also, one of the main elements is to bring this particular, the ritual bath, the mikvah to those communities and to teach women and families about it.
And so, just in general, you’re living a life of service to the community and giving to the community. And I’m just so blown away that that’s the first thing you thought about when you wake up, you know, you think about your baby that you just lost and your own family, and how it’s gonna affect your own ability to have more children. But just how you’re hardwired to think about the community that it’s not just, you know, your loss of this, you know, this mitzvah, this custom, this commandment. But also how you can bring it to everybody else, what you felt was so special in your life that you’re sort of losing how you can replace that by giving it to others. I mean, I’m blown away by that. Have you ever thought about how crazy that is that that’s, you know, what you came up with so soon? I mean, crazy in a good way to just how amazing and impressive it is that that’s what you’re thinking about right away after almost losing your life and after losing your baby.
Malkie: Thank you. I mean, I don’t. It really did come naturally to me because of how I’ve been educated as a [inaudible 00:25:30] and like, a rebbetzin, a Chabad rebbetzin, and a student of the rabbi, the Lubavitcher rabbi, who taught us to transform, you know, that things happen for a reason and we need to find the Divine Providence and everything, and try to turn things into good or at least something good could come out of this. So, that’s how I’m hardwired, and that’s what helped pull me through this, you know, to kind of search for how we can find or bring blessing from something that’s so negative, seemingly negative.
Dr. Fox: Did it help you pull through this? Meaning, because you wake up in the ICU and you obviously have not only a long physical recovery that you’re about to embark on, but also, obviously, huge emotional recovery and spiritual recovery to go through an event like that to almost lose your life, to lose a baby. It’s devastating. I mean, what else could you say? It’s just really, really difficult to get through, but much more, you know, much more difficult to get through emotionally than it is physically, obviously. You’re gonna be okay physically, but did you find that it was helpful through all those dark times?
Malkie: Yes. It took a while physically and emotionally. I mean, I was out of it for probably about six months, just very strange feeling when, like, your organs don’t feel like they’re in the right place.
Dr. Fox: When you say out of it, you mean emotionally or do you mean physically you’re out of it?
Malkie: So physically first, about two weeks after… Let’s see. About a week afterwards, I developed a fever and I needed to go back to the hospital for the hematoma infection, which is, I guess, common, you know, because it was such a quick cut or something. That’s what they explained to me, and I was actually happy to go back to the hospital because I wasn’t ready to be home. So, I do remember that like, I just… So I was back in the hospital for about a week, which is you’re bringing up all these memories. So, I mean, I just remember walking the hallways and they put me on a floor with cancer patients, and I remember seeing, like, a woman whose face looked so forlorn, and depressed, and sad.
Dr. Fox: I mean, yeah, I’m sure they put you on the floor with the cancer patients. My guess is it’s like a women’s health like, unit and they put you with the gynecology patients rather than the postpartum patients because the only thing worse than seeing someone walking around who, you know, has cancer is seeing someone with a newborn, because that’s just so painful because you lost your baby. And so, I’m sure that that’s why they did it. But yeah, that’s not so pleasant either. You just want to be in your own wing, just you.
Malkie: Well, I actually remember thinking that I am fortunate that I have some tools, you know, that I have some tools from my religious background, the Divine Providence and that everything happens for a reason, and that, you know, that it’s gonna take time, but I will get through this. Walking those hallways, I remember thinking those thoughts as I’m trying to get my strength back and I needed to be strong for my… My oldest was 11 and the youngest was 2. So that’s what’s waiting at home for me.
Dr. Fox: And they knew what happened? I mean, they were able to understand?
Malkie: That was very hard. I think just the two oldest ones, the 11-year-old and the 10-year-old had the hardest time. But yeah, we just have to explain that the, you know, the baby wasn’t alive. The saddest part was getting home without a baby. That was very sad because we’ve experienced so many times coming home with the baby, how a joy that is.
Dr. Fox: What happened with your project with the mikvah? Did that come to fruition?
Malkie: Yes. So, we got the seat. So Rabbi Block was very excited about this project, but he asked us to try to raise the money outside of our community because the community was mainly raising money for the building. So, this was a project that we took on by ourselves and I would say, two weeks, right when we had the initial idea, we did get a donor to be the pillar, you know, to help fund a big chunk of it. And then, we spoke to relatives, and friends, and a few people from the community. And we were able to put together the funds to start the mikvah, to start the planning. And that became, like, my new baby. I mean, I put a lot of energy into choosing it, planning the colors, and the tiles. And it’s a very good thing to put my energy towards.
Dr. Fox: And when did it ultimately open? How long after this happened?
Malkie: Right. So the mikvah is a part of the building. It took about five years for the mikvah, you know, from the time, from the planning to the… And what was very exciting is that I’m not sure if all the listeners will understand, but there’s a pit that’s dug underneath the mikvah water, the pool. And that was the first thing that was dug on the whole property because that’s the deepest point.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Like, when you broke ground, it was for the mikvah basically. Looking back on all of this, what do you take away from this? I mean, it’s such a crazy story. It’s so at the same time terrifying and horrifying yet somewhat uplifting how you, as you said, you know, transformed the tragedy into something good. But you lived it, right? You went through both of those. How do you look back on this now, on that awful, you know, moment in your life and the time afterwards?
Malkie: Right. Well, it took me a long time to be able to tell the story without crying, but I do look back at it now with cries and joy because, you know, I look back at it in a positive way because good came out of it. It became part of my story, part of my life, and I’d like to share it because that’s part of me, it’s part of my therapy. You know, when it first happened, I was so searching for people that have gone… For anybody else who had gone through even any type of placenta abruption, preferably somebody who was a Chabad rebbetzin, and I really did try to find somebody. I found 1 out of 3,000 of us or 4,000. It doesn’t really matter, you know, to have the same exact medical condition that you had. Everybody’s coming with different aspects. Now, you have different amount of children, you’re in different ages, you’re living in a different city, but it is nice to hear other people’s experiences, and that’s why I feel that I want to share it.
Dr. Fox: Have you used your story to help women in your own community who come to you with struggles? I mean, you’re a community leader, you’re a spiritual adviser, you’re a teacher. I mean, you’re someone who people would turn to with their own tragedies, and obviously, not everyone’s gonna have the exact same tragedy that you had. But people have tragic things happen in their life, they lose family members or they’re in very tough situations, or whatever it might be. Has this been something that’s helped you help others?
Malkie: Yes, for sure.
Dr. Fox: In what way?
Malkie: When visitors come, I share the story like, let’s say visitors to our city. Just to share a miracle and to share inspiration, that’s always something good. And then, people in the community have been blessed through the mikvah. There are countless stories of women in our community who didn’t have…weren’t able to get pregnant for years, and then they had babies in 10-year gaps, and then they had a baby. We had a record amount of babies born within a year of the mikvah opening. So, that was a big comfort to me, and it was also very obvious in the community that lots of blessings were coming from the mikvah. The mikvah opens on the holiday of Shavuot which was a three-day holiday, which was definitely Divine Providence that showed that we really needed it in our city because if somebody needed to go on a three-day holiday and there wasn’t the ritual bath in our area, they wouldn’t be able to drive to another one.
Dr. Fox: They would have to wait. Right.
Malkie: They would have to wait. So, the fact that it opened on a three-day holiday was very, very special, and then in our mikvah, like, you asked me how the story could help people or how my experience could help people that I’ve also helped people that have had stillborn children, babies, or had miscarriages, and either people that have called me because other people, you know, they knew about my story or people that actually have come to the mikvah after a miscarriage and they might feel comfortable sharing that with me because they know that I have experienced loss. And then I’m able to share with them that in our… We have a beautiful tree, mosaic treat in the mikvah area nearby, and the person who donated the art explained to me that each leaf on the tree is to resemble a miscarriage or a stillbirth. Like, she wanted that art to be dedicated to that, to all these potential souls that are, you know, are not here in bodies, but were souls that were partially came to this world. I mean, I wouldn’t share that with everybody, but with people that have experienced loss, it does give them some comfort and inspires them.
Dr. Fox: Wow. Malkie, thank you so much for telling your story. As you said, it’s understandable. I would take years to tell that story without breaking into tears. It is such a hard story, but the way you turned it into something positive and something that could help other people and bring them a comfort, and maybe hope in difficult times for them or just to hear your story, and to help others who haven’t gone through something like that, maybe understand someone who has or maybe themselves reexamine what’s important in their life is just so impressive and important. And I really thank you for volunteering for, you know, shooting me an email and for agreeing to tell your story on the podcast. I know it’s not easy, but I really do appreciate it, and I’m in awe of what you’re doing in Texas. You know, all the power to you. Thank you.
Malkie: Thank you. I hope it could help somebody and people are…feel free to reach out to me if they need support in their loss.
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