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Joy in hospital as baby born on Independence Day after 7-year infertility battle

The newborn, delivered in a medical center amid coronavirus pandemic, was ‘the most wonderful Independence Day gift imaginable,’ mom says

Nathan Jeffay is The Times of Israel's health and science correspondent

After seven years of fertility treatment and a 48-hour labor,  Danit Shipe holds her baby, born on Israel's 72nd Independence Day, April 29, 2020. Midwife Katia Amarna stands next to her. (Hillel Yaffe Medical Center)
After seven years of fertility treatment and a 48-hour labor, Danit Shipe holds her baby, born on Israel's 72nd Independence Day, April 29, 2020. Midwife Katia Amarna stands next to her. (Hillel Yaffe Medical Center)

After seven years of fertility treatments and 48 hours of labor, a woman gave birth to a baby boy on Wednesday, eliciting expressions of joy from staff at a hospital amid the hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was the most wonderful Independence Day gift imaginable,” an exhausted Danit Shipe told The Times of Israel, adding that after a marathon three-epidural labor she was excited to bring happiness to doctors and nurses on the front lines of Israel’s coronavirus fight.

She struggled for years to become pregnant, in a heart-wrenching saga that came to an end on Israel’s 72nd birthday in the maternity ward at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera.

Midwife Katia Amarna said it was clear that her patient was beaming with delight, despite the compulsory mask. “With everyone wearing masks these days it can be hard to get a sense of how they are feeling,” she said. “But with Danit, the excitement was so tremendous that it could be seen easily through the mask.”

Medical staff and patients wear masks and wave Israeli flags as an Israeli Air Force aerobatic team flies in formation over the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, in the northern city of Hadera, April 29, 2020. (Ariel Schalit/AP)

Shipe said that after such a long journey to become pregnant she was nervous about the potential risk of coronavirus at the hospital, but decided there was no point worrying. “I thought a lot about coronavirus, but decided we’re in the hands of God.”

Though Shipe, 43, from Or Akiva, is coronavirus-negative and in a regular maternity ward, she isn’t allowed visitors to share her excitement. But husband Eli was given special permission to don scrubs and attend the birth.

She said she was overwhelmed that the battle she fought against infertility has finally ended with the birth of a 3.3-kilogram baby, conceived from a donated egg. Mom and baby were both healthy, and were expected to be discharged over the weekend.

“Seven years of fertility treatments, when you don’t have kids at home, is really very hard,” Shipe said.

She added: “There were days when I heard about this one or that one who became pregnant, and while I was happy for them, it hurt on the inside.”

Coronavirus restriction rules mean that while she imagined that if she gave birth to a boy there would be a circumcision ceremony with family and friends, it would be a tiny event. But she isn’t disappointed.

She said, “How could I be sad about anything at all when I’ve just given birth to this baby?”

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