"Don't fly over here just yet – go pray at the Western Wall. I'll let you know if Mummy gets any worse."

I still wasn't sure if my sister was right. Was my place at home in Jerusalem, praying for my mother, or should I be on the next plane to England to be by her hospital bedside?

The only reason I was hesitating was because one of my daughters was at the end of her pregnancy and I knew I would be needed to help with her other children when the time came.

The break was too complicated to mend with just a castBut my sick mother came first. She had fallen in her apartment where she had lived alone for the last six years. No amount of persuasion could get her to agree to move in with one of us, her four daughters. "I love you all dearly but I want to live in my own home where I've always lived, under my own roof and within my own four walls," she'd say. She wouldn't even agree to move nearer to us, in a separate apartment. And we all live a considerable distance from her, three of us on different continents.

But we had noticed during the last six months that she was less and less able to look after herself properly. However, it was nothing so specific that we could "insist" that she leave her beloved home.

Now she had fallen and broken her leg badly in two places. The break was too complicated to mend with just a cast; an operation was necessary. But as she is 84-years-old and has a history of breathing problems, the doctors were reluctant to give her a general anesthetic. They discussed using an epidural, but in the end rejected it and went ahead with a general anesthetic – but their worst fears were confirmed. After the operation the level of carbon dioxide in her blood, left over from the anesthetic, remained very high.

Normally, after an operation, a healthy body manages to expel the gases from the anesthetic, including carbon dioxide, by natural breathing. But our mother's sick, weakened body couldn't manage it. The carbon dioxide levels in her blood remained dangerously high, threatening to slowly poison her body.

The doctors tried to increase the quality of her breathing by physiotherapy but she was too weak to cooperate and the medical staff was getting more worried by the hour.

There was just one more option, they told us, which they had never tried before – using a machine to force large quantities of oxygen into her lungs and thereby push the carbon dioxide out.

As I sat on the #2 bus at 11 o'clock that night, winding around the Old City of Jerusalem, my older sister, a few streets away from my house, was packing her bags to leave on the morning flight.

"Don't worry – as soon as I get there I'll be in touch and tell you whether or not to come," she had promised.

Suddenly my cell phone rang.

"Mum, we're on our way to the hospital. The contractions are quite regular and strong," my son-in-law announced.

My daughter, next to him in the cab, called out, "How's Grandma?"

I didn't want to worry her but nor could I lie. "I'm on my way to the Kotel," I replied.

"Mum, I'll daven hard for Grandma," she called out.

The prayers of a birthing mother go straight through to G‑dThe time of giving birth is known in Jewish tradition to be a particularly auspicious time for prayer. The gates of Heaven are open and the prayers of a birthing mother go straight through to G‑d.

The Western Wall late at night is usually full of women pouring out their fears and worries to G‑d. The tourists and onlookers have gone by this time and quiet sobbing and silent prayers replace the click of cameras and the babble of foreign languages.

I don't know how long I sat close to the stones reading from my worn copy of Tehillim, Psalms, begging G‑d to spare my mother's life, to help her regain enough strength to breathe His life-giving air and to heal her body. And I also prayed that He grant my daughter and son-in-law a healthy baby.

Over the 48 hours since her fall and operation, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had all been praying for their beloved grandma. Her name had been added to prayer lists and her many little great grandchildren sat in the courtyards of their schools with their friends and recited Tehillim for her recovery during recess.

As I sat there in the stifling hot, sultry night air, with tears pouring down my cheeks, I suddenly felt a cool breeze flow over me. I lifted my eyes and let the gentle wind caress my wet cheeks. It felt so good, like a heavenly hand wiping away my tears.

A few minutes later, my son-in-law called.

"Mazel Tov, Bubby, you have a new grandson! We should also hear good news about Grandma!"

A short while later I called my sister at my mother's bedside.

"The miracle we prayed for seems to be happening. The carbon dioxide levels are dropping slowly. So long as they continue to drop Mum should be okay," she said.

I turned my face heavenwards, closed my eyes and let the breeze sweep over my tired, sleepless eyes. Tears of relief and gratitude flowed freely.

Thank You, G‑d, for answering our prayers. And thank You for arranging our grandson's birth tonight, just when we so much needed our prayers to travel that express, direct route to You.