I’m still in a daze, or is it a fog? Now that I’m safe at home with her in my arms surrounded by family, it feels like a heavenly cloud.

Was it less than a week ago that she made her appearance in our world? The world of laughter and tears, triumphs and fears? The world of hidden miracles and revealed ones.

There I was, on my feet, becauseI was irritable and anxious I had to be and because I wanted to be. Holiday preparations, a bar mitzvah, four births (as a doula) within two weeks, daily work of massages and reflexology sessions . . . the list goes on. My ankles and legs were so swollen, but I pushed forward. Shabbat came, and another week of cleaning and cooking and holidays.

The festivities glided into Shabbat, and I reached my 36th week. One more week to go and the baby would be considered full-term. One more week to go and my son’s bar mitzvah Kiddush and Torah reading. One more week before I could even think about birth. I was wrong!

I came home from a friend’s house after saying Psalms on Shabbat afternoon, and in doula mode, I knew that something happened. I had wanted a home birth (which could only take place from week 37 on). I wanted to pretend that nothing happened. But I knew that something did, and at that moment, I knew that I was in G‑d’s hands and would have to relinquish control.

I was irritable and anxious. Even though I knew that in a case of need, one doesn’t have to wait until after Shabbat, I didn’t feel the need so I waited for Shabbat to end and then called my midwife. I lay down, and submitted myself to G‑d and to the situation. What will be, will be.

My midwife administered a test for amniotic fluid. Yes, amniotic fluid was leaking, and I would have to go to the hospital. I needed antibiotics, and this baby was still too young to come. Again, let me remind you that I wanted a home birth. Everything calm and without medical intervention, and here G‑d was sending me, in week 36, with ruptured waters but not yet in labor, to the hospital.

There I was, the woman who teaches: “You’re not in control of anything except for your mindset.” I now had to live up to those words. All the affirmations that I tell women as a doula about having faith and knowing that you are in G‑d’s Hands, and that He knows what is best for us and to trust Him. All those words I had to now believe. Not just intellectually think or say them, but feel them in my heart and really know them. As my husband drove me to the hospital, I knew this was my test, perfectly designed for me, and that no matter what, I was with G‑d.

I had him drop me off and return to the children. I know the routine. I know how long these things take, hours and hours. I came to the hospital, alone, without even a bag of clothes or my toothbrush. You see, this simply was not written in my plan.

My waters had leaked, and I was checked into the hospital into the high-risk pregnancy ward. I passed the night hooked up to antibiotics waiting for the morning to come. My roommate was surrounded by noisy family, and there I was alone (but not alone, never alone). Throughout, I felt that G‑d was holding me in His hands.

Thank G‑d, the ultrasound showed plenty of water. There was movement, and the baby appeared big. I could do this. I could hold on. I felt hopeful. The birth would come when it was supposed to come. I dreamed of returning home.

The next few days continued, and I felt exhausted and weary. Antibiotics, monitors, alone. This was not the birth I planned. Yet I was peaceful and kept thinking, “This is your test; this is perfect for you. Live up to your words of faith. What will be, will be. You’re not in control! This is G‑d’s will.”

I looked at myself in the mirror, at my gorgeous gigantic belly, and I felt so thankful for this pregnancy and for the joy of carrying a soul inside me. I had so many mixed emotions and feelings.

Monday evening, I felt that labor was really starting, and that it was time. Again, wrong! Was this some strange joke? No, it was real, and I felt humbled and insecure. How could I trust myself now to know what was going on? Vulnerable, I kept thinking: “This is my test. Relinquish and just go with it.”

A friend texted me in the early dawn, “Elana, it’s you and HaKadosh Baruchu, ‘The Blessed Holy One.’ ” Her words encouraged me, lifted me up. “Yes, it’s You and me, G‑d.” It was already Tuesday, and I had kept this precious soul with waters leaking since Shabbat. The contractions didn’t stop, but I wasn’t in labor.

I called my husband to once again come. I made a bold statement: “I’m going to say the whole book of Psalms, and then G‑d willing, the baby will come.”

It was pouring rain outside, and I took it as a sign of blessing.

Throughout the morning, I kept reciting Psalms. I got to chapter 50, then 100. I reached the end. A friend called and I told her that “I just finished the book of Tehillim, now I’m going to give birth.”

My husband was right there beside me, and within a minute, labor started. I told my husband: “Let’s go; we’re climbing the stairs.”

We left the ward and went downWith each step I felt progression to the first floor, and started to climb up. With each step, I felt progression. I welcomed it and as we climbed, I felt the baby moving down, and it was intense and beautiful. My husband climbed with me, and we talked and we laughed. He was such a good doula!

We reached the 12th floor and then went back to the high-risk ward. I was ready to greet this new soul. I felt calm and happy. I was with G‑d.

I told my husband: “It’s time. The baby is coming.”

Within an hour and 15 minutes from the time I finished saying the entire book of Psalms, my precious daughter came into the world with praise and thanks and song to the Almighty.

We named her Tehila Bracha. Tehila (“praise, song”) Bracha (“blessing”). The Tehillim opened the gate of bracha ...