Shirin Muhammad Salamin, a 27-year-old Palestinian woman residing south of Jericho, lies exhausted but overjoyed in the maternity ward at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. She had a decidedly different delivery experience than that of the rest of the women on the ward.
"It all started in the evening. I went to sleep with pain which grew stronger around 11 pm," she relates. "The family called an ambulance, but it couldn't make it to our house, which is situated at a mountain top, because of the rain. They called an Israeli ambulance but that didn't work either. Eventually my family took me down to the road where we met soldiers inside the army's ambulance."
The baby was delivered by the soldiers and the army medic. "I was alone inside the army's ambulance, my mother and the rest of my family didn't come with me, and I was scared. But the soldiers reassured me throughout the ride. At one stage I literally felt the baby come out and the soldiers put a blanket and helped me give birth. When he came out, they smiled at me and him and asked me to talk to him in order to calm him down. They gave me the baby and let me breastfeed him."
IDF sources said the baby later had trouble breathing. After resuscitating him, the baby and mother were flown via an Air Force helicopter to the hospital. Both are doing well.
Despite the language barrier Shirin says she had no difficulty communicating with the soldiers. "The soldiers were speaking to me and the baby the whole time and made sure we stayed calm."
Shirin is grateful for the care she was given and says she would like to meet the soldiers who helped her. "I would like to thank the soldiers who greatly helped me and wish them health," she says.
"There is a great deal of satisfaction in giving life," Sergeant Gilad Nesher, a paramedic who treated the woman and child, told Ynet earlier.