Yet despite the bleak picture, there are pockets of light and hope opening up: The 101-year-old man who was found alive. The 15-year-old boy who was miraculously rescued from the bottom of a crushed seven-story building. And, most recently, the two women who gave birth to "happy" and "healthy" babies in a makeshift hospital set up by the Israeli army in Kathmandu. What's especially poignant is that these moms beat the odds and delivered their newborns when many moms-to-be miscarried in the days after the powerful quake.

Of course, that's not to say the deliveries weren't without their share of hardship. One of the new mamas, 19-year-old Lata Chand, had a particularly harrowing ordeal. Before going into labor, she was trapped at home with her husband, Hariender. Though the house was still standing, their next-door neighbor's was so heavily damaged that it was tilting onto theirs. The couple was somehow able to escape and, upon discovering that their local hospital was closed, managed to make it to the tent hospital in Kathmandu. It was only then, finally, that the heavily pregnant (and probably totally exhausted) Lata was able to deliver her baby—and give the people of Nepal and beyond a reason to smile.

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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Image of Mount Everest courtesy of