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  • Sandy Green

HOW WE BECAME A FAMILY OF THREE

Avi is 6 months old and it's amazing to me how certain details of his life have already started to fade. The day he was born is a day I will never forget, but the details are already getting fuzzy in my memory. I want to write it down, in as much detail as possible.

I had been having braxton hicks (BH) contractions for weeks. They occasionally knocked the wind out of me, but they were sporadic, so I didn't pay them much attention. On Monday, 24th, I was 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant and I started to have horrible BH contractions. They were constant so I decided to go the hospital. They hooked me up to a machine that monitored my uterus and confirmed that I was indeed having actual contractions. The doctors examined me and said that I was only 1 cm dilated and after 4 hours, they sent me home.

Wednesday, July 26. I was 38 weeks pregnant and in the morning, I noticed some bleeding. I called my doctor on my way to work and in his typical, brash manner, told me 'well, if I was 38 weeks and bleeding, I wouldn't go to work.' So I turned around and went home. I emailed my supervisor and told her that I would be working from home until the baby arrived. Friday, July 28. I was 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I had my regular OB appointment and my doctor told me that I probably wouldn't go into labor early. He also reminded me that he was going on vacation the next morning so if I DID go into labor, another doctor would deliver my baby.

Friday night, the braxton hicks contractions came in waves. I downloaded a contraction timer app on my phone and kept it next to my bed. They kept coming, but even with the timer, I couldn't tell if they were getting closer together. Around 2am, I went to the bathroom and saw a lot of blood. I called my doctor and he sent me to the hospital.

Saturday, July 29. Around 3am, I checked into the hospital and they hooked me up to the monitor. Because it was the middle of the night, the doctor wasn't there, but the residents on staff confirmed that I was in fact in labor; albeit slowly. The next few hours were a bit of a blur as I waiting for the contractions to come closer together and gradually get more intense. Jared and I went for walks around the maternity wing, hoping to see little babes in the nursery. I ate flavored ice (the only thing they allowed). Finally, at around 8am, the doctor came in. I had never met him before but he was warm and friendly and had a wonderful bedside manner. He examined me and imagine my surprise when I learned that I hadn't progressed at all. In fact, the doctor didn't even think I was in labor - the residents had overestimated my progress.

My jaw hit the floor. He told me I had two choices at this point. I could go home and wait for real labor to start. Or I could stay at the hospital and we could induce with pitocin. Because they weren't able to tell what had caused my bleeding earlier, we all decided that the less risky choice was to induce and have my baby today. I got the pitocin, but nothing really happened. At some point in the late morning, Jared took a nap on the floor while I watched the movie Legally Blond on the iPad we had brought. They upped the dosage. Finally, things started to get moving and I quickly learned the difference between braxton hicks and real contractions. I had been assured that if I wanted an epidural, I could have it within 15 minutes, and I decided to go as long as possible without it. Then suddenly, my water broke. All I will say about that is that it was A LOT of liquid. Way more than I thought it would be. When I was pregnant, I was worried that my water would break and I wouldn't realize it. Not possible. Definitely not possible.

And that's when the pain got real. I requested an epidural because I didn't think I could bare the pain, but the anesthesiologist had just been called into a c-section. I was told it would be about an hour. I was getting scared. The pain was like nothing I had experienced. The doctor came in and gave me an IV with some kind of narcotic. I don't even know what it was but it worked by dulling the pain just long enough. The anesthesiologist arrived and I got the epidural. Shortly after, my blood pressure dropped and I started to get faint and dizzy. Jared called for a nurse and they gave me another injection. The relief was immediate as the numbness set in. Soon, everything from the waist down felt like led. Impossible to feel or move.

The next few hours were again a blur. I had been awake for around 30 hours at this point and with the relief of the epidural, I was able to sleep. I remember nurses coming in to check on me and take my vitals. I remember telling one of them that I wasn't having contractions anymore and she laughed. Not only was I having them, but they were strong and close together.

The next thing I remember is the doctor waking me up to do an exam. "You're at 10cm!" he said, "it's time to push." Jared held one leg, and the nurse held the other. The doctor put a mirror at the end of the bed so I could see what was going on, since I couldn't feel anything. After about 20 of the most exhausting minutes of my life, the doctor stood up and told me that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck and at the same time, my blood pressure was dropping. We needed to get him out now. They put me on oxygen and I pushed as hard as I possibly could. In the mirror, I saw his perfect little head, his neck, his shoulders. The doctor then had me bend over, put my hands in his little armpits, and finish delivering my own baby. I immediately put him on my chest. "This is mommy!" I cried, "can you see me? Do you recognize my voice?"

And just like that, at 6pm (after 16 hours of labor) the world changed. There was a new life in the room. A new soul. My sweet boy had finally arrived. Avi Max Green.