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Nine years ago today …

This was written June of 2003, just after we had Eric Anthony …

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How it all happened …

Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce had an interesting time making it to the “outside” world! Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce

Emi was diagnosed with preterm labor at 34 weeks. We had gone to a Doctor’s appointment in early April, and found out Emi was already starting to dilate, so she was sent to the hospital for observation. She had been experiencing contractions all throughout the pregnancy, but we had thought they were Braxton-Hicks, and not the real thing. However, they were enough to get preterm labor starting! Emi stayed in the hospital for three days, missing a Neuro test – one of the course’s three tests for the year (meaning Emi’s next Neuro test was worth two-thirds of her final grade – more on this later). We were pretty nervous, since a full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks (give or take two weeks) but we were reassured somewhat by a perfect sonogram and no other signs of problems.

The doctor, Robert Schorlemer, told us we should probably expect the baby to come within the next two weeks. Talk about a shift in our thinking! We were pretty well prepared well enough in advance, but it was tough to not have a more definite idea of when the big event would take place.

A week later, Emi was considerably more dilated, and was put on bedrest after another brief hospital stay. Can you imagine trying to convince a hummingbird not to fly? However, Emi wasn’t feeling that great, and we understood the longer the baby could wait before birth, the fewer health risks Eric Anthony would have upon delivery.

Emi’s mom, Yolanda, flew up from Mexico City, and helped us prepare as much as possible. She was a Godsend! There was still a lot to do (can anyone say “Nesting”?) and the days passed slowly. I focused on getting everything prepared so I could take some time off work, still doing everything I could to make Emi more comfortable. She was very strict with her diet and the strongest medication she took through the pregnancy was a couple of Tums, I think on two occasions in the early morning hours when her reflux was too much for her to sleep. Neither of us slept much those last few weeks … everyone was telling us to enjoy the last days of being able to sleep in, but with Emi’s discomfort and my nerves, I don’t think we were able to sleep any more then than we are sleeping now. Slightly different, though … indigestion and freaking out have been replaced with diapering and feeding.

Dr. Schorlemer told Emi that when she got to 38 weeks, she would be taken off bedrest, since that would be in the “safe zone” for the baby to be delivered. She was still having contractions constantly between five and ten minutes apart. How tiring it was for her! The doctor was continually amazed that the baby wasn’t coming yet, since she was so far dilated and effaced!

The days continued to pass and every time we did something, we would jokingly comment “this might be the last Monday before the baby.” “This might be the last episode of ‘Buffy’ before the baby.” “This might be the last time we say ‘this might be the last time before the baby’ before the baby.”

Finally we made it to 38 weeks, and Emi was taken off bedrest. We celebrated by going out to dinner (“this might be the last time we go out to dinner …” oh, you get the idea) and going to Pea in the Pod and Motherhood Maternity in North Star Mall. The days continued to pass and Emi neared the original due date – and finals week! Emi’s final exams began on Friday, May 16, and concluded with her Neuro final on May 23. Since she had made it this far, she hoped she would be able to last through Finals Week … or else she would have to take remedial exams over the summer, which she definitely didn’t want to do with a newborn!

Emi’s dad and brother flew into town and spent a few days, hoping to get to spend some time with the new addition. However, they both left, and Yolanda extended her plane ticket for another two weeks.

The tests began and still no baby. We had been told two due dates and for most of the pregnancy, based on measurements the first sonogram or a tiny embryo, we had been going with May 19; but the official due date was May 22. May 19th came and went. So did the 20th, 21st and the 22nd. Just one more day and she would be done with her exams. However, she started feeling “funny” on the night of Thursday, May 22. When she told her mom she was going to bed early that night, we all thought something might be happening – though we were cautious not to over-react. I went to bed at midnight and awoke about three hours later by Emi, who was sitting up on the edge of the bed. She said she was having “serious contractions” and they were seven minutes apart. We discussed whether or not to go to the hospital then and there, but we decided to wait to see if she would be able to attend her last Neuro exam or not. We decided to take it one hour at a time, and by 8 a.m., after spending time with a heating pad, in the shower and in the glider, she decided she could take her exam.

So off we went. We packed up the car and drove to her school, which was across the street from the hospital. Her classmates were pretty amazed to see her, and even more surprised to find out she was in active labor!

About two hours later, Emi finished her exam, and we drove her to the hospital. She was admitted at noon and was 5-1/2 cm (you need to be 10 cm to deliver). Her water was broke in the hospital, and that brought on the “serious” contractions again – but this time much more serious. Shortly after (not short enough!) she was given an epidural, which made the contractions much more managable. At 3:30 p.m., the nurse came in and informed us that Emi was at 9 cm and nearly ready to start pushing!

The pushing started around 4 p.m., and lasted nearly two hours, at which point Emi delivered our beautiful child, Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce at 5:56 p.m.