This is the third in a four part series.

It was the day before the Mayor gave up veganism. I was 34 weeks and two days pregnant with the Bunny and we could not wait to meet him. We were baby crazy!

Despite all of our preparation, our doctor had insisted that we take the labor and delivery preparation class offered through her office (she didn’t have much confidence in Hypnobirthing preparation). We couldn’t bear to sit through another multi-week class, so we signed up for the private tutoring option (in our case, the doctor was probably right about the lack of actual “preparation” involved in the hypnobirthing class – it was kinda funny).

That morning, the teacher arrived early and taught us everything you never wanted to know about childbirth. We practiced breathing and she told me that I should sunbathe topless to prepare my nipples for breastfeeding (too bad I never got to follow her advice). With two hours of doctor-approved private tutoring behind us, we were officially ready to give birth.

That night we went to dinner with our friends Greg and Bridget. Before we left I looked online for restaurants that offered vegan cuisine for the Mayor. We all settled on a Thai place in Pacific Beach (a notoriously colleg-y/spring break-y/potentially sketchy area). We had been there before, and thought it was cool because of the tables that allowed you to sit with your feet basically in the floor.

We should have known better.

Greg, Bridget, and I all ordered chicken pad thai and the Mayor ordered vegan. I remember feeling a little bit bad during dinner, but nothing noteworthy. But just a few hours after going to bed, I woke up SICK. Ever had food poisoning? Yeah, like that. Bad. And I was 34 weeks pregnant. Good times.

I called the on-call doctor and she assured me that the baby would not be affected. She told me to stay hydrated and monitor kick counts.

The next day was the day the Mayor gave up Veganism. It was one year ago today. It was the best day of our lives and the most terrifying day of our lives. I was still sick. I called the doctor again around 5 a.m. and she again assured me that the baby should not be affected by my sickness. But as the morning went on, I began to worry about kick counts. They were just barely under textbook “normal,” but they were way under what I knew was normal for the Bunny.

Mother’s intuition.

Oh yeah, and Remember that doula I hired? Well, I hadn’t asked her anything during my whole pregnancy (just sent her email updates). I understand that she is not the doctor, but she is supposed to be a support. I decided to call her and tell her what was going on. I asked if she thought I should be pushing more to go to the hospital. She blew me off and told me she was sleeping.

I decided I needed to stop worrying and just do something about it. I called the doctor back again and told her I thought I should come in. Because it was a weekend, the office was closed, and I would have to go into the labor and delivery unit at the hosopital. We packed up and brought our hospital bag with us….just in case. We had no reason to think we would be meeting the Bunny that day, but it seemed like the thing to do. I felt silly about going to the hospital, but thought it was better safe than sorry. I was a mother now. I had to take care of my Bunny.

When we arrived they hooked me up to the monitor and immediately saw the Bunny’s heart rate dropping. Suddenly a C-section was planned. The Bunny was six weeks early, which meant there was a chance his lungs might be underdeveloped, but there was also a good chance he would just need a little help. Before we went into surgery, the Anesthesiologist bought us a disposable camera (our camera wasn’t in our hospital bag). I told the Mayor to stay with the Bunny. The doctor held my hands and put her forehead against mine while I got my epidural. I was completely calm. Why was I so calm?

The surgical team gossiped and small talked during the C-Section to keep us calm. Suddenly our little boy was in the world. We all held our breath. And then he cried. And we cried. We were so relieved. So happy. I have never felt such joy. We had our bunny and he was healthy. They laid him on my chest and the anesthesiologist took our first family picture with that disposable camera.

family picture

And then they took the Bunny away and the Mayor went with him. We thought he just needed a little oxygen…a little help breathing. They took me back to my room and I called our family and friends and told them the Bunny had arrived and was doing great.

But suddenly he wasn’t doing great. It was a blur. It was confusing. Had we misunderstood? He wasn’t responding the way they thought he would. I went to visit him and I couldn’t believe what I saw. I couldn’t control the tears, the sobbing. He couldn’t control his breathing. The level 2 ventilator wasn’t strong enough and made him look so uncomfortable. His chest caved in and out like he was struggling to survive. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. At that point it was possible that my baby would die.

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The next day the Bunny still wasn’t responding to treatment. They started asking me more questions about what I had eaten that made me sick. In the middle of the night, the doctor knelt by my bedside and woke me up to tell me that the Bunny would be transfered to a different hospital. He gave us a consent form for a blood transfusion. The Mayor left to go to the new hospital and I went to visit my boy before the transport team took him.

After his first few days of hospital living and complete terror, the Mayor was once again a meat eater.

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