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"Mom, Jaime's in labor!" My son's voice was full of excitement and fear as he told me our daughter-in-law's water had just broke and they were at the hospital. I tried to sound reassuring, but at 34 and a half weeks, I knew there could be real problems. Before heading to the hospital, I phoned a pediatric nurse and shared the details. My friend's words were far from positive: "My best advice is to prepare for a very sick baby. That way, if everything is fine, you will be thrilled. If it's not, you won't be caught unaware."

At the hospital, the situation changed by the moment. The baby was in a breech position, so a C-section was scheduled for later that evening. But as Jaime progressed into active labor, the time of the surgery was moved up. From there, things moved downhill—rapidly. My daughter-in-law has a blood clotting disorder, and the anesthesiologist informed her there would be a blood transfusion ready in the operating room in case they could not control her bleeding.

It suddenly became clear that the baby was in danger. His heart rate started dropping. The nurse's quiet but urgent voice calling for the doctor to come to the room—"Stat!"—set off alarm bells in our hearts. Our tiny doctor flew down the hall, stopping outside of Jaime's room so as not to cause panic. Seconds later, they wheeled Jaime through the corridors at a speed I didn't think was possible for a clunky gurney.

Josh could not bear to see his wife with a breathing tube down her throat. Dressed in paper garb, he sat outside the delivery room sobbing. I positioned myself outside the operating suite, peering at Josh through a tiny glass window. I had never felt so helpless in my life. My son was crying inconsolably. I couldn't comfort ...

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December 2008

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