The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed Sylvia(my mother).  She has shoulder length blond hair, blue eyes, and is about 5’4”. We were sitting in a booth having lunch and doing the interview. This is a memory from the time in her life when she was most scared. It is important to her because while scary it gave her many of the happiest moments of her life.

There is immense pain on her face, and a nervous air in the room. It is July 1999, in the Lehigh Valley Health Network ER in Eastern Pennsylvania. Sylvia Boyd is giving birth to her first son, Austin, and it is taking much longer than expected. She is both fighting against the most intense pain she has ever felt and the rising dread that something is wrong. In the corner Brad Boyd, a daunting six-foot seven man with dark brown hair stands, hating the feeling of helplessness that is all but foreign to him. The doctor and his aids are exhausting the last of their techniques for the normal and usually uneventful process. As the second hour of delivery approaches, the doctors use the last tool they have before resorting to C-section, vacuum-assisted delivery. They place the cup of the vacuum extractor on Austin’s head and use it to try and slowly draw him out, with the assistance of Sylvia’s pushing.

            Finally, the head is all the way out, but Austin’s face is completely blue. For a moment everyone in the room silently panics. Sylvia is terrified. She begins physically shaking as panic sets in. The doctors are the first to regain their composure. They start by trying to calm Sylvia to a level that she can finish the birth. They somewhat succeed and turn their full attention to the baby. As quickly as possible without injuring any involved parties, they cut the umbilical cord that is wrapped around Austin’s neck. Then they finish the delivery with a haste that is one degree off being reckless, and whisk Austin off the nursery to ensure his survival. For the next hour both of his parents try to calm down. Both are physically and emotionally exhausted given that it is past midnight. They wait, hoping and praying that the baby makes it out of the ordeal unscathed. The time seems to be slowing, deriving sadistic pleasure from every tense moment.

            The doctor returns. Without meaning to he pauses for a moment, almost as if to bring the tension in the room to a head. He tells the new parents that the baby is alive and doing well, and after a few more tests his health will be ensured. They both physically brighten as their greatest fears are dispelled. They share an embrace that is long overdue.

            The rest of the night and morning are awash with feelings of happiness, accomplishment, and responsibility. As Austin’s condition continuously improves, his parents are eventually allowed to hold him. The feeling his mother gets from this is both the same as everyone describes it and completely different all at once. After Austin is put back in the nursery, so his condition can be monitored, the adrenaline high of the last few hours subsides, and Sylvia can finally rest. The next day she takes the boy home and begins the arduous but rewarding process of raising him.

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I interviewed Sylvia(my mother). She has shoulder length blond hair, blue eyes, and is about 5’4”. We were sitting in a booth having lunch and doing the interview. This is a memory from the time in her life when she was most scared. It is important to her because while scary it gave her many of the happiest moments of her life.

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Recorded by Austin Boyd on December 6, 2018
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