Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Birth of Sammy - Part Two

I debated publishing part two of Sammy's birth story on his actual six month birth day, or at least a day or two closer to it, but decided to go with today. January 11, specifically today, is the one year anniversary of my father-in-law's passing. Besides the fact that Sammy was named after my father-in-law, it just seems fitting to celebrate today with a birth story.  Picking up where we left off....

I was heavily medicated while this photo was taken. No other explanation necessary.
(This also now begins a very photo-heavy post. Rather than post the pictures where they actually correlate to the story, expect to see them scattered about. Because almost all of them were taken after Sammy was born, unfortunately this means that the ending to the story will be blown. Alas, I think that jig was already up.)

Devoted aunties, camped out in the waiting room.

Around midnight (I think?) my parents and sister Emily arrived at the hospital. I remember feeling so happy to see them. Also, my sister Kate, who had been topping off her gas all week in an attempt to not have to make any extra stops on her drive down from New Hampshire, was on the road at that point. They were ready to camp out in the waiting room for the night. (Had you seen the hospital's waiting room, you'd appreciate just how big this was of them.)

First look at our little guy. His eyes were remarkably open, and just looked around, taking everything in.
I had progressed to 5 cm dilation somewhere in between triage and the delivery room. I now can't remember how quickly things moved throughout the night, but my guess is it wasn't that quick. After a quick visit with my family, the nurse told James and I to try and get some sleep. This was clearly impossible for me to do, as I was being checked every hour, but I was comfortable. (Probably due to answering "yes" to the nurse every time she asked if I'd like more of the epidural.)

I loved all his little hair!
Also at some point in the night, the nurse broke my water. Between the "remnants" of my water breaking, and my catheter (due to the epidural), I remember thinking to myself, "this must be what it's like to be in a nursing home."It was NOT pretty, and any shred of dignity I had left had completely flown out the window. Alas, so long as my friend the epidural kept coming (and James pretended to not see anything), I could have cared less.

Around 6 or 7 a.m., James and I were up for good. I was still progressing, but slowly. The nurse (my second one by this point) guessed that we'd be having the baby by 11 a.m. (Or maybe it was just me thinking this?) At some point my family (now with my sister Kate) came into the room. They entertained us with stories of sleeping on the waiting room couches (or not sleeping) throughout the night, and then were ushered out of the room.

Perhaps it was my "new mom blindness," but I swear he didn't look this red and blotchy in person.
Around 10 a.m., the epidural appeared to be wearing off on one side of me. The horrific pain I had felt the night before came back, and in tears, I happily agreed to what the nurse claimed to be a stronger version of the epidural. As soon as it was administered, I was back to feeling fantastic.

Though that's not totally accurate. I was THIRSTY. Never in my life have I felt so freaking thirsty! Looking back, my last meal before going into labor was lunch, and perhaps a snack in the afternoon. Neither James nor I ever got around to eating dinner. And not once during labor did I feel hungry. But the fact that I wasn't even allowed a glass of labor was killing me.

Early on that Saturday morning, the nurse offered me a twin popsicle, and I swear, had I been able to feel my legs, I would have jumped off the bed and given her the longest hug in the world. That was the best popsicle I ever had in my life. But when asked for a second one, the (now mean) nurse would not allow me any more than that one popsicle!

After the second round of the epidural-like medication was administered that morning, a new (and final) nurse was brought in, and she gave me not one, but two more popsicles throughout the morning. I again savored those things like they were my last meal on earth. This was good news to James, who had the gaul to at one point drink a cup of ginger ale in front of me. (I finally convinced him - rather pathetically - to sneak me a sip when the nurse left the room.)

As horrible as the sounds, the last two hours I was in labor, I told James that the only thing I could think about was not necessarily our forthcoming little bundle of joy, but rather a huge bottle of Gatorade.

But I digress. Upon the arrival of the third nurse, a girl just a bit older than me who turned out to be absolutely fantastic, talk of giving me Pitocin to further things along came into play. I was still progressing, but super slow. For some reason though, it was taking the nurse forever to find all the equipment needed to administer it, and when it was finally procured, I was checked and it appeared that I no longer needed it.

I can't believe how little Sammy looks in this picture!
This whole point in the morning is a bit hazy (except for my feelings of extreme thirstiness). I know that around some time in between 11 and noon, I did a few practice pushes, but wasn't ready, and my contractions were still about four minutes apart, so eventually I was given the Pitocin. Around 1, I was told that my contractions were much closer, and I could officially start pushing. I do remember being able to tell when a contraction had started (and thus I should push), but for some reason I don't remember being in much pain. (Though that whole selective memory thing that all women who give birth seem to have could be kicking in.)

Sammy's proud dad.
I'll spare you the rest of the gruesome details and skip ahead to 2:20 p.m., when our little boy, Samuel David, was born. An ounce under seven pounds, and 18 inches. (Though he measured 20 inches a few days later at the pediatrician's office, so we're a bit skeptical in regard to the 18.) It was hard work, but it was worth it. (And I swear that the pain I was in the night before was much stronger than the whole pushing part.) The strangest - but best - feeling was when he was placed on top of my stomach. It was just unbelievable to me that this little baby had gone from being IN my stomach for the past nine plus months, and now was outside, on TOP of me!

Sammy was born with a little round head of dark hair - not a ton, but a good amount - and these huge beautiful eyes that just seemed to look around and take everything in. (The nurse couldn't believe his eyes remained open for such a long period of time.) He was absolutely adorable and I shamefully admit that the first words out of my mouth were something along the lines of, "Thank God he's cute!"

I don't remember if he cried right away, but he let out a few little cries at some point and I just could not believe how little sounding they were! For the first few days after he was born, we all thought his crying was just the cutest ever. 

Thought James' name hasn't come up too much throughout this story other than during the telling of the ginger ale debacle, I should mention that he was the best partner / husband a girl could ask for during the entire situation. He was incredibly supportive throughout, but not in an annoying way, and kept me very relaxed. He did eventually move to a position past my shoulders (which, for nine months, he had been told was OFF LIMITS), and was actually quite engaged in the final hour or two, though again, at that point, I could have cared less. And I still vividly remember the look on his face as soon as Sammy was born, which brings tears to my eyes as I type.

We spent the first hour with our boy, and then my family was allowed to come into the room. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room, and it was just a very special moment. James and I hadn't shared Sammy's name with anyone yet, and I was so excited to tell my dad that Sammy was named after the two best and most important men in James' and my lives (our dads, obviously). I had prepared how I was going to say it for months, but barely could get the words out as I was just too emotional at that point.

Sammy was apparently not a fan of his going-home outfit.
As mentioned earlier, James' dad, Sam, had passed back in January - though it was soon after we told him the news that we were expecting, which somehow provided us a bit of comfort. The funny thing is that each time James' sister announced that she was expecting, his dad would say, "I know a great name - Sam!" I'm so glad that we were finally able to take him up on his offer.

Our little sweet cheeks.
Final Thoughts
So that's Sammy's birth story. I can't help but feel super emotional as I write this and reread it. It's a day (or two) for which I'd like to file every single little detail away in my mind forever, and I hate that I've waited so long to officially record it. 

It's funny though. When I think about Sammy's birth, I automatically think back to how for the first few weeks, every time we'd have a new visitor, I'd inevitably get the question, "As soon as you had him, did you ever think you could love anything more?" And I would awkwardly provide the expected answer ("No, never"). 

But for me, while of course I loved Sammy right away, that little bundle seemed like a stranger those first few days! However, as days, weeks and months passed, I began to get it. And now, especially at night time (for some reason) when James and I tuck him into his crib, my heart literally hurts, I just love him so much. And if that's how I feel after only six months, I just can't imagine how it will be a few more months - or years - down the road.


  1. The happiest day ever for all of us----beautifully written.

  2. lone indian tear...what a great story