Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Birth Story, Part Two: Sam’s Story

Samuel Kenneth was due to arrive on February 22, 2010.

In the months prior to Sam’s expected arrival, I couldn’t stop thinking about Jack’s birth story and how I had been left wanting more from it. As thrilled as I was by his labor and birth, I was dreading having to go through it all again. Even though I had been able to have the natural drug-free labor that I had planned with him, I still felt sour that all that hard work had not resulted in The Moment that I had envisioned. I mean, I was so happy and thrilled that Jack was healthy and that Dave had been able to be the one to hold him first- the sight of him holding our son for the first time was such an amazing thing and it still moves me to tears to think about it. But a big part of me had been so disappointed that, after all that build-up, I wasn’t able to have the experience of my baby being put directly on my stomach and into my arms immediately after he was born, as I had always envisioned and dreamed about. I hadn’t dwelt on it then- the fact of my healthy baby in my arms at all was joy enough to keep my focus- but faced with Sam’s impending arrival and the labor and delivery that would be necessary to get him into this world and into my arms, I couldn’t help but dwell. I knew that I wanted to have a natural birth again, but I couldn’t get my mind in the right place to be able to do that because I kept focusing on all the things that had gone wrong with Jack’s delivery. How could I put myself through all of that again when I knew firsthand that I was not guaranteed to get to experience That Moment, no matter how badly I wanted it?! So, when asked if I was ready for Samuel to come, my answer was a big fat NO. I knew that I was no where near mentally ready to go through labor and delivery again, and, with Jack’s delivery in the forefront of my mind, wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get mentally ready in time. Not only that, but I am one of those women who adores being pregnant- morning sickness, heartburn, aches and pains and all- and I was so not ready to be done being pregnant, nor was I looking forward to the postpartum period again.

But Sam had to be born, and eventually I was going to have to get ready for his arrival. Thankfully, God knew the right way to get me ready.

On Thursday, February 4th, I noticed that my Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions had been a lot stronger and more frequent, and that continued for the next 2 days. On Saturday evening I noticed that my back was starting to ache up by my ribcage. When I woke up early Sunday morning (the 7th), my back ache was much more intense, so I pulled out the back massaging cushion that Dave had gotten me when I was pregnant with Jack. After a bit, I realized that along with the ache came a wave of nausea. The pain was higher in my back, so I thought for sure that they weren’t contractions, but as the morning went on and I was feeling very achy, nauseous, and almost flu-like, I started to wonder if my backache wasn’t actually a stomach-ache (sounds funny to say, but since I was hugely pregnant, that’s where my stomach had moved). Through all this I was continuing to have BHs. Still, as I wasn’t feeling the pain in my uterus so much as in my back, I was convinced that my being sick was causing these contractions, rather than the contractions causing me to be sick. The contractions didn’t feel anything like what they had felt like with Jack, not even at the start of his labor, and so it wasn’t until I was sitting in church that night that I could even be sure that I was actually having real contractions and not just BH. Sunday night I was feeling even more flu-like, and not only was I was too uncomfortable and nauseous to sleep, but I kept worrying that I was in labor and couldn‘t stop thinking about what I was going to do if it picked up quickly and suddenly, as everyone kept telling me that second labors tend to go much much faster than the first. My contractions never got intense or consistent enough to time, though, and they died off around 4am. The next day was Dave’s day off, and I was so glad to have him home! Around 9am I started feeling crummy again, and pretty much the same as I had the day before, and though I didn’t get much more sleep that night than I had the night before, it was so much better knowing that Dave was right next to me if I needed him. When it was time for Dave to get up for work the next morning, the 9th, I told him that I wasn’t really sure what was going on with my body, but that I was so afraid that if he went to work and I went into labor he wouldn’t be able to come home in time. Plus, as crummy as I was feeling I didn’t feel like I should be driving Jack around and, as I had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon, I wouldn’t be able to avoid it. He decided that he should stay home and I was so relieved to have him there!

I must have been pretty pathetic that day, because Dave told me that I should go get a pedicure, and that he would watch Austin so that Ang could go with me! That was so sweet of him! As horrible as I was feeling, it really helped to be able to go sit in a comfy spa chair and have my feet taken care of, and talking with Ang really helped to get my mind off of how crummy I felt- even though the way I was feeling was all that we could talk about!

When we got back it was time to go to my appointment, so we dropped Jack off at my mom’s and headed to the doctor’s office. When we got there I told her how I had been feeling, and she confirmed what we were thinking- it was likely that I was in early labor! When she was ready to check me, I was preparing myself to hear that I had made absolutely no progress so I was really surprised and relieved when she said that I was “a good 2 cm!” She asked if I was “done” and I surprised myself by answering “YES!” I realized then that even though I knew that I’d be perfectly happy waiting for Samuel to arrive on his own time and I still definitely wasn’t looking forward to being “done”, I hadn’t been enjoying the last few days of my pregnancy because of the way I was feeling. Not only that, but I certainly wasn’t any good to Jack like that! The doctor tried to stretch me to 2.5 cm, and then said “Well, I might see you at your appointment next week, but I might not… we’ll see!”

The next few days continued pretty much the same- I felt slightly less crummy, but I was still achy and having contractions anywhere from 5 minutes apart to 15 minutes apart. I started losing my mucus plug on Wednesday, and so Dave decided to take Thursday off as well- he had a 4 day from Friday to Monday, so I was relieved, once again, to know that he’d be home if I went into real labor.

On Saturday, Feb 13th Dave and I decided to go to the movies, and we came home to find out that Jack had gotten sick. Between sharing a bed with a puking, feverish two-year-old and counting contractions all night, I didn’t get any sleep that night. I was starting to wonder if those contractions were going to give way to real labor, but they went away after I took a nap the next day. Monday I still was having sporadic contractions, and I told Dave that I thought that it would be okay if he went to work the next day, IF he was sure that he could come home if I called him. Tuesday morning Dave went to work, and Jack and I decided to go to the park for a playdate. I was still having random contractions, but I no longer felt achy or nauseas.

When Jack wakes up in the mornings- usually around 6:30- I go in to let him know that it’s okay to get out of bed, and I rock him in his rocking chair while we talk about how he had slept the night before and the things that we are going to do that day. Then I turn on the TV on our way to my room- Jack likes to “cuddle in mommy’s bed” and I turn the TV on so that I don’t have to get out of bed when Jack is done cuddling… he can go watch his show and I can lay there and try to wake up. On Wednesday, February 17th, Jack woke up at 6:40ish and I went in to get him, rocked him, and then turned the TV on, like normal, on our way back to my room. That day, though, as I was turning the TV on, I felt like I lost a tiny bit more of my mucus plug. I would have gone to check right away, but Jack was tugging me towards my bed, so I decided that it could wait until cuddle time was over. However, as I laid back down in my bed and rolled onto my side to cuddle Jack Jack, I felt a bit of a gush. Immediately I suspected that my water had broken, and I told Jack that I had to get up and I went to the bathroom to check… sure enough, my water had broken!

Now, on one hand I was excited about my water breaking, because that meant that this was the real thing and I wasn’t going to be in limbo wondering “Am I in labor or aren’t I?!” anymore. On the other hand, though, I was very very NOT excited about my water breaking because my contractions had all but deserted me! I still wanted to have a natural birth, and did not want to be induced- I knew that if I went in and my contractions didn’t pick up on their own the doctors would insist on giving me pitocin to induce my labor. I couldn’t hide that my water had broken, though, so I called my mom to let her know that we’d be dropping Jack off some time that day and I called Dave to let him know to come straight home after work and not stop at the gym. When he got home I tried to convince him to give me some time to see if my contractions picked up on their own, but he was insistent that I needed to follow the doctor’s orders and go in to Labor and Deliver. I managed to convince him to let me skip my doctor’s appt that morning- the midwife had told me that if my water breaks to not even bother if I had an appointment that day and go straight to L&D, and to give me until 11. Dave did some last minute cleaning so that we wouldn’t come home to a mess, and I showered (I hadn’t gotten a shower when I was in labor with Jack and I wanted to make sure that I got one this time!), packed a lunch for Jack just in case, and double checked to make sure that all of our bags were packed and ready as I started talking to Jack to prepare him for what was about to happen. We had been telling him for a while that soon he was going to get to spend the night at grandma‘s house, and he was very excited that tonight was going to be the night!

We loaded up the car and I tried not to cry as we dropped Jack off at my mom’s house- I missed him already- and Dave and I headed to L&D.

When we got there they tested to make sure that it was really amniotic fluid, and then they admitted me. As part of their admissions process, they ask a bunch of questions related not only to my medical history but to my ideals regarding what I envisioned my birth looking like. When the nurse asked me what my greatest fear was regarding this birth and I answered that I was afraid that they would make me feel pressured to accept an intervention that I didn’t want to, she laughed and said “Oh, you don’t have to worry, we don’t do that here!”

Then the midwife came in and she and I discussed my birth plan. I asked how long they would let me just sit and wait to see if my contractions picked up on their own, and she said that they wouldn’t force me to accept the pitocin, but that because my water had broken and there was a risk of infection she’d recommend waiting no more than 12 hours after my water broke to start inducing labor if my body hadn‘t started on its own by then. I felt like that was a good plan- I was still hoping that my body would pick up on its own so that I could avoid being induced, but I knew that even though the risk of infection was small since I had not allowed and was not going to allow any internal exams, the risk was still there. Plus, I didn’t want to spend more time away from Jack than I had to, and thought that the sooner I had this baby, the sooner I could get home to him!

So Dave and I spent a long day in the hospital just waiting. And waiting. And waiting. I was getting more and more bummed out that my body was failing to get things started (because of my lack of progress during Jack’s birth, one of my fears was that my body just wasn’t going to be able to do it again), and by 5:45pm my midwife’s shift was over and my contractions were still almost nonexistent. I was very disappointed to realize that I was going to have to have the pitocin after all.

I was just about on the verge of wallowing in self-pity over it, when I got a text from Ang. In it, she reminded me to not let the fact that I had to have the pitocin steal the joy of my son's birth. I decided that I wasn’t going to start the pitocin by thinking “And I’ve already been here for 12 hours!” but by thinking “We’re finally on our way to meeting Samuel!”

I got the pit at about 6:45pm and all through the night they kept turning it up. I was having good ctx on them and I was able to sleep once for 30 mins and once for an hour (the stupid BP cuff kept going off and the alarms sounded every time because I have low BP... I come by it naturally though so they weren't worried, but I wish they would have just turned off the stupid alarm!). My absolutely fantastic husband had actually been sneaking food in for me (I was shocked that he agreed to do that since he's very much of a "doctor's know what they're doing" and "there's a reason that it's a policy!"), so I was eating small amounts on Wednesday… but after they started the pit I was afraid I was going to throw up if I ate anything else so I didn't want to eat anymore.

At about 3:30am, the pitocin was at about 12, and since I had been having regular ctx for a while I finally let the doctor check me internally to see if I had been making any progress. After she did I wished I hadn't, because here I was thinking "Well, since I was 2cm last week I have to at LEAST be a 2!" and after she checked me she said that she couldn't even reach his head and I was "maybe a fingertip!"!!! WTH?!?!?! I guess Sam decided to go back up??? Still not sure on that one. I had been feeling the contractions very strongly in my hip, and so I asked her if Sam was positioned towards my hip and if that could be a reason that nothing was changing. She answered that it was possible and that I should try changing positions to see if I could get him to move. I had already been doing that, but I decided to try a few different positions to see if I could get Sam to move. I hadn’t done more than just sit up to give my hips some relief when the nurse came running in yelling “You have to lay down!” Apparently Sam’s heart rate dropped with each contraction if I sat up. I was once again disappointed in the way this birth was going… if I didn’t get Sam to move, then we weren’t going to make any progress. But if I couldn’t sit up and move around, then Sam wasn’t going to move! So, I was once again laying back down and beginning to wallow in self-pity. This birth was starting to look like it was going to be even longer and harder than Jack’s birth!

After talking to Dave (have I mentioned how much I ADORE that man?!?!), I was able to work some things out in my head and he really helped me get my head back in the game. A few hours later they had increased the pitocin to the max dose of 20 (around 7:30), and told me that the doc would be in to talk to me after he got all his information at 8:30, when his shift started. When he came in I told him how frustrated I was with the way things had regressed. He suggested that I let him check me, because the doctor that had done it before had notoriously small hands… but after he checked me he confirmed that she was accurate: Sam was up very high and I was not open very much at all. I asked him again about Sam’s position, if he was angled correctly, and he said that Sam was up high enough that he had plenty or room to get his head turned the right way if it wasn’t already. I remembered that Jack’s head had been sideways even after I started pushing and we still managed to get him to turn his head the right way, so I decided that I wasn’t going to worry about it anymore, and then asked him about what he’d like to see happen with my labor. After we talked we decided that we would turn the pit back down to 10 and see if my body kept things up… as he said “No sense ramming this thing full force when you have a little ways to go- let’s see if we can ease you into it.” I thought that made a lot of sense so I agreed and was pleased when my contractions continued to pick up in strength even after the pit had been turned back down. My body apparently needed a kick in the pants “Pitocin-full-blast” style before it realized that it was supposed to be birthing a baby! They did end up having to turn the pitocin back up, but I remember thinking that even with the pitocin all the way up, it still had hurt way worse the last time! I was feeling a lot more confident after that realization, and as Dave and I continued our never-ending talk about my birth plan and my feelings and fears about this labor and how I was having a hard time not letting Jack‘s labor affect my attitude towards this labor, he said something (I wish I could remember what he had said!!!) that made me recall Ang‘s text about not letting my induction steal the joy from my son’s birth- at that moment, I suddenly came to a few realizations about Jack’s birth and how I was letting it affect the way I was feeling about and handling Sam’s birth.

As much as Jack’s labor was long and difficult and frustrating, the thing that I was most upset about regarding Jack’s birth had been the things that I couldn’t have controlled: the meconium, the cord being wrapped, preventing him from being able to come out without the assistance of the vacuum, and the cord snapping that had created such a panic. Yeah, the parts about laboring so long and being stuck at 8 cm for hours and needing pitocin and all that, that all sucked, BUT I wouldn’t have done anything different and it still would have all went down the same way. My dissatisfaction with Jack’s birth had nothing to do with the labor itself and everything to do with what happened with his delivery: it wasn’t actually dissatisfaction, it was disappointment. Disappointment that I didn’t end up with the moment that I had imagined of birthing my son and being able to have him placed directly on my chest immediately upon delivery. Instead, I had to stare at the back of the nurse as she checked out my baby, who I wasn’t even able to catch a glimpse of as he was separated from me for the first time in 10 months. I had been so disappointed, but I had understood, and really I wouldn’t have changed that, as I knew that he NEEDED to be inspected thoroughly after so many dangerous things had been stacked against him. And I couldn’t have prevented any of those things from happening. I had been able to birth him naturally, the way I wanted, and I was able to completely trust the doctors and nurses that made sure that my son was completely healthy so that there was no fear in me when he was given to me for the first time- just JOY. And I had been letting the memory of losing That Moment suck that joy out of my memory of Jack’s birth.

I did NOT want to do that with Samuel’s birth.

And then I realized that I didn’t need to try to get it all to go my way this time. Because while I still had all the same feelings and beliefs about natural childbirth, that was no longer my focus. Physically, Sam and I would be okay whether I had another natural birth or not, but I was not going to be okay if I was going to let anything get in the way of being joyful in my son‘s birth. I determined right then and there that no matter how this was going to go down, I was going to be JOYFUL.

And at that, I turned to Dave and said “You know what? I don’t want to focus on contractions. I don’t want to be upset about this not going my way. I want to focus on Samuel. I’m going to call the doctor and have him check me again (my ctx had strengthened a lot in the 1.5 hrs since he had checked me) and then, depending on what he says, I’m pretty sure I’m going to ask for an epidural.”

I don’t think that I’ve ever seen such a combination of shock and relief come over anyone’s face as I did then, and, even though I was at peace with my decision already, I know that it was really hard on Dave to watch me go through labor with Jack Jack and so I was even more at peace with it knowing what a relief it would be for Dave to not have to watch me go through that again.

So I called for the doctor, and he and my absolutely fabulous can’t-say-enough-good-things-about-her nurse (her name was Donna- for some reason I don’t want to forget that! I had remembered her from my sister‘s labor with Luke, and I remember thinking then that I hoped she was my nurse when it came to be my turn with Sam!) came in and I told them my plan. They both were obviously surprised at the decision, but they both told me that they thought it would be a good idea to get the epidural and they knew I’d enjoy it a lot more… I could tell that they were wondering why I changed my mind about even considering it, so I just shrugged and said “I did it my way once before, and I figure I may as well try it this way this time!” Donna smiled and looked at me like she totally heard all my thoughts and said “Plus, you are anxious to meet your little one and get home to your son, aren’t you?” That made me smile a lot bigger than someone with my pain level should have and I laughed and said “Yup!” Apparently I had told every nurse that came in about Jack and how much I missed him!

The doctor checked me and announced that I was 4-5 cm, and I was thrilled! That was a lot of progress in just 1.5 hours! I knew then that I could have finished the labor with no pain meds, and I found it funny that I really didn’t care about that anymore- now that I was focusing on Samuel and JOY, nothing else seemed important. The doctor also mentioned that he could now feel that Sam’s head was angled perfectly in line with where it needed to be, and even though he was still up pretty high I had nothing to worry about.

I had Donna call the anesthesiologists and in the 30 minutes it took for them to get everything prepared, my contractions had intensified. As the anesthesiologist was advising me about the epidural and the procedure, she said to me “You’ll probably have a few contractions as we are doing this, but don’t worry because we’ll stop and we’ll talk you through them.” They had me sit up (I was so glad to finally be able to sit up- Samuel was no longer distressing when I sat up so I decided that I had been right- he HAD been angled towards my hip, which must have been causing the contractions to ‘smush’ him, but had moved some time in between being told I was “barely a fingertip” and gaining those 4-5 cm), and kicked mom and Dave out of the room. She told me that it would feel cold and scratchy when she washed my back to sterilize the area, and she laughed when I told her that I thought it felt good! It seemed to take a while for her to finally get around to administering the epidural, but when she did I was surprised at how weird it felt- I didn’t like feeling her poking around my spine! She kept talking to me about random stuff (I can’t remember half the things she talked about because they were so random), and if I wasn’t in the middle of a contraction I tried to keep up my half of the conversation. Finally she said that she was almost done and asked if I was okay. I was in the middle of a contraction and was concentrating on my breathing so all I managed to do was breathe out “yes.” I felt her suddenly stop what she was doing, and ask Donna if I was okay (I guess she didn’t hear me?). Donna told her I had said yes and then she whispered to me “Contraction?” I breathed “yes” again, and then when the contraction was over the anesthesiologist started laughing again, and said “I was wondering why you were so quiet- you sure are calm!” Donna laughed and said “Oh yes, she is in the zone!” I smiled and asked “So does that mean that you guys are used to women screaming and howling and throwing things?” and they both said “YES!”

The anesthesiologist started the medication, and shortly after my right side was numb from the waist down, but I could still feel everything on my left side. It was very odd to feel half of my uterus and not the other! Donna had me lay on my left side to try to help the meds move towards that side but it wasn’t working, so after a while she called the anesthesiologist back and had her adjust the position of the catheter she had inserted into my spine. After she adjusted it, I slowly started to lose sensation in my left side as well, and I spent about 10 minutes enjoying not having to breathe through any contractions. After those 10 minutes, though, it became apparent that the anesthesiologist had overcorrected herself, because my right side quickly came back to life! I resumed breathing through each contraction, and when Donna came back to check on me and helped me flip to the right side to try to get the medication to move to that side. It didn’t work, so I spent the rest of the labor numb on one side and complete feeling on the other! Very odd sensation!

Dave left to grab something from the cafeteria (he had told me that he remembered being so incredibly starving during Jack’s labor and so as long as it was okay with me he was going to eat at every opportunity this time!) at 12:55, and at 1pm the midwife on duty came in to introduce herself to me and ask me if she could check me since it had been a while. It didn’t seem like it had been that long to me, though, and all I could think was of the risk of infection so I said no. She seemed really surprised, but didn’t argue or try to persuade me at all and left. 5 minutes later, though, Donna came in and started putting gloves on. She walked right up to me and said “I’m going to check you.” I was kind of surprised, but up ‘til that point no one had ever done, or even tried to convince me of, anything that I didn’t want and so I knew that Donna had to have a reason and so I agreed. She then pointed to my monitors and said “when we see this rhythm on the baby’s monitor in conjunction with the rhythm on your contraction monitor, that usually means that you’re fully dilated!” I thought that if I had been fully dilated I’d have been having the urge to push, so I wasn’t sure I believe this to be the case, but when she checked me she declared “I don’t feel any cervix! You’re at 10!” She said, though, that Sam was still up really high and still had to come down a lot, so I had to “labor down”. She helped me to sit up at an angle and told me “the next time I come in, I’m going to get the bed ready for delivery!”

About 10 minutes later, Dave came back in the room, and I so wish I had a video of his face when I said to him “So, are you ready to have a baby?” He looked even more shocked than when I had agreed to the epidural! He totally stopped in his tracks and said “Seriously?! Already?!” My mom and I giggled at his reaction, and then told him what the nurse had said and that we were just waiting on Sam to move down. He was still just kind of standing there, like he was trying to figure out what he was supposed to do, so I said “You can probably start packing up and making sure that we have all our stuff ready to be moved to post partum so that you don’t have to do it after the baby is born!” Suddenly the lights went on in his head and he went straight to my bag and pulled out both of my cameras, the Rebel and the 7D, and turned to me with one in each hand with a question on his face. I told him that I had already set the Rebel up for him to use and gave him a quick lesson on focusing, and then he put the camera over his shoulder and went and packed up the rest of our stuff while I texted my brother and sister and Ang to let them know that it was almost time for Sam to be born.

At 1:50 the nurse came back to see how I was doing and make a quick check of the supplies, and then said she’d be back in 15 minutes. 2 minutes after she left, though, my contractions suddenly changed. I told Dave that they were suddenly way more intense and I thought that Sam was finally down and in position! For the next 13 minutes we debated, in between contractions, whether or not I should call the nurse back in. Finally she came back and Dave told her that I thought he was in position, and she came over to the bed and said “Okay, let’s try some practice pushes.” She held my right leg and Dave held my left leg and I pushed through the next contraction, and then she looked and said “Oh yeah, this is going to be fast!” Then I looked up and saw that there was a nurse warming up the bassinet, and a nurse setting up a cart with the towels and tools and stuff on it. Then Donna said that she was going to change the bed from a labor bed to a delivery bed and that if I had another contraction I could push if I felt like I needed to. I pushed on my own as she changed the bed, but half-heartedly… I only pushed enough to ease the contraction. As soon as Donna finished changing the bed, the midwife walked in and said “So, we’re ready for a baby, huh?” Donna told her that we had tried some practice pushes and that I had done great and she expected that this would go quickly, and then we got set for delivery!

I started pushing at 2:15ish. Pushing Sam out was totally different than pushing Jack out. I mean, some parts were the same- I’d tell them when I was starting to have a contraction, and when it climbed in intensity they’d help me count and push through it. But overall more things were different than they were the same. This time I only pushed from one position- on my back- and I was able to open my eyes and look at what was going on because I wasn’t as exhausted as I was with Jack. I’m not sure how many times I pushed, and I was purposefully keeping my eyes off of the clock because with Jack, it really didn’t feel, not until afterwards, like I had been pushing for 3 hours and if it was going to take another 3 hours to push Sam out I didn’t want to know until afterwards!

Another thing that was different- since my left side was still numb, I had no idea until afterwards that she had given me an episiotomy since I couldn‘t feel her cut me like I had with Jack. Also being half-numb meant that I couldn’t feel if I was pushing exactly as I was supposed to be. That made me really glad that I had gone through a drug-free labor before, because I tried to recall what it felt like to push from the right spot- and I hoped that my muscles were obeying me when I told them what to do! They must have, though because after only a few pushes, I heard the familiar words “He’s almost here, just a few more pushes!” When I heard that I shoved my immediate reaction of “Yeah right, I’ve heard that before and it was still another 2 hours!” out of my mind, remembering my resolve to not let anything steal my JOY. And I could tell that my resolve was working when, in between pushes, Donna asked me how I was feeling and the only thing I could think to tell her besides “JOY, JOY, JOY!” was “Like my face is going to explode!” And, I couldn’t help it, I laughed. And then I laughed that I was laughing- laughter was something that was so far from my mind during Jack’s birth, and I loved that now that I was determined to be joyful, I could feel the JOY, even not knowing how much longer until he was born, or if I would get That Moment when he was born. And really, it was humorous that my face was about to explode, was it not?

Anyway, this time, when they told me that I only had a few more pushes before my son was born, it turned out to be true! Of course, I didn’t believe them until it happened, but sure enough, after only a few more pushes, I felt (but only on the right side, of course), that his head had been born! The midwife told me to stop pushing while she cajoled the shoulders out, and as she did this I reminded myself to open my eyes- something I wasn’t able to do when Jack was born because they were swollen shut- and just as I did I felt Sam’s body slide out! Donna grabbed my hospital gown and pulled it up to my neck and suddenly, I had The Moment. The Moment that I had waited for and dreamed about and not had with Jack, and about which I had been afraid to get my hopes up with Sam. Donna grabbed Sam from the midwife and put him on my chest, and I held him and talked to him and comforted him and fell even more hopelessly in love as I shared his first few moments in the world with him.

It couldn’t have been more perfect, and I couldn’t have had more JOY.

I don’t know how long I was allowed to hold him, but eventually they had to take him over to the warmer to do all the stuff they do with newborns. The second they took him out of my arms, they put a food tray right in front of me! I was absolutely starving and that nasty cheeseburger tasted absolutely delicious! As I ate, I watched them give Sam a bath and weigh him and do all that they needed to do, and then when they were done it was Dave’s turn to hold him!

I remember, before Sam, I would always wonder at how I would be able to love another child as much as I love Jack Jack. It’s amazing how it happens- your heart is so full of love for your child, and then when the next one comes along you have the same amount of love for both! And it’s not that some room in your heart is taken from the first in order to give it to the second, but rather that your heart grows twice the size in order to hold all the love you have for both of them! All of the love, and all of the JOY!

Samuel Kenneth was born on February 18, 2010 at 2:49pm. He weighed 8 lbs 7 oz, and was 20.5 inches long.


  1. I'm so glad you didn't leave anything out. That was truely beautiful girl. Beautiful (as I wipe away tears)!

  2. Another beautiful story. Thanks, I enjoyed it almost as much as the real thing. In love you.
    Love, mom