on thursday, june 4th i wrote a blog post about how impatient i was and how ridiculous it was that samuel wasn't here yet. that evening, at around 6pm i began having contractions while making dinner. they were usually between 5-8 minutes apart and were noticeable enough for me to make note of the times. when josh went upstairs at 7pm to give tristan a bath and put him into bed, i sat down and just concentrated on what type of pain it was. i could definitely feel the pain begin in my lower back and radiate towards the bottom of my uterus. because we had already had one "false alarm" i wasn't quite sure what to do, but my gut told me that it would be wise if tristan spent the night at his grandparent's house. that way, he wouldn't have to be woken up in the middle of the night just in case we had to go down to the hospital. i called josh's mom and she came right away to pick him up. he was so cute, all clean and jammied up as he went out the door clutching his teddy bear and saying "later gator!"
i couldn't sit still, so i just paced the living room and kitchen over and over, willing the contractions to increase in pain and get closer together. at 8pm josh asked if he should begin to get the last minute things packed in the hospital bag. i said to wait until 8:30 and then i'd let him know. by 8:30, they were every 5 minutes apart and i was still so uncertain about whether what i was feeling was labor or not. however, knowing how quickly tristan had arrived, and knowing how far dilated i already was, i finally decided not to take any risks, so we drove down to the hospital, arriving at around 9:30pm.
this time we were ushered into an actual delivery room, which seemed hopeful. the nurse was young and chatty, and when she checked me i just prayed one word "please!" i felt utter disappointment when she said "looks like you're still at 3.5 cm". still, she said she'd call the doctor and ask her opinion as well. when she came back, she told us "you have 2 options. you can either go home, or walk around for an hour and see if you progress at all." of course we both chose to walk and this time we really walked! i had brought the walker with me, and i went as fast as i could around and around the halls. we stopped for about 10 minutes, and i was up again right away. i hadn't walked that long in 3 months and i could sure feel it in my legs, but there was no way i was going to give up, knowing how close we were.
after an hour, the same nurse checked me again and i struggled not to cry as she told me that i was still the same. before she left our room, she asked, "where did you guys say you lived?" we told her and she asked "and how long does it take you to drive here?" we told her it takes about 45 minutes and she sort of said "hmmmm...just a second i'm going to talk to the doctor again." after waiting only a few minutes, a different nurse arrived in our room ready to take down our information and start my IV. "by the way, the doctor said to admit you!" she said and josh and i just beamed at one another.
after i was all hooked up, josh and i settled in for what we knew would be a horrible night's sleep. josh had a very uncomfortable chair to sleep on and i just couldn't sleep well knowing that very likely the next day i'd be holding our little baby boy. at 5am we were both wide awake. our nurse told me that the doctor would be doing her rounds starting at 6, so we'd know more then. my contractions had become less frequent and less strong during the night, so i asked the nurse if there was a chance they'd still send us home. "don't worry" she told us, "you probably won't be sent home until you have a baby in your arms." she guessed that the doctor would start me on some pitocin to get the contractions going again, which didn't sound great to me, but i had been planning on having an epidural anyway, so i decided i'd just ask for it right away.
at 7am the doctor came in to see me. she checked me and said that i was 4cm dilated and instead of starting me on pitocin, she went ahead and broke my water. sure enough, my contractions started up again in earnest. i asked for an epidural, thinking that it would be a fast and furious labor, but had to wait a little while because the anesthesiologist was attending a c-section at the moment. by the time she came to our room i was very ready for her! the funny thing is, getting the epidural felt very different from the one i got with tristan and also the spinal that i got prior to my surgery. it really "zinged" up and down my spine and tingled all over the right side of my body. the anesthesiologist commented that it seemed i had a bit of scar tissue at the site and that my spine was rather stiff. it was downright painful, so i was relieved when it was all over. except that 30 minutes later, i was still feeling every contraction.
after giving birth to tristan, my right leg remained numb for hours. this time, the epidural numbed my right side completely, but did nothing for my left side. i felt the pain crystal clear all along the left side of my body, and it was NOT fun. at this point, the doctor (who was a different doctor that the one who had seen me in the morning) was concerned that the monitor on my stomach wasn't picking up samuel's heart rate very well, so he attached an electrode to the top of his head. that was about the same time i asked for the anesthesiologist to come in and fix my epidural, but was told that she was busy attending another c-section. the contractions were pretty hard to bear at this point. i remember feeling as if i was going to throw up during the peak of each one, and also saying "i can't do this anymore!" josh was an amazing coach. he talked me through each one, stroking my hair and holding my hand. when he saw that i was panicking and couldn't get on top of the pain, he reminded me to breathe and to focus. it helped me to focus on one particular spot on the ceiling while concentrating on taking deep breaths, but i still felt like i wanted to die. ( i know, i'm such a wimp when it comes to pain!)
while waiting for the anesthesiologist to arrive, the doctor became concerned that my contractions were no longer being read properly by the monitor, so he attached another electrode to the inside of my uterus, which measured the intensity of my contractions as well as the frequency. for some reason, this seemed to bother little samuel and his heart rate became very sporadic. in spite of the waves of pain i was experiencing, i was clear-headed enough to realize that something wasn't right with out little boy. i could hear his heart beat thumping here and there, then stopping all together for a few seconds, then starting up again. the anesthesiologist arrived to fix my epidural, but the doctor wouldn't let her near me until he had figured out how to stabilize the baby. i heard the word "c-section" at one point and in between contractions i just kept praying over and over again "keep my baby safe." i had been laying on my left side in hopes that the epidural would find its way over there (it hadn't). so the doctor told me to try laying on my right side. it seemed as if the moment i turned over, samuel's heart beat struck up its old rhythm and happily galloped away, again the sweetest sound i've ever heard.
finally the anesthesiologist had an opportunity to "fix" my epidural. all she did apparently was pull the catheter partway out of my back and soon after, sweet painless relief swept over my left side. the doctor checked me again after that and said "oh! you're at 10 cm right now!" i had told the anesthesiologist ahead of time that i wanted to be sure to feel the urge to push. with tristan, the epidural was too strong, so i never felt a thing and he had to be helped out with the vacuum. she assured me that i'd feel pressure, and perhaps even a little pain, and i was thankful for that. the thing was, even fully dilated i did not feel the urge to push at all. the nurse told me that the baby's head was still quite far up, so i should take that time to relax and allow the contractions to do their job and send him further down the birth canal before i began pushing.
i relaxed for about an hour and a half, dozing off in between contractions that i could feel, but could easily deal with. when the nurse checked to see where his head was at that point, she told me that he hadn't moved down at all, so i'd have to have a little pitocin to help my contractions get stronger in order to get him moving. the pitocin worked so quickly as the contractions became much more painful and soon i was feeling the urge to push. and so i did. i had been pushing for about 15 minutes when the doctor came back in to see how things were going. when he reached in to feel the baby's head, i asked him "is he facing up?" because the night nurse had told me that the type of contractions i was having could mean that my baby was face up. "nope, he's sideways." the doctor told me. and so he began trying to turn him around during every contraction. at this point i was extremely thankful that my epidural was working because i was sure that i'd have passed out from the pain if i could have felt it. he kept trying over and over to turn the baby and was unable to get him to face downwards, but eventually he got him facing upwards.
after another 30 minutes of pushing, the doctor gave us the option of having him use the vacuum on poor little samuel. i was exhausted and so ready for it all to be over, so when josh nodded at me, i just said yes right away. even with the vacuum, the doctor had to work hard to haul him out of there! out he came, facing the ceiling, looking up at everyone around him. at our request, the doctor and nurses rubbed him briefly with a towel, then left him on me while they quietly cleaned up and left our room. unbathed, unweighed or measured, josh and i were free to enjoy our son in peace for over an hour, all alone. i nursed him right away and he was a pro at eating right from the start. we marveled at his dark hair, his tiny fingernails and cute little toes. when we were ready, i called the nurse back in to measure and bathe him. i had guessed that he was bigger than tristan, and sure enough he weighed 8lbs 2oz (tristan was 7lbs 8oz).
despite the doctor telling me before he used the vacuum that i probably wouldn't tear, i did anyhow. i asked him how many stitches i had and he said "honey, i'm not counting, i'm just going in and out a whole bunch of times!" that was disappointing for me, since i hated the recovery from that last time, but later the nurse told me that if this had been my first child, they probably would have done a c-section as soon as they realized that he was facing sideways. since i had already pushed one baby out, the doctor felt that i could push this one out too even though he was in more of a difficult position, so i was thankful for that.
later on that evening tristan arrived with josh's parents. he didn't show much interest in the quiet little bundle that josh was holding, but he sure loved the present that baby sam got for him! after they left, rob & jessica arrived with their kids (and hamburgers and milkshakes!) and helped cart all of our things from the delivery room to the post-partum room. i sent josh home that night, knowing i'd be well taken care of by the nurses and that he'd benefit greatly from a good night's sleep.
we were discharged the next day and, once tristan came home, just savored the feeling of our little family now blessed by another member. tristan watched the baby for awhile and then finally plopped himself onto the couch, put his arms out and declared, "baby sam. hold it." ever since then, he's been so proud of his little brother, telling people his name, rubbing his head, watching diaper changes with fascination, telling the baby "its okay" when he cries and holding him every time the urge strikes.
we had a bit of a stressful day last tuesday during samuel's first checkup, which i may write about later, but things are going well now. his jaundice is nearly gone and he is gaining weight. he sleeps ALL the time, but is just starting to have longer periods of awake time. so far he rarely cries. when he wakes up at night, he sounds like a little kitten meowing softly for some food. to me and josh, he looks a lot like tristan did as a newborn and we can't wait to see if he stays dark haired, or if he turns blond like his big brother.
as for me, i do feel so much more relaxed this time around. the pain of recovery seems nothing in comparison to recovering from my accident, and i'm actually able to walk without a cane now that i'm not so front-heavy with pregnancy! still, i don't know what i'd do without my parents here. josh hasn't had steady work lately, and that has also been a blessing in disguise as i love having him around and i know he's enjoying getting to know his newest son. i'm just focusing on taking things one day at a time and when i have one particularly sleepless night, i don't allow myself to worry that the next night will be as difficult.
if you've made it this far CONGRATULATIONS! thanks for reading :) i'll be posting pictures onto tristan's picture blog (which will be re-named) soon.