Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Samuel Kenji - A Birth Story

I'm not going to spend a ton of time doing catch-up posts, but I really wanted to write out this story. I don't actually have a record of it yet, and the more time passes, the fuzzier the details become.

Short version for those that don't like the nitty gritty (and somewhat TMI) details:

Sam was born on the evening of Tuesday, October 30th, 2012. I had contractions all day, but nothing really started happening until my water broke at around 4:00pm. We rushed to the hospital, and three hours after we arrived, at 7:21pm, Samuel Kenji Peterson was here! He weighed 8 lbs. 15 oz and was 20.75 inches long. He was the biggest of my three babies so far by a lot (almost a pound heavier than James and over a pound and a half heavier than Sarah!). We were both healthy and happy. I was especially thrilled to not be pregnant anymore. ;)

Long version (and I do mean LONG) for those interested (and to have as a record for when the details become harder to recall):

I was hoping for a labor/delivery exactly like Sarah's (here's a link if you want to read about it: Sarah Megumi). It was crazy, but it was fast. And having experienced natural childbirth once, I figured I knew what to expect and could handle it better the second time around.

Alas, that was not to be. (How's that for foreboding? ;) Ha ha.)

It all started very similarly, albeit with much more discomfort. My third pregnancy was much more physically taxing than the first two. My due date (October 24th) came and went. The days passed SO slowly, and I scheduled an induction for November 1st. I was proud of myself for "maturing" by not insisting on an October birthday like I did with Sarah and May (she was also due on the 24th). I believed--and still do--that going into labor naturally is the way to go, so I really wanted to let it happen.

We did everything we could in those last few days to encourage labor to come. Well, short of castor oil. That's where I draw the line. The night before the baby was born I had reached my limit. Paul and I had the following (approximate) conversation:

Paul: "You really want to have this baby, don't you?"
Paul: "OK, put your shoes on. We're walking to get dinner."
Me: (As we're heading out the door) "Where are we going?" (Thinking: Well, nothing's really close, but Burgerville and Taco Bell aren't too far in one direction, and there's always McDonald's in the other.)
Paul: "Pita Pit"
Me: "Wait, seriously?! That's like a mile and a half away and includes a huge hill!"
Paul: "Do you want to have this baby or not?"
Me: "Well, alright then!"

A few friends from our ward saw me out waddling that night. And I do mean waddling. That was such a painful, painful trip. I thought we'd never get there, and when we did, I had no idea how we'd actually get home after dinner. By some miracle, I did make the whole 3-mile round trip. And then, after we put the kids to bed, I sat on an exercise ball while we watched an episode of Castle. That night I resigned myself to being pregnant forever. (If you've ever been pregnant past your due date, you know this feeling. You honestly believe that you will be the first woman to stay pregnant forever.)

Contractions started the next morning on Tuesday, October 30th. Paul and I started to get excited. Diana came over and picked up Sarah and James and took them to playgroup. Paul did his best to get some work done before things got too crazy. We collected our things for the hospital casually. The whole time, we kept track of the contractions. Right off the bat it was different than with Sarah. The contractions weren't regular and they didn't steadily get worse. Occasionally they would seem to stop altogether and then pick up again a half hour or 45 minutes later. For an hour in the late morning contractions were just 7 minutes apart. I thought maybe it would be even quicker than with Sarah! But then they slowed again.

We kept thinking things would pick up and start happening. Diana came back with the kids and decided to stay and hang out. Paul and I went and got Jamba Juice and walked around Target a bit. We thought, "Hey, walking at Target worked with Sarah, maybe it will work again!" We saw a friend and her kids in the parking lot on our way home. Again, we laughed together because we had seen a friend at Target when I was in labor with Sarah as well. I kept hoping that any minute now things would pick up and we'd head to the hospital.

We got home at about 3:40pm. I was trying not to despair, but the contractions really weren't getting worse or more regular. And I was in a lot of pain from all the walking. The kids were all napping, and the three of us (Diana, Paul, and I) decided to make a plan. Maybe Diana would go home for dinner and we could call her if we needed her? Natalie was planning on coming over after she was done with class/clinic. Should we tell her not to come? Choir was that night. I was really hoping I wouldn't still be able to go because of a new baby, but maybe I should just go? It would be a distraction, at least. Paul was sort of dozing at the desk as we chatted. I was--once again--sitting on the exercise ball. I decided that choir was really out of the question. Even if I wasn't in labor (I was starting to question it at this point), I was in too much pain to last through a two hour rehearsal. I got my phone out to text the director and let him know I wouldn't be there. I shifted my weight on the exercise ball, water broke. Yep. Just like that.

I'll remember the following scene forever. My eyes went huge, and I said "Uh, my water broke." Paul (remember, he had been dozing across the room) jolted upright and said something like, "What?? Really??" "Yes. My water just broke." I know it can be somewhat difficult to tell for some women, but there was no question for me. It was painfully obvious. Every time I attempted to stand up, water would gush (sorry for that lovely descriptor) out. Paul stood up and started panicking, "What do I do? What to I do??" I kept on trying, and failing, to stand up. Diana laughed and took charge of the situation. She had been through it with Andrew, so she knew what to do. It went something like this:

Paul (imagine a cartoon character waving his hands around over his head and pacing back and forth): "What do I do?? What do I do??"
Diana: "Paul- Go get some towels. Jennie- Just stay there."
Paul: speeds away up the stairs, still panicky (He says he took the stairs about five at a time. :) )
Diana: "OK, Jennie, is this all your stuff? Do you need anyth---stop trying to stand up, Jennie! Just stay there."
Me: "But, but..."
Diana: "Trust me. Just stay there."

Thanks to Diana's level head and personal experience, she got us out the door within a couple minutes. She helped us get our things to the car and helped Paul line the front seat with towels for me. I finally worked up the courage to stand all the way up and head for the car...praying I didn't leave a wet trail through the house as I went.

Side note: For all you women out there who have ever wished that your water would break so that you could know it's time? Stop it. Don't wish that. Ever. It's gross. The end.

So, we pulled up to the hospital at about 4:25pm. Paul stole a wheelchair from the hallway of the hospital entrance so that I could sit in it with my towel and not leak all over the hospital. He left me sitting there while he parked the car (longest three minutes, EVER!).

We had meant to take a "last pregnant picture" sometime, but with my water breaking, this was the best we got:

This story is getting a little too long, even for me, so I'll summarize the next little bit: We made it up to labor and delivery, got checked in, somehow changed into a hospital gown, checked in triage (I was only at 4cm!), they verified my water had broken (ya think?), they put in the IV shunt and gave me some fluids, and ultimately we ended up in a room.

At this point my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and they were getting worse. We settled down in the room, requested a birthing ball and a squat bar for the bed, and then Paul said, "Oh no. My phone is dying, and the charger is in the car." This wouldn't have been a huge deal (we had my phone) except Paul's phone was also going to be our camera. See, our sad, old digital camera is 6 megapixels. The camera in Paul's iPhone is 8. Yes, yes, we know we need a new camera. So, in spite of the fact that it scared me out of my mind, I sent Paul to the car for the charger. We figured he'd be super fast and I'd have at most two contractions while he was gone, and sure enough that's what happened. Those two contractions that I handled on my own were my proudest moments of the ordeal. When Paul got back, I was so relieved! And then everything went crazy.

Having been through this before, I thought, "Hooray! This means it's almost over!" Remember, with Sarah, it was only crazy for about 45 minutes. I kept waiting for the nurse to say those beautiful words, "Well, subsequent babies can come really quickly, would you like me to check you?" She didn't. Finally, I asked her to check me...and I was at a 6. Six measly centimeters! That's what I had been when I checked into the hospital with Sarah! Wasn't your water breaking supposed to speed things up?? I started to panic. I had been set on things being over quickly, and that wasn't happening.

For the sake of my dignity, I won't go into too much detail about the next couple hours. Suffice it to say, it wasn't pretty. I was so angry that it wasn't over that I would yell, "No! No! No!" every time another contraction started. I asked the doctor if the baby could be posterior, she said she'd check (I marveled that she hadn't thought of checking for that when she had checked me just a few minutes earlier), and sure enough he was. Thankfully, and because I didn't have an epidural, I could move into a position that helped Sam turn on is own. (This helped me avoid the same trauma of James' birth...ask me about THAT story sometime if you haven't heard it.)

When I started pushing, I could tell he was bigger than Sarah. WAY bigger. And sure enough, a little while later (more than the two pushes it took for Sarah, that's for sure!), at 7:21pm, our not so little boy was born! After an hour of relaxing and enjoying some skin to skin time, he was weighed and measured. As I mentioned at the beginning of this epistle, he was 8 lbs 15 oz and 20.75 inches long. We had also finally decided on a name: Samuel Kenji Peterson. We were both healthy and happy and very relieved to be done with that ordeal!

Here are some pictures:

Diana and Natalie took great care of James and Sarah while we were in the hospital. They brought them to meet their new brother the next day (which also happened to be Halloween).

And that's how we became a family of five!

Yep...we forgot to take a whole family picture until after I had helped them get their costumes on. ;) They made cute ghosts, though!

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