Sunday, April 18, 2010

The One With a Sam Update

Sam turned 4 months old last week. Sometimes people hear that and say, "FOUR MONTHS?? Wow! That just flew by, didn't it?" Usually I smile and nod. Sometimes I give the obligatory response "Yup! He's just growing so fast!" What I'm saying in my head is, "Really? That's interesting, because actually, this has been the longest 4 months of my whole entire life." Being a mom is hard. And exhausting. And I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world...but flying by? Nope.

His appointment went fabulously though. Basically we went in expecting to hear that all of his development was on a 3-month level. Premature babies usually develop according to their gestational age, not their actual age, so Sam would be totally fine if he were developing 5 weeks behind. We were excited though, because while his motor skills are right on a 3 month level, his cognitive skills have caught up to a 4 month old! He looks wonderful and healthy and has gained a good amount of weight--up to the 35th% percentile! We're really proud of him. Right now his favorite things are cooing, smiling, and sitting back on the couch while someone talks to him. He is starting to enjoy bathtime more and more and we've established a good nighttime routine. Bedtime is 7pm and he is sleeping about a 9 hour stretch every night before eating once and going back down until 7a. He is a really high maintenance baby and usually isn't happy unless he's being held, although he is getting used to sitting in his exercauser for a few minutes at a time. He rolled over for the first time a few weeks ago from front to back, but he can't roll himself back yet, so sometimes he gets himself stuck! All in all, we're having more fun as each day goes by and we enjoy seeing his little personality emerge more and more. So far, I'd describe him as difficult, stubborn, and hilarious--which surprisingly enough were exactly the characteristics he had in the womb!

Being parents has been challenging and wonderful. It's made Geoff and I communicate more and differently than we ever had to before, and we've gotten to show each other support and love in more tangible ways than ever before. Geoff has been an amazing and hands-on dad. He does almost all the night feedings and is home by himself with Sam at least one day a week plus about 4 mornings a week. Sam loves to talk and babble to us, which is the best part about coming home from a long day. Sometimes balancing our jobs, the house, each other, and Sam is a lot, but his little smile makes every day worth it, and we've been so lucky to have so much support from family and friends. I'm really looking forward to the journey continuing!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The One With Sam's Birth Story: Part Three

So we're at Wednesday, December 9 (which happens to be Sam's birthday, so don't worry--the story can't go on much longer!!) My midwife came into the hospital at about 7am to check the progress I'd made overnight and to break my water. She needed me to be at about 3cm to be able to break the bag, and I was just under that. She thought she could still do it though, so she tried, and it worked! Up until then my contractions hadn't been too uncomfortable, but once my water was broken they started to get more intense.

Around noon I was still contracting regularly and couldn't sleep through them, so my midwife suggested I take some medicine to take the edge off and be able to take a nap. I wasn't sure--I'd still been wondering if I might be able to do this naturally even though things were going differently than I'd planned. I asked my midwife what she thought would be the outcome of my attempts to labor without the use of drugs. I knew I could trust her to be honest, because she works at a birth center that strongly encourages drug free labors whenever they can, and whenever it is best for mom & baby. She said that she honestly felt my labor would end up going better with an epidural. Because I was so early, my body hadn't begun going through msot of the changes it would begin to make in the weeks prior to a full term delivery. The pitocin was basically working against my body, and there was little chance I'd be able to relax enough to let my body get where it needed to be. We discussed various options, and I ended up deciding I'd take the drugs to help me sleep, but try to progress as far as I could before taking the epidural. So, I took stadol, and ended up NOT being able to sleep very much, but at least relaxed a little bit. I'd sent Geoff home to get a few things we hadn't brought with us, and by 3pm my contractions were MUCH more intense. My midwife helped me onto a birthing ball to help me work through some of the pain, but after about a minute my blood pressure shot up even higher, so I was back in the bed. Laying flat on my back was NOT a fun way to deal with contractions, but I kept pushing through. At around 530p, my midwife wanted to check me again. I'd been contracting at this point for nearly 24 hours, pretty intensely for a few hours. I was anxious to hear how things were going. She checked me...and held up 4 fingers. FOUR. I'd been just about 3cm at 7am, and now it's 530p and I've gone ONE STINKING CENTIMETER. I was so frustrated and tired, and I immediately said I was ready for my epidural. I got it at around 630p, and as soon as I got it, everything started going faster! My contractions were stronger and faster (and I couldn't feel a thing!) Around 8p, my new nurse for the night came in. I was starting to feel more pressure with the contractions, and she asked if I thought I'd need to push soon. I said, "Oh no, I think I'm good. Take your time." So she left to get everything she needed to help deliver the baby. The very second the door closed behind her, I was suddenly like 'WAIT! I need to push!!" Haha, it happened so fast! Everyone started scrambling to get things ready, and by 845p I was ready to start!

Pushing was by far the most frustrating parts of labor. It ended up taking about an hour (which I realize isn't really long, comparatively. But when I was doing it, it felt like FOREEEEEVER!) Every time I finished a push, my midwife was so encouraging and would say "Great job! You're doing so well!" And I would respond, "Then WHERE is my baby?? WHY WON'T HE COME OUT??" Finally at about 945 she called the NICU team which I knew meant he was coming out soon! Because he was so early, the NICU team had to be there to make sure he was ok and didn't need any immediate help. (I should also mention there were 2 nurses, my midwife, and my mom and Geoff, making the grand total 9 people watching me push this kid out...) Finally at 9:52pm, little Sammy made his entrance!! He came out pink and screaming and got to come right to me! I looked at his little face and was just SOO relieved and happy to see him. I was thrilled to hear that he was doing fantastic and got a 9/9 on his Apgars. He weighed 5lbs, 11oz and was 18.5 inches long. He had brown hair that was a little curly and a cute little nose. He was such a skinny little thing--needed some more time to fatten up!! But after 3 weeks of back and forth and hospital visits, we were just so thankful to have him safe and sound with us.

Everyone that reads this probably already knows that this isn't the end of the story and I'm going to keep going with the story to include his next hospital stay. But, for now, this story ends with our family of 3, happy and together and healthy! And that's Sam's birth story :)