Sam’s Birth Story
It all began Thursday the 2nd during Hank’s show. I had been feeling some contractions during the day on Thursday but since I’ve never really experienced contractions before I wasn’t really sure if they were real or if they were braxton hicks. Well that evening I went to Hank’s show Macbeth and started feeling consistent menstrual cramps. I decided to time them. So throughout those 2 hours I would cramp every 6-7 minutes. After the show the cast came out to answer questions from the audience. I guess Hank could tell something was different and mouthed to me “are you in labor?” I gave him a “I think so, I am not sure” look. Within a couple of seconds Hank had managed to excite the whole cast to my condition. It’s so fun having such an involved husband.
When we got home I noticed the contractions were getting closer and more severe, but not unmanageable. To pass the time Hank and I cleaned our apartment and packed for the hospital, just in case. We called and the hospital the nurse told us to come in when I couldn’t talk through the contractions. Soon after that call I couldn’t walk and talk through them very well and they were now 3-5 minutes apart. I was surprisingly calm and Hank was unsurprisingly ecstatic. He had to convince me to go to the hospital, I just kept thinking it was false labor and I am was just being a wimp with pain. I guess I really didn’t want to be disappointed. Well after some prodding Hank got me in the car and we went on our way to the Mountain View hospital in Payson. I guess the pain was getting worse because I threw up on the way there. The contractions were fairly manageable though, they just felt like a big muscle tightening, which is what was happening. We arrived at the hospital around 1am.
We arrived and met Vicki, our first nurse. She was a real salt of the earth type of person. She took really good care of us. She hooked me all up to the external monitors. It was really neat seeing the pain level of my contractions. It confirmed that the pain wasn’t all in my head. When she checked me I was dilated at a three. She said to wait for an hour and see if I progressed at all. That was a long hour. When she came back I was still at a three. I thought I was going to be sent home, but Vicki said she had a feeling I would progress. So she put an portable monitor on and Hank and I went walking around the maternity floor, to see if we could get things going. The weird thing was that my contractions started getting less painful and less frequent once we started walking around. I was feeling very discouraged. After about an hour we went back in to be checked and I was at a four Yeah, I wasn’t going to be set home. Vicki told us she was going to admit us. Hank and I looked at each with awe...we were actually going to have the baby
At this point it was about five in the morning and so there was a good chance he’d be born before Hank’s closing night show. Hank was still concerned because the show was sold out and if he canceled the tickets couldn’t be refunded for a different night. So that was in the back of our heads. After about an hour of paperwork, Vicki checked me again and I was at a five. Double yeah I was really in labor. My mom taught childbirth for many many years and she taught Hank and I a lot of relaxation techniques for the pain. At this point the contractions were pretty hard, so I was using everything I had learned to relax and Hank of course was an amazing coach. We decided to get up and walk around some more to see if we couldn’t speed things up. This time I really couldn’t walk or talk through many of the contractions at all, so we didn’t walk around too far. By this time it was probably seven, though I can’t really remember. As we were in the hall our doctor had arrived and said “hey guys, so Hank needs to get to his show tonight so we’re going to break your water” He came and saw the show with his wife and son just a week earlier. We really liked this guy. So I got back into bed. Hank and I were just on cloud 9 this whole time, even through the pain. When our doctor met us in our room he said to me “you look too happy to be in labor”. I was really happy. Dr. Nance warned me that the pain was going to be a lot more intense once my water broke. I was so relaxed at this point I couldn’t fathom my body changing too much. Well it did.
As soon as the water came out of me I felt this intense nausea. Then a contraction came and the pain was like nothing I had ever felt before. Probably five seconds after Dr. Nance left I told Hank to go get me an epidural. This is the part of the story where Hank likes to describe me as Linda Blair from The Exorcist. I didn’t have that many contractions but every time one came I acted increasingly maniacal. I tried to relax, but it was just impossible. Instead I screamed as loud as I could and began speaking gibberish. Hank was pretty much cowering in the corner. Finally after what seemed like years my new nurse Kathy and the drug doctor arrived. Kathy was a pillar of strength. She grabbed me and said “you can’t moved your back when he puts the epideral in so you need to breath with me”. Whenever a contraction came I dug my finger nails into her arms and shoved my face in her face so I could concentration on not moving. That was insanely difficult. After a couple contractions of doing this with her I felt the urge to push. Now mind you, a half hour or so earlier I was at a five so I didn’t understand why I wanted to push so much. They told me it would probably take an hour for every centimeter dilated and we could expect him to arrive around noonish. Well, after a couple more intense contractions the epideral worked My legs got tingling and then the pain was gone. I had a lot of love for everyone in the room. I made Hank takes pictures as I was complimenting anyone who got close to me. Immediately after the pain left Kathy checked me and I was fully dilated Well, I wasn’t expecting that As soon as she checked me she said “let’s have a baby ”. So I basically went from 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters in 40-45 minutes. Maybe that’s why it hurt so badly. It made me feel like less of a wimp. So I really only avoided pain for the pushing portion of the delivery. Another nurse told me later on that I went so fast because I was so relaxed. I have to thank my mother for that.
So happiness was all around me. My poor doctor was half way back to his office when he had to turn around again and deliver my baby; I guess he also wasn’t expecting everything to happen so fast. The pushing portion was incredible. They set up a mirror so I could see and it was like witnessing a miracle...that I was involved it. Kathy again was an incredible coach, as well as Hank who was by my side encouraging me on. I had three contractions of pushing and he was out. My doctor had just made it to catch the baby. I can’t imagine the pushing took more than 20 minutes, if that. It was incredibly fast. So we thought we would meet Sam at noon or one but ended up meeting him at 8:57am. He weighed 7 lbs 4 oz and was 19 in long. Lovely boy.
This is when Hank and I were just in pure awe. Everyone left right after all the weighing and cleaning. So Hank and I had a few hours alone with our little guy. He was so incredibly alert. Since I got the epideral so late it didn’t effect him at all. He breast feed well right away and was wide-eyed the whole time. Hank and I have never felt so close, and never had felt such intense love. Moments like that one make life worth everything.
So since then we’ve been in a dreamland. Our hospital stay was amazing and since bringing him home we are enjoying every second we have with our little son. Even though I had been a mother for only a few days, I really feel like this is the supreme gift from God. How blessed am to have been given this little one to take care of, despite my limitations and imperfections. I have never felt such love and I have never felt such gratitude.
This is where it all started during Hank's performance of Macbeth. This is Hank with Brighton (Lady Macbeth). Hank looks so happy because he knows that I'm in labor.
This is Leah waiting to see if she is progressing enough to be admitted.
This is the salt of the earth nurse Vicky who first checked us in. She believed in Leah even when she wasn't progressing at first. We are forever grateful to her.
This is the biggest dork in the hospital, Dr. Fitzgerald the anesthesiologist. This picture says it all... but Leah sure loved that epidural.
Our beloved Dr. Nance, the man of the hour...
The real man of the hour, Henry Samuel Florence V (a.k.a. Sam).
Hank loves Sam.
And so does Leah.
This is Max, one the boys that Leah has been nannying for the past few years.
This is Max's brother Zeke. He has been almost as excited to meet Sam as we have.
Sam's first play date with his cousins Alicey and Olivia.
Another shot of Vicky this time with another one of our favorite nurses Laurie. She had a strange obsession with making us watch her new DVD copy of Twilight; we love this hospital.
This is Sam in the outfit that we bought on the day of his first ultrasound when we found out his gender. It's a little big but oh so cute..
This is Hank with his new post-Macbeth hair cut trying out the sleepy-wrap. We both love this thing.
This is Sam right after being born minutes after his first meal of grade A colostrum. What an alert little fellow.
More pictures and news soon to come!!!