Sunday, May 08, 2005

Today is Mother's Day. It was 12 weeks ago that I became a Mother to Samuel. It was a year ago that I became pregnant with Samuel, and in some ways, it was then that I first began to feel like a Mother. It was the moment Samuel was born, however--when the doctor laid him on my chest, that the love of a mother for her child overcame me. In celebration of that day--which was the happiest day of my life--I have written an account of Samuel's birth story.

Samuel’s Birth Story

On February 8th, 2005, I found myself eating chicken teriyaki with Landon and Damien in Tigard when I felt my first contraction. I had been experiencing contractions off and on for a few weeks, so did not initially suspect that my labor had begun. Fifteen minutes later, Landon and I were in Fred Meyer getting some groceries when an even stronger contraction came and went—strong enough to stop me in my tracks and breathe through it. Every ten to fifteen minutes, contractions continued to come and go and were anywhere between 30 to 45 seconds in duration. For about four hours, Landon kept track of my contractions, and we got ready for bed in anticipation of what the night would bring. I labored all night with no sleep. Contractions continued to come anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes and were lasting up to a minute. At 5am, they became painful enough that I woke up Landon, and he got up and made some coffee. We continued to time them until about 8am, when I called my Mom, who encouraged me to call the doctor and let them know that I’d been in labor for over twelve hours. When I called the doctor, they asked me to come in so they could do a stress test on the baby while monitoring contractions. The OB-GYN, Dr. Thum, who saw me wanted me to get some rest and said I was in the early stages of labor—still only dilated to 2cm, same as I had been the week prior. Since I was unable to rest at home due to consistent contractions, Dr. Thum made the decision to admit me to the hospital for therapeutic rest. They gave me a dose of morphine, and I slept for four hours. When I woke up, Dr. Reindl checked me and to our surprise, I had gone from 2cm. to 3cm., so they made the decision at that time to admit me to the hospital—we were going to have a baby! Landon and I were so excited that the time had finally come for our baby to enter our lives! We were moved to a new room, and I began to walk the halls to get contractions coming more regularly in hopes that dilation would continue. Contractions started coming more frequently—every few minutes—while I was walking, and were very painful! I would have to stop in the hall and lean against the wall to breathe and get through the pain. After a couple of hours of this, the nurse checked me, and I was almost 4cm., but contractions were still pretty erratic, and were not consistently staying close together. By about 8pm, we made the decision to start Pitocin through an IV to keep the contractions close together and keep dilation progressing. My goal was to get through labor & delivery with no drugs—that was before I knew how Pitocin could turn my contractions from painful to unbearable. As they kept increasing the dosage of Pitocin, I got closer and closer to a threshold of pain that I could not tolerate. By 1am, I called the nurse for an Epidural. I knew I was going to need sleep to get through pushing. I was in so much excruciating pain at that point that I did not even feel the Epidural procedure. That moment was very intense, because I had reached such an intense level of pain due to the Pitocin. I was still only 4cm. at this time. I was able to sleep from about 2 to 6am, because they gave me some pain medication to knock me out and let me sleep. The Epidural helped me sleep, also. By 6am, the nurse assured me that my contractions had been strong and consistent all night. Family began arriving again by about 9am. I felt pretty good all morning, but at 10am, I began to feel intense pressure, and began to experience the worst pain I’ve experienced in my entire life. For an hour, I buried my head and tried to think of anything but the intense pain I was experiencing. The whole world around me became silent, and all that existed in my memory of that hour was me trying my hardest to get through the pain I felt. At 10:45, they said I was 8cm. By 11am, I told the nurse to check again, because I was feeling the intense desire to push. Sure enough, I was fully dilated, and began to push at that moment. Minutes later, the doctor came in and took over for the nurse. Somehow, I found strength from somewhere inside myself to push as hard as I did for 2 hours. It was the hardest work I have ever done in my entire life. Not only was the pushing intensely difficult, but my Epidural had had little effect since 10am that morning. I was in so much pain, then pushing 3 to 4 times with each contraction, and each push holding my breath and bearing down for 10 to 14 seconds in duration. I would watch the mirror and see my baby’s dark hair, but for over an hour, it seemed my baby’s head would not deliver. Finally, after the doctor suggested an episiotomy and I agreed, I delivered the head, and minutes later, he was delivered after almost two hours of pushing. It was 11:49—11 minutes shy of what was 42 hours of labor. I had delivered a son—Samuel Landon Kuhn, and it seemed no one was in the room at that moment except for Landon, me, and our new baby. I remember crying and saying over and over, “My baby, my baby…” Landon was crying, too, and we were both so happy and filled with joy and love for our new baby. I’ll never forget the feeling of his warm skin on my chest seconds after I had pushed him out, his umbilical cord still pulsating. It took another hour after little Samuel was delivered before I had delivered the afterbirth and the doctor had sewed me up. Sometime during that hour, it was announced that he weighed in at 9lbs. 14oz., 21 inches long. I couldn’t believe I had delivered such a big baby—especially after my doctor had assured me I would be having a baby around 7lbs! I was so proud, and remember thinking that night while Landon and Samuel slept soundly in our recovery room, and I was awake with thoughts of all I had been through in the past two days, that I had never been more happy—the two people I loved most in the whole world were laying right beside me—my new son Samuel and my husband Landon. The journey hadn’t been easy, and never would be, but the joy and love that I had found along the way had made it all worthwhile!

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