8 years ago today, I was in a hospital room in labor, waiting to give birth to my fourth child. We had chose to not find out if it would be a boy or girl, so we were so excited to know! My grandmother's birthday was September 3rd, so I was secretly hoping that this little one would hold off until after midnight so he or she could share her special day.
The pregnancy had been a difficult one. After having 3 children with very little complications, I hadn't been prepared for several episodes of bleeding. I almost missed my sisters wedding when I was 35 weeks because I had suddenly lost a lot of blood and had started contracting. No one had an answer for this and they chalked it up to an unhealthy placenta.
So here I was at 39 weeks waiting to meet this new baby. I don't remember much, except that the 2004 Republican Convention was going on and John and I joked that if the baby were a boy, we'd name him George or Laura for a girl. Of course, we didn't really mean it, but it was fun at the time! Midnight arrived and I was getting fairly close. The epidural had only worked on one side of my body and there were many c-sections that night, so the anesthesiologist hadn't been able to come back. I remember being in so much pain on one side but not being able to move to get comfortable because the other side was perfectly numb. I kept sending John to find someone, but he later told me that he would just stand in the hallway and wait. He knew there was nothing he could do, but he didn't want me mad either!
At some point, around 1:30 am the heartrate dropped drastically and nurses ran in to see what had happened. Apparently, the baby was crowning (and yes, I felt it all on the one side!) and the doctor didn't even make the delivery.
We were introduced to our beautiful new son! He was perfect, in every way. I remember falling in love with him instantly. We had said that if it were a boy, we would name him Jonah, but in that moment, we both knew that his name needed to be Samuel Brigham. It was a family name and I felt the strength of the 2 great men he was named after.
He had a few breathing issues at first, but soon they brought him back and declared him perfect. He was 8 pounds even and 20 inches long.
From the beginning, Sam was a sweet baby with the softest cry I had ever heard. He sounded like a little lamb. He slept a lot and had little interest in eating. At first, I didn't think much of it. After 3 babies who were quite demanding, I just thought I had gotten lucky with an easy baby. But soon, I began to worry as no matter what I did, he had no interest in eating. By his 10 day appointment, he had lost a full pound and the doctor sent him to the lab for tests.
I figured it was a minor thing and we began supplementing with formula as well as nursing every chance I got. Little did I know, at the time, of all the ways these little things would be puzzle pieces that fit together to explain the challenges he was born with.
And here we are, 8 years later, and he is still a perfect little boy to me. He is a lot of work most days and has put me through far more than I ever thought I was strong enough to handle. But he has the purest heart and so much love for everyone he meets. If someone gives him something, his first thought is to share with all of his siblings. If he gets a gift, he wants his little brother to hold it and pretend it is his for awhile too. If you know my little Sam, you know of his mischevious smile and sly giggle. You know how great his hugs are and you know how frequently he likes to give them!
Tomorrow we will celebrate with an early morning hike-a yearly tradition because climbing in the mountains is his favorite thing! We'll be eating chocolate cake covered in icing and m&m's. His gifts will include a ship he's been wanting, another angry bird to add to his collection, the Phineas and Ferb collectibles, a big bag of M&M's and a ton of packages of gum!
I have no idea what the next 8 years will hold or the 8 after that. Frankly, the future scares me to death. But today, as I reflect over the past 7 and all the obstacles we've overcome and worked through, I know we'll get through many more! And I'm thankful every day that this sweet boy is part of our family!