Sunday, August 1, 2010

Samuel's Birth Story -- as taken (and edited :) ) from my journal

On Friday, July 31, three and half weeks before my due date, Bryan, the boys, and very pregnant me headed to Lake Hartwell in Anderson, SC to spend 26 hours with our husbands and wives group.  We deliberated and deliberated about going and were super undecided.  We just could not figure out what was best and finally decided, based on Dr. Siegel's thumbs up, to go ahead and go.  But when I woke up Friday am, I was leaking some fluid.  So we were back to indecision.  But a phone call to Dr. Siegel gave us the go-ahead, and we headed north with some mild-to-moderate misgivings.

We had a great time at the lake.  I went on a slow and gentle boat ride with Caleb, and he even got to drive the boat -- adorable.  That night the adults had a great time laughing and telling stories.  I laughed so hard numerous people told me, jokingly, that they thought I'd go into labor.

In the middle of the night, I had to go to the bathroom like always, and I discovered I was still leaking something -- and in significant amounts.  I got pretty frightened, considering how far away we were from the hospital.  I called the OB office, and Dr. Lambert was on-call.  He said it sounded like I had lost my mucus plug (I know that's a gross phrase -- sorry), but the concerning factor was that I'd been leaking it for nearly 24 hours.  Since I wasn't having contractions, he told me to sit tight an hour and see what happened.

I started to have contractions in my back -- radiating pain -- definitely not Braxton-Hicks, and I was pretty uneasy.  But when I went to the bathroom an hour later, I wasn't leaking anymore (which suggested it was not amniotic fluid -- phew!), and soon my contractions died down.  I told Bryan that as soon as it was a reasonable hour, we were going home!  He agreed.

In the morning, we got up, breakfasted, said our goodbyes, and headed home just to be safe.  We got home around 12:30/1:00, and after lunch (Sonic, as I recall), we all laid down for naps.  I was thoroughly exhausted from a terrible night's sleep, and Bryan wasn't much better off.  I had called Dr. Lambert around 2:00 to tell him I was leaking fluid again and that we were back in town.  He said it sounded like I was definitely threatening labor, and I should lay down, put my feet up, and take it easy.

Once we got up, I told Samuel to go ahead and come because I wanted an August 1st birthday.  I had prayed for August 1.  So I decided to vaccuum up the little spider webs that were driving me crazy, and I remember patting my belly and saying, "You can come anytime you like now, Samuel."  I figured if I didn't start labor by 7:00 pm, I was in trouble because it would be an even birthday.  :)

Around 6:00 pm, I was feeling a little yucky.  My tummy was unhappy.  When we went to put the boys to bed, I had a strong contraction that made me take slow breaths.  I decided to lay down while Bry put the boys to bed.  Caleb wanted to stay with me, but he went to get ready for bed after much coaxing from Bryan.

I started timing contractions at 7:43 pm, and they were six minutes apart.  I got up to smooch the boys goodnight and to tell them Samuel might be coming.  At 8:15 Bryan called Colleen to see if she was home.  He said he'd call her back in 20 minutes to let her know if she should come, and she said, "That's ridiculous!  I'm coming now!"  We pulled our stuff together and called Dr. Siegel -- who happened to be filling in for Dr. Lambert for a few hours because Dr. Lambert had a wedding to go to.  Dr. Siegel said I should go on in just to be safe, and if it was a false alarm, all my complications warranted it.

So, despite being a bit unsure if I was truly in labor, we decided to head to Northside Hospital.  Matthew happened to call to say that he and Ashley were being induced in the morning, and Bryan said, "We think Kathryn might be in labor, so let's call it a race."

Bryan and I hopped in the car aound 8:45 or so.  The gas light came on, and we stopped for a few gallons at my request.  Contractions continued to be six minutes apart, but they were getting stronger, and I was pretty convinced it was labor.  Bryan walked me to admissions at the hospital around 9:15, and he parked the car and came in.  At 9:35, we were in a room, and our nurse, Katie, got the run down: he has a heart defect, I have fast labors, I have too much amniotic fluid so I need a sonogram to see if he's head down, and I have Group B Strep.  She got straight to work and called Dr. Siegel who said he was 20 minutes away.

Katie hooked me up to the monitors and noticed that Samuel's heart rate was 215 and then 145, back to 212, down to the 140's, etc.  She checked me and said I was a good 3-4 cm.  At this point my contractions were two minutes apart.  In fact, it seemed like as soon as I got to the room, they went from  six minutes to two minutes and seriously increased in intensity.

Dr. Siegel got there shortly after 10:00 pm and checked me.  I was 7 cm.  In about 15-20 minutes, I had progressed 3 cm.  Katie said, "Oh my gosh!  You weren't kidding about fast labors!"  Dr. Siegel broke my water, and I told him we were on the clock -- I wanted to deliver before midnight.

Things got intense quickly.  I got in the shower for some relief but had to get out almost as soon as I stepped in because I felt the urge to push.  They got me out and on the table very quickly.  I was 9 1/2 cm.  Two contractions later I was 10 cm and pushing.  I think I pushed through two or three contractions, and out came Samuel at 10:42pm.  They laid him on my belly pretty blue and then whisked him to the corner with the resuscitation team.  Bryan got woozie at this point and had to sit down.

I kept asking if Samuel looked ok, and I would get "yeah, he looks alright" from Bryan who was sitting near the resuscitation team.  I asked Dr. Siegel if he looked like he had Down Syndrome, and he went over to check.  No, he didn't look like it!  Phew!  I felt very relieved.  The doctors worked and worked on Samuel while Dr. Siegel stitched me up.  I was super shaky and remember having a hard time being calm without Samuel in my arms.  I felt so empty without my just delivered baby with me and kept saying, "This is so much harder without holding him!"  I vividly remembered the minutes after delivering Caleb and Joel and not caring about the stitching and cleaning going on around me because I was enthralled with my newborn son.  I longed to have Samuel in my arms.

Eventually the docs brought me Samuel for about one minute of holding -- long enough to snap 3 quick pictures.  His breathing was really raspy, and they hurriedly snatched him away and took him up to the NICU.  They were admitting him which meant he wouldn't be in our room like we had expected.  The summary report was that his heart seemed fine, but his lungs were giving him some trouble.  We expected to hear something in a couple of hours.  Three hours later, we were still in the dark.  We called three times to see if we could come see him yet.

Finally the neonatologist came to our room and told us Samuel had a hard time breathing.  He was on a ventilator.  They had tried CPAP at 60% (our air is 21% oxygenated), but it wasn't enough.  With the ventilator, he was able to breathe 30% oxygenated air.  He said the pediatric cardiologist who was on call was still looking at Samuel and would be down soon.

An hour later, Dr. Balfour came in looking very uneasy.  He said Samuel has something different from what they expected -- probably Double Outlet Right Ventricle.  Before he could tell us what this meant -- what the course of action was, how hopeful, how soon, etc, he was called out of our room because Samuel's heartrate had skyrocketed.  So, we were left in the dark once again.

An hour later we called the NICU again, and they said we could finally see him.  It had been over five hours and was now around 4:00am.  He was BEAUTIFUL!  It was wonderful to finally see him.  Of course, he was covered in wires, but it was so nice to touch and see him.

Lord, protect our littlest love.  Put him in our arms soon.  Amen.  I dream of holding Samuel.  I just can't wait, and I'm not sure I'll put him down once I do finally get to cuddle him.  My arms ache for my Samuel.

Birth stats:  August 1st, 2009
                    6 lbs, 13 oz.
                    18 3/4 inches
                    10:42 pm


  1. Hey, my sweet friends, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post and video! A very special view of your incredible and beautiful little boy! You can see the amazing joy you had on your face when you were able to hold him! I am sorry that the only other time you were able to hold him was during his last breaths. However, I know it was what you longed for but it was just not long enough. Thinking of, praying for, and loving you and your family on this day!
    The Tates

  2. Happy Birthday Samuel! What a wonderful memory for you to share with all of us today...What a beautiful son!

    I feel blessed to have shared even a few moments with watch such caring parents sitting in CICU singing, reading and talking to their son at all hours of the day and night. To see the smiling faces of two amazing big brothers on their first visit to see Samuel...and to have meet two amazing people who I'm proud to call my friends today.

    We are thinking about you all and Samuel!

    The Jenness Family

  3. Happy Birthday Samuel! We miss you lots!

    I've been praying for you guys! Hope your little boy's celebration was just that-a celebration! I'm very sorry he wasn't there with you guys. Jesus is celebrating that sweet boy in Heaven!

  4. Sweet Samuel - You are so missed and so loved. You have glorified your Lord as many have drawn near to Him through your life and your story. Your parents and brothers testify to His grace and mercy as they continue to trust in your Father's good ways while they long to be near you again. We are thankful for you Samuel Erik Apinis. We long to be whole and in the arms of our Savior as you are.

  5. bryan & guys & the boys have been in our prayers, esp since the first. thank you for sharing these special, tender moments from samuel's birth. he's beautiful in the video...such a precious little life. :-)

    love, the white's