Sam's Story

Sweet baby Sam with his Mama
Early in the pregnancy with Sam, I had all the signs of a miscarriage. This was something I had never experienced before (and never did again--against all odds we had eight children and never had a miscarriage).
I called my midwife and talked to a nurse who told me to just lie down and wait for nature to take its course, since there was nothing I could do about it. I laid there and cried and prayed. We thought our family was complete after our sixth so this baby was a bonus and I felt strongly about another boy who was supposed to come to our family. I prayed until peace settled over me and I knew that whatever happened I would be ok. Soon the cramping and bleeding stopped. I worried every day of the first trimester but everything went along fine. I went to Girls Camp that summer and continued caring for my busy brood without any other problems.

The January before Sam was born, I was called to be the gospel doctrine teacher in our ward. I have a clear memory of standing in front of the pews in the Prune Hill chapel, pregnant and puffy--seven months along with our seventh child, and enthusiastically introducing our study subject for the new year: The Book of Mormon. By this point we had settled in on the "S" thing for names (really there was no turning back after about number four). As I began studying and preparing lessons, I decided Sam was the name for this baby boy. I loved that Sam was faithful and that he was a loyal brother to Nephi. I also loved faithful Samuel the Lamanite later in the Book of Mormon. There is also the Bible  story of Samuel the boy prophet who answered the call of the Lord with "Here am I". We named each boy after a prophet or an apostle with the thought that they would have a good name to live up to. And so it was decided that this boy would be Samuel and we would call him Sam.

We thought Sam might be a St. Patrick's Day baby--that was a Sunday morning and I had lost the mucous plug (sorry--TMI?)  sometime during the night and had regular contractions but they were 15 minutes apart and didn't get any closer as the morning wore on. We had a dear older sister in the ward  (Sister Buzan!) who came over to stay with the other six and take them to church while I went to the hospital to be checked. I was dilated to 3 but the contractions came to a halt. So I came home and laid down and Andy went to church. During the night, contractions started again and around 4:00 am one was sharp enough to propel me out of bed. I didn't want another false alarm but there were concerns about Monday morning traffic over the bridges to Portland--I didn't want to give birth on the side of the road. I called the hospital around 7:00 and they said to come in and get checked. So I did...and I was dilated to 3. The contractions stopped again while I was being monitored. I felt pretty foolish--you would think that by the seventh time I would have some clue about childbirth. 

The nurse sent us off to walk around and the contractions started up again. They got down to 10 minutes apart. In the meantime, they were searching for my medical records. There was talk of inducing me  but they couldn't do anything without my records. I had been seeing a midwife in Vancouver, Washington but our insurance  was an HMO that had hospitals across the river in another state so there was some glitch in getting the records over there. That took long enough that by the time I got back to a room and on the monitor, the contractions were going good. I didn't think I would need to be induced at that point but the nurse decided to hook me up anyway "to really get things going." The first contractions with the pitocin were intense and only minutes apart. My usual labor coping skills were not helping because I couldn't catch my breath between contractions. It felt like a knife stabbing me in the back and side with each contraction. Andy and I were alone in the room and I told him to get the nurse and turn off the pitocin. She took her time getting in there and Andy asked her if there was anything for the pain. He was concerned because he was used to me getting through most of labor at home and getting to the hospital just in time to push the baby out. She said she would have to check me first. I was dilated to EIGHT!! And my water broke. She put something in the IV "to take the edge off" she said and she turned off the pitocin. It was such a relief to have the pitocin stopped!

 According to my journal, I had five more contractions and he was born. The doctor who was on call made it in for those five contractions. The hospital had just finished a beautiful maternity addition and the room I was in was on the 5th floor and had a big picture window that overlooked the river below. I remember looking out the window at the people working down by the river and the cars going by and I said "Isn't it amazing that there is a new life coming into the world up here and they are  just going on about their business down there." And then Sam was born. It was 2:06 pm. The doctor laid him on me and she asked me if I wanted to cut the cord. I had never done that so I was happy to do it. She clamped it and I cut it and then I wrapped him up and held him. He calmed down quickly after his initial cry. He had lots of dark hair and big eyes. He looked around and was so serious and alert. The Doctor told me "That was a beautiful experience. You made childbirth look elegant." The doctor and nurses commented on how alert he was-- I was relieved that he was born so quickly before the pain med got to him. The assistant who was cleaning up was chattering away as she pulled off the drape cloths. I moved my legs and scooted up to help her and she let out a little surprised yell. "Oh! I'm not used to moms moving their legs after birth--that kind of freaked me out--sorry!"

Andy went with the nurse to weigh Sam and clean him up. He was 8 lbs. 11 oz and 21 inches long. We brought him home to his six loving siblings the next morning. Bev Buzan was there taking care of everything. She was such an angel to our family.

 About a week after Sam was born, I was doing laundry when I had the very distinct impression that I needed to prepare to support my husband. It was clear to me that he was going to be called as Bishop. I brushed it aside thinking there were so many new people in the ward who would do a great job and whose lives were not jam-packed with children and a job that required travel and selling and building a house. Those few minutes that the thought  lingered were enough for the Spirit to reassure me that the way would be opened for me to handle the added responsibility that would fall on me in caring for our children without his help.  My very merciful Father in Heaven was preparing a frazzled mother of seven--the seventh just a few days old-- for what was coming. So it was no surprise when the phone call came from the Stake Executive Secretary that we had an appointment to meet with President Bair Friday night at 6:30.

When we met with the stake president, I had baby Sam in his little car seat and President Bair asked how old he was. "Eleven days old", I told him. "Just think! He will be in kindergarten when your husband is released!"
 Five years looked like an eternity at that moment.

We had already planned Sam's blessing for March 31st (fast Sunday was early because of General Conference) and that was the day Andy was to be sustained as the new Bishop of our ward. He had one day to choose his counselors so he went to the Temple. We had already invited friends and family to come for Sam's blessing and we didn't really have time to inform them all that there was more than that going on.
So they got a bit of a surprise when all of that happened after the blessing. We had invited our children's favorite kindergarten teacher: Mrs. Heigl and she was there. Afterwards she said, "I voted for you Andy!"

So our Sam joined our family and was swept into the beautiful chaos. He was passed around in Gospel Doctrine by all the sweet grandma ladies so that I could teach and he learned to behave with "The Look" from his father sitting up on the stand at church. Those five years flew by and now there have been eleven more!
Happy Birthday Sam!



Shanna said…
I love our little Sam. I'm so glad you lived close enough to the Spirit to know that there were more brothers for us. Our family wouldn't be complete without Sam and Shane.
Amelia said…
I wish I could hire you to write a bunch of personal histories for me!
Melanie said…
Keep your fingers crossed. This is my third try at leaving a comment.

I hope Sam had a marvelous birthday. I loved hearing his birth story. I asked my daughter if I made birth look elegant and she laughed and said, "You kind of sounded like a donkey when you breathed."
mamagale said…
Hahaha Melanie--I just saw your comment! Like I said, the dr. was only there for the last five contractions so her perspective was a little skewed. Your daughter is adorable :)

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