Monday, November 25, 2013

Sam's Birth Story

**John's POV in italics below.  Beware...this is a long and wordy post.**

Well, Sam certainly arrived in a different fashion than Jack.  As you may remember, Jack was over a week overdue when my doctor decided to induce labor.  With this pregnancy, I was CONVINCED that Sam would be late as well. So convinced that I had scheduled a bunch of things that I had to do up until my exact due date.  And then I still had things that following week which I told people I would "almost definitely" be able to attend.  I put off running last minute errands because I figured I had plenty of time.  At exactly 39 weeks (Tuesday the 12th) I wearily put sick Jack to bed as usual and went about my business.  Watched a little TV, browsed the internet, and headed to bed.  

(I want to say for the record that I wasn’t buying into this whole late to the party again prognostication. She was carrying a little lower and then there was Grammy using her West Virginia sixth sense to predict an early birth. However, I wasn’t more prepared because of my hunch. This probably makes me appear as a bit more negligent father-to-be. I thought the baby might be early, but was still phoning in the preparations. Look, fantasy football lineups aren’t going to submit themselves.)

As had been the case the past couple of weeks with our sick toddler, John had to get up a few times early in the night to deal with a restless Jack.  Around 1:00 am when John was climbing back into bed, I woke to a weird sensation.  I figured that maybe I was starting to lose my mucus plug (sorry, gross word) but took comfort in knowing that it can still take days or even more than a week to start labor.  But when I got up to go to the bathroom I realized that my pajama pants were soaked.  I felt the bedsheets in the darkness and realized, hmmm, they were wet too.  But, I thought, it was not possible that my water had broken.  Not this early.  So I went to the bathroom to check it out and realized, damn, my water MUST have broken.  I changed and thought, I'll just go back to bed and wait until morning to tell John because I want him to get some sleep.  I knew for sure that once I told him he'd be wide awake because, duh.  Have you ever seen any movies?  Water breaking!  Excitement!  Craziness!

(Movies don’t cover “mucus plugs.” “Water breaking” absolutely. “Mucus plug” no. Just sounds like something you google, and then go back to sleep. Especially with the amount of sleep Jack had been allowing us to get that week.)

Well, turns out that I once I cleared my head, I realized that of course I had to tell him and that we should probably head to the hospital.  The minute I told John he jolted upright with a "what?!" and it was on.  I decided to take one last shower and pack up my hospital bag.  Once I was almost done, John remembered that maybe he should also pack some things.  "Yes sweetie".  Luckily my sister was staying at our house so with one quick knock on her door, we told her we were headed to the hospital and good luck with our sick toddler.  1:30am and we were on the road!  It seems there is not much traffic to downtown at that time and we did the normally 35 minute drive in 15 minutes.

(I don’t think I’ve properly yelled at Lisa about this internal debate of not telling me that her water had broken. Of course you tell your husband. Standing rule for pregnant ladies out there: If your water breaks, at the very least, text your husband and let him know. Also, I can’t believe we avoided classic LA traffic for both births. We rolled the dice on going with a downtown doctor in a city known for its irrepressible automotive congestion. There are so many worse case scenarios lurking between the valley and downtown LA. I’d say 80% involve being stuck in traffic. Well timed, baby boy.)

Once we arrived I insisted that John not drop me off at the ER entrance and that we both park at the parking garage and walk to the door.  I figured that I wasn't in labor so might as well walk around and try to kickstart it before I got strapped down to a bed.  The parking garage is a bit of a hike but, like I said, it's not like I was impaired in any way.  Well, the night security guard who was driving around doing his rounds disagreed.  He offered us a ride and we took it because who wants a rent-a-cop judging your choices?  Once we were up in Labor and Delivery we were escorted to a triage room where they checked to make sure my water had actually broken.  Yup, positive.  So the nurse checked with my doctor and the doc said she'd like to wait and see if natural labor would start without using drugs.  So around 3am we were taken to our luxurious labor and delivery room and told that we were waiting until 6am to start the pitocin.

(The appearance of the security guard and his chariot did have this guardian angel feel to it. Until we took a quick left, a quick right and we were there. Pretty anti-climactic. I’m still more in awe of the whole dodging traffic thing. Also, the labor and delivery room is grand and lovely. So much space. A nice long couch. I went to sleep almost immediately. Would the noble thing have been to stay up and keep my wife company? Absolutely. But I learned from Jack’s birth when we failed to nap. It’s a mistake. On top of that, I was taking advantage of the long luxurious couch, before we got shipped to the post-partum dungeon that awaited us and that godforsaken cot that proud fathers have to splay out on.)

Guess what happened in those 3 hours?  Yup, nothing.  Well, the sun came up and the view was quite lovely with the sun hitting the mountains and the Hollywood sign.  After a failed IV attempt which left my hand pretty damn swollen and bruised, they started an IV in my arm and I was like "let's get this party started".  The nurse kept checking on me every hour to ask if I was feeling anything.  They always refer to a pain chart hung on the wall with funny little pained faces and descriptions 1 through 10.  For so long I remember thinking I was at about a 2 ("pain can be ignored").  I told her, well, I feel something but not enough to make me stop texting.  (I think I was texting my mom.  Nothing too frivolous.)  

(That failed IV attempt was not pretty. It’s no fun when the universal pain scale is being used for incidents outside of the world of labor. Knowing how much Lisa hates blood and needles, she really toughed that one out.)

Well, slowly they jacked up the pitocin drip.  They started at 1 ml and by the end we were at 14 ml.  Somehow between 6am and 4pm I went from a pain level of 2 to an 8 or 9.  It was a gradual build and then all of a sudden my contractions were about 90 seconds apart and painful as hell (duh).  I had learned my lesson with Jack and knew that it wasn't best to just lie on my back in bed waiting for pain.  So I alternated between standing, leaning over the bed, sitting in an upright chair, and sort of leaning on John.  My husband was amazing as usual.  Just as he was while I was delivering Jack, he was my rock.  Sure, he started off sleeping all morning on the couch while I played on my phone, but once the pain kicked in he was right with me, supporting me, massaging my back.  You know. All the stuff you'd expect from my awesome husband.  

(I do not regret that nap. At all.)

Around 4pm I decided to throw in the towel and ask for an epidural.  I figured I was already dilated to 7 and the pain was just too much for me.  I figured if I didn't get it then, there would be no way I'd have the strength or energy to push later.  So in came the super-friendly anesthesiologist who literally said three words to me the entire time.  After I tried to explain that the last epidural I had made me super super nauseous, caused vomiting, and made my blood pressure plummet, I think he tried to go a tad lighter.  Which was great because I didn't feel nauseous at all.  Slowly my lower half became numb and I was excited about the possibility of sweet relief.  And then the contractions kept coming and, damn, there was one isolated place where I felt every bit of pain that I had before.  My legs were fairly heavy and tingly but this one little spot around my uterus about the size of a baseball was in excruciating pain.  The nurse explained to me that sometimes people had "windows of pain" in spots that just couldn't be explained.  Or as John said in his delirium "window pains".  Haha.  The nurse asked me if I wanted to get rid of the pain by completely numbing my entire half.  I said, "heck yeah!"  I endured getting a giant needle in my spine to get rid of the pain so why would I want to be in the same amount of pain but stuck in a bed?  She warned me that the only downside would be that I might not be able to feel any progress at all.  I thought, who cares, and asked them to bring it on.  So they gave me another shot and...YES, amazing relief.  

(Window PANES. That’s what I was thinking when I said that. So yes, I was a little bit confused. And that window pane was a pain. Like taking a trip to Hawaii where you’re constantly on a conference call with some annoying dipshit from work. And by the way, our anesthesiologist who administered the epidural had such remarkable bedside manner. In that he made no remarks about anything. You couldn’t have made it up. When he checked in on us the next day, he said exactly 5 words to us: “Congratulations” twice and “How is your back?” And then he was gone. He was the Clint Eastwood of epidurals.)

Of course, with such a strong dose, I was completely paralyzed from the waist down.  Couldn't move my feet or legs.  So when they wanted me to turn and lay on my side to try to move the baby (who they thought was sunny side-up) it was quite a procedure.  I likened it to moving a whale which I think the nurse appreciated.  And so, then, there I was.  Lying on my side, one leg propped up on a table, with droopy eyelids that I could barely keep open.  I decided to rest/half-sleep (or the drugs decided that for me).  So as the sun set around 4 and 5pm I just laid in silence.  After the first hour, John and I wondered what our next step was.  What was going on?  We saw that my contractions were still coming fast and furious so I knew I must be making progress.  

(She slept through contractions. That was some serious shit Clint Eastwood gave her to close the window pane.)

After almost two hours with the epidural, when the nurse finally came in we were like "sooo...what's happening?"  I wanted her to check me because I knew I must be dilated close to 10.  She asked me if I felt like pushing.  I told her I couldn't feel a damn thing really but that I thought I had felt something.  She asked me if it was constant or just fleeting.  I told her it wasn't constant so she seemed to think it wasn't urgent and that it wasn't time yet.  The nurse (who, by the way, was just amazing and awesome), told me that the doctor didn't like to "check" this far along because it may cause infection.  But, she said, if I really wanted to be checked she could because she needed time to call the doctor to the hospital from her neighboring office building.  I had this gut feeling and I said, "yes, let's check it."  

So the nurse lifted up my gown and all I heard was "whoa! there's his head!"  She immediately shouted out into the hallway to get a nurse to help her.  Then she yelled, someone call Dr. Park!  Or get her partner who was just in the hospital!  She quickly asked me if I could push and I said "I can't push, I literally can't feel my legs or know when I'm pushing."  She said "It doesn't matter, here he is" as he squirmed his way out and she picked him up and placed little Sam on my chest.  Some nurse had run in and grabbed a towel and was trying to towel off Sam while she turned on the little warmer and newborn scale and everything.  

(Just like Jack’s delivery, I had been given instructions not to look below Lisa’s belt. I did pretty good when Jack was born, right up until the end, and then there’s really no where else to look, so I looked. This time there was no time to avert my gaze. I was getting in position to help Lisa push, and I saw the top of Sam’s head. That seems premature, I thought to myself. I think I switched sides, because the nurse wanted to be on the other side, and as I was trying to get as out of the way as I could get, I watched Sam just pull himself into the world. I’d say the nurse was mostly there to spot his dismount. In so many ways, all good, this kid has just snuck up on us.)

Three minutes later my doctor (and her partner actually) rushed in and said "what happened?!!"  I think she was absolutely shocked that it all went down so fast.  She didn't really have to do anything besides fix me up and tell me congratulations.  John and I were sort of in shock.  Suddenly we had a baby and I got to meet Sam without any pushing or effort whatsoever at the end.  It was awesome.  And he was adorable just resting on my chest.  I'll never forget that moment.

(I had gotten first contact with Jack when he was born, because the NICU nurses had snatched and grabbed him to clear him of any of the meconium that had been seeping into the amniotic fluid. Sam’s first resting spot was right on Lisa. Frankly, I think they were so unprepared, that it was the only spot he could have gone. But it worked out so perfectly. Everything did. Except for that pesky window pane.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Life with Sam


 Well, Sam is 11 days old and, while I don't think that's a sufficient amount of time to judge Sam's character, I figured I might as well try. As this is my second child, I know not to make grand statements like "he's a great sleeper" or "he's a mellow kid". Because, looking back at this blog, I see that Jack was also a good sleeper and pretty easy at this age. It seems that it takes about 4 weeks for babies to "wake up" so I don't know what the future holds yet. I am hoping that because John and I are more relaxed and more at ease with caring for Sam that he'll take that cue and be a bit of an easier baby.


Things have been so different this time. My physical recovery has been much easier which I am grateful for. Breastfeeding has been easier as well. Not sure if it's because my milk supply is so much greater or maybe because it came in faster. Or maybe it's because Jack had that tongue-tie problem that made it difficult for him to latch at first. Sam is still sleeping most of the day and at night he'll generally go for three hour stretches.


 Jack is intrigued by the whole breastfeeding thing.


 Sam is slowly having a few more periods of alertness and it's so fun to see his bright eyes.



 Jack has slowly (SLOWLY) been warming up to our new situation. The first few days were hell with constant tantrums and inconsolable sobbing and throwing and hitting his parents. Each day has gotten a little better though it's still extremely sad to see how upset he gets when he sees Sam in my arms. In the morning he'll run to my bed as usual and go to jump up but then he'll see Sam in my arms and stop dead in his tracks. Then it's a combination of sadness and anger as he turns and runs the other way. So hard for me to watch but I know he'll get used to it soon. At first this was the closest we could get to a siblings picture...


 Then there was this...


 But lately there has been a little of this...


 Slight progress!

 Of course, I couldn't have survived these past 11 days without the help of my mom.


 She helped me so much and I'm not really sure how I'm going to handle two kids once I'm all alone. It seems that it takes an hour to get two kids in the car so I guess I'll just be a bit late to everything. But, no matter, right now I'm enjoying having a newborn again. Little Sammy is so darn cute!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sam's name

I figured I should talk about Sam's name though there's not a giant long dramatic story. When we got pregnant the first time over 3 years ago, we knew pretty much after I took the pregnancy test what we wanted to name our child. I knew it was going to be a boy and John and I both independently had Jack has our first choice. So by week 5 of 40, we had settled on Jack. This time? Not so much. We couldn't agree on anything. And, more importantly, neither of us really had a name that we loved. We kept waiting to LOVE a name like Jack and nothing was making us excited. The few names that John really liked, I hated. (Hollis? Grant? I just couldn't do it.) And John was bored by the traditional names I liked. (Matt, Tom, Christopher, etc.) Of course, I kept pushing to pick a name but John kept putting it off and telling me that we had plenty of time. I think it was around week 36 when we discussed Sam and thought it was a name we could both maybe agree on. I liked that it was a solid "normal" name. I liked that it could be Sammy when he was little. And I really liked how Jack and Sam sounded together. Very cute. Truthfully though, I don't really like "Samuel" that much. But John thought we should be proper and have Samuel on the birth certificate. So there it was.

As I side note, and unbeknownst to me, it turns out that my great grandfather's nickname was Sam.  My dad let me know after the fact but I think it's pretty cool.

Sam's middle name, Mathias, is from John's side of the family. Jack's middle name, Nunzio, is obviously from my Italian grandpa. We wanted to honor John's side of the family this time and we went back and forth on a few middle names. I sort of left it up to John and one day, towards the very end of my pregnancy, he brought up "Mathias". (Pronounced Ma-thigh-us) It's the name of the town in West Virginia where his mom was born and raised. We liked how unique and interesting it was and thought it went well with Samuel. Soo...there you have it. Samuel Mathias. Our boy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2 3/4 Years Old!


 Let's not forget about our adorable first born! Turns out that today, my due date, is his 2 3/4 birthday! A giant milestone as you know. Enjoy the pics!


Saturday, November 16, 2013


...Samuel Mathias Dietrick

Here he is.  Little Sammy decided to burst onto the scene a week early because he was so eager to meet us all.  As a reminder, here's Jack when he was born.  They look pretty darn similar.

Sam arrived on 11/13/13 at 6:06pm.  He weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and 20.25 inches.  Also almost identical to Jack's size.  He is adorable and perfect with a thick head of hair and 10 wrinkly fingers and 10 old man toes.  

The birth story is pretty funny so I'll have to type it up and post it soon.  In the mean time, here are some pics! 

literally about 30 seconds after giving birth...not a great picture of me but that's okay.  :)

daddy and son

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The state of our household, part 2

Well, I didn't mean to make this a two-parter but apparently we need an update.  See that utterly defeated boy right there?  Well, he's sick.  And miserable.  Has been for 4 days.  Poor little Jack has a recurring fever, cold, and a terrible hacking cough that keeps him up all night.  I guess if there's an upside, it's that John and I are getting used to getting up every 90 minutes.  Fun times!  I am just hoping that he's 100% healthy by the time we introduce a newborn with zero immunity to the household.  These toddlers seem to get sick every two months or so so I know the healthy phase won't last long, but hopefully we hit a good window.

Jack sort of looks like I feel in that picture.  In case I haven't mentioned it, MAN, this pregnancy is so much harder than my first.  I can only think it's because I'm older and more out of shape.  But at the end of my first pregnancy, I was still pretty active and not that uncomfortable.  When I was overdue with Jack, I walked 5 miles a day around the local high school track because the doctor said that walking might help me go into labor (it didn't).  But right now, with a few days left until my due date, I don't even think I could walk a mile.  Maybe really slowly.  I am having some pelvic pain which is apparently due to your pelvic bones and area getting soft and ready to shift shape.  That's all well and good for giving birth, but not so much for moving around.  The website I was reading suggested that pelvic pain may be brought on by prolonged sitting, laying down, or walking.  Oh, okay.  Thanks.  I'll just avoid all those things.  

But, I guess all in all I'm good.  Still at the park with Jack (when he was healthy), still sitting in music class and dancing around (though it's not pretty).  Hopefully this baby will come and introduce himself before too long!  :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The state of our household


There's our boy. Not the best facial expression but he's looking sharp.

Just thought I'd catch everyone up on how we're doing with 2 weeks til my due date. We've been busy trying to get all of the baby stuff out of storage, washed, and put away. Of course, putting it away meant finding space in Jack's room for all these tiny onesies and size 1 diapers. And making room in the family room for playmats and bouncy seats. Room we don't really have. But that's okay. I've resigned myself to the fact that the house will just be a bit cluttered for the next year or so. Oh well. At least we got all the baby stuff settled!

Staging area of sorts in the garage

Washed and clean size 3-month clothes hanging neatly in the closet

We talk to Jack a lot about baby brother and his upcoming arrival. He seems to understand what is going on and likes to say hi to brother in the morning. Maybe he's partial to him because he knows the baby is the reason we have new double stroller sitting in the living room. Not a major side-by-side double stroller, but a little sit n' stand deal that I can snap the infant car seat in and Jack can sit or stand on the back. He LOVES it. He straps in his favorite stuffed animal dog, jumps on, and insists Daddy push him around the room. So cute.

 Jack is still obsessed with his daddy and loves spending time with him. In the morning he says goodbye then rushes to the window to watch him drive away.


 This weekend when John tried to get some yard work done and clean the gutters (exciting stuff!), Jack insisted upon helping.


 All that manual labor seriously tired him out though.


 I'm trying to cross everything off my to-do list. Running errands, making appointments, etc. Today Jack got a hair cut so he could look sharp for baby brother. I was so proud of him. Sat in the little taxi cab all by himself and didn't make a peep. My big guy.



 He really is getting so much bigger and older though. Preschool has been a great experience. At this point there's no crying whatsoever and he seems to be enjoying it. He'll never be the kid who runs into the classroom and gives his teacher a giant HELLO and high five. But he walks into the classroom, finds his number puzzle (definitely his comfort item), and sits at the little table to play with it. He'll give me a hug and remind me that "mommy always picks you up at the end" and say goodbye. We've noticed that since preschool has started, he's definitely gotten better at playing WITH his friends. He'll engage them and actually play with them, rather than beside them. It's pretty cute.


 So Jack seems totally ready to be a big brother EXCEPT for his current sleep patterns. After sleeping through the night for so long, for some reason he's back to waking up like 2 or 3 times during the night. And this doesn't include his early morning wake-up time (thanks daylight savings!). I've read that it's just the age and development and he'll grow out of it (obviously) but it still stinks having him wake up twice a night every night. Luckily John's been dealing with him because no one wants to wait for me to roll out of bed like a whale. :) One thing about bedtime that is cute though is that he's started wanting to read by himself. So I'll leave him in there for 15 or 20 minutes and he'll just read his books by himself. A boy after my own heart.


So yes, in summary, Jack is pretty cool right now.  And tall and strong.


P.S., he still loves watermelon.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween!

There's my little Hulk.  Probably the most timid, shy Incredible Hulk anyone has ever seen.  It was cute because he pretty much chose his own costume.  John likes to joke and say "what are you, the Hulk?!" every time Jack breaks something or throws something.  So it's one of the few characters he actually knows.  And when I saw it for sale at Costco...  well, you know.  I was incredibly thrilled that he even kept the mask on his head (albeit, not over his eyes) for the whole day.  Even when he went into the bounce house.

Wednesday our Moms Club had a big Halloween party with about 45 moms and 60 kids under the age of 5.  It was quite a chaotic scene as you can imagine.  There was a bounce house which was clearly the highlight for Jack (as usual).  The darn kid loves the bounce house so much that he even flirted with his friend's older sister while in there.  Holding hands while jumping, was too cute.

There were a ton of games there like "ghost bowling", "pin the bowtie on the skeleton", "witches ring toss" which Jack killed. 

Of course, perhaps even better than the games were all the signs Jack could read.  Yup, took time out from the raging party to read some signs.  My little Hulk nerd.

We had a great time at the party even if this pregnant lady was tired by the end.  Standing for 4 straight hours is tough!

Halloween night we were super lucky because John got off work early and was in home in plenty of time for trick-or-treating.  Jack thought our carved pumpkins were really neat and wanted to get up close and personal.

We joined some of our friends for trick-or-treating which meant a quick car trip.  There was something about the Hulk strapped into a car seat that I found pretty funny.

All day we had prepped Jack about trick-or-treating and what to say when we walked up to the front door of a house.  He had it down cold.  So guess what happened when we starting going door to door after nightfall?  Yup, he turned into a mute.  Wouldn't say a single thing.  Wouldn't even reach into the bowls the people were holding to choose candy.  Good thing his daddy was there to collect for him.  He would say nothing, then we'd walk away and he would tell us that he was having fun and wanted to go to another house.  "And what are we going to say at the next house?" "Trick or treat." "That's right Jack!"  And then...nothing.  :)  Ahh, our shy little guy.  

But, like I said, his best bud, his daddy, collected candy for him and then proceeded to let him try out all different kinds at 8pm so that he got a sugar high (and subsequent crash).  That's what dads are for.  :)